Low pressure testing for BA
All low pressure tests on BA sets are to be carried out once a week. This means career crews will only do a low pressure test once a week, the same as volunteer brigades.
Recommendation to use BA instead of APRs
To mitigate any potential supply issues with Air Purifying Respirator (APR) canisters, we recommend operational personnel should wear Breathing Apparatus (BA) to mitigate the risk of carcinogens for firefighters instead. This applies to all situations where operational personnel would normally wear an APR.
You should continue to minimise exposure to smoke as normal. Please do not order larger than normal quantities of APR canisters.
Fire investigators can continue to use APR if needed.
Our mask washing products (Asepti and Draeger Safety Wash) are effective for COVID -19 if used in the dilution rates and with the immersion times stated in the BA mask washing procedure.
Washing requirements for operational BA sets are now as follows:
- The mask shall be washed whenever the mask is placed on the wearer’s face.
- During washing, the mask shall be immersed in the wash for 10 minutes, irrespective of which washing solution is being used.
- Once dry, the mask must be placed in the mask bag and tape is to be applied across the bag where the dome is closed.
- If the mask is in the bag with the tape applied, then the low pressure test can be conducted without the need to wash it first
- Once it has been used, it must be washed, dried, placed in the bag and tape applied.
- If it is unclear whether the mask has been washed, then the mask shall be washed before the low pressure test is conducted and then washed again as per the process above.
- Firefighters are to ensure that all water is drained from the mask after rinsing and the mask should be properly stowed so that it can dry.
- The full function test, including the low pressure test, is to continue to be carried out as per the Respiratory Protection Equipment Reference Guide (login required)
The BA mask washing procedure can be found here:
Draeger Mask Wash Procedure-including APR (login required)
Asepti Mask wash procedure (login required)
Specialist Fire Investigators only
- A National Notice, (National Notice 20/2020 [PDF, 540 KB]), was issued recommending BA for operational staff.
- The current APR mask used by firefighters are Scott/Dragers, Specialist Fire Investigators use a 3M version, which meets the same requirements.
- To avoid a potential supply issue of the canisters for Scott/Dragers, full BA has been advised for firefighters.
- Firefighters and Investigators have a different risk profile, and Investigators have personal issue canisters.
Update to requirements from the National Notice
When called to an investigation if you have enough canisters to carry out the investigation, you should do so. If you don't then the investigation cannot proceed and alterative arrangements need to be made, such as asking for an investigator from another area that can respond, or contact the national team on 0508 347 3468.