Quick Tips #291.1
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1977 standard on clothing and protective equipment targets protecting fire fighters from heat stress, the primary cause of wildland fire fighter injuries, in wildland and urban interface fire fighting operations. The standard was revised in 2022 to incorporate urban interface fire fighting as well as adjustments to work glove sizing, test methods for garment material composites, and sizing requirements for females.
This standard encompasses the clothing and protective apparel worn during normal exposure limits, and an emergency fire shelter for severe exposure limits, where death or serious injuries can occur.
This Standard addresses the minimum design, performance, testing and certification requirements for protective clothing, helmets, gloves, footwear, face/neck shrouds, and goggles that are designed to protect fire fighters during a wildland firefighting operation. End users can reference this information when reviewing the documentation received from their supplier(s) to help verify the fire-fighting PPE and fire shelters meet NFPA 1977 and their needs.
All equipment that is used for wildland fire fighting must be labeled as such and contain all pertinent information regarding that product. This label must be attached to each article of personal protective equipment (PPE):
"THIS WILDLAND FIRE FIGHTING AND URBAN INTERFACE FIRE FIGHTING PROTECTIVE (GARMENT, HELMET, WORK GLOVE, FOOTWEAR, FACE/NECK SHROUD, GOGGLE, DRIVING GLOVE, LOAD-CARRYING EQUIPMENT, or FIRE SHELTER) MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF NFPA 1977, STANDARD ON PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT FOR WILDLAND FIRE FIGHTING AND URBAN INTERFACE FIRE FIGHTING, 2022 EDITION. DO NOT REMOVE THIS LABEL!"
In addition, the manufacturer must provide the following information to be written on the label:
The manufacturer must also provide the user with the following information:
For all the above personal protective items, the appropriate sizing charts and conversion tables, where applicable, must be provided to the purchaser from the manufacturer upon request.
The NFPA standard also encompasses the design and labeling requirements of fire shelters and the associated carrying case. The labeling criteria described above for the other protective gear is also used on the fire shelters and the carrying case. One major difference is that the label on the fire shelter must be accessible without deploying the fire shelter. The manufacturer must provide the following information with a fire shelter:
Several design requirements specific to each item also are stated in NFPA 1977. The type of thread, openings and the associated closures, statements relating to the collar and cuffs of a garment, all fasteners and zippers, and what part of the garment is allowed to touch the user are just some examples of the detail covered in the standard.
All the PPE covered under the NFPA standard must pass a battery of tests. To be certified, the testing and certification of these items must be completed by an independent testing agency. Any item, or part of that item, that does not meet the requirements will not be certified under this Standard.
All PPE is subjected to preconditioning prior to testing. All the equipment must be at the same temperature and humidity level. This ensures that NFPA 1977 is applied equally to all manufacturers. Chapter 8 of NFPA 1977 addresses the variety of test methods for fire fighting PPE and shelters.
Test methods for garments and face/neck shrouds include but are not limited to:
Test methods for helmets include but are not limited to:
Test methods for gloves include but are not limited to:
Test methods for footwear include but are not limited to:
Test methods for goggles include:
Test methods for load-carrying equipment include:
Test methods for fire shelters include but are not limited to:
Q: What changes are included in the 2022 revision to NFPA 1977?
A: The 2022 edition of NFPA 1977 incorporates requirements for urban interface fire fighting protective clothing as well as fire shelter design and testing. Some adjustments have been made to work glove sizing, test methods for garment material composites, sizing for protective lower garments for females, and a new annex has been included that describes performance requirements and test methods.
Q: What is the importance of this technical standard?
A: : NFPA 1977 first entered development in 1989 and was completed in 1992 to establish a standard on protective clothing and equipment used by wildland fire fighters. While the majority of documented injuries studied by the first subcommittee were related to heat stress, this standard also provides technical requirements for protective clothing and equipment that help prevent other injuries from electrocution, burns, struck-by, and caught in-between. The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center provides many examples where proper protective clothing and equipment has, or could have, prevented serious injuries and fatalities.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.
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