Special Technical Committees: How They Are Changing NIJ's Standards Development Process
NIJ has established a new standards development process based on Special Technical Committees whose members include practitioners, scientists, researchers, subject matter experts, staff of test laboratories and major criminal justice stakeholder organizations, and representatives knowledgeable in standards development and conformity assessment. The members collaborate to develop the standard and ensure that practitioner needs are addressed. The members' diversity guarantees the standard package — the performance standard, the conformity assessment program requirements, and the selection and application guide — is valid and respected by the user community. This workshop will highlight the NIJ standards development process and how it fits with the processes of other government agencies and private sector organizations. Also discussed will be the difference between regulatory and voluntary standards. The panelists each have experience with the NIJ process and will discuss standards development and conformity assessment from their individual perspectives.
Debra Stoe: Today we have a distinguished panel with us. We're going to be discussing standards, their importance and NIJ's role in the standard development process.
Last year at this conference, I gave a presentation, and, basically, what we talked about then was what are standards and why do we need them and how important are they. This year, we're going to talk about NIJ's position in the standard development organizations throughout.
We have representatives from NIOSH, from NIST, from NFPA, from IAB and from Department of Homeland Security. Each one of these agencies are involved in the setting of standards, just like NIJ, but we each do it a little bit differently, and our piece of that pie is what we're here today to talk about, because we all try to leverage what each other are doing; we try to coordinate our efforts so that we don't duplicate our resources, and we streamline everything so that we produce, in the end, the most representative standard that can be leveraged throughout all the other agencies and everybody else can use them.
Briefly, let me mention that NIJ's been establishing standards for 30 to 40 years. Our flagship standard is the body armor standard. Many of you probably have heard about that, but since then, we've developed so many other standards, anywhere from security systems for windows to reel-to-reel tape recorders for courtrooms, et cetera. So what we've tried to do in the last five or six years is develop a new process wherein we bring ourselves more into alignment with the way the rest of the world is developing standards.
So today, you're going to hear about other agencies, regulatory, voluntary, private sector and the way other people are doing the same thing that NIJ is doing.
Recognize one thing. The NIJ's piece of this standard-setting development process is that we represent state and local law enforcement agencies. So most of the standards or all the standards that we develop and that we work on are articulated and brought to us by law enforcement and correction officers. So, once it's articulated and identified to us as a need or a gap in the industry, then NIJ approaches that and that's where we try to establish standards.
Most of the individuals on our staff today or on our panel actually contributed in the development of a recently drafted standard, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Law Enforcement Standard for Ensembles, but it's still in the review process. But the thing what is significant is the first time the NIJ introduced this particular process wherein we brought together individuals from all the different organizations, we brought in practitioners, we brought in experts, and we brought them in every month for two to three days. We sat at a table and we discussed the development of this standard. It took us two years to do it, but I think it's a robust standard, and the entire community is waiting for it to be developed. Right now it's in a review process, soon to be published.
Without further ado, I would like to introduce our first speaker. Gordon Gillerman is from NIST. He is the chief of the Standards Services Division at NIST. He is the conformity assessment adviser for homeland security at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His responsibilities include assisting in policy development related to standards and conformity assessment and designing conformity assessment programs for the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.
Mr. Gillerman previously worked with Underwriters Lab in Washington, D.C., Base Governments Affair Office. He has developed and conducted presentations and extensive seminars on safety, conformity assessment, equipment design for compliance and harmonized standards, and trade issues for domestic and foreign government and industry. Gordon has earned his bachelor's degree from the Bradley University.
And, Gordon, you don't mind?
Gordon Gillerman: Thank you, Debra, and good afternoon, everyone. My name is Gordon Gillerman. I'm from NIST. NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We are the country's metrology institute, so we're the people who make sure when you buy a gallon of gas, it's actually a gallon.
As Debra said, we work broadly across standards in many different areas. At NIST, standards mean a lot of different things. So we tend to work in an area that we refer to as “documentary” standards, standards that look like books or magazines. The rest of the folks at NIST have a very different view of standards. They look at standards as standard reference materials, standard artifacts, standard reference data, all kinds of things that are the core of the country's metrology system.
So, really, this combination between metrological standards and documentary standards forms a measurement or quality infrastructure that lets us do business as an industrialized country. It lets us test things and be sure that the outcome of the test, the results, have high integrity and can be understood with a great deal of technical certainty by multiple stakeholders.
These kinds of things are really important. They're really important to you in your everyday life because, as you go to the store and you go to the deli counter and you buy meat, you want to know you're not getting ripped off. They're really important in technical issues because, as we begin to deal with things that are really, really small that have really large impacts, we want to make sure the measurements are done with integrity and understood by all.
In the Standards Services Division, we actually have three prongs that affect this quality infrastructure. One of them is a group that's focused on coordinating the federal government's use of standards — and when I say the word “standards,” it means, broadly, standards testing and certification, that whole space of activities — another group that's focused on the nexus or the intersection between international standards and trade.
NIST is part of the Department of Commerce, and so we have a mission to enhance U.S. industry success. In a lot of cases, that means helping U.S. industry understand what standards, what testing and certification requirements are, for them, a key to market access and success in other countries.
More and more in this global trading environment, it's very important for U.S. manufacturers to understand how to access foreign markets, which means how to obey the rules, which means understanding what are their technical standards that I have to meet, what does my product have to do, what does it have to look like, what kind of tests are going to be run against it and how do I have to demonstrate that conformity in order to be successful in those markets.
The last portion of the division is a laboratory accreditation organization. We actually operate an organization within NIST called the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, NVLAP. NVLAP is an organization which evaluates the competency of laboratories that test stuff and calibrate stuff.
We come from NIST, we have standards in our name, and there are standards for everything, including the operation of conformity assessment activities. One of those standards, one of many, is a standard that's called ISO/IEC — it's a standard produced by a joint committee of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission — 17025. This is the operating requirements, the management system and competency requirements for testing laboratories and calibration laboratories. So NVLAP evaluates laboratories to make sure that they carry out their testing work with competence and integrity so we can believe the test results.
One of the Justice Department's programs for body armor listing depends on NVLAP to accredit laboratories so the ballistics testing that's carried out on the body armor can be used and the data as a result of that testing can be used by the program in order to populate the list of recognized armors on the CTP's program. And so this forms our piece of the quality infrastructure.
As Debra said, the panelists have all been involved in the CBRNE Ensemble Standard. I've actually had the pleasure of being involved in just about every standard that NIJ has been moving through in the past five or six years. I had to write down the list, it was so long. So body armor; CBRNE ensembles; metal detectors, both walk-through and handheld; restraints; holsters; video equipment; and I am hopeful that one day soon, we'll be working on a standard for optical license plate recognition systems because I know from my interchange with law enforcement that that's another need that needs to be addressed.
