Thread: SCBA Comparison

  1. #1
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    Default SCBA Comparison

    I am looking see what various departments had as key points for their SCBA selection.

    We are going through an evaluation of SCBA coming up and would love to hear what others have found as high points and low points during their evaluations.

    If there are any Wisconsin based forum members out there please let me know as we are a smaller WI based department.

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    Lightbulb A few points to consider

    Reputation.
    Real world use.
    Technical support.

    Price should be the least consideration.

    "the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price"
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    Reputation.
    Real world use.
    Technical support.

    Price should be the least consideration.
    Amen, Gonz..........Aaaaaaaaaaaamen.

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    Default Also...

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    Reputation.
    Real world use.
    Technical support.

    Price should be the least consideration.
    ...there really isn't that much difference in the prices between the major manufacturers.

    One consideration for small departments is bottle size. If like us you rely on mutual aid, it is nice to be at the same size as the surrounding departments. Decreases the chances of errors when the service company is filling bottles at a scene.

    We love our MSAs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by randsc
    ...there really isn't that much difference in the prices between the major manufacturers.

    One consideration for small departments is bottle size. If like us you rely on mutual aid, it is nice to be at the same size as the surrounding departments. Decreases the chances of errors when the service company is filling bottles at a scene.

    We love our MSAs.
    The problem exists when a "not so major" SCBA manufacturer comes in and lowballs a price. Municipalities look for the cheapest way out, and buy the low bid.

    Back in the mid 80's we were looking to replace our SCBA units, which were a mix of Scott 2a's and MSA 2216 demand units.

    Scott, MSA, Draeger, ISI and North all gave SCBA units to us for evaluation.

    The firefighters chose the Scott 4.5 as the unit of choice.

    The low bid was North with a 2216 psi unit.

    The city's Purchasing/Procurement official bought the North units.

    They were nothing but trouble, spent more time in the repair shop than on the rigs. There were regulator problems (low or no flow at all), O rings that would tear just by looking at them the wrong way and they were just "non firefighter friendly".

    After a fire in a chemical manufacturing facility caused the gross contamination of all the equipment that was used at the fire (everything was tossed as it was more expensive to clean it up than it was to replace it) we got what we wanted to begin with.. the Scott 4.5's, as the insurance company for the chemical manufacturer who had the incident was paying the bill.

    We had the 4.5's for 15 years, then upgraded to the Scott AP50's. They take a beating and still perform flawlessly.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 10-23-2006 at 12:03 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    As a side SAFD46,how you making out with your new masks? T.C.

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    Some of the things we looked at were, mask fit, visability, back pack comfort,ease of bottle changing, maintenace cost, electronics, pass and hud,warranty, take a real close look at this, probably most important service!What we did was got the packs all together tried them out and compared them, you will find every manufaturer has features better than another, you have to decide which are important to you and then the whole package. All packs we tried were great, but even new you will need service so that is probablly the most important.

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    As boith a firefighter and an instructor over the years I have seen and worn most of the SCBA brands available...well except North.

    Started my career with Scott Pak 1"s. then II's then II-a's. then 2.2's then AP-50's, have worn the belt mounted MSA, MMR, and FireHawk, Cairns Air, Interspiro, ISI, Draeger and Globe.

    They all work fine standing in the fire station in the training room. Some are more user friendly than others when it comes to controls and such. Some are DEFINITELY more durable and reliable in real world use. They all have to meet the NFPA standards.

    I am an unashamed Scott SCBA fan. I have NEVER, repear NEVER, had a Scott SCBA fail to work, even in sub zero conditions. I have of course had batteries go dead and the like, but the SCBA itself has bever failed to function. My volly FD uses AP-50's with carbon bottles we pirchased in 2003. There really was no question what we would buy.

    My second choice would be the MSA FireHawk. We use those at work. Comfortable, light and breath easy. If I couldn't have my Scott out in volly land I could be okay with these.

    To me the biggest issues are simply this.
    1) Reliability.
    2) Durability.
    3) Comfort while wearing. This is weight and ergonomics.
    4) Service after the sale.
    5) Ease of operation. Training or retraining issues.
    6) Interoperability with our MA partners.
    7) Price. Cheap is just that. Buy quality and never be disappointed.

    FyredUp

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    Scott. When they fail (rarely) you still gets the air.

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    Hands down, I love the Scotts. Do NOT look at Interspiro, they are low bid junk. (Short and sweet baby!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    As a side SAFD46,how you making out with your new masks? T.C.
    Love em love em love em! Bou's post says it all.

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    Our department switched from MSA to Interspiro years ago (5-7). In the older models I believe at least 3 lenses fell out of the masks without warning and a few with lens failure during live fire training. Two of our fighters were hospitalized when the "spiro" hatch failed (for those who are not familiar, the spiro hatch lets the firefighter go between bottle and outside air without taking a breathing valve/regulator from the mask). There was a nation wide recall of the S2 masks shortly after this. We have upgraded packs, not to the problematic S4 that San Antonio got rid of, and though we are not having the same failures or issues we still are having problems. Just recently my LT. went through an entire bottle without the low level alarm going off, running him completely out of air. Fortunatley we were exiting the structure and in the overhaul phase, but if we were still in the thick of things you can only imagine. I have personally never had any problems with the Interspiro packs; however, with so many of our firefighters having "issues" my confidence is lacking to say the least. This is what my department has faced in using Interspiro. This is by no means a bash on interspiro, just facts of what we have delt with. Good luck in whatever choice you make.

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