For more information, call Western Safety Products at 206-264-0808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Ernie Batista began his 29-year law enforcement career, the only personal protective equipment that his sheriff's department issued to him and other deputies was several uniforms and a gun belt.
According to Ernie, "We purchased our own handguns, shotguns, and ballistic vests. During civil disturbances, we were issued gas masks, riot helmets, and riot batons. That was the extent of personal protec tion equipment in 1974, because the threats that officers faced then were very different than today.
"In years past, the only use for gas masks was for temporary protection from inadvertant tear gas exposure while responding to civil disturbances or dislodging suspects from a building.
"Usually, gas masks were military surplus, and fit-testing occurred only during firearms qualifications. We were told to put on our gas masks, walk into a tear gas-filled room, take the mask off, leave it off for a minute or two, put it back on, and then walk out of the room.
"We would emerge from the room, heaving and tearing the masks off as we raced each other for the water hose or any other source of relief that we could find.That unpopular and unscientific fit-testing exercise and experience would usually suffice for the rest of our law enforcement career, unless we were lucky enough to be assigned to the SWAT team."
Law Enforcement takes on PPE
Today, officers on the job automatically serve as designated first responders.You regularly face increasing threats from terrorism and hazards from sources such as clandestine drug laboratories. To prevent officers from becoming "blue canaries," law enforcement agencies must take responsibility for equipping their officers with the proper PPE and training them how to use it. In fact, today's officers must become experts in an area where historically, they knew little.
This challenge requires a new awareness and education in a wide range of complex issues related to PPE. Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and agencies must:
• Learn how to evaluate, select, use, and purchase new tools and equipment.
• Become familiar with government standards that govern the use of PPE and how government agencies test and evaluate that equipment against various hazards, including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards (CBRN).
• Know where and how to obtain federal funding for PPE, in coordination with other regional law enforce-ment agencies and state government.
• Understand that the use of PPE requires fit-testing, medical evaluations, inventory control, training, a replacement cycle process, and record keeping.
Obviously these requirements place additional responsibilities on the already heavy work load of law enforcement officers and administrators.
Even "natural" disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes put LEOs into the center of hazardous environments. When infrastructures are destroyed, electric power lines are down, and gas lines rupture, the public relies on law enforcement for everything from providing for basic human needs to maintaining law and order.When you become engaged in activities outside the scope of your normal workday, you need to know how to use a handheld gas detector to determine the quality and degree of oxygen in the air. You may need to find a gas or chemical leak, or what dangers lurk in the drug lab you're approaching.
You need to know whether you should wear an air-purifying respirator (half mask with chemical/filter cartridges), a CBRN gas mask, or an air-supplied respirator (full-face mask with air tank). You need eye-wear and clothing and gloves, even during recovery and remediation phases of a disaster of any sort. These tools both protect you personally and make you more effective as a law enforcement officer.
Representative comments by law enforcement
The National Institute of Justice, Office of Science and Technology, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the Public Safety and Security Institute for Technology (PSITEC) retained the services of the Center for Technology Commercialization's Public Safety Technology Center (CTC/PSTC), to conduct a research project to:
1. Identify the various missions and functions that law enforcement officers must undertake when responding to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive incidents; and
2. Identify appropriate Personal Protective Equipment needed by law enforcement officers to fulfill each of the identified missions and functions.
To meet these objectives, the PSTC and IACP arranged two days of presentations featuring best practices and research, as well as several facilitated focus group sessions on January 14 -15, 2004 at the New York State Police Academy in Albany, New York.
The Focus Group participants spoke for a wide range of law enforcement agencies representing state, local and county organizations. All participants had experience in critical incident management and Personal Protective Equipment.
Note: Material from this document will be referred to in this Primer as "IACP Report."
Mine Safety Appliances was incorporated in 1914. MSA's initial impact was improving mine rescue and enlisting the help of Thomas A. Edison to invent a flameless miner's lamp. Making breathing apparatus for World War I soldiers soon followed, and before long, MSA was also protecting industrial workers in their gritty, chemical-laden, hot and dangerous factories and mills.