So all of this body of standards are now moving through this new process. One of the duties that my organization carries out is the obligations for NIST under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act. The NTTAA is a very complex act, but for us, it has two important factors. One of them is it sets a preference for federal agencies to use private-sector consensus standards in lieu of government-unique standards. The second is it gives NIST a role in coordinating conformity assessment activities at the federal, state, local government levels in conjunction with the private sector to reduce redundancy and increase the efficiency of the process without being overly burdensome.
We work with NIJ in executing both of these missions. In my experience, I started working with NIJ very shortly after the original Body Armor Safety Initiative was launched. That was in 2002?
Audience Member 1: '4.
Gillerman: '4? OK, 2004. It's hard to remember; it's so long ago.
And I've seen an evolution in the approach to standards development from the Justice Department and NIJ, and that evolution has really been in alignment with the principles of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act. It has increased the number of stakeholders who participate in the process for developing the standard, brought new technical expertise to bear on the development of standards for the Justice Department, and really had a broad outreach for the determining of consensus for the technical requirements of these standards.
Additionally, we have developed processes and programs from the testing and certification perspective that allow Justice Department to maximize the use of private-sector resources in the testing and certification process.
Today, there are seven different private-sector laboratories that participate in testing of law enforcement body armor according to NIJ 0101.06. These laboratories participate in the NVLAP laboratory accreditation program and participate in a growing and very successful proficiency testing program that we've brought in to make sure that no matter which of these laboratories a manufacturer approaches with their body armor to be tested, the answer is reasonably the same, a very important factor. It allows for a competitive marketplace of testing. It allows for a great deal of capacity but, at the same time, a high degree of confidence in test results that come from these laboratories.
This is a model that we continue to use in many sectors. My organization has a portfolio in developing these conformity assessment systems that spans from toys and toilets to countermeasures against shoulder-fired rockets for commercial aircraft. So we really have no boundaries, but we have a process and a skill at developing a process that utilizes and leverages the work of the private sector and the quality infrastructure to allow the government to perform conformity assessment. It needs to meet its mission needs in the least burdensome way for the manufacturers and with a high degree of economy for the government.
It's been a real pleasure to be involved in the development of the STC process and in the STC work itself. I've seen, as I said before, an additional level of expertise being brought to bear. You'll hear from the panel at the table very shortly about their experiences with the STC process, and all of them are distinguished experts in their own way, bringing their own perspectives to the development of these standards, and this is really what consensus is all about.
Stoe: Part of the presentation today is not just to talk about the standards but the whole realm of standards, and part of developing a standard is not just to identify the test methods and test the performance requirements that are articulated, but it's also to ensure that, as Gordon pointed out, that all the tests are accurate and valid and that the labs that are performing those tests have the ability and have been certified to run those tests.
So you want to make sure that it's a balanced playing field out there. When you develop the standard, you've got to have it tested at the end of the process. So part of what NIJ has done is not only introduce development of the standard; we also develop the certification requirements that accompany the standard to make sure that it's tested adequately and accurately.
In addition to that, the last and third piece of this stool for us is development of what we call the selection application guide, and that guide actually identifies in layman's terms what the standard does, so that the practitioner on the street can read that particular document and understand the standard. So we have a three-pronged approach. So this is how this entire panel starts to fit together.
Our second presenter today is Philip Mattson. Phil is deputy director for the Office of Standards in the Test and Evaluation Standards Division at the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. He previously served as the program manager for Critical Incident Technologies at the Office of Law Enforcement Standards at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Phil received his extensive training in nuclear weapons and radiological incident management and is a registered professional engineer. He is a retired Army officer, serving for 20 years as a nuclear physicist in the Corps of Engineers. He has a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering from Oregon State University and a master's degree in physics and the Naval Postgraduate School. Phil worked on the CBRN STC and has been working at NIST and has been a very valuable colleague in the development of standards.
Philip J. Mattson: I'm going to give a brief overview of the Office of Standards at DHS S&T and with a little bit of emphasis on PPE-related things and then how it relates to this panel and NIJ.
As Debra said, I've been working with NIJ ever since I got out of Leavenworth in 2001. I came to … I was there. I was at Leavenworth and went to the Office of Law Enforcement Standards, so the rest is, you know, over a beer. Actually, I was in a little house. I wasn't in the big house, and I didn't have any roommates.
DHS standards. DHS is not a regulatory agency. DHS is not a standard-setting agency. We do have some legacy programs, such as Coast Guard, which maintains marine safety equipment standards and so on. Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act that Gordon mentioned, that directs that agencies make maximum use of voluntary consensus standards, organizations to develop their standards, as opposed to developing government-unique standards.
And we have been working with NIST and with voluntary standards organizations and a number of other agencies since DHS was established to work through our standards programs. We work through the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel — we'll talk about that in a second — and through internal and interagency standards bodies.
We lead the adoption of standards for Homeland Security. The main hook in that is having those adopted standards tied to DHS grants, so if you're buying a piece of equipment that we have identified a standard for, then it needs to meet that standard in order to be eligible for grant funding, and that actually is how we got into the STC and NIJ's development of the CBRN ensemble for law enforcement.
We had adopted some standards in 2004, and they were the best standards of the day at the time, but there are some concerns on the part of the law enforcement community that some of their specific operational requirements were not addressed. Since that time, a number of the NFPA standards have also evolved to include CBRN protection aspects within the standard. Within the 1971, 1951, 1999 standards, there are optional CBRN protection in those standards, so that those standards support not only the operation requirements but the protection.
Through a lot of discussions involving NIJ, NFPA, the IAB, DHS and NIST — basically, you know, all of us here at the panel — the determination was made and the STC was set up to develop the law enforcement standard.
We don't promulgate standards; we don't regulate compliance; we don't certify products; we don't maintain qualified product lists within the Office of Standards. There are other components within DHS that do do that.
Again, we have developed an internal document which outlines how we relate to and participate in voluntary consensus standards organizations.
ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel, HSSP. Gordon is the federal chair of the HSSP. ANSI stood up this body to help coordinate standards development for Homeland Security needs. There is how many SDOs, Gordon?
Mattson: OK. Are these ANSI-accredited SDOs?
Gillerman: About 250.
Mattson: There we go, somewhere in there. A number of SDOs. Some countries have one standards body. We don't, and so ANSI set up the HSSP to help us identify standards requirements. ANSI has held a number of focus workshops to kind of pull these things out and articulate them, and also it's a place that we can go to say, “OK, we need a standard for XYZ. Where is a good place to go to help us with that?”
We work with a number of standards bodies depending on the type of standard that we are working with, developing drives us to the specific body. In some cases, we will start a project and not know exactly which SDO to work with. Again, that's where ANSI comes in, and we go through other mechanisms to identify the appropriate SDO.
Now, why standards? Again, this is probably speaking to the choir here, but, you know, you have got the whizbang 1000 here that will do everything and this brochure is a little bit out of date, because it will also brush your teeth and tie your shoes, but, you know, when you are buying something and you are using it, expecting it to perform, you have some basic fundamental questions, like “Does it work?” “Does it really answer the questions that I'm asking?” “How did I test it, you know, has it been tested?” “How do I use it, you know, will it work with my other things? I have this great thing, but guess what, when I turn it on, my radio doesn't work, or when I turn on my radio, my detector doesn't work, you know, and if there is a number of these products that are out there, you know, how do I determine which is the best one?” So that is where the wonderful world of standards comes in.
