04-12-2000, 09:57 PM #1rural FFFirehouse.com Guest
SCBA low pressure vs. high pressure
We currently are evaluating the condition and the reliability of our MSA low pressure packs. First main concern is getting rid of the tube from the regulator to the facepiece. MSA does make a face-mounted regulator but within the past couple years we have been very upset with the service from the MSA service dept. So we are looking at SCOTT air packs but we do not have a foundation for the reliability of their units. Next question ,do we convert our in-house compressor and our rescue cascade and convert to high pressure. Any input on the SCOTT packs would be appreciated.
04-12-2000, 10:35 PM #2Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Finest damn airpacks made.
(well, you asked for an opinion!)
Reliability is there. There OK on comfort, straps, etc. The mask makes them -- quick and easy to adjust and don.
04-12-2000, 11:21 PM #3P.P.Firehouse.com Guest
I have been a Scott service tech. for over 13 years. Durning that time I was also a service tech for MSA. The Scott units have always been my favorite. Very good customer support and service. My department has used them forever. We are currently using 2216 psi, but looking at upgrading to 4500. The size of the cylinder is really the only difference. With carbon the 30 min. cylinder is with in a few ounces for both high and low pressure.
I don't think you can go wrong with Scott!
04-13-2000, 10:03 AM #4FFCode3EMTFirehouse.com Guest
I've used both Scott 2.2 and 4.5's, and they are the best!
04-13-2000, 10:34 AM #5NUMBYFirehouse.com Guest
I would have to say i definatelty agree that the Scott is the best airpack you can buy. I have used both Scott and MSA and prefer Scott on any day. The Scott is more user friendly. The face mounted regulater is much better than the type MSA uses. We have the airpack 50's with carbon fiber cylinders and they are the best.
Anything left in the forums is my opinion and does not reflect my department or any organization i belong to.
04-13-2000, 12:44 PM #6Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
When I first got appointed to the Department, we had Scott 2A scba units and a few MSA low pressure units..I liked the Scotts...the damn things were near bulletproof...no problems. The MSA's were okay, but their regulator setup and masks were a pain to use.
At the Massachusetts Fire Academy, we were trained on the Scott 2A's, MSA's and Scott 4.5's.
When my Department went to upgrade it's scba units, we tried out Scott 2.2's, MSA, Draeger, ISI and North. The Chief at the time went with the low bidder...North. They were not user friendly and had plenty of problems with o-rings blowing off due to poor design. we thought they were "garbage, crap, pieces of ____(fill in the blank!)
After a fire/hazmat incident that contaminated a lot of turnout gear and scba units, we went back to Scotts...4.5's the second time around. I feel that they are the best on the market! If you want to stay with low pressure, go with the Scott 2.2's!
We boldly go where no one else dares...
take care and stay safe
[This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited April 13, 2000).]
04-13-2000, 04:45 PM #7jerseyfireFirehouse.com Guest
Iíve worn nothing but Scott for the past 12 years and have always found them to be great packs. The only question that needs to be asked is what about decontamination and the possible spread of germs. I like the open mask design of the Scott, but came to realize that I am breathing in anything that the previous user might have breathed out. Our department has gone to personal masks, but that doesnít address the regulator that snaps into it the face piece.
On a fire scene, do you pick up the pack of a guy that just came out, throw it on and go in to do some work. Was that guy wearing it for 2 bottles, sweating, coughing and doing who knows what else in his mask? Sure you have your own face piece, but what about the regulator? Was it cleaned and decontaminated?
Just something to think about!
04-13-2000, 06:43 PM #8rural FFFirehouse.com Guest
P.P. made the comment that the only difference between the high and low pressure was the bottles. Our one major conflict with going to high pressure was rumors that the regulators of the high pressure packs were more complex and more prone to failures. Any comments on that issue would be appreciated.
04-13-2000, 10:18 PM #9P.P.Firehouse.com Guest
The only difference that the firefighter would notice is the size of the cylinder. There are four things that are different. The cylinder, remote gauge, cylinder coupling, and one part in the pressure reducer that sets the alarm pressure.
The mask mounted regulator is the same for both the high and low pressure, with no changes at all.
In the years that I have been in the business I have found the Scott units to require little maintenance.
Hope this has been helpful. If you have any other questions let me know.
04-14-2000, 10:29 AM #10jerseyfireFirehouse.com Guest
Two other things must be considered when going from low pressure to high pressure packs.
1. Mounting hoops Ė because the 4.5 bottle is smaller you have to change all the hoops in your jump seats and any other places packs are stored in compartments.
2. Fill stations Ė most low pressure (2216) cascade set ups are designed to fill that bottle. Our system uses a Siera Booster Pump to utilize the maximum potential of our master cylinders and allows us to also fill high pressure cylinders (4500), but it has to work a lot harder to fill the 4.5ís.
