1 August 2015 System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) T e h N o t e c Air - Line Supplied Air Respirators Supplied air respirators (SARs) are designed to provide long-term respiratory protection. They are used when air-purifying respirators, which filter contaminants from the ambient air, cannot provide adequate protection for a sufficient duration or for the anticipated level of airborne The U.S. Department of Homeland Security contaminants. SARs must be used when unknown chemicals may be (DHS) established the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) presen t and in immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) Program to assist emergency responders environments, such as oxygen-deficient atmospheres. SARs provide clean Located within decisions. making procurement breathing air from an uncontaminated source. There are two types of the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) ce. In the to the facepie self- SARs that differ in the way air is supplied of DHS, the SAVER Program conducts objective assessments and validations on contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), the user carries an air cylinder, commercial ly available equipment and systems , and in the air-line SAR, the user is attached to the air source by a long and develops knowledge products that provide hose. Air-line SARs may limit the user’s mobility; SCBAs allow the user relevant equipme nt information to the but have a limited air supply. This TechNote focuses on air- to be mobile r community. emergency respon d e line SARs. addressed SCBAs (July 2014, September Previous TechNotes SAVER provide Program knowledge products 2014). under information on equipment that falls the categories listed in the DHS Authorized Technology and Applications Equipment List (AEL) , focusing primarily on two ency responder main questions for the emerg are positive-pressure devices that can deliver air to a Air-line SARs community: “What equipment is available?” variety of facepieces. Positive-pressure respirators maintain positive and “How does it perform?” These knowledge pressure during both inhalation and exhalation and can be operated in products are shared nationally with the either continuous flow or pressure-demand mode. In continuous-flow and responder community, providing a life - - saving asset to DHS, as well as to Federal, cost mode, a steady stream of air is sent to the facepiece at all times, preventing nders. state, and local respo leak . Because they consume even if there is a the entry of contaminants The SAVER Program is supported by a network continuous flow respirators must use an air compressor rather air rapidly, of Technical Agents who perform assessment Pressure-demand respirators use a than air cylinders as the air source. and validation activities. pressure regulator and an exhalation valve to release air to the user during This TechNote was inhalation. If a leak develops in a pressure-demand respirator, the prepared for the SAVER regulator sends a flow of clean air into the facepiece, preventing the entry the National Program by Urban Security Technology of contaminants. Loose-fitting facepieces must always be operated in Laboratory. while tight-fitting facepieces can be operated in continuous-flow mode, either mode. For more information on this and other technologies, contact the SAVER Program by facepiece can be a tight fitting full-facepiece or half-mask respirator, The e-mail or visit the SAVER website. and half- or a loose-fitting hood, helmet, or air-fed suit. Tight fitting full- - mail: [email protected] E mask facepieces are used in the chemical industry for confined space Website: www.firstresponder.gov/SAVER Reference herein to any specific commercial products, processes, or services by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, ecommendation, or favoring by the r U.S. Government. Neither the U.S. Government nor any of its employees make any warranty, expressed or implied, including but not limited to the warranties of T ight-fitting full-facepiece, loose-fitting hood, helmet, and air-fed suit merchantability and fitness for a particular Photos courtesy of OSHA purpose for any sp ecific commercial product, process, or service referenced herein.
2 entry, firefighting operations, and when hazardous inert gases, such as helium, argon, or nitrogen, which materials are present. Loose-fitting hoods are often are extensively used in industrial applications, are more comfortable and can be used with facial hair. accidentally supplied to a SAR, the results can be ® fatal. Couplings of nonbreathing air systems must be Loose-fitting hoods are usually made of Tyvek or replaced with a different, incompatible type of polypropylene-type materials and can be either coupling. disposable or reusable. They are used to protect against splashes of chemicals and dust sprays in the IDLH Applications auto, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing industries. Helmets provide protection against f SARs are used in IDLH I airborne objects and contaminants and are generally conditions, a small used for grinding, painting, sanding, and blasting emergency escape SCBA applications. Air-fed suits isolate the whole body must be worn at the waist to from the surrounding atmosphere. The suits do not protect the wearer in case the have a breathing apparatus inside the suit; instead, air-supply hose becomes breathing air is connected to the suit via an external air severed or crimped or the air- line. They are used to protect workers in chemical and compressor fails. The escape pharmaceutical manufacturing, remediation of SCBA usually contains less hazardous materials sites, against highly infectious minutes of air and than 15 biological agents, and for protection of workers from should never be used to enter radioactive particles at nuclear facilities. an IDLH environment. IDLH conditions can occur in Breathing Air Sources confined spaces such as tanks Breathing air can be obtained from an air compressor, contain chemicals or fuel, that Full f acepiece SAR - plant compressed-air supply, or a bank of air in sewers, and in enclosed with escape SCBA Any compressed air intake should be linders. cy spaces with little or no Photo courtesy of OSHA located in an area of clean, fresh air and should not be a Responding to ventilation. close to vehicle exhaust when at ground level and not terrorist attack or a hazardous materials incident would near process exhaust stacks when at roof level. also be considered an IDLH condition. Portable ambient-air pumps that deliver filtered low- Standards pressure air can be used in the absence of an air compressor. They are generally limited to air-line nistration’s The Occupational Safety and Health Admi lengths between 100 and 150 feet and provide air for a (OSHA's) respiratory protection standard, 29 CFR line, up to 300 feet, is few workers. When a long air 1910.134, covers various types of respirators, required, or the air used by the facepiece must be including SARs, and includes information on heated or cooled, a high-pressure compressor must be respirator selection for both IDLH and non-IDLH used. High-pressure compressors can be either atmospheres, fit testing and seal protection, and They require moisture gasoline fueled or electric. respirator training and use. Breathing air quality is traps, dust filters, and hydrocarbon absorbents. If oil- also addressed, namely that breathing air shall meet at lubricated compressors are used, carbon monoxide or least the requirements for Grade D breathing air -temperature alarms, or both, must be used. high described in American National Standards Institute/Compressed Gas Association Commodity Fittings for Air, G-7.1 -1989. These Specification The types of quick-connect couplers or fittings used requirements address oxygen content and limits on for hoses and connection points depend on the hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. respirator manufacturer. OBAC, Hansen, Schrader, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The and Industrial Exchange fittings are commonly used National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health inch. It is very , and ½ ⅜ and come in sizes such as ¼ also issues standards and recommendations for , important for respirator user safety that respirator air- respirator use and lists approved models. line couplings be incompatible with outlets of other gas systems to prevent inadvertent filling of air-line respirators with nonrespirable gases or oxygen. If 2
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