West Valley Firefighters

Quarterly Newsletter

1st Quarter of 2012


Policy 3301: Respiratory Equipment

Policy 3301: Respiratory Equipment



YAKIMA, WA 98908

POLICY # 3301 (Formerly 3101)


EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 1997



REFERENCE: WAC 296-305-04001 Respiratory Equipment


WAC 296-842, Respirators

WAC 296-62 Part I-1, Asbestos, Tremolite, Anthophyllite, and Actinolite.

NFPA 1981 Open-Circuit SCBA

NFPA 1989 Breathing Air Quality

YCFD 12 Safety & Accident Prevention Program


It is the policy of YAKIMA COUNTY F.P.D. #12 [YCFD12] to provide and operate at the highest possible level of Safety and Health for all members. YCFD12 recognizes that the environments faced by its' members while fighting fires or engagements in other emergency incidents may not always have atmospheres that will sustain life. With this in mind YCFD12 hereby establishes a mandatory self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) rule. This rule shall apply to all fire suppression activities where entry into smoke filled environments is necessary, where entry into unknown spaces could contain hazardous atmospheres the air will be tested if possible, if not possible the environment will be considered hostile and the mandatory SCBA rules implemented. This rule also applies where entry into a confined space is essential.


1. Facepiece- that portion of a respirator that covers the wearer's nose, mouth and chin in half-mask facepiece or that covers the nose, mouth, and eyes in a full facepiece. It is designed to make a gas-tight or particle-tight fit with the face and includes the headbands, exhalation valve(s), and connections for an air-purifying device or respirable gas source, or both.

2. Fit check- a test conducted by the wearer to determine if the respirator is properly seated to the face.

3. Hazardous atmosphere- any atmosphere, either immediately or not immediately dangerous to life or health, which is oxygen deficient or which contains a toxic or disease­ producing contaminant or any “unknown” atmosphere

4. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter- a filter which removes from the air 99.97% or more of particles having a mean particle diameter of 0.3µm.

5. Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health- any atmosphere that poses an immediate hazard to life or produces immediate irreversible debilitating effects on health.

6. Odor threshold limit- the lowest concentration of a contaminant in air that can be detected by the olfactory sense.

7. Oxygen deficiency- an atmosphere containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen by volume or has a partial pressure of 148 millimeters of mercury or less.

8. Qualitative Fit Test- a pass/fail fit test that relies on the subject's sensory response to detect the challenge agent.

9. Quantitative Fit Test- a fit test that uses an instrument to measure the challenge inside and outside the respirator.

10. Respirator- a device designed to protect the wearer from the inhalation of harmful atmospheres.


1. YCFD12 has full responsibility for the supervision and administration of the Respiratory Protection Program

1.1 The Chief or his/her designee has the authority to act on any and all matters relating to the operation and administration of the Respiratory Protection Program.

2. Each member is required to strictly adhere to this policy to the fullest extent.

3. The District, using guidelines established by a physician, shall determine whether or not a member may be assigned to a task requiring the use of a respirator. All respirator users’ medical status should be reviewed annually by the Chief or his designee.

4. Respirator program evaluation. An appraisal of the effectiveness of the respirator program shall be carried out at least annually by the District. Action shall be taken to correct defects found in the program.

5. The station officers shall be responsible for the condition and maintenance of SCBA's assigned to their station.

6. The station officers will be responsible for the replacement of air tanks, verification of monthly checks and for the proper use of SCBA by members.

7. Members shall maintain the level and proficiency of use expected by the Department.

8. Members shall be responsible for maintaining SCBA face pieces in sanitary and proper operating condition

9. Members shall guard against damage to respiratory equipment.

10. Members shall be responsible for checking their SCBA before using and shall advise their officer that the unit is OK or in need of repair.

11. The district is responsible for the purchases/procurement, assignment and repair of SCBA

12. The district shall be responsible for ensuring that an annual test is completed by each member on their knowledge of SCBA equipment operation, safety, Department policies and procedures, and facepiece seals.

13. The District is responsible for the training of all respirator users.

14. Members and their supervisor’s failure to abide by the mandatory mask rule established for their safety may result in disciplinary actions.

15. Management is responsible for

15.1 Identification of personnel or job titles which are required and authorized to wear respiratory protection equipment in the course of performing their duties.

