How do you overcome SCBA fears?
I feel like a total moron asking this but I can't be the only person who has ever totally disliked wearing that mask. I need to learn how to get over the feeling that I am being suffocated when I am using the SCBA. I feel like it won't give me enough air. I naturally take short little breaths too, and I breathe fast. Add a little panic in there and you can imagine the results. I really want to be able to overcome this! Has anyone else dealt with this? Any ideas? If nothing else I don't want to be the person everyone hates because I go through a bottle in 10 minutes.
Re: How do you overcome SCBA fears?
The only stupid question is the one you don't ask - so definently don't feel like a moron. And frankly this has been one of the few questions on here lately that hasn't already been beaten to death a thousand times over.
Originally posted by aerial
I feel like a total moron asking this but I can't be the only person who has ever totally disliked wearing that mask.
I had similar problems when I first started about 16 years ago. The way I solved it was by focusing intently on self control while wearing SCBA - almost to the point of being zoned. I also kept telling myself that what I'm breathing right here right now in my mask is really good, and that the air just the other side of that clear little bit of plastic is really really crappy, so I'd better concentrate on liking the air coming in the way it is, because although it may not be a natural feeling, it's better for me than what's on the other side. It also helps if you can relax - I know that's not easier when you are inside a burning building, but try to relax when on live burn drills etc. It sounds like your training officer is not going to be very helpful, so instead look for someone else in the department to help who is a very placid, laid back, patient person.
If you are worried about freaking out in front of your department members and getting a bad reputation, consider taking a two or three day interior firefighting course with an organisation like Fire Dept Training Network - Fire Department Training Network - you will learn heaps, get plenty of hands-on training, and Jim and the guys are great instructors who are very understanding, so if you explain your problem to them they will partner you with someone who is very experienced and patient.
Different people react in different ways, and resolve their problems in different ways. I instruct Scuba diving these days as well, so I get to see these problems a lot. One thing I've learnt while instructing is to be patient, don't rush these people, and let them go at their own pace. Unfortunately most Scuba instructors don't have the patience (or their employer doesn't allow them the time) to enable diving students to go at their own pace, so those that have problems end up dropping out of the sport.