Whether you are a firefighter, a frontline healthcare worker during a pandemic, or a construction worker that has to deal with hazardous chemicals, an adequately fitted respiratory device can literally be lifesaving. At My Health Reassurance, we appreciate workers that put their lives at risk to provide essential services, and we want to do our part to help protect you! That is why we offer fit testing services to ensure that your respiratory device will be effective in protecting your lungs from dangerous substances.
What does fit testing mean?
Fit testing is a way to assess how a specific respiratory device seals on a particular individual’s face. Fit tests are typically performed in occupational situations, such as emergency response workers, those working with asbestos or other harmful substances, or those working in healthcare facilities. Respiratory devices that require fit tests include N95 masks, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), half-face respirators, and full-face respirators. We provide fit testing at My Health Reassurance for any respiratory devices!
What is the purpose of fit testing?
The primary purpose of fit tests is safety, either for those wearing the mask, for those that the individual wearing the mask encounters, or both. Respiratory devices such as N95 masks, SCBAs, half-face respirators, and full-face respirators depend on a complete seal between the respiratory device and the face to be effective. However, face shapes and sizes vary widely. As a result, such respiratory devices cannot be universally fitted or sized but must be customized to each individual’s face. In order to keep firefighters safe from smoke, asbestos, or nuclear waste workers free from hazardous fumes, and healthcare workers in epidemics or pandemics protected, the personal protective equipment (PPE) that they wear must be appropriately fitted. When it comes to respiratory devices, such individuals must be able to breathe and do their job without breathing in chemicals, fumes, or airborne viruses that could cause severe health complications.
How is fit testing done?
There are two types of fit tests, which are delineated by the terms qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative fit tests use a pass or fail method to determine how well an individual’s respiratory device filters out external contaminants. In order to conduct the test, the tester sprays safe amounts of aerosols that are either bitter or sweet to the taste. If the individual wearing the mask can taste the aerosol, the mask is not sealed to their face correctly. The four aerosols accepted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as safe for use are isoamyl acetate, saccharin, Bittrex, and an irritant smoke. With quantitative fit tests, a machine is used to measure the amount of leakage that seeps through the mask. This type of testing is usually only done for half-face respirators or N95 masks. The OSHA has approved three different quantitative fit methods: generated aerosol, ambient aerosol, and controlled negative pressure.
For an accurate fit test, whether qualitative or quantitative, it is recommended to wear all PPE that you normally wear at work or in an emergency situation. You also will likely be required to shave any facial hair before getting fitted as it can interfere with a proper seal. Fit tests are typically required every twelve months for workers that need the relevant respiratory devices.
If you want to learn more about our fit testing services at My Health Reassurance, or would like to schedule an appointment with us, please do not hesitate to contact us! You can schedule an appointment through our website or call us at (678) 293-4347. Our clinic is located at 5526 Old National Highway, in Suite A of Building A, in Atlanta, Georgia. Our hours of operation are 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM on Monday Tuesday and Thursday.