Fire Exposures of Firefighter Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Facepiece Lenses

Report Date: November 2011

Thermally damaged self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) facepieces have been identified as a contributing factor in fire fighter fatalities or injuries. The SCBA facepiece lens is considered the weakest component of a fire fighter’s protective ensemble in high heat conditions, but the level of thermal performance of the lens is not well understood. This report details and results of the experiments conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to demonstrated a range of realistic thermal conditions that can result in damage to or failure of facepieces.


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  • National Institute of Standards and Technology

    The NIST Fire Research Division develops, verifies, and utilizes measurements and predictive methods to quantify the behavior of fire and means to reduce the impact of fire on people, property, and the environment. This work involves integration of laboratory measurements, verified methods of prediction, and large-scale fire experiments to demonstrate the use and value of the research products.

    Through its programs in measurement, prediction, systems integration, and the dynamics of fire and its interactions with the built and natural environment, the division provides leadership for advancing the theory and practice of fire safety engineering, fire fighting, fire investigation, fire testing, fire data management, and intentional burning.

Mensch, Amy, George Braga, Nelson Bryner. Fire Exposures of Fire Fighter Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Facepiece Lenses. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute for Standards and Technology, 2011. NIST Technical Note 1724, Print.

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