Firefighters work in conditions with low visibilty and high heat.


Firefighters may become disoriented and separated from their team when there is low visibility due to smoke. They may become injured, trapped or lose consciousness. Prompt rescue is essential to prevent serious injury or death.

Actions for employers

Employers should:

  • develop operating procedures that specify when PASS devices are to be worn in:
    • structural fires
    • confined spaces
    • hazardous materials incidents
    • other hazardous environments
  • ensure every firefighter performing structural fire fighting has a PASS attached to their self-contained breathing apparatus
  • ensure PASS is used in conjunction with entry control procedures

PASS devices

Consider the following features when purchasing new PASS devices:

  • compliance with the latest edition of the NFPA 1982 Standard on Personal Alert Safety Systems
  • a piercing sound when the fire fighter is motionless or when manually activated
  • a separate high temperature alarm circuit and signal
  • durability and resistance to water, chemicals, temperature extremes and rough handling
  • ease of operation of controls with gloved hands
  • on/off indicator light, low battery indicator, pre-alert signal
  • a reliable maintenance and repair program

Applicable regulations and acts


  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • clause 25(1)(b) for maintaining equipment in good condition
    • clause 25(2)(a) for providing information and instruction to a worker
    • clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers

Related standards

For guidance on the reliable performance of personal alert safety systems, read NFPA 1982 Standard on personal alert safety systems.