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Thread: SCBA Training

  1. #1
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    Default SCBA Training

    I am the chief of a small rural VFD in south MS. Our state fire academy offers a very detailed and difficult SCBA specialist training course called Smoke Diver. This is a 40 hour class offered at the academy.Presently there are no classes offered that are specific to becoming an SCBA specialist at the volunteer level.

    I am looking for some ideas, videos, power point information to help me develop a simular class that I can deliver to the volunteers in my department as well as the neighboring departments within our county. Most departments in our area are very agressive when it comes to fighting fire. We have been through most all of the training offered by the state fire academy at the volunteer level.

    My biggest goal is to make the volunteers of our county very proficient where SCBA's are concerned.

    Any info would be appreciated.

    Please mail to henleyfieldvfd@bellsouth.net

    Thanks


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    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    So there are classes that are for career only at your academy? (Outside recruit training).....hmm...any way you could get a copy of the course and use that? I'm sure there are a lot of resources on line that you can find too....

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    I'm probably a little slow this morning - but can you clarify why you mean by 'at the volunteer level'? Does this mean different quality of course, course offered on weekends, course that doesn't require being from a career station as a prerequisite....?

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    NY used to offer a class called "mask confidence." I'm pretty sure it's wrapped into the FF1 course now, and was probably the equivalent to the "smoke diver" course you mention.

    I'll second the suggestion of obtaining the curriculum and using it for local training.

    That'll probably mean that you won't get official credit for it, unless you have an accredited instructor available.

    As I recall, one of the exercises was a hot bottle swap - which is to say, a bottle swap done in fire-like conditions in one of our burn rooms. That could also pose a problem if you don't have all of the facilities needed to fully run the course.
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    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    NYS still offers this course -

    SCBA Confidence
    This course is taught by individuals instructed
    through the Train-the-Trainer
    program offered at the Academy of Fire
    Science. State certificates are not issued
    for this program. SCBA Confidence provides
    a solid indoctrination in emergency
    procedures and establishes confidence in
    using self-contained breathing apparatus in
    a crisis situation.
    Designed for: All fire service personnel
    Course Length: 15 hours
    Prerequisite: Fire Fighter I or equivalent. Signed
    Training Authorization Letter required
    Course number : 01-05-0044
    Course Location(s): Academy, Regionally, and
    Locally via Outreach
    Maybe if you ask nicely someone might be able to get you a copy of the curriculum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Volchief1 View Post
    I am the chief of a small rural VFD in south MS. Our state fire academy offers a very detailed and difficult SCBA specialist training course called Smoke Diver. This is a 40 hour class offered at the academy.Presently there are no classes offered that are specific to becoming an SCBA specialist at the volunteer level.
    I have the same question as the others above. Why can't volunteers take the Smoke Divers class offered at the academy? Is it a distance or scheduling problem? If so you may be able to work with them to offer the courses at different times or locations. That would probably be preferable to coming up with your own similar course.

    The county fire academy here offers a Smoke Divers course. I took it a few years ago and it was fantastic. Can't find the description online since its not offered this semester. The class was scheduled for nights and weekends which allowed both career and volunteer members to attend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasobuff View Post
    NYS still offers this course -
    My bad - I didn't check the catalog. They haven't had it offered up this way in a while and thought I'd heard it had been put in FF1 or FF2.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Just a few ideas ...

    SCBA emergency procedures in limited/zero visibility
    Low profile/Confined space limited visibility drills
    Doffing/redonning in zero/limited visibility drills
    Limited/Zero visibility search drills
    Zero/limited visibility victim drag drills
    Zero/limited visibility self-rescue/survival drills
    Zero/limited visibility free (no walls) rope/tag line search drills

    Just a few ideas you could probably use in-house during weekly training.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 04-15-2011 at 09:36 PM.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Forum Member pasobuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    My bad - I didn't check the catalog. They haven't had it offered up this way in a while and thought I'd heard it had been put in FF1 or FF2.
    Maybe I'll let you slide tree.....

    And to the OP - maybe, if you ask nicely, someone might be able to come up with a curriculum for you of the NY SCBA class *wink*wink

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    Contact some of the paid in your area/ nearby. And see if you can recruit a training officer or someone proficient in a scba class

    And see if they will fo some pro Bono training or at least gas and a steak dinner

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    My bad - I didn't check the catalog. They haven't had it offered up this way in a while and thought I'd heard it had been put in FF1 or FF2.
    They do or did some SCBA confidence with us in my FF1 class, and actually they offered the SCBA confidence class in Schoharie County last summer, could not make it though do to work schedule but they do offer it still.

