Fit to Breathe
On January 31 and February 1 and 10, 2007, every member of the
Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department performed their annual respirator
fit test. Firefighters authorized to enter smoke-filled structures
using “air tanks” test the seal of their mask annually.
The Department used a PertaCount machine that connected two
hoses to the mask -- one to measure the air particles in the
room and the other to measure the air particles inside the mask
-- with the difference measured.
During this eight to nine minute test, the firefighter performs
a series of simple exercises such as smile & frown a couple
of times, breathe heavily, turn head side to side slowly, turn
head up and down slowly, read out loud, etc. The test does not
require any exertion.
A confidential, comprehensive, written OSHA mandatory respirator
medical evaluation questionnaire is also completed at this time.
At the conclusion of the test, a print-out is made and attached
to the questionnaire.
If a firefighter fails this test, the firefighter is not allowed
to go into a smoke-filled building using that respirator. A
new respirator may be required and the test may be retaken.
The test conducted at the HHFD was performed by Examinetics,
the OSHA sub-contractor. Bill Beckmann was the test operator.
The cost of the test is paid for by the Borough.
This OSHA-mandated standard test is performed annually by every
firefighter in the United States. ###
Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department
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