View Poll Results: Does your department override the one-way ratcheting feature on your cylinder valves

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  • Our airpacks don't have that option

    6 35.29%
  • Yes, we override the feature

    1 5.88%
  • No, we leave the feature in place

    10 58.82%
  1. #1
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    Default Cylinder valve safety override

    My department overides the safety "ratcheting" device on our SCBA cylinder valves to allow for easier closing of the valve. This has been done for atleast the last 15 years, with no incidence of accidental closure, to my knowledge. Does anyone have experience with valves being accidently closed during an emergency. Also, I'd like to know how many other departments override this function. If you have had an accidental closure, was the valve opened fully upon donning. Thanks for your input.

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    at our old dept we disabled it simply because to actually shut itself off it if is fully opened from the beginning would take enough turns so that everyone felt confident that it was a non issue. On that note when it was disabled I always tried to open it when shutting it off just to see if it had ever even started to close, and i've never felt it turned towards closed

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    Did you "disable" the safety feature after you got the cylinders from the manufacturer? If so, then I think you have just voided the warranty on the cylinder, due to "tampering". Not to mention the claims that could follow should someone come to grief whilst wearing a BA set which has had an important feature such as this removed.

    Personally, I think this is a road you don't want to go down.

    (edited due to typos, its been a long day).
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    The manufacturer (Scott) said it was not a problem and advised us on how to do it.

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    Did you "disable" the safety feature
    Note to self. DISABLE THE SAFETY FEATURE. Do not go anywhere near this station when on the job.

    For the second time this week we have a winner, who disables/ removes safety features from PPE.

    Can you say LODD

    How much longer does it take you to turn the damn thing off with the ratchet left operational, 2 seconds?

    And if you need to turn it off, you are obviously outside the fire zone, so what the hell is the rush?
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    I agree.......... DON'T MESS WITH IT!!! It is a safety feature that was put there for a reason. If it was "optional" they would ask you if you want the feature when you purchase them........

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    Our dept leaves the feature in place, it's there for a reason.


    Yes I have seen one without the feature turn off. We were training on removing a downed firefighter and we were moving up some stairs and the knob went in the off direction as we were going up.
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    Please help me understand this, what is the real reason you would overide this device, and do you overide any other safety devices on your PPE. I would also like to know if your Safety Officer, and Fire Chief know that you do this and approves it. Our Department would not accept the reason you use, nor approve of this practice. As for SCOTT would they put it in writting that this is an acceptable practice, GOD forbid should something happen and you were investigated. Is it in there operational manuel that this is an approved practice for all there SCBA bottles.

    As an Officer I and WE, have a responability to see that our crew arrives at work, and returns home the next morning to there family, to make this an acceptable practice is not being responsable. Sorry if I sound like I am stepping on any toes, but overiding any device is asking for trouble, you ask for input. Stay safe.
    Last edited by fdsq10; 11-23-2004 at 10:26 PM.

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    Question

    is it only on Scotts ? amd if not whats it do >?
    Last edited by Weruj1; 11-24-2004 at 09:59 PM.
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    While our department does not use packs that have the ratchet feature, we had a Scott salesman (not just a local dealer) that told us during the sales process that you can simply disable the feature by adjusting a screw on the handwheel that turns the bottle on or off.

    We were just a bunch of morons then too, as we removed all of the neck straps from our new facepieces just last evening, as they came equipped from the factory this way. I'm all about safety guys, but if MSA and everyone is still compliant without the rachet device, (or neck straps) then you can bet Scott still is.

    I have learned the hard way backing down a set of stairs in a training tower than the older MSA packs aren't that hard to shut off. Kind of nice to know that I recalled my safety checks when I ran out of air (I was a recruit at the time), but it stunk that the last place on the "path" is to confirn that your bottle is on! If I had backed down the stairs correctly, this would have been a non-issue.

    I'd much rather gripe about the morons I see with thirty entanglement hazards on their truckie belt and gear that could damn near self-ignite due to filth than some department that opts to willingly disable something that I (and the NFPA for that matter) consider non-essential.

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    Originally posted by Weruj1
    is it only pm Scotts ? amd if not whats it do >?
    Josh, what he's talking about is when you close the valve on the SCBA bottle, you have to push in the knob, then turn it in order to close the valve, instead of just turning it.... That way you don't inadvertantly tuen of your bottle if you bump the knob.

    Yes, it takes a whole lot of "bumps" to turn it off completely if you have the valve opened all the way, but it's still possible........

    As for the neck straps on the masks........ That's an option that you don't have to get....... Our masks never came with them. I put one on mine, because I prefer it. Others do not use them. It's personal preference.........

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    The ratchet safety feature is a royal pain in the *****, have you ever tried to shut off a bottle in a hurry that has a blown O ring, good luck. If it is such a profound safety feature why does nobody else use it on their bottles? Yes I understand its there to stop a bottle from accidently being turned off but in the 15 yrs. I have been in the fire service I have never seen or heard of such a case. I am not saying it couldn't happen but it's got to be pretty rare.

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    Originally posted by LACAPT
    Yes I understand its there to stop a bottle from accidently being turned off but in the 15 yrs. I have been in the fire service I have never seen or heard of such a case. I am not saying it couldn't happen but it's got to be pretty rare.
    Apparently you didn't read all of the posts above........


    Yes I have seen one without the feature turn off. We were training on removing a downed firefighter and we were moving up some stairs and the knob went in the off direction as we were going up.

    I have learned the hard way backing down a set of stairs in a training tower than the older MSA packs aren't that hard to shut off.
    There's 2 instances right there......... I'm sure there are more out there.........

