Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: SCBA Question

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Russellville Alabama
    Posts
    41

    Default SCBA Question

    Ok guys, I have a question and am actually wanting some advice and or feedback on some SCBA units I am in the process of purchasing.


    We are going to buy 19 High Pressure Survivair SCBA with 30 min carbon bottles and 30 masks with heads up display. These are being purchased on our State Bid List.

    The salesman is pushing 2 items that I question their usefulness to our department.


    Shoulder gauge. For the most part the shoulder gauges are unreadable due to heat having discolored the gauge itself on our existing units and the ability to see the gauge in a fire is another story in itself. So does the Heads up display replace a shoulder gauge?


    Buddy breathing system. I understand this will be a lifesaving tool in certain situations, however to actually use one, I think will be difficult at best. To be able to disconnect and then reconnect the fittings with gloves on will be nearly impossible, its very difficult without gloves on in a controlled environment.

    Then also the issue is if I am out of air then my partner is more than likely going to be low as well. So now the consumption rate has increased 2 fold on the remaining air. I wonder if this will give the guys a false sense of security, otherwise will delay giving a mayday knowing they have the buddy breathing system to fall back on.

    Our RIT team uses a one-hour SCBA bottle in their kit with the adapter to connect with the distressed firefighter if needed.

    The other side of this is if we do away with the buddy breathing system and shoulder gauges we can purchase all of our on duty guys a public safety quality radio and a radio integrated mask.


    Give me some feedback on this. Which is better to be able to buddy breath or to call for mayday in a clear matter?


    Thanks guys,
    Last edited by steverfd; 01-12-2005 at 10:27 PM.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber Crisb1419's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East of the Arch
    Posts
    251

    Default

    Sorry but I say don't buy Survivair...

    On the other hand, the shoulder gauge is helpful. If it is cleaned it will be able to be used. I always look at mine to see just how much air I have left. Just something I like to know while I am in a burning building.
    As for the Buddy Breathing, that is one of those things that you think is a waste, until you are the FF down with no air. And your BUDDY comes along and helps you out with his Buddy System.

    This is how I feel, I am sure not all people agree. But that is what is great about this country. Stay Safe.
    FF/Instructor
    "Train as you life depends on it, IT DOES!!"
    IACOJ
    MABAS 32

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Russellville Alabama
    Posts
    41

    Default

    I do not think I stated in the post that the units have the heads up display on them, trust me these shoulder gauges are screwed, must be replaced to use them. Thanks for the reply.


    I edited original to reflect this. Survivair's are what we are stuck with since they are on the State Bid List, Our technical team has them, and our retired Chief sales for the company that sales them.
    Last edited by steverfd; 01-12-2005 at 10:29 PM.

  4. #4
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,925

    Exclamation I like the shoulder guage

    First, I've been in some decent fires without discoloring the shoulder guage in the heat. A good cleaning regimen I guess prevents that. Also, our current SCBAs do not have heads up display... so the guage is a personal friend of mine.

    Thanks to grant money, we're replacing every SCBA we have (mix of MSA & Survivair) with a Scott Air-Pak Fifty. They have the HUD, but we don't have them in service and I've never had the chance to use a pack with a HUD.

    However, isn't the heads up display just a series of LEDs in the mask? And isn't it electronic? If working on the pump panel is any indication, it's the electronic things that will always stop working and disappoint you at the worst possible moment. For that reason alone, I would keep the shoulder gauge on the new packs.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    12

    Default

    We purchased the exact same packs that you are speaking of a year ago. We opted for both options you are questioning.

    The shoulder guage was purchased as a back-up for the HUD. New technology has glitches and we don't trust electronics, so the guage serves its purpose in the event of electronic failure. If properly maintained, cleaned after use, etc., the guage will serve a long life. The packs we replaced had some fairly old guages that were still readable.

    The buddy breather is also a must. Even if you use it only once in an emergency situation, it has paid for itself. They are a little hard to hook up, but work quite well. With a firefighter down, the buddy breather could make all the difference in the world. If you look at the big picture, I would recommend them any day.

    This is just what we decided to do after our research. I hope you get what you were looking for out of your new packs.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Eclectic (no, NOT electric), Alabama
    Posts
    1,510

    Default

    We've had Survivair SCBAs similar to the ones you're specing (integrated PASS but no gauge or buddy fill) in service a little over a year now and they've seen probably 40 uses between real events and training. What I write is based on that limited experience.

    We really like the packs. They're light and comfortable - a HUGE improvement over our old MSA MMRs. I wouldn't hesitate to buy them again BUT I really wish the salesman had pushed that shoulder gauge to us. The HUD is the single most useless device on the pack. I have a hard time seeing it in a well lit environment which could be an issue if you do a lot of HAZMAT and even when you can see it, all it tells you is a level in 1/4 increments. Been outside off air and need to go back in to help out? How much air do I have if two lights are lit? It could be 1108 psi (50%) or 1640 psi (74%). Like idiot lights in cars, it simply tells you the bare minimum of needed information when the whole story would be much more useful.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Russellville Alabama
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Thanks for the input guys, Yes our units will have the integrated pass as well, We have the HUD on our Haz Mat unit packs, they seem to work well for that set up, seem bright enough, anyway have not heard any complaints from the guys. Maybe they changed the system who knows, however that is a valid point.


    Thanks again

  8. #8
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,672

    Default

    HUD's help the user know how much air they have. Shoulder gauges let the FF's rescuer know how much air they have left.