Our respiratory protection, particularly gas masks, has been worn by millions of soldiers in war after war, until the present day, when technologically advanced, comfortable, and extremely effective gas masks designed by MSA are still the No. i choice of U.S. armed forces.
We also provide safety solutions for our local heroes: police, sheriff's deputies, and prison guards. Whether the situation involves civil unrest, the control of violent inmates, or a terrorist act, MSA offers the level of safety needed to protect the protectors.
With annual sales of over $700 million, MSA encompasses a network of 28 affiliate companies worldwide and over 4400 employees who design, manufacture, market, and sell hundreds of safety products. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., we are the largest company in the world devoted solely to worker safety. A detailed sales organization, market specialists, a vast network of distributors, and an award-winning customer service department provide information, expertise, and training across the U.S. and Canada.Throughout the company, we have a passion to protect.
• Respiratory protection (CBRN gas masks, SCBA, half-mask respirators with chemical & filter cartridges)
• Head protection (ballistic helmets, industrial-style hard hats, fire fighting helmets)
• Gas detecting & monitoring instruments (for oxygen, combustible gases, hazardous gases, WMD)
• Area monitors with multiple capabilities
• Thermal imaging cameras
• Fall protection & rescue equipment (tactical harnesses, rescue belts, confined spaces rescue)
• Communications equipment (internal mask-mounted, helmet-mounted, MICH comm systems)
• Eye, face, & hearing protection (safety glasses & goggles, faceshields, ear muffs, ear plugs)
• Respiratory fit-testing
• Medical testing
• Technical data
• Explanations of government standards
• Information like this PPE primer
• Expert assistance of MSA's representatives and distributors
Experience in the line of fire:
• MSA's solid history of providing state-of-the-art PPE, instruments, service, and support to first responders during emergencies proved itself after September n, 2001, when MSA's experts helped supply products, fit-test respirators, and train hundreds of first responders, rescuers, and recovery workers.
• Your MSA experts know that proper equipment selection, training, and coordination are a crucial part of organizing a successful Homeland Security Program.
• AFFNA • ICTOA
• FBINAA • National Sheriff's Assoc.
• IACP • NTOA
MSA has a history of protecting the protectors, before, during, and after emergencies. Today, with increasing focus on creating the specialized kinds of protection that law enforcement officers need, we have dedicated even more of our excellent, state-of-the-art research and engineering capabilities to creating and improving products designed to protect you. Protecting you is the business of MSA.
What this means for Law Enforcement
Just as other protective equipment for law enforcement officers has evolved over the years, MSA's safety equipment offers cutting-edge advantages that enhance ease of use and reliability. MSA brings new confidence that you are supplying the safest available systems to your officers. Our ergonomically designed products allow for maximum protection while providing a comfortable fit. Ease of use helps encourage worker compliance with department and government safety guidelines.
We look at providing protective equipment as a complete process: helping you to choose the right components to solve your safety problems, supplying the best products on the market, training your personnel, and providing service to your department or agency after the sale. This results in a higher level of safety, more successful tactical results, and economical solutions for your safety needs.
MSA is a partner to help you achieve your safety goals. We can:
• Help reduce your total cost of ownership of safety equipment
• Work with you to solve challenges in your safety program
• Present valuable solutions for your safety program, including training assistance, explaining government standards, addressing stocking and supply issues, and problem solving• Train your officers at their work site on any MSA equipment purchased. This includes proper use, maintenance, and safety aspects of MSA respirators. Training by MSA experts and/or an MSA-authorized distributor can take the form of informal safety meetings, a formal classroom, or field sessions.
• We can help you make sure that proper levels of repair parts are maintained and that your personnel are trained in cleaning and repair. There is no charge for these services.
• Work with you to analyze possible hazardous situations your officers may face and determine which protection best suits their needs. We can conduct walk-through inspections of your sites to help you form an inventory of action areas.
• Help you arrange for fit testing your personnel to meet OSHA guidelines.
• Assist with on-line medical certification to help you meet this respiratory protection requirement.• Finally, MSA and our distributors will make every effort possible to supply law enforcement organizations with expedited shipping in emergency situations.
