CONSIDERATIONS FOR FULL FACE MASKS
Public Safety Divers – CONSIDERATIONS FOR FULL FACE MASKS
Written by Faith Ortins, Vice President, Director of Sales
Recently, we learned of a regulator hose failure that was used with an Interspiro full face mask. While we learned the hose was NOT made by Interspiro or an Interspiro approved vendor, the use of aftermarket products and full face masks raises several concerns.
Interspiro makes products that will be used in inherently hazardous environments where lives are at stake, and thus, must pay particular attention to quality control. They are committed to continuously monitoring the quality of the products and workmanship thus controlling the final testing and quality of the product. Interspiro and their parent company Ocenco are focused on respiratory protection in the most demanding environments so this is not new to them
To ensure the parts you purchase are original Interspiro parts, please check that each part is packed in an Interspiro marked box or bag with Interspiro part numbers on the packaging material. While parts can look identical, there is no way to know the lifespan of a part or how it will perform in extreme environments if it has not been subjected to Interspiro’s rigorous testing standards.
Interspiro 30500C01 Service and Testing Schedule of Maintenance for Diving specify the inspection of medium pressure hoses:
1) Before each use
2) Annually (with Notes: II and III)
II – Environmental conditions and frequency of use must be considered. Frequent use and/or use in aggressive environments may lead to shorter inspection/maintenance intervals.
III -Medium pressure hoses older than 15 years (from date of manufacture) shall not be used.
TESTING AND APPROVAL OF BREATHING APPARATUS
Interspiro cannot sell a SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) for Firefighting or Hazmat without a NIOSH and approval and compliant with NFPA as well as CBRN testing.
In Europe the manufacturers of dive equipment must test the 1st and 2nd stage regulator according to the European standard to be approved for sales.
However, there are no such regulations in North America. The only independent body to test regulators is the US Navy.
The US Navy tests all their regulators and list approved models on the AMU list (Approved for Military Use.) If you compare the attached AMU list from 2015 with the one for 2016 NAVSEA has introduced more demanding tests of cold water regulators. The only AMU 2016 listed Full-face mask for cold water diving is the Divator MK II mask (The US Navy calls it the MK 20 mask).
The Divator MK II light weight surface supply dive system is also approved for cold water diving (AMU listed)
The additional testing done to ensure Interspiro products are appropriate for the most serious hazmat environments including CBRN also provides public safety divers with an added level of safety. For example, chemical testing for the CBRN approval process indicates that a silicone skirted mask, which might be great for sport diving, is a less than ideal alternative for public safety divers as silicone provides very poor protection against chemicals. As many of our parts are similar or identical for HazMat and Firefighting as well as diving, we ensure our product is resistant to aggressive chemicals as well as high and low temperatures.
A firefighter or a worker entering into a hazmat environment is required, by NIOSH and many other agencies, to use a CBRN approved positive pressure mask providing a peak flow of at least
300 liter/min without going negative.
While there are no such regulations for divers swimming in a Hazmat environment, lack of regulations should never replace common sense. Biological and/or a chemical contaminants are in many cases present before, during and after the dive (both underwater and floating on the surface), and the diver needs to be protected during all the stages of operation.
Questions or concerns regarding your full face mask or use and maintenance of full face masks? Contact Support@DUI-Online.com.
Full Face Masks