2012 Edition of NFPA 1983 Now Available

The revision cycle for National Fire Protection Association 1983, Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services, is complete and the 2012 edition was issued by the NFPA Standards Council in December.

A number of changes have been made to the standard compared with the 2006 edition. "The Technical Committee on Special Operations Protective Clothing and Equipment, which has responsibility for the revision of NFPA 1983, first reviewed the document and made many editorial revisions, including updating the references in Chapter 2," says David Trebisacci, senior fire protection specialist with the NFPA.

Defining Escape Systems

Firefighters use a variety of tools for self-rescue from hostile environments. These range from complete systems to a length of rope to use in emergencies. NFPA 1983 now addresses these items.

According to Trebisacci, the standard now includes performance requirements and test methods for victim extrication devices, litters, escape webbing, fire escape webbing, escape systems, fire escape rope, manufacturer-supplied eye termination, moderate elongation laid long lifesaving rope, belay devices, escape anchor devices, and escape descent devices and systems. "The technical committee has also defined 'escape system' and included definitions of fire escape systems and escape systems designed to be used for the purpose of self-rescue from an immediately hazardous environment," says Trebisacci.

In the Annex item to the definition of escape rope, the technical committee points out that escape rope is intended only for emergency self-rescue situations and cannot be used for other rope rescue situations, according to Trebisacci. "Escape rope is designed for one emergency use only and should be destroyed after use," he says. New high-temperature test requirements for fire escape webbing and fire escape rope were also added to Chapter 7.

The Recertification Schedule in Table 4.1.11 now has more products added to it and notes tests and recertification time requirements that include life safety rope fibers, fire escape rope, escape webbing, victim extrication devices, webbing components and fibers, hardware, and manufactured eye termination.

Other Changes

The standard has new label requirements for moderate elongation laid long life saving rope in Chapter 5 because no requirements existed in the previous edition. The document now also defines "technical use" and "general use." "The technical committee has replaced the term 'light use' with the term 'technical use' throughout the standard to reflect current terminology," states Trebisacci.

To Get a Copy

The NFPA expects to have a printed copy of the standard available this month. Proposals, comments, and the actions taken by the technical committee on the 2006 edition can be found at www.nfpa.org/1983 under the "Next Edition" tab. The NFPA expected to have a PDF version of the standard available on its Web site by the end of January.

CHRIS Mc LOONE, associate editor of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, is an 18-year veteran of the fire service and a captain with Weldon Fire Company (Glenside, PA). He has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years. While with Fire Engineering, he contributed to the May 2006 issue, a Jesse H. Neal Award winner for its coverage of the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery.

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