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.

How the MSA Cairns® XF1 Helps to Support Firefighters’ Health and Safety

Firefighters who have switched to the new, innovative MSA Cairns® XF1 Fire Helmet have shared positive feedback about their experience with its benefits in helping to promote their health and safety agenda. Among the benefits they cite are comfort, balance, integrated accessories, and both protection on the fireground and rescue operations.

Personalized Fit

The MSA Cairns XF1 Fire Helmet’s three-position ratchet adjustment enables an individualized/customizable fit. Robust, yellow components designate helmet interaction points. The front headband angle adjusts to help provide an accurate fit when wearing a hood or a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) facepiece. The pivoting, three-point chinstrap automatically aligns to the appropriate wearing angle whether the helmet is worn with or without a facepiece.

Assistant Chief Sean Johnson of the Stoney Point Fire Department in Fayetteville, North Carolina, one of the first departments in the United States to switch the entire department to the Cairns XF1, reports, “I can’t believe how well-balanced it is.”

Accessory Options

The integrated secondary eye visor, the lighting system, and the communication system decrease the risk of snag hazards. All systems are integrated seamlessly into the design, retaining the helmet’s sleek profile. “The shield for extrication…that’s actually very beneficial. And it just feels like it fits on the helmet better versus with the old traditional…that one [the shield] actually feels like it’s more secure with the MSA masks that we have,” P. Nuttle, Stoney Point Firefighter.

Eye Visor. It is compliant with ANSI/ISEA Z87.1:2015 as an impact protector – comparable to the safety eyewear typically worn by firefighters for nonstructural fire responses such as motor vehicle accidents. The patented pivot adjustment system allows the visor to articulate to and away from the face, facilitating gap-free protection, even when wearing corrective lenses. It provides a wide field of view in all directions. Addition of the ocular visor does not affect compliance with NFPA 1971 or NFPA 1951.

Light Assembly. This compact light accessory is housed inside the helmet, reducing its exposure to heat, flames, and impact. The strategic placement of LED lights on either side of the helmet improves visibility in dark conditions without detracting from others’ vision.

Communication Kit. The integrated communication kit stays out of the way when not in use. The flexible, noise-canceling Electret boom microphone stows away and can easily be deployed for on-scene communications. It extends to a length of more than 3 in. (76 mm), and it can be used with or without an SCBA facepiece. Moreover, you can operate the large push-to-talk module while wearing fire- or rescue-style gloves.

The internally mounted headset snaps easily inside the helmet, providing incoming communication directly to the ear. It can be installed without tools and does not affect the helmet’s fit on the head or affect compliance with NFPA 1971 and NFPA 1951.

There is an option for one or two integrated speakers. The fire-retardant cable downlead offers a NEXUS (7.1 mm jack, four-pole) connecting plug. The headset, which is ATEX (Zone 1, IP56) rated, adds a minimal weight of 3.5 oz. (99 g) for one speaker or 4.4 oz. (124 g) for two speakers.

Facilitates Cleaning to Help Protect Health

The construction of the helmet helps protect against toxic substances on the fireground. The soft goods components are removable, washable, and replaceable. They can be quickly disassembled, without tools, for care and maintenance in accordance with NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, facilitating compliance with cancer-prevention strategies and cancer awareness programs such as that of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). The soft goods, including the chinstraps, when washed according to instructions provided, withstood 52 wash cycles in the wash cycle testing conducted at MSA.*

Customized Look

There is more: In addition to these health and safety benefits, the XF1 offers options that enable you to customize your department’s identity. It is available in four colors – black, white, yellow, and red – and two finishes – matte and glossy. You can choose front plates from among nine colors and in black preprinted or custom-printed options, including those for ranks from firefighter all the way to Fire Chief. Customized front plates are also available to add the fire department logo or other graphics to create a truly unique fire helmet.

Learn more about the MSA Cairns® XF1 and hear more from Stoney Point Fire Department at https://us.msasafety.com/xf1firehelmets.


*When washed according to instructions provided.

Behind the Scenes of Product Development: The New Globe Guard™ Hood

In the past decade, there has been a steep increase in what the fire service has learned about two significant risks firefighters face during interior structural firefighting operations:

  • Exposure to airborne particulates present in the smoke of today’s structure fires.
  • Heat stress arising from the physical exertion of firefighting while wearing structural firefighting PPE and SCBA, which can lead to a sudden cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke.

In designing the new Globe Guard™ Hood, MSA teamed up with another industry leader in the firefighter PPE world, DuPont Personal Protection, to address those two issues.

