Thread: scba help

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    Unhappy scba help

    I am a member of an auxiliary Department. We have drilled with SCBA and using a balcked out mask I experiance anxiety and sometimes hyperventalate. Is there anything I can do to get over this and perform the drills without feeling foolish? Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

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    How long or how often have you worn SCBA prior to this? Wearing a mask and SCBA can be unnerving enough all by itself if you've never done it...blacking out the mask and engaging in strenuous training only makes it worse.

    I encourage you, if you can, to spend some time wearing the mask without the added stress of the blackout. If the mask alone causes you anxiety, you can ease into that as well....practice wearing the mask alone, without hooking up the air, until you are comfortable with that. Then try it on air for a while...not while doing any activities, just try wearing it in the day room watching TV, or just sitting in a chair. When you are comforatable with that, progress to doing some mild activities while on air...walking around the station, sweeping the floor, whatever. Acclimate yourself to it gradually. Once you're completely comfortable using it in a non-stressful situation, then try to gradually progress into whatever training scenario you might have to engage in.

    And above all, don't feel alone....most everyone is claustrophobic, it's just a question of to what degree....many people have trouble with the mask at first. You also need to become confident that your equipment will do its job, and that it will give you all the air you need. Just the thought of having to depend on a mechanical device to supply the very air you breathe is unnerving to some people, until they learn to trust the equipment.

    Also, share your concern with someone in the department who you trust....an experienced firefighter or officer (unless he's a total *****) will be glad to help you practice and show you the proper techniques.
    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"

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    Default scba

    This was my first experiance. Thanks for your reply. I will definately try out your suggestions.

    KRM

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    Quote Originally Posted by krmckinney
    This was my first experiance. Thanks for your reply. I will definately try out your suggestions.

    KRM
    Yep, I thought so. So many "macho" firefighters love to take the new guy and show him how tough it is to be a firefighter. Okay, here's your mask, black it out, throw 'im in the smoke maze! Never mind teaching about donning and doffing, pre-donning checks, emergency procedures, or even why we wear SCBA's in the first place.... I won't even get into the rookie here a while back who thought the bottle contained oxygen . It's no damn wonder you're nervous about it, that's no way to introduce new member to SCBA's.

    Another suggestion to you....ask if your department has a set of IFSTA manuals (they should). Study the "Essentials of Firefighting" and "Self Contained Breathing Apparatus"...get some knowledge before they throw you to the lions. If they won't teach you the right way, better do it yourself....
    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"

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    dmleblanc, I like your way to get use to the SCBA. in the department that I am in we try to lead not throw our rookies into anything. like you saide . I have been a vol. FF for nine yrs. and I was a EMT-B for eight of those nine yrs. So I have seen a lot of rookies come in . the way that I was tought to brake in rookies was to start with the basics and then once they have it then move on. with the maskes we just let them get comfortable with them then we do the black out (opean area) then put them in a smaller room for a search pattern. now the department I am on now we have a burn building so that is even better.

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