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Thread: Teaching a class on SCBA..What would you include?

  1. #1
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    Default Teaching a class on SCBA..What would you include?

    Hey folks. I was a member here long ago but I have since forgot my sign in stuff and had to register again. In any event, I have been in fire service for about 14 years, was registered firefighter 1 and 2 in 2004. Been active every since and have a lot of experience. I recently moved and left a vol/paid-on-call dept and joined an all volunteer department where we moved to.

    I have really enjoyed joining the all volunteer dept. My previous dept was city funded for the most part and money was not much of an issue. At the new vol dept, every enphasis is placed on money and fundraisers. It is kind of a different atmosphere. Also, since no one is paid, I feel like the members that are there are dedicated. I guess they really are if no money is involved.

    Anyway, we have many new people that have joined along with myself, and I want to teach a training class on packs (SCBA). I also want to incorporate the compressor and fill station into this, but I am unsure if it is a good idea or not.

    Many of the members at this department of yet to receive firefighter 1 training, but the dept is in somewhat of a situation where there is not a lot of help. I want to teach this class on packs so everybody knows the basics, and in the event that the skills need to be utilized, at least everyone will have a crash course. I'd rather have a bunch of people trained on the basics than a bunch of people who have no idea about them. I had a couple of questions I was hoping you all could help with.

    1. Does your department only allow certain people to run the fill station, or does everyone learn how to use it?

    2. What pertinent info would you include in a training class about packs if you had to teach a class (other than the obvious like what is detailed in typical firefighter training books)?

    After we do the classroom part of the pack training, I'd like to do some drills. I've done many different kinds, but I am open to any suggestions you guys might have. I was thinking bottle swap drills, blacked out mask and going through an obstacle course, maybe some sort of confined space (if I can come up with a way to create that), and also some donning drills.

    Thanks

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    start with the basic and make sure they are in place, before moving on to more advanced stuff.

    filling station, you may want to limit access to a few, and maybe have written instructions posted.

    what does the upper management people say about the fill station???

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    I've not asked, but I would assume that they have certain people who are tasked with its operation. Personally I would prefer it that way myself. I am just a new guy though, so I have to be careful what I suggest.

    I want to be helpful, not come off as a know it all. This is a fine line I'm trying not to cross.

    I did mention to the chief the other night about wanting to teach the class..and he thought it was a great idea.

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    You might want to get a base line on Scba use and knowledge
    To see where the dept is at and where it needs to go

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    This may not apply in your situation, but I have run across cases in the past where volunteer departments had a variety of gear types-Scott, MSA. Make sure everybody knows how to use ALL the different SCBAs. This applies too if you support neighboring departments with different gear types. The middle of a call is no time to try to figure out how different bottle release systems work. Do not ask me how I know this...

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    I agree with getting a baseline - but that might be aided by doing a "once over lightly" of SCBA - you'll see who knows the gear and who doesn't. Have the senior leadership help you learn who the "old heads" are, SCBA-wise, and use them to mentor the newer folks. You might discover some bad habits that way, too, and be able to change them.

    As mentioned, different brands can be a challenge, but the basics are going to be the same. Start there. If you know of differences, a casual mention will help prime your folks for what they might encounter.

    I recently heard a term that was new to me, but which fits the use of SCBA to a "T." "Unconcious competence." It's something that all SCBA users should have. We've done donning drills in the dark. You have to know your gear. Kinda like the SCUBA drill where they throw all your gear into the pool, and you you have to go to the bottom and put it all on...

    As for the fill station - I could probably argue both ways there, but it's a good idea if all personnel know how to properly use it, right down to how to sequence the cascade bottles. Even if you limit who can use the system, one of these days someone not on the list may get tasked to fill a cylinder in an emergency. Nothing worse than balancing out your cascade...

    If you have a compressor, I'd definitely limit who's allowed to run it.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    We do have a compressor. We had a training deal the other day where nearly every air pack was used, and one of the younger ff's equalized all the storage bottles about five bottles in to twenty or so that needed to be filled. I was upset..but what was I supposed to say...

    I think basic SCBA and use of the cascade system may be too much for one class. Maybe dedicate a whole class to the cascade system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cncwhiz View Post
    I think basic SCBA and use of the cascade system may be too much for one class. Maybe dedicate a whole class to the cascade system.
    You could probably take basic SCBA out to several classes, never mind a separate class for the cascade...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    You SHould probably take basic SCBA out to several classes, never mind a separate class for the cascade...
    editted. No way can a basic SCBA be done in 1 class. You will give guys just enough knowledge to get someone hurt.
    slackjawedyokel likes this.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by cncwhiz View Post
    We do have a compressor. We had a training deal the other day where nearly every air pack was used, and one of the younger ff's equalized all the storage bottles about five bottles in to twenty or so that needed to be filled. I was upset..but what was I supposed to say...

    I think basic SCBA and use of the cascade system may be too much for one class. Maybe dedicate a whole class to the cascade system.
    Stick bugs in people's ears , post instructions to include Dont's

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    editted. No way can a basic SCBA be done in 1 class. You will give guys just enough knowledge to get someone hurt.
    True that.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Everyone in our VFD who has attended some of the cadet/new member trainings knows how to operate the fill station, and the ins and outs of recharging the two styles of bottle that are used in the department. It's an important support role that helps familiarize folks with how the bottles work and which are compatible with particular SCBAs. It probably makes for less wasted-time on the fireground when helping FFs who are working the interior change bottles.

    Breathing exercises are one of those skills that seem to be most valuable, especially the conditioning to control the reptile brain that wants to panic when the availability of air is restricted or cut-off.

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    - Hot Bottle Swaps (change out a bottle in a structure)
    - Consumption test (suck that bottle dry to see how it feels and how long you can go after vibralert)
    - Inspection Procedures
    - Buddy breathing, if applicable
    - Cascade system
    - Breathing Techniques
    - Looooots of practice donning and doffing - both in apparatus and on the ground
    - How to communicate effectively with a pak on
    - PASS operation
    - Basics...how to turn it on and off, red/yellow buttons, etc.

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