OH&S Magazine Spotlight: Selecting Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for Industrial Plants

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When you think of major industrial fires, you think high-intensity chemical explosions, machinery blasts and other large-scale flammable events. However, most fire responses to industrial facilities are not on this scale. Although these types of situations do happen and may create spectacular visuals, it is preferable to extinguish these blazes over time and from a distance using the appropriate equipment, much the same as people see firefighters do for many residential and other commercial fire events.

In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2011 and 2015, municipal fire departments in the U.S. responded to an estimated average of 37,910 fires at industrial or manufacturing properties each year, with annual losses from these fires estimated at 16 civilian deaths, 273 civilian injures, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage.[1]

Learn more about some of the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by both industrial fire brigade personnel as well as responding municipal fire departments.

In this article, which first appeared in Occupational Health & Safety magazine, Derek Roy, global application engineering leader for 3M Personal Safety Division, talks about selecting different self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for industrial plants than what may be used for other types of firefighting situations. The article discusses:

  • How important it is to assess the industrial space and the risks it presents
  • The NFPA certification process and the specific standards
  • The different features and benefits that should be considered when selecting PPE for different industrial applications
  • Additional considerations that must be considered after your PPE combinations are chosen

We also invite you to learn more about this topic by listening to this podcast where Derek spoke with Fireman Dan. Derek talks about the OH&S article and shares his ideas on the process of choosing and purchasing equipment for industrial firefighting and his knowledge about the use of SCBA in responding to fires. This new 360 Size-Up series by Dan King is made by and for the Fire Service Industry and hosted by Fireman Dan, an accomplished Fire Chief and Emergency Manager with over 20 years of experience. It features the people, values, leadership, training and tactics keeping fire service professionals safe and managing risks along the way.

Industrial fires are complicated situations that demand having the right training and PPE. Read our article in OH&S magazine and listen to the informative podcast for help selecting appropriate SCBA equipment. For help when it comes to firefighter PPE, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our safety specialists for assistance today.

[1] “Fires in Industrial and Manufacturing Properties, National Fire Protection Association, 2018”