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  1. #1
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    Default SCBA...use it or not??

    Believe it or not, this is a serious question to which I would like to know what everyone else's take on it is.

    It is in almost all FDs SOGs/SOPs to use a SCBA during vehicle fires but would you use a SCBA during a riding lawn mower fire??

    Kid you not, we got toned out to a lawn mower fire about a week ago. On arrival we had a 6 hrspwr riding lawn mower fully involved. The smoke dispersion was good that day with no winds. I was the nozzle man and attacked the fire from the uphill/upwind side wearing ALL of my PPE minus a SCBA. I never was closer than two or three feet from the mower and never once got a good whiff or breath of that nasty smoke. Good call or not?
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    SCBA? I doubt if I would. If I stepped off the truck with it in place maybe, but I still doubt it.

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    The reality is that this is probably just as dangerous is not more so than a car. I would probably have not worn one either. However, in hindsight, it is probably a good idea. The gas tak on a car is steel. The gas tank on the mower is plastic, so the chance of a bigger fire is greater. I guess it is always a good idea to protect yourself anyhow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrescue View Post
    The reality is that this is probably just as dangerous is not more so than a car. I would probably have not worn one either. However, in hindsight, it is probably a good idea. The gas tak on a car is steel. The gas tank on the mower is plastic, so the chance of a bigger fire is greater. I guess it is always a good idea to protect yourself anyhow.

    While you are right about the gas tank being made of plastic, there is usually such a small amount of fuel the tank can even hold for it to become more dangerous than a car.

    Even still, the decision to wear an SCBA falls squarely on the user when it comes to something like this.

    The culture of ones particular fire department might dictate when SCBA's are worn for exterior opeations such as car fires and trash fires, but in reality that decision is up to the one potentially exposing themselves to the products of combustion.

    In short...if you feel more comfortable wearing it, then by all means wear it. They are YOUR lungs...so disregard anyone who tells you otherwise.

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    if you want to think about it like that... why even get near it? surely you can maintain adequate distance to not need resp protection...

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    If the mower was out in the open and fumes were being carried away by the wind, then I would not wear SCBA. However if the mower is inside a barn or shed or if the fumes are hanging around the area then I'm definitely going on air.

    Good to hear you had full PPE, I have heard stories of vehicular fires where PPE was not used, and explosions resulted in some pretty serious injuries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KB1OEV View Post
    If the mower was out in the open and fumes were being carried away by the wind, then I would not wear SCBA. However if the mower is inside a barn or shed or if the fumes are hanging around the area then I'm definitely going on air.

    Good to hear you had full PPE, I have heard stories of vehicular fires where PPE was not used, and explosions resulted in some pretty serious injuries.
    Pretty decent post. I would atleast have the pack on like some had said and if you need to be on air just mask up... We all know how the people we protect call in some calls sometimes. All my mower is on fire you get there and oh yeah by the way it is in the garage and you have a working fire. Atleast as I said have it on. I depending on the situation might even try hitting it with a extinguisher. But that is just another idea.

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    [QUOTE=jakesdad;1007387]
    Even still, the decision to wear an SCBA falls squarely on the user when it comes to something like this.

    The culture of ones particular fire department might dictate when SCBA's are worn for exterior opeations such as car fires and trash fires, but in reality that decision is up to the one potentially exposing themselves to the products of combustion.

    QUOTE]

    A few things...

    Better safe than sorry....you never know.

    We wear SCBAs on all fires. Again leading to the previous point. It only takes a few minutes to fill cylinders. If you do not have a cascade system it takes longer to go get them filled. But again back to the previous point. If you do not have a cascade put in for a grant for one and see what happens.

    Jake I must partially disagree with the part of the statement from you I quoted. It is not upto the firefighter initially or entirely. If the IC says put a pack on you put a pack on, no matter what you think. If the officer does not say it I would go ahead and do it. There are other things that can explode or splash in a lawnmower. Mine for instance not only has oil in the motor but also has hydralic fluid. Both expand when heated and can explode. If you have everything on except the regulator it can still burn around your nose, lips and even down into your lungs.

    And I will state as I have been misinterpreted on other posts, this is only what our department does and I am not saying anyone or any other department is wrong. I am trying to get back into posting again because some users did not like my opinions before so i quit posting. If you think I am wrong pleae let me know. We are always open to advise and not against trying something as long as it does not cause an unnecessary safety issue.

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    Serious question....for those who say they where SCBAs for all fires....does that include prolonged exterior operations at structure fires?
    Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

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    I can't see wearing it. I'm all for safety, but this job will be out real quick.

    You don't have to get close or even get in the smoke to put it out. With a vehicle, you have to get right in there... it's different.

    The regs say that if you are entering an IDLH environment you are supposed to, but I think it's questionable that this is an IDLH environment.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    Serious question....for those who say they where SCBAs for all fires....does that include prolonged exterior operations at structure fires?

    If the fire is vented outside the building and/or smoke on the side of the building where the backup hose team is then yes they will be wearing packs. If you are not attacking the fire or in one of those two situation no you do not need to where packs. Basically in th Red Zone it is required.

