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  1. #1
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    Default another SCBA question

    We recieved a grant now its time to buy. Im trying to research brands.We have old MSAs to replace. WE have been shown the new Scotts
    I did like them. We were also shown the ISI airpack. They looked good also.The mask seemed alittle cleaner with the integrated regulator. Anyone have experiance with the ISI? Havent seen the new MSA or Draeger.
    David Jacobson
    Chief Fairmount Fire dept.
    Faiirmount ND 58030


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    I will swear on Drager and Scott. Either pack IMO is going to serve well.

    I do prefer Drager PSS 100.

    I also think MSA is a high quality unit.

    Most people will tell you to shy away from Interspiro.

    I like the ISI Viking, neat features. But I hear that it may not hold up that well.

    The Cairns to me is an unknown. Nobody uses them around here, never realy heard much about them.

    Survivair. I have not heard many people brag about them either.

    We looked very closely at the Drager PSS 100 and the Scot AP 50 when we got out grant in 03.

    I have no doubt that the Scott is the most durable pack on the market, it is made from metal and is heavier/probly stronger then any other SCBA.

    The Drager is also durable and is the most comfortable SCBA I have ever tried on.

    For the same price we got way more bang for the buck witht he Dragers then the Scotts could offer.

    Some neat Drager things were:

    - Sentinal. It is a computer that gives very good air info and also has a thermometer that gives you the temp, comes in handy when fully encapsulated so you can keep a feel for how hot things are.

    - Face piece. One big advantage of the Drager is that their facepiece is universal, it will fit everybody. It is approved for this. There are three levels of sealing. We had a guy with a pretty bushy beard on the VFD, he tried on the Drager mask and had a good seal even with the facial hair.

    - Drager also has a lifetime warranty.

    - Also, now Drager is the "Cool Guy" SCBA since it was the SCBA that "Stared" in Ladder 49!
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  3. #3
    Forum Member StayBack500FT's Avatar
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    Default

    We have had many good years of service from Scott.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

    E6511

    "Who's Who Among American Teachers" - 2005, 2006 Honoree

  4. #4
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Default

    We have two local departments that had the ISI's but have since changed to another brand. Not sure, but I belive they didnt hold up as well as expected.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

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    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    One thing to note about ISI Vikings.

    I have seen them listed for 2800$ from the HGAC buying group. This was for NFPA compliant with 4500psi 30 min.

    Thats pretty darn good priceing.

    If you are a lower call volum department then that would likely serve well.

    How much did your grant specify for SCBAs? IIRC the upper limit used to be 4500$.

    I did notice you are from North Dakota, correct?

    One thing to consider is cold weather performance. I think you guys in ND redefine the term cold!

    I do know Drager is excellent for cold weather use and is very popular in Alaska because of that.

    I have heard that ISI Vikings have been known to have problems in severe cold. Ice can get in the way of the air switch and can mess with the regulator, or so I have been told. Can anybody confirm that?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  6. #6
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    Default It does get cold here

    It does get a little cool here in ND,so cold weather operation is a concern.The air switch on the mask is one of my concerns with the ISI
    we were shown. Price quoted was $3700 airpack with an extra tank. The unit has the usual pass system and voice amp. WE are a small FD lo call volume.We are going to purchace 16packs with 16 extra bottels.The ISI seem to be "slimmer" not as bulky on the mask or alot of things attached to the tank.I have used MSA for 15yrs and know nothing about ISI,so you can imagine my concerns.Our dealer is from Heiman and has been calling on us for a long time in fact we just bought a new pumper from Central States and he was the one that sold us that. The guys here like the dealer so believe anything he tells us.I need pros and cons of ISI so we can make a good decision.
    David Jacobson
    Chief Fairmount Fire dept.
    Faiirmount ND 58030

  7. #7
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    Default Say no to ISI!

    Just my personal opinion but we had ISI for a number of years... the reason they were chosen is because they had the military contract and the selection committee figured what was good for the military was good for us! WRONG! The air switch on the masks sticks after not much use, low air whistles stopped working, on and on and on. After every training or call where we had to use them, 1-2 would be out of service. Our dealer started having trouble finding parts for some of our older packs, etc. We recently evaulated our current needs and decided to go with MSA. For our use and membership we felt they were the best for us. Scott was in second place with survivair not even in the running.

    My 2 pennies, take it or leave it.

  8. #8
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Default

    In my time as a firefighter with different departments and as an instructor I have formed opinions on several air packs.

    I will make no apologies for liking Scott SCBA. I started with Scott pak I's, then II's then IIa's then 2.2's then AP50's. I trusted them all and have NEVER had a malfunction with a Scott SCBA. That covers a span of 28 years in the fire service. The AP50's are rugged, simple to operate and comfortable to wear. Service is readily available in my area.

