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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for Input on SCBA project and associated cascade system

    I've got a project where a department wants to replace 28 SCBA that are only compliant to the 1992 edition of NFPA 1981. This is obviously a high priority project since the packs are old and pre-date the 1997 edition of the standard. At $5,250 a pack, the total project is $147,000. If they are awarded, they will switch to high pressure packs.

    In general I would advise a department to stop there and come back next year for their other priorities.

    However, the current packs are low pressure and their cascade/fill system (which is also old and non compliant) is not capable of filling high pressure cylinders. So if they were to be awarded, they wouldn't be capable of filling their cylinders anymore.

    My question, therefore....is it reasonable to add a new compressor/cascade/fill station that might increase the total request amount by $40K to a total of $180K.

    The 2 projects obviously go hand-in-hand, however, will the extra cost make their application non-competitive?

    I welcome everybody's insight.

    thanks
    -dave


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    The fill station, with compressor and cascade, as well as a stock of spare parts, and spare bottles for each pack would fit right in. You might want to consider a flow test set up - there are ones on here that can tell you much better about those.

    You want a total package for the project.

  3. #3
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    Yes, and Yes

    I did a complete air solution in 2007. 14 new 4.5 SCBA. I was unable to fill them due to a 2216 cascade system. Hence I also put in for a compressor and 4.5 cascade. I got em both.
    Blandford Fire Department
    93 Main Street
    Blandford, Ma 01008

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    I'm not sure there is enough information to answer your question... What is the frequency of use (# calls) and the population? Are there other opportunities to fill cylinders at a neighboring station? If it is a pretty good area (numbers wise) I think it wouldn't necessarily diminish their chances. A couple years ago I was awarded for SCBA's, can kick myself now for not asking for a compressor then...

    Another consideration is individually assigned masks... Since the FF has to be fit tested to the mask, and not everyone fits a 'comfort seal' we ran into problems with mask fit. Now, with assigned masks, each FF is responsible for their mask and is tested on it annually... In the long run, it simplified things considerably!

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    Need more information ( call volume, population, mutual aid numbers, compressor availability elsewhere) to really test the dynamics here davepa. Ordinarily that would be a great project and usually no problem as it makes no sense to give high pressure packs if you can't fill them. That being said though, a lot of competition this year and a lot less money to go around so overall cost benefit could become a larger factor this year. I am also assuming that the cost matching factor is within your budget as well for a project of that magnitude.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    Need more information ( call volume, population, mutual aid numbers, compressor availability elsewhere) to really test the dynamics here davepa. Ordinarily that would be a great project and usually no problem as it makes no sense to give high pressure packs if you can't fill them. That being said though, a lot of competition this year and a lot less money to go around so overall cost benefit could become a larger factor this year. I am also assuming that the cost matching factor is within your budget as well for a project of that magnitude.
    To answer some of the questions...

    call volume - 300-350 calls per year
    population - 12K
    compressor/fill station is available in neighboring departments - approximately 10 miles to the nearest company. because the department doesn't have a compressor, they currently rely on neighboring air trucks to fill their cascade system on a periodic basis

    Kurt - you've really nailed my concern...i.e., i know that the 2 projects are closely related, but with the drop in funding this year, i'm concerned that the compressor will put the application over the top and make it less competitive. Since they can't afford NOT to replace their SCBA, perhaps they should bite the bullet for a year and fill their bottles elsewhere, and then ask for a compressor/cascade/fill station in the 2011 AFG program.

    thoughts????

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by davepa View Post
    To answer some of the questions...

    call volume - 300-350 calls per year
    population - 12K
    compressor/fill station is available in neighboring departments - approximately 10 miles to the nearest company. because the department doesn't have a compressor, they currently rely on neighboring air trucks to fill their cascade system on a periodic basis

    Kurt - you've really nailed my concern...i.e., i know that the 2 projects are closely related, but with the drop in funding this year, i'm concerned that the compressor will put the application over the top and make it less competitive. Since they can't afford NOT to replace their SCBA, perhaps they should bite the bullet for a year and fill their bottles elsewhere, and then ask for a compressor/cascade/fill station in the 2011 AFG program.

    thoughts????
    Give me a call davepa 863-551-9598
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Even with limited funding this year it may still make sense to do a complete project to include the cascade/compressor system. At $1.04 per person a very doable project, if you incorporate mutual aid as well (they benefit) the cost drops further. Think about these as well on making a determination on one way or the other.

    1) Can the existing systems with other departments handle refilling the potential of 56 more 4.5 cylinders?

    2) Are those systems available 24/7 when needed?

    3) Is department training on SCBA or evolutions using SCBA limited, because refilling is an issue?

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    Currently they're already filling their cylinders with someone else's compressor, or a mobile unit if one is around there so putting air into cylinders isn't as big of a deal as the 1992 era packs. 10 miles isn't far, but still a PITA to do especially if there's no mobile solution in the area. Bigger issues is, how often do they need to refill cylinders now? IE how many IDLH calls and on-air drills are being conducted. They can either drop in for just high pressure cascade cylinders or handle it on 2011's app. SCBA apps don't need to cover the "how they'll be filled issue", ain't the focus of an SCBA app. With no compressor now the thought that for their matching amount they could drop in a 4 cylinder 6000psi cascade to replace the low pressure might have people wondering why it hasn't been done already just to cut down on refills on the low pressure cascade they already have. Enquiring minds might want to know....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Currently they're already filling their cylinders with someone else's compressor, or a mobile unit if one is around there so putting air into cylinders isn't as big of a deal as the 1992 era packs. 10 miles isn't far, but still a PITA to do especially if there's no mobile solution in the area. Bigger issues is, how often do they need to refill cylinders now? IE how many IDLH calls and on-air drills are being conducted. They can either drop in for just high pressure cascade cylinders or handle it on 2011's app. SCBA apps don't need to cover the "how they'll be filled issue", ain't the focus of an SCBA app. With no compressor now the thought that for their matching amount they could drop in a 4 cylinder 6000psi cascade to replace the low pressure might have people wondering why it hasn't been done already just to cut down on refills on the low pressure cascade they already have. Enquiring minds might want to know....

