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  1. #1
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    Default MSA Buddy Breathing Line

    Our depart recently put into service brand new MSA SCBA's. One in every 4 packs is equipped with a buddy breather hose. We have discovered a couple of problems with them and I was wondering if anyone has a solution.

    The hoses come in a little yellow pouch with two belt loops on the back. You can slide the waist strap of the SCBA through those loops and then you have it on the SCBA. The problem is that they easily slide off the waist strap when it is not buckled. So when you're pulling the pack out of the truck or donning/doffing it's really easy to lose the buddy line (pouch and all).

    The second problem is that the velcro doesn't always hold really well. We just had a chimney fire two nights ago and a guy lost his buddy line right out of the pouch as he was climbing a ladder and the pouch came open.

    Any suggestions would be very appreciated.

    -Don Knoup
    FF/EMT
    Pecatonica Fire Protection District


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Hey Don-

    We have the same setup on our packs up here. Instead of putting the pouch on the waitstrap, we actually took apart the strap that runs from your armpit down to the waiststrap around your back, and put it on that strap. (I'm probably not explaining this well.) Once re-assembled, the pouch can't fall off, and in that spot doesn't seem to really get into positions where it can be pulled open and lost.

    Disadvantage? Its a little harder to get the hose out, but we have them on every pack, so if you're helping a guy in trouble, you can grab his hose. It isn't THAT hard for us to grab our own pouch if we have to.

    We're close enough up in North Park that you're welcome to take a look at how we do this, or if you bought the packs from Darin - he's probably seen our setup. Give me a holler if you want to stop up.

  3. #3
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    On my Engine we have set up a RIT pack. Not all of are airpacks are being used so we equiped one of them with the following: RIT Rope line and the transfill hose. It attached all together with a old backboard strap, that way everthing is together and easy to access. If someone goes down we grab that and go in, transfill the bottles, remove the firefighter, then when available, go and get the bottle and pack. This way your not messing with trying to attach a pack to the down firefighter.

    As far as the velcro. We have the same problem, but haven't found a way to fix it.

    Keep it Safe

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    One of the advantages of the system the Don is referring to is that the ability to share air with a fellow firefighter is right on your pack - a hose that connects to a T-block where you also plug the hose from your MMR into. Also - with this system, you don't equalize bottles, your buddy breather is using your air, and if you cut him lose - you didn't just leave half your air in his bottle, perhaps causing you problems.

    I'm sure his department also carries true RIT packs, as we do. Ours are like yours, search line, hour bottle with regular MMR, buddy breathing hose, and a hose to connect to the NFPA standard RIC connection that all new packs now come with, door wedges, strobe, probably something else that I'm not mentioning.

  5. #5
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    NPFD is right we do have RIT packs. We actually have the brand new MSA's with the 60 bottle and they have a transfill hose and a regulator. We can carry a mask with so you have the choices of using the transfill or you can do a regulator swap or you can do a mask off change.

    But he was right, what I was talking about was the buddy line. A hose that connects you and another firefighter together so you can share your air with them.

    I actually got a chance to talk to our MSA sales guy last night before I read these posts and he made the same suggestion that NPFD made. We placed it on the left side on the webbing below the shoulder harness just exactly the same way that NPFD described and that works fantastic. In addition to not falling off the waist strap, I think it will also be less likely to come open accidentally since it is basically under your left arm in this scenario.

    Thanks again for your responses.

    -Don Knoup
    Pecatonica Fire Protection District
    www.pecatonicafire.org

  6. #6
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    Default Transfill hose

    The MSA SCBA is set up to do a transfill as you have talked about and not to tie yourself up to another person by buddy breathing. The point being is that once tied to another person that may be trapped or in trouble and the air usage know has doubled with buddy breathing you both are either going to stay teathered and die or with the transfill you be able to go and get the needed help.
    The transfill allows each and every SCBA to be a RIT Pack.
    The block on the shoulder was not intended to be a buddy breathing device but a quick connect for a facepiece or a BAS.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roachbug
    The MSA SCBA is set up to do a transfill as you have talked about and not to tie yourself up to another person by buddy breathing. The point being is that once tied to another person that may be trapped or in trouble and the air usage know has doubled with buddy breathing you both are either going to stay teathered and die or with the transfill you be able to go and get the needed help.
    The transfill allows each and every SCBA to be a RIT Pack.
    The block on the shoulder was not intended to be a buddy breathing device but a quick connect for a facepiece or a BAS.
    The block on the shoulder IS intended to be a buddy breathing device. That's why the damn thing is a TEE. The appeal to me is I didn't just dump half of my tank into someone else's by transfilling and equalizing my bottles and therefore I'm not screwed.

    I plug into my buddy if he's trapped and low on air. RIT is activated and they bring in the RIT bag with a 60 minute bottle, which can also be connected directly to his regulator with a TEE block or can transfill his pack.

    I don't subscribe to the idea of giving away half my air to a guy in the heat of the moment, thinking I may have a chance to save him. Who knows, he could be DRT and he has half of MY air in that tank. I'd much rather double my consumption as I control it, not just dump off my air by equalizing our bottles.

    One other benefit of the connector used on the regulator or buddy breathing hoses - they're easy to manipulate and can be connected very quickly. More quickly, in my opinion that the standard RIC connection that everyone shares. YES - we train with both.

    By the way - since when do we leave our downed partner and venture off by ourselves? That's why I have a radio, a PASS device, MSA's computerized accountability system, etc...
    Last edited by npfd801; 10-27-2006 at 12:07 AM.

  8. #8
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    I know on our MSA SCBAs we have to connection tee, one one the front of the pack and one one the back near the bottle connection. If we connect to either connection, air pressure will equalize between the 2 bottles.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    I'll try to snap some photos of our setup. I believe that the standard RIC connection that is "NFPA standard" must be within a set amount of inches of the bottle shut off (or something like that), and MSA also offers the option of adding an addtional RIC connection on the chest harness.

    My department's setup is not the RIC connection on the chest harness.

    Look at MSA's catalog for photos:

    Catalog

    Page 10 shows both available options, the Quick Fill system on the upper left hand of the page is I'm sure the same connection that everyone uses for their RIC couplings (NFPA standard). What we have is on the bottom left of the page (Extendaire), and uses I believe a Foster style coupling. You can see the tee block fairly clear if you zoom in on the photo...

    Not playing favorites here with anyone, but I think MSA is the only SCBA manufacturer to have the ability to transfill other's bottles off of the actual SCBA (for instance, if I connected my empty MSA pack to a full Scott SCBA, I don't think it will transfill unless it is a specific RIT pack that isn't worn like an SCBA.) Good or bad, but it is a selling point for MSA, which I'm sure Scott has an argument for why you wouldn't want it.

  10. #10
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    NPFD801 I'm not trying to tell you what to do just trying to say that the main thing that MSA SCBA"s do that none of the rest do is transfill. Yes you will equalize your air suppy with your downed partner but if you tag to his ExtendAire Block you will only be using your cylinder and at some point you will have to make a decision to un-hook to save yourself. And no I don't subscribe to leaving a downed firefighter and wonder off but if the RIT Team does not arrive in a manner sufficent to save your buddy how long will you stay? Most tests done as best as I can recall by RIT Tems is about 25 minutes to find a downed firefighter. Also know that the ExtendAire Block is an option that may not be on all MSA SCBA"s.

  11. #11
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    Exclamation Broken Heart

    I don't subscribe to the idea of giving away half my air to a guy in the heat of the moment, thinking I may have a chance to save him.


    .....a guy? That guy should be considered your brother! That guy is the guy you sit down and eat with everynight! That guy is not some bumm on the street that has nothing. That guy goes to work everyday thinking that his brothers will help him, no matter what the cost. His wife goes to sleep each night thinking that you will bring him back home safely at the end of the day, no matter what. When you put that uniform on that guy should become a part of you, bound together.
    Thinking I may have a chance to save him.
    Such a statement breaks my heart. I became a firefighter to save lives. This can be as simple as stopping a room and contents fire from engulfing the whole house to saving a fellow BROTHER who has fell victim to the beast. I pray I never have to make such a decision, but if I had too. I do not think I could leave a fellow firefighter, knowing that I have what he needs to stay alive, even for just two more minutes. If I go in with you I will not leave without you, unless by doing so I will save your life and mine.

    I DON'T SUBSCRIBE TO THE LEAVING ANYONE BEHIND.


    Brothers to end!

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohsmokeeater View Post
    I don't subscribe to the idea of giving away half my air to a guy in the heat of the moment, thinking I may have a chance to save him.


    .....a guy? That guy should be considered your brother! That guy is the guy you sit down and eat with everynight! That guy is not some bumm on the street that has nothing. That guy goes to work everyday thinking that his brothers will help him, no matter what the cost. His wife goes to sleep each night thinking that you will bring him back home safely at the end of the day, no matter what. When you put that uniform on that guy should become a part of you, bound together.
    Thinking I may have a chance to save him.
    Such a statement breaks my heart. I became a firefighter to save lives. This can be as simple as stopping a room and contents fire from engulfing the whole house to saving a fellow BROTHER who has fell victim to the beast. I pray I never have to make such a decision, but if I had too. I do not think I could leave a fellow firefighter, knowing that I have what he needs to stay alive, even for just two more minutes. If I go in with you I will not leave without you, unless by doing so I will save your life and mine.

    I DON'T SUBSCRIBE TO THE LEAVING ANYONE BEHIND.


    Brothers to end!
    You can climb on your high horse all you want about my statements. I'm on one of two departments in our MABAS division (close to two dozen departments) who took the time to validate the entire department to a specific RIT skill set. We are the ones that most departments call for their RIT needs if they desire to have one standing by.

    I stand by my comments. Controlling the air in my bottle is MY lifeline to get out, and while I firmly believe that we would take major risks to save one of our own, dumping half of my air into an SCBA bottle of a brother or sister who may not be breathing makes zero sense. Especially when that volume of air could be the breaths I need to make that extra stairwell and hallway to give that individual a valid chance at survival. Yep - running out of air myself and becoming ANOTHER victim to deal with is a situation that IC needs on that scene.

    Go ahead and take my comment out of context. Especially the part where I qualify my statement by saying he could be DRT. I'm sure the guy out in Worcester made the wrong choice by stopping the continued search for the six brothers that lost their battle? Every rescue turns into a recovery at some point if not immediately successful, every fire may need to become defensive at some point if we don't hit it fast enough, and people need to step back and look at the situation. How many "true" RIT activations ended up with the victim that went down making it? I would bet far fewer than we wish. Adding to that body count is insane.

    I ride the right seat and have earned my rank (we test here, not picked out of popularity) partly by knowing that the decisions I make will not only effect the folks that I'm there to save, but also the folks riding with me and their families. If a member of a neighboring department needs us to act as RIT, I'll be damned if I don't do everything to get my folks in their and have a good outcome. But I'll also be damned if I'm going to go face one of my crew's wife or husband and kids because we kept trying to attain the impossible and save someone that could only be recovered.

    As an officer of that potential RIT crew, my number one priority is that crew. Number two is rescuing the folks that need help. I won't budge from that position.

    Interestingly enough, one of our guys just sat in on a RIT class taught by an accomplished instructor who pushed the idea of using the RIT bottle only to transfil a downed firefighter's bottle until his low air alarm went off, leaving the rest in that bottle for whatever may happen next. He has the same opinoin as I do - controlling the air supply we have wish us is key - and apparently he abandons his brothers too by not dumping the entire bottle into theirs right away...
    Last edited by npfd801; 01-09-2007 at 03:10 PM.
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