Thread: Product Recall?

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    Default Product Recall?

    I took an SCBA facepiece(mask) in today for a replacement fastener. I was told that the facepiece(mask) was cracked where the regulator snaps into the facepiece. I was surprised since this is a brand new SCBA. The technician told that they had replaced several of the facepieces and that the manufacturer was "aware" of the problem. The tekkie even told me that the manufacturer had already developed a new facepiece(mask) and would be replacing the old ones as the problem arose.
    Does this sound a little nuts? Why isn't there a recall on the facepiece(mask)? This is an industry leader in SCBAs and they are, according to the technician that I spoke with, aware that the facepiece, even on new and never used SCBAs are cracked where the regulator is snapped into the facepiece and are only dealing with it on a need basis? A major problem, as was described to me, and they aren't recalling these facepieces?
    Me, being a reasonable man, will tell them this: if there is a failure of this facepiece that causes serious injury or death to one of my guys and I will own their company. I am shocked and dismayed that a problem of this magnitude has not been addressed through a product recall. New and improved facepieces(masks)should be retrofitted to every SCBA out there with this problem.
    I recommend that everyone check their facepieces where the regulator snaps into the facepiece(mask) and if it is cracked, contact your vendor immediately.
    Has anyone else had this problem? Let me know.
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    Chief, not for nothing, but if this is a known problem by the manufacturer, can you let us know who it was and model so we can be more on the lookout if we use that type?

    I don't want to go and bash any company and figure thats the reason they are nameless, but this information may help others. Any company can have a bad batch once in a while.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    ChiefReason,

    As it just so happens, during a recent weekly inspection, I rejected a face mask for something similar. One of the plastic tabs that hold the regulator to the face mask was badly cracked. It looked like stress cracks though, not a design flaw.

    This was not a new face mask and I don’t think it was a quality issue, just wear and tear on an old mask.

    Nor have I seen more than two in three years.

    It did raise the hair on the back of my neck though, good lord, what if the regulator popped off if a fire!

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    Default Re: Product Recall?

    Does this sound a little nuts? Why isn't there a recall on the facepiece(mask)? This is an industry leader in SCBAs and they are, according to the technician that I spoke with, aware that the facepiece, even on new and never used SCBAs are cracked where the regulator is snapped into the facepiece and are only dealing with it on a need basis?
    Unfortunately Chief, this is "Business as usual" for major corporations. I have seen this same attitude in other industries as well - most notably the automobile industry.

    My mothers car developed a severe vibration that was finally traced to the drivetrain, more specifically a tranny problem. The Service Mgr. happened to be an old family friend and told us that there was no TSB or recall notice on the problem yet, but it was a recognized design / production flaw with the tranny and that if a customer "complained enough" they were authorized to repair it at no cost, however they were NOT to do this across the board, only if a complaint was made.

    Why - simple - It's all about the $$$$.

    How much would it cost in shipping charges alone to exchange all these "possibly defective" Masks ??
    Next add in:
    - the cost of manufacturing all the new parts that they are "giving away"
    - the possible lost future sales due to reduced consumer confidence
    - loss of current sales due to order delays (all the new masks being made are going to replace ones already sold, so no new packs are being sold because they have no masks available)

    From a purely business perspective, it's easy to see why recall notices on anything are extremely slow in coming.

    Now to hop to the other side of the fence, from the perspective of Life Safety - I agree 100% that this should be something the Mfg. should fall all-over themselves trying to correct.

    However the sad fact remains, the more wide spread the problem, the "cheaper" it is for big business to gamble with our lives. After all - how many individual wrongful death / disability claims are these going to result in (the gamble) and would paying them all off be cheaper than doing a full blown recall ?

    A sad but true statement of life in these Uninted States.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    Default NOT TOTALLY TOPIC RELATED, BUT...

    This is a question that is not totally topic related, but I have to ask it:

    Chief, you commented about the Manufacturer being "aware" of the problem. My question (from the Engineer point of view) is when anyone takes a piece of equipment in for service, and after it gets repaired etc, you would normally talk to the "Techie" who worked on it, right?

    Here is my question: Not too long ago I took a couple generators and a chop saw for regular maint. After all was said and done, the techie gave me some "Manufacturer Suggestions" on how to use the equipment and some service/maintenance proceedures. When I got back with the gear, and passed on what was pointed out to me. The comments that I got back regarding the generators came from the DC: "I want a second opinion." On the chop saw, I had asked specifically about changing the disc, and the durability of the one currently in use (it is starting to show signs of wear). I was told that it still had a fair amount of life in it, and was given some handling procedures as well.

    For two FFs I got told that the Techie was "wrong" and didnt know what he was talking about. One of the two guys uses a chop saw regularly where he works. I will give that he has a lot of experience with the tool, but as with many things, does he use good practices? Just because someone uses something everyday does not necessarily make him/her a good operator. In my opinion, the guy who has spent most of his working life rebuilding and repairing someone elses damage has the better credibility.

