American National Standard for High Visibility Public Safety Vests
The American National Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests (ANSI/ISEA 207-2011) is the authoritative document for the design, performance specifications, and use of high-visibility vests specifically worn by public safety employees including law enforcement, firefighters and incident command personnel. It establishes design, performance specifications, and use criteria for highly visible vests that are used by public safety industries.
The standard includes basic requirements such as vest dimensions, color and materials performance, but also incorporates criteria for special features for users in fire, emergency medical and law enforcement services. The vest design criteria reflect the specific needs of public safety workers such as the need to access belt mounted equipment (gun, CPR barrier) and the ability for vests to tear away from the body.
The revised standard represents an update to the initial 2006 publication developed by ISEA’s High Visibility Products Group and was approved by key stakeholders representing municipal fire and police departments, testing laboratories, product suppliers and government agencies. Though the update does not change the well-established requirements for compliant vests with respect to materials used in their configuration, it does provide direction with respect to recognition of the wearer in terms of logos, lettering or other identification means.
“ISEA members are aware of the need for emergency personnel to be recognized during a situation where multiple responders may be present and where their identification is critical to mitigating the crisis at hand,” noted Jim Teigen, chairman of the ISEA High-Visibility Products Group and chief operating officer of OK-1 Manufacturing, Altus, Okla. ”The standard serves to meet the desires of the wearer’s through identification means on the vest, while ensuring that they are visible to vehicle operators at the same time.”
In addition, the update calls attention to the service-life guidelines for high-visibility apparel that have been established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). “It is important that wearers understand that a public safety vest’s ongoing visibility properties can be influenced by environmental and use conditions,” stated Teigen. “For these reasons, they should become familiar with FHWA and manufacturers’ guidelines to ensure that they are wearing items that provide the necessary protection from a visibility standpoint.”
Forms included in the standard to report testing for background material, combined-performance material and retroreflective material, as well as a compliance certificate format, are available online.
The 29-page American National Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests (ANSI/ISEA 207-2011) includes examples of apparel configurations known to meet the standard. The standard can be purchased from ISEA for $60 a copy; discounts are available on bulk orders. For more information, contact Cristine Z. Fargo, ISEA director of member and technical services.
Use of public safety vests labeled to ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 is permitted to meet the visibility requirements of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). ISEA will seek recognition of the 2011 revision to the standard from FHWA, and provide notice as soon as it is received.
On December 16, 2009, the FHWA approved the revised 2009 MUTCD. The revision mandates that all workers in a highway right-of-way or workzone, including law enforcement personnel, firefighters and emergency responders, wear high-visibility safety apparel. Garments complying with ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 will be acceptable as an option to ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 for law enforcement and emergency responders.
Order ANSI/ISEA 207-2011.
Frequently asked questions and concerns about high-visibility safety apparel standards