    My second choice would be MSA. I have used the belt mounted regulator, the MMR and now the Fire Hawk. The Fire hawk is comfortable, breaths easy and is easy to operate. It would be my second choice. Service is readily available in my area.

    Interspiro. I used these as a civilian CFR FF for the WiAng. These were the most miserable to wear and operate SCBA I have ever used. It is no shock to me that they were low bid and ourchased by the military. It has been several years but there was no local service and in fact when the face piece upgrade came out the tech they sent out to do them had no cluehow to do it and I upgraded all the face pieces myself.

    ISI. I haven't had one of these on in years. The last one I tried was comfortable and easy to use. There was no local service available for these in my area.

    Cairns. I had one of these on loan top try out. Light and easy to operate. the one quirk that took some getting used to was the hose to the face piece regulator came from the side not from the lower front. I found no reason not to use this SCBA, But we were also not in a position to make a total change of SCBA brand at the time. Localo service is available.

    Draeger. Only have assited students with these at classes. never worn one inside of a hostile invironment. So therefore I have no opinion on this mask. Local service is available.

    Survivair. Haven't used one of these in a while either. So I can't comment on the latest styles. No local service available.

    FyredUp

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Default

    That brings up one of the most important factors.

    Service.

    Almost more so then preferance for a packs features you should consider the after sale service for your packs.

    Its a major major investment and you dont want a salesman thats going to disapear after you make the purchase.

    You at least want somebody thats going to be able to fix/warranty you packs.

    That was another reason we went Drager, we have an excellent local guy that can work on them. We havent exercised the option yet but its also possible to get trained as a Drager Tech so we could do our own complex service.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by SamsonFCDES
    - Face piece. One big advantage of the Drager is that their facepiece is universal, it will fit everybody. It is approved for this. There are three levels of sealing. We had a guy with a pretty bushy beard on the VFD, he tried on the Drager mask and had a good seal even with the facial hair.
    FYI Samson,

    I have just been told by my rep that here is going to be an additional smaller size of the Draegar Panorama Nova mask available in the very near future as well. This should accomodate the smallest faces that sometimes still have issues with the current Nova.

    And my opinion,

    Draegar has served us very well for 15 years. We just got the new 4500's and they are great so far. The old regulator has been inproved, and is easier to use than ever, and there is an integral belt mounted bail out kit available now. The adjustable backplate is apparently "Sweet"!

    But my last piece of advice is consider your Mutual Aid. It is always nice to be able to share bottles, accessories, emergency parts, etc. as necessary.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 02-23-2005 at 04:09 PM.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  11. #11
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Default

    We had ISI Vikings a while ago. Had some water get into the low air whistle and then freeze, no more whistle. The regulator was made of plastic and when/if it banged on something, yup, it broke. It was amazing how much time the dealer spent telling us how easy it was to repair/replace those regulators...wonder why. We switched from them to Survivair and really wish to not change again. The other company in town still has Scotts. We've gone side by side for the last 10 years and we keep coming back to the Survivairs. Service for us is the same either way, dealers just as close.

    Have not looked at any of the newer/recent ISI's. Never liked the mask on MSA's but haven't looked at one in about 5 years either.

    No comments on Draeger as I've only seen them in pictures.
    "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?

  12. #12
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    We had a guy with a pretty bushy beard on the VFD, he tried on the Drager mask and had a good seal even with the facial hair.
    Samson...

    Please tell me you are not allowing people with beards to mask up and enter a hostile environment. If you are this violates not only NFPA, but OSHA and other regulatory agencies that do not allow for any facial hair between the seal of the mask and your skin.

    I also would hate to have to explain to an investigator why my FF was injured or killed due to wearing a mask with a beard.

    For those of you about top pounce on me about the "We are only volunteers and we can't make them shave" you know that is BS as well as I do. If they won't shave they don't mask up. I just today had this "discussion" with my A/C on the volly FD. I said you have a beard how can you stop anyone else from growing a beard? He said well they need to mask up. I said YOU need to lead by example. He said I don't have to go in. I said what if everyone grew a beard? He said we wouldn't allow that. I said good luck defending that when you have a beard!

    Sorry to go a little off topic.

    FyredUp

  13. #13
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    Default

    We are fom Michigan and have isi viking. Make sure you get backings that are metal not plastic. We have had some issues with them in the cold weather but no any more than other types.

  14. #14
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    FyredUp, you're talking about a guy who buys his own personal stuff and answers calls for 3 different departments without being a member. OSHA and NFPA mean something to him, but they don't regulate what/how he does it. He is doing the best he can with the little resources he has.
    "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?

