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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Survivair problems?

    My department recently leased 70 Survivair Panther scba’s. We’ve had them for about 6 months and have had nothing but problems so far. The HUDs don’t work more than they do. There is a constant problem with the regulators just falling out of the face piece. We even broke and unbreakable back plate in half. The straps break, buckles fail, pretty much anything that can go wrong has. Most of the firefighters are angry, but management thinks that we are still just working the bugs out. It seems they would rather put firefighters lives on the line then admit that they were wrong when they bought from the low bidder. We drive around in a fleet of Pierce parade pieces but buy air packs from the lowest bidder, go figure.

    I know that Survivair has a poor track record, and I just wanted to stick the ol’ feelers out to see if anyone else is having the same issues we are. We figured if we go to the Chiefs with enough information about other departments having trouble with these things it will open there eyes and we may have a chance of getting our Scotts back.

    Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Default

    We've used Survivairs for the last 15 years with no problems.
    We even broke and unbreakable back plate in half
    I'd love to hear more about this. Breaking a back plate in half during normal use? or abuse?
    "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?

  3. #3
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Question Re: Survivair problems?

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by mike11527

    I know that Survivair has a poor track record, and I just wanted to stick the ol’ feelers out to see if anyone else is having the same issues we are. We figured if we go to the Chiefs with enough information about other departments having trouble with these things it will open there eyes and we may have a chance of getting our Scotts back.







    Our department have used Survivair for over 20 years. We haven't any more problems with these like we did with MSA or Scott! Very few at all.

    You have to remember, that someone assemble these scba's. If there was a problem at the factory or problems with your panthers, then Survivair will correct it.

    I don't not know of any, as you said, "poor track record" from them. In fact we find that ours work better than any of the others, with very little problems. We use panthers and our guys love them.

    It sounds like, the members are messing with this scba units to get the Chiefs to get rid of them, so they can have Scotts back!!!

    Be careful what you do to a scba, if this is the case. You could be tampering with something, that could cause danger or the safety to a fellow firefighter.




    Stay Safe & Well out there.......

  4. #4
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default ???

    Sounds like a warranty issue. Wont they stand
    behind their product???

    As for track record, thats news to me. I know
    LA City and LA County have been using them for
    years with good results...

  5. #5
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    Well to answer a few of those questions: Yes warranty is fixing the problems, but it seems they just can’t keep up. They send reps out all the time, but each time it’s like they just have a new set of excuses and no permanent solutions.

    As for our personnel “sabotaging” the breathing apparatus they will have to wear the same day is ludicrous. Also about your abuse theory, the back plate split in half while a firefighter was pulling the BA from a seat mounted bracket. My track record comment comes from the fact that you two guys are the first people I have ran into that had anything good to say about Survivair. It may be that we come from different areas of the country. I know that Survivairs are more prominent on the west coast, and Scotts on the east coast. This may be why everyone I talk to thought the move from Scott to Survivair was crazy.

    I am really not trying to bad mouth the manufacturer, even though I may have came across that way. But put yourself in our shoes for a second. You could only take so much before the bad taste in your mouth just turns absolutely foul. It may be that we just got a bad batch. I know they were some of the first off the line with HUD’s and some other new design features. Still this is no excuse for the performance of the units.

    They trained four of our guys to repair the packs, there are not enough hours in a 24-hour shift to do their normal work and keep up with the 4 – 6 BA’s that break each day.

    If you say you used them for so many years with no problems. Maybe there is still hope for us. I just hope they get all these problems straightened out before someone gets hurt….or worse.

    Thanks for your input so far. I sure hope I get some more.

  6. #6
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    As far as our department, we have use Suviviar for over 20 years. The two major paid departments (counties) on each side of us, use MSA. I don't know any one in this area using Scotts!

    If you had the back plate to split this is not usual. We have never had a back plate split ot brake. The worst thing we ever had was the harness straps will wear due to the extreame use we put them through by using them as much as we do. We make around 55,000 runs a year. Not all incidents require a scba, but a lot do and a lot of working fires.

