Definition of smoke: The byproducts of incomplete combustion. Wow what does that mean to me?
Let's stop and think about it. Incomplete combustion means that what's burning is not completely burning away and leaving some of it's parts behind. These parts that are left behind are very toxic.
As we respond to fires in today's environment the contents of our fires are becoming more and more petroleum-based. Plastics, foams, and synthetic materials make up everything we touch! These advances are great for us in many ways and bad for us in some major ways. They burn hotter, faster, and produce more toxic gases that can kill us!
This means that you could be crawling to your death! If you are anything like me, death is not a option that I am interested in the near future. SCBA use could very well be the key to your survival. Most of us feel comfortable with using our SCBA'S and have been trained on their emergencies. But as we progress through our careers, can getting comfortable with our SCBA kill us? Simply put, yes! But how? By using our experience as a reason not to continually train with our SCBAs and be aware of our air consumption rates.
Air consumption is a ever changing variable and can be effected by many factors. Your fitness improving or declining, gaining or reducing your weight or even having a cold could affect your air consumption. This makes it very important to continually train with our SCBA to have a measuring meter to allow us to make solid decisions on just how far we can go into a fire and return safely!
By spending the time to run a accurate test on your air consumption may be the key to saving you and your crew! Just remember, when you don't feel like training with your "pack of air," the smoke we crawl into is worse now than ever and that when your bottle runs out...your lifeline runs out!
Thanks for the stop in the jumpseat!
I've found some useful resources...