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    If this "smoke divers" class is a true smoke diver class, like MFRI offered years ago, it is a very intense, physically and mentally demanding course- as previously stated, it's 40 hours- thats five, eight hour days of nothing but SCBA and how to better use it, and more or less teach you to make it "part of you." It's almost sort of a "Navy Seals" boot camp for using SCBA.

    Are you attempting to deliver a shortened version of the course, or just some portions to teach confidence???? The class should NOT be shortened. It is 40 hours for a reason, as it takes that long to deliver the curriculum and allow time for practical excercises.
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    The Smoke Diver class is a very intensive class. It requires a member be in very good physical shape. The class has a large amount of paid department members fail due to the intense physical requirements.

    It also is expensive. The class is held Monday - Thursday for 10 hours per day. Between the tuition cost of such a class and the time a volunteer has to devote (taking off from a job that is hard enough to keep) just doesn't work good for volunteers.

    I understand that good physical shape is important to be an efficient firefighter but that is not always possible.

    Just want to develop a class to get a volunteer firefighter very proficient in the use of an SCBA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Volchief1 View Post
    Just want to develop a class to get a volunteer firefighter very proficient in the use of an SCBA
    I'm reminded of a drill that SCUBA divers do - throw all their gear into the pool, then go down and don it at the bottom.

    I'd suggest that you want to start by getting all your folks to that point (figuratively).

    Our FF1 folks often start class with a donning drill - street clothes to "on air". Under two minutes is the goal, IIRC - 1:30 is something of an average for the competent. I've got one guy who's working on getting under a minute, but that's a bit extreme.

    It's a good chance for some esprit d'corps, too - some competition is sure to occur, and you'll have folks helping each other get better.

    So that's a place to start - regular donning drills. As has been suggested, do them in the dark, too - that helps ensure that your folks really know their equipment, including their PPE.

    Part of the Mask Confidence course is "hot bottle swaps," which I think I mentioned before. But you don't need a hot room to practice the techniques - start in a lighted room and work toward doing them in a darkened room. Again, familiarity is key. So is teamwork - how long can you hold your breath while I'm fumbling with your replacement cylinder?

    You can build a little confidence course fairly easily - a simple stud wall participants have to get through with their pack on, a confined space where they have to take off the pack to get through (you'd be surprised how folks can get through a 16" square hole). Maybe a piece of plastic drainage pipe to crawl through (check with your highway department). Use your imagination and experience for more ideas. They don't have to be elaborate.

    Reduce their vision with smoke or waxed paper over the mask as an added bonus.

    Any drill can be run with packs on - climbing ladders, advancing lines, etc. Do it and work toward it being second nature to work with a pack on, on air.

    When you're done with a drill, make sure everyone does a thorough inspection of the packs and makes it ready for service.

    Good luck!
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    If this "smoke divers" class is a true smoke diver class, like MFRI offered years ago, it is a very intense, physically and mentally demanding course- as previously stated, it's 40 hours- thats five, eight hour days of nothing but SCBA and how to better use it, and more or less teach you to make it "part of you." It's almost sort of a "Navy Seals" boot camp for using SCBA.

    Are you attempting to deliver a shortened version of the course, or just some portions to teach confidence???? The class should NOT be shortened. It is 40 hours for a reason, as it takes that long to deliver the curriculum and allow time for practical excercises.
    This. The main thing that makes Smoke Diver in Georgia so hard is the fact that it is basically 5 days of hell. If you take the time aspect out of it and make it into two weekends, you would no longer have the exprience that 5 straight days provides. It sounds like where some of you are from Smoke Diver is no big deal. Here it is pretty much the Holy Grail of fire service training.
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    What I do is get my younger candidates into these training exercises and I try to take photos.

    Getting too old and cranky to change bottles in a smoke filled concrete room.

    Where I have issues sometimes is the instructors. Especially those who look like they just got out of special forces and believe in returning the 50 year old vollys to basic training again. They need to get a life.

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    Chief,
    TN offers both the Smoke Diver class (same format as everyone else) but also offers a 16hr class called SCBA using it. This class was developed to be given in a weekend at regional training functions. I sure if you contact the academy they could help.

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