Day 2 of the ISO firefighters PPE meetings started with discussions on the 34 pages of comments made on the revision of the fire hood standard.
As with the clothing discussions, there was passionate debate surrounding maintaining or increasing the levels of performance (protection). Whilst it is understood that these product standards provide the minimum levels of protection, almost all products in the market exceed these levels. Firefighters in the UK use PPE, which is significantly above the minimum levels, and the rationale for increasing the minimum levels is to ensure that there is no slippage back to the minimum levels and firefighter safety is potentially compromised.
One new addition is a test method to determine performance for particulate protection as a direct result of the concern around contamination from firefighting activities. Whilst we supported this inclusion, we had hoped it would be a mandatory requirement, but following discussions, it was decided to only make it an optional requirement.
Two key UK comments were agreed upon, and these both relate to inclusivity. Firstly an insertion of the words “hairstyles” in the following sentence: “The fire hood shall be manufactured in various sizes or be sufficiently elastic to be compatible with various head sizes, shapes and hairstyles”, particularly to ensure that those with longer hairstyles, such as women or Rastafarians, are provided adequate protection.
Secondly, the UK asked that the following informative text be added to the document:
A fire hood, when worn with a hijab, should have the same accumulative requirements as for a fire hood worn without. Thus, the hijab should be made from a fire resistant material and be tested in combination with a suitably constructed hood. The test results of this combined test should meet the requirements of this standard.
The remainder of the day reviewed comments on ISO 23616 Cleaning, inspection and repair of firefighters PPE with great emphasis on dealing with contamination.