The Fit Test is used to measue the amount of particles leaking around the edges of the facemask. To do this the Fit test measures the amount of particles inside the mask and compares it to the amount of particles in the ambient air. The Fit test is performed with real persons. To get a representative result the test will have to be performed on 5 different people. For the current setup of the fit test the TSI PortaCount Pro+ 8038 is used together with the TSI Particle generator 8026.
- TSI PortaCount Pro+ 8038
- TSI Particle generator
- One laptop with the FitPro+ software installed
- Clean shaven test person
The following steps should be followed before the PortaCount Pro+ 8038 is switched on.
Download the FitPro+ software and install it on the laptop you will be using. In the software setup make sure that under ‘Automatic save’ ‘All fit tests’ is ticked. Otherwise, fit tests that did not reach the pass level will not be saved.
To make sure there are sufficient particles in the air the Particle generator can be used. Here, one has to take into account the size of the room as well as ventilation in the room. The particle generator uses a salt solution to generate particles. The device is delivered with salt-tablets that have to be dissolved in demineralised water. When the salt solution is in the associated cup and attached to the particle generator the device can be turned on. The number of particles in the room can be controlled by adjusting the particle generator with a screwdriver. For more information about the TSI Particle generator 8026 we refer to the operation and service manual which can be found on their website.
To use the PortaCount Pro+ 8038 its cartridge has to be submerged in alcohol for at least 2 minutes. This can be done in the provided Alcohol Fill Capsule which has to be filled up to the line. After 2 minutes the cartridge is filled with alcohol.
When the cartridge is filled it can be inserted into the PortaCount Pro+. This is done by sliding it in and then twisting it clockwise to lock the cartridge into place.
Attach the blue and clear colored tubes to the corresponding ports with matching colors on the PortaCount Pro+.
Connect the PortaCount Pro+ to the laptop with the USB cable. Start the FitPro+ software on the laptop and start the PortaCount by pressing the power button.
Every day, or after a significant change in ambient air particles, the following steps should be followed with the PortaCount Pro+ 8038 already switched on.
To do a daily test click on the ‘daily test button’ in the FitPro+ software or on the device. Tick ‘N-95 Companion’ and press start. The next steps will also be displayed by the device while running the daily checks.
The daily check starts without a filter or mask connected. After some time the device will ask you to attach the HEPA filter to the white tube. Note: Mind the flow direction through the HEPA filter. The arrow should be pointing towards the device.
If the device or software indicates that the daily check has failed take a look at the PortaCount Pro+ 8038 operation and service manual for troubleshooting.
When the daily check is successful the device is ready for fit testing.
Preparations for a fit test
Before performing a fit test the mask will have to be prepared. This involves placing a probe in the mask. This probe protrudes outward from the mask such that a tube can be connected to sample the air inside the mask. This is done with the probe kit provided with the device. Preparation steps also include selecting the right database and adding the testperson and mask to the database.
Preparing the mask
Placing a probe is done with the probe assembly tool. A probe is placed in the bottom part of the assembly tool. A push nut is placed in the top part of the assembly tool with the hollow side pointing down.
Place the mask above the probe with the front of the mask facing up. It is important to place the probe in the breathing range. This means in the center between the mouth and nose when this is possible. When this is not possible, for example with an exhalation valve, the probe is placed to the left or right of the center. NOT above or below the center. With flat masks the probe is placed in the bottom panel.
When the mask is placed correctly the probe is attached by first pressing the mask down over the piercing point and probe. Then the assembly tool is pressed down to fasten the probe with the push nut.
Make and select a database
All respirators, test persons and test results are stored in a database. It is important that before one starts adding new data and results the proper database is selected to keep track of all the previous results.
When no data has previously been stored one can rename the default database file and move it to any folder. At ProjectMask we name the database files to the date it is being used. Every new day the previous database (with the most recent date) is copied and renamed to have the current date.
When a database file with the right filename has been made open the software and click on ‘database’ in the top toolbar.
Go to ‘Change active…’ and then click ‘<new link…>’. Now you can select the database you need from the folder it is being stored. In the ‘Change active…’ dropdown you can also see which database is currently selected. All data will be stored in this database.
Add a test person
Since the fit test depends very much on the person wearing the mask it is important to keep track of test persons in the database. This part can be skipped when the test person has previously fit tested with the device.
To add a test person to the database first click the ‘Edit people table’ in the FitPro+ software.
Click on ‘New person’ to add a test person. Enter the relevant information and assign the person a tracking number. Finish by clicking on ‘save’.
Add a respirator
To keep track of the mask that have been tested, their results, and to generate reports every new mask has to be added to the database.
To add a mask to the database first click the ‘Edit respirator table’ in the FitPro+ software.
Click on ‘New respirator’ to add a mask. Enter the relevant information (Manufacturer, model and style) and assign the mask a tracking number if this has not been done yet. Also tick ‘Filter efficiency less than 99%’ for disposable face masks. The fit factor pass level is set to 100 for disposable FFP masks if the N-95 Companion is employed. Under ‘approval’ the certification (N95, KN 95 or FFP2 for example) of the mask can be added. Finish by clicking on ‘save’.
Performing a fit test
Attach the clear tube to the probe in the mask.
Let the test person don the mask. It is very important that the mask is donned correctly. Therefore, test persons experienced with wearing face masks are preferred. It is possible to monitor whether the mask is donned correctly by opening the Real Time function of the Portacount through the software or on the device.
If the mask is donned correctly and the test person is ready the operator can click on the ‘Start a fit test’ button.
Before starting the test the test person and mask have to be selected from the database. Also the size of the mask and name of the operator have to be indicated.
The fit test can now be started by pressing on ‘Start’. The test consists of 8 parts that each last just over a minute as defined in the OSHA standard. The PortaCount Pro+ will display to the test person to do the following exercises:
- Normal breathing
- Deep breathing
- Moving head side to side
- Moving head up and down
- Bending over
- Normal breathing
It is important that during the test the test person does not touch the mask. We do advise that the test person holds the tubes up slightly such the tubes do not tug on the mask due to their weight. If there are any problems the test can be stopped. At the end of the test the software will show whether the test was successful and the overall fit factor.
After each test the results have to be saved as a PDF, these files are later added to the documentation of the mask. This is done by clicking on ‘Print PDF’ directly after the test. The following filename format is used : *Mask name*_*Followed protocol*_*Test person tracking number*
When all tests for a certain mask have been performed a report can be made for this mask. This can be done by clicking on the ‘Select Report’ button in the software.
Under ‘Report List’ select the option ‘Fit test Report’ and click on ‘Modify Report’.
In the window ‘Modify Reports’ tick ‘Selected Reports’. Now a selection of reports can be made. In the first box choose ‘Respirator’. In the second box choose ‘Equal to’. In the third box choose the mask of which you require a report. Click ‘Next’.
In this window make sure that under ‘Selected Fields’ it only shows ‘ID Number’. Again click on ‘Next’ Now click on ‘View Report’. In the report preview click on ‘print to PDF’. The report is saved with the following filename format: *Mask name*_*Followed protocol*_TESTRESULTS.