1. #1
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    Default SCBA Under Water?

    Are there any current SCBAs that can operate under water?

    I remember reading that the Drager PSS100 and Airboss can operate under water. Is that true?

    What others?

    Anybody every try it?

    Oh, and dont try this at home, dont get any ideas, etc...

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    Got a Scott IIA down about 12 feet once.
    "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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    I had hear about the Scott IIAs. We still have some of those around, I should go to the pool this weekend...



    Se we know that at least one model of belt/chest mounted regulator SCBA can do it, but what about the mask mount regulator SCBAs, IE modern SCBAs?

    I thought that since Drager and Interspiro also make SCUBA gear, that just maybe...
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    I have seen the Drager work underwater but it is not made to work that way and the company will let you know that. We tried other SCBAs but the diaphragm is to weak to hold back pressure as you start to descend. Most will fail in a positve flow like turning on the bypass or purge valve.

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    The ISI Viking is rated at about 10 or 12 feet as I recall.
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    Scotts will operate down to about 12 feet,but if you do you're in for some repairs.Not really designed for that kind of work.T.C.

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    why would you want to? other than just to say you did. that's like asking would structural FF gear work underwater. it's not designed to be used underwater. if you need to do a water rescue, you use a SCUBA tank (which is different in design and function), not an SCBA.

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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    why would you want to?
    Dan
    One reason I can think of is if your engine company is called to a rescue where a vehicle has gone into a retention basin/pond or even a swimming pool or something, and you have to make a rescue. Might not have time to get someone there with a SCUBA setup.
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    It would be nice to know if you happen to fall into the deep end of a pool and perhaps can't get yourself to the surface right away. Not that I want to test it but it would be nice to know.
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    I believe our MSA Extremes are as well.
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    why would you want to? other than just to say you did.
    Dan
    It is important to know how your SCBA reacts to immersion in case you fall into an elevator shaft, flooded cellar, stairwell or similar compartment.
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    Some fellows from Port Hardy BC (northern tip of Vancouver Island), who I attended some live burn training with once related a story about a water rescue they did off of a pier with their Scott SCBA. The end of the pier was a good 20 feet down, and they said it worked just fine with a quick strip of duct tape to protect the mask to face seal.

    It was pretty ballsy, and not something I would ever plan on doing, but if you are right there and think your chances of a successful rescue are good, you "might" consider it worth the risk.
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    The Survivair SCBA that my deptment use will work to about 10 feet I beleive...not recommended though
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    I know of a case where a FF went out the back door of a house in very poor visibility and fell into a covered spa. Took him a moment or two to resurface with the cover and all... not to mention the shear confusion. His worked underwater. I was trained to always crack the bypass valve in the event that I fell in water. Have not had to use it yet so I guess that would help. I imagine it helps prevent damage due to the fact that the constant outgoing air keeps the water out of vital areas of the SCBA.
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    YES all SCBA’s work underwater, but are limited to the depth they are used, this is about 10 feet. Now as many know already, when you break the surface of the water you are entering a 2nd atmosphere and this causes an increase of pressure in you 1st stage regulator. This in turn will activate most SCBA’s bypass. Just remember in most cases your exhalation valve will stick open when looking up, regardless if your bypass is activated or not. If you have a control valve on your 2nd stage regulator, you need to close this and open it a ¼ of a turn to conserve air.

    I say most because I have tested most SCBA’s and each one reacts differently to the underwater conditions. Several years ago I designed a course called “Accidental Submersion”, designed to train Fire Fighters in self-rescue and survivability while in the water wearing full bunker gear and SCBA. Now there’s different courses being offered out there pertaining to the same subject matter, but each one is different or focuses on 1 part of the problem.

    I teach the whole thing from being able to float and swim in full turnouts, to proper air management using your SCBA while in the water. For all those that ask, “Why would you go into the water”? Well its simple really, most departments near or around a body of water, Lake, Ocean, Pond, Rivers, Pools, etc, have a very good chance that they might “Accidentally fall into one of these bodies of water in full turnouts while working on the fire ground, and they panic trying to get there gear off and drown, or aspirate large amounts of water in the process trying to free themselves.

    There’s a step-by-step process that needs to be taken, and trained on in order to increase your survivability in this situation. I’ll keep this short, but if anyone would like a copy of the course outline, e-mail me at Jim.Bennett@cnet.navy.mil and I’ll send a copy of the course to you. I’m doing this in hopes it will better train our brother and sisters and maybe save a life.

    p.s. NFPA recommends that you test an airpack for under water conditions. This does not mean jump into the water and go diving. Just test the reactions in a portable tank and see how the SCBA functions.

