1. #1
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    Default Conserving air while wearing SCBA

    Hi folks!

    Quick question...any tips for improving my air conservation/breathing rate while wearing my SCBA? I recently just graduated from academy and one of my weaknessess coming out was my breathing rate while wearing my SCBA. I can really drain it...

    I'm in good cardiovascular health; I believe part of it is minor anxiety due to the fact I want to perform well. Anybody ever had this issue?

    Controlled breathing and practice is a good initial solution; can anyone share similar experiences with me?

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    There are a few things that you can do to conserve air. One of the best things is to calm down. This will, by far, save you the most air. I would definitely practice controlled breathing techniques also.

    One thing that has helped me over the years is talking to myself (laugh on). I will tell myself to slow my breathing down and it really seems to pay off.

    One other suggestion would be to make sure that you are getting a proper fit on your mask. An improperly fit mask can loose a ton of air.

    Good luck and take care!!
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    Talking humming

    i always tryed humming. not a song or anything but a long drawn out.
    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. just make sure your partner knows it is you and not something else.

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    The biggest factors I can think of are your cardiovascular health, effeciency, and stress. Getting in shape is a huge one. Get your muscles/lungs in shape and your body will need less oxygen. For the others, experience is the best way to improve the last two, the more time you have wearing the pack the more comfortable you'll be in it so you'll have less anxiety. Also, with more experience you'll also begin to do the job smarter and won't waste as much energy.

    I try to keep my beathing in sync with my heartbeat, or when I'm running, my cadence... something with a regular rhythm. Breathe in for 2 beats, out for 2..etc. It forces me to focus on my breathing and heart.

    As said above, having a good fit on your mask is vital too.

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    They didn't teach skip breathing?
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    Not trying to toot my own horn but I usually run a bottle half again or even twice as long as who I am with. Here is what I do.

    - I very rarely get excited at a fire. Some are hooked on the adrenalin rush but I find it just makes me stupid. So I look on every fire as a technical job to get done.

    - When I start doing heavy exertion my respiratory rate necessarily goes up. Usually I find it stays up unless I do something about it. What I do is to take note, hey dummy you're breathing way too fast. I take a very deep breath, hold it in for a second, and let it out slowly.

    - All my breaths when breathing at a normal rate (not puffing from exertion) are deep and slow.

    - Skip breathing: I have to be careful with that one. I have found it is very easy to give myself a bad headache by doing it. It does save air though. I think I will reserve it for emergency situations where I'd rather have a headache than be dead.

    Birken

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    Quote Originally Posted by PalousePosse
    Hi folks!

    Quick question...any tips for improving my air conservation/breathing rate while wearing my SCBA? I recently just graduated from academy and one of my weaknessess coming out was my breathing rate while wearing my SCBA. I can really drain it...

    I'm in good cardiovascular health; I believe part of it is minor anxiety due to the fact I want to perform well. Anybody ever had this issue?

    Controlled breathing and practice is a good initial solution; can anyone share similar experiences with me?
    We had a youngster on our dept that could suck a trank dry in a hurry, after the first few working fires he got a little more comfortable and the issue really took care of itself. But for now I would recommend skip breathing, its an effective technique.

    PKFPD
    IACOJ and proud of it


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    I think the biggest factor is just think about your breathing. If you don't think about it it's easy to let it get away from you (much like people having anxiety attacks) focus on slowing down your breathing. Do this while cleaning the station, maintaining trucks, whatever. Just get used to making yourself breath slower.

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    try thinking out loud, say what your doing, you use less air when you are talking. I know it sounds wrong but thats what an intructor told me once upon a time, I tried it and it worked.
    "You choose to go voluntarily into the fire. The blaze might well destroy you. But if you survive, every blow of the hammer will serve to shape your being. Every drop of water wrung from you will temper and strengthen your soul." Margaret Weis


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    In additional to the above, just practice, practice, practice.

    The more you work with the SCBA, the more relaxed you will become, which will extend your air time. Many folks just don't get enough hours in the BA to completely eliminate the anxiety, and as a result they suck back the air aggressively tring to compensate for what feels like a restricted environment.

    On a recent live burn, my Deputy (who was interior safety on the cold smoke evolution) recently got 90 minutes to whistle, out of a 45 minute tank. That is a record from my experience. He is in phenomenal shape, but has also logged hundreds of hours in the gear, so it just doesn't affect his performance anymore. He works as if he didn't have it on.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanEMVFD
    They didn't teach skip breathing?
    Funny thing about that. I was practicing that while humping hose on my first two room and contents during FF1 (while waiting for the first two guys to clear the top room). I got into a rhythym where I was breathing for no reason and had to talk myself into slowing down.
    I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.

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    PalousePosse:

    In addition to being comfortable with your mask, I have always focused on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. I have found this method works well for me and I am able to really slow down my air consumption. Once you have found what works for you, stick with it and do it every time you have your mask on. It will make using your mask second nature and your tank will last a lot longer.

    Good luck!

    rfd599
    www.IllinoisFireStore.com

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    Default Thanks alot for your input

    All very good information and I will apply it to improve.

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    What helps with making breathing control a more natural approach, practice it as often as you can, not only when you are wearing your SCBA, but during everyday tasks. The more you practice it, the more natural it will become. The more natural it becomes, the more you don't have to think about it.

    And no, I'm not saying walk around your whole life skip breathing.
    "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?

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    All I can say is practice, ALOT!!!

    Skip breathing doesn't work for me, I get more out of breath for some reason.

    Try breathing in through your nose, and out through your mouth. This will automatically slow your breathing down too. Remember, it's all in your head. Control your emotions and make your brain tell your body to stay calm. I have tried humming myself but it seems like you use up just as much air for some reason.

    Anyway, the key is to control your emotions and stay calm. This takes practice. Like someone else said, I tend to look at it like a task I need to do and not as a big incident. It has taken me 15 years of practice and I am just now getting used to it.

    Mind games, that all it is.
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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