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by the NFCC

Active monitoring of breathing apparatus role related competence through assessment

Wearing breathing apparatus is a safety critical control measure in hazardous operations and whilst wearing breathing apparatus or managing the use of breathing apparatus at operational incidents assists in maintaining competence, it does not generally provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate continuing competence. All operational personnel required to undertake the roles identified in this guidance should therefore be able to demonstrate competence against the respective learning outcomes.

To address this each fire and rescue service should have a system for actively monitoring breathing apparatus role related competence through assessment. This system should provide the fire and rescue service with assurance of the competence of its operational personnel, assurance of their health, safety and welfare and to ensure their risk management plans are delivered effectively.

The competence of personnel who undertake any of the breathing apparatus roles identified in this training specification (not including the role of breathing apparatus trainer/instructor) should be assessed at least once within a two-year period. This assessment should be undertaken by a qualified and competent breathing apparatus trainer/instructor and should aim to demonstrate the practical application of knowledge, understanding and skills in realistic conditions.  For example, personnel who undertake the operational breathing apparatus wearer role should do so in an environment that exposes them to realistic conditions, including heat and smoke.

The competence of personnel who undertake the role of Breathing Apparatus Trainer/Instructor should be assessed using methods and intervals deemed appropriate by their fire and rescue service. Methods and intervals of assessment for breathing apparatus trainers/instructors will depend on the frequency of training delivery and the training roles undertaken. For example, personnel who deliver training frequently and cover all aspects of this training specification (i.e. with a frequency that enables individuals to maintain competence) may be subject to recorded training delivery assessment. Where the frequency of training delivery is regarded as insufficient to maintain competence, a formal assessment of breathing apparatus trainers/instructors should be carried out.