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    Default interchangability of scba bottles

    does any one know if osha nfpa alllow you to interchange bottles in the fire service and does anyone know where i can get the documation on this


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    Quote Originally Posted by wvfire140 View Post
    does any one know if osha nfpa alllow you to interchange bottles in the fire service and does anyone know where i can get the documation on this
    They will not. Basically it comes down to NIOSH. NIOSH certifies SCBA's as a complete unit. The certification only applies if you use the cylinders designed for use with that pack.

    Whatever brand of air packs you are using, you must use the cylinders provided by the manufacturer. And to add. One of the companies who makes cylinders for SCBA's, Structural Composites (SCI) advertises they will sell you cylinders direct for much less then Scott. And they are in fact the very same cylinders Scott sells, minus the Scott logo. But they are not certified for use with any SCBA because they lack the NIOSH Tag that can only be added when the cylinder is sold by the SCBA manufacturer. So beware of that as well.
    Last edited by WD6956; 04-07-2011 at 08:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wvfire140 View Post
    does any one know if osha nfpa alllow you to interchange bottles in the fire service and does anyone know where i can get the documation on this
    Babies drink from bottles
    Tanks have turrets
    Air is stored in CYLINDERS
    Steve Dragon
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    If it were me, I think I would be more concerned about the "buddy breathing" systems rather than the cylinders/tanks/bottles/whatever you prefer to call them.
    Last edited by FFSKPII; 04-07-2011 at 11:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfyre View Post
    Babies drink from bottles
    Tanks have turrets
    Air is stored in CYLINDERS
    CYLINDERS move hydraulic attachments
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfyre View Post
    Babies drink from bottles
    Tanks have turrets
    Air is stored in CYLINDERS
    Yeah, and tenders go behind locomotives, but that hasn't stopped the folks on the left coast from using the term for tankers.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    They will not. Basically it comes down to NIOSH. NIOSH certifies SCBA's as a complete unit. The certification only applies if you use the cylinders designed for use with that pack.

    Whatever brand of air packs you are using, you must use the cylinders provided by the manufacturer. And to add. One of the companies who makes cylinders for SCBA's, Structural Composites (SCI) advertises they will sell you cylinders direct for much less then Scott. And they are in fact the very same cylinders Scott sells, minus the Scott logo. But they are not certified for use with any SCBA because they lack the NIOSH Tag that can only be added when the cylinder is sold by the SCBA manufacturer. So beware of that as well.
    Except for in emergency situations. And once the emergency is over, correct cylinder needs to be put back on the SCBA.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    The rules state the air bottle/tank/container/big round thing must be of the same manufacturer since they test the SCBA unit as a whole.

    Personally - its BIG BS. This is a cash cow for the SCBA manufacturers. If it wasn't a cash cow, why then can the OEM tank manufacturer sell the same tank for 1/2 the price of the manufacturer?

    I seriously question whether the 'difference' of that sticker would hold up in actual court proceedings. If the tank is made to the exact same specs (and marked as such by the DOT regs) and it uses a valve from the scba manufacuturer, it would he hard to prove a functional difference. You can't even claim an assembly difference since valves are removed every 5 years for hydro testing. You would even have a hard time proving that the NIOSH test result didn't apply. Remember - MSA/Scott does not do anything to the tank itself when they get it - if they did, it would invalidate the DOT exemption it was made under. They put thier valve on it, test the assembly and send it out. (SCI puts the NIOSH approval sticker on when they affix the DOT info). Its possible SCI puts the valves on (can't say either way).

    I would not lose sleep using SCI bottles with MSA valves on MSA packs or SCI bottles with scott valves on Scott packs. For this to be an issue - a lot of VERY bad things would have to happen.

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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfyre View Post
    Babies drink from bottles
    Tanks have turrets
    Air is stored in CYLINDERS
    Tanks SOMETIMES have water. T.C.

