Leadership

Quality of Compressed Breathing Air —How It is Maintained and Tested

Issue 2 and Volume 133.

Quality of Compressed Breathing Air —How It is Maintained and Tested features BY “Safety Equipment May Not Be So Safe,” ran a national headline last July when a government study disclosed that at least 10 percent of all self-contained breathing apparatus was in some way defective. As the fire service encounters mask problems and searches for solutions, what may be overlooked is this basic concern: the quality of the breathing air itself. How is that quality defined? How is it maintained? How can it be tested? There is a single national criterion for breathing air purity. The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) has issued “Commodity Specification for Air” No. G-7.1, 1973 edition, which lists nine different grades of breathing air in gaseous form. This was adopted in 1973 by the American National Standards Institute as ANSI Standard Z86.1. By reference, OSHA General Safety Standards (1975 and 1977) and the NFPA have…

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