1. #1
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    Default WHEN DO YOU PUT ON THE MASK?

    Since the majority of today's apparatus come with "SCBA seats", many firefighters in this area believe that you should exit the apparatus with at least your mask on, and some believe you should be breathing air, ready to go.
    I would like to get your thoughts on when to put on your mask. I have heard both sides of the issue.
    "Honor Above Thyself"

    Patrick Harper

    NOTE: THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY ME IN THIS FORUM DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF MY EMPLOYER.

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    In the academy we were taught to exit the vehicle packed up with mask available, ready do don it when the time came. Some of this theory is flexible and should be based on your imediate assignment. If you're pulling a line to the door, with fire showing, we were taught to have our mask on and hook up to air before entering the structure. Some companies I've observed mask up at the door which in my opinion is a waste of time,however it can have the advantage of ensuring your hose team is slowed down enough to focus on the task at hand. With any outside assignment though, working with the mask on( with the eception of roof ops of course) is not necessary and can hinder your operation on the fireground. Theres my 5 cents! Stay safe brothers.
    "Never trust a smiling dog"
    Delaware F.O.O.L. FTM-PTB-EGH

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    For me, it depends on the type of structure I'm going to and what piece of apparatus I'm on...
    For instance, if I'm on the first-due engine for a house fire, I will have every thing on except the regulator. For most of our houses it's an easy hose stretch and there is not much in your way.
    However, if I'm on the first-due engine at an apartment fire, I will clip my mask to the regulator, but leave it hanging by my side until I get the first line stretched. Some of our apartments are large and spread out...with everything from cars to landscaping to guardrails and everything else in the way. Also, depending on the volume of fire and smoke it can be a challenge to know where you want the first line. Leaving my mask off actually speeds thing up on a call like this. I keep my peripheral vision and I don't get "fogged up." I get the line stretched without tripping over every obstacle in the place and I get the line to the right spot.
    I use the same type of considerations when I'm on other pieces of equipment. If I think we will be catching a plug I leave it off...for exterior truck work I leave it off.

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    I prefer and have always taught fellow firefighters to ONLY place their facepeice on when they are actaully preparing to enter an IDLH atmosphere. With today's newer style masks, there is a tendency to don the mask but not the regulator as soon as your butt hits the jumpseat. The problem with this is fogging of the mask and decreased visibility BEFORE you enter the IDLH atmoshere. The other issue is communication. It is difficult to carry on a reasonable conversation with a facepiece on. The real issue here is TRAINING and CONFIDENCE. F/F's need to practice donning their facepiece such they feel comfortable donning the mask on the "front porch".

    Joe Pechacek
    Hamilton, NY

    [ 10-20-2001: Message edited by: JAPFPE ]

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    We have been teaching, mask and air when streatching a line for interior attack. There are a lot of variables too that will change when you put the mask on and when you go on air. Things to think of: this business can be minutes and seconds so save your air, safety is key so being able to see what your doing while streatching lines and sizing up the situation is good. Bottom line is, don't breath the smoke and do what your comfortable with. Be safe!

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    Being on air already might be overkill, but having your mask on sans regulator could shave seconds off interior line placement IF you know exactly what kind of layout you have onscene to stretch the line(s) around/over/under/behind/through a la Backdraft...What about humpin hose up a few flights of stairs before you can even set up for the attack? That's not only gonna suck in a mask, it won't be efficient. Become as proficient (read: fast) in putting your mask on onscene as you are enroute, granted it will cost a few seconds, and it won't matter when you do...


    Zach Logan
    ...if you put the handline in the right spot, you won't have to jump out the window...
    -Andy "Nozzles", SQ18, 9-11-01

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    I am still somewhat new to the game, but i was always taught to come off the vehical with your pack on...with mask ready.. in my dept. we get some people that are breathing air before they even get off the engine. In my mind this is wrong. I feel that you would get tunnel vision a little too much. you also waste a little bit of air, your going to the door, seeing the smoke, huffing a puffing cause you know you have a worker, then you try to control your breathing while your waiting for the line to be charged. I feel while you are waiting that for your line to charge, that is a good time to take a few controled breaths, and get your self ready to go in. As for having your mask already on, I have done that a few times, but the bad side to that is, your mask gets all fogged up, so you cannot get a good size-up, b/c your vision is gone before you even get inside b/c of a fogged mask. I personally wait till i am at the door to don my mask and start breathing air.

    This has been my two cents, thoughts do not express those of my dept.

    Stay safe...
    stay safe...
    biv

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    Couple more thoughts to add to all the other good ideas.

    Waiting to don the mask just prior allows you and the rest of your crew to catch your breath for a moment. Donning as a crew also gives you a chance to "buddy check" each other for exposed skin, open zippers etc.

    Be SAFE
    Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate
    BE SAFE
    Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate

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    Our engine doesn't have SCBA seats, they are stored on the driver side inside cabinets, (the BAs, not the seats)

    For us, by the time the team is packed up, the lines are stretched and charged, ready to rock. Sure, putting on while on scene takes a little longer, but 9 times out of 10 we already know who is doing what either before we get there, or within seconds after. Some of our faster members, including me, can be in a BA, mask included, in about 60 seconds (often under 60 seconds, fastest department time is just over 30 seconds). Do the buddy check on the way to the entrence to the building, and hook up air before you radio to the IC that your entering.

    I am not saying it is a perfect system, but our training and tactics make it work for us. We don't see a lot of fires, but we havn't lost a structre in many years (none since we started training properly and using the right tactics), including 3 mobile homes.
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Down here, we have always been taught and have taught that you should have everything on including your mask, minus your regulator of course, before you even get off the truck for two(2) reasons. One (1), there is less time wasted standing at the door waiting for everyone to mask up, especially on those calls when you pull up and someone says that there is still someone inside, and two (2) we feel that it looks very unprofessional when everyone that's going in, sits down in the front yard to put on there masks and hoods while structure is blazing away. Now, as for being on air before you get off the truck, I have to agree with some of the other postings, that you are wasting air while going from the truck to the door. You should be on air just before you make entry into the structure.

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    FD111....

    I don't think there is one answer to when you put on a mask, however, depending on the nature of the structure - especially when dealing with some of our apartments - I can get a line inside a structure quicker if I wait to don my facepiece. So you don't always save time by donning PTA.

    Also, I don't think it is unprofessional for us to don facepieces on scene, so long as we understand the benefits on why we waited to do so...and if some people perceive that as unprofessional, I'd rather be unprofessional by taking 5 seconds to put on a mask than taking ??? seconds tripping over obstacles and risking a poor size-up by thinking I've got to have a mask on when I show up.

    Speed is important, but I think we are actually quicker and more efficient when we are deliberate and intentional on a fire scene. Less mistakes are made and we can guarantee that the first line goes where it needs to.

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    You should always remember your air available to you is limited!!! even the short time you had it on could be used in case of emergency.

    I never do outdoor tasks with the mask on.

    Putting the mask on without the air hose only makes the screen damp, so I always put it on when I enter a building or the smoke gets too hard.

    Our masks hook into our helmets so they are very quickly available, and easy to use.

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    I had this very same discussion about two years ago with the driver of the engine in the house where I work (I'm on the truck). We were talking about whether or not it would be helpful if you had the thing on as you hit the ground. Around here it is normal to wait until you reach the door to don the facepiece, although packs are almost always donned enroute. So, lo' and behold, the very same night, we get a worker about ten blocks away in a three story, three family home, report of people trapped. Well, there I am on the truck, packed up and looking at the tillerman (we were in an open cab spare) as we turn the corner onto the street where the fire is. I see his eyes and know we got something so I look over my shoulder and can see fire and smoke. I got nothing else to do while we're still rolling down the street so I go ahead and don the facepiece, helmet and gloves, and grab my axe as we roll to a stop. Since the driver on the engine didn't dress, they waxed us getting there and were just starting to stretch a line in the door. While they were waiting on the steps for water I cruised right on by them and up the stairs. The trapped victim was already expired so it didn't make much difference, but I think I definitely got in faster by a mile by being ready.
    However, things just fell into place. I haven't done it since then, but in the same situation, as a truckee, I think I would. You have to be flexible at all times in this biz and be ready to change gears if an opportunity presents itself. There's really no right answer to this question.
    See You At The Big One

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    I think Fireman George has it right...there isn't a right answer to the question. Different situations require different solutions.

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    Read through and a couple guys talked about fogin up their mask. For several years we've been putting rainx on the lens inside and out. No more fog.

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    Originally posted by F02:
    <STRONG>Read through and a couple guys talked about fogin up their mask. For several years we've been putting rainx on the lens inside and out. No more fog.</STRONG>
    Do you use plain rainx or do you use rainx anti-fog, and does this cause any problems with the mask?
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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    F02

    What is RainX?

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    Read the June 2001 issue of Fire Engineering, There is a good article by Capt. Bill Gustin of Miami-Dade about this same topic.

