Thread: A question...

  1. #1
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    Default A question...

    You fall into a elevator shaft filling with water. Your SCBA is on, and at the bottom of the shaft is a door which would lead....ok forget that my question is, if you are submerged in water, could your SCBA double as SCUBA?

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    Yes and no, SCBA is not designed to be used under water and it has limitations, but in an emergency it will function underwater. It is not a SCUBA though and at some depth it will fail and allow water in, how deep? don't know. I asked an SCBA tech about it once because we had several open tanks mounted at floor level that during a search a firefighter could fall into by crawling under the safety chains, they were about 15 feet deep. I was told that should not be a problem.

    I have heard that some departments have done a fair amount of testing of this so there may be some with far more practical experience of this.

    Any SCBA that goes into the water has to be completely disassembled by a technician though as small amounts of water will get into the pressure reducer and cause corrosion and failure over time.

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    The answer: No. Some will last down a certain depth, but then you have to worry about seals, the valves, and everything else failing and potentially letting water in.

    There was a poster on here once, CaptJab was the name. Do a search for some of the things he had posted. There was a thread 3 pages long with different questions / answers about this type of stuff. Just type SCBA SCUBA into the search feature on the forums.

    Now a question for you, did you just get done watching Backdraft?

    **EDIT**

    Here, have a link to that thread.

    The Thread

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    Our ISI SCBA are good to about 10 feet underwater before going into free flow. I believe the manufacturer states that in their literature, but we have verified with a pool test.

    A bigger problem would be getting yourself under the water. Even the heaviest boat-anchor of a steel bottle is going to try to float.

    There are survival techniques that are worth learning for situations like you describe. I was taught to bring the SCBA around to my front to help keep your head out of the water. Regulators need to be kept above the waterline in order to conserve air if air quality is an issue.

    Helmets can be used to trap an air bubble and keep you afloat. Turnouts tend to be neutral to slightly bouyant and don't really compromise your safety unless you need to swim. (BTW that last statement only applies in STILL water. Moving water is a completely different beast.)
    ullrichk
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    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

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    No, I saw backdraft in June. That movie sucked.

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    Originally posted by firekid1234
    No, I saw backdraft in June. That movie sucked.
    Good Response.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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