Canadian CBRN Standard for First Responders Under Development

The Canadian Standards Association announced Feb. 28 that it will develop Canada's first national standard for protective equipment for fire, police, and paramedic services in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident. The work is being done in cooperation with the Canadian General Standards Board and other stakeholders, CSA (www.csa.ca) said.

"Canada's fire, police, and EMS services are the first on the scene in 90 percent of emergencies, and not all have the minimal level of protective equipment necessary in the event of a deliberate or accidental CBRN incident," said John Walter, vice president Standards Development for CSA, which said most first responders in Canada must rely on hazmat or dangerous goods standards to guide them in responding to a CBRN incident. When the new standard is published in February 2009, they'll have a national standard recognized across jurisdictions.

"Assuring Canadians that those they rely upon in the event of an emergency are adequately prepared to deal with a CBRN event, and strengthening Canada's capabilities to respond to CBRN incidents, are continuing priorities for all levels of government," said Dr. James G. Young, special advisor to the Deputy Minister, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Canada. "First responders are on the front line in times of crisis, so we must continue to develop and implement appropriate preparedness and response programs and standards." The standard will identify requirements for protective CBRN equipment, including respiratory protection and whole-body protection, and it will address interoperable equipment.

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