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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 2. Safe Practices and Personal Protection
Article 10.1. Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment for Fire Fighters
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§3409. Respiratory Protection.

(a) Approved Equipment.

(1) Approvals. Fire fighters exposed to harmful exposure in the course of their assigned activities shall be provided with, and shall use respiratory protective devices that are approved and certified in accordance with Section 5144, and the methods and requirements specified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under 42 CFR part 84.

(2) Permissible Devices.

(A) Respiratory protective devices provided for and used by fire fighters in structural fire fighting activity shall be limited to those types classified as self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and combination breathing apparatus of the supplied-air positive-pressure type.

(B) Closed-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus shall not be used by fire fighters except where it has been demonstrated that long duration breathing apparatus is necessary. If such breathing devices are used, quantitative fit tests providing a minimum protection factor of 5,000 shall be performed on each individual using the long duration breathing apparatus. The quantitative fit test procedures shall be available for inspection by the Division.

(b) General Requirements.

(1) Written Standard Procedures. The employer shall develop and implement comprehensive written standard operating procedures for the use, care, maintenance, and training relating to respiratory protective equipment in accordance with Section 5144 and ANSI Z88.2 (1980), “Practices for Respiratory Protection,” and ANSI Z88.5 (1981), “Practices for Respiratory Protection for the Fire Service.” The operating procedures required by this subsection are exempt from the prohibition of the use of contact lenses specified in ANSI Z88.2(1980) and ANSI Z88.5(1981).

(2) When emergency conditions require the urgent multi-person use of the same facepiece, requirements of Section 5144(h) pertaining to cleaning and sanitation of the facepiece shall not apply.

(3) Operating Service Time. Respiratory protective devices provided for use by fire fighters shall have a rated service time of at least 30 minutes in accordance with the methods and requirements specified by NIOSH 42 CFR part 84.

Exception: Respiratory protective devices of less than 30 minutes rated service time shall only be used for escape, rescue and observation.

(4) Automatic Warning Signal. Respiratory protective devices provided for use by fire fighters shall be equipped with an automatic device that produces an audible signal to warn the user that the remaining service time of the unit has been reduced to 20-25%. Means shall be designed and incorporated to indicate to the user that his alarm has been activated.

(5) Buddy-Breathing. Approved self-contained breathing apparatus may be equipped with either a “buddy-breathing” device or a quick disconnect valve, even if these devices are not certified by NIOSH. If these accessories are used, they shall not cause damage to the apparatus, or obstruct the normal operation of the apparatus.

(6) Air Cylinders. Approved self-contained compressed air breathing apparatus may be used with approved cylinders from other approved self-contained compressed air breathing apparatus provided that such cylinders are of the same capacity and pressure rating. All compressed air cylinders used with self-contained breathing apparatus shall meet United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and NIOSH criteria.

(c) Positive Pressure. Except as permitted in Section 3409(a)(2)(B), all compressed air self-contained breathing apparatus used in fire fighting activity shall be of positive pressure type.


Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.


1. Amendment of subsection (c)(2) filed 9-11-80; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 80, No. 37).

2. Amendment filed 4-29-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 18).

3. Amendment of subsection (b)(1) filed 3-20-95; operative 4-19-95 (Register 95, No. 12).

4. Amendment of subsections (a)(1) and (b)(3) filed 8-25-98; operative 11-23-98 (Register 98, No. 35).

5. Change without regulatory effect amending subsection (b)(2) filed 12-30-99 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 99, No. 53).

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