1. #1
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    Default Please Share Your Thoughts on the MSA FireHawk M7

    We are considering switching from Scott SCBA units to the MSA FireHawk M7. Please tell us what you have found while using the MSA units.

    **general complaints from the rank and file?

    ** what parts need repair or replacement most often?

    ** Any recent problems with the regulator freezing up?

    **Comfort and reliability?

    ** anything else you can share with us.

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by BENV17 View Post
    We are considering switching from Scott SCBA units to the MSA FireHawk M7. Please tell us what you have found while using the MSA units.

    **general complaints from the rank and file? No complaints here... WE LOVE THEM!
    ** what parts need repair or replacement most often? We havent had to replace a single thing in the year we've had them, and we have probably 40+.....well besides the batteries obviously, but thats just PM

    ** Any recent problems with the regulator freezing up? None here.

    **Comfort and reliability? Comfortable as hell....until you put that 45 min cylinder on the back... all kidding aside, even with the 45 min bottle, they are comfortable as hell and like I said before, we havent had any problems with them

    ** anything else you can share with us. We love them, we got the push in regulators instead of the slide on ones and are very happy with them. We had the older MMR MSAs and while those were not bad, I love these new one. Just hit the two little gray buttons which disconnect the regulator from the mask and the regulator is shut off. We also have the Heads up display and voice amps. If there is anything else I can help with let me know!

    Thanks
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    Default msa

    we too are switching to msa, we had/have isi.

    reasons were that the guys really like the buddy breather, and the ease of mounting and doffing the regulator. ease of use. it was between scott 75 and the new msa. i personally like the scott a bit better. the command console was simplier on the scott too many flashing lights on the msa for me,dont really care for the location of the hud on the msa. but overall it is a good pack. easy to change out bottles,and the command console lets you know about how many minutes you have left on your tank. has a good backframe,with handles incase one of us get into trouble.

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    We've had them 18 months now. Things I don't like:

    The number of batteries!
    The hole at the top of the pack that could be used to clip a beener into for rescue and really can't(it's just plastic!)
    The standard lumbar pad that folds over on itself and gets bunched up in your back. (I'm still baffled why we didn't get the bailout bags in the harness, but that's us)
    The double pull waist seat belt strap (The old single pull was a lot simpler)
    The pass alarm doesn't seem as loud as our old MSA's

    Most of this stuff is really just nuisance stuff. Overall, they've been a really nice unit. We have had nearly no maintenance issues with them, just with a communication issue. The snap in regulators are really nice, and the Clear Command really helps with communication. It was definitely worth upgrading over our old MSA packs, and 2 of these issues are with what we ended up specing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoaddoggAK View Post
    The hole at the top of the pack that could be used to clip a beener into for rescue and really can't(it's just plastic!)
    Our salesman told us that this was only for dragging a downed firefighter out of a situtation. Not to be used as a harness.
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    We use them.

    Overall, they work, but there are a couple of things I don't like.

    We just got a grant for 30 new SCBA and we have money for 6 in the budget.

    Buttons are two small.
    Mask has limited peripheral vision.
    Hates the chest strap.
    Never seem to get the air flow that i get with a Scott.

    Hopefully we will be purchasing Scott. There is some momentum in the department for them as we already have 10 (purchased by the state) on the apparatus at the national Guard facility we are contracted to cover. Some of the older influenced members are pushing for them.

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    Default Msa

    Great comments so far.

    we've identified a few of the issues too like a lot of batteries and the pass device not being as loud as we think it should be.

    The guys against the packs continue to say they have heard about recent regulator feeze ups.

    Anything else???

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    Default !

    Quote Originally Posted by BENV17 View Post
    Great comments so far.

    we've identified a few of the issues too like a lot of batteries and the pass device not being as loud as we think it should be.

    The guys against the packs continue to say they have heard about recent regulator feeze ups.

    Anything else???
    Hi, not quite sure what you mean by "freeze ups" but we've never had an issue with them. I've used them for about two years on three different departments (each had different features/options) and they all were exceptional units.

