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NIOSH signs MOU for PPE and equipment activities with NFPA

October 22, 2020
NIOSH Update:

Press Contact: Stephanie Stevens,, 202.245.0641

NIOSH and NFPA will further collaborate on the development of standards for responder organizations

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has signed an updated MOU to collaborate with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Fire Protection Research Foundation on activities related to emergency responder protective clothing and equipment (PPE), and the development of standards concerning first responder safety, deployment, operations, and the protection of emergency personnel.

“The NFPA is a critical partner in NIOSH’s efforts to protect emergency responders from hazards encountered in the line of duty,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD. “Renewing the MOU affords us the opportunity for sustained collaboration over the next decade to improve responders’ safety and health.”

NIOSH is currently involved in the NFPA standards development process for emergency responder PPE so that first responders are protected from physical, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, thermal, inhalation and dermal hazards. The new 10-year MOU continues NIOSH participation with NFPA Technical Committees that work on responder organization operations, deployment, training and safety.

“After 9/11, the testing, evaluation, and certification of emergency responder PPE became a national priority. In the days since, each of the organizations involved in this MOU have worked to ensure that responders are protected from occupational exposure and other adverse health and safety challenges that often come with their jobs,” said Jim Pauley, NFPA president and CEO. “This updated MOU provides benchmarks for our organizations to further cooperate and coordinate on activities, advocacy, and adoption of key documents and programs that are designed to keep responders safe and competent in their roles.”

Highlights of the MOU include participating organizations:

  • working together on technical information and standards concerning performance, testing, validation, use, care and maintenance of responder PPE, as well as safety issues concerning deployment and operations
  • sharing relevant information concerning testing data, research studies, program findings, and standards development to enhance each organization’s efforts and overall responder effectiveness
  • providing insights related to firefighter exposure and acute and chronic injuries, illnesses, and diseases such as cancers, respiratory disease, heart disease and musculoskeletal injuries
  • exchanging recommendations and lessons learned from firefighter fatality investigations to advance the development, adoption, and revision of standards
  • developing death and injury prevention guidance and ways to promote best practices to responder organizations, and, when appropriate, incorporate the information into NIOSH regulations and compliance
  • working to ensure that NIOSH regulations and NFPA consensus standards are adopted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability (IAB)
  • incorporating NFPA technical expertise and guidance for long term technology deployment related to emergency responders and their organizations
  • supporting the NIOSH-National Firefighter Registry efforts to expand sources of data for individual firefighter exposure
  • participating in peer reviews for projects and resources related to the above topics

Approximately 1.1 million firefighters in the United States are charged with protecting people and property; on average there are 67 on duty deaths per year. This MOU was established so that emergency response organizations and personnel have thorough research, testing, standards, operational strategies, and programming to ensure that personnel can safely and competently perform the all-hazards role that they play in society.

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit