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  1. #1
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    Default Help us select new SCBA

    I got the Assistance to Firefighters grant for new SCBA for our department. This will be the first new (vs. used) SCBA in the 32 year history of the department, so we have invited ALL the manufacturers to make a presentation and leave us a sample unit for 30 days.

    My questions, for those of you who have aquired SCBA in the last few years:
    (No salesmen, please - they will have their chance to make a pitch.)

    What make and model did you choose?
    What do YOU like about it?
    What do YOU hate about it?
    Any minor irritations about it?

    This is a big step for our small, rural dept. Since we will live with these for the next 10-20 years, we want to choose wisely.
    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    Forum Member pkfd7505's Avatar
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    Before the "search" police strike.

    We just bought the new MSA Firehawks (with CBRN protection) with the 4500 PSI bottles this year. All in all I am very satisfied, they are very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and they are very reliable. We have had one malfunction (out of 16 packs, 32 bottles and 30 masks), which did occur on a fire scene but did not effect the safety of the Fire Fighter (which was me). My HUD went out on me during a fire, the sending device on the harness malfunctioned and we had to send the pack in for repair. I was able to use the harness mounted guage and finished the fire without issue. I'd shy away from using the PASS devices (regardless of which pack you choose) that have thermal detection in them, the few departments around here that have them hate them.
    Last edited by pkfd7505; 11-03-2006 at 04:06 PM.

    PKFPD
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  3. #3
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    I love the Scotts. I think they are simply #1 for numerous reasons. My current FD does not use them so I can not answer your specific questions.

    I will say this, when it comes to SCBAs, do NOT go cheap or low bid. You will kick yourself down the line. No joke.

    I am sure most people will come in here and say about the same thing.

  4. #4
    Forum Member pkfd7505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I will say this, when it comes to SCBAs, do NOT go cheap or low bid. You will kick yourself down the line. No joke.

    I am sure most people will come in here and say about the same thing.
    I got to agree with Bou %150, DON'T GO CHEAP! We actually went with our highest bid because we felt they best suited our needs.

    PKFPD
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  5. #5
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    We bought Interspiro with our grant last year. Love 'em. Also helps that our local service is outstanding.

    On the PASS with heat, I agree DO NOT buy them. We used to have the Dragonfly's with escalating heat alarms, all it does is train you to ignore them.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I love the Scotts. I think they are simply #1 for numerous reasons. My current FD does not use them so I can not answer your specific questions.
    Ditto
    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I will say this, when it comes to SCBAs, do NOT go cheap or low bid. You will kick yourself down the line. No joke.
    Ditto, definitely.
    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I am sure most people will come in here and say about the same thing.
    And I'll agree, again.

    I use Scotts on both my departments, and love them. We looked at changing airpacks at my vollie department, but (even though al ittle bit of it was resistance to change) we stuck with the Scotts for a number of reasons. We didn't like the MSA because we were afraid we'd break the little prongs on the mask regulator and didn't like the fit. We steered away from the Survivairs because of the litigation in St. Louis. In my mind, those are the only three I'd consider.

    Get the dealers to bring some demos in, put them on, and do some things in them. Lie on the ground in different positions and see if you can hear the PASS devices when you're rolled on top of them, things like that. See how comfortable they are. Consider how they're going to feel after wearing them for a while.

  7. #7
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I love the Scotts. I think they are simply #1 for numerous reasons. My current FD does not use them so I can not answer your specific questions.

    I will say this, when it comes to SCBAs, do NOT go cheap or low bid. You will kick yourself down the line. No joke.

    I am sure most people will come in here and say about the same thing.
    Ditto that! We have the 4500 PSI AP50's and they are firefighterproof!

    I wouldn't go anywhere near Intersiro...ask SAFD 46 Truck and 33 Motor about the problems that San Antonio had with them.
    ‎"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

  8. #8
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    We've had Scotts since the 1960's. Since the advent of the 4.5/2.2 platform the packs are basically foolproof. Annual bench and good to go.Like the proverbial Timex,they take a licking and keep on ticking.I prefer the 50's over the Nexgens but that's a "me" thing.My personal pack is an old wire frame 4.5 and it doesn't get much more reliable than that. T.C.

