In Technical Rescue, readiness is key. You train to be put to the test, to use your skills for, in some cases, the unthinkable. Tech Rescue can be highly risky, but has a relatively low frequency of need. So, you must be prepared because you could be called out in a moment’s notice. So, you prepare. With your training and with your gear. Equipping yourself with the best equipment is tantamount to a successful operation. This includes your PPE, which can be all that is between you and the hazards you encounter on an operation. Choosing the right footwear can make all the difference, especially on a rescue that requires you to be on your feet for hours. Personal safety is paramount, but should you have to sacrifice comfort as well?
Since 2001, NFPA 1951 is the standard which outlines the requirements for certified technical rescue personal protective gear. In late 2019, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a new edition of NFPA 1951-2020, the Standard for Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents. When this standard first came out back in 2001, it was actually called the Standard on Protective Ensembles for USAR Operations. Since NFPA did not want to restrict the standard to just USAR teams at the state and federal level and wanted the standard to be more wide-ranging, the standard was later renamed and expanded to encompass many types of technical rescue operations. We have come a long way in technical rescue since the first edition of 1951.
The 2020 edition of NFPA 1951 eliminated the different categories for garments and ensemble elements and now specifies only one category for garments and ensemble elements. The last edition of NFPA 1951 released in 2013 had separate categories that garments and ensemble elements could be tested to: utility, rescue and recovery, and CBRN. Now it is under one umbrella noted as technical rescue protective garment with a new blood pathogen option.
In this latest edition, footwear did not see a lot of changes in design requirements, but did have two changes of note. Footwear height can be as low as 6 inches with the moisture barrier and physical protection also no less than 6 inches, and the metatarsal requirement was made optional. They also removed the conductive heat resistance test and the TPP test requirements. The newly designed HAIX Airpower XR1 Pro, certified to NFPA 1951-2020, is set to become the new standard in technical rescue boots, and just what you have been looking for in safety, quality and comfort. It is lighter, more responsive and not as bulky as other certified boots.
Just what are some of the other requirements a boot must fulfill in order to get certified to the latest edition on NFPA 1951?
- Footwear must have a safety toe tested to ASTM F2413
- Soles must have puncture resistance tested to ASTM F2413
- All thread must be flame resistant
- Must incorporate a ladder shank to support the arch area when standing on ladder rungs
- If using hooks for lacing, there must be at least 4 hooks on each side
- Uppers will be tested for abrasion, cut, heat, flame and puncture resistance
- Soles will be tested for slip resistance
- Footwear will be tested for electrical conduction as well as liquid and viral penetration
Boots must also have a heel, and as mentioned should be at least 6” in height. Bear in mind that the height is actually measured from the inside to the lowest point at the top of the boot and not from the floor. Boots specifically designed for technical rescue saves you wear and tear on your more expensive structural boots and offers more endurance on a deployment.
HAIX Airpower XR1 has long been a favorite of first responders with a proven track record out in the field. The newly upgraded Airpower XR1 Pro is tri-certified to NFPA 1951, NFPA 1977, and NFPA 1999. Making it a multi-application boot with all the quality hallmarks that HAIX is well known for. With HAIX Airpower XR1 Pro, comfort, safety and durability all work together to allow you to perform your job to the best of your ability while at the same time keeping you as safe as possible in extreme conditions.