Read the full article to learn more about the particulate-protective fiber technology inside the Globe Guard Hood, as well as advanced features of the new hood.

Final Winners Announced in MSA’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway

The final recipients have been announced in MSA’s and DuPont’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) team up each year to help volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed gear. With this final round of awards, 121 departments in need have received a total of 559 sets of turnout gear since 2012 to better equip their members for response. The first 500 applicants in this year’s giveaway also received a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA.

In November and December, awards were made to the following departments:

  • Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department (DCVFD) protects 25 square miles of rural northern California, serving around 1,000 residents and responding to an average of 165 calls annually. Despite their small size, DCVFD plays a vital role in their community, especially during wildfire season. Additionally, DCVFD responds to a high number of medical calls, vehicle crashes, and high- and low-angle rescues, and are often the first and sometimes only resource available. They also provide mutual aid to neighboring departments who likewise have limited resources. DCVFD’s seven active firefighters share five sets of turnout gear, three of which are more than 10 years old. Because they are funded entirely by donations from their community, they are unable to replace their aging gear or purchase additional needed PPE such as helmets. Additionally, the lack of PPE makes recruiting new volunteers a challenge, and probationary members are issued well-used turnout gear that is often ill-fitting and compromised by age and use.

 

  • Cooper Landing Emergency Services (CLES) protects a 70-square-mile expanse of Alaska’s rural Kenai Peninsula. The community’s population swells from 350 to nearly 1,000 during the summer months due to tourism and seasonal residents. CLES responds to an average of 120 calls annually, including on two of the busiest roads in the state, as well as provides mutual aid to neighboring departments. All of CLES’ turnout gear are over 10 years old and were donated by other departments. Because they rely solely on fundraisers, donations, grants, and ambulance patient billings, their budget is limited. CLES recently had to purchase new apparatus, meaning that their ability to afford new gear is significantly diminished.

 

  • White River Fire Department (WRFD) protects approximately 37 square miles of rural central Ontario in addition to providing vehicle rescue services to 118 miles of the Trans-Canada Highway, the main east-west route across Canada. Serving around 1,000 residents in their municipality and a neighboring First Nations community, WRFD’s 24 volunteers respond to an average of 30 calls annually. The town of White River has seen its fair share of difficulties over the past few decades. A mill that served as the main employer closed 15 years ago, forcing some longstanding volunteers to move to find work. Although the mill has since reopened, WRFD now faces the challenge of recruiting and training new members. Due to financial constraints, the department is unable to purchase new gear, and all of their helmets along with 22 sets of turnout gear are over 10 years old. Their fire hall and apparatus are also aging, additional challenges WRFD will have to contend with in the coming years.

 

  • New Baltimore Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, also known as Company 10, is a 35-member volunteer department in Warrenton, Fauquier County, VA. They serve a primary response area of 31 square miles, averaging over 1,000 calls per year. In addition, Company 10 responds to county-wide fire and medical emergencies as well as provides mutual aid to neighboring Prince William County when needed. As one of the busiest stations in Fauquier County, Company 10 is working towards providing two sets of gear for all of their members so that each set can be cleaned per NFPA requirements without leaving responders unprotected. However, their budget is limited with an annual allotment from the county going towards all administrative and operational costs, including equipment procurement. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department also expects a lower than usual volume of community donations. The donation of new turnout gear and helmets will go a long way in helping Company 10 with its goal to sufficiently equip and protect its volunteers.

 

  • Central Hardin Fire Department (CHFD) in Elizabethtown serves a population of approximately 10,000 over 78 square miles of north-central Kentucky. Responding to an average of 460 calls annually, this number has been increasing every year, as have the number of volunteers, even as funding levels have not kept up. The department relies on voluntary subscriptions from the community they serve for income, so funding is not guaranteed. Although they receive some funding through the state and county, it is not enough to cover all costs. Due to these financial constraints, CHFD is unable to purchase new turnout gear to replace the sets that are no longer NFPA compliant as well as equip their newest members. This limits the department’s ability to protect life and property and puts the safety of members at risk.

Visit the National Volunteer Fire Council site to learn more.

 

These awards conclude the 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. The 2021 application period will be announced in February.