    As you can see I am on the East Coast!

    Contact your dealer and push for the repairs.

  7. #7
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    My department has been using Survivair going on 15 years, and we have changed from the Mark 2 to the Panther 4.5 SCBA. We have had numerous small problems with this air pack, but Survivair has worked with us fix these problems even when the warranty ran out.

    I and 7 others are qualified Survivair Techs that preform in house maintenance on our Panther SCBA’s. This can be as easy as the 1 year replacment of the filter screens to a total rebuild, so we know first hand what the problems are and how to fix them.

    Seems there was some design issues that they are reconfiguring dealing with the Panther. We have had only 1 backpack (MightyLight) break on us and it was done by a FF pulling it out of the holder. It split at the top where the shoulder straps attach.

    The only real problems we are having, and its happened to about 8 of our airpacks is the high pressure line connecting to the analog gauge producing pin holes at the coupling on the 1st stage reg.

    The other problem is when Survivair made the 1st stage regulator; they placed 2 set screws on the 1st stage regulator and this in turn caused the o-rings attached to the adjusting screws to tear. I contacted Survivair and they informed us to remove the set screws on our 1st stage regulators (This solved the problem).

    We have had only 1 documented case of the 2nd stage coming detached from the face piece, and we found that it was a spring in the clip being that went bad.

    We found out also that most of our pass devices were bad due to the water resistive silicone was accidentally replaced with a silicone seal that dissolves in water. They mailed us the pass devises on a 1 for 1 exchange at no cost to our department.

    Yes there are some things that went wrong with the Panther SCBA, but Survivair has worked with us hand in hand all the way to resolve these problems. With any NEW product there’s always going to be problems, either it be the user that has problems or design problem.

    I recommend calling Jim, he's a tech @ Survivair,he has really helped us out, and he sticks to his word. 1-888-277-7222. Just ask for Jim in Technical Assistance.
    Last edited by captjab; 03-05-2004 at 04:18 PM.

  8. #8
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default Clearify one thing...

    Originally posted by mike11527
    My track record comment comes from the fact that you two guys are the first people I have ran into that had anything good to say about Survivair. It may be that we come from different areas of the country. I know that Survivairs are more prominent on the west coast, and Scotts on the east coast. This may be why everyone I talk to thought the move from Scott to Survivair was crazy.
    Just for the record, I am Scott SCBA man, 100% I love them.
    I dont really see them being a "west Coast" thing. They are
    all over Calif.

    I was just trying to look at your problem from different
    angles. The one thing I dont like about Survivair is that
    they teach Firefighter how to fix their SCBAs in house. I
    would rather just send/swap it out for repair. As stated
    earlier, having time to fix them during a 24 hour period
    is tough.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 03-05-2004 at 01:46 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Clearify one thing...

    Originally posted by CALFFBOU


    Just for the record, I am Scott SCBA man, 100% I love them.
    I dont really see them being a "west Coast" thing. They are
    all over Calif.

    I was just trying to look at your problem from different
    angles. The one thing I dont like about Survivair is that
    they teach Firefighter how to fix their SCBAs in house. I
    would rather just send/swap it out for repair. As stated
    earlier, having time to fix them during a 24 hour period
    is tough.
    Hmmm…and what is wrong with a certified tech that happens to be a firefighter working in house on a broken SCBA. I would have to totally disagree with CALFFBOU on this one. It saves on down time and money to fix a problem in house. Now if your department is so busy with calls then maybe I can see CALFFBOU point.

    Heck most of the problems we have found have been initially found by in house techs and then brought to the attention of Survivair. Plus after working on an Airpack, the entire system is tested using updated computer software and testing bench (The same system Survivair uses). As with any Fire Department you always order extra to replace any that need to be fixed.

  10. #10
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    You must have gotten all the lemons that survivair made. We have been using survivair for 20+ years and the only ones we had a problem with were the sigma's when they had the plastic buckles that always broke.
    Lt Brian Willey
    FF/EMT/Hazmat Tech
    Cambridge Rescue Fire Company
    Cambridge, MD

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