    Not getting funded on the SCBA portion is NOT an option.

    Therefore, I'll ask my question in a different way...if we include the compressor/cascade/fill station, do we risk getting our entire application dumped, or is the worst that might happen that AFG or peer reviewers recommend to keep the SCBA but dump the compressor etc...???

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post
    At $1.04 per person a very doable project,
    Ok, it's late in the day and I'm having trouble with the math $147,000 / 12,000 people seems to be about $12 per person. Seems to be a 1/12 factor, or I'm missing something. Any help?

    I have a grant out for [SCBA upgrade + cylinder replacement] that totals $206K (minus the share it's $186K). Demographics, 25,000 population and call vol is about 700 Fire + Rescue and no EMS. Trying to emulate the math, I get 206,000/25,000 divided by 12 = $0.69. Seems pretty good, but I'm waiting for the DJ...

    Second question, should that type of cost benefit go into the narrative or will that all just come from the budget and Applicant Characteristics section of the grant app?

    Thanks,

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWFD22 View Post
    Ok, it's late in the day and I'm having trouble with the math $147,000 / 12,000 people seems to be about $12 per person. Seems to be a 1/12 factor, or I'm missing something. Any help?

    I have a grant out for [SCBA upgrade + cylinder replacement] that totals $206K (minus the share it's $186K). Demographics, 25,000 population and call vol is about 700 Fire + Rescue and no EMS. Trying to emulate the math, I get 206,000/25,000 divided by 12 = $0.69. Seems pretty good, but I'm waiting for the DJ...

    Second question, should that type of cost benefit go into the narrative or will that all just come from the budget and Applicant Characteristics section of the grant app?

    Thanks,

    Brian
    cost of the project/(service life x population)

    187,000/(15 x 12,000)....187,000/180,000= $1.04 per person

    I show the overall cost, but deducting the share is acceptable as well when figuring.

    Yours:

    186,000/(15 x 25,000).....186,000/375,000 = .50 per person

    The same method is used for determing useage:

    cost of the project/(service life x # of incidents)

    I usually put in a one sentence about the per person or per use figures in the narrative if it's advantageous to do so.
    Last edited by onebugle; 04-15-2010 at 04:59 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by davepa View Post
    Not getting funded on the SCBA portion is NOT an option.

    Therefore, I'll ask my question in a different way...if we include the compressor/cascade/fill station, do we risk getting our entire application dumped, or is the worst that might happen that AFG or peer reviewers recommend to keep the SCBA but dump the compressor etc...???
    If I were a peer reviewer, I would want you to apply for whatever is going to complete the project. If you want the SCBA to be high pressure and need to have the ability to fill them yourselves and maintain their safe usage, then ask for it. Don't get stuck on a cost benefit forumula neccessarily. There are plenty of ways to address your cost benefit. We are talking about the safety of the firefighters here. Go for whatever it takes to complete the project and explain why you need the cascade/ compressor and whatever is practical to the projects completion. Concentrate on that project and if the AFG program is extended next year, ask for non related OPS items then.

    (can i have whatever you have left over then?)

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    by definition any time 2 different line items are in an application the lower priority brings down the higher one. so compressor brings down the computer score vs scba by itself. far enough you don't get awarded? won't know for a year possibly. each 1 can be made its owns app. we split most packs and compressors for smaller depts and pull back to back 99% of the time.

  15. #15
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    We did : 6000 psi compressor, 3 bottle frag chamber /fill station. & 8 bottle 6000 psi cascade system one year, and a couple years later did all new 4.5 SCBA due to the concern that our cost benefit ratio of a combined project would bring our scoring down. Both were approved as individual projects.

    We did the compressor cascade project first because we were traveling 30 miles to get our bottles filled and it was causing us not to train on air and then have someone make a trip off Island to refill them. You can't be comfortable wearing a pack if the only time you use it is in a fire.

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    Plan B might be a good used high pressure compressor. I know of several used 5000psi Bauers less than 20yr old available for $5-10K. While some low end compressors might be shot at a few hundred hours seldom will find a high end compressor, that has been maintained, that is much more than broken in.

    Likely can make that work out of local $? Grant line might be "purchasing a used high pressure compressor to upgrade fill equipment." Would solve the the FD fill issue for at least a few years. Or until you can write/succeed with a followon compressor grant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Plan B might be a good used high pressure compressor. I know of several used 5000psi Bauers less than 20yr old available for $5-10K. While some low end compressors might be shot at a few hundred hours seldom will find a high end compressor, that has been maintained, that is much more than broken in.

    Likely can make that work out of local $? Grant line might be "purchasing a used high pressure compressor to upgrade fill equipment." Would solve the the FD fill issue for at least a few years. Or until you can write/succeed with a followon compressor grant.
    that's exactly the approach that I recommended and I plan to stick with it.

    Thanks everybody for letting me bounce off some ideas...

    -dave

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