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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    Yeah, and tenders go behind locomotives, but that hasn't stopped the folks on the left coast from using the term for tankers.
    Isn't just the left coasters. Damn Federal government calls them that too. Nims says so,hehe T.C.

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    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Except for in emergency situations. And once the emergency is over, correct cylinder needs to be put back on the SCBA.
    Best summary so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by The nots so new FNG View Post
    Personally - its BIG BS. This is a cash cow for the SCBA manufacturers. If it wasn't a cash cow, why then can the OEM tank manufacturer sell the same tank for 1/2 the price of the manufacturer?
    Because they haven't made the investment in testing that the SCBA manufacturers have. And they won't be selling the "same tank" because it is likely to have a generic valve assumbly on it rather than the SCBA manufacturers proprietary specification assembly. (Can you say, "Low bid knock-off?")
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfyre View Post
    Babies drink from bottles
    Tanks have turrets
    Air is stored in CYLINDERS

    Oh man, I'm going to have to take my fire engine to the shop. I checked all over, but couldn't find a turret on the booster tank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    They will not. Basically it comes down to NIOSH. NIOSH certifies SCBA's as a complete unit. The certification only applies if you use the cylinders designed for use with that pack.

    Whatever brand of air packs you are using, you must use the cylinders provided by the manufacturer. And to add. One of the companies who makes cylinders for SCBA's, Structural Composites (SCI) advertises they will sell you cylinders direct for much less then Scott. And they are in fact the very same cylinders Scott sells, minus the Scott logo. But they are not certified for use with any SCBA because they lack the NIOSH Tag that can only be added when the cylinder is sold by the SCBA manufacturer. So beware of that as well.
    1/3 correct. There are three standards that are at play here NIOSH, OSHA and NFPA. Niosh standards are how SCBA are put together as a unit and how manufacturing must have the SCBA coming out of the plant. OSHA granted we all know their capabilities for levying a fine for not following a standard. BTW the SCBA fall under 1910.134. And NFPA
    Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down?Ē (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Best summary so far.



    Because they haven't made the investment in testing that the SCBA manufacturers have. And they won't be selling the "same tank" because it is likely to have a generic valve assumbly on it rather than the SCBA manufacturers proprietary specification assembly. (Can you say, "Low bid knock-off?")
    You did read what I said about using OEM valves right...

    As for the testing - the required testing for an Air cylinder is set by the DOT. By standard, SCI does this as required to label the cylinder. The SCBA manufacturer does NOT do this as they would then become the tank manufacturer and required to do the full labeling, documentation etc. The SCBA manufacturer cannot modify in any meaningful way the tank without voiding the DOT certification. Tanks are made to a specific standard approved by the DOT - for composite cylinders, this is a specific exemption standard. This is 'stamped' on the tank as part of the required DOT markings. The manufacturer by law must do this as part of the manufacturing process and part of the original hydrostatic test process.

    The only testing you could mean is for the valve (which I stated to use OEM) and for the unit as a whole. There is nothing unique about the physical cylinder. If its the same physical size and made to the same exemption number standard, with an OEM valve, its the same tank - with or without a NIOSH test sticker number on it.

    Buying the cylinder direct from SCI without a valve would not concern me in the least - especially since I can read the DOT marking on the MSA cylinders which indicate the tanks are made by SCI to the same exact exemption standard. Literally, the only difference is a sticker on the tank. (valves not included - those are a different subject)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by The nots so new FNG View Post
    You did read what I said about using OEM valves right...
    Do you really think there's a worthwhile cost savings from saving a few bucks buying unlisted generic cylinders and then mixing & matching them with brand name valve assemblies (either purchased or scavenged) which are now also unlisted as soon as you screw them into the wrong cylinder?

    Seriously? And when an accident happens, as they always do, and the department is found in violation of fundamental OSHA regulation and open to expensive civil litigation for ndangering its members, will it be worth it? Will it be worth it to the individual who knowingly assembled the non-compliant unit for an illegal use? I don't think so.

