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  1. #1
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    Default NFPA and SCBA and Turnouts

    Does NFPA have a limit on the age of SCBA's and or turnouts that can be used. I know 10 yrs for turn outs is what i have heard but is there a offical year or version? On the SCBA side I thought that 1981 was the oldest verion of SCBA's that could be used. There has been alot of discussion between a fire chief and the fire departments board president. Needless to say fire chief wants newer equipment, board president doesnt want to spend that money, but thats another subject all together lol


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    I'd imagine you could get your answer directly from the NFPA.

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    the 1981 in NFPA has nothing to do with the years. It is the "hardware" version of requirements. I use hardware as in the new age of things "mechanical" tends to be lost in early 20 somethings. 1981 deals with the flow rates, warning devices, materials used in design and all that type stuff. NFPA 1982 deals with the electronics. In the 2007 revision of the scba standards several manufacturers got the NFPA 1981 standard pretty easy, the 1982 took additional time due to the stringent changes brought on by brothers dying in cities like St. Louis when the pass device could not be heard within 4 ft of a downed firefighter due to water intrusion. Pass devices now are subject to heat and water submersion multiple times. The decible levels were increased and tested at 4 angles all to make sure repeates like St. Louis never happen again.

    The best way to ensure your SCBA still meets NFPA are:

    1. Are there parts available for that model
    2. is it supported by the manufacturer

    By answering no to either answer makes the unit non compliant. The latest I am aware of are the Cairns/global secure units
    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 volfireman034 View Post
    Does NFPA have a limit on the age of SCBA's and or turnouts that can be used. I know 10 yrs for turn outs is what i have heard but is there a offical year or version? On the SCBA side I thought that 1981 was the oldest verion of SCBA's that could be used. There has been alot of discussion between a fire chief and the fire departments board president. Needless to say fire chief wants newer equipment, board president doesnt want to spend that money, but thats another subject all together lol
    NFPA 1852 is the standard in which the 10 year life cycle for TOG is referenced.

    As far as SCBA goes, with the exception of the old steel cylinders, the SCBA cylinder has a life span of 15 years. I'm not sure off hand if the actual harness and components have an "expiration date" also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    Does NFPA have a limit on the age of SCBA's and or turnouts that can be used. I know 10 yrs for turn outs is what i have heard but is there a offical year or version? On the SCBA side I thought that 1981 was the oldest verion of SCBA's that could be used. There has been alot of discussion between a fire chief and the fire departments board president. Needless to say fire chief wants newer equipment, board president doesnt want to spend that money, but thats another subject all together lol
    You do have your SCBA's tested yearly don't you? The company testing them should let you know if they need replaced. Bottles do have a lifespan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    NFPA 1852 is the standard in which the 10 year life cycle for TOG is referenced.

    As far as SCBA goes, with the exception of the old steel cylinders, the SCBA cylinder has a life span of 15 years. I'm not sure off hand if the actual harness and components have an "expiration date" also.
    The 15 year life span is for composite cylinders. Regular aluminum, such as the DOT 3AL series can be used until they fail a hydrotest.

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    As long as the unit passes its annual testing and you are able to have a certified technician maintain the packs then they are good regardless of age.

    As far as NFPA goes, the SCBAs only need to conform to the standard in place when the pack was manufactured. You can update the packs to the current NFPA standards, but it can get pricey.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

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    Non composite cylinders (as has been mentioned) have a lifespan as long as they continue to pass HydroTesting.

    Composite Cylinders have a 15 year lifespan although versions are now on the market with a 30 year lifespan.

    Pack harness straps and belts typically have no set "expiration" date. So long as they pass a visual inspection for wear and UV Damage, they are ok. Most straps do not even have any tags whatsoever with serial numbers or dates for that reason.

    As for the rest of the pack components like the frame, hoses and regulators as well as electronics? So long as they pass yearly visual and physical inspection including flow testing and the NFPA and/or manufacturer has not issued an order to remove a part(s) from service, then the pack can go on being used so long as the manufacturer still supports it AND the pack still meets whatever the NFPA standards are for it's design.

    If you have a reputable dealer doing all your service and record keeping on your packs with a service contract, they will be able to keep you up to date on what you need to worry about, if anything.

    Turnout Gear? 10 years from manufacture date is the limit.

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    I've heard that the standard for composite cylinders isn't age, but tests. You're allowed five, and the manufacturer uses up the first one.

    That begs the question of whether you could hold a cylinder OOS for some period after the last test expires, then have it tested and place it back in service later.

    If that's the case, the service life (with vacations) could be well beyond the cited 15 years.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    I've heard that the standard for composite cylinders isn't age, but tests. You're allowed five, and the manufacturer uses up the first one.

    That begs the question of whether you could hold a cylinder OOS for some period after the last test expires, then have it tested and place it back in service later.

    If that's the case, the service life (with vacations) could be well beyond the cited 15 years.
    No, It has nothing to do with tests. It's 15 years from the date of manufacture. Period. The first Hydro Test is due 3 years from the manufacture date. If you never use the cylinder or use it for awhile then shelf it for 5-10 years it does not in any way increase the lifespan of use.

    If you (for discussion sake) Bought a composite cylinder new in 2000 and left it sitting on a shelf till 2014 you would need to Hydro Test it to even use it. But a new Hydro Test sticker would never supercede the manufacture date. You would have a cylinder that looks brand new and has had only one Hydro Test after manufacture that would need to be scrapped in one year.

    This issue came up as well with Scott directly when a guy on Ebay was selling a never used 45 minute 4500 PSI Cylinder. It came from a complete SCBA setup in a lab that was NEVER used. The issue was the cylinder was already 16 years old. I already knew the answer, but i e-mailed Scott and sent them the auction link to see the pictures. My question was, "Can a cylinder that has never seen a single day of service but is 15 years old be Hydro Tested, pass the inspection and then be good for 3 years?" Scott's reply was "No reputable shop would even perform the test because the cylinder has reached the end of it's lifespan"

    I currently have a mint condition 45 minute cylinder that i use on my training pack for exercise that has only had two Hydro Test's done since it was made but it will be 15 years old next year and will worthless sadly.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    I've heard that the standard for composite cylinders isn't age, but tests. You're allowed five, and the manufacturer uses up the first one.

    That begs the question of whether you could hold a cylinder OOS for some period after the last test expires, then have it tested and place it back in service later.

    If that's the case, the service life (with vacations) could be well beyond the cited 15 years.
    Better check again Tree,anything(composite) issued up to quite recently is to be taken OOS at 15 years which is 3 test cycles at 5 years or if you had the early models they were 3 and then went to 5 yr cycles. Either way,they are DONE at 15 years from date of MFG.

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