Dräger: New NIOSH Testing Confirms Product Integrity

PITTSBURGH, PA – Draeger Safety, Inc., a provider of safety and protective equipment used by firefighters and other first responders, reports that a second round of product investigation by a U.S. federal agency confirms the integrity of the company’s breathing equipment, refuting suggestions of manufacturing or design flaws.  

The recent investigation of Dräger’s self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) was conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The investigation found damaged components and signs that point to improper care and maintenance present with the SCBA.

The investigation was prompted by a reported incident in June 2012 in which a DeKalb County, Georgia, firefighter was said to have been forced to jump from the second floor of a burning building because his SCBA malfunctioned. The agency’s investigation was conducted on the actual SCBA involved in the reported incident, with all inspection and testing performed on the SCBA in the “as received” condition.

The latest NIOSH product investigation report, dated September 4, 2012, comes just weeks after the earlier NIOSH review that also found indications of improper equipment care and prompted issuance of a special NIOSH Respirator User Notice dated June 29, 2012 on the care and maintenance of SCBAs.

“As we have said repeatedly over the course of these last few months, all breathing equipment offered by all manufacturers must be maintained in strict accordance with product care procedures,” said Tim Martin, Vice President Sales and Service for Draeger Safety, Inc. “Not maintaining the equipment properly can lead to serious consequences. We therefore appreciate that NIOSH has released a Respirator User Notice about ‘Care and Maintenance of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Units’ and we look forward to working with other organizations and fire service experts to increase awareness of the importance of performing correct inspection, maintenance, and service of SCBAs. As always, our mission at Dräger is to keep firefighters and other first responders safe. That is our passion and the reason all of us go to work every day.”

The latest NIOSH report (page 3, Summary and Conclusions) indicates that the inspection of the SCBA showed damage to and insufficient lubrication of an O-ring at the connection of the second stage regulator (Lung Demand Valve) to the face piece. The report further notes that the SCBA did not pass the Dräger standard for pressure testing in the “as received” condition. The SCBA did pass all NIOSH tests performed, but did not pass a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) flow test. The “Test Notes” following the test failure (Page 6, Appendix II, SCBA Component Test Results) state that examination of the face piece revealed that the exhalation valve had foreign matter and dirt present. Figures 34-38 in the report clearly show the condition of the exhalation valve. The report advised (page 4, Summary and Conclusions) that the SCBA should be cleaned and any damaged parts replaced before placing the unit back into service.
 
To read the full NIOSH report and review Dräger’s responses and documents related to earlier unfounded claims of faulty product, please visit:
www.draeger.com/setrecordstraight.

To access the NIOSH Respirator User Notice, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices/notices/notice06292012.html.

For more information on Dräger, visit www.draeger.com.

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