    What are the thoughts from the "Peanut Gallery"?
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    Chief, I can somewhat understand why you may not want to name the manufacturer in question. But, I respectfully must say that your unwillingness to name them in these forums with your warning to us is really no different the the manufacturer's lack of warning.

    If you feel that this is a big enough problem, which it is, please let us know. I doubt you would have a problem in an automotive discussion naming "Ford" or "Chevrolet" if there was a known problem. Why hold out in here on your brother and sister firefighters?

    Again, I mean no disrespect, but I think the warning warrants giving the complete information.

    Good Day!
    Lt. D. Gordon
    Greendale Fire Department
    Greendale, IN

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    Default None taken!

    Gordo:
    Let's face it; there are only a handful of SCBA manufacturers. They are Scott, MSA, ISI, Interspiro and Draeger. I had hoped that anyone reading the post would go back to their stations and perform a visual inspection of the mask, regardless of manufacturer.
    I did not mention the manufacturer, because in another thread, I stated that I would recommend their product to anyone purchasing new SCBAs and I still would, but this problem with the facepiece needs immediate attention. Plus, I had just learned of the problem and had not contacted the company. I am in the process of doing that today.
    As I said originally, I am troubled when an SCBA technician tells me that the manufacturer is "aware" of the problem and has not corrected it.
    So, to answer your question without answering it, Gordo; MSA, ISI, Interspiro and Draeger ARE NOT having problems with their facepiece or so I am told.
    TC & SS.
    Last edited by ChiefReason; 01-08-2003 at 10:31 AM.
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    Let's face it; there are only a handful of SCBA manufacturers. They are Scott, MSA, ISI, Interspiro and Draeger.
    So my Survivair's don't exist? My other company in town uses the Scott's and this month we are doing our annual recert's. I will definitely pass on the information....Thanks.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Default Bonesy: I getting old!

    Bones:
    I didn't mean to leave Survivair off of the list. I knew I would forget one, but Gordo had me backed into a corner.
    Survivair IS NOT having a problem with their facepiece inasmuch as they were not mentioned in the conversation that I had with the SCBA technician.
    I have contacted Scott. The person that I spoke with this morning was aware of a problem with facepieces and gave me the name of another customer service rep to speak with. I will share.
    In the meantime, have your facepieces inspected.
    TC & SS.
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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    ChiefReason,

    Our MSA, ISI, Interspiro, Draeger and Survivair's don’t have the problem either (as far as I know) so I guess I saw exactly the same problem as you did (or your tech did).

    In my case there were stress cracks around the bottom tab of the face mask that holds the regulator. Tab didn’t flex or move in any way but it looked scary enough for me to show my Lt, he agreed and we pulled the mask out of service.

    I have seen this failure on two masks. The masks have not failed when in service. Both masks were old(er).

    Yes, we all look a little closer at our masks now (we inspect every week anyway but now we look a little closer at the face mask).

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    Default Facepiece Cracking!

    Chief Reason,

    I have been a service tech. for 14 years. This is a problem that has been around for a while. From the masks that I have seen with the problem it is mostly from leaving the mask attached to the regulator all the time. When you leave the regulator attached all the time to the facepiece you putting pressure on the connection area. Scott has replaced all of the mask that I have found the problem with. Everyone need to make sure that they do a inspection on their SCBA no matter what brand they use.

    Stay Safe!

    Patrick

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    Very tactful reply Chief. I do appreciate it. Is that why you call yourself ChiefReason? HA HA!

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    Good Day!

    Oh yeah, sorry about backing you into that corner.
    Lt. D. Gordon
    Greendale Fire Department
    Greendale, IN

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    Default Bunker Gear Too

    Check your bunker gear as well. The same thing happened in 1999

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/dhtml/fire-...breathetex.cfm

    http://www.turnout-info.com/en/news/joint_stmt.htm

    November 15th, 1999

    Joint Statement


    From the Manufacturers of Body-Guard, Cairns Protective Clothing , Fire-Dex , Fire-Gear, Globe Firefighter Suits, Janesville, Quaker Safety, and Securitex Brands of Turnout Gear Regarding the Wear Life of Moisture Barriers

    (Note MORNING PRIDE is not on this list)

    •The moisture barrier is the most fragile protective component in your gear. While everyone would like to understand exactly what causes moisture barriers to wear out, and when it will happen, it is likely to happen before other elements of your protective clothing wear out. For this reason, every fire fighter and fire department should inspect their gear on a regular basis, as stated in our user guides. Particular attention should be paid to the moisture barrier, regardless of what brand it is.


