Standard operating procedures




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NAME OF FIRE DEPARTMENT

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES
For the Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting

Table of Contents
Section 1: Administration

  1. Purpose

  2. Scope


Section 2: Program

          1. Program Parts

          2. Records

          3. Manufacturer’s Instructions

          4. Protecting the Public and Personnel from Contamination

          5. Reporting PPE Health and Safety Concerns


Section 3: Selection

          1. Committee

          2. Risk Assessment

          3. Field Evaluation

          4. Specifications


Section 4: Inspection

          1. General Information

          2. Routine Inspection

          3. Advanced Inspection and Complete Liner Inspection


Section 5: Cleaning and Decontamination

1. General Information

2. Routine Cleaning

3. Advanced Cleaning



          1. Specialized Cleaning – Decontamination


Section 6: Repair

          1. General Information

          2. Repairs for All Ensemble Elements

          3. Repairs for Protective Coats and Pants


Section 7: Storage

  1. General Information

  2. Storage – On Duty

  3. Storage – Off Duty


Table of Contents continued
Section 8: Retirement

  1. General Information

  2. Retirement Criteria

  3. Retirement and Disposition


Section 9: Special Incident Procedure

  1. General Information

  2. Custody of Ensemble and Ensemble Elements


Appendix A: Turnout Gear Repair Limit Calculator
Appendix B: Turnout Wear Test Evaluation
Appendix C: Helmet Wear Test Evaluation


Section 1: Administration

1. Purpose
The purpose of these Standard Operating Procedures is to establish a program for both structural and proximity fire fighting protective coats, pants, hoods, helmets, gloves and boots to reduce the safety and health risks associated with these items when they are poorly maintained, contaminated or damaged.
2. Scope
This document complies with NFPA 1851 Standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance
of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting,
2008 Edition.

This document describes the program parts, establishes program procedures and assigns roles and responsibilities to all uniformed members of fire department name for implementing and maintaining the program.
It is the objective of the program to provide protective ensembles that are appropriate for their intended use.
It is the objective of the program to set requirements for the proper handling, care, maintenance and retirement of protective ensembles.
Section 2: Program

1. Program Parts
The program consists of the following parts:

  • The compilation and maintenance of records

  • Protecting the public and personnel from contamination

  • The selection process related to structural (and proximity) fire fighting ensembles

  • Inspection for soiling, contamination and damage

  • Cleaning and decontamination

  • In-house and outsourced repairs

  • Storage while on duty and off duty

  • Retirement, disposition and special incident procedure


OPTION A: (Please select Option A or B and delete the other)
Fire Department Name will outsource parts of the program. Contractor Name, Address will provide (choose from the following and delete other options):

  • Advanced Inspection (reference Section 4.3)

  • Complete Liner Inspection (reference Section 4.3)

  • Cleaning and Decontamination (reference Section 5.1 through 5.4)

  • All Repairs (reference Section 6.1 through 6.3)

  • Advanced Repairs and Moisture Barrier Repairs (reference Section 6.2 through 6.3)

Contractor Name has been trained by the element manufacturer(s) to provide cleaning and inspection services and has been verified by a third-party certification organization for performing repairs. Copies of the verification documents are filed Location.


OPTION B: (Please select Option A or B and delete the other)
Fire Department Name has designated personnel who have been trained to provide in-house (choose from the following and delete other options):

  • Advanced Inspection (reference Section 4.3)

  • Complete Liner Inspection (reference Section 4.3)

  • Cleaning and Decontamination (reference Section 5.1 through 5.4)

  • Basic Repairs (Reference Section 6.1 through 6.2)

A list of trained personnel and copies of their training verification documents are filed Location.



2. Records
Records will be kept for all structural fire fighting protective clothing in use. This includes all protective coats, pants, hoods, helmets, gloves and boots permanently assigned to uniformed personnel, as well as items available for temporary replacement.
At time of issue, the Person/Dept Responsible for Issue will record on Document Name or Number or into the Name system:

  • Person to whom the element is issued

  • Date and condition when issued

  • Manufacturer and model name

  • Manufacturer’s identification number

  • Month and year of manufacture

While in use, all maintenance events will be recorded.


OPTION A: (Please select Option A or B and delete the other)

Person/Dept Contact for Contractor will record upon sending to Contractor Name on Document Name or Number or into the Name system:



  • Date(s) sent and contractor used for services

  • Reason for services

Contractor Name will be responsible for records pertaining to the services they provide. These include (choose from the following and delete other options):



  • Date(s) and findings of advanced inspections

  • Dates(s) and findings of advanced cleaning or decontamination

  • Date(s) of repair(s) and description of repair(s)


OPTION B: (Please select Option A or B and delete the other)
Trained Person(s) Responsible for Maintenance will record on Document Name or Number or into the Name system:

  • Date(s) and findings of advanced inspections

  • Dates(s) and findings of advanced cleaning or decontamination

  • Reason for advanced cleaning or decontamination

  • Date(s) of basic repair(s) and description of repair(s)

  • Date(s) of advanced and moisture barrier repair(s), contractor that performed repair(s) and description of repair

After items have reached their useful life per criteria established in this document (reference Section 8.2), the Person Responsible for Retirement will record on Document Name or Number or into the Name system:


All records will be kept for at least 12 months after the item has been retired.


