Is your department trying to figure out what the new ANSI standard is, and what it means for your agency? Here is some basic information.
The new ANSI 207 standard is a visibility standard for safety vests worn by first responders. It does not apply to jackets, rainwear, pants or shirts like ANSI 107 can. It also does not apply to safety vests worn by utility and construction workers.
The breakthrough with ANSI 207 is that it specifies minimum performance and design requirements for safety vests to ensure appropriate visibility to moving vehicles while simultaneously minimizing interference with duty and gun belts. Law officers and paramedics have complained for years that they wanted ANSI 107 performance with their safety vests, but didn't like how they hung over their equipment, making it difficult to get critical self-defense and life-saving equipment quickly.
ANSI 207-Compliant Vest
The key difference is that the ANSI 207 standard does not specify different levels of protection (Class 1, 2 or 3), like the ANSI 107 standard. A vest is either ANSI 207 certified or not. ANSI 207 certified vests are required to have at least 201 square inches of retro-reflective material (like Scotchlite, Reflexite etc.) and 450 square inches of hi-vis background fabric. This is the same amount of retro-reflective striping as ANSI 107 Class 2, and somewhere between class 1 and 2 of background fabric.
State and local police have until November 24, 2008 to comply with the 23 CFR Part 634 mandate. While the federal mandate does not currently include the ANSI 207 standard, the Federal Highway Administration has already acknowledged the new standard and is in the process of amending the mandate so it includes all first responders.
For more informaton on the new ANSI standards, download the MS Word (.doc) documents below: