Thread: Msa Scba

  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Seattle, WA, USA

    Post Msa Scba

    Our Dept is currently evaluating BAs and I thought I would share this information I found on the web in case any of you are currently evaluating.

    Chicago Tribune

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    MI. USA


    Thanks for the heads up we just recieved in our Dept. the new MSA MMR's for service withing the next month.

    GOD BLess FDNY and all of the lost Brother's and thier families.


  3. #3
    Firefighter45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    North Carolina


    We just recived ours MMR's also, thanks for the info!

    God Bless,

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    PAVolunteer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Dauphin County, PA


    We replaced all packs approximately one year ago with MSA MMR's and have had no problems. We had to change the batteries in the in line PASS Devices. Other than that, they've been fine.

    Stay Safe

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    eng10drvr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Dale City, VA


    We have had numerous problems with MSA Dragon fly 2 PASS Device. We have been getting new PASS Devices to replace the malfuctioning, free of charge from MSA. But then again they say there is nothing wrong with them.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2000

    Default Something to take a good look at...

    Got this off the local fire/ems list server a couple of days ago.

    Might be something to look into regardless of brand.


    Forwarded from NNFD. May be worth checking into with
    other brands/models . . .



    September 30, 2001

    Safety Alert

    Situation: Portable radio transmissions from an
    engine company operating on an emergency scene were
    broken and unintelligible due to interference. The
    Incident Commander had a visual line of sight with the
    officer transmitting and observed a direct correlation
    with the rhythm of the interference and the flashing
    of the visual alert sequence produced by the
    integrated PASS device on the SCBA.

    Equipment Involved: Mine Safety Appliance Company
    (MSA) - Positive Pressure Self Contained Breathing
    Apparatus equipped with the DragonFly Personal Alert
    Safety System and the Motorola MTS 2000 Model II 800
    MHz portable radio equipped with a Motorola NMN6191
    Noise-canceling Remote Speaker Microphone. Literature
    for the PASS device, portable radio and remote speaker
    / microphone is attached for reference.

    Research: The Department Safety Officer, C. Creig
    Moore, was on scene during recognition of the first
    event and agreed to conduct an independent testing
    scenario in an effort to replicate the event. The
    Incident Commander reporting the event also conducted
    separate tests in an attempt to replicate the event.
    Both individuals were successful in replicating the
    interference using unrelated SCBA assemblies and
    portable radios. This concurrence indicated that the
    problem was universal to our equipment and not
    isolated to one specific radio or PASS device. It was
    also noted that there was a direct correlation between
    the distance separating the transmitting microphone
    and the PASS device and the level of interference. It
    is necessary to note that the typical installation of
    the PASS device places it on a shoulder strap
    approximately center of the chest. The interference
    occurs both with and without the use of the remote
    speaker / microphone.

    Concerns: As a matter of personnel safety, the
    purpose of the audible alarm of the PASS device is to
    signal a distress condition. The inability to
    transmit emergency information while the PASS is
    activated causes us great concern. While the PASS
    device is designed to allow the user to cancel the
    alarm, we have documented several cases where the unit
    activated in full alarm mode and could not be returned
    to a passive state. Personnel had to de-power the
    device to silence it, an operation that is not
    adaptable to an IDLH environment. The possibility of
    a PASS failure and activation during a distress
    condition for personnel, while remote, does exist. If
    personnel were trying to exit due to a PASS failure,
    they would be unable to communicate with Command. The
    safety concerns inherent during these circumstances
    are significant.

    Technical Assistance:

    Radio Questions: The electronic maintenance
    supervisor for the City of Newport News was contacted
    for an opinion concerning the issue of interference.
    His opinion, supported by the technical data provided
    my Motorola, was that the PASS device would not
    generate enough RF energy to cause interruption to the
    transmission signal. The association with the PASS
    device and the loss of transmission however was
    irrefutable and was replicated for the technician. It
    was discovered that the high decibel alarm (over 85db)
    emitted by the PASS device caused the noise limiting
    circuit in the radio microphone to open and halt
    transmission of high decibel "noise". This is a
    direct result of the "gain" setting for the
    microphone. This function is supported by technical
    data from Motorola.

    MSA - DragonFly Personal Alert Safety System -
    Department personnel met with the local MSA
    representatives after questions arose concerning the
    PASS device. The MSA representatives indicated that
    there have been several incidents where the DragonFly
    PASS malfunctioned due to moisture or other
    contaminants entering the circuitry through a damaged
    switch cover or from a damaged or missing light lens
    (The lens covers the visual warning lights).
    Additional cases have been reported where the switch,
    controlling a return to a passive state, had failed
    and the unit could not be silenced. While extremely
    rare, the malfunctions have occurred. This was the
    first time that any of the three MSA representatives
    present had heard of a conflict between the PASS
    device and portable radio interference.

    Action Taken: The Motorola MTS 2000 radio uses
    FLASHport technology and allows for adjustments,
    through proprietary software, to the gain on the
    microphone to allow continued use in high noise
    environs. A cache of radios was serviced by the
    electronic maintenance facility and a repeat of the
    original tests was undertaken to evaluate the
    adjustments to the radios. Follow-up tests indicated
    that the high decibel level emitted by the PASS device
    would not affect transmission of the adjusted radios.
    The balance of our portable radio cache will be
    similarly adjusted if further testing indicates that
    it provides a reliable fix.

    Additionally, a program will be implemented to
    specifically track any issues identified or related to
    the DragonFly PASS device and trouble reports
    indicating the cause for unit failure will be
    requested from MSA when a unit is returned for
    service. Personnel will be instructed to carefully
    inspect the PASS unit for damage at the beginning of
    each duty shift - specifically the light lens and the
    condition of the rubber switch covers - and general
    operation of the PASS device.

    While both the DragonFly Personal Alert Safety System
    and the Motorola MTS 2000 Model II radio worked as
    designed during this incident, the identified conflict
    caused concern. It is quite possible that this
    situation could occur with other models of PASS
    devices and other portable radio combinations with
    noise limiting technology. We encourage all
    organizations to exercise their safety /
    communications systems to ensure that their systems
    are secure. Only through careful analysis of system
    synergy can you ensure the safest possible working
    environment for emergency responders.

  7. #7
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Norfolk, Virginia


    I spoke to the Safety Officer of NNFD about this issue. This was not a PASS device based problem, but a radio problem. The "gain" setting of the radio microphones was set at (approx) 65 decibles (dB). The PASS alerts at approx 85-90 dB. Therefore, when the PASS would alert, the dB emitted would override the gain setting causing an intermittent shut down. Once the radio gain was set higher than the PASS device (dB level), the problem went away.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2000



    I agree. I just wanted to pass the word. I believe this problem is possible with any combination of radio equipment and PASS devices. Testing is the only way to tell.

    Stay Safe,


  9. #9
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Default Toronto FD

    The City of Toronto, Canada had several issues with their MSA SCBA

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Exclamation Problems in Chicago as well.

    The Chicago Fire Department is having problems with their MSA masks as well.

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