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Chapter 5 . Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment. Introduction. Difference between injury and safety determined by personal protective equipment (PPE) PPE provides a minimum level of protection. PPE is the primary layer of protection.

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chapter 5

Chapter 5

Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment

  • Difference between injury and safety determined by personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • PPE provides a minimum level of protection.
  • PPE is the primary layer of protection.
  • PPE includes full protective clothing, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and PASS device
introduction cont
Introduction (cont.)
  • Protective clothing designed for different hazards.
  • Exceeding limitations of ensemble can cause injury.
  • Firefighters must don the equipment properly.
  • Many factors influence PPE design and use.

A hostile fire within a structure creates an IDLH environment. Personal protective equipment can help the firefighter work in such an environment.

personal protective equipment factors
Personal Protective Equipment Factors
  • Evolved significantly in last 20 years
  • Labour groups such as International Association of Firefighters (IAFF)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • Federal government
    • Development of regulations and guidelines
standards and regulations
Standards and Regulations
  • NFPA developed standards for:
    • Firefighter protective clothing
    • Equipment
    • Ensembles
  • All protective clothing worn must meet current applicable standards.

NFPA-compliant PPE components should have

a permanently affixed label.

standards and regulations cont
Standards and Regulations (cont.)
  • The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration along with the Provincial/Territorial Health and Safety Acts and Regulations are involved in protective clothing and equipment use.
  • May make reference to other agencies:
    • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
    • Environmental Protection Association (EPA)
    • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
    • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  • Multiple elements of protective clothing and equipment worn together
  • Provide protection from some risks
  • All components must be utilized as recommended structural firefighting protective ensemble.
  • Protective ensemble for structural firefighting
types of personal protective ensembles
Types of Personal Protective Ensembles
  • All components of each ensemble must be utilized as recommended.
    • Structural firefighting
    • Proximity firefighting
    • Wildland firefighting
    • Technical rescue
    • Ice rescue
    • Swift-water
protective ensemble for structural firefighting
Protective Ensemble for Structural Firefighting
  • Coats and trousers
  • Helmets
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Footwear
  • Protective hoods
  • Hearing protection
  • Station/work uniform



Proximity firefighting ensembles can utilize (A) a special helmet or (B) a full hood. Either can interface with an SCBA. Note the gold-anodized visors.

care and maintenance of personal protective clothing
Care and Maintenance ofPersonal Protective Clothing
  • Manufacturer instructions
  • Biological and chemical contaminants
  • Repair
personal protective equipment
Personal Protective Equipment
  • Personal protective clothing (PPC)
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
    • One of the most important items of PPE
    • Allows firefighters to enter hazardous atmospheres
  • Personal alert safety system (PASS)
    • Small, motion-sensitive unit
    • Can fail due towater immersion, high heat, muffled alarm due to position of downed firefighter

PASS devices can help save a firefighter’s life—but they must be activated.

A manual PASS device must be armed by the wearer.



PASS devices can help save a firefighter’s life—but they must be activated.

An integrated PASS device on an SCBA, which is activated when the wearer opens the SCBA bottle.


personal protective equipment effectiveness street smarts
Personal Protective Equipment Effectiveness: Street Smarts
  • Firefighters must develop “automatic behaviours.”
  • Simple steps can help achieve these behaviours.
  • Develop good PPE habits and attitude.

Duty personnel should set up their gear for rapid—and complete—donning. Establish good habits to help eliminate shortcuts.

perfecting practices in ppe use
Perfecting Practices inPPE Use
  • Street-smart suggestions:
    • Keep PPE clean, inspected, and serviceable.
    • Practice “team checks.”
    • Position PPE for rapid, complete donning.
    • Take time to prepare PPE for the next response.
    • Good habits take nothing more than self-discipline and practice.
perfecting practices in ppe use cont
Perfecting Practices inPPE Use (cont.)

Street-smart suggestions (cont.):

Exercise prudent judgment.

Wear PPE properly.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

Be the PPE success example—not an injury statistic.

Increase water consumption to stay hydrated.



Firefighting teams should check each other’s PPE for complete donning. This “team check” can help prevent a burn or other injury.


Wearing equipment improperly is asking for trouble. The improperly fastened straps on this firefighter’s SCBA create an entanglement hazard. Also note the entanglement hazard created by the improper use of the firefighter’s suspenders.

lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • PPE is the first and last defense against injuries and illness.
  • NFPA standards for manufacturing criteria and use standards
  • Different ensembles exist for different environments.
  • Care and maintenance of PPE is essential to its readiness.
  • PPE effectiveness is dependent on the firefighter’s good PPE habits and positive attitude.