NFPA to Consolidate Emergency Responder Standards

Source: Sanchai Rattakunchorn - 123RF

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council has approved a plan to consolidate the information currently contained in 114 NFPA Emergency Response and Responder Safety (ERRS) standards, guides, and recommended practices into 38 overarching standards.

The move will not only provide emergency responders with easier access to well-rounded safety information but also improve the standards development experience for more than 2,000 principle and alternative NFPA Technical Committee Members.

The five-year NFPA ERRS standards consolidation project will begin in January 2020, with 20-25 standards being combined annually, in their proper cycle. Related standards will be merged into all-inclusive standards with existing documents becoming separate chapters.

In recent years, responders and the Technical Committee members that volunteer to develop NFPA standards via a balanced consensus process, have expressed concerns about the following:

  • Conflicts within emergency services standards;
  • A lack of knowledge about what different Technical Committees are working on; and
  • The inability to have representation on some committees due to the sheer number of standards.

Combining applicable information into one-third of the existing standards will allow responders to access comprehensive PPE manufacturing guidance; selection, care and maintenance tips; professional qualifications benchmarks, and other critical information so that they can do their jobs more effectively.

NFPA’s Vice President and Chief Engineer Chris Dubay said, “Over the last century, NFPA has produced more than 100 codes and standards for the benefit of the responder community. As new threats and hazards presented, our Standards Committees came together to address different challenges and opportunities.”

Dubay added, “Now is the time to take that wealth of knowledge and combine it in a way that is relevant and accessible for responders today. This undertaking blends the critical information that responders need to know to keep safe and delivers it in a format that is more complete and convenient.”

A new revision cycle specifically for ERRS standards has been established. Both the First and Second Draft Meetings of the standards process, as well as any necessary Correlating Committee meetings, will now occur during the same year – with one meeting taking place in January and another in November.

If additional meetings, such as pre-draft sessions are required, they will occur on an as-needed basis. 

The consolidation announcement has been applauded by Technical Committee members who will now be able to gather in one location, allowing for more committee interaction, fewer document conflicts, and greater travel efficiencies.