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    A few of the older members on my department actually more than a few love the new feature on the scott bottle because they said back in they day when we had the older scotts when the feature wasnt on there moving around in a house fire you'd be moving along a wall or hit up against something in a fire and your'd wind up shutting your airpack off. Honestly I dont see the big deal of having it on the bottle sometimes its a pain when trying to shut the bottle off real quick but I rarely ever have the need too. As the old saying goes "I'd rather be safe than sorry"
    Andrew
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    In the event of an injury or worse on a pack that has been "modified",I can guarantee I WOULD NOT want to be on the recieving end of the ensuing NIOSH/OSHA investigation.These are SAFETY devices,make sure they work properly and LEAVE THEM ALONE.You "modify"one in my Dept,you'll get some time OFF.WITHOUT PAY!They aren't that tough to turn off if you practice a bit.I can even do it with my pack on.Practice until it becomes habit with ALL your PPE.The life you save could be YOURS! T.C.

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    Any department can spec their SCBA bottles to not have the "locking" feature, it's not a requirement. Modifying it yourself after receiving the bottles would be another story. Getting the Ok in writing from everyone in the world would be a help.

    How many turns does it take to open your bottle all the way? How many knocks/bumps on a wall would it take to close it? I am willing to bet that those that have had their air shutoff due to bumping on walls, did not have their bottle on all the way. Too many people turn the knob 1 or 2 times to get air and leave it at that. I'll also bet that if you read the donning instructions with the pack, it says to turn the bottles on all the way. If you don't, your voiding all claims because you are not following operating procedures.

    Take the few extra seconds and open your bottle all the way. I know, for fact, there is a lawsuit or 2 in progress about this exact circumstance.
    "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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    Bones.......I believe one of those resulted in a LODD ? Why wuold you want to disconnect that ? Some of our older Scotts had this ..........I liked it our MSA's dont......but they would be in my opinion be difficult to turn off. The only negative thing I can say about the smaller tanks is the valve is hard to reach behind you to turn on with it on your back..
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    Bones,I don't believe you can buy a bottle from Scott that DOES NOT have the safety.They changed all their valves to the three lobe safety valve some time ago.I haven't seen anything in the parts list to indicate it is available any other way.T.C.

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    Yes, Weruj1, a LODD was involved. One of the things being looked at was the "safety" stop on the valve. Apparently, they did not have any. It wasn't disabled, just spec'd that way. They were not Scott brand.

    Rescue101, not sure that anyone lists it as a part option. Can't see any need to not have the feature so I never pushed Scott (or anyone else) on it. I know almost all brands of bottles are manufactured by the same company (Luxfer) who then brands the bottles to the SCBA manufacturers (Scott, MSA, Surivair, etc).


    Again, I can't see a reason to not have this feature. But, I also know, for fact, I have a few bottles that have no shutoff lock feature. I have relegated them to be service units only, for air chisels and air bags and such.
    "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?

  20. #20
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    From www.firefighterclosecalls.com:


    SCOTT AIR PACK CYLINDERS--LETTER OF CONCERN TO THE NFPA


    November 12, 2004

    Mr. Bruce Teele, Senior Fire Service Safety Specialists
    National Fire Protection Association
    1 Batterymarch Park
    Quincy, MD 02169-7471

    Re: Scott Air Packs

    Mr. Teele,

    I wanted to bring to your attention a serious issue we have experienced with the Scott Air Cylinders. We had a structure fire on October 30, 2004 where a fire crew was inside a large residential structure that was super charged with smoke. The crew was attempting to advance hose to the seat of the fire when one of the firefighter’s air supply failed. The firefighter became disoriented and became separated from his partner. He was able to eventually find his way out of the structure after he discovered that his air bottle had been turned off and was able to turn it back on. We had already issued a MADAY and started the RIT team in for rescue when the firefighter was able to find his way out. I might add that there were some very tense moments during this process!

    We initiated an investigation of the cause as to why the air bottle was turned off and concluded that the nut holding the ON/OFF knob on the air cylinder valve assembly had been tightened to the point that the safety lock mechanism that locks the knob in the ON position had been overridden by the tightening. Upon investigation of all of our air bottles, we found 8 cylinders where the knob could freely be turned ON or OFF without pushing in on it to disengage the spring. We surmise that during the hose advancement in the structure that the hose was dragged across the face of the knob and eventually turned the bottle off.

    I contacted a couple of neighboring departments and found that in some instances the safety lock mechanism was being deliberately overridden so that the firefighters could more easily turn the bottle ON and OFF.

    This is a serious breach of a safety feature that was designed to keep our situation from happening. While it is the responsibility of fire departments to ensure that these safety features are not compromised, I feel that Scott has a responsibility to design a system that is unsusceptible to the human factor. We surmise that what probably happened was that either we had a firefighter that deliberately overrode the safety mechanism, or we had a new firefighter that while checking airparks assumed that because the knob was sloppy on the valve assembly (which is normal) that the nut was backing off and tightened the nut completely.

    I feel that the knob assembly should be redesigned so that there is a stop behind the knob allowing for the normal position of the nut to be in the completely tightened position. Right now, the normal position for the nut is half tightened.

    I want to bring this to your attention for discussion. We have already put in to place a new part in our SOG that directs the firefighter to check the lock mechanism on their pack and those spare bottles that are carried on the apparatus to ensure that the nut is in the right position.

    I appreciate your review of this matter.

    Sincerely
    Larry Wright
    Fire Chief
    Rowlett, TX



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