The traditional assumption is that most specialized equipment needed at the scene of an accident or incident arrives with the fire service. Their traditional duties of battling fires and responding to other extremely hazardous situations have always demanded extensive training and the best available protection, including tough helmets, turnout coats, and an air tank with breathing mask.
Today's reality is that law enforcement officers require equipment that fits your mission. What is appropriate for firefighters may be a burden or even a danger for police officers. You require customized versions of respiratory protection, helmets, and other PPE, besides specialized tools and equipment. You further benefit from appropriate training and under-standing how personal protection and equipment can maximize your on-the-job efforts. Police need their own customized information about PPE.
At the very least, officers must be trained at a minimum level of awareness about chemical/ biological agents and equipped with PPE appropriate for hazards they expect to face, as well as trained in use, limitations, and maintenance of that PPE.
It makes sense to simply com-mit the time and effort toward establishing a new program which encompasses all aspects of selection, care, use, and maintenance of respiratory protection and other safety products. Otherwise, learning is happenstance and incomplete. Lack of information about PPE is much more burdensome than simply embracing the inevitable. The fact is, if you want the right protection so you can do your job, you welcome the opportunity to familiarize yourself with its benefits and use.
PPE selections must be based on hazards and risk.
The Office of Homeland Security's Responder Knowledge Base(RKB) is an on-line web site, a knowledge database focused on PPE. To emergency response purchasers and planners, the RKB provides a trusted, integrated, and on-line source of information on products, standards, certification, grants, and other related information.
The concept of operations has been to compile information on PPE equipment to answer the following questions:
• What is out there?
• Has it been tested?
• If tested, to what standards?
• What training is needed?
• How do we pay for it?
• Who can I talk to who has used it?"[Without a] second thought, you will respond to do what is necessary to rescue individuals wherever they are... .We've violated probably every precautionary measure established by NIOSH, etc., [but]... people are going to do what their instincts tell them, and that's to save lives.... think[ing] about the consequences [is] secondary." (Law enforcement panel member, NIOSH conference: Protecting Emergency Responders, Dec. 2001)
The RKB system has relied on information from manufacturers, the GSA catalog, the InterAgency Board, NIJ Selection Guide, SEL, and the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) to develop the database. The Responder Knowledge Base went on-line on October 31, 2003, and is nearing the full range of capability.
(Source: Donald 0. Hewitt, program manager, The Memorial Institute/or the Prevention of Terrorism Responder Knowledge Base)
The site can be accessed at www.rkb. mipt. org
The IACP report generated by the January 2004 meeting in New York offers some guidance in this area on pages 21-25, including the following:
Threats to human beings, with the primary focus on inhalation and dermal areas.
• Inhalation (gases, vapors, and aerosols)
• Dermal (rate of absorption increases with skin damage and warm weather)
• Ingestion (a less common route, such as hand to mouth)
• Injection (explosion and imbedded foreign bodies)
Issues for consideration in the PPE selection process:
• PPE selection must be based on hazards and risks
• Traditional EPA/OSHA Levels A, B & C do not provide minimum protective performance criteria for WMD personal protective ensembles
• The PPE selection process for local/state emergency responders must be simplified!
• The IAB Standard Equipment List (SEL) has developed a simplified process for threat identification, PPE selection and performance specification guidance for acquisition
• NIJ Guide for the Selection of PPE for Emergency Responders (Nov. 2002)
• Responder Knowledge Base web-based informational tool
Standard Equipment List (SEL) with the 2003 Revision
• Provide additional detail to enable response organizations to make better PPE selection decisions
• Identify standards recommended by the IAB
• Link standards to specific equipment items
• Establish process to list equip ment compliant with specified standards
- NIJ Guide for the Selection of PPE for Emergency Responders
- Responder Knowledge Base (DHS/ODP/MIPT)
The drive for fundamental uniformity
One major LE concern is that equipment should meet the demands of mutual aid and interoperability, so that various law enforcement agencies (and other first responders, if possible) are equipped with the same or similar PPE and tools.
Not only should all responders working in the same area be protected appropriately, no matter what their role, job, position, or organization, but their PPE, training, and communication systems should also be at least somewhat in alignment with each other, to provide optimum operability as they respond to emergency situations in their respective roles.
To this end, MSA has had various levels of involvement with law enforcement and other first responder organizations during their planning process to acquire and augment PPE for Homeland Security.Because the complexities of the selection process can be overwhelming, law enforcement can benefit by interacting with fire, emergency medical, and HazMat Services in conducting hazard assessment and risk analysis.
Learning from past emergencies
You may already be aware of guidelines and advice offered by a number of organizations with vested interests in the orderly and successful incorporation of increased levels of appropriate PPE for law enforcement.
During the response operations at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, responder agencies had trouble managing worker safety. The magnitude and breadth of such an event make following normal safety procedures nearly impossible, so interoperational preparation is essential.
"Safeguarding Emergency Responders During Major Disasters and Terrorist Attacks:
The Need for an Integrated Approach" is the title of a useful report prepared by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the RAND Corporation. They concluded that "the exceptional complexity and scale of major disasters oblige response organizations to rethink their approach to safety management. Safety should be viewed not as an individual concern ... but rather as a collective one, where safety is a multiagency function and organizations join forces to keep all responders from harm."
The NIOSH-RAND team developed recommendations you can follow to facilitate each step in the risk-management process during a major disaster:
• Building an integrated safety function into the existing structure for managing major response operations. Make safety part of the overall management of a major incident. Manage it as a multiagency effort, consistent with the National Incident Management System developed by the Department of Homeland Security.
• Using preparedness efforts to plan ways to integrate safety management. Define needed safety assets and expertise, and identify available resources in advance. Establish management processes and ways of ensuring that reinforcements will be able to "plug in" to an ongoing operation.
• Developing a cadre of highly trained "disaster safety managers" to facilitate coordination among agencies. Identify and train key individuals with a broad-based understanding of disaster situations and cross-cutting expertise in safety management to supervise multiagency safety efforts.
• Incorporating safety and health issues more realistically into joint exercises and training. Make safety training more than just a "footnote" to the operational focus of training exercises. Develop exercises that are more faithful to actual disaster conditions.• Developing a common terminology for safety issues and procedures. Establish standard terms and definitions to ensure that responders from different agencies have a common understanding of safety matters and can communicate without obstacles.
The Interagency Board (IAB) for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability was started in 1998 as "a user-working group supported by voluntary participation from various local, state, Federal government, and private organizations." It evolved from a group of emergency responders brought together to discuss a concept for National Guard RAID Teams - Civil Support Teams (CSTs).
lAB's mission is "to establish and coordinate local, state, and Federal standardization, interoperability, and responder safety to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from any incident by identifying requirements for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear or Explosives (CBRNE) incident response equipment."
The IAB Standard Equipment List (SEL) provides guidelines to emergency responders regarding acquisition of their WMD response equipment.The SEL proposes interoperability and standardization for local/state emergency responders and Federal/military organizations in the areas of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Operational Equipment (OE), Interoperable Communications and Information Systems, Detection and Decontamination.and Medical Requirements. (IACP report, pages 21-25)
According to the IACP Report, the IAB has noted certain areas that need to be given special consideration by law enforcement because of its diverse mission areas, including the following:
• Some situations involve dismounted personnel.
• There are limitations to the equipment that can be carried. Police officers store and carry most of their equipment in their patrol car trunks.
• Most state-of-the-art detection technologies and equipment are still not small, practical, and accurate.
• What impact does various PPE have on use of weapons and physical senses such as sight, hearing, and communications?
• Tradeoffs needing to be addressed include:
- Impact of PPE on LE personnel doing LE missions
- Lower levels of WMD threat protection
- Use of escape masks
- Training and awareness for different LE missions (IACP report, pages 21-25)
For the complete IAB Annual Report, see the web site: http://www.iab.gov.
Although certain government agencies may already dictate practices and procedures of various law enforcement individuals and groups, chances are that most law enforcement officers are unfamiliar with how NIOSH and OSHA influence safety and health equipment and behaviors in the average American workplace.
Besides mandatory government regulations, voluntary industry standards and independent testing labs assure you that PPE manufacturers will provide reliable protection. You should ensure that any PPE that you evaluate meets all applicable nationally recognized U.S. government and industry standards, such as NIOSH, OSHA, NFPA, ANSI, etc., and some Canadian and international standards.
Police officers follow the directives and regulations established by their own department. Today, many departments have coordinated their SOPs to respond to emergencies with other agencies. Federal agencies each have their own regulations and guidelines, which align with their core agency such as the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, etc.
Approach to the Scene
The actions of the first law enforcement officer on the scene set the stage for the remainder of the response including the safety of all responding officers. The first priority must be self-protection. The following list outlines actions that are necessary to gain initial control of the response effort:
1. Notify dispatch, request supervisor, additional units, and other necessary assistance (e.g., fire department, HazMat, bomb squad, etc.).
2. Protect self.
3. Approach from upwind.
4. Maintain distance (minimum of 200 meters up wind until further advised by the Incident Commander).
5. Wear protective equipment:
- Level C provides adequate protection for the perimeter where live victims exist.
- Full-face respirator necessary for respiratory protection.
- Chemical protective gloves.
- Chemical protective suit.
- Foot covers.
- Know the limits of the protective clothing.- Do not enter enclosed areas (i.e., buildings) or areas without live victims with Level C protection.
6.Avoid liquid contamination.
7. Decontaminate immediately if exposed to liquid contamination.
8. Officers inside of the hazard area should exit and be decontaminated as soon as possible.
(Source: Section V: Initial Response in DEA rules)
The NIOSH-RAND focus group recommended that OSHA, EPA, and other appropriate information be put into a database providing for guidance to the appropriate equipment for these reasons:
• Law enforcement job functions have changed and evolved
• Regulations should be assessed against the law enforcement mission
• Applicable national standards should be reviewed as a checks and balances system
• An analysis should be conducted to determine issues and performance gaps
• 1ACP should be the driving force with resolving these issues
Well-trained law enforcement personnel should know how to wear and use the appropriate levels of PPE, in accordance with OSHA standards. You should also be able to describe OSHA-compliant PPE, cross-referenced by type of hazard.
Regulations regarding respirator use
The proper use of respirators is mandated by OSHA. Private companies and government agencies can be fined for failing to implement and enforce a respiratory protection program. The guidelines are spelled out in government code 29 CFR 1910.134. These regulations are available on the internet or your local OSHA office.
(MSA's education bulletin 1000-61 is available to help you understand "Key Elements of a Sound Respiratory Protection Program.")
The regulations call for a written respiratory protection program, often written and disseminated by higher administrative offices of your organization, which must include the following:
• Hazard assessment
• Selection of protective equipment
• Medical evaluations
• Fit testing
• Respirator use (proper usage guidelines)
• Cleaning and maintenance
• Program evaluation
• Record keeping
OSHA mandates that respirators used by your officers be NIOSH-approved. NIOSH tests respirators and filter media to make sure they meet certain minimum guidelines. NIOSH also is responsible for current and future testing and regulations for respirators for protection from CBRN hazards. MSA has published a Primer that can help you understand the regulations currently in effect for CBRN Gas Masks and SCBA. Ask for a copy of Bulletin No. 5555-180, "CBRN Primer."
Some police departments currently use surplus respirators that don't have NIOSH approval and may not meet the modern guidelines. For instance, a department using M17 (military) respirators is not compliant with OSHA guidelines, as this equipment is not NIOSH-approved. Furthermore, users of surplus equipment are often trusting that decades-old filter media will still be effective.
How can you tell if the respirator you are considering is NIOSH-approved? Often the brochures that list the product's features and specifications will state that the units are NIOSH-approved and may list the approval numbers. All new MSA respirators meet these standards. MSA understands that the safety of your officers is Number 1. Our high standards will help you meet your protection goals.
Respirator and cartridge effectiveness
Note: These masks may not be appropriate for use in some situations. Because air-purifying respirators (APRs) like gas masks do not add oxygen to the user's breathing air, they are not effective in oxygen-deficient atmospheres. Most APRs are not effective against carbon monoxide. A situation in which there are burning materials, for instance, when an inmate has caused a cell block fire, would call for an air-supplied respirator. MSA's extensive line of SCBA units would meet these needs. We can help you in ascertaining the proper uses and limits of MSA equipment.
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