1. #1
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    Question air compressor vs. air cascade

    My dept. is currently building specs for a new squad. I was wondering if an air compressor worked better for running air tools than using the air cascade. We are looking @ space savings, reliability.

    Has anyone tried this?

    Did it work or did you have problems with the compressor breaking alot?

    Any suggestions for a type and model air compressor?

    Or is another 2 bottle air cascade the way to go?

  2. #2
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    I'm a firm beleiver in the air compressor option. Either look at a stand alone unit that is either electric (Run off the generator or PTO) or the petrol driven.

    Air tools and bags chew through a lot of air when used consistently. I'd hate to run out of oommph at a crucial time....

    If you go the compressor option, I beleive that you would require a decent size such as a 12cfm.
    Luke

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    Not sure about "down under" Lutan,but I don't believe you can spec anything NFPA with a compressor less than 14CFM.At least that's what we have.T.C.

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    We have no standards or regulations that specify this sort of thing.

    It's a judgement call at the time.

    I've been at an accident where a compressor that was too small, ran out of oommph! Not a great feeling, and it was hard work to revert back to the trusty hand tools!
    Luke

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    compressor, compressor, compressor and might I add compressor. Have not heard of anyone having a compressor failure at a scene, but of course, it can always happen. Do you have SCBA's in your squad? If so, there is you cascade system, you can get adapters and use SCBA bottles. As Lutan said, powerful enough compressor's are fairly small sized. Even better, a compressor with a somewhat decent sized storage tank...gives you best of both worlds. I am, unfortunatly, part of a rescue squad that works (or tries) with an underpowered compressor, we get about 30 seconds of air chisel time before it oommphs out. We usually borrow SCBA bottles from our FD and use them to run the tools. Get a powerful compressor.

  6. #6
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    The first question is, will the rescue also fill SCBA cylinders? If it will, you will probably need at least the cascade and the availability of a breathing air compressor either on the truck or in the station. If its just tools, I was curious about the PTO compressors used for CAFS system. When we were looking for our rescue we thought about the PTO option, at the time it was too expensive, however, given the opportunity I'd really go back and look at it again. I believe at the time they were putting out up to 175 cfm at a higher pressure. Brake air compressors are pretty weak and are put on the truck to supply air to some relatively small reservoirs. Firefighters will run the air horns off of the same tanks all the way to a run, then put up the air powered light tower (very little pressure, but lots of cubic feet) and have no power for tools. Whatever you decide, make sure you have plenty of extra air reservoirs, check your tools, if you have standard automotive type tools you can sneak by with the brake system, RESCUE stuff is usually higher than the 125 psi/16 CFM you get off the brake system. If you are going to use higher CFM equipment, make sure your air hose reel is adequately sized too.

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