    •Aldan Industries, Inc., the producer of the majority of the moisture barriers being used today, has written to manufacturers of NFPA compliant turnouts to advise them that some of their "BREATHE-TEX® moisture barriers used in fire fighters’ turnout garments are showing signs of degradation." The letter from Mr. Edwin T. Winter, Chairman/CEO of Aldan, goes on to say that their "investigations suggest that the garments may have been subject to attack resulting from storage conditions, length of service, care and/or maintenance." Mr. Winter also indicates there are a number of factors that may cause this degradation to occur over time.


    Full Article at above link

    •Another manufacturer’s 11/10/99 "recall" program for BREATHE-TEX® denies the similarities between that product and other Aldan offerings such as BREATHE-TEX PLUS®. It also fails to address the importance of inspecting and checking all moisture barriers on a regular basis.

    That "Other manufacturer" is MORNING PRIDE. Rather than having a firefighter get hurt they shelled out BIG $$$ to replace all the breath-tex that they have sold. Did they have to do that, no they did not not but rather than risking a problem they did. As a firefighter I should not have to be double and triple checking and preforming "special tests" to make sure that my protective equipment is safe to use

    •There is a simple field test you can perform to check any moisture barrier: Place your liner on a flat surface (or over a bucket) with the dry thermal barrier facing down and dry moisture barrier facing up. Pour about 1/2 cup of water on the moisture barrier and wait a few minutes. If the water passes through the moisture barrier and wets the thermal barrier, your liner should be removed from service and repaired or replaced. Perform this simple test in high abrasion areas (like the broadest part of the shoulders, at the knee, or the seat of the pants), or where you have detected other potential damage to the shell or thermal barrier. It is difficult to determine with any certainty whether your moisture barrier leaks by looking at either the film or the fabric it’s laminated to. Do the test! Or have the test done by a reputable turnout cleaning and repair company.


    If you do this test on your gear, and there is leakage, or you detect leakage, contact your local dealer or original manufacturer about repair or replacement of the moisture barrier.

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    here's another one. One manufacturer used a gong-bell type low air alarm attached to the hose fitting that the bottle screws into. For years they used a SINGLE screw to hold the bell on. They discovered that if the screw backed out and the bell fell off, the pack would not be useable, so they switched to a two screw setup. but did nothing about their older packs. In late july, the US flagged merchant ship M/V PATRIOT, a 800' comercial oil tanker, suffered a major engine room fire. While the fire was fought using the fixed CO2 system, crew members still needed to enter the superstructure which had a heavy smoke condition on all decks to operate emergency controls. One crewmember, just prior to entry suffered a complete SCBA failure due to this single screw design. Good thing it failed then and not a few minutes later!!! After the fire, the manufacturer issued a notice and a retrofit kit to convert all single screw units to twin screw units. typical big business.

    Odd that this is mentioned. Yesterday we had a failure of one of these packs, but it was the two screw type. It was a smaller home so he was able to make it out quickly. The low pressure bell didnt ring, he was able to suck what was left out and make it out of the home. When we got back to the station i looked on the internet and found the info about the bell's. We have 7 older packs with the single screw, so we called the manufacturer today and they are sending us 7 upgrades, but we haven't found out what the problem is with the dual screw that went bad yesterday. We never recieved the notice from the manufacturer about the air packs, when we called today to order the upgrade kit we asked why. Turns out they never had us listed as using there product, weird how its the only brand we've used since the 50's

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    We have experienced a few packs (a while ago) that had the 2 screws and they had become so loose, the bell clacker was not hitting the bell hard enough to be heard. Can't blame the manufacturer on that, we missed them during our inspections.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Default Inspection....

    Just to update everyone:
    I inspected all SCBA masks yesterday. The older masks and the newer MSA masks had no visible cracks. Out of five(5) newer Scott masks; masks that are less than a year old, four(4) out of five(5) masks had visible cracks in the retainer ring that is welded to the facepiece. The cracks were perpendicular and on the ring itself. That is; when you snap the regulator in, the retainer ring is resting up against the backside of the regulator. The ring provides the seal on the backside of the regulator. Again, this condition was found in masks that are relatively new and have not been subjected to abuse, lens cleaning agents, over-torquing of the fasteners on the facepiece lens or extreme fire conditions.
    I don't know if these cracks are visible to the naked eye. I used a magnifying glass, but then, I wear bi-focals.
    I encourage everyone to look at their masks and if you're not sure what to look for, take them in to an authorized agent.
    TC & SS.
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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    The bell didn't fall off it failed to operate, it was a dual screw type. We recieved our upgrade kits today for the 7 older packs, it's a hex head bolt with lock-tite on it.LOL We are starting on our grant for 2003 which will include 14 new NFPA compliant packs, with 5 rit kits. Hope fully we will be awarded this, we are hard up for scba's. We have 2 engines, 55' telesquirt and 100' tower, and a rescue, we plan on out fitting the rescue with 2 SCBA's and running it as a rit truck. We are still in the running for the 2002 fire act, still no dear john.

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