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Thread: SCBA as SCUBA

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    Default SCBA as SCUBA

    I don't know if many of you have had to use their SCBA as a emergency SCUBA tank but last night we had a vehicle go off the road and into the river with 2 people entrapped. One passenger was able to get out but the other was still entrapped. I grabbed an SCBA and into the river I went. I was able to breathe fine underwater but despite our efforts the occupant was too entrapped and I was not able to successfully extricate the individual. I know many departments have a dive team but in the middle of the night when faced with this type of call does your departments permit this as acceptable. We have done this many times on our department and is permitted in dire emergencies such as the one stated above, but I was wondering how does your departments deal with this type of emergency and if there is some type of SOP your department has in place that could better prepare for a call of this nature.

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    Aren't they rated to so many feet??

    One problem is how do you train??



    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0VMkH9N1ELk
    Last edited by fire49; 07-19-2014 at 12:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Aren't they rated to so many feet??

    One problem is how do you train??



    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0VMkH9N1ELk
    You couldn't possibly train. At least not formally. No department will approve a policy to use a piece of equipment in a way that it is not designed for. Training on it that way would imply approval. Just can't see anyone doing it officially.

    firedan525 was in a position where he thought he had a shot to save a life. So he did what he felt he had to do. I assume it was based on the amount of time that the car was submerged, along with other conditions such as water temperature, water speed, currents, etc. There will be incidents where you just cannot make the attempt, based on size-up. There will be incidents where size-up indicates a possible rescue. Members on scene will have to make that call. Some supervisors will flat out disallow a rescue attempt w/o proper response of trained manpower and equipment. Others will give a short leash. Some will let you do whatever you want. (They are dangerous.)

    My advice would be to be realistic about conditions encountered and chances for success. We are also part of any life hazard.

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    It's not in the training manual, it's not in the owner's manual. It's not in the OSHA standard or the SOG.

    But it beats the heck out of standing there like an idiot and letting someone die.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    --General James Mattis, USMC


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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    It's not in the training manual, it's not in the owner's manual. It's not in the OSHA standard or the SOG.

    But it beats the heck out of standing there like an idiot and letting someone die.
    Size-up, size-up, size-up. It may be more idiotic to ATTEMPT the rescue than it would be to stand down. Doesn,t make you an idiot. We don't EVER "let someone die". We just show up and do our best to clean up whatever mess we find within some level of safety.
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    With one survivor getting out of the water, and little else to go on other than a hysterical woman screaming save him, I did what I had to. I just was curious as to what you guys would do and if your department has ever gone over this type of incident. Its not something we get all to often but my department has had this happen now 3 times that I can remember so it does occur, just less frequently.

    Hard to train for every scenario, thats why I feel discussing these types of incidents are important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedan525 View Post
    With one survivor getting out of the water, and little else to go on other than a hysterical woman screaming save him, I did what I had to. I just was curious as to what you guys would do and if your department has ever gone over this type of incident. Its not something we get all to often but my department has had this happen now 3 times that I can remember so it does occur, just less frequently.

    Hard to train for every scenario, thats why I feel discussing these types of incidents are important.
    First off, Kudos for trying.

    Don't know if you considered it, but was there any chance of putting a mask from a RIT pack on the trapped person?? Or maybe just opening up an SCBA bottle to put an air pocket in the car? I know using an SCBA to try to access a patient under water has been done a couple of times here. It's not a "recommended" practice, but its an option in the right situation.

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    Well I immediately suspected that he may had been trapped by a seat belt so I had my knife out but when I saw how he was pinned upside down with only his upper legs and bottom torso visible to me, I knew there must be something holding him in that I couldn't see. In fact when the wrecker pulled the vehicle out it was apparent his arm was outside of the vehicle pinned underneath and no amount of pulling was going to dislodge him. Once this was noticed, and enough time had passed it became a body recovery. Scene was cleared for the wrecker.

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    Have "tested" SCBA down to about 12 feet in a pool.
    "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 Bones42 View Post
    Have "tested" SCBA down to about 12 feet in a pool.
    Any problems with the electronics of the pack after that?

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydY7x20DFRE little video Newport News did about firefighter ppe and scba in water

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Any problems with the electronics of the pack after that?
    No more than before the test. Still eats batteries at a fast rate. HUD is still 50/50. I would imagine that submersing in salt water may lead to more issues.
    "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 captnjak View Post
    Size-up, size-up, size-up. It may be more idiotic to ATTEMPT the rescue than it would be to stand down. Doesn,t make you an idiot. We don't EVER "let someone die". We just show up and do our best to clean up whatever mess we find within some level of safety.
    Without derailing the thread, some people do seem inclined to let someone die. But I digress.

    You are right; I should clarify that I would never advocate this type of action in deep or swift water, or under any of a variety of circumstances that would be, as you noted, discovered during size-up.

    But I have always believed that going off-script in the attempt to save a life--prudently--is better than assuming there's nothing you can do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Have "tested" SCBA down to about 12 feet in a pool.
    As I recall, many years ago (late 80's maybe) FH had an article about using SCBA in the water. I remember noting that while it was not part of the SCBA's official certification, it would work. Of course without a weight belt and fins the added buoyancy might prove problematic? Since it violates the use, official training might be a problem for some, but I think it'd be nice to know the issues that might arise given this has always been a possibility in the backs of many firefighters heads.

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    I will say it was a river but water was not moving fast. There however were tons of gators in the water. In fact 2 gators were killed when the vehicle hit the water. The fact that SCBA's are not made for this type of procedure but still will work IS an important thing for us to know. Like Captnjak said size-up size-up, but if there is a chance to save a life in a structure thats on fire or a vehicle under water we use what ever tools at our disposal. We all go to work knowing theres a chance we'll get thrown into a Shhhit scenerio, we just have to do our best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    As I recall, many years ago (late 80's maybe) FH had an article about using SCBA in the water. I remember noting that while it was not part of the SCBA's official certification, it would work. Of course without a weight belt and fins the added buoyancy might prove problematic? Since it violates the use, official training might be a problem for some, but I think it'd be nice to know the issues that might arise given this has always been a possibility in the backs of many firefighters heads.
    With the proximity of boats and water in my area, it's a realistic possibility to be accidentally overboard. Ya, we have water rescue team standing by, but they can't always be immediate response. Buoyancy was very hard to overcome.
    "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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