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Background and buying information on gear

Hi Guys!

I often get emails asking for background information on the articles I write; some are responsible for buying their departments' gear, others need extra ammunition to take to their supervisors.

To help more of you, here are a few places that you can find regulatory information for responder gear:

The Department of Homeland Security has a list of approved responder gear, and their list of publications they derive their decisions from is at this link:


The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health are increasingly watching what's being sold for WMD. As of this year, they have been certifying equipment for first responder use. NIOSH is what DHS and the Fire Department (NFPA) often quotes when setting their own standards. They are at:


This list is by no means exhaustive, but is a good start. Be sure you branch out on the NIOSH site; their discussion of escape respirators is interesting. Count the number of times they say they feel 'the next generation of respirator will address this issue.' Which just adds fuel to my fire burning against escape respirators.

Also, I haven't included any links for the National Incident Management System. This is because I haven't been able to find anything that directly discusses what the specific standards for First Responders is/are. If you know of such a document, forward it to me at srh@esper.com , and I'll share it with our fellow readers.

Speaking of standards, the Defense Department Explosives Safety Board has released a draft paper revising standards for workers in the UXO / OER fields. While not directly applicable to us in the Public Safety Bomb Disposal field, history tells us that many regulatory agencies get their rules by adopting others (the DHS and NFPA comes to mind). While I don't have a link for it yet, I'll share it when I am able.

And finally, as those of you who know me can attest, I love to take classes. I think that part of keeping competent as a Law Enforcement Officer is to keep up with new ideas and technology; and part of accomplishing that is through continuing education. A course I recently took and HIGHLY recommend is the Federal Emergency Management Agencies' IS-242, Effective Communications.

For a FEMA class, it is surprisingly and refreshingly low on buzzwords. Registration is free, and successful completion of the online test will award you a certificate.

Effective communications covers exactly that; how best to convey information. This course would be beneficial for anyone in Law Enforcement, and for the price, you will be getting many concepts and methods that other classes charge big bucks for. The class can be found at:


Until next time, change your filters!!


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