    My only complaint is one that has been brought up before...the PASS devices aren't as loud as we think they should be. Luckily, we have never had to rely upon them at an actual incident, but in training (not live fire, just normal conditions), if the patient is buried, it's hard to hear it. Much less with the fire, hoselines working, ventilation in progress, etc.

    I know most people want/need a type of lower back/lumbar pad with the waist strap...but at least try one out without anything. My favorite spec. of these (that I've used) has had no additional lumbar padding, and just the waist strap coming right off the backpack. I really liked this, especially if you have to doff your pack for a confined space, the pack can fold up into a very small package and is easy to handle. It wasn't so easy when you had the wide padding to deal with.

    Also, I have not used this personally but I hear their built in harness/rope storage is a great system. Talk to your sales rep., unless you already have a system in use!

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    I know most people want/need a type of lower back/lumbar pad with the waist strap...but at least try one out without anything. My favorite spec. of these (that I've used) has had no additional lumbar padding, and just the waist strap coming right off the backpack. I really liked this, especially if you have to doff your pack for a confined space, the pack can fold up into a very small package and is easy to handle. It wasn't so easy when you had the wide padding to deal with.

    That is what I really like about the Scott. The pack rides on your waist, due to the frame, and not the shoulders like the MSA. Maybe it's just because I'm getting old that it's importnat to me.

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    We looked at MSA's and didnt like the following....
    -number of batteries it takes to operate
    -lumbar/waist pivot was made cheap
    -regulator holder made cheap
    -hard to see the hud, you really have to look down to see
    -mask straps are connected to the thin rubber and not the hard part of the mask
    -regulator is still at the same location as the older packs, still getting caught on stuff
    -frame made of all plastic
    We did like.......
    -the accountability in the pass device

    Needless to say we went in another direction

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    We're just over five years into our Firehawks, so they're not the M7 version. They are not a cheap pack to keep in service. We've spent a fortune on replacement HUDs which break at the mount to the facepiece (MSA claims there's no issue, but for some reason all of the replacements we're getting are molded to be considerably beefier), I have at least a half dozen of the ICM (with the accountability) that have needed to be replaced. A couple were under warranty, but the last ones were expensive buggers.

    In MSA's defense, we train hard, so breaking things should expected to some degree I suppose...

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but if I were asking about longevity of the new M7 stuff I'd be asking about length of warranty of the ICM and stuff like that... We've got ten more years at least in these packs, it should be interesting to see how much we spend on them to keep them in service.
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    Default what did you get

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfire1156 View Post
    We looked at MSA's and didnt like the following....
    -number of batteries it takes to operate
    -lumbar/waist pivot was made cheap
    -regulator holder made cheap
    -hard to see the hud, you really have to look down to see
    -mask straps are connected to the thin rubber and not the hard part of the mask
    -regulator is still at the same location as the older packs, still getting caught on stuff
    -frame made of all plastic
    We did like.......
    -the accountability in the pass device

    Needless to say we went in another direction
    just curious what you went with. i did notice some of those things too!

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    We went with the Sperian Warrior.

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    Surprise-aire! T.C.

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    Never used a Suvivair before the change so I dont know what you mean by surprise-air. Like I said before maybe in another thread, we picked what fit us best and what we actually put through the mill. If another brand come thru with a better product tomorrow and we had the money, we would go with them. We are not one of those depts that buys something that just because many of the career depts have it. Just not the way we operate.

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    If you had worn the Gen two "Sperians" you would understand. Use what you like. We don't have Scotts because the "big Career Depts have them",We have them because of a PROVEN Half century of troublefree service with annual maintence costs of ROUGHLY $50 a pack. Reason enough to stay with NO reason to change. PLUS the troops LIKE them so bonus round for that.The new Sperians MAY well be a fantastic pac,no one around here HAS or services them so I doubt I'll see one anytime soon before the Springfield Chiefs show. We ALL have likes and I've explained our decision to stay Scott. FDNY tested,FD approved,hehe T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 03-23-2010 at 09:24 AM.