    As a rule of thumb we say all fires to prevent someone form thinking that the fire is not bad enough for a pack when it really is. We were lenient at one time. We had a smoke showing in the engine compartment of the truck. The thoughts were open air area, just smoke, no big deal. Well the gas tank proceeded to explode. Thankfully the truck itself protected us and we did not gett burned or hurt, Just some dirty seats in our bunker pants. After that we reviewed our policy and came up with that solution. It may not be perfect and most likely will not work for all departments. Generally on any given fire we have 3 to 9 people packed up, depending on what it is. We therefore have around 20 spare cylinders to use if needed. And we have a cascade to fill our own cylinders.

    I am not saying this is the way your department should do this, but this is the way we chose to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cappy05 View Post
    We had a smoke showing in the engine compartment of the truck. The thoughts were open air area, just smoke, no big deal. Well the gas tank proceeded to explode. Thankfully the truck itself protected us and we did not gett burned or hurt, Just some dirty seats in our bunker pants.
    I've never had a gas tank explode, much less from only the engine compartment being involved. Are you sure?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    Serious question....for those who say they where SCBAs for all fires....does that include prolonged exterior operations at structure fires?

    In my department ALL interior FF's wear SCBAs for ALL fires. But thats my department.
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    thanx for the input everyone
    some good points appeared to have surfaced
    but yes the lawnmower was out in the yard, smoke dispersion was good, and i had er knocked down in about 2 minutes so i felt SCBA use in this particular case was not needed
    as someone noted though, every incident like this should be judged on a case by case situation
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbrescue View Post
    The reality is that this is probably just as dangerous is not more so than a car. I would probably have not worn one either. However, in hindsight, it is probably a good idea. The gas tak on a car is steel. The gas tank on the mower is plastic, so the chance of a bigger fire is greater. I guess it is always a good idea to protect yourself anyhow.
    Most, if not all, gas tanks on newer (90's and up) vehicles are made of plastic. The only gas tanks on vehicles I'm aware of still made of steel is those for commercial vehicles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edge1317 View Post
    I've never had a gas tank explode, much less from only the engine compartment being involved. Are you sure?
    Yes I do not beleive I could be any more sure. I was the backup man on the hose that day. We did not think anything of it either because it was only smoke under the hood. That is my point. There must have been something going on underneath the vehicle as well that we did not recognize.

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    "Serious question....for those who say they where SCBAs for all fires....does that include prolonged exterior operations at structure fires?"

    No. I usually took mine off once I knew we were not going to go back in anytime soon or ever. To me it is a matter common sense; while the weight was never an issue, it was easier to simply take it off and leave it on the rig rather than wear it around while watching ladder pipes and tower ladders work.

    I believe that some of the answers you might receive will reflect the mentality and misguided discipline we have of needing to being fully encapsulated. Take a look at most fireground command post photographs. Why is it, especially in the summer months, that we see chief officers at the command board with all of their gear on, helmet included as well as a "Incident Commander" vest, with sweat rolling down their face? I can understand wearing as much as you can in the winter but there is a difference between setting a good example and using common sense.

    Good question.
    Last edited by bcarey; 11-20-2008 at 09:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR3115 View Post
    Believe it or not, this is a serious question to which I would like to know what everyone else's take on it is.

    It is in almost all FDs SOGs/SOPs to use a SCBA during vehicle fires but would you use a SCBA during a riding lawn mower fire??
    We don't pack up for car fires. Lawn mower, no way.
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Default Lt.

    Too many chemicals in most any fire to not wear an SCBA. Unless, it was in the open where you could extinguish it upwind wear the SCBA. It only takes once or maybe several "not so smoky" fires to have it effect your lungs severally enough to put you on a duty injury. Worse yet, kill you!
    The only smoke you should enjoy is around a campfire or a barbecue.

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    Thumbs down

    if it has enough fuel to blow up... put it on.

    A riding lawnmower has more than enough to hurt you... I'm proud of my dept's SOP's/SOG's. We pack up for just about everything motorized.

    I could understand not putting a pack on for a small Lawnboy deal, buuut it's your life not mine. I prefer to go home without a bypass to the local trauma center!
    "I don't wanna hear about it... I wanna see results!!!":-P

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    Quote Originally Posted by edge1317 View Post
    I've never had a gas tank explode, much less from only the engine compartment being involved. Are you sure?
    Never say NEVER... it happens.

    More than fuel can hurt you on a vehicle fire...
    "I don't wanna hear about it... I wanna see results!!!":-P

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    Quote Originally Posted by CooterRob View Post
    Never say NEVER... it happens.
    This is by no means a knock for wanting to wear your airpack.

    I would like to challenge you to find any reputable case wear a lawn mower, riding mower, or car has ever exploded. Not reports from witnesses, an actual documented case from a fire department where one of these has blown up. Good luck.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    This is by no means a knock for wanting to wear your airpack.

    I would like to challenge you to find any reputable case wear a lawn mower, riding mower, or car has ever exploded. Not reports from witnesses, an actual documented case from a fire department where one of these has blown up. Good luck.
    I wasn't looking for a challenge... just stating the obvious.
    "I don't wanna hear about it... I wanna see results!!!":-P

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    Quote Originally Posted by CooterRob View Post
    I wasn't looking for a challenge... just stating the obvious.
    Well it should be obvious that lawn mowers, riding mowers, and cars don't blow up.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Well it should be obvious that lawn mowers, riding mowers, and cars don't blow up.
    If you say so...
    "I don't wanna hear about it... I wanna see results!!!":-P

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