1. #1
    packmanxxxi's Avatar
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    Default Buying SCBA with AFG money

    Hello all, strange question... We won money to purchase packs through an AFG grant. I know when you are awarded money for SCBA, it is for the pack and 2 air bottles. However, is there anything that says you have to purchase the pack and air bottles from the same vendor?

    We would like to purchase a pack that meets our specs the best, and also was very price competitive. However, another vendor makes air bottles that can be personalized for our FD (with as much mutual aid as we do, this is highly desirable). Can we buy the "blank" packs, and the air bottles separately, or do we have to purchase the airpacks and 2 associated bottles together since they are one line item in the grant award?

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    It's not a problem. The goal is to get the most bang for your buck, and if you think using two different vendors will get you what you want in a cost-effective way, have at it.

    Do make sure you've got at least two bids on all your stuff, though, so it doesn't look like an inside job.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    --General James Mattis, USMC


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    Watch what you buy. Some SCBA mfg will not give you a warranty if you do not use their bottles. Most SCBA mfg's will personalize your bottles for you.

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    There has been a huge debate about use of cylinders other than those labeled by the SCBA brand manufacturer. Claims and counter claims of violating NIOSH and OSHA standards as well as insurance coverage.

    One standard required interoperability. Others claim interoperability for emergency use only. Otherwise must use SCBA mfr labeled cylinders for regular use.

    Does anyone know the final status of this issue or current status?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rands1 View Post
    Watch what you buy. Some SCBA mfg will not give you a warranty if you do not use their bottles. Most SCBA mfg's will personalize your bottles for you.
    They can try that - most often I have seen dealers try to make that statement, but the
    manufacturers know better.

    Unless they can tie the warranty failure DIRECTLY to the use of some other bottle than their own, they cannot legally deny a warranty claim. Sort of like a car manufacturer cannot dismiss a claim for a faulty glove box because you used tires on the car that the manufacturer did not recommend.

    I have seen some dealers make claims about other manufacturers parts voiding the entire warranty - but my conversation with that sales person usually ends as soon as they say it.

    It really make it funny if you consider how many of the SCBA bottles for different manufacturers are made by the same company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    It really make it funny if you consider how many of the SCBA bottles for different manufacturers are made by the same company.
    There are two SCBA bottle manufacturers used by the major US manufacturers; Luxfer and SCI.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    They can try that - most often I have seen dealers try to make that statement, but the manufacturers know better.

    Unless they can tie the warranty failure DIRECTLY to the use of some other bottle than their own, they cannot legally deny a warranty claim. Sort of like a car manufacturer cannot dismiss a claim for a faulty glove box because you used tires on the car that the manufacturer did not recommend.

    I have seen some dealers make claims about other manufacturers parts voiding the entire warranty - but my conversation with that sales person usually ends as soon as they say it.

    It really make it funny if you consider how many of the SCBA bottles for different manufacturers are made by the same company.
    However, the SCBA must be NIOSH approved, and the SCBA manufacturer will not spend their money to get everyone else's cylinder approved. If the FD knowingly violates NFPA (which requires NIOSH approval) and NIOSH (federal law), the warranty issues are going to be the least of their worries... Oh ya, and the possibility of having to give back the federal funds used to purchase the SCBA's because they are not NFPA & NIOSH 'certified'... Personally, I wouldn't risk it. If AFG is going to give you $5,250.00 per SCBA (which includes 2 cylinders) why worry about saving a couple bucks while risking fines jail time or the possibility that a deceased FF's family will not get benefits because the FF was not wearing proper gear? I know that's a long shot, but why open that can of worms?

    Yes, in a life-or-death situation someone else's cylinder can be used (short time for escape) due to standaridized CGA fittings. The mountings of the cylinders are all different which also causes a problem... This is the main reason the 'interoperability' issues are a problem: not because of fittings but because of federal law that requires the entire assembly to be tested and rated...

    While you could, for example, buy SCI cylinders and then buy SCOTT valve assemblies from SCOTT, the SCI cylinder has NOT been tested by NIOSH and therefore the pack is NOT listed (and should not be used) This is why you cannot buy an SCI cylinder with a SCOTT valve already on it. Right or wrong? I'll let you decide... But, I'll stick with the cylinder that is "made for" my brand of SCBA and stay out of court...

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    Under AFG rules not buying NFPA compliant equipment is a violation of the program, and unless the manufacturer and vendor sign off that buying SCI or Luxfer cylinders and using them on their packs will deem them compliant you can't do it. Already been around that circle several times. Manufacturers have to have their stuff 3rd party certified to NFPA compliance, and they only do it with the cylinders made to their specs and planned on being sold as part of a package.

    That's why you can't buy 3rd party cylinders with AFG funds when you applied for SCBA, it's not NFPA compliant. With your own money, knock yourself out but also realize that Medic190 has it right in that you won't win in court on current SCBA. When replacing older cylinders for use with older packs, then no biggie since there are no warranties and no expectations other than having cylinders within hydro.

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    Thanks guys. The problem came in when I wrote the AFG grant. The prices we were given were for 1 bottle, so when I wrote the grant I put in for X number of SCBA with one bottle and X number of extra bottles. Well, like an idiot I did not see that when you write for SCBA, it should come with 2 bottles. The extra bottles are on top of the 2 per set.

    Well, since the price quote we were given was for 1 bottle, the grant was under the total possible allotment. We got a reduction on the extra bottles, because, why would we need that many right?

    Thus, to meet the grant requirement of 2 bottles we need to pay out of our own money, which is not a big deal. Our mistake, and regardless it is still a good deal.

    So, that is why we were wondering if we could purchase the bottles separately, but I see from here that it probably would not be a good idea.

    So my next question then. If we buy all X airpacks and with 2 bottles each from one vendor/manufacturer can we buy the extra bottles that we were allotted (a separate line item in the AFG grant) from a different manufacturer since they would go with other SCBA that we have in the dept that will remain in service?

    BTW- a big thanks to all of you who help out new guys like myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by packmanxxxi View Post
    Thanks guys. The problem came in when I wrote the AFG grant. The prices we were given were for 1 bottle, so when I wrote the grant I put in for X number of SCBA with one bottle and X number of extra bottles. Well, like an idiot I did not see that when you write for SCBA, it should come with 2 bottles. The extra bottles are on top of the 2 per set.

    Well, since the price quote we were given was for 1 bottle, the grant was under the total possible allotment. We got a reduction on the extra bottles, because, why would we need that many right?

    Thus, to meet the grant requirement of 2 bottles we need to pay out of our own money, which is not a big deal. Our mistake, and regardless it is still a good deal.

    So, that is why we were wondering if we could purchase the bottles separately, but I see from here that it probably would not be a good idea.

    So my next question then. If we buy all X airpacks and with 2 bottles each from one vendor/manufacturer can we buy the extra bottles that we were allotted (a separate line item in the AFG grant) from a different manufacturer since they would go with other SCBA that we have in the dept that will remain in service?

    BTW- a big thanks to all of you who help out new guys like myself.
    Just curious but how much did they award you per pack right now?
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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