We call this, especially call this the cycle of life: where it goes from, you know, what are the requirements, what is this thing supposed to do, who's using it, what are the conditions that it is going to be operating under, which leads us to determine what are the specific performance requirements.
It is supposed to detect this agent, this concentration under these conditions. That is what it's supposed to do. We then need to develop the test method, the testing protocols, what tests do we do to make sure that it does what we want it to do, based on what we need it to do, and then completing it, you know, we need to validate those test methods and then establish the appropriate type of confirming the assessment program for the product.
Debra mentioned it and again Gordon. Depending on the type of product, there will be a different … the process is the same, but who does it and exactly what we do differs quite a bit. In some cases, such as in the area of respiratory protection, NIOSH does the certifying for it. In other products, such as a lot of the NFPA standards, those are certified by organizations such as Underwriters Lab and Safety Equipment Institute and so on.
NIJ has developed their conformity assessment program depending on the product; you know, if we had a standard for, you know, combination laser pointer and USB memory sticks, there are standards that are out there for that, but, you know, if it doesn't work, then I throw it away and point to the screen. Nobody is going to die except from boredom.
There's really no standard term, definition for standards. In DHS S&T, where I'm from, we develop technologies for Homeland Security, the Homeland Security enterprise. This is the way the Department of Defense slices and dices technology development from basic research and development, you know, understanding the basic phenomenon, you know, why do you die when you breathe this kind of thing, all the way up to having a product that is ready to go out the door and be used by somebody.
We have three different portfolios within S&T that look to doing the basic research; understanding the phenomenon; innovation, which is taking that understanding and developing a product which is ready to go out and be tested in an operational environment; to transition, which is getting it out the door.
And then there is a whole suite of types of standards that come into play, you know, throughout this entire spectrum, and that's where we come in, working with the program managers, working with the standards bodies, working with the organizations that we fund to support this to make sure that we have the right people doing the right piece of this, and again, there is going to be different people, different standards organizations, different groups doing these different pieces of the puzzle to support this overall program.
Another way of looking at it, and this is more from an operational perspective, you know, the National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board, NBSCAB, they drank the Kool-Aid, and they are very excited about standards, and this is the way standards fit into, you know, is what they call the goal-oriented strategic planning where, you know, we have a need, you know, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, and we need to have some way of defeating those and these are the basic steps that they work through to dissect it.
And then there is a number of areas where different types of standards come in, you know, developing the requirements as we mentioned earlier, to the testing programs, developing the tactics techniques and procedures, training development, ConOps, and standards to support that.
The other thing is, you know, what can we do, you know; people come and ask, you know, “How long is it going to take to do this standard,” and a lot of it is a function of how mature is the technology, you know, how robust are the existing standards and test methods that are out there and so on.
If we go back two slides, you know, where we had the TRL levels, you know, if we are just building, if we are just starting the development of a new technology, there may not be any standards associated with that, and so we are going to have to work with those program managers to develop the standards and test methods in support of that.
If it's something that is already out there and we need to modify it, then we can do it in a much shorter time, especially if there are existing standards and test methods, so that is another piece where we come in there. If there is an issue with an existing standard or we want the standard to do something that it initially wasn't envisioned to do, we work with the SDO to make those modifications.
We have a number of projects within our standards portfolio from protective equipment, robots, explosive, chemical detection, biometrics, biological detection, incident management standards, and we work with a number of SDOs.
PPE covers a number of disciplines from fire service, law enforcement and so on, and there are standards that are being developed or in cases there are now standards for all of these ensembles.
Within DHS, you know, we have a number of issues that require standards development. We have our programs. We support the R&D and technology development efforts. We support the grants programs by identifying the appropriate standards or if there aren't any standards, to develop new standards, so they can be reflected in the grants, and a number of Homeland Security presidential directives have directed and have standards implications.
From a DHS perspective, just focused on PPE, here is just a quick snapshot of a number of areas where PPE is important and where PPE standards are important from a DHS perspective. There is a number of existing standards, you know; the NFPA standards, especially in support of the fire administration, are already used, and we have adopted a number of the NFPA standards in support of the grants programs.
Just a couple of things here. There is a number of standards, and this is not all-inclusive, and not ones that we are all funding, and so on, but NIOSH is continuing to work on the expanding suite of CBRN respiratory protection standards. NIJ also, in addition to working on the law enforcement standard, is also in the process of finalizing bomb suit standard, and then NIOSH, you know, through ASTM, is working on an air fit suit, and there is a number of studies that are going on to develop revised test methods and understanding more appropriate endpoints for some of the toxic industrial chemicals, which will be reflected in the standards.
And the benefits of an integrated CBRNE standards development: greater safety, more effective technologies. A lot of cases where we don't have standards and the manufacturers are building things to the best of their understanding, that's great, but once we set that standard, we are now setting the performance bar, and when a manufacturer can demonstrate that they meet that standard, or they can demonstrate that they exceed that, then that gives them a little added incentive and a little boost in the marketplace.
Working to develop standards in anticipation of new requirements. Traditionally, standards have been developed after something bad happens. Equipment fails, somebody gets hurt, somebody gets killed, OK, well, we need to fix that, we are going to develop standards and test methods in a testing program to support that.
In this area with emerging threats or responders facing things that we, you know, haven't faced yet, we are trying to get ahead of the power curve by developing those standards before something bad happens, so that you can go into the incident with some relative level of assurance that your equipment is going to perform.
We have talked a lot about the basic, you know, performance standards, confirming the assessment, test and evaluation, kind of the documentary standard for a piece of equipment, and that's very important, but there is another piece of it, too. You know, this equipment has certain capabilities and limitations. It is going to allow you to do something different, do something better, and so it is very important that that capability then gets articulated and put into the training base, you know, through career and development, you know, equipment-specific training and so on, so that you know how to use this new capability that you have been provided.
Then, finally, OK, I have this thing, I have been trained how to use it, but then how do you take this capability and put it into your concept of operations so that you are actually going to go out there and be able to do something better in an integrated and coherent fashion, not only with your organization, but with the others that are going to be responding to the incident?
This is all standards related, but it's a little bit, you know, beyond your typical ASTM E2411 standard, and I believe that is it.
Stoe: Our next speaker today — thanks, Phil, by the way — before we move on to Bill, I just want to mention that you saw on one of Phil's slides, and it had all those logos on it, it had NIOSH and CDC and NIST and NIJ and ASTM, and all these different standard organizations.
This is around NIJ functions when it comes to development of standards, but NIJ's role is very, very small, and about six years ago, we looked at all those other agencies, and we said, “How are they developing standards,” because NIJ pretty much develops standards in house and we did it our own way, and what we wanted to do is to look at the rest of the world and say, “How are you developing standards,” and “Let's develop our process and remake it and look more like the rest of the world and become more of a consensus standard development agency,” and so that's what we have done in the development of the standards with Special Technical Committees that we have now.