15.2 Ensuring that members covered by this policy comply with all facets of this respiratory protection policy, including medical surveillance, fit testing, respiratory inspection and maintenance.

15.3 The overall implementation of this policy.

15.4 Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) are thoroughly inspected and documented by written record, at least once per month and after each use.

15.5 The respirator program is adhered to by members.

15.6 The respirator program is evaluated annually in order to evaluate its effectiveness.


1. Every member who is being considered for inclusion in the respiratory protection program must participate in the department's medical surveillance program.

2. Using guidelines established by the District, the district physician shall determine whether or not a member may be assigned to a task requiring the use of a respirator. Persons with physical disabilities such as, but not limited to, respiratory impairments, or claustrophobia when wearing a respirator, shall not be assigned to tasks requiring the use of respirators unless it has been determined by the District physician that they are physically able to perform the work and use the equipment. All respirator user's medical status should be reviewed annually by the district health and safety officer.


1. Equipment Limitations

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus provide respiratory protection under conditions of oxygen deficiency or in concentrations of toxic gases immediately dangerous to life or health. The period over which the device provides protection is limited by the amount of air in the apparatus. Respirators offer no protection against skin irritation or against skin absorption of materials.

1.1 Combination Self-Contained and Air-Line Respirators provide respiratory protection under conditions of oxygen deficiency or concentrations of toxic gases immediately dangerous to life or health. By means of a small air cylinder, the wearer is able to escape the dangerous atmosphere in case the primary air supply is interrupted. If used for entry into atmospheres dangerous to life or health, the air line needs to be connected on entry.

1.2 Mechanical Filter Respirators provide respiratory protection against airborne particulate matter, including dusts, mists, metal fumes, and smoke. This type of respirator offers no protection against gases, vapors, or oxygen deficiency. Half-mask respirators of this type provide no protection of the eyes.

1.3 Unusual factors can add new dimensions to a hazardous situation and should be considered where using respirators. Some airborne contaminants are extremely irritating to the skin, while others are capable of being absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream with serious, possibly fatal results. A face piece or hood respirator does not provide complete protection against such contaminants.

2. Equipment Selection

The District is responsible for the purchases/procurement, assignment and repair of SCBA.

2.1 When purchasing SCBA, the District will wherever possible and reasonable attempt to purchase additional units of the same brand, type and style of existing units. When completely replacing SCBA’s the District will wherever possible attempt to purchase units that are of the same brand, type and style of the majority of fire departments in Yakima County to allow for compatibility.

2.2 SCBA shall at a minimum meet the requirements of the 1997 edition of NFPA 1981.

2.3 Equipment purchased after the effective date of this policy must meet the 2007 edition of NFPA 1981.

2.4 Closed circuit SCBA shall:

a. Be positive pressure

b. Be NIOSH certified; and

c. Have a minimum thirty-minute service duration

3. Equipment Inspection

Any SCBA found unusable, or where there is a reported failure of an SCBA, the unit shall be removed from service, tagged and recorded as such, and tested before being returned to service.

3.1 SCBA's shall be inspected monthly or after each use. Monthly inspections shall be documented by members and filed with the Support Services Captain

4. Equipment Use

No member that has not received respiratory protection training, medical approval, and applicable fit testing in accordance with this policy shall be assigned to any duty where respiratory protection is required.

4.1 All members assigned to work in hazardous atmospheres shall be provided with approved SCBA's

4.2 Members using SCBA's shall operate in teams of two or more.

4.3 Members with facial hair that comes between the sealing periphery of the facepiece and the face or interferes with the valve function of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, or any respirator shall not be permitted to use or be assigned duties that require the use of SCBA or respirators.

4.4 Wearers of a respirator shall not be allowed to wear contact lenses if the risk of eye damage is increased by such use.

4.5 If a spectacle, goggle, or face shield must be worn with a facepiece, it shall be worn so as to not adversely affect the seal of the facepiece to the face.

4.5.1 Straps or temple bars shall not pass between the seal or surface of the respirator and the user's face.

4.6 Members shall be decontaminated prior to removal of respirators whenever fire fighting activities resulted in exposure to a hazardous substance.

4.7 When exchanging air supply bottles during suppression or overhaul activities, reasonable precautions shall be taken to maintain uncontaminated atmosphere to the breathing zone and facepiece supply hose.

4.8 Anytime members are working inside a confined space, they will be provided with SCBA or air line respirator with escape bottle, and shall use the equipment unless the safety of the atmosphere can be established by testing and continuous monitoring.

4.9 Members using a properly functioning SCBA shall not compromise the protective integrity of the SCBA by removing the facepiece for any reason in hazardous atmospheres or in atmospheres where the quality of air is unknown.

4.10 Members will only be allowed to use the make, model, and size respirator for which they have passed a fit test within the last twelve months.

4.11 SCBA's are not SCUBA gear and are not approved or safe for that use. The District’s SCBA's shall not be used in pools or other unusual circumstances without written permission of the district.

4.12 Members shall guard against damage to respiratory equipment.

4.13 Members shall be responsible for checking their SCBA before using and shall advise their officer that the unit is in service or in need of repair.

4.14 Wherever possible and practical members shall be issued individual face pieces.

4.15 SCBA face pieces and SCBA units shall be washed and rinsed after each use per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

5. Equipment Maintenance

It is the responsibility of the District to assure SCBA’s are maintained in proper working order and within the manufactures recommendations.

5.1 SCBA cylinders shall be hydrostatical tested within the periods specified by the manufacturer and the applicable governmental agencies.

5.2 The Support Services Captain shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining a maintenance schedule including documentation of all maintenance activities.

5.3 The Station Officers shall be responsible for the replacement of air tanks and verification of monthly checks.

5.4 SCBA’s shall be checked for the following during each monthly inspection:

5.4.1 Cylinder Valve closed.

5.4.2 Cylinder Pressure between 1800 and 2216.

5.4.3 Low pressure alarm bell. Follow Manufacturers instruction to verify bell sound by pressurizing the system, open the cylinder valve and close it, the alarm should ring Bleed off excess air.

5.4.4 High pressure hose. (if applicable) Check for tight fit at the tank. Check for physical damage to the hose e.g. bubbles, abrasions, splits.

5.4.5 Regulator. Shut off or main line knob in closed position. By-pass knob, closed finger tight.

5.4.6 Gauge in good condition.

5.4.7 Regulator gauge should read zero.

5.4.8 Breathing tube. Inspect for perforations, small cracks, or signs of wear. Tube should be free of moisture. Ensure gaskets are in place and not damaged.

5.4.9 Backpack harness and carrier. Shoulder and body straps fully opened and not deteriorated. Buckles and snaps in proper working order.

5.4.10 Facepiece. Lens clean and free of cracks. Visually inspect valve at facepiece. Adjustable head straps have not deteriorated Nose cups in place and free of debris

5.4.11 Note any dents, cuts or discoloration due to heat on the air cylinder

5.5 Members shall be responsible for maintaining SCBA face pieces in sanitary and proper operating condition.

5.6 Any deficiencies in respirator equipment shall be immediately tagged out of service and reported to the Support Services Captain and tested before returning it to service.

6. Training

The District is responsible for the training of all respirator users.

6.1 Members shall receive training on the respiratory equipment available for their use including the step-by-step procedures for donning the respirator and checking it for proper function. Required training shall include:

6.2 Recognizing hazards that may be encountered;

6.3 Understanding the components of the SCBA;

6.4 Understanding the safety features and limitations of the SCBA; and

6.5 Donning and doffing the SCBA.

6.2 After completing such training, each member shall practice at least quarterly, for each type and manufacture of respirator available for use, the step-by-step procedure for donning the respirator and checking it for proper function.

6.3 Members shall be tested at least annually on the knowledge of SCBA equipment operation, safety, organizational policies and procedures, and facepiece seals, to the Districts standard. Such records shall remain part of the member's training file.

6.4 Members shall be thoroughly trained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions on emergency procedures such as use of regulator bypass valve, corrective action for facepiece and breathing tube damage, and breathing directly from the regulator (where applicable).

6.5 Members shall maintain the level of proficiency and use expected by the Department for their job description.


1. Fit testing shall be conducted in accordance with this section and chapter 296-842 WAC.

2. Qualitative or quantitative fit testing is required as follows:

2.1 Each new member shall be tested before being permitted to use SCBA's in a hazardous atmosphere.

2.2 Only members with a properly fitting facepiece shall be permitted by the fire department to function in a hazardous atmosphere with SCBA.

