Thread: SCBA Waist Straps
06-03-2001, 10:04 PM #151Truck_KFirehouse.com Guest
SCBA Waist Straps
OK , just a B.S. question for you'se guys. How many of you actually wear your SCBA waist srap correctly? Which apparently means connected and tightened. If not,Why Not?
Me personally, I prefer not to, and usually don't. If there is certian brass on scene i will connect it outside, but when I am in my world, on the iside, I usually end up disconnecting it. That way my coat pockets are unobstructed.
Not real ground shakin' stuff here, just curious. Thanks Brothers.
FTM - PTB
06-03-2001, 10:35 PM #2mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
I always wear my waist strap buckled and cinched up tight. I keep the shoulder straps loose enough to fit a gloved hand under. I find it much more comfortable that way. The weight of the SCBA is much more easily carried on the hips than on the shoulders. This same principle is also used by backpackers, carry the weight low and over your center of gravity. It is also much easier to work if the shoulder straps are looser, they do not confine your upward mobility. I also do not want my waist strap to snag on anything and restrict me.
As far as coat pockets go, that's were I keep my gloves and hood and I have those on with my SCBA so there is no need to get into the coat pockets. I keep other things i may need, like wire cutters, webbing, wedges, latch straps, etc. in my turnout pants pockets which are much more accessible.
Mike Gentili, Capt.
New Bedford Fire Dept.
06-03-2001, 11:54 PM #3wrongWAYFirehouse.com Guest
I've had my get tangled on things and have got stuck if they're not snapped together and pulled tight so I do it all the time now.
06-04-2001, 12:05 AM #4eCappyFirehouse.com Guest
$10.00 first time fine for not buckling your waist strap in my Company - $25.00 second time fine - and suspension for third time. We have had members injured with minor sprains and slight(?) burns because their waist straps have been caught on ladders, under doors, on machinery, on and under furniture, AND besides getting hurt - they delayed our SAR, fire attack, and emergency egresses. Same fines for not wearing NOMEX hoods and gloves.
06-04-2001, 12:20 AM #5TheChronicFirehouse.com Guest
It seemed I always needed something from a pocket (hinge hook, wedge, spanner, knife) and those darn straps were in the way so I used to roll mine up and put a small velcro strap around them. I liked it, kept them from getting caught and I could get in the pockets easy, but I was told to use the straps or else by my officers - one of which got his buckled waist strap caught on the top of a handrail yesterday. I don't like them, but I use them.
06-04-2001, 02:35 AM #6catdaddy2402Firehouse.com Guest
I took a R.I.T. class a few years back that made me change the way I wore my waist strap. Before I always wore the shoulder straps cinched tight and the waist strap connected, but loose. The instructors told the us that the majority of us were wearing it wrong, that the shoulder straps should be loose and the waist strap tight. That way it was easier for a fellow firefighter to grab us and drag us out if we needed it. So from then on I have worn the straps the way they taught us. Another thing, If your SCBA mask has a neck strap, be sure to wear it the proper way. My partner got his neck strap hung up in a mobile home fire and when he tried to pull free he ripped his mask off, took in a lung full of smoke, fell to the floor and had to be drug out. He was ok after a while...and you can imagine from that point on he makes sure the neck strap is right as rain before he goes in.
06-04-2001, 11:01 AM #7M GFirehouse.com Guest
Me-Sometimes I get lazy and leave it hanging, like on alarm system calls and BS, but the majority of th time I clip it and wear the pack weight on my waist. I know its wrong not to wear it and thats my bad but I guess we all get lazy at some point.
As far as others not wearing them, I still have yet to understand if it is standard FDNY practice to not buckle the waistbelt. I guess it just confuses me and I wonder why almost any picture I see of them the guys arent wearing them. I am not an FDNY basher by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I have taken training with many of their firemen and respect them for their knowledge. Anyway, will someone explain this FDNY waistbelt phenomenon to me?
The information presented herein is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.
06-04-2001, 01:00 PM #8GBordasFirehouse.com Guest
I don't wear my waist straps for the same reason 51Truck stated, and I think a lot of the guys on the job do it for the same reason, so your coat pockets are unobstructed.
