Custom SCBA Mask
I am in FF1 and we were using our SCBAs the other day. My instructor mentioned how most people with skinnier faces usually need custom masks. I could tell that I would definately need one once I get a job because it wasnt always sticking to my face properly. My question is, where do you guys buy these? Do your departments get them or do you buy them online? Also, do you pick a random size or is there some place that has to custom measure your face? And how much do they cost? If they are cheap(which I doubt), I would just buy one for my class now. Just a few things I was curious about. Thanks.
All of the SCBA companies I have ever dealt with has 3 different sizes of masks, Small, Medium and Large. (MSA, Scott, and ISI). Most people wear a medium. However you can spec the units out with what size mask you want. These companies can sell Masks seperately if you want one. We do FIT testing to determine what size Mask an individual wears. It is also important to be clean shaven when you are FIT tested. There is a NFPA standard on SCBA's however I do not know the number. I will try to find out and post it later.
Another factor to consider is how old the mask is you were wearing. The silicone or rubber tends to get hard with aging making it hard to seal.
Anyway the answers to you questions:
1. We buy SCBA mask from whoever sells SCBA's.
2. The dept buys them and we are each assigned our on mask. You probably can buy on line but I have never done that.
3. I have never heard of a Custom Face Piece, check with the manufactor.
4. Cost anywhere from $275-$350.
Hope this info helps!
I am sure your instructor was referring to a sized mask rather than a "custom sized mask" which simply do not exist. I used to work in the Industrial Safety field and dealt with SCBA masks and sizing on a daily basis, not to mention having been a career and volunteer firefighter for 20+ years. Masks are sized S, M, L & XL depending on the manufacturer. Sizing is done by qualative and/or quantative fit testing, which your department should be doing twice a year for any members who are expected to wear SCBA (if you are in an OSHA state they are REQUIRED to do this.) If your department does not do fit testing, then I would ask for a small mask, many of the women firefighters I know (especially the smaller ones) do indeed require a size small mask. Your department should buy this for you; you should not be buying something you are expected to wear out of your own pocket.
Manufacturers offer different sizes of masks, it's upto your department to ensure that you are properly outfitted and fitted for your Mask. Most Distributors will offer fit testing for your department.
Also see NFPA 1500 Occupational health and safety for more info.
I am a skinny guy at 115 pounds and in school right now. I have a size small and when it is tightened enough, it will work.
So I've been a Scott certified SCBA tech. for almost two years now and I can offer some insight to this. Everything FWDbuff said is true. Although I'm not sure about the other companies, I do know that Scott offers a "customization" kit-although a more proper name would be something along the lines of a "shim" kit. It basically consists of small foam pieces that can be inserted to give the mask a tighter seal. I would first contact the correct individual in your department to see if this is an option, I.E. SCBA tech's, but if you can't come across it check out the fire supply stores. If you still have no luck, feel free to send me a PM and I'll see what I can find for you! Stay safe!