Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant personal protective equipment technicians participated in a training exercise with Powered Air Purifying Respirator hoods in April.
“PAPRs are backup Personal Protective Equipment,” said Michael Stewart, operations support superintendent, PCAPP. “Individuals who have not been issued M40 masks, such as visitors or off-site workers who are only at the plant for a short time, are issued these hoods in case of a masking event. It’s been rare that we have a situation where people need to actually put one on.”
In December, a batch of the protective equipment reached their five-year expiration date. Instead of throwing them away, they were repurposed to provide additional training for technicians.
“Since use of this equipment is rare, training is often limited to a video demonstration, even for technicians,” Stewart said. “The re-purposed hoods presented a hands-on training opportunity for technicians so they can better assist individuals in the event of an emergency. We wanted to get the most bang for our buck with this equipment.”
During a masking event, an individual that only has a protective hood must put it on and evacuate outside the agent boundary line. Following the training, technicians now understand what donning this protective equipment entails, he said.
“A PAPR is essentially just a bag over your head that with a powered air filter attached,” Stewart said. Everybody looks like a ‘Martian’ when they wear it, so our staff had a fun time with the exercise. It was a great opportunity to learn.”