Leadership

SELECTING CHEMICAL-PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Issue 9 and Volume 142.

SELECTING CHEMICAL-PROTECTIVE CLOTHING Part 2: Permeation Test FIREFIGHTERS and others involved in hazardous-materials incidents often have little information at their disposal for selecting chemicalprotective clothing. While most haz-mat teams make their best effort to choose clothing that offers adequate protection, in many cases a large degree of uncertainty exists. Lack of documented clothing chemical resistance data or its misuse may lead to wearing clothing that is potentially unsafe for many of the situations responders encounter. Moreover, many situations are uncharacterized and involve unidentified chemicals or mixtures of several chemicals that may be reacting synergistically. In the absence of reliable clothing recommendations, actual on-site testing may be the only way of ensuring appropriate clothing selection. The use of a permeation field test can help solve these selection problems. SUIT SELECTION PROBLEMS Haz-mat response teams make two selection decisions with respect to chemical-protective clothing—what to buy and when to use it. The…

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