SCBA - Wellington County Training Officers Association

Wellington County Fire Training
SCBA Presentation
Learning Outcomes
Identify hazardous respiratory environments
Identify codes, standards and guidelines
Describe components and features of SCBA
Describe limitations of SCBA
Describe SCBA emergency systems
Discuss factors that affect working time while
wearing SCBA
Describe safety and emergency procedures for
using SCBA
Demonstrate inspections, maintenance and storing
Discuss effective air management
Successfully complete performance demo’s as per
OFM Ciriculum
Self Contained Breathing Apparatus is a vital
component of a firefighter’s self protection.
Considering the environments that firefighters
must function, respiratory protection is
critical. Failure to effectively use and operate
respiratory protection equipment could lead to
failed emergency operations, injuries or
fatalities. Well trained firefighters must be
aware of hazardous situations that require the
use of SCBA and demonstrate proficient air
management skills.
Respiratory Hazards
Toxic products of combustion can enter the
body through inhalation, absorption and
ingestion. Of most concern to firefighter’s is
inhalation. Common hazardous
environments include: oxygen deficiency,
smoke, heat, and toxic atmospheres.
These toxic atmospheres are described as
immediately dangerous to life and health
(IDLH). A burning building is considered an
IDLH atmosphere.
O2 deficient atmospheres: normal air is
21% oxygen, at 19.5% there will still be no
effect. Below 18% you will have lose of
muscle co-ordination, 12% dizziness, 9%
unconsciousness, and 6% becomes fatal.
Fires are not the only area we find O2
deficient atmospheres. Below grade
locations, grain bins, silos, chemical
storage, and confined spaces all have
potential to be oxygen deficient.
Smoke:smoke consists of a mixture of
suspended particles. The size of these
particles determine how deeply they will be
inhaled into the lungs.
Heat: exposure to heated air can cause damage
to the respiratory tract. Excessive heat can cause
decreases in blood pressure and failure of the
circulatory system. Swelling of the lungs and
asphyxiation may occur.
Toxic Atmospheres: A mixture of gases which
separately may not be as harmful as when 2 or
more gases are mixed together. This is known as
a synergistic effect. Common gases found in fires
include: CO2, CO, HCL, HCN, Nitrogen dioxide,
Phosgene.Most fire deaths occur from CO
poisoning which is a product of
incomplete combustion.
One of the most dangerous times for a
firefighter’s respiratory tract is during
overhaul. Smoke, heat and toxic gases
are still present even though the fire
may be out. It is imperative that
firefighters continue to wear their
SCBA during overhaul operations to
prevent damage to their respiratory
tract and prevent possible disease and
illness such as lung cancer.
Codes and Standards
Several codes and standards apply to
SCBA. Here are a few to discuss;
CSA Z94.4
Applicable Sect. 21 Guidance Notes
Dept. policies / SOG’s
Information sheets 1 and 2 OFM
Ciriculum sect. 7
Components and Features
• In Wellington County most depts. are using
either MSA 30 min 2216 psi or Scott 30 min
2216 psi scba units. These units are
known as “pressure demand” or “open
circuit SCBA” and use compressed air in
the cylinders.
• Firefighters must be aware of the 4 major
components of SCBA.
Cylinder Assembly- cylinders range in size from 30 min.- 2216
psi and 4500 psi to 45 min.- 3000 psi to 4500 psi. There is also
a 60 min 4500 psi cylinder available.
Regulator Assembly- includes a high pressure hose with low
pressure alarm, bypass valve, and a pressure reducing device.
Most regulators fit directly onto the facepiece however older
units may be “hip” or belt mounted.
Back-pack and harness- rigid frame that holds the cylinder on
the firefighters back utilizing shoulder and waist straps.
Facepiece assembly- includes a lens, exhalation valve,
regulator attachment point, head harness and in some cases
voice amplification.
Limitations of Equipment
• Limited visibility: reduced peripheral vision and fogging
can reduce overall visibility
• Decreased Communication: the facepiece severely
hinders the ability to communicate unless equipped with a
voice amplifier
• Increased Weight: scba models can range in weight from
25 to 35 lbs depending on the cylinder being used.
• Decreased Mobility: increased weight and restrictions
caused by harness straps reduce mobility.
Limitations of Wearer
Several factors affect a firefighters ability
to effectively use scba. Factors include
physical, medical and mental abilities.
