Thread: SCBA durability

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    SamsonFCDES's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Default SCBA durability

    Sometimes I wonder why I even try...

    We were blessed last October with a FEMA grant to buy new SCBAs. We went with Drager PSS100s to replace 20+ year old Scott AP 2As.

    We have had the new packs for a few months now. We also just placed into service 2 new brush/quick attack trucks.

    The cheif wanted 2 Dragers on each truck, they seat 2. They are mounted in walk aways, inside a compartment that is water/dust tight or nearly, and they have vinil covers over them.

    These "brush" trucks make it to every single incident we have. They have 500 gallons of water, a foam system, and a 135 GPM pump that can run a single 1.5 attack line to the full capacity of the nozzles we have on them.

    One of our district board members, who only is around every third meeting or so, and who listens more to his buddies who have <2 years experience then he does to reason, has decreed that we should not have those Dargers mounted on the brush truck.

    Reason why...

    They will not be able to take the abuse of country road and off road travel.

    These are fully loaded F550s, not Baja race trucks. When they are off road they creep, like they are supposed to. When they travel down bumpy country roads, well I guess they bounce just like every other type of fire apparatus.

    The rest of the district board (there are 5 board members) either want them on the units or dont pay any atention anyway. The chief wants them on there as do a lot of the members.

    So, what I am supposed to do is find a spec sheet, engineering sheet, letter from Drager, whatever to prove that its ok to have the SCBAs so mounted as they are.

    I love it when my time is wasted, makes life so much more meaningfull.

    So, what I am asking from the forum is for:

    - Experiences with SCBAs mounted in interface, brush, and quick attack apparatus in rural settings.

    - Examples of the above, IIRC the USFS does mount some SCBAs in their brush trucks.

    - Any Spec sheets for Dragers that list durability related stuff.

    - Maybe the testing criteria for SCBAs? Stuff like drop tests, impact tests? If they can take the fire environment then being securly mounted in a metal compartment with a vinil cover should be a pretty safe place...right???

    I am also trying to get an email through to a Drager engineer or somebody to get some info there, but so far no luck.

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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Apr 2003
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada


    Well I can't help with any formal literature, but we also use Draegar, and in addition to the four packs on our primary engine, we have four sets in the portable cases as well. Since we only have 8 sets total, and we train SCBA heavily, they get every bit of use as the primary sets, plus getting tossed into the pickups for mutual aid, training burns, or bush responses just as you described. Bush Fire responses are our largest call volume (next to false alarms of course).

    We examined all the sets last Monday night as we were stocking the new engine, and were surprised at the excellent condition of the sets in the portable packs. They were in far, far better condition than the four racked sets, which we largely contributed to the fact that the cases provided extra protection from flailing around in the rack. The gear in the cases is nice and neatly packed and actually flops around less because the case hold everything tightly in place (which becomes obvious when you try to close those things sometimes ). The sets in the compartment racks are bounced around more freely, and certainly show that.

    If response and convenience was not an issue, I would store them all in portable cases. The protection they offer from impact and dirt is undeniable. Our sets are 10 years old now, and I have no problems with them. If I was putting them on a bush truck, I would probably ensure that they are packed tightly or strapped down so the cases don't bounce inside the compartment, but that is more to preserve the case than the contents.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!


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