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    Unless you have some type of SCUBA training, I highly discourage this.

    Breathing compressed gases underwater can be dangerous for untrained personnel. In an average pool it is possible to pop a lung while resurfacing, to say nothing of the other dangers associated with using SCBA for SCUBA.

    Could it get you by in a pinch? Probably. Is it safe? No. Should you have SCUBA training if you're going to attempt it? Definetly.
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    Something to keep in mind. Chlorine can cause damage to some internal components of the regulator etc. I would think that any SCBA used underwater should be removed from service.
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    Ok, I think there’s a misunderstanding here. You should never intentionally use your SCBA for underwater operations where SCUBA should be used. Someone asked if you could use it for operations for a submerged car. I was talking along the lines of training for accidental submersion.

    Yes Chlorine can harm some internal parts of a SCBA, so the answer here is to train in fresh water or set a side an airpack only to be used for such training, and the effects of chlorine on internal parts is not something that affects it right off the bat, it’s something that will affect it when it dries and used at a later time mostly. If you have an in house SCBA tech, he or she can make the repairs so it can be used again for training. Anyone out there that thinks you will sink as soon as you enter the water, rest assured you will not, but you can’t go thrashing around either. By thrashing around you loose your air pockets and this lets in water. All you got to do is form what we call the fetal position with knees to the chest, cross your feet at the ankles and keep your elbows to your side.

    Then you reach down and turn your main line off and back on a ¼ of a turn. Then with elbows locked to your side, perform the modified back stroke. Make sure your looking upward, and occasionally look over your shoulder in the direction your swimming. Remember never to straighten your legs or make wide sweeps with you arms. By doing this you will allow water into your air pockets. This is assuming of course the water is to deep to stand up, and you dont have to be SCUBA trained to preform this type of Fire Fighter Survival Training.

    Your main air pockets are located in the following: Boots, Upper legs (Knees), Chest, upper arms.

    p.s. Ditch the helmet as soon as possible. This only gets in your way and offers no positive buoyancy.
    Last edited by captjab; 02-29-2004 at 12:25 AM.

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    Thanks for the info captjab, very interesting stuff.

    I do SCUBA dive with our local search and rescue crew, but we have never gotten into this subject before.

    Do you know how the Drager PSS 100 with a Sentianl computer would react? We just got 12 of these off of grant money, and I dont foresee experiments just to test them out in water, they are way to valuable to take a chance destroying one of them.

    Thanks
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    Yes Samson, I understand fully the problem not having enough SCBAS to do training in this area. But non the less I will e-mail you my findings with the Drager PSS 100, and email you the results.

    Take care and be safe brother.

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    Captjab, you are correct, about not using scba for underwater rescue situations. Not long ago and I don't know where it was that a FF lost his life trying to affect an underwater rescue with scba. Scba is NOT designed to be used as underwater rescue under any condition except if you accidently fall in a body of water be it a lake, river, pool or a basement full of water. The exalation valve will indeed fail closed when the water pressure exeeds the mask pressure. You are finewhen you are at the surface and have your facesubmergedbut it gets tough when you go deep. We train once a year in a pool to keep our FFs familiar with what it feels like and how to create bouancy viayour bunker coat and helmet. We use ISI Vikings and as soon as you enter the water the air starts to flow freely because you are overpressuring the positive pressure of the regulator with water pressure. Is that enough pressure

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    Good to see some departments like LACAPT’s conducting training in this area. It is mandatory that all new hires go through this course before riding on our trucks and then each member has to perform this each year there after.

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    Default Re: SCBA Under Water?

    Are there any current SCBAs that can operate under water?
    Yes, the Draeger will work under water to a reported depth of 50 feet. Yes, we have tried it. Yes, you will have to completely service the mask after doing it.

    Most of the other brands that I have seen will freeflow air, as if the bypass valve is open. The Draeger will work normally.

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    COME ON GUYS

    SCBA-SELF CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS

    SCUBA-SELF CONTAINED UNDERWATER BREATHING APPARATUS

    THERE IS A DIFFERENCE

    I would not recommend anyone using or damaging a scba under water.
    have heard of guys doing it.
    If we don't do it nobody else will!!!!

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    captjab, i'd be interested in the training information as well.

    i have another question that i've asked others but they don't know. why is the valve on the bottle located in different places for a scba and a scuba. the scba has the valve down by your butt while the scuba bottle has the valve up by your head. just wondering if anyone knows why?
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