FHWA issues final rule on fire fighter visibility garments
New rule addresses firefighter apparel safety concerns
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has adopted as final an Interim Final Rule that amends regulations to address safety concerns raised by the fire service regarding high-visibility safety apparel.
The FHWA adopted this regulation to exempt fire fighters from the requirement to use high-visibility safety apparel, as defined in this rule, when exposed to hazardous conditions where the use of such apparel may increase the risk of injury to fire fighter personnel. This allows for fire fighters, when operating at a fire incident on federal-aid highway rights-of-way to use their required NFPA-compliant turnout gear.
The FHWA has determined that NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensemble for Structural Fire Fighting, addresses visibility requirements equivalent to the ANSI 107-2004 Class 2 garment. Accordingly, when engaged in fire suppression activities, a vest over the turnout gear is not required. While this regulation applies only to operations on roads that were built or maintained with federal aid, fire fighters operating at any type of incident on a roadway should be provided and must wear garments with high visibility - again either compliant vests or complaint turnout gear.
To view the final rule for firefighter visibility garments, click here.
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