So we are now more like the rest of the world, and it feels good, and lastly, standards are very exciting to us and some of the people in here, and one of the pieces that is so exciting is the fact that as you saw up here, we look at electronic monitoring devices, CBRN, SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatuses), holsters, restraints, biochemicals.
We look at so many different types of technologies as long as it deals with a standard, and that is such a huge forum to be exposed to. I mean, we can be looking at anything on any given day.
Stoe: Bill Haskell is with the CDC. He's a project officer in the Policy and Standards Development Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, also known as NIOSH, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.
Prior to working with NIOSH, Haskell worked for 24 years with the Department of Defense at the Army Research Lab and the Army Soldier Systems Center. Haskell is a member of the InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability, serving as the federal co-chair for the equipment subgroup.
He is a member of many professional organizations and serves on numerous committees, including NIJ CBRN Protective Ensembles Special Technical Committee. Bill earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in plastics engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
William Haskell: I wanted to give you a quick idea of what NIOSH is and what it isn't. I think you are all familiar with OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We are not OSHA. A lot of people confuse us with OSHA. OSHA is under the Department of Labor, and one of their roles is to enforce worker health and safety laws. We are under the Department of Health and Human Services and under CDC. NIOSH and OSHA were established back in the early '70s, and our job is to do research, training and prevention recommendations for worker health and safety in this country.
We also, by Code of Federal Regulations, develop and conduct certification of respirators for workers.
Now, NIOSH NPPTL, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, was established in 2001 by the directive for Congress to have a federal lab addressing personal protective equipment technology and standards, and it made sense since NIOSH already did respirator certification and development at our organization in Morgantown. They combined it into a new laboratory, which is outside of Pittsburgh.
And this is the website where you can get information on all our different projects, our standards, a lot of selection use and guidance documents for everything from filtering face pieces for h2N1 to very complex air supplied systems. I urge you to check out that website.
Related to public safety, a quick explanation of some of the different types of respirators that we get involved with: tight-fitting face pieces like gas masks, loose-fitting hood-type or helmet-type respirators like PAPRs and hoods, respirators that you might see EMS personnel wearing.
The method of exposure control is usually air-purifying elements, including PAPRs, power air purifying respirators; filtering face piece respirators; and half-masks or air-supplied respirators, such as closed-circuit breathing apparatus and tethered air supplied respirators.
We normally categorize it into two different areas of the breathing zone within the face piece. Negative pressure, like an APR, is where the breather is sucking air in, pulling that air with the power of their lungs through the filtering media. That can be very intensive on the physiological capabilities of the person.
In positive air pressure systems, like self-contained breathing apparatus where you're actually providing a clean source of breathing air and usually puts an overpressure inside the face piece, which makes it easier to breathe and gives you higher protection factors.
NIOSH also puts out what is called the Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. This is a tremendous document that is used by industrial hygienists across the world, by safety and health experts, chemical industry, by Hazmat response organizations both industrially and with fire service, and you can get all the exposure information on the industrial chemicals and their recommendations for personal protective equipment, and I urge you to take a look at that particular document, and it can be downloaded for free or you can actually write for it, and NIOSH will send you a copy for free.
NIOSH got involved with developing respirator standards back in March of 1999. We have continued to get funding from the Department of Homeland Security through Phil and his organization, and I am going to tell you about the CBRN respirator standards that we have developed in the past decade.
We work very closely with NIST, with their U.S. Army Research Development Engineering Command, with OSHA, NFPA, and we have come up with a whole new suite of standards for law enforcement and public safety professionals, and I will quickly discuss which standards we have completed and which ones are ongoing.
One thing we had to do was develop a suite of new standards particularly for emergency responders. We have always been certifying things like gas masks and self-contained breathing apparatus for industrial applications and for fire fighting applications, but we needed to come up with an enhanced set of performance criteria related to chemical, biological and radiological terrorism in the crisis and mitigation work that public safety professionals will be doing.
We had to come up with better durability testing, vibration, tumble, high-temperature storage. We had to come up with a better series of gas life testing for APRs. We identified about 151 different toxic industrial chemicals that could be used in a terrorism event. We had to come up with testing for live chemical warfare agents. We actually test all of our certified CBR and respirators with nerve agent and blister agent.
We had to come up with better ability to speak and communicate in the environments which public safety professionals would have to operate, and we developed a human subject laboratory protection level test to actually validate that the manufacturer's products will fit a particular population of people.
The first standard that was released was the self-contained breathing apparatus standard in 2002. We did that one because it was felt that the fire service, which is on the front line of terrorism response, have open-circuit, self-contained breathing apparatus, and we needed to determine how hardened they were to chemical warfare agents and other threats.
That was followed by the air-purifying respirator standard or gas mask standard in 2003, an escape mask standard in 2003, and then power air purifying respirator CBRN standard in 2006, and there is pictures of the different types of products to the right.
We also have to develop our standards through a rulemaking process under 42 CFR part 84, which is a Code of Federal Regulation. We have to go through a series of public meetings, we have to post thing on dockets, we have to give people the ability to be involved with our standard-making process, and we are developing a series of new ones, including a closed-circuit, self-contained escape respirator, and we are coming up with new requirements to measure total end with leakage on things like filter and face pieces.
Also under development is a standard for a CBRN PAPR, power air-purifying respirator, closed circuit or rebreathers. Some of you may be familiar with the four-hour rebreathers that are used. They are used quite extensively in coal mine accident rescue, but they are also being used now by many fire departments and police departments when they need longer breathing durations than an open-circuit SCBA will give you.
Phil had mentioned the air-fed suit standard and a combination respirator where you would have something like an APR and an SCBA combined into one unit. We have a standard for that under development.
One thing NIOSH does as the federal certifier, we maintain a certified equipment list. If you go to that website, you can actively search for all the different types of respirators, both CBRN and industrial by category, and instantly get a readout of the NIOSH approval number, the manufacturer make and model, and a link to the manufacturer information.
On the very top we keep it simple, that you can click one of these categories and quickly get a list of the CBRN respirators that we have approved.
The way we work our approval process is the manufacturer contracts NIOSH, the federal government, directly. They submit their product to us, as well as setting up a bank account to run the testing. We run the certification. If they pass, then we actually give them permission to label it with a NIOSH-certified label.
We have the right at any time to go back and check the quality control. If we get reports that there has been perceived field failures or quality control problems in the field, we have the right to go back in and check product and check their manufacturing line, and if we feel that a product is no longer meeting our original requirements, we will pull their certification and send out a notice to the community that that particular product certification approval has been withdrawn by NIOSH.