Thereís much more to my point #2 than is written above, but just make sure if you have a compressor or cascade system for refilling your low pressure bottles that it can also handle the higher pressure bottles. If not you might be looking at a much more expensive upgrade than you had originally planned for.
04-14-2000, 02:20 PM #11RomaniaFirehouse.com Guest
Okay, I have to disagree. I have used both Scott and MSA packs, the new ones, and I like my MSA pack much better than the Scott. It is lighter, more comfortable, easier to don, has better budy-breathing setup, better intergrated PASS, and the MMR doesn't need to be cleaned after every use like the Scott's does. IMHO at least.
Scott does make a nice pack, but since MSA released the MMR packs, they are my choice, hands down.
Alan Romania, CEP
IAFF Local 3449
My Opinions do not reflect the opnions of the IAFF or Local 3449.
04-14-2000, 11:46 PM #12FirehoseFirehouse.com Guest
I hate to be the odd ball here but our department has been using Survivar since 1981.....and LOVE em. We have just put 4 new Sigma mask mount SCBA into service and find they are Extremely comfortable.
04-15-2000, 11:43 PM #13Chief03Firehouse.com Guest
Hey SCOTT all the way is my opinion.
As for high pressure...sure, the new AP50's are a great unit and with the new mask and intigrated PASS you cant go wrong. I have been in charge of the SCBA for our dept. for awhile and the SCOTT pressure reducer is a simple design. Again my opinion. Good place to start on the proving grounds using this forum, but the best advice is to try and test the units and decide then.
Again I would never question SCOTT on reliability.( Not a SCOTT salesman )
Be Safe and TRAIN
04-20-2000, 12:39 AM #14J DouglasFirehouse.com Guest
Scott's are simply the best packs available. If you do any research into Scott, you will find that they have been on the cutting edge of SCBA design since the inception of the company -- go with the Scotts.
04-21-2000, 12:11 PM #15FirefoxFirehouse.com Guest
I will have to agree with you guys.
Scott is a trouble free SCBA. We also have some MSA and had problems with the low pressue hose coming from the regulator ( it use to breake)
I am a volunteer in a third world country where budget is a must. Scott is maintenance -free.
I have heard great things about Draeger. Some friends (Scott fans) are swithching their Scott for these. But I have not use them.
04-21-2000, 07:32 PM #16S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
We recently completed our switch to Scott hi pressures with carbon fiber cylinders from MSA low pressures with composite cylinders.
- An easier to use SCBA
- The inhalation hose doesn't kink if you bend over something
- The inhalation hose doesn't come unscrewed if the operator fails to secure it all the way and then pulls the hose, which rubs against the knurl nut and unscrews it, leading to a snoot full of smoke and near smoke inhalation injury (this really happened)
- Weight, I took them down and weighed them as they would be worn, the Scott pack was 8#'s lighter.
- The SCOTT is extremely easy to put on and use with a gloved hand, some have problems with the MSA.
- The Scott is easier to breath through masked and not on air than the older MSAs, you don't have to breath thru 2 feet of corrugated hose
On your next question regarding the compressor
Converting to higher pressure will be needed if your campressor does not pump at least 4500psi. However, you can get an air booster to add to your present system cheaper, unless you can get a good trade in.
[This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited April 21, 2000).]
04-21-2000, 09:04 PM #17RVFDCaptFirehouse.com Guest
Whoa!! Lot of Scott lovers out there. I, myself, have to say that I like MSA BMR low-pressure paks. I have tried Scott and MSA MMR's and just don't like them. May be that I haven't used them enough to become a believer like most....my biggest hang-up.....what happens if you have a problem with your high-pressure hose? What rescue techniques can you use? That is something I have wondered about for quite a while. Let me know. Be safe!!
04-22-2000, 12:01 AM #18Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
What exactly are you worried about happening to the high pressure line? I've been wearing 4.5's since 1980 with no problems whatsoever. I've tried MSA, Interspiro, and some others and never saw a reason to switch. MSA's shoulder straps were more comfortable, but not enough to use the thing.
Soft low pressure hoses certainly give you reason to be concerned such as kinking, etc..
Another question to ask is why most of your larger cities that can do the research and testing have gone Scott? Phoenix used MSA for years and went Scott, Pittsburgh left MSA for someone else and Philly dropped interspiro for Scott after 10 years.
If the past is any indication of the future, your Scott will be completely upgradeable. Our 4.5's bought in 1980 are still in service with all the upgrades of the 1998 models.