3. Manufacturer’s Instructions
Manufacturer Care and Use Manuals are attached to all new NFPA 1971, 2007 Edition structural fire fighting protective clothing. When issuing new protective clothing, The Issuing Person will provide the member to whom they have been issued with the Care and Use Manual.
It is the responsibility of the uniformed member to read Manufacturer Care and Use Manuals.
Manufacturer care and maintenance instructions must be followed.
A reference copy of the Manufacturer Care and Use Manual will be available at Location.
4. Protecting the Public and Personnel from Contamination
Structural fire fighting protective clothing that has been determined to be soiled or contaminated must be removed from service, and cleaned or decontaminated.
Structural fire fighting protective clothing must not be worn or stored in fire department living quarters.
Structural fire fighting protective clothing must not be taken home, washed at home or washed in public laundries.
The public must not be exposed to potentially soiled or contaminated structural fire fighting protective clothing except during emergency operations.
5. Reporting Personal Protective Clothing Health and Safety Concerns

Officer in Charge should fill out Document Name or Number when a member notifies him/her of a protective clothing health and safety concern and send to Person responsible for Health and Safety.


Person responsible for Health and Safety must report in writing all known or suspected element failures to the manufacturer and the certification organization.

Section 3: Selection

1. Committee
A personal protective clothing committee will be established to administer the process of selecting ensemble and ensemble elements.
The committee will consist of members who are interested in and have knowledge of personal protective clothing and applicable NFPA standards.
The committee will consist of enough members to accomplish the required tasks.
The committee leader will be the Fire Department Name Title.
2. Risk Assessment
Before starting the selection process, the committee will perform a risk assessment. The committee will determine the best method for sourcing, compiling and evaluating the information. The risk assessment must include as a minimum:

  • Types of duties performed

  • How often personal protective clothing is used

  • Operational strategy and tactics

  • Geographical location and climate

  • Emergency hazards likely to be encountered

  • Fire Department Name product experiences

The risk assessment must be documented for later reference and/or review.


3. Field Evaluation
After evaluation of the risk assessment, the committee will contact manufacturers for participation in a field evaluation. The committee will inform manufacturers of the performance requirements and any preferences in design or fabric composition.
Test participants will be selected based on:

  • Willingness to participate

  • Objectivity

  • Level of operational activity

  • Position within the department

  • Age and gender

Participants will test each model of each manufacturer under consideration.


An evaluation form must be used to rate characteristics considered important by the committee. The participants will fill out the forms at least twice during the test and once upon completion (see page 34 Appendix B: Turnout Wear Test Evaluation).
The committee will establish the duration of the field evaluation.
The committee will address any fit issues before the test begins.
Upon conclusion, the committee will analyze the results.
4. Specifications
The purchase specifications will indicate the committee’s choices for the following required NFPA 1971 ensemble element components:


  1. Garments

a)Outer shell material: fabric, weight, color

b)Thermal liner material

c)Moisture barrier material: substrate, film or coating

d)Trim: configuration, material, color

e)Closure system

f)Wristlets: material, design




  1. Hoods

g)Material

h)Face opening design




  1. Gloves

i)Composite materials

j)Wristlet or gauntlet

k)Wristlet material


  1. Helmets

l)Material

m)Color


n)Retention system

o)Trim color and configuration

p)Ear cover material and dimension

q)Eye protection




  1. Boots

r)Composite materials
The specifications can also include other performance requirements or features such as:

  • Design or style requirements

  • Customizations such as pockets, areas of enhanced insulation, lumbar support systems, etc.

  • Weight reduction

  • Interface requirements and coat hem rise

  • Custom size requirements

  • Other requirements deemed important by the committee

Other items that can be included in the specification include manufacturer requirements such as warranty, references, etc. or service requirements such as cleaning and repair.



Section 4: Inspection

1. General Information
The purpose of inspection is to determine whether personal protective clothing has soiling, contamination or damage that makes it unsafe for use or could eventually result in making it unsafe for use.
When appropriate, universal precautions must be used.
If personal protective clothing is found to be soiled or contaminated, it must be cleaned or decontaminated before further inspection. Guidelines for determining whether ensemble elements should be cleaned are in Section 5.4.
2. Routine Inspection
Routine inspection is the responsibility of each member of the Fire Department Name who has been issued personal protective clothing.
Routine inspection must be performed after each use and after each exposure to an event that could result in damage.
Performing a brief inspection before the start of each duty day is encouraged.
Protective coats and pants should be inspected for the following:

  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Damaged or missing hardware and closures

  • Thermal damage

  • Damaged or missing trim

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

  • Correct assembly of shell, liner and Drag Rescue Device (DRD)

DRDs should be inspected for the following:



  • Installation in coat

  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Cuts, tears, punctures, cracking or splitting

  • Thermal damage

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

Hoods should be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Thermal damage

  • Stretching or elongation of the face opening

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

Helmets should be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage to the shell

  • Cracks, crazing, dents and abrasion

  • Thermal damage

  • Physical damage to the earflaps

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Thermal damage

  • Damaged or missing components of the suspension and retention systems

  • Damage or missing components of the faceshield or goggles

  • Damaged or missing reflective trim

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

Gloves should be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Thermal damage

  • Inverted liner

  • Shrinkage

  • Loss of flexibility and/or loss of elasticity of the wristlet

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

Boots should be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Loss of water resistance

  • Closure damage or not functioning

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

Additionally, interface components should be inspected to ensure that they continue to provide proper interface.


