Would it be possible for you to answer some simple question in relation to your FireFighter life critical breathing air.
Is your breathing air tested to BS EN 12021 (2014)
Do you charge your breathing apparatus cylinders to 300bars pressure.
Is your breathing air tested by your Fire Service personnel or a contractor?
Is your breathing air tested monthly or every three months?
If every three months does your high pressure compressor have a constant air quality monitoring device?
Do you allow your compressor/s to remain in service is it fails to meet the minimum standard of BS EN 12021 (2014)
If a breathing air compressor fails to meet the standards above do you have a lock out procedure.
Other than testing the air quality at source do you have a "random cylinder air testing policy".
Would it be possible to have any fire service policy, procedures or risk assessments in relation to the above under freedom of information.
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. Please refer below for the information requested.
Is your breathing air tested to BS EN 12021 (2014) – Yes
Do you change your breathing apparatus cylinders to 300bars pressure. – Our compressors charge BA cylinders to 300 bar.
Is your breathing air tested by your Fire Service personnel or a contractor? – Contractor - Bauer UK currently undertake the air purity testing at our sites.
Is your breathing air tested monthly or every three months? – Air purity testing is carried out every three months.
If every three months does your high-pressure compressor have a constant air quality monitoring device? – The compressors are not fitted with a constant air monitoring device. However, all compressors except that installed at Bridgnorth is fitted with a filter saturation monitor which stops the compressor just before the delivered air (in terms of moisture) no longer meets the requirements of EN12021:2014.
Do you allow your compressor/s to remain in service is it fails to meet the minimum standard of BS EN 12021 (2014). Bauer UK engineers normally carry spare filters on scheduled visits to prevent down time of our compressors. Bauer UK engineers are instructed to lock off compressors in the event of failure to meet EN21021 and a replacement cartridge is not available.
If a breathing air compressor fails to meet the standards above, do you have a lock out procedure. Yes.
Other than testing the air quality at source do you have a "random cylinder air testing policy". No.
Would it be possible to have any fire service policy, procedures or risk assessments in relation to the above under freedom of information Please find attached a Method Statement for Breathing Air Compressors. Please note all personal data has been redacted from the document and is withheld under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), as disclosure would breach the first principle of the Data Protection Act 2018. Section 40 is an absolute exemption and is therefore not subject to the public interest test. I can confirm that the risk assessment for breathing air compressors which falls under the scope of your request is exempt under section 38 (1) Health and Safety of the FOIA.
Section 38 of the FOIA states:
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to-
(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or
(b) endanger the safety of any individual.
The Authority considers that the risk assessment is exempt from disclosure as release would endanger the physical health and safety of firefighters. Having considered that the requested information is exempt under Section 38, it is necessary to consider the public interest test to identify whether there is a wider public interest in disclosing this information as opposed to maintaining the exemption.
Whilst disclosure may provide greater transparency to the risk assessments undertaken by a public authority, the Authority considered that any technical data contained in the risk assessment could be used to compromise the process and capability of the equipment as it contains the vulnerabilities. We are satisfied that it is, therefore, not in the public interest to disclose information in response to your request and issue this refusal notice.
The public interest is served by knowing that there are adequate risk assessments in place, however Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) believes that disclosing this information to the public at large would provide those with malicious intent to cause harm with key risk critical information about breathing air compressors which are part of our infrastructure to maintain the health and safety of firefighters. Having considered the public interest test, SFRS’s decision is, therefore, to withhold the information.
Having also liaised with our Operational Support Technician, I can lastly advise that that there is no specific National Policy regarding Fire Fighter Breathing Air. However, the requirements to conduct such tests are referenced through the following publications:
The Statutory Instrument, The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, CoSHH - Control of substances hazardous to health (Sixth edition) - L5 (hse.gov.uk)
HSE publication, Approved Code of Practice, and guidance, (ACoP)
HSE publication, HSG53, Respiratory protective equipment at work: A practical guide Respiratory protective equipment at work: A practical guide (hse.gov.uk)
BS EN 529. Respiratory protective devices. Recommendations for selection, use, care, and maintenance. Guidance document