2.3 Fit testing shall be repeated:

2.3.1 At least once every twelve months.

2.3.2 Whenever there are changes in the type of SCBA or facepiece used.

2.3.3 Whenever there are significant physical changes in the user. Example: Weight change of ten percent or more, scarring of face seal area, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or any other condition that may affect the fit of the facepiece seal.

3. Fit testing is conducted only in negative pressure mode. If the facepiece is modified for fit testing, the modification shall not affect the normal fit of the device and the modified device shall only be used for fit testing.

4. Fit test procedures and test exercises shall follow procedures detailed in the respiratory program.

5. Respirator fit test records shall include:

5.1 Applicable written guidelines for the respirator fit testing program including pass/fail criteria;

5.2 Type of respirator tested including manufacturer, model, and size;

5.3 Type of fit test and instrumentation or equipment used;

5.4 Name or identification of test operator;

5.5 Name of member tested;

5.6 Date of test; and

5.7 Results of test.

6. See appendix A for fit testing procedures


When the District makes its own breathing air or uses vendor breathing air, the District shall maintain documentation certifying breathing air quality.

1. Breathing air purchased or made from the Districts compressor shall:

1.1 Be tested at least quarterly.

1.2 Be obtained by filling a sample container from the same outlet and in the same manner as the respirator breathing air cylinders or air line respirator.

1.3 Meet either the 2003 edition of NFPA 1989 or the requirements of the 1997 edition of ANSI/CGA G6-1 with a minimum air quality of grade D.

1.4 Meet a water vapor level of 24 ppm or less.



The purpose of fit‑testing is to ensure that there is an adequate seal between the wearer's face and the respirator. Without a good face seal, airborne contaminants can enter the wearer's respiratory system and thus not provide the wearer the needed protection.

Negative Pressure Test (Fit Check)

The "fit check" is to be done by the member every time the respirator is put on to assure the respirator is adjusted and worn properly. (Note: the fit check is not the same as the fit ­tests described below.) The negative pressure test is performed by covering the whole respirator lightly with the hands and inhaling slightly. If a leak exists, the air can be felt as it enters. With SCBA, the air inlet is disconnected from the regulator and sealed with the hand as the wearer inhales. There should be an obvious lack of breathing air

Qualitative & Quantitative Fit Testing

The fit test is performed initially at the time a respirator is selected. There are two methods available for fit-testing respirators; quantitative fit testing and qualitative fit testing. When a respirator is fit tested a record of the fit test will be maintained

Prior to the test the member shall be shown how to put on the respirator, the face piece should be positioned on the face, how to set strap tension, and how to assess a "comfortable" position. A mirror shall be available to assist the employee in evaluating the fit and positioning of the respirator. This will not constitute his/her formal training on respirator use, only a review.

The test subject shall be clean shaven in the seal periphery of the respirator facepiece and shall not have facial hair styles that could interfere with respirator fit, form or function. Any individual with interfering hair styles will be refused fitting.

The medical status of all users will be determined prior to fitting.

Quantitative fit testing will be performed using a computerized testing machine to the manufacturers specification.

Assessment of comfort shall include reviewing the following points with the test subject:

- Chin properly placed - Positioning of mask on nose (if applicable)

- Strap tension

- Fit across Nose Bridge

- Room for safety glasses

- Distance from nose to chin

- Room to talk

- Tendency to slip

- Cheeks filled out

- Self-observation in mirror

- Adequate time for assessment

Before conducting the fit checks, the subject shall be told to "seat" the mask by rapidly moving the head side to side and up and down, taking a few deep breaths. The test subject is now ready for fit testing.

Test Aerosol (Qualitative Only)

The fit test may be accomplished by use of one of the test aerosols listed below by application of the most desirable method feasible.

Irritant Smoke: NO PLASTIC BAG

Exercise Regiment

The test subject shall be given complete instructions as to her/his part in the test procedures. The test subject should be able to detect the irritant smoke. The test subject shall perform the following exercises, in the order given, for each independent test.

1. Normal breathing, in the normal standing position, without talking, the subject shall breathe normally for at least one minute.

2. Deep breathing, in the normal standing position the subject shall do deep breathing for at least one minute pausing so as not to hyperventilate.

