Monday, March 14, 2011

Why NFPA 1971

Not wishing to pound the boot issue into the pavement, I hope that this posting will cover the last vestiges of doubt about the NFPA process of certifying PPE, and why we have elected to subscribe to NFPA standards.

1. Because it is the only universally recognized standard in North America. No need for us to re-invent the wheel.
2. We do not wish to substitute our judgment for that of those who actually make products or test same.
3. Since its inception, NFPA 1971 has been the criteria by how the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge determines compliance.
4. Originally, we subscribed to the honor system, whereby we mistakenly believed that everyone would play by the rules.
5. As we began to drill down, we found that some few competitors where taking short cuts.
6. We do not know the intricacies of how a non-NFPA compliant boot could be assumed to be so, but we have a few clues.
7. The word “or” in our rules was misinterpreted, thereby validating that anything that can be misinterpreted, will be.
8. The intended inference was to the Globe Footwear product, which does not have steel caps or shanks; ergo, “or.”
9. This was not the best choice of a word, no doubt giving rise to the erroneous conclusion that any product with a steel cap or shank was okay.
10. The language that precedes this part of the rules takes precedent and seems to be overlooked; it is repeated here:

Turnout Gear
All competitors must compete in their own protective equipment. PPE (i.e., turnout gear - helmet, coat, pants, gloves and boots) must be serviceable (i.e., without holes, or excessive wear), approved for structural fire fighting consistent with NFPA 1971 standards in effect at the time of manufacture. Hoods, face shields and earflaps are not required.

Now, a word about helmets.
We enjoy the clever designs and modifications to your racing helmets. We realize that some of you have spent upwards of $500 in decorating your lid, and that you’re not going to be fighting fire while wearing these noggin protectors. However, the basic premise is that you start with an NFPA 1971 compliant helmet and do not remove the label. Also, the original suspension and padding materials are not to be removed.

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