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Default

    We too used MSA's for many years and just switched to the new ISI's. It was a close choice between all of them. Reason being that at least six neighboring depts. also use the ISI's and it's nice to be compatible for mutual aid. We also thought the ISI harness was a bit more comfortable and yes, there is a service agent 10-miles from us. We are in northern WI and haven't had any quality or cold weather problems yet, and I haven't heard any complaints from any of the neighbooring depts. Our main issue with the MSA's we were demoed was that it seemed your head mobility was somewhat restricted by the facepiece....if your standing, you can't see your feet....Other than that, we would have been happy with the Scott, MSA or ISI's, but the majority of folks voted for the ISI.

  16. #16
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Like Fyredup I've used Scott products for 37 years.Unlike his experiences I've had a few issues with Scotts(the 2As)freezing up but we've had none of these issues with the 2.2/4.5.The 2.2/4.5's are bulletproof,have a long and proven track record and I have personally used these units at -35F with wind chills to probably around -60F.These packs are reliable,easy to maintain and if a little care is exercised will have a useful service life of 30+ years.Of course this is useful only if you have a local service rep,if you don't then I'd still consider them but service/support has to be a big factor in whatever you choose.The new MSA's are very user friendly,Msa and Scott have been the major players in the SCBA market for years.Drager is gaining popularity and in countries outside the USA commands a sizable market share.Try to get demos on the units that interest you and give them a good workout from donning,to bottle changeouts to comfort while doing fire related activities to the final step,cleaning and returning to service.Then one can make some intelligent comparisons.Remember the salesman isn't wearing this stuff,you are. Choose wisely and not necessarily on price. T.C.

  17. #17
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    Default

    Hello David,

    Nice to see another ND boy posting. Hope I can give you some info here as we did this process about a year ago. Our dept reviewed ISI, MSA, Scott and Drager. We were MSA and had good luck and support with them. Can't say enough good about Dick and Tim at GF Fire Equipment. But when it came down to our decission Drager ended up on top. As you do research on this site I think that you will find that most will suggest that you go with the "top three" Scott, MSA and Drager. We chose Drager because of the harness fit, face piece fit, simplicity of the pack, very minimal reoccuring maint and it is known as the "cold weather pack". Although I was never able to find any significant data to back-up the cold weather thing. One thing about Drager- we did not choose them because of cost...they were the most expensive. MSA prices smoked em all but we still went with Drager.

    If you are going to fire school this weekend stop by the Alex Air booth and talk to Pat, he sold us ours. He has given very good support and training.

  18. #18
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    Based on my experiences with a heap of different brands of SCBA, I'd go with Scott unless there was a compelling reason not to - compelling reasons being lack of local service, much much higher costs, every other nearby department uses brand xyz instead.

    Two things to consider with your decision -
    1) if you can't break it then getting it fixed is much less of a problem
    2) I believe - but don't quote me on this - that the grants allow you to buy refurbished gear - if this is true then have a look at Dalmation Fire & Safety - you will save a packet which will enable you to buy more sets and spare cylinders. Remember the gear is only all new and shiny until you use it for the first time.
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FyredUp


    Samson...

    Please tell me you are not allowing people with beards to mask up and enter a hostile environment. If you are this violates not only NFPA, but OSHA and other regulatory agencies that do not allow for any facial hair between the seal of the mask and your skin.

    I also would hate to have to explain to an investigator why my FF was injured or killed due to wearing a mask with a beard.

    For those of you about top pounce on me about the "We are only volunteers and we can't make them shave" you know that is BS as well as I do. If they won't shave they don't mask up. I just today had this "discussion" with my A/C on the volly FD. I said you have a beard how can you stop anyone else from growing a beard? He said well they need to mask up. I said YOU need to lead by example. He said I don't have to go in. I said what if everyone grew a beard? He said we wouldn't allow that. I said good luck defending that when you have a beard!

    Sorry to go a little off topic.

    FyredUp
    Short answer.

    No, he doesnt go into hostle environments with a pack on.

    Long answer...

    He is on the Fire District Board and has the one of the 5 votes that pay the bills/pick the gear.

    He was trying before buying. And incidently he was impressed by the fact that the mask would still seal. The salesman picked him out of the crowd just to deomonstrait that fact before the salesman knew he was a board member.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bones42
    FyredUp, you're talking about a guy who buys his own personal stuff and answers calls for 3 different departments without being a member. OSHA and NFPA mean something to him, but they don't regulate what/how he does it. He is doing the best he can with the little resources he has.
    Pretty much hits the nail on the head. I do put great weight into what OSHA/NFPA have to say, but we also have to get things done for our citizens. None of it is worth it if somebody gets seriously injured or killed. On the other hand people are garanteed to suffer if everybody just sits there because its do dangerous or because not all of the OSHA/NFPA i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

    Our resources have been pretty darn scarce over the years and we are doing everything we can to fix those problems. Without things like the AFG we would be in much much worse shape then we are right now. Things are getting better.

    When is enough enough???

    Well I would say its when we can meet all of the safety regs and conduct effective fire service operations.

    Reality is that is what many many small rural VFDs strive for, but often fall a bit short of the mark.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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