3. Turning head side to side, standing in place the subject shall slowly turn her/his head from the side, between the extreme positions to each side. The head shall be held at each extreme position for at least five seconds. Perform for at least one minute.

4. Moving head up and down, standing in place, the subject shall slowly move his/her head up and down between the extreme position straight up and the extreme position straight down. The head shall be held at each extreme position for at least five seconds. Perform for at least one minute.

5. Reading, the subject shall read out slowly and loud so as to be heard clearly by the test conductor. The test subject shall read the "rainbow passage."

When the light strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond reach, his .friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

6. Jogging in place, the test subject shall perform jog in place for at least one minute.

7. Normal breathing, same as exercise (1) on previous page.

8. If the challenge agent is detected the fit is deemed unsatisfactory, and a different size facepiece shall be tried.

The test subject may terminate the test at any time if he or she has trouble breathing or

feels ill.

After passing the fit test, the subject shall be questioned again regarding the comfort of the respirator.

Testing Frequency

Each respirator user shall receive initial fit testing prior to their initial duty assignment.

The fit testing test will be conducted annually and;

As soon as possible whenever the test subject has:

a. Weight change of 20 pounds or more;

b. Significant facial scarring in the area of the facepiece seal-

c. Significant dental changes, i.e., multiple extractions without prosthesis, or acquiring dentures-

d. Reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, or;

e. Any other condition that may interfere with facepiece sealing.





Employee Number _____________________Job Title Description ___________Firefighter_________

Employer Yakima County Fire District 12 Employer Address 10000 Zier Rd Yakima, WA 98908

Respirator Model 2020 Size: S M L Respirator Model N 95 Size: S M L

Odor Threshold Screening (ability to detect odor solution) ___Pass ____Fail

Facial Conditions that can affect fit: ___Glasses ___Dentures Absent ___Clean Shaven

___Mustache ___Facial Scar ___1 to 2 day beard growth ___2+ days beard growth ___None

Fit Checks: Negative Pressure ___Pass ___Fail ___Not done

Positive Pressure ___Pass ___Fail ___Not done

Fit testing: Subjects must pass ALL exercises. Failure in any test voids entire test.

Test Exercises



N 95



N 95


Breathe Normally

Breathe Deeply

Turn Head Side to Side

Nod Head Up and Down


Jogging in Place

Breathe Normally

Overall Test Results: ___Pass ___Fail


This fit test was performed by the undersigned on the person named above. The results indicate the performance of the listed respirator protective device under controlled conditions, as fitted on this person. This fit test, as performed, measures the ability of the respiratory protective device to provide protection to the individual tested. Neither Survivair nor the test conductor express or imply a guarantee that this or an identical respiratory device will provide adequate protection under conditions other than those present when this test was performed. Improper use, maintenance, or application of this or any other respiratory protective device will reduce or eliminate protection.

___________________________________________ __________________________________________________

Tested By Date Employee Signature Date


WAC 296-62-07109(3) requires that the respirator program administrator or their designee use guidelines established by a physician to determine whether or not a person may be assigned to a task requiring the use of a respirator. The simplest and least expensive way to accomplish this is to use a questionnaire such as the one included in this sample program. Physician follow-up evaluations will only be required for prospective wearers who denote specific medical conditions outlined on the questionnaire.

If this questionnaire is utilized, it is strongly recommended that the employer select a physician ahead of time and ensure that the physician reviews and concurs with the questionnaire and protocol in this sample respirator program. Alternatively, the physician could add to the questionnaire if he or she wanted to do so. Early selection of a physician will also expedite any follow-up evaluations on individuals should questionnaire answers necessitate this.

When using the questionnaire from the sample programs a physician evaluation of a prospective respirator wearer would be required when the worker answers 'yes" to any of questions 1 through


Any "yes" answer to questions 11 or 12 would require a trial period with the selected respirator but would not initially require a physician evaluation. The respirator program administrator or other qualified person would observe the respirator wearer during training and fit testing to determine if the wearer experiences either condition in a way that could interfere with the wearer's ability to wear a respirator. If so, then a follow-up physician evaluation would be required.

All respirator wearers should have their medical status evaluated annually using the questionnaire.

The medical questionnaire will be maintained in the wearer's respirator file.




Supplied by Valley Medi-Center