    The SCBA manufacturer does NOT do this as they would then become the tank manufacturer and required to do the full labeling, documentation etc.
    The SCBA manufacturer does pay for the SCBA testing which certifies that the whole assembly as tested meets the NIOSH SCBA standards. They also hold the liability for the design if it's found to be flawed. They're the ones primarily at risk for any failure of the SCBA -- cylinder included.

    Buying the cylinder direct from SCI without a valve would not concern me in the least
    Then I can only assume that you have no concern for your own exposure OSHA fines for willfull violations nor to both your personal liability nor your department's.

    If you feels so strongly about this then, by all means, lobby to change the way NIOSH certifies compliance. But, until they change, it's foolish and irresponsible to suggest using generic cylinders for SCBA.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Do you really think there's a worthwhile cost savings from saving a few bucks buying unlisted generic cylinders and then mixing & matching them with brand name valve assemblies (either purchased or scavenged) which are now also unlisted as soon as you screw them into the wrong cylinder?

    Seriously? And when an accident happens, as they always do, and the department is found in violation of fundamental OSHA regulation and open to expensive civil litigation for ndangering its members, will it be worth it? Will it be worth it to the individual who knowingly assembled the non-compliant unit for an illegal use? I don't think so.



    The SCBA manufacturer does pay for the SCBA testing which certifies that the whole assembly as tested meets the NIOSH SCBA standards. They also hold the liability for the design if it's found to be flawed. They're the ones primarily at risk for any failure of the SCBA -- cylinder included.



    Then I can only assume that you have no concern for your own exposure OSHA fines for willfull violations nor to both your personal liability nor your department's.

    If you feels so strongly about this then, by all means, lobby to change the way NIOSH certifies compliance. But, until they change, it's foolish and irresponsible to suggest using generic cylinders for SCBA.
    With all due respect - I believe you are ignorant on the mechanics and methods of how high pressure cylinders are made, tested and maintained.

    The ONLY arguement I see for wanting an OEM cylinder is if there is a concern on the physical dimesions of the tank. IE - can it fit into the scba harness.

    The Valve - is OEM. It is designed to mate with a cylinder made to a specific exemption standard (DOT paperwork).

    The cylinder itself, irregardless of who makes it, must conform to the standard defined in the exemption paperwork. This governs things such as testing pressure, working pressure, hydro test procedures, threading and valve attachment, thread inspection and valve torque specs. There is lots more governing the working temperature, inspection procedures, defect tolerances etc but you get the jist of it.

    Also - as a standard matter of maintence, valves are removed, inspected, serviced and replaced. This work is usually done by a Hydro shop so unless you explicitly ship everything back to the SCBA manufacturer - your arguements regarding this aspect are moot as well.

    I am sorry - there a LOT of other industries using high pressure gas cylinders that don't have this requirement. Many understand that the key component to a high pressure gas cylinder is: A - the working pressure, B - the proper valve assembly and C - the physical dimensions. Manufacturer or reseller is not a criterea.

    Many seem to take the NIOSH tested configuration to be absolute gospel and never to be altered without any common sense. As I said - you do realize that SCI is manufacture of almost all composite tanks in the US. You do realize who foolish it sounds to say only the SCI tanks who are branded and sold by XXX are safe to use. Its like saying the only light bulbs you can use in your Ford vehicle are the ones sold by Ford dealerships. If you want to stick to tanks - do you think hospitals only get tanks from the OEM for some of thier equipment or do you think they understand an AL 'D' tank is interchangeable irregardless of who you bought it from. Oh wait - most of those tanks are handled by gas suppliers who mix Luxfer and Catalina O2 tanks and don't worry about the stickers that may have been put on a tank for its 'certification' for use with a peice of equipment.

