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Thread: scba bottles

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    Default scba bottles

    dept. heads want to go to aluminum bottles to replace the steel ones we have. carbon fiber is obviously a lot lighter. i know there big thing is the life expectancy of the aluminum vs. the carbon. anyone have any thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mic6384@gmail.com View Post
    dept. heads want to go to aluminum bottles to replace the steel ones we have. carbon fiber is obviously a lot lighter. i know there big thing is the life expectancy of the aluminum vs. the carbon. anyone have any thoughts?
    Aluminum is lighter than steel, carbon fiber is far lighter than aluminum. Cost is a factor, so is work time due to the stress of heavier bottles. Obviously you have 2216 psi SCBA because of cylinder choices. Look at the age of your scba and then determine if this is money well spent of if your department maybe should look at replacing the current scba altogether.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Aluminum is lighter than steel, carbon fiber is far lighter than aluminum. Cost is a factor, so is work time due to the stress of heavier bottles. Obviously you have 2216 psi SCBA because of cylinder choices. Look at the age of your scba and then determine if this is money well spent of if your department maybe should look at replacing the current scba altogether.
    Yeah, lipstick on a pig. We are not that busy, but the old air packs are to be used VERY sparingly. We can put carbon on them but they are still old packs that seem to malfunction w/o warning.

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    Plus the fact that if you're running packs that were delivered with steel bottles, you're about three generations behind with regard to features and requirements.

    Steel bottles are good until they fail a hydro test. I think the same is true of aluminum. Wrapped tanks are good for five tests, on a three year cycle, or 15 years. I believe that's now been extended to a four year cycle, thus 20 years. In case the math isn't adding up for you, remember that the first hydro test occurs at the factory.

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    Also thinking outside the box here and just me thinking, is there a valid safety consideration as to why you are now addressing replacing the bottles only? Like already said better before me, it might be better, more cost effective, (yep, sometimes that happens) and much safer just to retire all of what you have, keep it in good ready reserve for the big SHTF and buy brand new state of the art stuff?

    But ... before one does that and $spends$ the taxpayers money, it might also be a good time to set back and think a bit. If all up carry weight is a concern and it always is, how about doing also at the same time an equipment weight reduction study, which usually is very cheap. You might find other ways to safely carve a lot of carry weight off the load out. Dieting and loosing 20 pounds will work also.

    Just me thinking outside the box. My opinions only. No disrespect intended nor implied. Excellent Forum. HB of CJ (old coot)

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    IF you consider new air packs versus just replacing bottles it makes sense to look at either 4500 or 5500 psi versus 2200psi. With the new standards the low air alarm sounds at 33% air remaining in the cylinder. In my mind this almost obsoletes 2216 psi scba, or any 30 minute bottle for that matter. I wouldn't consider buying any scba cylinders of less than 45 minute duration.
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    I know you are going to hate this, but I believe that 2216 still has a place.

    It is small rural America, where training, experience and fitness levels dictate that one should not be inside for longer than a 30 min bottle will allow.

    JMHO

    NOT saying that the OP fits these criteria, just throwing it out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    I know you are going to hate this, but I believe that 2216 still has a place.

    It is small rural America, where training, experience and fitness levels dictate that one should not be inside for longer than a 30 min bottle will allow.

    JMHO

    NOT saying that the OP fits these criteria, just throwing it out there.
    The issue is if you buy new 2216 scba today the low air alarm now sounds at roughly at 730 psi instead of closer to 540 psi. So theoretically you have lost time from when the alarm sounds AND also in your safety factor time for exit.
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    At a recent fire service get together in Baltimore, we were advised that no manufacturer is going to be making airpacks using 2216 bottles now as of the new standards. This was allegedly verified through at least one manufacturer.

    Seeing as Airpacks are such a high priority in the AFG program, I would urge the OP to put in for airpacks, which would bring you up to current standards.

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    one issue with a complete upgrade: say they apply for 12 new complete 4500 packs and get funded to the tune of $ 66000 minus their 5 or 10% matching funds. If they can afford the matching funds.
    They then need to buy spare bottles or if they have a cascade maybe need to replace that also was a a low pressure unit for their old 2216 bottles. Now they need to get funding for a compressor and new cascade, and the spending goes on & on.