Now, you are probably asking what was our role in the Special Technical Committee. Well, if you look at the photo on the right, one concept that we started in development with the NFPA committees was when you are protecting an emergency responder, you need to protect the person as a system. It's a respirator; it's a garment or protective clothing; it's gloves; it's boots; it's other operational equipment they may be wearing, such as a helmet or a vest, and within the NIJ standard, ensemble standard, we developed law enforcement response levels for different threat environments, LERLs 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Within that NIJ standard, it does mandate that the ensemble will be submitted with a specific NIOSH-certified CBRN, SCBA by the ensemble manufacturer and will be tested with that particular make and model of respirator and will be labeled for use with that particular ensemble, and that information is also included in the technical data package.
One reason we liked this philosophy is for those of you that have trained your departments with respirators and ensembles, boots, and gloves, have you seen people tape everything? They tape around the face piece, they tape the gloves, they tape the wrists. The way our standards are written is you meet the performance requirements of the standard without having to tape all the end with leakage, the permeation, the liquid tight integrity, so we feel that taping is not an adequate or proper approach for an emergency responder to be doing in an emergency situation.
I am sure Bob Vondrasek will talk more about the NFPA standards. I do participate on the NFPA committees that have these different standards, including CBRN. Those standards also mandate that you must use a NIOSH CBRN certified respirator.
We do have a nice guidance document out there for emergency responders, not just for the departments, but also for those that are doing identification and selection and procurement of personal protective equipment. It does compare the different OSHA requirements, the NIOSH requirements, the NFPA ensemble requirements, how they mate together, and how they should be selected, and you can download that document for free at this NIOSH website.
In closing, I wanted to take the opportunity to quickly mention our National Occupational Research Agenda, or NORA. It's a process that NIOSH has been facilitating for over 20 years. We have different committees looking at research agendas in the different sectors, such as manufacturing services, construction, health and safety, and we have one now related to public safety. We have professionals from law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical service and corrections that have helped us develop a national agenda of research strategic goals.
These are some of the folks that are represented right now on our committee. One thing I hope to accomplish while at this meeting is to identify more corrections folks to participate on this NORA Public Safety Council. We do have excellent representation from the fire service and from police and law enforcement.
That NORA Safety Sector Council is chaired by my boss, Les Boord. Our co-chair is Dr. Jeff Burgess from the University of Arizona, and our next meeting will be August 18th and 19th in Washington, D.C.
That's it. Thank you.
Stoe: Our next presenter will be Robert Vondrasek.
As Bill was talking about NIOSH as a regulatory standard-setting organization, NIJ is a voluntary standards development organization. The difference between those two things is that if someone wants to use our standard, they want to test their equipment to our standard, it is completely voluntary; they don't have to do it; however, what we do stipulate is that once you walk in the door, once you open up the standard, then you have to pass all the tests, so that is your voluntary.
The voluntary part is walking in. After that, you have to do everything in the standard. For NIOSH, you have to do everything if you are going to sell that equipment, purity and report. So now we have Bob Vondrasek coming up, who is with the NFPA, and NFPA is a private standards development organization.
Let me just mention that when NIJ was redoing and redeveloping their standards development process, we looked at NFPA and we drew heavily on the way that NFPA develops their standards, and we invited them to the table, and they were very gracious, and they helped us put together our process, and you will see a lot of similarities in NIJ standards and NFPA.
Having said that, Robert Vondrasek is the vice president of technical projects at the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA. He is responsible for new technologies and homeland security projects. He also coordinates with federal authorities and other standards development organizations in these areas.
He is active in the American National Standards Institute, including his Homeland Security Standards Panel. Bob was an assistant vice president of engineering and later became vice president of the standards operations at NFPA. He has managed NFPA's research foundation, engineering, public fire protection and regional operations, as well as professional development certification in incident investigations.
Robert Vondrasek: Thank you, Debra. Good afternoon.
I think, as was sort of implied here, standards are probably the best-kept secret in the safety world. A lot of us think about safety in terms of consumer products, but clearly, from what you hear and know here, it's at the place where you work; it's where you go on vacation; it's where you go to school; it's in hospitals; it's all around us.
It is not just product standards; it is also systems, procedures, programs and protocols; they all make part of the safety network that we all enjoy and really take for granted.
I would like to talk about NFPA and our collaboration with NIJ. This has been a great project for us. We've been around since 1896, still headquartered in the Boston area, as Debra said, a private, not-for-profit, voluntary code standards organization. Codes are just higher-level standards used in the regulation of the built environment. We write several big ones in that area. “Voluntary” means that we are not a regulatory body, so organizations voluntarily choose to adopt it and use our standards or adopt them into regulation and law as jurisdiction, state, federal government and cities do.
We are an ANSI-accredited standards developer. We meet all their requirements. ANSI is the umbrella organization for private-sector standards development in the U.S. We are also a membership organization. We have 76,000 members, and to just bust the myth here, 20 percent of them are fire service, not 80 percent, not 90 percent. There's insurance folks, designers, engineers, architects, code officials and others involved in our operations, in our membership and in our committees.
Two hundred seventy-five standards is how many we promulgate; 75 of those are related to first responder subjects, so we spend a lot of time in the built environment, not in the first responder environment, but in the first responder environment, we have a very strong role to play.
We also meet the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act requirements for standards development and also what ANSI calls their essential requirements to become an accredited standards developer. What that really means is that our process is open and transparent, that it is accessible; you can watch what the committees are doing. Now, you can see it online, but we also provide free paper copies of all the things the committees do. There is multiple opportunities for the public to get involved in our process without being a member of a committee or without even going to a committee meeting, you can participate.
We also guard against lack of dominance. We classify people who participate on our committees in nine categories of interest, and make sure that no more than one-third of the people on the committee come from any one interest group. Our consensus requirements are two-thirds agreement to move anything forward in the committee, so with the two-thirds consensus requirement and the one-third balance rule, we keep from having any one or two groups hijacking the process on it, so we meet that ANSI requirement quite easily.
We also follow our own rules and regulations very strictly. We have a body of 13 NFPA volunteer members who serve on what we call our Standards Council. They serve as the appellate body for our process and make sure the rules are followed.
I'll briefly, quickly go through our process. As Debra indicated, it was sort of a model for NIJ's thinking about their new Special Technical Committee process. We call for proposals formally for an existing document that is being revised or any new document for which a draft is available. All those public proposals are received and are given to our committee, and they act on every single proposal, and they vote on every one of those actions.
Then we publish those proceedings and call for comments on their committee actions on proposals, because that's the first time the public has seen what the committee is doing with the new information or not aware of something new that has come in from the public.
We then do the same thing over again. We then take those comments, give them to the committee. The committee then acts on those comments on their earlier actions, ballots that, and we document that in another proceeding, which is available. These things look like phone books after a while, but it is also all available online.
Then the process is essentially done unless somebody is still unsatisfied with how the committee has dealt with either their proposal or comment. If there are no concerns and no one wants to make a motion to have an issue brought back to the committee, the standard can then go to our council, our Standards Council, and be issued. If someone wants to make a motion on an earlier proposal or comment, they can have that brought to our annual hearing, which took place for this year, last week in Las Vegas, and bring it before a public forum where it can be debated openly and everyone can participate.
