NFPA's idea about extrication gloves
Received a question about gloves and the NFPA so I'd thought I'd share my reply. Any additional comments are welcome...
QUESTION: The chief of my fire department just put a directive out banning the wearing of any kind of gloves at accident scenes except for our firefighting gloves. He said it was because they were the only N.F.P.A. approved glove and was not opening himself up to any lawsuits. Are there any other compliant gloves that give you more dexterity for extrication use? Do your hands have to meet N.F.P.A. compliance at accident scenes? If you could give me any answers or point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.
REPLY: Unfortunately, your Chief is justified in requiring NFPA-compliant gloves for extrication scenes. There are several references within the NFPA standards regarding glove use during extrication and EMS activities.
NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, mentions the requirement for gloves when firefighters are working near sharp objects in paragraph 5-5.5:
The fire department shall provide gloves that meet the requirements of NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensemble for Structural Fire Fighting, during operations where sharp or rough edges are likely to be encountered during emergency medical care operations.
NFPA 1581, Standard on Fire Department Infection Control Program, states the same thing, leaving little doubt about what type of glove NFPA desires extrication personnel to wear. It even includes the word 'extrication' in the Standard.
NFPA 1581, 5-2.8
Structural fire-fighting gloves shall be worn by members in any situation where sharp or rough surfaces or a potentially high heat exposure is likely to be encountered, such as patient extrication.
Until manufacturers such as Ringers Glove can create a structural firefighting-compliant extrication glove that meets the NFPA 1971 Standard and remains flexible and good-fitting, your Chief is justified in requiring structural gloves for rescue. It's not the easiest glove to wear and the current models of extrication gloves are all much better fit, but if you are complying with the Standard, then structural is the only type of glove that complies.
Ron Moore, Batt Chief/Training Officer
McKinney(TX) Fire Department