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Fit Testing

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  • Fit Testing

    I was about to order some Isoamyl Acetate (Banana Oil) Ampoules for traditional qualitative fit testing. After doing some searches found "Verifit Irritant Smoke Generators" as an alternative. Anyone used these before ? can you compare them to the Banana Oil solution? Is it a better solution? Or same? seems fairly easy to use, is it?

    Maybe you have an alternative to this ? Any and all input is appreciated.

    Keith Badler
    Robertsville Volunteer Fire Co. #1
    Marlboro Township, New Jersey, District #2
    [email protected]

  • #2
    I assume this is for SCBA fit testing....If so, I thought it had to be a quantative test?????
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


    • #3
      At my company (defense contractor, not fire dept), I am on the emergency response team and we do fit testing for SCBAs at the same time the employees who use half face regulators do theirs. Those with half face respirators are always checked with the banana oil. Those of us doing SCBA masks always use the irritant smoke.

      I'm not sure why they do it this way, but I get the idea that the smoke is used so that you would show an obvious reaction to it leaking into your mask, instead of the banana oil which is not irritating. With the banana oil, you could lie and say that you didn't smell it when you actually did due to a leaking mask.
      Last edited by KB1OEV; 11-04-2010, 12:00 AM. Reason: Typo - changed "regulators" to "respirators"


      • #4
        Have you tried contacting Nat Alexander at all? They are located in NJ and I have used them for several years for fit-testing. It can be paid out of Relief funds. Here is their website


        Good luck


        • #5
          Originally posted by FWDbuff View Post
          I assume this is for SCBA fit testing....If so, I thought it had to be a quantative test?????
          Depends on your state. Granted in the 2007 NFPA revision it is supposed to be done quantitatively, and in that statement there is where it spirals off kilter in how some perceive it. Here are the things that make it difficult for some to understand:

          1. it is not retroactive so anything prior to the 2007 revision still can be qualitative

          2. If you are a OSHA state nothing in the 2007 revision matters anyway. Before I get slam messages let me clarify a bit. I used to be a SCBA dealer that covered two states and even my mfg said it all changed. Also, let me get across that I have no problem with quantative fit tests however in the rural departments I served it took me a bit of time getting them to understand the need/requirement to fit test, now they were going to have to find the funds to either buy a test machine or to contract with someone to test annually. That caused me to research OSHA since both states were OSHA states. I even called OSHA for clarification and was told that "we can only go by what is in our standards, whatever is in another orginizations documentation we can not go by". The last update shown on the site is 2008. Here is a copy of a interpretation letter found at this link.


          For all positive pressure, atmosphere-supplying respirators, either qualitative or quantitative fit testing may be used. While atmosphere-supplying respirators are fit-tested in the negative pressure mode, these respirators are most often used as positive pressure respirators in the workplace. Positive pressure atmosphere-supplying respirators that pass the QLFT or QNFT fit test may be used at the higher protection factors assigned these respirators. Both methods will detect most leakage and identify poorly fitting respirators. Any minor leaks should be overcome by the positive pressure present under normal use.
          So, no both are compliant. I prefer the irritant smoke over any due to their ease of use and that unlike banana oil, faking the test can't be done. Irritant smoke causes a coughing effect on a leak and if nothing else will give a reaction on the rainbow passage portion due to the agent getting on the vocal cords.

          Kbadler, not sure where you are getting your chemical but PM me and I will send you where I bought at saving almost half off where I bought prior.
          Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down?” (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)


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