04-22-2000, 12:13 PM #19JohnMFirehouse.com Guest
I like MSA units. It seems you are ready to switch to Scott so I won't go into that.One thing we did that I reget is swithing from 30 minute low pressure to 30 minute high pressure. We spent BIG money to buy new pacs and to upgrade our in station compressor and cascade system to 6000 psi. It was possible to fill 4500 psi bottles from our old 4800 psi fill system but it was a real pain. When our fill cascade on the fireground was filled to 4500 psi we of course couldn't fill very many high pressure SCBA's. One the other hand we could fill many 2216 psi bottles, and do it quickly. Another problem is our rescue has an air system preset to 4500 psi. So if you fill a high pressure bottle rather quickly, you only have 4000 psi or so once it cools down. It is no longer a 30 minute bottle. I would always put 2400-2450 psi in the low pressure bottles, and when it cooled, it had good pressure. When I wear a low or high pressure SCBA I can tell no difference on by back. I also have no longer breathing time. That didn't seem worth the money our department spent! I would go with the carbon 3000 psi MSA units. Rated for about 40 minutes, and lighter than a 2216 ultra light. I almost forgot. If your high pressure hose that attaches to the bottle is loose on a MSA 4500, you have a decent chance of blowing the o ring when the bottle is turned on. Not a good thing on the way to a working building fire! I don't care for the 45 minute and 60 minute 4500 air pacs, they approach the weight of an old steel bottle. I think the extra weight is not worth it. If you are ready to switch to Scott, you could check them out to see if they offer a 3000 psi SCBA. I think that is the way to go. Good luck.
04-22-2000, 04:22 PM #20Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
Did you compare the weight and size of a low pressure SCBA to a high pressure SCBA? Our 4.5's with carbon fiber cylinders are coming in under 20#'s i believe. In my estimation, thats the real benefit of high pressure. I can see where some of your problems came from. When making the switch, determine what your looking for and why. Why did you switch? Why not upgrade your refilling system at the same time?
04-23-2000, 08:08 PM #21rural FFFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for all of the information. This was exactly what i hoped to accomplish in this discussion. I needed to see the amount of companies using the scott systems and get a base of knowledge for their reliability. Next will be on hands testing to ensure the packs will be suitable to our needs ,as for the question of the in house compressor being able to convert to hi pressure we have been assurred by our sales rep that this is not a problem (it is only 2 years old). the only other problem we must determine is if our 5 in house steel bottles and 9 steel bottles on our rig can be used for hi pressure.
again thanks for all of the helpful info.
04-24-2000, 10:06 AM #22InfernoFirehouse.com Guest
Halligan, I've had the same experience with the high pressure and they are actually heavier than the low pressure. And as far as the size advantage, the high pressure only cuts off about 2 inches or so. Thatís not much of a difference! I am 100% against high pressure. You would get the same result from setting a few hundred-dollar bills on fire. I agree that you should look into the 3000 bottles because you get 45 mins. (30-35 working mins.) with less weight, same harnesses, and the same regulators in most cases.
When In Doubt, Blitz It Out!
05-04-2000, 04:45 PM #23TRUCK 110Firehouse.com Guest
Well I have worn the Scott, and the MSA..Got Both in my Arsenal.
Few Things I know..Damn Little But..
Scott 2.2, and 4.5 are the only ones with Redundant Safes on the Regulator..It alarms at the First instances of Trouble.
I wear the MSA MMR, and I compare it Favorably with my 2.2 I wear for my Job.
As far as the other fringes..I like the MSA Dragonfly System better than the Scott..much better system, all I have heard about is the PASS system for Scotts..I know they will work the Bugs out..
As far as High vs Low..well I wear a Composite 45 min. MSA and it is no biggie to me..
Just some random thoughts..
05-06-2000, 04:36 AM #24meshaFirehouse.com Guest
Manufacture of airpak aside ( me I like MSA)
I think the thoughts about high vs low pressure must also consider the cost involved in upgrading the compressor system and air storage. This is not an inexpensive proposition. Further to this, there is also the question, " do we need high pressure". I mean think about it, being in a very stressed situation for that length of time can quickly lead to fatigue and injury. Now that doesn't mean that I am against high pressure systems, I just believe that there is a place for everything. Ideally I believe that FD's should carry both systems, high and low pressure and that the response determines as to which pak gets tossed onto the back, and that's the direction that the fire service is thinking of going up here. Anyhow, that's my thoughts.
Walden Fire Department
05-06-2000, 02:14 PM #25Aerial 131Firehouse.com Guest
I have been wearing the Scott 4.5 now for 8 years and love the pack, when it changed to the more solid frame vs the old wire frame I fell in love with it.
My volunteer department uses the Interspiro and I love it even more, works under all kinds of conditions and weather and just keeps taking it.
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