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    For GPM: RainX came out many years ago for automotive use. You put it on the windshield and it repels water. Amazing stuff, at speed you can drive without wipers. Should be able to find it in a auto or mass merchandise store.
    For Axman: First time I tried it was on an old Scott mask. I put just a little bit in a corner to test for reaction with the lens.
    Did'nt seem to hurt it any so I wiped on a coat with a rag. Started out with the regular ole stuff, that was all that was available then. Now use the antifog. Seems like either works just as good. Helps a bunch when the weather starts to get cold. You might wanna let it air out before you put it on, don't know about toxicity, but it does'nt smell too good.

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    Having a mask on leads to the inevitable- tunnelvision.....I do not mask up until ready to enter an IDLH atmosphere, and encourage my co-workers to do the same. By doing this, it encourages several things:
    -Communications enroute to the scene. The officer, driver and firefighters can discuss operations clearly and concisely with one another without having to scream. There is no question as to who is to do what and when.

    -Scene safety.....Because of the tunnelvision enhanced when masked up, you may miss things such as the patch of ice under the jumpseat door when you get off the rig, or the supply line next to the truck when it pulls up....

    -Allowing for each and every member to perform his/her own sizeup (which, by the way is NOT the sole responsibility of the officer of the company or the IC. Each and every firefighter should perform his/her own sizeup, co-inciding with their assignment.

    -Someone mentioned in an earlier post, if the crew masks up at the front door, everyone has the opportunity to check each other out, take a breather for a second, and don the equipment properly. Perhaps the officer or supervisor can even lend a few encouraging words to a newby going in for the first time.

    Someone mentioned "not looking professional" when the initial attack line crew gets down on their knees at the front door and masks up. I have been a firefighter for 12 years now, and never, not once, have had a homeowner or business owner accuse me of looking unprofessional. I Have seen more than a few firefighters trip on hoselines, fall over curbs, or slip on ice. They all had their masks on in a non-IDLH situation. What looks more unprofessional to an unaccustomed civilian: Two firefighters donning masks at a front door, preparing to make an entry, or two firefighters re-enacting an old Laural & Hardy episode by falling over hoselines and themselves because they cant see??????
    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB

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    The British Fire Service will don the set on the appliance and be ready to wear when the OIC of the incident orders its use. We can not wear BA if we just feel like it. The mask is donned once the task you have been ordered to undertake has been explained. This ia always done at the Entry Control Point. The wearer will fill in his tally with name, cylinder pressure and the ECO will then fill in the time of entry and the time of exit (depends on cylinder pressure).

    If the crew has not appeared at the time of exit then an emergency crew will be dispatched to that location within the incident.

    On exit from a structure fire, the BA team (min of two) will report to the entry control point and then remove their masks and collect the tallies. They will then give the ECO a brief of what they done inside.

    The only time that BA Control is not set up is when attending car fires etc and the OIC can see the wearer. But the order to wear will still come from the OIC, not the wearer.
    Kindest regards & keep safe,

    Sprinkle (UK)
    www.sprinkle2.homestead.com

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    There is really no right or wrong answer. Here is what most of my department does. En route, we don the pack, minus the mask and don't turn on air. Some guys, including myself put the mask on, make sure we get a seal then take it off. We wait until we are about to go into an IDLH atmosphere to put on the mask and turn on the air.
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    I have been taught to have your mask ready to be doned for any situation. There is no need I think to be on air or even have the face piece on before exiting the truck. The face piece restricts your vision...like it is not hard enough to do our job. This topic is really up to each departments SOP.

    Stay safe my fellow brothers and sisters.

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    I totally agree with SafTeeTech. At a structure fire, I get off the rig with my BA on, bottle charged, and mask dangling. Our job is not just to get the hose in the door the fastest, it's to constantly size-up the scene while doing it safely. I don't believe you can get a complete picture of the scene with your mask on. We use Survivair Panthers with the detachable regulator, and even with it unattached, your breathing is somewhat restricted, making you just a little more winded by the time you get to the door.

    Not trying to flame Fireman George or anything, but you said that you cruised by the engine company while they were waiting for water. If you were on the engine company, you would have been sitting there on air and waiting for water too. That works good for a truckie, but not as good for the engine guys. But I also agree with Fireman George that different situations call for different methods. Being flexible is important.

    That's just my opinion, do what works best for ya.

    Living the dream...

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    Structure Fire-Prior to entering IDHL atmoshphere, as previsou post said, usually I am doing several tasks prior to entry. Why waste air and be unneccessarliy unsafe.

    Vehicles and other fires, sure I get off the vehicle on air ready to go. If I get on scene and it turns into a nothing call or something other than well involved, I then will take off my mask and pop the hood or whatever task need to be attended to prior to any real firefighting event.
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

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