    To those who don't see this - I pose this one more question. What battery do you use in your PASS device? Do you ensure that you use only the battery spec'd by the manufacture or do you use the commonly available 9V you can get readily? The NIOSH paperwork and SCBA paperwork (at least for MSA) requires the use of Duracell Procell batteries. If you don't use those, aren't you also in violation of the NIOSH rating???

    You are right in one thing - as many people interpret the NIOSH test standards, using a tank outside the OEM stickered ones can make it a 'Non NIOSH' tested device. For many departments, mine included, the excess cost for meeting this is not worth it. An SCI tank is half the price of the MSA tank. For 20 tanks, that is 10,000. While some departments may not see that as a major cost, for many it is.

    This is even further reinforced when you read the condition that says its OK to use a non-OEM tank under 'emergency' conditions. If its safe to do then, why is it not safe to do all of the time. I mean this is the case where we KNOW the user will enter an IDLH atmosphere right. This is the worst case scenario for its use and its safe enough then.

    I don't fear this in a court of law. I believe you would have a VERY big uphill battle stating the brand of cylinder used in an SCBA was a causal factor. I don't believe the Jury would neccessarly agree with the SCBA manufacturers that the cylinder being SCI rather than MSA (and SCI) would in fact invalidate the NIOSH test - provided the the cylinder was made to spec. Again, we are talking cylinder only not cylinder and valve.

    You are free to disagree and I don't personally care. I would expect to see this 'standard' adjusted in the next year or three as SCI is now selling tanks on the open market. Since they are the manufacturer, they have a lot of leverage with this. Honestly, if they wanted to be devious, they could move the MSA markings from the hydro label and it then it would be 'as tested' by MSA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Do you really think there's a worthwhile cost savings from saving a few bucks buying unlisted generic cylinders and then mixing & matching them with brand name valve assemblies.
    Not to split hairs, but the difference between an SCI cylinder and one from Scott is not "a few bucks". For a 60 minute cylinder, It averages about $700. You can almost buy two 60 minute SCI cylinders for the price of one Scott.

    For a 30 minute cylinder, the difference is about $300 each. Doing the math using the average price from a distibutor:

    SCI: $600 each.
    Scott: $900 each.

    If you had $5,000 allocated for spare cylinders, you could get 8 SCI cylinders or 5 Scott's. Your money will go much farther.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt387 View Post
    1/3 correct. There are three standards that are at play here NIOSH, OSHA and NFPA. Niosh standards are how SCBA are put together as a unit and how manufacturing must have the SCBA coming out of the plant. OSHA granted we all know their capabilities for levying a fine for not following a standard. BTW the SCBA fall under 1910.134. And NFPA
    Thank you for the clarification.

  19. #19
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The nots so new FNG View Post
    The rules state the air bottle/tank/container/big round thing must be of the same manufacturer since they test the SCBA unit as a whole.

    Personally - its BIG BS. This is a cash cow for the SCBA manufacturers. If it wasn't a cash cow, why then can the OEM tank manufacturer sell the same tank for 1/2 the price of the manufacturer?

    I seriously question whether the 'difference' of that sticker would hold up in actual court proceedings. If the tank is made to the exact same specs (and marked as such by the DOT regs) and it uses a valve from the scba manufacuturer, it would he hard to prove a functional difference. You can't even claim an assembly difference since valves are removed every 5 years for hydro testing. You would even have a hard time proving that the NIOSH test result didn't apply. Remember - MSA/Scott does not do anything to the tank itself when they get it - if they did, it would invalidate the DOT exemption it was made under. They put thier valve on it, test the assembly and send it out. (SCI puts the NIOSH approval sticker on when they affix the DOT info). Its possible SCI puts the valves on (can't say either way).

    I would not lose sleep using SCI bottles with MSA valves on MSA packs or SCI bottles with scott valves on Scott packs. For this to be an issue - a lot of VERY bad things would have to happen.
    Yes they DO. T.C.

  20. #20
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The nots so new FNG View Post
    With all due respect - I believe you are ignorant on the mechanics and methods of how high pressure cylinders are made, tested and maintained.

