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June 6, 1996

Amended firefighter safety rules to take effect Jan. 1, 1997

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries announced today that firefighter safety rules amended at the request of the fire service will take effect Jan. 1, 1997. The updated rules culminate a four-year effort by L&I and an industry-based advisory group consisting of more than 20 representatives from a variety of departments, agencies and districts.

Under a special directive, the effective date for all-volunteer fire departments was extended until April 1, 1997. The delayed enforcement for all-volunteer departments is intended to provide smaller departments with additional time to comply with the new standards.

The new rules, adopted at the request of the fire service industry, will make the state standard "at least as effective" as federal rules, as required by law.

In addition to many "housekeeping" changes, the new rules incorporate guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), including recommendations for protective clothing and equipment for firefighters performing suppression of wildland fires.

Additionally, the rules require personal alert safety system (PASS) protection. Although many fire departments and fire protection districts already use PASS devices to monitor firefighter activity, the new rules require the use of PASS devices when firefighters are required to use self-contained breathing devices.

The rules resulted from an extensive public participation effort that included public hearings, an extended public comment period and meetings with individual fire districts and fire service associations.

A copy of the new standard may be obtained - after Aug. 1, 1996 - by contacting the nearest Labor & Industries service location or telephoning 1 800 4BE-SAFE. L&I service locations are listed in the government pages of your telephone book, under Washington, State of.

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