The results of that hearing then go to the Standards Council for further consideration and also consideration of the committee as to what the floor action was. Then, and only then, can the council issue that document. So you can see there's three major places you can play in the process. You can even appeal to the Standards Council on your own if you are still unhappy with the procedures.
The council also was responsible for starting any new projects, appointing committees and, basically, is our supreme court, if you will, in the system.
I will talk about codes and standards. We do a lot in that area, but we also get involved in what we call research, data collection and analysis. It is not just fire, property damage, and casualties and deaths in the civilian population. We measure fatalities and injuries in the fire service population as well. We also conduct incident investigations; we are concerned about human behavior; and we also have a research foundation.
We also do some training and also some personnel certification. We do not list or test any products of any kind. We also do some public education activity, and we are advocates for public safety in a very general way. We just finished the 50 state campaign on fire-safe cigarettes, which is now … all 50 states will have soon fire-safe cigarette requirements in their jurisdictions.
In the codes and standards area, we can kind of characterize what we do in six categories. I feel a little bit like the Yankee in King Arthur's court, but I had to put the fire engine up there. Most of what we do in emergency operations and preparedness area is for the fire service and EMS folks.
That includes also safety and health programs, really important thing that we do for those folks. We also have a big PPE effort, as we will talk about in a little more detail. We do a lot in fire and life safety in a built environment; hazardous materials is a big subject, building, construction, and protection and even premises security is a new subject area for us.
We've been fortunate to have DHS adopt 27 of our standards. They are all in the first responder and preparedness area. DHS SAFETY Act office is also recognized as a qualified anti terrorism technology and certified product for homeland security, our actual process in 2008, and 15 of those 27 standards adopted by DHS last year. We're really proud of that.
With regard to our involvement with NIJ, it sort of began in a backhanded kind of way. Our own PPE Technical Committee became aware of the law enforcement's unique requirements and problems with our own NFPA standards mostly through the IAB process that Dave is going to talk about. They felt that it was really important, and we believe it, too, that everyone on a CBRN incident should be protected to the same high level. We shouldn't have different levels of protective clothing for the folks who are in that scene working together.
In 2006, the leaders of our committee project came to the Standards Council and said, “We want to form some new committees. We want to form a technical committee for PPE for law enforcement and also one for skilled trades folks, as well,” knowing full well that the law enforcement community wouldn't be monitoring NFPA's activities or ANSI's notices, or even reading the Federal Register for this kind of stuff.
We actually went out and contacted law enforcement organizations. I made some of those calls myself. We found out overwhelmingly in some interesting conversations that no, the law enforcement community really didn't want NFPA to write that standard; however, they really felt that there was a need for this, and they felt that the technology we had in our standards was really good, and there should be some way to translate that to law enforcement. That would be terrific.
We would never write a standard or go into a project where we were creating a standard that had no users, and this was clearly going to be the case. NIJ reminded us that under the Homeland Security Act, it was their job to write personal protective equipment standards for law enforcement.
So a meeting was held that year between NIJ and NFPA executive staff, and Debra and I were there, and others, Phil, and we agreed to move ahead, and what that produced was an agreement to allow NIJ to use material from seven NFPA PPE standards in a new standards project yet to be defined and also to collaborate with them on the whole process and to do this all for a free contract, no-fee contract, which we agreed to do.
The only thing we asked for is attribution of our materials that appeared in the standard. Our role in the process was simple, provided by shared experience within NIJ on the process side, on intellectual property, basically share the content of our documents. I think we provided a model format, an outline, which was a great guide to start the committee on their work.
There's performance and prescriptive requirements in there, even some testing and certification, which NIJ used, and we also got a chance to recommend some subject matter experts, like Bill Haskell and others from our process, who might be really good in this process.
The long and short of it was a very capable committee came together. They did a terrific job. These were 20 plus volunteers who any standards developer would be happy to have working on any of their projects, and also NIJ did a terrific job administering the project, managing the project, those people, all the meetings and the document.
Remember that there is task groups going on, revising pieces of this. It's all trying to come together. You are always trying to keep track of what the most current master is, and that's not an easy job, but the NIJ staff did a terrific job with that, as well, and that all came together despite an ambitious schedule and multiple meetings, working offline via the Internet, and so forth, and multiple task group meetings.
It all came together very nicely. In fact, it evolved from an NFPA-looking document to one that was clearly an NIJ-unique document and included all the requirements they had, including response levels and the uniqueness of the law enforcement mission, so I think it was a very successful project for NIJ. We were pleased to work with them. We liked the professionalism we saw among the committee members and the NIJ as an organization, and we'd do it again, we really would.
With that, this is the website for NFPA. You can follow our process here. If you are interested in any other of the standards we have done for first responders, start looking at the NFPA 1000 and higher documents. You'll see a whole family of documents on safety and health programs. We just actually produced one on surface water rescue, which I think has applications for law enforcement and everybody, and that's my e mail address right there. So thank you.
Stoe: Thanks, Bob.
After listening to that, I am tired all over again, because it took us two years to work through that process that Bob was referring to about the STC and the CBRN. It was intense, but it was so gratifying, and I can't even begin to explain how wonderful it is to sit in a meeting day in and day out and talk about footies and liners and foot protectors. It is amazing how you can spend so many hours talking about some very, very, what you would think would be simplistic issues, very, very complicated, but it was a great experience.
Stoe: Next, we have Dave McBath, and he is with the InterAgency Board, and let me mention that with the new NIJ process, one of the things that we didn't do previously was to send our standards out for public comment, and so one of the things that we have introduced with the new process is to make sure that every standard before we publish it goes out for public comment.
The IAB is one of the agencies that we asked to make sure that they review our drafts before we publish them. The IAB is made up — and I don't want to steal Dave's presentation, but it's a collection of subject matter experts who do an excellent job at peer reviewing our documents and letting us know if we are still on task.
Dave McBath is a staff inspector, is a 25 year veteran in law enforcement, currently assigned to the Field Command, Operations Section, at New York State Police Headquarters.
He assists executive staff in the management of uniform force and special operations activities statewide. He was recently elected as a chair of the InterAgency Board, a voluntary group of various state, local and federal government representatives and organizations from all emergency response disciplines that collaborate to strengthen the nation's ability to prepare for and respond safely and effectively to emergencies; disasters; and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents.
He also served on the National Institute of Justice Special Technical Committee for Law Enforcement, CBRN, PPE standards development.
David McBath: What is the IAB? Voluntary and diverse working group of emergency preparedness and response practitioners. We were founded in 1998. It was really a collaboration between the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice, the FBI's countermeasures unit. So it's pre 9/11 where we got together and we started talking about this WMD focus and now we've kind of evolved. We just redid our charter and bylaws in the last 12 months, and now we're more of an all-hazards focus as an entity.
But we're trying to become, or we are, the trusted authoritative representative and a valid repository of field perspective operational knowledge and technical expertise, and everybody at the front table here has been involved in some of the IAB activities, and there are some people out in the audience that have, as well.
