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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: From Firefighter Safety to Software Quality

New York, Mar 18, 2003

In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, ANSI Online will publish, on an ongoing basis, a series of snapshots of the diverse standards initiatives undertaken in the global and national standards arena, many of which are performed by ANSI members and ANSI-accredited standards developers. Two of the latest selections follow:

Firefighter Rehabilitation

Even a common household fire can be fraught with danger for the men and women who work as firefighters. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, is committed to producing and promoting consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. They work to prevent fires as well as to lessen the impact of fires when they do occur, which includes developing procedures that will keep firefighters safe and healthy.

NFPA recently produced ANSI/NFPA 1584-2003, Recommended Practice for a Fire Department Rehabilitation Program, which establishes guidelines for rehabilitating emergency responders at incident scenes and during training exercises. “All too often,” said Stephen Foley, a senior fire services safety specialist at NFPA, “we were seeing in fire service that they would work people until they were physically unable to work anymore,” which in the end makes injuries and fatalities even more likely. According the Foley, the new standard guides fire departments to develop programs that will provide protection to firefighters from environmental conditions, offer primary medical evaluation and treatment at an incident scene, ensure that responders are properly hydrated and grant the firefighters the proper rotation and rest time.

“A lot of fire departments were doing this non-formally in pieces,” said Foley. “This just sets down a more formal process that can be implemented into incident scene management systems. It’s another tool in the toolbox for fire departments to use to make the occupation of firefighting safer.”

Software Quality Assurance

With the use of computers continually increasing in almost every industry and walk of life, ensuring that the software guiding these machines is working properly is essential. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, has recently revised a standard that does just that—ANSI/IEEE 730-2002, Software Quality Assurance Plans. IEEE is an authority in technical areas ranging from computer engineering to consumer electronics, among others, and part of its role is to produce standards to guide the software industry.

Robert Shillato, the chairman of the group that developed ANSI/IEEE 730-2002, says this standard provides a way for producers to ensure that all of the quality-related concerns in the development of software are being addressed. It also lays out the areas of the process that quality assurance experts will audit and what criteria they will use in their judgment. According to Shillato, however, his job is not done. “This [IEEE 730] is a product standard. The new effort will be to change it into a process standard,” in other words, a standard that gives software developers all the steps to complete to create quality assurance plans of their own.

This "standards snapshot" was made possible by the steady stream of press information disseminated by standards developing organizations to keep the ANSI Federation abreast of their achievements. As the Institute receives news of published voluntary standards and voluntary standards initiatives with broad appeal and impact, similar articles will be posted to the ANSI Online News page. Please continue to forward your updates to the Communications and Public Relations department at (f) 212.398.0023 or (e) For additional information on the wide array of standards applications, see the Media Tips and Case Studies section of the Institute's website.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel