NFPA 1971, 2012 edition: increases protection, performance and safety

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) develops standards for personal protective equipment (PPE) to help reduce the burden of fire and other exposures to firefighters. These standards are typically revised every five years. NFPA 1971, 2012 edition, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, is slated to be approved by NFPA in December of 2011. It is anticipated that the standard will be published in early 2012.

“The 2012 edition of NFPA 1971 will continue the drive for improved  PPE to increase protection as well as enhance firefighter performance and safety,” said Karen Lehtonen, director of products for LION.

The following are updates related to structural firefighting garments:

Stored energy test addition
–   This test evaluates the stored and transmitted heat energy in a turnout composite underneath a reinforcement material.
–  This requirement will apply to coat sleeves with additional layers attached (excluding cuffs and items smaller than 1”). For example: visibility markings, elbow reinforcements, sleeve patches and logos, etc.
–  The reinforced area is tested on a base composite with the additional layers attached. The composite is exposed to a heat source (stored energy) and then compressed (transmitted energy). Passing performance is > 130 seconds time to 2nd degree burn.

FR requirement for integrated harnesses & belts
–   Harnesses and belts permanently attached or placed between the shell and liner must be flame resistant. If harnesses are shipped separately from the garment and not installed during the manufacturing process or purchased as aftermarket items they may still be non-flame resistant.
–   Harnesses and belts are permanently attached or placed between the shell and liner and must also meet NFPA 1983.

No changes to TPP, THL or CCHR pass/fail requirements

There are changes to several of the test methods and requirements for gloves, footwear and helmets as well. The updates may drive slight changes to those products and we are currently evaluating the impact and need for product changes in those areas.

Other standards that will also be published as 2012 editions are NFPA 1951, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents and NFPA 1983, Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services.