I will tell you that there are no shrinking violets in the IAB, and that's probably a good thing, because if we have something to say, we are not afraid to say it, and as a cop who had to manage a grant program and went out and bought some respirators that didn't meet any standard and then got called on the carpet for it, I very quickly understood by getting involved in the IAB what a standard was and what it really meant, because when I bought those respirators, there was no CBRN standard. It didn't exist, and we were told to go out and buy these APRs, and we went to our friends at the RAID team — that was the precursor to the civil support team that the National Guard has; there is I think 27 of them now or something like that — and they recommended this respirator.
Well, DoD doesn't have to follow those standards, because they don't use a respirator in the workplace, and I can't believe I'm standing here in front of you right now talking like this, because five, 10 years ago, I couldn't talk about standards because I didn't really understand it.
I had to do a crash course in learning and the IAB really helped me get there. We strengthen the nation's ability to prepare for and respond safely and effectively to emergencies and by accomplishing all those things right there, but I think probably the most important one is that we try to be the credible voice of the responder community, and it has been alluded to already, that if we don't think something is right, we are going to say something about it, like when ANSI comes out with standards for radiation detectors that they are pushing into the law enforcement community for preventive rad-nuke detection in certain specific cities in this country, and the grant program says you can't buy a detector unless it meets the ANSI standard.
We are not afraid to tell the federal government, “You are giving us money to buy something that there is no standard that this equipment can meet,” so they actually had to relax the standard so we could buy that equipment.
Then, there are other examples, but that was another one I personally got involved with, because they gave us all this money to buy radiation detectors for our troopers, but we didn't really have any that met the standard.
So we are a credible voice, we try to talk common sense at times if certain things conflict and we're not afraid to actually walk out in the hall, and I remember a conversation about NFPA 472 at one of the IAB meetings where there were some things that the fire side was saying, and the law enforcement community was saying something different, so we're not afraid to kind of go at each other, but at the end of the day, we will sit down and we will talk, and I have a lot of respect for a lot of the folks.
Who are we? There is about 132 current members. To be a member of the IAB, you have to be employed by a federal, state or local government entity to become a member. Now, what if I retire? Well, then, you can become a subject matter expert, because we have got about over 40 regular attendees that are considered subject matter experts. They can't be members because they don't meet the definition of being a federal, state or local government employee acting on behalf of their employer, but then we do also bring in some SMEs.
Under that SME category, you can see some association representatives. IAFF has a representative that routinely attends; NFPA routinely attends. So we kind of bring in the right people for the right job at the right time depending on what the committees are talking about.
We currently have representation from 23 states, from New York to Florida, from Washington to Oklahoma. We have got a pretty good diversity with regards to the representation across the country, and most recently, our last meeting, we actually had five people from Canada, because what Canada has done is they have started to see what the IAB is doing here, and now Canada has decided, the Canadian government, they want to try and replicate some of the things we are doing and create a recommended equipment list for use by Canadian first response community up there, and they don't what to reinvent the wheel, and we are going to give them as much as we can to get them on their way and to help them, but we are going to have a liaison, so we go up and see what they are doing and they will come down and see what we are doing.
We're going to stay in touch back and forth, because, believe it or not, we actually have to work cross-border once in a while, and interoperability cross-border is probably a pretty good thing to have in play.
So we will talk about, you know, what we are using on the northern border states and what they are using on the southern border states.
Participation from the government representatives … again, you get an idea of who that is. We even have a veterinarian. He's a veterinarian with the Cornell system. Cornell College has a big ag school there, and so we've got, you know, the agricultural side covered as well.
Demographics. Depending on what we are talking about in any given subgroup at any given time, we do a demographic survey almost anywhere, I believe, right? We kind of try and do it annually and update it. I think we just sent another one out, but it gives you an idea that, you know, over half of the people that are involved have some background in instant management, weapons of mass destruction, CPR and detection, emergency management, decontamination. You can read it on your own, but there is a lot of people that know a lot of stuff about a lot of different things, so we try and bring the right people together at the right time, and this is what the organization looks like.
The InterAgency Board has a chair, and I was just recently elected at the May meeting in Boston as the chair of the IAB, something I never thought I would do. I'm kind of glad I have done it. I'm learning a lot. You have to learn things if you want to take positions of responsibility, so it has required me to do a lot of reading.
There are two deputy chairs. They currently are Jay Hagen — he's a battalion chief in the Seattle, Washington, Fire Department — and John Dulaney, who is a captain in the Arlington County Fire Department here in the national capital region.
Then we have seven subgroups. Each subgroup is chaired by a federal co-chair and a state and local co-chair. The subgroups are equipment; health medical responder safety; information management and communications; science and technology; standards coordination, which is why we are here today; strategic planning, a new subgroup that was just recently created; and training and exercises.
Now, we have two federal co-chairs with us here today, Phyllis, the federal co-chair for standards coordination, and Bill is the federal co-chair for the equipment subgroup, so these guys are very intimately involved with the work of the IAB.
Now, there is another entity called the Federal Agency Coordinating Committee. I'm going to give you a slide about that, because that one's kind of important. That's the funding partners for the IAB. That's where we get the ability to do what we do.
The FACC provides the interface between the IAB chair and deputy chairs and the sponsoring federal government agencies. We meet every time we have a board meeting when the FACC meets with the leadership, and they coordinate the interest and initiatives of the federal and the first responder communities, and these are the current FACC members: the Department of Defense Joint Program Office, DHS S&T Command and Control Interoperability Division, DHS/FEMA MPD, DHS/FEMA GPD, DHS Office of Health Affairs, the Biowatch program — the folks from that entity are heavily involved right now — and then NIOSH is a funding partner.
We're hoping really, really soon we are going to be able to add DOJ/NIJ back onto the FACC. I think that's something that we are really looking forward to, because it's really important for the federal partners, when we sit down with the FACC people, and we are going to do this again at our upcoming meeting. We are going to have an executive meeting at the end of August.
We have just started a new work plan process where we ask the federal partners, “What are your three priorities for the IAB for the next 12 months? What would you like to see the IAB do to help you?”
And I'll give you an example. I think, Bill, you wanted to have a forum where we could have first responders come in, and they wanted to talk about, you know, the repertory protection issue, training, and some of those things, so at our last board meeting, we added an extra day in the front end. Bill's folks in NIOSH came in, they actually put together the packages they wanted to have discussed, and we provided them the responder community to give them the feedback, and that was one of the priorities for NIOSH for this last work plan cycle.
So that's just an example of how we engage the federal partners. Now, at the same time we asked them for their priorities, we asked each one of those subgroups to come up with their own priorities, as well, because the responder community has some issues, and I was excited today to hear Gordan say something about LPRs, because we just purchased a pile of license plate readers in my agency. There is no standard.
What I'm finding is that we have LPRs, but the LPR data I'm capturing and along the northern border of New York state, there is no mechanism for sharing that data with other border states.
Gordan Gillerman: It was a long time.
