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  1. #1
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    Default Mask Confidence Tips/Techniques???

    Just curious what other depts. (or individual FF's) use as tips/techniques for building mask confidence, particularly among a FF who expresses a concern of claustrophobia. Have heard the usual stuff...blacking out mask, practicing controlled breathing, etc...anyone have any other nifty tricks they have picked up along the way???

    Oh and please no smarta@# remarks that he/she should just hang up their boots if they are claustrophobic...that is not an answer, there are plenty of fireground functions (many often neglected) that a well trained, experienced FF could perform if they are unable to wear an SCBA for whatever reason.

    Look forward to what others are doing/using...thanks for the input. Stay
    Safe...

    P.S. - Attention Weruj1, Attention...you'll be happy to know I did a search
    on mask confidence & found nothing so this is NOT a duplicate thread,
    just thought you'd be happy to know that...I know duplicate
    threads drive you nuts...
    Last edited by Firescueguy; 08-06-2005 at 03:06 PM.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firescueguy
    a fear of claustrophobia.
    Isn't that a tad redundant? I guess that would be an advantage...you're not afraid of confined spaces, you're just afraid of being afraid of confined spaces....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  3. #3
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    OOPS...post edited accordingly...maybe now I'll get a positive response...

  4. #4
    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    IMO you need to just keep wearing the mask as much as you can , i know you may feal odd but all the time washing the rigs , mopping floors ,and just sitting around watching TV in the station. eventualy you will get used to it. I honestly hate the thing but when it comes to having to wear it the last thing on my mind is thinking about it.
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  5. #5
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    there are plenty of fireground functions (many often neglected) that a well trained, experienced FF could perform if they are unable to wear an SCBA for whatever reason.
    We used to tell guys that the only way to overcome the fear was to submit yourself to it in varying degrees. I read an article by a psychologist that said, in part, that something as inncoent as wearing the mask through a part of the day will help someone to overcome the fear. I don't know if that works or not.

    As to the well trained firefighter who can do other things - in some instances you may be right but what happens if that person is needed! And I mean now! If you always have sufficient manpower - ok. If this is a paid department though I can't imagine them keeping anyone on the payroll who could not wear an SCBA - unless they sent them to the Fire Alarm office or some other function.
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

    "Insert quotation here."

  6. #6
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Wear it until you're comfortable wearing it

    Your member should wear the mask as much as possible and while doing a large variety of things. Wear it by itself while watching TV. Wear it while doing trucks checks or washing the rig. Once he/she builds a comfort level with the mask, you can add the pack. Do simple tasks like walking around the station, climbing stairs while breathing air before moving on to actual firefighting drills.

    I once knew of a firefighter with a similar problem. Her issue, however, was that the only time she used a mask was when she had to. This doubled her fear because she not only had to wear a mask, but had to perform work while doing so. Had she built her confidence between training drills, fires, etc., she would have had fewer problems wearing a mask.

  7. #7
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    Definitely wearing it more will make someone more comfortable, and it also promotes good oral hiegene.
    There goes the neighborhood.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    I went through my academy class with a guy, freaked out the first day they put the guys in masks who never had worn one before. He was in my "company" for the class, and we tried our best to work through it with him, even skipping breaks and such to go back in on air for a while.

    I'll give credit to the guy, he worked through it and is (I'm sure) still on the job on a department in the suburbs of Chicago.

    I think they basically gave him a pack and mask to take home every night, and he would literally watch TV in it, crawl around the house in it with his wife coaching him, etc. He eventually got comfortable enough in it to train, but I don't think he actually became comfortable in it until our final week or so, when we were using the things in live fire, etc. all day, like mad.

    If the person having the trouble wants to do this bad enough, I honestly believe he or she will find a way to get past the fear. Personally, I had a heck of a time with heights, but will climb anything now that an aerial or ground ladder will reach. You high angle dangle guys can keep your ropes.

  9. #9
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    One of the big differences between success and failure can be the patience of the instructor - if you can find an instructor that really wants you to succeed then eventually you will probably succeed.

    If you have any SCUBA instructors in your department they often make excellent SCBA instructors because as a SCUBA instructor you learn and develop techniques for overcoming mask fear, claustrophobia etc, and SCUBA instructors learn to become very patient instructors.
    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!

  10. #10
    Forum Member Squad1LT's Avatar
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    For someone who is claustrophobic i would agree with the other posts in just wear it alot just in normal situations. For mask confidence for those without problems setting up a consumtion course is a really good idea. It is sort of like a combat challenge course but you are on air and you go back through the course for as long as you suck the inside of your mask. You can keep track of your times and how many stations you do so you can track your progress. It helps with controlling you breathing when you are fatigued. And it gets you used to breathing on air when you are really huffing and puffing. Also, you should keep track of how long you have once your vibra alert starts to when you have absolutely no air at all.

    One of the greatest confidence boosters is a higher risk technique called a toxic bottle change. We did it in our smoke divers course at IFSI which is an advanced SCBA course. You dont have to do it in a smoke environment like we did, but do it in the apparatus bay. With your pack on and on air, you have to change out your bottle with another bottle while you hold your breath the whole time. It gets you realy familiar with your airpack and those threads seem like they are a foot long, but it helps your overall confidence in your pack.

  11. #11
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    On a somewhat related topic, today we had a guy breathe down a 2216 30 minute bottle in 2 hours and 17 minutes straight. He was sitting in a recliner conserving air to the best of his ability. The air is there, so it's all about being in shape and learning to control your breathing while in a fire (easier said than done). Where the pack, do simulated work for an extended period of time, and really work on controlling your breathing. Obviously you will get no where near 2 hours, but it was suprising to me how much air I could get out of a bottle even while working (and focusing on my breathing).

  12. #12
    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    Regardless of the issues (claustrophobia, new guy, whatever), we have guys wear a pack for everything around the station when those situations arise.

    For the new guys, it more of a get used to the change in your center of gravity, etc.

    For the other reasons, it is to build confidence that the pack is there to help them not hurt them. In some cases it is the the overwelming, sensory overload type thing of I'm being thrown into a new situation(FIRE), its hot, dark, a tad scarey and I have to breath through this thing. If you build the confidence with daily tasks that they have done all their lives like washing vehicles, sweeping the floor, cooking, anything. I find that eliminates alot of the unknowns and you can focus on growing a comfort level with the scba.

    Not a guaranteed solution, but I don't think it will hurt either. If it doesn't work, see JackTee's post.... there are a sh&t load of fireground activities that are very important that don't require an scba... ACCOUNTABILITY being one that jumps to my head immediately.

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