FY 2020 AFG Application Period Opens January 4: What You Need to Know

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program FY 2020 is opening on Monday, January 4, and will close on Friday, February 12. If you’re submitting a grant for PPE, here’s what you need to know:

General Information

  • Available funding will be $319,500,000 with a projected 2,000 of grants awarded. This is consistent with previous funding levels.
  • Funding limits will remain consistent with the previous year for recipients serving a population of 1 million people or less; funding limits will increase for recipients serving a population of more than 1 million people:
  • FEMA’s new online application portal, FEMO GO (Grants Outcomes), is the platform for submitting, approving, and managing FEMA grants. https://go.fema.gov

High Priority Items for FY 2020 Tied to Safety Equipment

  • Under Basic Equipment priorities:
    • NFPA 1801-Compliant Thermal Imaging Cameras
    • Personal Accountability Systems
  • Under SCBA priorities:
    • Replace unusable or unrepairable equipment to current standard, NFPA 1981, 2002 Edition or prior. (These SCBA(s) are out-of-service and not being used by emergency responders).
    • Increase supply for new hires and/or existing firefighters that do not have one set of SCBA for allocated seated positions.
    • Funding every operational member with their own individual face piece.
  • Respiratory list:
    • Air-Line Unit
    • Face Pieces
    • Respirators
    • SCBA Spare Cylinders
    • SCBA (SCBA Unit includes: Harness/Backpack, Face Piece, and 2 cylinders)
  • Under PPE priorities:
    • Replace unusable/unrepairable PPE to meet current standard
    • Increase supply for new hires and/or existing firefighters that do not have one set of turnout gear (PPE) or allocated seated positions (SCBA)
  • Structural/Proximity PPE list:
    • Boots
    • Coats
    • Complete Set of Turnout Gear
    • Helmets
    • Hoods
    • Pants
    • Suspenders

Need Help with Grants for SCBA or Turnout Gear?

MSA sponsors free grant consultation through FireGrantsHelp.com:

The FireGrantsHelp staff of grant consultants offers invaluable assistance, whether you’re just starting your project and aren’t sure where to begin or you need to add the final touches to an application.

What is the MSA Connected Firefighter Platform?

Firefighting is more uncertain today than ever before.

To be prepared for a day that is more unpredictable than ever, firefighters need advanced tools that can help connect those who are on- and off-scene – to support the safety of the entire team with accountability, technology, and data-driven insights.

The MSA Connected Firefighter (CFF) Platform, driven by LUNAR, provides that solution.

The Connected Firefighter Platform

Connected Firefighter is a platform of products that keeps the team connected on- and off-scene as well as on and off air. Together, the products create visibility, increase efficiency, promote situational awareness, and enable accountability, all while creating a network of safety.

What Products Make Up the CFF Platform?

The key components are:

LUNAR – At the heart of the CFF Platform is LUNAR, a wireless, handheld search and rescue device that includes firefighter-to-firefighter ranging, edge detection enhanced thermal imaging, and cloud connectivity. Designed for every firefighter on-scene, LUNAR connects individuals regardless of whether they are wearing an SCBA.

FireGrid – FireGrid is comprised of a web-based cloud platform, FireGrid Monitor tablet application and FireGrid Configure mobile application:

  • The cloud-based platform is accessible from anywhere and supports remote monitoring, maintenance, and inventory management. It provides an additional layer of firefighter safety by increasing a department’s capability for managing products, people and processes. On-scene information is aggregated from products and is stored for data reporting on devices and incidents.
  • FireGrid Monitor is the on-scene monitoring application which provides Local Incident Command with real-time information on firefighter status for confident decision making.
  • FireGrid Configure is the mobile application supporting configuration, firmware updates, personalization and the transmission of data logs.

HUB – The MSA HUB is the wireless gateway to the cloud for telemetry-enabled MSA SCBA. It enables active monitoring of air management information both on-scene for local monitoring and remotely from anywhere in the world. MSA HUB can be used as a local system by using its own hotspot for connectivity or by connecting to an existing internet connection. The wireless capability enhances mobility and introduces the use of FireGrid Monitor to allow Local Incident Command the option to not be tethered to their command vehicle and to be closer to the action.

Additional products that are also considered part of CFF are:

G1 SCBA – For those wearing MSA G1 SCBA, embedded Bluetooth technology connects to LUNAR, showing data such as estimated air pressure, time remaining, and battery life all on-screen for a complete safety point-of-view.

ALTAIR® 4XR/5X – Both the ALTAIR 4XR and ALTAir 5X portable multigas detectors from MSA have embedded Bluetooth technology to connect to LUNAR and the MSA G1.

Learn more about the Connected Firefighter Platform, driven by LUNAR here.


The MSA Cairns® XF1 Jet-Style Fire Helmet Enhances Firefighters’ Operational Preparedness Level
“I tried to hate this helmet; but, after wearing it for a few times and for a few burns, I’m a fan. I truly am.” - Andrew Tomer, Division Chief, Allegheny County (PA) Emergency Services

The new, innovative MSA Cairns® XF1 Jet-Style Fire Helmet makes it possible for firefighters to transition from structural fire operations to rescue operations instantly when changing fireground conditions warrant. The helmet is certified to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1971 (current edition), Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, and NFPA 1951 (current edition), Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents.

The Cairns XF1 design is based on the input and expertise of firefighters who have worn the jet-style fire helmet during the research and design stages and in subsequent field tests relative to the needs of the North American firefighter. It can withstand the rigors of structural firefighting as well as meet the unique demands of rescue operations – AND, it does not require a change of helmet when you must switch from structural to rescue operations tasks.

“I tried to hate this helmet; but, after wearing it for a few times and for a few burns, I’m a fan. I truly am,” exclaimed Division Chief Andrew Tomer, Allegheny County (PA) Emergency Services. Tomer explained that he, like others in the fire service, are not always fans of change but his attitude changed after engaging in operations with the new helmet and experiencing its comfort.

Assistant Chief Sean Johnson of the Stoney Point Fire Department, Fayetteville, North Carolina, one of the first departments in the United States to switch the entire department to the Cairns XF1, noted that department members more efficiently maneuvered through entanglements encountered in their operations with the XF1 helmet than with traditional helmets.

These innovative features of the XF1 provide an engineered “safety-first” approach to rescue operations:

  • A lightweight shell molded from high-heat-resistant thermoplastic that protects against typical hazards encountered on the fire scene.
  • Its jet-style design does not have a brim, which makes it easier to crawl into tight spaces and for the helmet to remain in place.
  • The sleek design and variety of integrated accessories helps to maximize available headroom and minimize snag hazards.
  • The shell, face shield, and earlaps provide coverage from impacts, projections, heat, and flames.
  • The increased head mobility afforded by the new design expands your field of view, especially in the upward direction.
  • A three-position ratchet adjustment enables an individualized/customizable fit.

Learn more about the MSA Cairns® XF1 and hear more from Division Chief Tomer and Assistant Chief Johnson on the MSA Cairns XF1 site.

LUNAR and G1 SCBA: How Compatibility Across Gear Enhances Safety

Innovation in the fire service has brought significant developments to the technology behind personal protective equipment and other devices. With these technological advancements comes the ability for the various pieces of a firefighter’s gear to become increasingly connected and work together, all in an effort to help keep that individual safe on the fireground.

LUNAR from MSA is the latest example of how new tools and devices can be integrated into a firefighter’s other equipment, including the MSA G1 SCBA. LUNAR is a wireless, handheld search and rescue device that includes firefighter-to-firefighter ranging, edge detection enhanced thermal imaging, and cloud connectivity to FireGrid. The G1 SCBA was designed as a technology system that equips firefighters with the revolutionary safety capabilities of today with the ability to be seamlessly updated as technology changes in the future. As part of that evolution, the G1 SCBA connects to LUNAR through embedded Bluetooth technology. This connection provides a continuous stream of information, with LUNAR able to show data such as estimated air pressure, time remaining and battery life all on-screen for a complete safety point-of-view.

Both LUNAR and the G1 SCBA are part of the MSA Connected Firefighter Platform of products that work together to help keep the team connected on- and off-scene to create a network of safety.

When used with the G1 SCBA, LUNAR can:

  • Send real-time information to Local Incident Command and Remote Monitoring enabling visibility of people and incidents for confident decision making
  • Keep individuals connected to the entire crew on- and off-site and on and off air
  • Connect to FireGrid Monitor to provide complete real-time, on-scene visibility including:
    • Estimated time and pressure remaining on SCBA
    • Which individual is in distress and who is searching for that individual
    • Whether an individual is in motion, manual or hardware alarm
    • The duration of an incident

LUNAR marks a key advancement in supporting firefighter safety, providing firefighter-to-firefighter ranging, connectivity, and thermal imaging to every individual on the fireground. Its search and rescue technology provides instant notification that an incident has occurred and that a team member is in need of rescue – this form of alert is independent of IC and other communication devices, such as radios.

By making LUNAR compatible with the G1 SCBA but not integrated with it, LUNAR still allows for accountability across all individuals on the fireground, whether on or off air, and provides personal thermal imaging for greater situational awareness. This expands the use of LUNAR beyond structural fires to other emergency incidents and types of fire service response.

Learn more about LUNAR and the MSA Connected Firefighter Platform here.