20. September 2010 10:55
When you evaluate bailout and rescue equipment you want to know that the equipment is NFPA-certified. NFPA – National Fire Protection Association – allows two types of certification: "component certification" and "system certification."
"Component certification" means that each individual component is NFPA-certified, but it is left to you to determine that all of the components work together as a system. "System certification" means that the system is NFPA-certified as a "black box" but the individual components inside the black box may not, individually, be capable of meeting NFPA certification standards.
A dilemma because there are advantages and disadvantages both ways.
"Component certification" is good because it allows you to mix and match components to build the system that works best for you. And "component certification" gives you assurance that each individual component meets the rigorous standards of the NFPA. On the other hand, putting the pieces together and making sure they work is up to you.
"System certification" is good because you know the entire system will function. But it also eliminates flexibility to customize the system so it works the way you want. For example, if the system uses an anchor hook that is problematic for the building in your area, tough. And, "system certification" allows manufacturers to slip in questionable components as part of the "black box" that would not meet NFPA standards by themselves. Some manufacturers, for example, use hollow webbing in "systems" that would not meet NFPA standards if tested alone.
What to do?
At DEUS Rescue, we decided the only way to make a really safe and functional system was to do BOTH "component certification" AND "system certification." Yes, it costs more because it involves a lot more testing and certification. But, it is the only way to give you assurance of function and safety along with the flexibility to customize DEUS kits to exactly what you need.