  9. #9
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    We bought new packs last year, and did the same thing you're doing with the sales reps and demo units.

    We ended up with the Scott NXG2. Great packs. We tested out models from MSA, Survivair, ISI, and Drager, and the department overwhelmingly wanted the scott. They're a little on the heavy side with the computer and batteries but rock solid.

    The dragers were great too. It came down to the two of them in the end. At the time we bought them, the dragers only had one size of mask, which turned us off of them( We have a LOT of fat heads around here ) The pack frame was awesome. Very comfortable and light. If we could have built an airpack with the drager frame and the scott mask, we would have.

  10. #10
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    We've got the newer model Scotts.

    No big complaints with them and no big joys either.

    The only complaint I have is a rather minor one. The LEDs on the HUD are really bright and in a lowlight or no light situation, it can be rather blinding and disorientating.
    Fir Na Tine
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  11. #11
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    And if you want Interspiro...You can have ours because THEY SUCK!

  12. #12
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    This is about the same as asking if you should buy a Chevy or a Ford. Many people in here are going to tell you to get an MSA or a Scott or a ISI simply because it is the only kind that they, and their daddy, and his daddy has ever "driven."

    My recommendation is to not take anyones word on it. The three biggest players in the US are Scott, ISI, and MSA. I would contact a dealer for all of them. I guarantee they will send you a pack and allow a field evaluation for at least 60 days. Put them all on and decide for yourself.

    Go with high pressure backplates. This will leave yourself with more options and configurations in the future. Even if everyone in your county is on low pressure and you will be for the next 5 years, its okay. High pressure backplates will work with low pressure bottles, but not vice versa. Buy low pressure backplates and you will be using low pressure bottles for the next 20 years.
    RK
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    My volly FD uses Scott AP-50's. My career FD uses MSA FireHawks.

    Both are fine air packs. I will adnit a preference for the Scott. I have been a Scott SCBA user for ever and I find them rugged, reliable and becuase of that I am confident that it will work everytime I put it on.

    Try them all and choose what your FF's like.

    One last note I used InterSpiro when I was a civilian FF for the military and in my humble opinion they are a piece of junk. Your opinion may differ.

    FyredUp
    Last edited by FyredUp; 11-04-2006 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Spelling

  14. #14
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp

    One last note I used InterSpiro when I was a civilian FF for the military and in my humble opinion they are a piece of junk.

    FyredUp
    Its ok, you can be honest- They are a P.O.S.

  15. #15
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    Thanks, and keep the input coming. We are going to look at all the makers (I admit, I never heard of interspiro), and make up our own minds. But this is such a big deal for us, and since our data base is only the old, old MSA's we have, I/we need all the help we can get.

    As an example, we will not adopt any unit that uses unusual batteries. If we can't walk into our local "Jiffy Store" and buy them, we don't want the pack. We are too isolated to have to depend on UPS for critical consumeable items.

    Most firefighters are opionated, so lets have them!

    What is your opinon/experience?

  16. #16
    It looks hot in there PureAdrenalin's Avatar
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    I've used Scott exclusively for the last 7 years, no problems ever. My new department has MSA, but only because the rest of the county have them as well, I have yet to use one, but I'm looking forward to trying one to see the difference. Don't forget about Drager either.

  17. #17
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Bou...

    I am trying to be kinder and gentler. I do agree however. frankly not only didn;t I like the packs, but their rep was a total jog off and knew less about the product than we did!!

    FyredUp

  18. #18
    Forum Member Frmboybuck's Avatar
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    We have MSA Firehawks.....They are really comfortable to wear, Easy to use and maintain...BUT they eat batteries like you wouldnt believe. They use 1 9v and 2 AA in the pack and 4 AA in the mask.

  19. #19
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    We have Drager here. We just got the 4500 psi and they work great. We had the 2216 psi before and had no problems with them. Like one of the other posts, it came down to the Scotts and Drager. We took the Drager because it's wireless so less chance of getting caught on something.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber fieldseng2's Avatar
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    I would NOT RECCOMMEND Survivair

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