    As for the "buddy breather" option, that may be a way for your RIT to hook their 1 hour air supply up to the users SCBA without having to change anything.

    As for trouble doing things with gloves, well, simply put...practice practice practice. We make our guys drill on their packs with hoods on backwards and gloves on. Gets them used to being blind and clumsy in a fire scene.

    We've been using Survivair for about 15 years now and love them. Just helped another department with their annual SCBA recert/fit testing and watched almost half the guys not get their regulators correctly lined up and locked in. Yes, they were using Scott brand. Survivair is simple, nothing to line up, just push it on.
    "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?

  9. #9
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    get the voice ampilifier for your masks. I know scott makes them. my new department has them. i just tried them out, and I'm going to suggest to the chief that we get them. i never used them before, but just trying it once (during my fit test), and I was sold. it greatly helps in communication, well worth the money, prevents all the undecipherable shouting on the radio at fire scenes.

    HUDs are very nice, but you need to have a mechanical backup. keep the gauges. i was in a drill with a HUD when all my HUD went on in the middle of the evolution. and when my partner looked at me, all he saw were my eyes getting real wide, and he knew something wasn't right. the HUD reset itself, but i learned that you should always have a mechanical backup.

    I'm not thrilled with the buddy breather, but I did see a RIT bottle which would be a good investment. all you needed to go is press the RIT tube onto a connection on the SCBA, and instant air.

    just remember, with the buddy breather connection enabled, your draining the bottle at least twice as fast. add tht to the fact that the guy on low air might be panicing a little and you the the recipe for a problem. but that's just me.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Russellville Alabama
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Yes they will all have the Universal connection on the 1st stage regulator for the RIT Kit to connect or it can connect directly to the mask itself.


    I think after a bit more research the mechanical gauge as a backup is the way to go. The buddy breathing is something I'm still not sold on.

    We had ISI Packs from late 80's then swithced to survivair Low pressure over the past years, about 80% anyway. Now we are going 100% high pressure surviair.

    The guys did not like the switch initially, however the really like the low profile of the survivair with the hp 30 min bottle.


    Scotts were what everyone wanted to purchase when we tried one a few years ago. But, service and such is a big issue.


    We buy pretty much what this one company sells just for the service aspect of things.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber Crisb1419's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East of the Arch
    Posts
    251

    Default Couldn't !!!

    Bones42 -

    *We've been using Survivair for about 15 years now and love them. Just helped another department with their annual SCBA recert/fit testing and watched almost half the guys not get their regulators correctly lined up and locked in. Yes, they were using Scott brand. Survivair is simple, nothing to line up, just push it on.*



    Bones it is called TRAINING. I have used Scott for 14 years, and if you TRAIN with the air pac you will know how to USE it. So don't tell me that they couldn't get them hooked up. Maybe they need TRAINING.
    Stay Safe
    FF/Instructor
    "Train as you life depends on it, IT DOES!!"
    IACOJ
    MABAS 32

  12. #12
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,672

    Default

    Crisb1419, yes it is. They can "TRAIN" to line something up the right way, then twist it the right way, and it will be connected. Or they can simply push it on without worrying about training to line it up, twist the right way. Personally, I'd rather not have to waste training time on that. It's simply easier to push and it's on.

    And I notice, I don't have any cracks around my regulator mounting hole on my Survivair masks like I see on the Scott masks. I'm honestly surprised that Scott has not done something better with their mask mounts.
    "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?

  13. #13
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,672

    Default

    fireflymedic, thanks for the info. Have not seen any of the HUD units yet so was unaware of that. I too, will miss this feature.
    "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?

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Gaskin, FL
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Originally posted by Bones42
    Crisb1419, yes it is. They can "TRAIN" to line something up the right way, then twist it the right way, and it will be connected. Or they can simply push it on without worrying about training to line it up, twist the right way. Personally, I'd rather not have to waste training time on that. It's simply easier to push and it's on.

    And I notice, I don't have any cracks around my regulator mounting hole on my Survivair masks like I see on the Scott masks. I'm honestly surprised that Scott has not done something better with their mask mounts.
    This point is prob. not worth arguing over as now with the HUD you have to twist the survive air also, I hated to see that as I to like the push it straight in.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber Crisb1419's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East of the Arch
    Posts
    251

    Default Bad Idea

    Well Bones it looks like the turn problem, must be no problem since your easy hook up, no turn air-pac, went to it. I understand the just push issue. I was trying to make a point and say if you train on this it will be no problem. Just like when you got your new turnout coat, with a zipper and not D-rings. It took a little practice putting it on. But it was no problem after a few times. We can go at it all day long. You like Survivair, I like Scott. As for the mask issue, if the cracks you are talking about in the Scott AV2000. That was the type on seal they used to bond the plastic together. They looked like cracks, but where not. It was the bonding agent used that was bad. Not cracks in the mask. And yes we have had some mask crack, but thats from being beaten up at fires. Stay Safe.
    FF/Instructor
    "Train as you life depends on it, IT DOES!!"
    IACOJ
    MABAS 32

  16. #16
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,672

    Default

    No zippers, they get too corroded with the salt air here. I've seen mask cracks on AV2000 and AV3000. If you search these forums, you'll find it mentioned a few times by others also.
    "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?

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber Crisb1419's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East of the Arch
    Posts
    251

    Default Once again

    Once again I say yes they have cracked, but I am sure that all mask from all SCBA companys have too. Any how See ya in another post. Stay Safe.
    FF/Instructor
    "Train as you life depends on it, IT DOES!!"
    IACOJ
    MABAS 32

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts