Thread: Rebreathers?

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    Default Rebreathers?

    My department is looking in to purchasing rebreathers for the Hazmat Team.
    I know very little about rebreathers. Can anyone who uses them give me a little advise?

    What Brand do you prefer?

    How much maintenance?

    Cost of maintenance/year?

    Pros/cons?

    Thanks in advance--Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazmatt View Post
    My department is looking in to purchasing rebreathers for the Hazmat Team.
    I know very little about rebreathers. Can anyone who uses them give me a little advise?
    I can give you a little, literally. I only have about 3 years experience on a HazMat Team in private industry ... with that being said, here is what I know/think.

    What Brand do you prefer?
    We currently have Vikings, but are switching over to Scotts. With the Scotts, we can switch out packs/bottles with our local FD in a joint operation.

    How much maintenance?
    The only maintenance that I can think off the top of head is the hydrotesting that must be done every 3 or 5 years. Other than this, when filling the bottles, check the bottle for any dents/dings etc ...

    Cost of maintenance/year?
    Minimal, beyond filling the bottles up. Costs will depend on what type you get. I current set up has HUD's, slug alarms, and radio plug ins to the mask. The battery pack (8 D batteries) needs to be replaced periodically, but that will depend upon usage.
    Other cost is getting tested annually to ensure that you are wearing the correct size mask and that you can still maintain a good seal.

    Pros/cons?
    I think the Vikings are much more comfortable than the Scotts that I have worn. But, that is personal preference.

    Thanks in advance--Matt

    My other advice would be, get everyone their own individual mask, or buy an assortment of masks to ensure that you get a proper fitting mask.

    My two cents worth.

    Anthony
    Last edited by gdsqdcr; 01-18-2007 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Clarity

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    Thanks for your time---That helps--Matt

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    I have only trained with the Draeger rebreather. It is called a BG-4 (Below grade 4 hour). It purifies the air that you exhale and adds a small amount of oxygen so you are getting clean air when you inhale. It is not positive pressure like SCBA's. The BG-4 also uses ice to cool the air that is inhaled as the cleaning process developes heat. The ice used is about a six round chunk or regular cubes can be used also. The pack is slightly heavier than an SCBA. The BG-4 needs to be completely torn apart and cleaned after each use. This would be shown to you from a Draeger representative. Yearly maintenance is minimal.

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    HAZMATT

    Why do you believe that your Haz Mat team needs Rebreathers?

    As a Manager for a Haz Mat company and one that has been in the suits.

    I want a break after 45 mintues of being in a suit and wearing a SCBA
    We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Benjamin Franklin

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    Post Why Rebreathers?

    hazmatt, I have to agree with MCarpenter. Why do you need rebreathers? I there some special need that requires you to be in the hot zone for longer than what a 60 minute SCBA can give you?
    My team uses Scott's with the 60 minute bottle. Unless there is a long ingress/egress time involved, this gives our entry people a fair amount of time to do their work before having to egress and allows a safety factor of air supply for decon.
    Also, as MCarpenter pointed out, after being in a level A suit for 45 minutes, you need to take a break and go to rehab and rehydrate. A rebreather also drys the air it is cleaning, so the user has a tendancy to get dehydrated.
    The only people near me that I am aware of that might have rebreathers is the Rochester, NY F.D. for their confined space/tunnel rescue team. There are old subway tunnels under their city that don't have the best air in them and some times a rescue is needed in them. The last picture I saw of a rescue was many years ago and the FF's were wearing rebreathers. I beleive they were BioGuard, but I'm not sure.
    I would suggest a careful evaluation of your need before you part with that many dollars.
    "Your spill is our thrill."

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    I have been suiting up for a long time and I understand the issues of limited suit time in Level A.

    My team is a regional (Metro Atlanta) MMST strike team and a member of Georgia Mutual Aid Group. We could be sent anywhere and to any type of incident. Some of the large refrigeration facilities that span acres would be no different than going into a subway tunnel and god forbid you go down or get lost in there. The rebreathers would be another tool in our box.

    We also use Scott with 60 min. bottles and I agree that they are great for most of what we do. But there have been times and there will be times that I wished I had more.

    Evaluation and research is great advise. Thanks guys---Matt

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    Default Hazmatt

    We have just received a grant to drop from a Level III Team to a Level II Team for the Georgia Mutual Aid Group. I agree with all from the side of spending too much time in suits, I also agree with you on the refrigeration business. We are required to have (6) rebreathers in our inventory cache to qualify for a Level II type response team. The other issue is money for the equipment is being provided by an ODP grant. Hazmatt call me and I can give you the information, also buying in quantities provide us with more power not to mention if we respond with you it only makes sense to all come to the party with the same equipment.
    John - jclem28937@aol.com

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    hazmatt, I can see your point about having to deal with a large facility where the ingress and egress time would be too long for standard SCBA tanks. I have been to a refrigeration leak at a small frozen food plant, but it was no where near as big as you describe so our working time at the leak was not too bad.
    A forum member you might want to ask is upstater. That member has said that they are a member of the Rochester (NY) F.D. so they might have an idea if R.F.D still has any rebreathers.
    "Your spill is our thrill."

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    I can only speak for the Draeger's as those are the only one's that I've worked with. There are some costs associated with the rebreather's that you might not think of at first. Specifically, the Daeger requires a 4500 psi O2 bottle. This requires that you buy a O2 pressure booster to refill the bottles. This alone costs several thousands of dollars. There are also a lot of expensive brand specific tools to service the BG 4.

    I haven't been around them in a while, so things might have changed, but make sure you look into the cost of everything, not just the cost per pack.

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    Thanks guys for all the info-----Matt

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    Default A little late to the party....

    Just found this thread when I was searching for something else....

    I am not a member of the confined space team, but to my knowledge, they don't use rebreathers, and I'm pretty sure that the hazmat team does not use them.

    Matter of fact, I've never seen one at all.
    The opinions expressed in this post are well-reasoned and insightful. Needless to say, they are not the opinions of the government that I work for.

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