ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Adopts First Responder Equipment American National Standards


Washington, DC, Feb 26, 2004

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Charles McQueary and Under Secretary Mike Brown announced today the DHS adoption of five American National Standards for personal protective equipment for first responders. The standards were developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and subsequently approved by ANSI.

Adoption by the Department's Science and Technology division is intended to assist state and local procurement officials in selecting the best protective gear to safeguard first responders against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. The standards provide manufacturers with requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of equipment for first responders.

NFPA safety codes and standards are developed through a process accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

The announcement was made earlier this afternoon at a press conference held at District of Columbia Fire Station #3. U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison, officials from the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, NFPA President Jim Shannon, ANSI president and CEO Dr. Mark W. Hurwitz, and others were in attendance.

"Secretary Ridge and I are delighted to release the Department's standards for personal protective equipment for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents," said Dr. McQueary, Under Secretary for Science and Technology. "We know these guidelines will be helpful to state and local first responders as they use technology to protect themselves and our citizens from these potential threats."

"President Bush, Secretary Ridge and I are committed to our nation's first responders and the communities they serve," added Mr. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response. "These standards for equipment used by our first responders will enable them to better prepare our nation against natural and man-made disasters and protect them as they respond to any hazard."

"The DHS adoption of these five American National Standards is a major step forward toward meeting today's critical safety and homeland security issues," said Dr. Mark W. Hurwitz, ANSI president and CEO. "Voluntary standards provide the solution to many of the nation’s urgent needs because government, consumers and industry work together to create them."

The five American National Standards that were adopted are:

ANSI/NFPA 1951-2001, Standard on Protective Ensemble for USAR Operations
Based on work begun in 1997, this standard answers the need for personal protective equipment for fire and emergency services personnel operating at technical rescue incidents involving building or structural collapse, vehicle accidents, confined spaces, trench cave-ins, scaffolding collapses, high angle climbing accidents, and similar incidents. The first edition of this standard was issued by NFPA in July 2001 and approved by ANSI in August 2001.

ANSI/NFPA 1981-2002, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for Fire and Emergency Services
Based on work begun in 1975, this standard specifies the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of open-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and combination open-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus and supplied air respirators (SCBA/SAR) for the respiratory protection of fire and emergency responders where unknown, IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health), or potentially IDLH atmospheres exist. The first edition was issued in July 1981 and the current edition, issued by NFPA in July 2002, is the fifth edition and approved by ANSI in August 2002.

ANSI/NFPA 1991-2000, Standard on Vapor-Protective Ensembles for Hazardous Materials Emergencies
Based on work begun in 1986, this standard specifies the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of vapor-protective ensembles and individual protective elements for chemical vapor protection for fire and emergency service personnel. Additional optional criteria are provided for ensembles and individual protective elements that provide protection for chemical flash fire escape, liquefied gas, chemical and biological warfare agents, and chemical and biological terrorism incidents. The first edition was issued in January 1990 and the current edition, issued by NFPA in January 2000, is the third edition. The document was approved by ANSI in February 2000.

ANSI/NFPA 1994-2001, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Chemical/Biological Terrorism Incidents
Based on work begun in 1998, this standard specifies the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of protective ensembles for fire and emergency services personnel operating at domestic terrorism incidents involving dual-use industrial chemicals, chemical terrorism agents, or biological terrorism agents. The intent is that the ensembles would be available in quantity, easily donned and used, and designed for single exposure use. The first edition of this standard was issued by NFPA in July 2001 and approved by ANSI in August 2001.

ANSI/NFPA 1999-2003, Standard on Protective Clothing for Emergency Medical Operations
Based on work begun in 1990, this standard specifies the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of new single-use and multiple-use emergency medical protective clothing, including garments, gloves, footwear, and face protection devices, used by fire and emergency services personnel performing patient care during emergency medical operations for protection against exposure to blood and body fluid-borne pathogens. The first edition was issued in July 1992 and the current edition, issued by NFPA in January 2003, is the third edition. It was approved by ANSI in February 2003.

According to an NFPA statement, all five standards will be available online (www.nfpa.org) in read-only format effective March 3, 2004.

DHS also adopted three standards for respirators to protect against chemical/biological/ radiological/nuclear environments. Those documents were developed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

ANSI Membership