Physical Factors: physical condition, agility, and facial features
all contribute to wearer’s limitations. NFPA 1500 prohibits
wearing beards or facial hair that prevents a complete seal
between facepiece and the wearer face.
Medical Factors: Cardiovascular and respiratory functioning
are 2 of the major medical factors affecting the wearer of scba.
Good respiratory function will maximize use of scba. A strong
cardiovascular system will prevent heart attacks and strokes
associated with strenuous activities.
Mental factors: adequate training, self confidence and
emotional stability are all factors contributing to the limitation
Limitations of Air Supply
Some air supply limitations are based on the
user of the scba, and others are based on the
actual supply of air in the cylinder. Physical
condition, degree of exertion, emotional stability,
training and experience of user all impact the
supply of air available to the user. Condition of
unit and cylinder pressure before use also impact
the air supply in scba.
Emergency Systems and Warning Devices
SCBA units contain a number of emergency
systems and warning devices.
The following is a list of those devices
• By-Pass valve: during normal operation the bypass valve
is closed. In the event of regulator failure the bypass valve
can be opened to allow for air to enter the facepiece. The
wearer should open and close the bypass valve when
taking breathes of air while immediately exiting the building
or IDLH area.
• Low Pressure Alarm: designed to activate when cylinder
pressure drops to one-fourth or 25% of rated capacity.
Typically you have approximately 2 min of air remaining in
the cylinder.
• Remote Pressure gauge: shows remaining air pressure
and should read within 100 psi of cylinder gauge.Generally
located on harness shoulder strap.
• Rapid Intervention or Universal Air Connection: as per
NFPA 1981 all scba must be equipped with a RIC connection.
This allows for a cylinder to be trans filled from another cylinder
during emergency situations.
• Heads up Display: As per NFPA 1981 all new scba must be
equipped with a HUD. This feature allows the wearer to
monitor air pressure inside the facepiece without having to
continually check the external gauge.
• PASS Device: The use of PASS devices by all firefighters
wearing scba is mandatory under nfpa 1500. Most pass
devices are integrated into the scba and are activated once the
main air cylinder valve is turned on. Some pass devices are
detachable and must be turned on by the wearer. PASS
devices activate after approx. 30 seconds of motionless. PASS
devices may also be activated manually by the firefighter in an
emergency situation.
Safety and Emergency Procedures
Safety Procedures
Always work in pairs
Control your breathing to maximize amount of work time
Stay on the hose line
Remain in voice contact
Use a portable radio
Be aware of compressed air hazards
Emergency Procedures
Don’t panic, control your breathing
Remember where you are
Call a “Mayday”, advise of location and emergency
Try and alert crew members
Activate PASS alarm
Use bypass valve if necessary
“Skip Breathing” – take a breath, hold it as long as it would
take to exhale, inhale once again before exhaling
Inspecting, storing and
Maintaining SCBA
Weekly inspections should include the following
Cylinder Pressure – should be at least 90% of rated capacity
All Gauges – remote and cylinder gauge should read within
100 psi of each other
Low - Pressure Alarm – should sound when cylinder is turned
on and again once the pressure is relieved
Hose Connections – tight and free af leaks
Facepiece – clean and in good condition. Exhalation valves
are in place and the nose cup is in place.
Harness – good condition and the harness straps are fully
Valves – check by-pass valve operation and make sure it is in
the closed position
PASS device – Confirm PASS device activates if unit is
equipped in-line. Manually activate stand alone PASS devices
if so equipped.
Determine the hydrostatic test date when re-filling
air cylinders. Hydro dates range from 3 years to 5
years depending on the cylinder being used.
Aluminum, Carbon fiber and Steel all require
hydro testing every 5 yrs. Kevlar / Fiberglass and
Hoop Wrap require hydro test after 3 yrs.
Storing SCBA
Methods of storage for SCBA include the
Truck mount
Compartment mount
Case stored
Wall mounted
Seat mounted
Maintaining SCBA
If an SCBA unit requires removal from
service after an inspection be sure to; tag
the unit, remove from service, place away
from other units and inform your supervisor.
All firefighters, regardless of seniority should
continually review and practice sound
knowledge and practical skills of SCBA.
Recognizing the need for SCBA use, the
limititations of using SCBA and regular and
emergency operations of units will enhance the
confidence and knowledge of all firefighters.
Using SCBA affectively and efficiently is an
acquired skill that requires constant training,
demonstration and review.

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