CSA, feds launch first standard on protective equipment for first responders

CSA, feds launch first standard on protective equipment for first responders
CSA Standards and the federal government have launched CAN/CGSB/CSA-Z1610, Canada's fist national standard on protective equipment for front-line fire, police and paramedic workers.

To help protect Canadians, it is essential that first responders right across Canada have access to the right protective equipment in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident, a CSA statement said.

"Our government understands how essential it is for those who put their lives on the line for Canadian families to have the best support and equipment possible," said Vic Toews, Canada's Public Safety Minister. "With today's announcement of new equipment standards for our first responders, we are working to ensure that firefighters, police officers, paramedics and health care workers have the highest standard of protective equipment available while working to protect Canadians in extraordinary urgent situations."

Most first responders in Canada have hazardous material or dangerous goods standards to guide them in responding to a CBRN incident. Now, for the first time, emergency services personnel will have a national protective equipment standard specific to CBRN incidents recognized across jurisdictions to guide and protect them in their vital work.

During a CBRN incident, Canadians rely on fire, police and emergency medical services to respond. The CAN/CGSB/CSA-Z1610, Protection of First Responders from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Events standard specifies requirements for the selection, use and care of personal protective equipment for first responders to a CBRN incident, including deliberate attacks/releases and contagious outbreak events.

"Canada's front-line emergency workers form the backbone of our society by answering the call of duty without question when people are in need," said Bonnie Rose, president, CSA Standards. "The work that the Canadian General Standards Board and the CSA technical committees have done in developing this voluntary national standard is a model of cooperation and one that will help lead to improved protection for our heroic first responders across jurisdictions from coast-to-coast."

"The development of a single recognized standard will ensure protection for police, fire fighters, and military and emergency medical services personnel across the country," said Terrence Davies, director of Public Works and Government Services Canada's Canadian General Standards Board.

The new national standard will have a significant impact in assisting first responder organizations in the selection, use, capabilities and limitations of CBRN personal protective equipment, enabling them to do their jobs more safely and with greater protection and functionality. The standard identifies requirements for protective CBRN equipment, such as respiratory protection and whole-body protection. It also addresses the differences between a conventional hazardous material incident and a deliberate CBRN incident in order to understand how equipment guidelines may differ.

Funding for the development of this new Canadian national standard was provided by the Government of Canada's CBRNE Research and Technology Initiative. In-kind contributions of personnel and facilities were made by Public Safety Canada and many other stakeholders representing first responders, industry, government and research, testing and education organizations, the CSA said.

The response to a CBRN incident entails shared responsibilities and contributions across various levels of government, sectors and specializations. The province or territory where a CBRN incident occurs has the main responsibility to manage its consequences. They are also responsible for working with municipalities. If needed, a province or territory can request additional assistance from the Government of Canada.

For more information, please visit Public Safety Canada's website www.publicsafety.gc.ca