Emergency Respirator Use Situation

Last Updated: June 15, 2018

Definition - What does Emergency Respirator Use Situation mean?

An emergency respirator use situation is an unplanned, often urgent event involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) hazard dispersal in the atmosphere calling for immediate retrieval of a respirator apparatus. Emergency prevention models incorporate respirator devices as a practical measure when encountering life-threatening scenarios entailing the release of toxic chemicals and substances. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) establishes basic guidelines for employers to adopt and follow when selecting the appropriate respirator(s) in an emergency situation.

WorkplaceTesting explains Emergency Respirator Use Situation

Many employers apply proactive solutions to handle emergency situations before they occur. A firm emergency plan and strategy outlines all potential threats against human welfare including industrial accidents, natural disasters, and growing terrorism. Emergency respirator use situations can involve a response call to, and/or escape route from, dangerous conditions where toxic contaminants permeate the environment compromising the respiratory system.

Some respirators are designed to generate clean air featuring calibrated service gauges to observe and control the amount of oxygen delivery to its user. For instance, firefighting requires the use of self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) consisting of a heavy cylindrical tank carried on the back feeding compressed oxygen through hoses connected to a face-piece mask. During a rescue operation, firefighters are required to don this equipment to protect themselves against thick smoke emitting carbon fumes while maintaining an open line of communication.

Conversely, company personnel who need to evacuate a building fast can use an escape only respirator comprising a hooded mask with an air-purifying cartridge to filter out airborne pollutants. These respirator devices require little or no training to use fulfilling the purpose of vacating employees to a safe location until help arrives.

Employers are largely responsible for developing, coordinating, and implementing practical health and safety methods tailored towards emergency respirator use situations. Identifying hazardous materials, accessing respirator equipment, and knowing escape and evacuation routes fosters universal awareness against perceivable dangers.

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