1. #1
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    Question NFPA 1851 2008 edition

    The 2008 edition of NFPA 1851 states that turnout gear must be replaced once it is 10 years old, this includes helmets. My question is does this apply to all current gear or only gear purchased after 2008 ? In the past anything that was compliant with an NFPA standard at time of purchase was ok to use until replaced. An example is SCBA, model being used may not meet current NFPA standard but is ok to use since it complies with the standard in effect when it was purchased.

    Our current gear is 8 years old and we are in the process of replacing but most of our helmets are 9-10 years old and now we are being told by our gear vendor that we need to replace all of our helmets (appx 75) now since they are not in compliance with 1851. Any guidance would be appreciated.

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    The short answer is that the vendor is probably trying to make a sale by telling you that.

    The longer answer........

    It is my understanding that the gear purchased prior to the new standard taking affect isn't subject to anything in that new standard. I've heard, but can't confirm something to the effect of having a 2-3 standard revision grace period for continued "compliance". So I don't know for sure if that's truly the case.

    If following NFPA standards are not specifically mandated (i.e. "law") for your department, then I'd have to believe that you technically wouldn't have to follow anything they said in the first place. However, you probably won't be able to purchase non-compliant TOG in the first place and you may have a liability exposure if not using compliant gear or using gear that is significantly "out dated" and somebody gets hurt while wearing it.

    Based on my experience, if you're seeing any sort of regular fire duty, then this "expiration date" won't be a factor because you will likely have "worn out" the gear before you reach that date and hopefully been able to get it replaced already. For the "slower" companies, you very well may not "wear out" the gear in 10 years and be able to get more life out of it, but I don't know how you'd fair legally if somebody got hurt in it.

    Something else to keep in mind is that many of the current materials used in TOG are vulnerable to more than just "damage" from fire. UV exposure from things like direct sunlight and fluorescent lights can break down the materials and even though they "look" just fine, you may have an increased risk of injury because of this unnoticed "damage".

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    It's not so much that they are not in complianc as it is they become less effective over time. The materials in the helmets as well as TOG break down over time. It's a good idea to replace them on a regular basis.

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    Default Bump - Turnout Questions

    My department is a combination department, and I am having some issues with the updated NFPA 1851 edition. We are progressive about replacing gear, however I have some people that have newer (within the last 5 years) turnouts that will last them the rest of their time with my department. I am having issues with now spending 2,000.00 plus dollars on something that will only get used to hang in a locker or sit on a bumper.

    Is anyone else having these questions??

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    I don't see why older gear would be immune to this part of the standard, since it this is a maintenance and care issue. That is dynamic, you can change how you maintain and replace gear after you buy it.


    Unless this coincides with some new chemical being used that will have broken down in 10 years, the change is probably due to experience with the gear that is out there (and them trying to boost sales).

    Think about it, if the reason for the change is legit, it is probably because they looked at gear which is out there now that is 10 years and over and saw something that wasn't good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    It's not so much that they are not in complianc as it is they become less effective over time. The materials in the helmets as well as TOG break down over time. It's a good idea to replace them on a regular basis.
    Funny thing about that rule...

    The FDNY recently appealed that ruling to the NFPA.

    Until recently our helmets were OSHA because of the bourkes...well somehow they got a modified bourke to be NFPA compliant. However that means our Helmets now fall under the NFPA umbrella.

    We had been taking our 10 year helmets and putting testing them to see if they met the NFPA requirement. Turns out while a number of them failed, most didn't. If we replaced the guts in most cases the helmet was still good for duty.

    Our suggestion was a modification to NFPA 1851. If a FD could provide data that their Helmets were still in good condition after 10 years that they would be exempted from wholesale replacement. After all many cities are cash strapped and shouldn't have to replace perfectly decent equipment.

    Well we took the data to the NFPA and appealed it to the lowest level of appeal.(can't remember the name) We lost by 1 vote.

    We then took it to the standards council level vote? (I again can't remember the specific name of the appeal process) and again lost by 1 vote.

    Guess who were some of the voters on these pannels?

    You guessed it Gear and Helmet manufactures who stood to loose $$$$$$$ from re-occuring regular replacement sales.

    The wolf is watching the Hen house!

    Again I suggest FD's and municipalities unite and demand the NFPA be brought up on RICO charges for Racketeering or perhaps antitrust law violations.

    To think that the very people who will benefit monetarily from this rule are the ones that hold sway over its application.

    FTM-PTB

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    Had instruction in 1851 last week. As I understand it 1851 applies to gear already in use. One NFPA standard where existing equipment is not "grandfathered".

    So if your gear is more than 3 years old and you have not completed a "Complete Liner Inspection" your out of compliance. This is the test where Moisture Barrier is pulled out of the liner for visual inspection and pressure test. Out of compliance with NFPA is a contract issue in at least some FD. Point that many FD have not yet figured out is that if the gear getting regular normal use the MB is likely fail before you get to 3 year test date.

    So your new gear with a 10 year life is going to go thru multiple liners during that 10yrs. To be determined is how that is going to work. Sew new liners? Dismantle liner and sew in a new MB? Material for MB is nearly as expensive as the good quality shell material. Going to get interesting. And expensive.

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    Take care of your gear.. it will take care of you.

    Her's a guidline from Total Fire Group about NFPA 1851....

    http://www.totalfiregroup.com/PDF/NF...w%208.5x11.pdf

    My FD replaces gear on a rotating cycle.. a quarter of the Department each year, so after five years, the gear is replaced. It is something that the Department has budgeted for.

    The old gear is kept as a backup.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    This is another NFPA standard that will be impossible for smaller especially rural dept to follow. My depts. annual budget is about $6,800. I have 9 firefighters, I'm not going to spend appox. 30% of my budget every year replacing one turnout, that only gets used maybe 5 times a year. We do put aside a little bit of money for replacement if one wears out. But like most depts. I'm sure, we have 4 firefighters that use their gear heavy and wear them out faster and those are the ones that get replaced first. The others are firefighters that have more support rules like pump operator etc. If the turn outs are well maintained and cared for I don't see a need to replace them after just 10 yrs for the firefighters that never go into direct fire.
    This is a bright side to this rule though. It certainly will help you prove your point in the AFG narrative. Make the NFPA work on your side when you need it to. When writing grants I LOVE NFPA when actually running my fire dept I hate it.
    Last edited by volfireman034; 06-30-2009 at 08:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    This is another NFPA standard that will be impossible for smaller especially rural dept to follow. My depts. annual budget is about $6,800. I have 9 firefighters, I'm not going to spend appox. 30% of my budget every year replacing one turnout, that only gets used maybe 5 times a year. We do put aside a little bit of money for replacement if one wears out. But like most depts. I'm sure, we have 4 firefighters that use their gear heavy and wear them out faster and those are the ones that get replaced first. The others are firefighters that have more support rules like pump operator etc. If the turn outs are well maintained and cared for I don't see a need to replace them after just 10 yrs for the firefighters that never go into direct fire.
    This is a bright side to this rule though. It certainly will help you prove your point in the AFG narrative. Make the NFPA work on your side when you need it to. When writing grants I LOVE NFPA when actually running my fire dept I hate it.
    One does not have to be in compliance with NFPA. It's a good idea as the courts use this to say what would people with the same skills and knowledge do in these cases. To beat a law suit all you have to do is produce experts that backed your decision.

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    Very true I'm just glad Arkansas hasn't become a sue happy state yet. I'm sure it's coming sooner or later.

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