    The ONLY arguement I see for wanting an OEM cylinder is if there is a concern on the physical dimesions of the tank. IE - can it fit into the scba harness.

    The Valve - is OEM. It is designed to mate with a cylinder made to a specific exemption standard (DOT paperwork).

    The cylinder itself, irregardless of who makes it, must conform to the standard defined in the exemption paperwork. This governs things such as testing pressure, working pressure, hydro test procedures, threading and valve attachment, thread inspection and valve torque specs. There is lots more governing the working temperature, inspection procedures, defect tolerances etc but you get the jist of it.

    Also - as a standard matter of maintence, valves are removed, inspected, serviced and replaced. This work is usually done by a Hydro shop so unless you explicitly ship everything back to the SCBA manufacturer - your arguements regarding this aspect are moot as well.

    I am sorry - there a LOT of other industries using high pressure gas cylinders that don't have this requirement. Many understand that the key component to a high pressure gas cylinder is: A - the working pressure, B - the proper valve assembly and C - the physical dimensions. Manufacturer or reseller is not a criterea.

    Many seem to take the NIOSH tested configuration to be absolute gospel and never to be altered without any common sense. As I said - you do realize that SCI is manufacture of almost all composite tanks in the US. You do realize who foolish it sounds to say only the SCI tanks who are branded and sold by XXX are safe to use. Its like saying the only light bulbs you can use in your Ford vehicle are the ones sold by Ford dealerships. If you want to stick to tanks - do you think hospitals only get tanks from the OEM for some of thier equipment or do you think they understand an AL 'D' tank is interchangeable irregardless of who you bought it from. Oh wait - most of those tanks are handled by gas suppliers who mix Luxfer and Catalina O2 tanks and don't worry about the stickers that may have been put on a tank for its 'certification' for use with a peice of equipment.

    To those who don't see this - I pose this one more question. What battery do you use in your PASS device? Do you ensure that you use only the battery spec'd by the manufacture or do you use the commonly available 9V you can get readily? The NIOSH paperwork and SCBA paperwork (at least for MSA) requires the use of Duracell Procell batteries. If you don't use those, aren't you also in violation of the NIOSH rating???

    You are right in one thing - as many people interpret the NIOSH test standards, using a tank outside the OEM stickered ones can make it a 'Non NIOSH' tested device. For many departments, mine included, the excess cost for meeting this is not worth it. An SCI tank is half the price of the MSA tank. For 20 tanks, that is 10,000. While some departments may not see that as a major cost, for many it is.

    This is even further reinforced when you read the condition that says its OK to use a non-OEM tank under 'emergency' conditions. If its safe to do then, why is it not safe to do all of the time. I mean this is the case where we KNOW the user will enter an IDLH atmosphere right. This is the worst case scenario for its use and its safe enough then.

    I don't fear this in a court of law. I believe you would have a VERY big uphill battle stating the brand of cylinder used in an SCBA was a causal factor. I don't believe the Jury would neccessarly agree with the SCBA manufacturers that the cylinder being SCI rather than MSA (and SCI) would in fact invalidate the NIOSH test - provided the the cylinder was made to spec. Again, we are talking cylinder only not cylinder and valve.

    You are free to disagree and I don't personally care. I would expect to see this 'standard' adjusted in the next year or three as SCI is now selling tanks on the open market. Since they are the manufacturer, they have a lot of leverage with this. Honestly, if they wanted to be devious, they could move the MSA markings from the hydro label and it then it would be 'as tested' by MSA.
    It is ALREADY in process. Since ALL Usa built airpacks come with a Luxfer or SCI cylinder, the only REAL difference,as you CORRECTLY stated, is in the label spun under the glass. It IS true that as it stands now,you have an unrated assembly with a generic SCI bottle even if it has Scott valve. SO, you have to make up your mind if you care to assume the liability or not. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 04-09-2011 at 06:45 PM.

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