06-04-2001, 01:07 PM #9gah74Firehouse.com Guest
I wear my waist strap tight and my shoulder straps loose. This keeps the weight on my hips and my upper body is less restricted to do things such as pulling ceiling, etc...also keeps my shoulders from getting burned b/c of better air space in my bunker coat.
A lot of other guys in our dept. don't wear the waist strap. It comes down to personal preference really.
06-04-2001, 01:26 PM #10SFD-129-3Firehouse.com Guest
I'd be lying if I said it was the first thing I hooked up, but I do try to keep it buckled. It keeps it from getting snagged and it is there for a reason.
06-04-2001, 06:11 PM #11lumpy649Firehouse.com Guest
I noticed noone here mentions what type of packs they are using. I wear MSA and with the waist strap buckled, it tends to get in the way of accesing my pockets on my coat. It makes it much more difficult to retrieve webbing or small tools I keep stored in the pockets. Therefore, I've gotten into the habit of leaving the waist strap undone, and making sure that it is tucked back out of the way to prevent snags, and I've encountered no problems so far. Also, if I do fasten the strap, it tends to ride up and makes belly-crawling really uncomfortable. So, I'll continue to wear it this way... it works for me.
[This message has been edited by lumpy649 (edited 06-04-2001).]
06-04-2001, 06:43 PM #12haliganpgFirehouse.com Guest
yeah they may get in the way, but anyone that has taken a r.i.t. class or save your own knows the importants of the waist strap.
After thoughs classes you will have a different outlook on the straps.
[This message has been edited by haliganpg (edited 06-04-2001).]
06-04-2001, 08:49 PM #13Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Sounds like it's time to start spec'ing bellows pockets on the bunker pants to carry all your stuff in!
06-04-2001, 09:12 PM #14F52 WestsideFirehouse.com Guest
Good Question !!!! - I used to be one of the ones that didn't wear it because it got in the way of my pockets. That was until I stepped off the end of the Ladder and got the regulator holder stuck on the end and look like an idiot trying to get it unstuck. As far as it being in the way of my pockets, I only keep my Fire gloves and my PBI hood in them and I get them out before I tighten it.
Eddie C. - a.k.a - PTFD21
"Doin' it for lives n' property"
06-04-2001, 09:16 PM #15dcfdltFirehouse.com Guest
Greetings...Obviously, the strap buckled securely places the weight on the hips not the shoulders. Why not take the load off the shoulders, anyway? Just personal preference...Interesting innovation to mention...Scott is integrating the R.I.T. escape pack into the waiststrap next year as on option. They are working on the prototype and it sounds like a good idea.
06-04-2001, 09:25 PM #16Nick SBFD 6Firehouse.com Guest
We have the Scott ap 50's, We used to use the 2a's and 2.2's It was my understanding that on the 2a's the shoulder straps took all the weight and the waist strap was basically useless. However on the wire framed 2.2's and the new ap 50's the weight is spread out, putting most of the weight on the hips. I keep most of my stuff in my pants pockets and take my gloves out before buckling the waist strap. I also keep the waist strap tight and the shoulder slightly loose to make it easier to mover my upper body in things such as pulling ceilings and walls and other activities. I'm not saying one way is right or wrong just my observations and experiences.
06-04-2001, 10:44 PM #17AdzeFirehouse.com Guest
I almost always strap the waist. I wear my pack low and let it ride my rear-end. 1) It saves my back and 2) It doesn't prevent me looking straight up because of my helmet hitting the bottle.
However, I sometimes don't strap the waist. Usually it is a BS call or gas leak and I discover that some jacka** pulled the straps in all the way and they are twisted. Usually when that happens, I don't waste my time with them till afterwards when I am reservicing my pack. However, I will fix them beforehand if it is a structure fire.
06-05-2001, 02:20 AM #18Gooch26Firehouse.com Guest
I always wear my waist strap. I also keep it tight and my shoulder ones just a little loose, it keeps the weight on my hips and my shoulders don't get as tired. Plus I hate it when I try to do something and the pack keeps shifting on my back, throws off my balance big time. Plus, if you check into it, there's the liability reason, all manufacturers of s.c.b.a. instruct you to wear your waist strap in their user instructions. If something goes wrong and you're not wearing it, you're s.o.l.
