Standard for High-Vis Public Safety Vests Approved

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) earlier this week approved a new performance standard that was written to help protect emergency responders by providing increased visibility.

ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 – the American National Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests – establishes design, performance specifications and use criteria for highly visible vests that are used by public safety industries.

"Vests that meet this standard give users enhanced visibility in all lighting conditions, through the combined use of fluorescent and retro-reflective materials," International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) Technical Director Janice Comer Bradley said.

ISEA President Daniel Shipp said that that the new standard is similar to ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 – the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear – with the addition of "some special features that were put in for the law enforcement and emergency response communities." To meet the specific needs of those communities, the standard includes design criteria that allow for access to belt-mounted equipment (such as guns and radios) and for the ability for vests to tear away from the body.

The standard also recognizes the need for some public safety entities to identify with a specific color, according to ISEA. The standard includes the means to identify public safety entities through the use of specific color markings.

Standard Progressed at "Warp Speed"

Shipp explained that the impetus for the new standard came from the police and emergency response communities, who "understand the necessity" of high-visibility vests but also realize that their vests require some special features to suit their specific needs.

Shipp said that the standard took about a year to promulgate, "and that is warp speed in the standards world."

"We had the advantage of being able to base it on a well-established and widely accepted standard [ANSI/ISEA 107-2004], with just some adaptations that make it more appropriate for the public safety community," Shipp said.

ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 will be available in December. ISEA is taking orders for the standard at this time.

The price for a single copy is $60. Contact ISEA for discounts on bulk orders over 20 copies.

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