Members who suspect that a problem exists should inform the Officer in Charge. The Officer in Charge should fill out Document Name or Number and send to Safety Officer or Dept to request an advanced inspection.
3. Advanced Inspection and Complete Liner Inspection
Advanced inspections will be conducted at a minimum of every 12 months, or whenever routine inspections indicate that a problem exists. A complete liner inspection will be performed along with the advanced inspection on all structural fire fighting coats and pants that have been in service for three years or more.
OPTION A: (Please select Option A or B and delete the other)
Fire Department Name has designated personnel who have been trained to provide advanced inspection. Annual advanced inspection will be coordinated by the Safety Officer or Dept. Each member of the Fire Department Name who has been issued personal protective clothing will be notified on Document Name or Number of the date, time and location of the advanced inspection. All members must submit all personal protective clothing issued to them for inspection. Members who cannot submit their issue of personal protective clothing at the noted date, time and location must notify the Safety Officer or Dept in advance and request rescheduling.
Trained Person(s) Responsible for Maintenance will record on Document Name or Number or into the Name system:

  • Date(s) and findings of advanced inspections

  • Dates(s) and findings of advanced cleaning or decontamination

  • Reason for advanced cleaning or decontamination

  • Date(s) of basic repair(s) and description of repair(s)

  • Date(s) of advanced and moisture barrier repair(s), contractor that performed repair(s) and description of repair

Protective coats and pants must be inspected for the following:

  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Damaged or missing hardware

  • Thermal damage

  • Loss of moisture barrier integrity

  • Rips, tears, cuts or abrasions

  • Discoloration

  • Thermal damage

  • Evaluation of system fit and coat/pants overlap

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

  • Loss of material integrity

  • Discoloration

  • Change in texture

  • Material strength

  • Loss or shifting of liner material

  • Loss of wristlet integrity

  • Loss of elasticity

  • Stretching

  • Runs, cuts or burn holes

  • Damaged or missing trim

  • Label legibility and attachment

  • Hook and loop functionality

  • Liner attachment systems

  • Closure system functionality

  • Accessories for compliance

  • Correct assembly of shell, liner and Drag Rescue Device (DRD)

Protective coats and pants must have the following additional evaluations:



  • Light evaluation of liners (all garments)

  • Leakage evaluation (garments in service less than three years)

Protective coats and pants in service three years or more must have a complete liner inspection that requires separating the moisture barrier from the thermal liner and inspecting for:



  • Physical damage to all layers (all sides)

  • Rips, tears, cuts and abrasions

  • Thermal damage

  • Seams becoming un-sewn, missing or broken stitches and missing or loose seam tape

  • Material physical integrity

  • UV or chemical damage

  • Changes in material texture

  • Loss of material strength

  • Loss or shifting of liner material

  • Delaminating of film from substrate, flaking or powdering

  • Label legibility

  • Water barrier penetration evaluation (hydrostatic testing)

DRDs must be inspected for the following:



  • Installation in coat

  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Cuts, tears, punctures, cracking or splitting

  • Thermal damage

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

Hoods must be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Thermal damage

  • Shrinkage

  • Loss of material elasticity or stretching out of shape

  • Stretching or elongation of the face opening

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

  • Label legibility

Helmets must be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage to the shell

  • Cracks, crazing, dents and abrasion

  • Thermal damage

  • Physical damage to the earflaps

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Thermal damage

  • Damaged or missing components of the suspension and retention systems

  • Functionality of the suspension and retention systems

  • Damage or missing components of the faceshield or goggles

  • Functionality of the faceshield or goggles

  • Damage to the impact cap

  • Damaged or missing reflective trim

  • Accessories for compliance

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

  • Label legibility

Gloves must be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Rips, tears and cuts

  • Thermal damage

  • Inverted liner

  • Shrinkage

  • Loss of flexibility and/or loss of elasticity of the wristlet

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

  • Label legibility

Boots must be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Cuts, tears and punctures

  • Thermal damage

  • Exposed or deformed steel toe, steel midsole or shank

  • Loss of water resistance

  • Closure damage or not functioning

  • Excessive tread wear

  • Condition of lining

  • Tears

  • Excessive wear

  • Separation from outer layer

  • Heel counter failure

  • Accessories for compliance

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

  • Label legibility

Interface components must be inspected for the following:



  • Soiling

  • Contamination

  • Physical damage

  • Loss or reduction in properties that allow component to be effective as an interface

  • Seams becoming un-sewn and missing or broken stitches

  • Label legibility

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