CPSC Tests Show RPEDs Fail to Meet Standards

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has released findings of a three-year evaluation of respiratory protective escape devices intended to determine their potential to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries. The testing began in 2004 with funding from the U.S. Fire Administration.

Three RPED models were tested in accordance with provisions of the voluntary standard, American National Standard for Air-Purifying Respiratory Protective Smoke Escape Devices (ANSI/ISEA 110). Testing focused on function, human factors issues, durability, and flammability.

The test results showed that the RPEDs selected for evaluation did not meet standard requirements associated with donning. These results indicate that improvements may be needed in operational packaging to allow novice users to quickly determine correct RPED donning procedures. All of the models tested complied with requirements to assess field of vision, and two of the three models met requirements to evaluate leakage.

For all three RPED models evaluated, there were failures associated with tests to assess breathing resistance, either initially or after conditioning. There were also failures associated with total inward leakage (fit) and soot particulate performance. These results indicate a need to improve factors that influence breathing resistance, such as filter design and seal integrity. The RPEDS met requirements for flammability, molten polymeric drip, and radiant heat resistance; however, they did not meet requirements associated with corrosion resistance performance.

To view a PDF of the report, go to www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/escape-masks-human-factors.pdf.

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