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    Default Same

    So far each pack is getting about 50% approval from the members. There seem to be little likes and dislikes about each but neither is head and shoulders above the other one.

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    Default MSA vs SCOTT

    Down to crunch time. Both companies seem to have great products. Both have given us great deals for our needs.

    If you could give one pro or con about either.........

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    MSA stands for Mine Safety Equipment, Id feel better if it was called FSA

    MSA airpack and frame are over engineered. Mask is over engineered, and heavy compared to SCOTT. HUD is prone to entanglement/snapping off, Ive caught one on hanging wires trying to extinguish an attic fire. HUD is integrated onto regulator with SCOTT, so that saves you parts to issue to FF's. The MSA mask frame severely obstructs visibility towards your feet. Requisite neck strap is a PITA when worn properly. Pack rides on shoulders as stated, even when really cinched around the waist and loosened shoulders straps. Our MSA packs have the PASS annunciator in the ICM/pressure gauge which is easy to dampen, SCOTTS are located on the back of the frame. Ive seen new SCOTTS with LEDS lights that flash back there as well for increased visibility.


    Id take a SCOTT over MSA 12 days a week
    Last edited by LeatherHed4Life; 05-21-2010 at 02:36 PM.

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    - Mask is HEAVY and pulls your face down even without the HUD and Speaker Box on, with those two on, good luck looking up
    - HUD is hard to see
    - Rides high on shoulders
    - I think there are too many bells and whistles. I don't care how much time you think I have left and if you can tell how high I am off the ground. Just be lightweight and simple to use like the SCOTTs.

    I'm not a fan.

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    Last I heard Scott had ZERO reported incidents of firefighters getting hurt becuase of pack or regulator failures.

    That should speak for itself right there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENV17 View Post
    Down to crunch time. Both companies seem to have great products. Both have given us great deals for our needs.

    If you could give one pro or con about either.........
    It is all a play in words on things anymore. For example, if you hear a catch word or phrase, tear it apart a bit as you might be surprised.

    Field replaceable electronics -

    clearer meaning - To pass the 2007 NFPA revision for water intrusion it was the easiest and cheapest route to either sonically weld the case around the electronic item or to place potting material over the electronics for water proofing.


    Dual redundant first stage pneumatics -

    Clearer meaning - due to a design difference in the pnuematics of other manufacturers that in a failure it fails closed, instead of open. (I saw this happen in 1997 at a regional fire school, pack locked up, guy left his crew in burn building - not sure if it was a maintenance or repair issue) So to keep the safety factor there are two 1st stages.


    This isn't an attack for or against any manufacturer, just to help you be more informed. How many still remember the big red camera in the thermal imaging beginning had a manual appature button (for ease of understanding), the manufacturer made it look like a great thing, even called it a "Thermal Throttle". Find one on a camera today. Main thing, ask questions, don't take for granted those catch words are a good thing.
    Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down? (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

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    The actual SCBA's are about the same except for the battery comments already posted. My biggest issue is with the masks. Scott has standardized their masks and have only changed the basic design, (which was minor) once in the last 10 years. MSA has at least 12 versions of the basic design of the fire hawk and 3 version of the firehawk. This also poses problems when fit testing. Note the MSA is more difficult to fit test then the Scott due to its design and weight. Also if your crews are use to Scotts then will have a significant adjustment factor to get used to the decreased vision of the MSA Mask. I have Scotts at my chemical plant for hazmat and MSAs at my fire department. They both work.

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    On my career FD we use MSA Firehawks. On my volly FD we use Scott AP50's.

    Both are excellent SCBA and i don't feel ill equipped either place.

    They both have to meet the NFPA Standard for SCBA.

    Frankly, it should boil down to testing them for yourselves and whatever the troops want BUY IT, as long as it meets your needs.
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