How to Launder Firefighting Hoods to Help Reduce Cross Contamination

Laundering your hood after every exposure to products of combustion is important – but so is doing it in accordance with the NFPA 1851 standard and the manufacturer’s instructions.

The particulate-blocking hood is the most delicate element of your protective ensemble and should only be laundered with other hoods (and possibly the detached liners from your PPE coat and pants). Laundering your hood together with the outer shell of coats or pants outfitted with hook-and-loop fasteners, hook snaps and zippers can cause damage to the hood’s outer layer and particulate-blocking layer.

When possible, wash heavily contaminated hoods separately from those that may be less soiled to help reduce the risk for cross-contamination.

Read the full article to learn how to clean your hood by hand and by machine, as well as how to dry your hood and inspect it after drying.

MSA LUNAR: Why Connectivity – Watch the video!

MSA keeps you connected when it matters most.

Firefighting is more unpredictable than ever. Discover why when the pressure is on, connectivity matters most, and how the ability to stay connected to your team with the all new LUNAR from MSA can make the difference in a rescue mission.

Grant Tips: How To Describe Your Department and Coverage Area
When struggling to find the words, think about how you talk to fellow firefighters and focus on the basics.

All fire department grant applications are trying to elicit the same information from the applicant. The grantor wants to know:

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you located?
  • What is your project?
  • Why can’t you fund it with your own funds?
  • What will change if you are funded?
  • How will you evaluate the success of your project?

It’s pretty straightforward: They need to get a sense of the applicants’ needs so they can best allocate funds.

EXPLAINING YOUR DEPARTMENT AND COMMUNITY – TALKING VS. WRITING

If you are like me, when you see someone wearing a firefighter T-shirt, I always become curious. Many a time I have walked up to the individual and introduced myself. Then the conversation usually goes to where we are located, how many alarms we run, how many firefighters each department has and what apparatus each one has. Then we talk about the size of our coverage area and how many people we serve. We may discuss critical infrastructure in our areas and then, of course, we must discuss some of the best calls we have run.

What are we doing? Yes, we are introducing ourselves to each other, but we are also describing our department and the community we serve. We are answering one of the introductory questions on 99% of all grant applications.

Now take that same person and put him in front of a computer, with the questions about department and community appearing on a grant application, and they freeze and don’t know what to put in that space. They may type in a few lines and look at the character count and think, “Wow, I still have 3,823 characters. What am I going to write about my town and department?”

FIND THE WORDS BY FOCUSING ON THE BASICS

The best thing you can do is think about that casual encounter you have with another firefighter and what you would tell them. It is really the same thing, only the application isn’t going to talk back to you and ask you questions. You are introducing your department and your community to a group of reviewers who know nothing about you and are anxious to learn more.

Remember, your description of your community and department doesn’t have to be some great literary work. It just needs to accurately depict your situation.

Here are some questions to help you develop this narrative:

  • Where are you physically located? It is always good to give the reviewer a reference point that the reviewer might be familiar with, such as, “Our department is located 90 miles east of Omaha.”
  • How large is your coverage area?
  • What is the permanent residential population of your area? If your area attracts tourists or its population increases during business, you should also include this type of data.
  • How many firefighters do you have?
  • What apparatus do you have?
  • How many alarms do you answer?
  • Do you protect critical infrastructure?

These questions should give you an idea of the type of information that you should include in a description of your community and department. The nice thing is that because most applications ask for this information you can save it, update as new information becomes available, and use it over and over on different applications in the future.


How To: Donning and Doffing Your Hood

By now, most firefighters have become informed and educated about the importance of wearing their particulate-blocking hood to help reduce the potential for the chemicals, chemical compounds, and toxic substances present in smoke to enter the body through the interface between the hood and the SCBA facepiece when they engage in interior structural firefighting.

But how well have they turned that knowledge into meaningful action during both live firefights and live fire training sessions? When firefighters don’t don or doff their particulate-blocking hood properly, it can create an avenue for skin absorption of contaminants.

Read the full article to learn how education, training, and buddy checks in hood donning and doffing provide critical tools to help reduce the risk of exposure to fireground toxins.

What the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Means for Fire and EMS

The newly passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is aimed at supporting the ongoing health and economic recovery efforts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with funding specifically for first responders and state and local governments. Here’s what you need to know about the funding allocations included in the bill and how they may impact fire departments.

Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

This FEMA funding is aimed directly at the fire service and includes:

  • $100 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program
  • $200 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)
  • $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants

The bill states that the funding for each of these programs remains available until September 30, 2025 and does not have to be used specifically for COVID-19 related expenses. More details about this funding will be released soon.

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The bill also includes additional funding for state and local governments. This funding includes:

  • $350 billion for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, to offset revenue losses, fuel economic recovery, and to provide premium pay for essential workers
  • $10 billion in a new Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund for critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options

This means that these funds may be used to address loss of revenues in city budgets, which may positively impact budget allocations provided to first responders. This funding remains available through December 31, 2024. Local governments will receive funds in two phases – the first half 60 days after enactment, and the second half one year later.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSA has been and continues to be prepared to provide PPE, training, and resources to help keep first responders safe.

