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Read about real experiences using PortaCount Respirator Fit Testers
Professionals in Occupational Health & Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Emergency Response, and Healthcare have relied on TSI’s PortaCount respirator fit testing products since 1987. We support worker safety initiatives and programs with the most accurate quantitative respirator fit testing systems available. Using quantitative versus qualitative fit testing ensures better fit, better documentation, and better compliance for a better-protected workforce.
Chris Boe, WI Safety Manager
“Using the PortaCount, we’ve probably changed 15-20% of our respirators...”
"While testing 150 to 175 people using the PortaCount, we’ve changed out approximately 15-20% of our respirators, finding that we could get a better fit. It wasn’t enough for us to just get a passing score, we wanted to get the best fit and best score for our employees. For some, we had to switch to a larger mask, for others we had to go smaller for the best fit. The PortaCount really made it easy to see how well a respirator fit and sealed, and it allowed us to make changes for the better."
"Fit testing with the PortaCount really verified the quality of the fit for us. With qualitative testing, you are solely taking the employees word for it on whether they passed. They may only have a marginal seal to protect them. The PortaCount gives you the data to make an informed decision on the quality of the fit and seal that you can’t get with a qualitative test. It’s reassuring to know that when the employees are walking out of my office, we recorded data that showed they have a respirator that will provide protection if they wear it correctly."
“We use the PortaCount as a learning and teaching tool, especially for new hires. As a training lesson, we may purposely give them a mask with a defect. The defect may be that the membrane in the inhale/exhale valve is kept open or something similar. We can show them how a little difference in valve position makes all of the difference on whether you have a good level of protection or not.
Another reason the PortaCount is a great training tool is that it can show people why the different parts of the respirator are important and what it means if these parts aren’t functioning the way they need to be. It’s a good refresher for our employees to see why they may not have a good fit and what they can do about it."
"Users feel more confident in the fit test the PortaCount provides as it is objective."
“Prior to 2018 at the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, fit testing was carried out using the Qualitative Hood method. Very few staff had been fit tested due to lack of available training for fit testers, staff were losing confidence in how to perform the fit test, and a high percentage of those tested were unclear as to whether they could taste the Bitrex® solution once a mask was fitted. Consequently, some staff lost confidence in the accuracy of the system.”
“Thanks to the PortaCount, we have quickly disqualified our poor fitting masks, narrowing down to the three mask types we now use. Fit tested staff now achieve high pass rates for the three mask types selected.”
“Users feel more confident in the fit test the PortaCount provides as it is objective and the software helps guide them through the test with animations demonstrating how to perform the exercises. Users are particularly impressed with the FitCheck™ Mode function, which allows them to see in real time if the mask is a good or poor fit via a gauge indicator.”
“If I have complications getting the right fit, the first thing I do is go to real-time mode. Real time measurements let me see how respirator fit changes when workers don and doff respirators, helping me solve most problems that come up.
“The PortaCount saves us a lot of time because it automates the process and makes mass fit testing easy. We connect our three machines to one computer and run three fit tests at one time. The PortaCount saves all of the results to one database and lets us to print the results for each test, allowing us to cycle through a large number of employees quickly.”
“With the CNP [Controlled Negative Pressure] method, you just stand there and it vacuums the mask onto your head. The PortaCount’s protocol is more realistic and takes measurements during movements, deep breathing and talking. It measures what is likely to occur in the field. This why we stick with the PortaCount.”
“When people gain or lose weight or their face shape changes, we want to make sure we can get the right sized mask for them. The real-time measurements provided by the PortaCount allow us to see quickly if a medium or large would fit them better before we start the fit test. This saves us a lot of hassle and time by helping us find the right mask quickly and by reducing failed fit tests.”
“Some of the companies we work with deal with caustic gases, so fit testing is about more than compliance. We really want to make sure employees are safe when they’re dealing with caustic fumes. In that way, choosing the PortaCount really pays off.”
“You add an employee and which mask they’re using and push start. You don’t get much easier than that.”
“Things can change within a year. People can gain or lose weight, face shapes can change, and it can prevent them from a having a good fit. This may mean they need to change masks. The PortaCount allows us to see mask fit with real-time information on-screen and know quickly whether people have a good seal. If they don’t, you can figure out what’s causing a poor fit and either educate the person or identify a mask that better fits and protects.
“We use the real-time setting for N95s because that’s where most of my failed tests come from. It allows us to make sure the person is in the right sized mask, fitted properly before the test. This helps us save time by reducing failed fit tests.
“To be able to measure a SCBA’s or N95's seal throughout all the ranges of motion that a person uses in a real-world scenario instills a lot of confidence in an individual that they’re in gear that’s going to protect them when they need it.
“With qualitative testing, many people are unsure when they smell the smoke or banana oil. With the PortaCount Fit Tester, there’s no uncertainty. You can see objective data and results that show a good sealing surface for both N95s and SCBA masks. This instills confidence in people that their masks fit and will protect them."
"As we administer fit tests, we project the instrument’s screen on the wall. When workers see their peers fail, they understand that the passing a fit test with a PortaCount is not a given and really means that their respirator will provide adequate protection.
The visual display has become a powerful tool for us to teach people how their respirator best provides protection."
"The ability to quantitatively fit test any respirator that workers use is extremely helpful.
"PortaCount Fit Testers allow us to make sure respirators protect by providing hard data that is both objective and reproducible.
With the PortaCount, fit test results are objective, free of human error and easily trackable."