    I've been working with a small rural dept trying to get funded for some new equipment.
    Not every app will get packs funded now matter how needy they are.
    AFG is too busy buying gym equipment & other foolishness to truly help some of the most needy depts.
    Found a great deal for them on some 5 yo 2216 packs with carbon fiber bottles from a dept that had gotten new 4500 packs with all the bells & whistles.

    $300 per unit with spare bottles from the rep who sold the new packs as they were going to dumpster them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    one issue with a complete upgrade: say they apply for 12 new complete 4500 packs and get funded to the tune of $ 66000 minus their 5 or 10% matching funds. If they can afford the matching funds.
    They then need to buy spare bottles or if they have a cascade maybe need to replace that also was a a low pressure unit for their old 2216 bottles. Now they need to get funding for a compressor and new cascade, and the spending goes on & on.
    From my recent experience with replacing our SCBA, each unit typically comes with a spare cylinder. So, the need to purchase spare cylinders may not be there unless they intend to carry more than 1 spare for each unit.

    You are correct that there are other considerations beyond the units themselves, but if 2216 is going to be obsolete soon, that may not be the wise options if getting new units. I'm not 100% sure on it, but the only thing they would likely need for a change to 4500 cylinders on a cascade system is new cylinders. The compressor and such should still work with the new cylinders since the cylinders just hold the compressed air.

    Additionally, if they have a cascade system now, there's a good chance that they have 4500psi cylinders on it. They would be able to fill the new cylinders for the most part if they couldn't afford to upgrade the cascade's cylinders right away. We changed over to 4500 cylinders a good 15+ years ago and our in house system still has 4500 cylinders. It's not ideal, but we can get cylinders just about full with it. Unfortunately, updating our cylinder capacity hasn't been a concern for our fire chiefs during that time. We just got a new chief (and a competent one at that) so, hopefully we can push thru an upgrade this year.

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    The differences between carbon fiber and aluminum are shrinking. Since 2001 the hydrostatic testing has been a 5 year cycle for carbon fiber (the older standard was 5 for steel / aluminum, 3 for composites). Since it is 2015 there is only one more year of having to keep separate track of the 3 year (pre-2001) and 5 year cylinders.

    Steel / Aluminum are good until they fail a hydrotest, composites have a 15 year life expectancy. I'm sure I recently saw something about the life span of carbon fiber being extended beyond 15 years but I can't find anything saying that in a search just now, so assume it is still 15 years.

    The cost of carbon fiber cylinders are coming down, they used to cost about 3x aluminum, now only about 1.5x.

    Of course the big advantage of carbon fiber other than weight is they can use high pressure allowing 30, 45 and 60 minute cylinders vs only 30 for aluminum.


    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    I know you are going to hate this, but I believe that 2216 still has a place.

    It is small rural America, where training, experience and fitness levels dictate that one should not be inside for longer than a 30 min bottle will allow.

    JMHO

    NOT saying that the OP fits these criteria, just throwing it out there.
    I agree with you in theory but if you think about it this is a bogus argument that only applies if you have poor management. There is nothing to keep a department from setting timers on their crews, 20 minutes on air and then they come out.
    30 minute cylinders of course have a hard enforcement (out of air at 10-15 minutes) while running 60 minutes with a 20 minute work limit is on the IC to enforce pulling the crews. Personally I'd prefer to have my crews come out with a little reserve air than wait for the pack to say it is time and hope they don't have a problem on the way out. With the new standards an out of shape firefighter is probably only going to get about 20-25 minutes out of a 60 minute before the bell goes off anyway.

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    If your looking to upgrade to carbon fiber, shoot me a email at tanktest@gmail.com. I know a company that is liquidating its stock. They have over 100 Scott carbon fiber SCBA tanks with valves for sale for $250 a bottle. All were made in 2013 so they still have a long use life. The tanks are 4500 psi, 45 minute bottles. Don't know if he also has air packs, but even if you had to buy new ones your saving a bundle since the tanks usually run over $1000 each. Shoot me a message and I can give you the point of contact.
    Myles

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    From my recent experience with replacing our SCBA, each unit typically comes with a spare cylinder. So, the need to purchase spare cylinders may not be there unless they intend to carry more than 1 spare for each unit.

