MSA's Next-Generation Breathing Apparatus for Firefighters First to Receive Full NFPA Approval

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 General News
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PITTSBURGH, Sept. 11 MSA (NYSE: MSA), theworld's leading developer of sophisticated safety equipment, today announcedthat its FireHawk M7 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) has beencertified as meeting new rigorous performance requirements adopted by theNational Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The FireHawk M7 Air Mask is thefirst device of its kind to receive NFPA approval on both its breathingapparatus and Personal Alert Safety System (PASS), which is an SCBA componentthat sounds a loud, piercing alarm whenever a firefighter becomes disabled orlies motionless for 30 seconds.

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To receive certification for NFPA 1981: 2007 edition, which applies to thebreathing apparatus, and NFPA 1982: 2007 edition, which applies to PASSdevices, units must undergo a battery of tests widely considered to be themost demanding in NFPA history. Most notable among these tests is a high-temperature functionality test, which requires PASS devices to emit a 95-decibel alarm at temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

The PASS Alarm on the FireHawk M7 Air Mask, which is the only PASS Alarmcurrently approved by the NFPA, was developed by MSA with input from third-party acoustic experts and utilizes patent-pending technology to meet NFPArequirements.

"We estimate that 95 percent of all Air Masks sold in the United Statesare equipped with an integrated PASS device," said Ron Herring, MSA VicePresident of Global Product Leadership. "Given the fact that improved PASSperformance and the resulting higher level of firefighter protection was thedriving force behind the new NFPA standards, we are especially proud to be thefirst SCBA manufacturer to achieve this level of certification."

In addition to more stringent performance requirements for PASS devices,the new NFPA standards establish higher benchmarks for electronics durability,which is more important than ever given the level of advanced technology foundin today's units.

Mr. Herring noted that the FireHawk M7 Air Mask was designed based onsubstantial customer feedback and field focus group studies. Overall, MSAgathered input and conducted interviews from hundreds of active firefighters,representing a strong "voice of the customer" influence into the MSA design."Firefighters have been waiting for this day for some time," Mr. Herring said."They have, in a manner of speaking, voiced their own approval of our new AirMask design. Firefighters are excited about the new safety features availablein the FireHawk M7 model, and we're certainly excited to be able to providethem."

With a finalized design that fully meets the NFPA standards, and with theNFPA certification process now complete, Mr. Herring said the company now hasthe green light to ramp-up related manufacturing processes and supply-chainlogistics. He added the company will also begin assisting fire departmentswith field evaluations of the new apparatus. "Now that the designs andmaterials are locked-in, we can focus our operations team on achieving asmooth and rapid transition from testing and certification to serialproduction, while our sales team can concentrate on what they do best -demonstrating the remarkable advancements of this great new SCBA system," Mr.Herring said.

Established in 1914, MSA is a global leader in the development,manufacture and supply of sophisticated safety products that protect people'shealth and safety. Sophisticated safety products typically integrate anycombination of electronics, mechanical systems and advanced materials toprotect users against hazardous or life-threatening situations. The company'scomprehensive line of products is used by workers around the world in the fireservice, homeland security, construction and other industries, as well as themilitary. Principal products include self-contained breathing appa

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