Respiratory protection

Some interesting stuff coming out….

  • The Cal/OSHA-LACoFD WUI/Wildland Respiratory Protection working group has continued to meet every two weeks. They are setting the stage for a field trial in the Spring of 2023 in LA County with one or more prototype WUI/Wildland powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) that meet the criteria for Class 3 filtration under NFPA 1984 (2022).

  • The group consists of senior staff from Cal/OSHA and LACoFD, along with 3M/Scott, MSA, Draeger and TDA Research. The group is discussing the technical feasibility of a PAPR filtration ensemble that meets NFPA 1984 (2022) Class 3, but also provides protection against fine and ultrafine particles; benzene/toluene/xylene (BTX); and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

  • The group is planning for the PAPR field trial to be performed during live-fire training, where the group will evaluate firefighters’ experiences with fit, function and durability of the PAPR(s); physiological signs of heat stress and exertion; and biomarkers of smoke exposure.

  • The group reports that initial feedback from a small group of LA County firefighters on a prototype device developed by TDA Research was positive: it provided sufficient flow of fresh air, even under exertion, and offered the possibility of effectively preventing smoke inhalation and its associated symptoms and long-term health effects. TCA Research is reconfiguring its device in response to feedback.

  • As noted in a previous update, the group anticipates that a field-tested, fully functional fire service PAPR could serve as an “in-between” form of respiratory protection that could find applications in incidents outside of WUI/wildland, such as USAR operations, fire investigations, fire overhaul, and transport of patients with certain infectious diseases.