    You are correct that there are other considerations beyond the units themselves, but if 2216 is going to be obsolete soon, that may not be the wise options if getting new units. I'm not 100% sure on it, but the only thing they would likely need for a change to 4500 cylinders on a cascade system is new cylinders. The compressor and such should still work with the new cylinders since the cylinders just hold the compressed air.

    Additionally, if they have a cascade system now, there's a good chance that they have 4500psi cylinders on it. They would be able to fill the new cylinders for the most part if they couldn't afford to upgrade the cascade's cylinders right away. We changed over to 4500 cylinders a good 15+ years ago and our in house system still has 4500 cylinders. It's not ideal, but we can get cylinders just about full with it. Unfortunately, updating our cylinder capacity hasn't been a concern for our fire chiefs during that time. We just got a new chief (and a competent one at that) so, hopefully we can push thru an upgrade this year.
    You are correct a 4500 psi system will ALMOST fill the new bottles full, until you need to top them off @ 4500 psi.
    Many older compressors were 3000 psi and that worked fine for 2216 cylinders but will need to be replaced.
    Most departments especially rural ones have extra bottles on the trucks above the 2 per pack so FF's can continue to work.
    Many don't have portable cascades or even one at their stations. They gather up empties and run them to a nearby dept that has capabilities to fill for them.
    Until we got a grant funded compressor /cascade system in 2003 all our area depts had to haul empties over 30 miles to get them filled. Since then we have included an 8 bottle 6000 psi mobile system with a 3 chamber frag chamber. Now we are to dept called mutual aid to all surrounding towns within a 20 mile radius for air supply. Even the 2 city depts that have small cascades call us for scene air.

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    I believe I saw an article a few years back about there only being two cases of SCBA bottles failing catastrophically, and one was from being run over, and one from chemical corrosion from cleaning with a caustic agent.
    As for limiting rural depts. to a 30 minute bottle so they don't become overstressed from staying in too long, that's a command problem. You can order them out and bring in a fresh crew in what ever time frame you think is appropriate for a particular crew or incident. To me the extra capacity of a 45 minute bottle is for safety if a firefighter should become trapped.

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    I cant decide what is the better theory.
    Often times there is no other crew. So maybe two 15 min shifts are better than one thirty min shift. Or twenty min. I hate coming back out for air. Seems like with 2216 you are out just past the threshold.

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    I do not know about Scott or Drager or interspiro, but MSA will not say that they are even thinking about getting rid of 2216, all the told us was their bussiness is 80% high pressure. Common sense says, a phase out is coming.... As far as Aluminum vs. Carbon Fiber Vs. Steel, I like many above me would be very concerned about the actual airpacks, if they came with steel or aluminum bottles, do they have integrated pass devices or other critical safety features? But on the same hand, a new MSA G1 airpack, with spare Cylinder and mask is around $6500..... your company will have to do whats right for your comapny, but the weight of the SCBA is only one of many factors you should be looking at.... IMO

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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    I cant decide what is the better theory.
    Often times there is no other crew. So maybe two 15 min shifts are better than one thirty min shift. Or twenty min. I hate coming back out for air. Seems like with 2216 you are out just past the threshold.
    The last fire I had were with the new packs that have more of a safety cushion. They had 30 minute bottles and it seemed like you hardly had any time to get anything done before the alarms start going off. I definitely think a 45 minute bottle is going to be the way to go, you just don't have anytime to do anything with a 30 minute bottle with the new safety margins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    I cant decide what is the better theory.
    Often times there is no other crew. So maybe two 15 min shifts are better than one thirty min shift. Or twenty min. I hate coming back out for air. Seems like with 2216 you are out just past the threshold.
    If you've got a crew getting good knockdown, do you want them coming out at a critical moment because a non-negotiable low air alarm is going off? If they are being told they have hit their timer, the IC has the option to give them 5 more minutes or pull them out. Of course that can be abused and the 5 minutes, turns into another 5 minutes, then another and then they are in there 40 minutes with their alarms going off and / or firefighters past their physical abilities. Alarms have been ignored when "we almost have it", and they are less forgiving.

    Personally I prefer more air and maintaining control over the time crews spend inside.

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