McBath: I probably did, I probably did; I mean, I have experience doing that, but so we asked each of these subgroups to actually come up with their own priorities. Last year, when we did our annual work plan this way — it was the first time we did it — the federal partners had 17 priorities listed; the subgroups came up with a total of 46 priorities. We crosswalked them and the work plan actually took into account every one of the federal partners' priorities, and we're working towards trying to give them what they were asking for based on what they submitted to us.
So it's a very synergistic relationship. We kind of cut our teeth on the standardized equipment list, and again the IAB was created pre 9/11 and pre the existing grant program, grants program directorate, if you will. I think the initial WMD grants were from Justice, right, they were housed at OJP, and then they moved over and they've kind of bounced around.
What we did is we created a minimum list of the equipment and supplies recommended by the IAB for local, state and federal government organizations in preparing for and responding to all hazards.
This was the document that I didn't know existed when I had to buy those APRs. Alright. And I didn't know where to go to look. So this document, we are trying to get the word out that we put this together; we maintain it; it's updated annually. Bill and the equipment subgroup do a huge amount of work on this every year, to try and keep it current.
It doesn't list products and manufacturers, but it talks about different types of equipment and different capabilities, and it puts it in a very formatted way, and again we work very closely with the responder knowledge base, NMIPT, when they were managing the authorized equipment list, which is what the first response community has to use to leverage grant funds against the eligible equipment list as posted on the website, and our process is very much aligned with them.
In this document, the standardized equipment list is available on the IAB website if anybody wants to pull it down and take a look at it. It is pretty thick; it is, like, this big, and we also have a CD version of it, but it's an annual product that comes out and it's really the backbone of how the IAB was started.
Some of the things recently that we put out based on requests from federal partners: Position paper on the first responder use of anthrax vaccine. There was a big push here not too long ago for first responders to be vaccinated for anthrax exposure, so we put a position paper together on that.
Gap analysis of first responder response to an environmental biological threat. R&D priority list. We do a lot of … Gabe Ramos and his folks and their subgroup do a lot of R&D-type things. They want to know from the subgroup's perspective what are your top priorities for R&D.
A position paper on h2N1, a position paper on gaps in respiratory PPE, and we also cosponsored the Technologies for Critical Incident Preparedness conference this past February.
So we've always got something going on. I mean, recently, I just participated in a strategic foresight initiative's work group with FEMA, which was kind of interesting. They're thinking about what the challenges are going to be 20 years from now and how we ought to approach them from the first response community. So you never know what we are going to be dealing in. I mean, it's kind of an interesting dynamic.
So let's talk about standards, which is really why we're here. The mission of the Standards Coordination SubGroup is to coordinate standard projects within the IAB with external organizations in the first responder community, and we accomplished that by trying to identify gaps that might exist in any applicable standards, prioritizing standards projects based on first responder needs, and I think you heard the example of the law enforcement community not being real happy with NFPA standard as it didn't really meet our requirements from our perspective as we thought as it related to clandestine methamphetamine labs, and that was something that I was intimately involved with on the front end of the project because we were trying to come out and come back.
We had a growing clandestine meth lab problem, and if you looked at the chemical environment that's involved in the process of illicitly manufacturing methamphetamine, some of the equipment that was out there didn't meet all the necessary requirements. I'm using all these scientific terms. I never even knew what they meant.
So we kind of said, “You know what, we want a suit that's going to do this, this, this, this, this, and we want it to be able to protect us from that, that, that, that, that,” and then people say, “Well, you can't make it, you just can't do it,” and lo and behold, we now have a draft standard that outlines all of what this, this, this, that, that, that is, and we think it can be made.
I think the technology in other countries has proven that it can be done, so I think we're really, really excited in the law enforcement community to see this new standard hit the street and to see what comes out, because at the end of the day I think it's going to be a better piece of equipment to protect our people if we have to process a meth lab, and that's the bottom line. It's all about protecting people.
Advocating for appropriate minimum performance, reliability and quality requirements; facilitating development of new standards by regulatory consensus and/or voluntary standards organizations; and then recommending standards for adoption by the IAB in promoting the adoption and use of those standards, and Phil actually herds this whole process for the IAB, he and his subgroup.
Other subgroups present their standard to the Standards Coordination SubGroup. This is kind of how we do it. The Standards Coordination SubGroup reviews the standard. If it's approved, they submit the standard to the entire membership for review prior to a board meeting.
We do three board meetings every year, and there are certain things that are going to pop up as a matter of routine, and this is one of those. If there is a standard that has been proposed, and Phil's group has looked at it, and they say, “You know what, we're going to push this out to everybody to take a look at it, at this board meeting. We want you to come back at the end of the meeting and let us know what you think.”
The Standards Coordination SubGroup presents the standard, the membership discusses the standard at their breakouts, and then we decide to vote on it. If the standard is approved, it's added to the IAB adopted standard list, and I am going to show you what that looks like in a minute. It is also on our website, and it's also printed in our annual report.
If the standard isn't approved, it does not get added to the website or the annual report or the SEL. It can be nominated for consideration at a future meeting. So that is our process within the IAB with regards to standards.
The most recent standard we adopted — correct me if I'm wrong, Phil — May of this year we adopted the NFPA 1952 standard on water operations protective clothing. That was the most recent one.
The very first standard — and thank God Phil is here because he's got a little history of the IAB that I didn't have — one of the first standards that was a priority for the IAB was for SCBA, and NIJ funded the program pre 9/11 from what Phil put on his little note here, and if it wasn't for NIJ's leadership and sponsorship, the NIOSH SCBA standard would not have been in place by 2002.
So that's a very interesting fact with regards to all the interaction that goes on in some of these meetings. That's something that … you know, the IAB, again, they are not shrinking violets; they are not afraid to say that we need to do something and try to get everybody involved.
The CBRNPP standard. IAB encouraged — and you've heard some of this already — and supported the NIJ and the creation of the standard based on the feedback that we got from not only the law enforcement membership of the IAB, but even the law enforcement associations — IACP, Fraternal Order of Police, National Sheriffs' Association was involved, and based on my count, eight of the 20 people that were on the STC were actually people who were also IAB members, so we kind of created a pool of people for them to draw on.
I know that some of us actually gave other folks some people to be test people to actually go into environments and do certain things with some of the stuff, because if you want to break something, who do you give it to? If you really want to see if the equipment is going to break or not?
You give it to a cop or a fireman, and they will break it, and if it doesn't get made, if one doesn't exist, they will make it in their garage or in their basement, and they'll find something, they'll find a way. This is what we need. I mean the bomb guys, it is amazing some of the stuff those guys will put together to render safe tools that starts out in the back of the garage or someplace.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these videos represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these videos are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Reforming New Orleans' Criminal Justice System: The Role of Data and Research
- Sex Offenders in the Community: Post-Release, Registration, Notification and Residency Restrictions
- Impression Evidence: Strengthening the Disciplines of Fingerprints, Firearms, Footwear, and Other Pattern and Impression Sciences Through Research