MSA lines of products appropriate for this funding include:

  • Air-Purifying Respirators: Elastomeric full and half-mask respirators have many benefits, including lower total cost of ownership, reduction in storage space, and flexibility in protection.
    • The new Advantage 290 half-mask respirator does not have an exhalation valve, so it provides protection for the wearer while also filtering the wearer’s exhaled breath – reducing the likelihood of contaminating the surround area or spreading viral particles to others.
    • The G1 facepiece is ideal for a variety of respiratory needs – including emergency and pandemic response. With both twin and single cartridge adapter options, it transforms from SCBA use to an air-purifying respirator which is compatible with a variety of respiratory cartridges, including N95 and P100 filtration.
  • Gas Detection: Includes area monitoring, multigas detectors, and web-based software to help protect against flammable and toxic gases.

Read more about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 here.

MSA + O2X Workshop at Miami Dade Fire Rescue – Watch the Video!

In December 2020, Miami Dade Fire Rescue got to experience an O2X EAT SWEAT THRIVE Workshop sponsored by MSA. Check out the video below for a recap of the workshop!

Factors that Drive Firefighter Boot Choices – What Does Research Say?

Firefighters today have a multitude of choices for footwear that conforms to NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.

Footwear must not only help protect against different fireground hazards, it must also permit firefighters to perform their jobs with optimum levels of agility and comfort.

We’ve put together a guide to help you choose structural firefighting boots that balance performance with protection. The following information is included:

  • Research findings on the effects different boot constructions have on firefighter movement and energy expenditure
  • Tips to identify needs and evaluate which boot attributes are most important to you
  • NFPA 1971 design and performance requirements for structural firefighter footwear

Download our guide below to learn more!

PPE Funding for COVID-19: What the Latest Executive Order Includes

The recently signed executive order, “Memorandum to Extend Federal Support to Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States,” includes provisions for PPE funding available from FEMA.

In Section 3 of the memorandum, “Assistance for Category B Emergency Protective Measures,” it states that FEMA shall provide the assistance that may be required by States, local governments, and Tribal governments to “provide for the safe opening and operation of eligible schools, child-care facilities, healthcare facilities, non-congregate shelters, domestic violence shelters, transit systems, and other eligible applicants.”

It goes on to announce, “This assistance may include funding for the provision of personal protective equipment and disinfecting services and supplies.”

According to this executive order, state and local governments are eligible to receive 100% reimbursement for costs associated with PPE and other supplies for COVID-19, under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. Prior to this order taking effect, states were required to cover 25% of COVID-19 related costs eligible for reimbursement.

This funding for PPE is available now until September 30, 2021.

Read more about the executive order here.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSA has been and continues to be prepared to provide the right PPE to help keep frontline workers safe, including first responders.

MSA products appropriate for this funding include:

  • G1 Facepiece with APR Adapter
    • The G1 facepiece is ideal for a variety of respiratory needs – including emergency and pandemic response. With both twin and single cartridge adapter options, the G1 facepiece transforms from SCBA use to an air purifying respirator which is compatible with a variety of respiratory cartridges, including N95 and P100 filtration.
  • Optimair® TL PAPR with G1 Facepiece
    • NIOSH-approved powered air-purifying respirator combined with the G1 Facepiece helps to protect against particulates, toxic gases and vapors, or a combination. Full and low profile hoods are also available options for the OptimAir TL PAPR. The Optimair TL PAPR is in stock and special pricing is available.
  • Advantage® 290 Half-Mask Respirator
    • First-ever NIOSH approved elastomeric respirator without an exhalation valve. In addition to providing up to P100 level protection for the wearer, the elimination of the exhalation valve allows for the wearer’s exhaled breath to be filtered and contained. This source control reduces the likelihood of contaminating the surrounding area, making the 290 ideal for sterile environments.

For more information about PPE for respiratory protection from MSA, visit https://us.msasafety.com/full-and-half-mask-respirators.

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Firefighter PPE Cleaning and Inspection Guide – Download Now!

As part of our commitment to your health and safety, we’ve put together a guide to help you understand the PPE cleaning and inspection requirements set forth in NFPA 1851, with a focus on changes to the 2020 edition. The following information is included:

  • NFPA 1851 Cleaning Overview
  • Steps to Clean: Firefighting SCBA, Structural Fire Helmets, Particulate-Protective Hoods, Firefighting Turnout Gear, Firefighting Footwear
  • NFPA 1851 Inspection Overview
  • Advanced Inspection Forms

Download our guide below to learn more.

Need New Gear? Apply Now for MSA’s 2021 Globe Gear Giveaway

MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) are teaming up for the 10th year to provide state-of-the-art personal protective equipment to better protect our volunteer firefighters who need it most.

Through MSA’s and DuPont’s 2021 Globe Gear Giveaway, 13 departments will each receive four new sets of turnout gear along with four helmets to increase firefighter safety. This decade-long program has provided over $1 million worth of life-saving gear to date.

“Protecting firefighters is what we do at MSA,” said Eleni Lucido, vice president and general manager of MSA’s business in the U.S. and Canada. “For more than a century, we’ve been committed to providing workers all around the world with the equipment they need to help keep them safe, so we’re proud to partner with DuPont and the NVFC to provide state-of-the-art turnout gear to departments in need.”

The application period is now open!

To be eligible to apply for the giveaway, departments must be over 50 percent volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be located in the U.S. or Canada, be a member of the NVFC, and demonstrate significant need for new gear. MSA provides NVFC memberships to the first 500 applicants to help departments meet the membership requirement.

Volunteer departments may learn more and apply by June 1 at www.nvfc.org/gear. Winners will be announced monthly between July and December.