Oh, someone asked why the F.D.N.Y. doesn't wear there's. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it is because everyone wears a rope harness under their gear. For rappelling or belay type rope rescues, also for personal escape. I think that's why they do it. But there again I have seen it first hand in Chicago as well. Whichever you decide to do, just be careful. God bless and stay safe.
Randall Guntrum FF/EMT
If lights, siren and air horns aren't enough to attract the attention of a driver, he or she is too drunk to be assisted by a paint scheme.
06-05-2001, 08:25 AM #19Break-N-EntryFirehouse.com Guest
I used to let mine hang until a strap got entangled in a radiator under the window we were trying to get out (and onto a ladder). That incident caused us to mandate the buckling of waist straps, to get bailout ropes, and appropriate training on them. I think the bailout rope works best if the SCBA waist strap is buckled because it prevents the rope from riding up between your back and SCBA. Seems like others here have had bad luck getting their open straps caught - I hope no one was hurt.
06-05-2001, 10:21 PM #20AdzeFirehouse.com Guest
We have this one guy who never wears his waist strap. His claim is that if his pack gets caught that he wants to be able to free himself from it. Personally, I think that the biggest BS in the world and he is just trying to be cool
06-05-2001, 10:48 PM #21570eckFirehouse.com Guest
The people talking about the rit are on the right trail. The main reason as a fast/rit member that I prefer the straps properly secured is for the need to pull someone out by the straps. It is much easier to grab a strap than a handfull of jacket. If the straps are on properly there is little chance of slipping out. One method of using straps for draging is, take the waist strap and undo it now place one behind a leg and thru and the other thru the front and buckle not comfortable but you will not lose that person. Also if using shoulder straps grab, tighten and double up in your hand. I'm sure these things aren't there just for looks. I just can't seem to find a valid reason not to wear them.
06-05-2001, 11:16 PM #22Tanker06Firehouse.com Guest
Our company policy, taught from Day 1 is to wear your waist belt. Some guys don't want to wear them, for whatever reason, and it's up to their crew's officer to say anything. (Unless Chief sees them!) Personally, I've always worn mine, having found during my Army time that carrying the weight of my pack on the hips makes my shoulders a whole lot happier! Plus, it allows me to keep my shoulder straps loose, so that if (heaven forbid!) somebody has to drag my unhappy butt outside for some reason, they can get their gloved hand in there to get a good hold.
We gotta be nuts...we're running in when the rats & roaches are running out!
These are my opinions, and only mine, and do not reflect the views of my department.
Let No Victim's Ghost Say That We Didn't Try
06-06-2001, 12:05 AM #23Philip CFirehouse.com Guest
I always wear mine and much to my dismay, most others don't. I too became a believer after going through a "Saving Our Own" seminar. Another reason to have it buckled is to prevent the ends from swinging freely and damaging items in homes and elsewhere. Take care and be safe.
Prince George's Co Sta 10
06-06-2001, 09:14 AM #24NozzleHogFirehouse.com Guest
About three years ago I went from never using the waist strap to now, I almost always wear it - sometimes I get in a hurry or just forget, old habits...
Why the change? I took a couple of good "Save our Own" classes, including one by Dan Noonan that opened my eyes, and learned that it really makes removing a downed fireman a lot easier.
Once I started wearing the waist strap and loosening up the shoulder straps a little, I found it also makes it easier to do anything using the arms and shoulders - moving the nozzle, pulling a line, hooking ceiling, etc. A nice little bonus.
[This message has been edited by NozzleHog (edited 06-06-2001).]
06-06-2001, 10:01 AM #25cfr3504Firehouse.com Guest
I always use my waist strap, for the reasons that everyone else gave. Also sometimes, I clip my flashlight (super saber light) to the strap when I'm not using the light. The strap that I always forget to use is the chest strap. The department where I started had removed them from the harness of most of the packs for whatever reason, and I got used to not having it. Now, The packs do have the strap, but out of habit, I usually forget to hook it up. Does anyone else have this problem, or even use the chest strap?
BTW- this is on MSA packs, my experience with Scott, or the other brands is limited, so I don't know how many if any of their packs even have chest straps.
[This message has been edited by cfr3504 (edited 06-06-2001).]
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