New federal protective equipment standards announced

Standards aim to protect front-line firefighters, police, paramedics and health care workers

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the federal government announced Canada's first national standard for protective equipment for front-line fire, police and paramedic workers.

"Our government understands how essential it is for those who put their lives on the line for Canadian families to have the best support and equipment possible," said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

To help protect Canadians, it is essential that first responders right across Canada have access to the right protective equipment in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident, the government said in a release.

Most first responders in Canada have hazardous material or dangerous goods standards to guide them in responding to a CBRN incident. Now, for the first time, emergency services personnel will have a national protective equipment standard specific to CBRN incidents recognized across jurisdictions to guide and protect them in their work.

The CAN/CGSB/CSA-Z1610, Protection of First Responders from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Events standard specifies requirements for the selection, use and care of personal protective equipment for first responders to a CBRN incident, including deliberate attacks and contagious outbreak events.

"Canada's front-line emergency workers form the backbone of our society by answering the call of duty without question when people are in need," said Bonnie Rose, president of the CSA Standards. "This national standard is… one that will help lead to improved protection for our heroic first responders across jurisdictions from coast-to-coast."

The standard identifies requirements for protective CBRN equipment, such as respiratory protection and whole-body protection. It also addresses the differences between a conventional hazardous material incident and a deliberate CBRN incident in order to understand how equipment guidelines may differ.

Latest stories