Improving the Health & Safety of all Emergency Responders

NFPA Safety Standards News

As most of you know, FDSOA is an active participant in the NFPA safety standards consensus process with representation on several technical committees.  The technical committee for Fire Service Occupational Safety and Health (FSOSH) met May 6-8, 2019 in Nashville.  Many issues affecting safety standards were discussed and are outlined here to keep you informed.

First, we are happy to announce that FDSOA Chair Eric Valliere was accepted by the NFPA Standards Council as FDSOA’s alternate to the FSOSH committee.  Eric was introduced and warmly received by the group in Nashville.  Dave Dodson remains as FDSOA’s primary voting member.

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of Nashville was the announcement that the Standards Council has decided to consolidate various documents in an effort to make them more user friendly.  To that end, standards affecting safety officers will be organized into two documents:  Standard for Emergency Responder Safety & Health (existing 1500, 1521, 1561, 1583, and 1584) -AND- Standard for Emergency Responder Occupational Health (existing 1581 and 1582 plus a new document, 1580: Contamination Control).

Here is a reminder of the topics associated with each of standard numbers:

1500:  Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program
1521:  Fire Department Safety Officer Professional Qualifications
1561:  Emergency Services IMS and Command Safety
1581:  Fire Department Infection Control Program
1580 (Proposed):  Contamination Control
1582:  Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments
1583:  Health Related Fitness Program for Fire Department Members
1584:  Rehabilitation Process for Members During Emergency Ops and Training Exercises

To accomplish this consolidation, the Council has decided to form a new technical committee to address the Standard for Emergency Responder Occupational Health.  The existing FSOSH technical committee will handle the Standard for Emergency Responder Safety & Health.  These two amalgamated documents will issue in 2024 (revision processing in 2022/2023).

The council also instructed the committee to finish their work on the separate documents under the current schedule:

1500, 1521, and 1561:  Process over Aug 29, 2019 – issue 2020

1581, 1582, 1583, and 1584:  Process just started, posting of the first draft will be Sept 5, 2019, and the revised editions will be issued in 2021.

As the current FSOSH committee works on these, the new tech committee will be formed.  They will then extract all the “contamination control” elements from each document to form the new 1580.  As soon as this done, both tech committees will work on the consolidation effort.

Most of the Nashville time was spent presenting a COMPLETE REWRITE of 1584 with a new scope and title:  Standard on Member Prehabilitation, Contamination Control, Rehabilitation, and Recovery for Emergency Operations and Training Exercises.    Back in January, a special task group met in Washington D.C. to draft up the rewrite that was presented to the full FSOSH tech committee in Nashville.  The task group was unaware of the Council’s upcoming actions concerning the document consolidations.  Regardless, the work of the task group and tech committee was exhausting – given all the stakeholders involved – but not in vein, given the trending efforts to address firefighter cancer rates.  The first draft of this 1584 revision will be posted on the NFPA website (www.nfpa.org) after September 5th, 2019 (click on Standards, then search for 1584, and then click on “next revision” to see the report on first draft).

Lastly, the FSOSH tech committee moved the second draft of the 1521 (Safety Officer) standard to the Correlating Committee on Professional Qualifications.  They will act on that in June.  The final draft will be posted for review August 1 – 29, 2019.  Assuming there are no issues, the final document will be issued early in 2020.

Part of your FDSOA membership dues are used to support expenses incurred so that the voice of the safety officer is heard during these NFPA meetings.  Your representatives volunteer their time.  Feel free to contact your representatives through FDSOA’s website and we also encourage you to submit public comments through the process and forms found on the NFPA website.

-Submitted by Dave Dodson