Respirator equipment is key in the safety and efficiency for firefighters and emergency responders. Not only do firefighters need to have training in the management and use of respirators, but many occupations require the use of masks as part of the duties under OHS legislation. .
The respirator masks must fit tightly against the wearer's face to be effective. Employers who have on-site respirators due to their work must have training. Now, the Chief of Humboldt Protective Services, Mike Kwasnica, says the Fire Department is looking to acquire FIT test equipment and secure in-house training for all its members.
Humboldt City Council addressed the request for purchase of equipment and training at its regular meeting on June 27. In his report to Council, Kwasnica noted that the city has about 40 employees who require annual FIT testing. The goal is for the city to provide the ability to test its own people and to also function as testing services for other local businesses and industries that currently have to go outside Humboldt.
Kwasnica explained the lengths that City departments have had to go through to maintain a testing regimen.
“We’ve started doing our fit testing through the Fire Department. In doing so, we’ve had to hire a company out of Saskatoon, and I think our last tester came out of Edmonton. The difficulty is that if we have new employees who come in between that time, we can’t get them tested unless we bring another company in. This will give us the ability to not only FIT test our own employees, but this would open up the opportunity to provide FIT testing for other businesses within the community that do require it by OHS legislation.”
At present, bringing in outside testers costs the City $3000 - $3400 annually. The hope is to turn an expense into an opportunity to generate revenue by providing testing services to others. Cost of the equipment quoted ranged from $15,512 to $19,177.
Acknowledging that safety and legislative compliance are high on the priority list, the City approved the request for equipment purchase. Training for testing is to be provided by the Yorkton Fire Department, explained Kwasnica, at little to no cost.