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    Default Rapid Charging of SCBA Cylinders

    Hey fellow Firefighters !! Looking for some insight on " rapid " charging of SCBA cylinders, such as when a RIT would refill a cylinder of a downed firefighter, Does NFPA or the cylinder manufacturers have guidelines on what to do with a cylinder after it has been rapidly recharged ? Does the cylinder need to be hydrostatically tested, or is everything okay until the next due date ?

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    Not a direct answer to your question.

    HOWEVER...if you have a firefighter who was trapped by a fall or collapse, it's probably good practice to have the cylinder sent out for a hydro. Not quite as bad as one falling out of a compartment door going down the road...but certain things just scream, "Test Me!!!!"

    I don't know of any official guidance on rapid-filling. MSA in the 1990s marketed their packs as having it as a feature (in lieu of changing bottles on scene), but that was long ago and while I doubt it's necessary, I'll defer to someone more up-to-date on the regulations.

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    The bottles should be fine, only doing it once or twice. Don't make it a habit though. A few notables here...one...if doing it just to get bottles back in service on a multi bottle fire, you will end with a dramatic pressure drop as the cylinder cools from the "hot-fill" Two, it puts a good strain on all parts, especially the valves, three...BE careful when doing it, bottles have known to let go. Back in the day when I played a lot of paintball, and carbon cylinders were new to the sport, rapid fills were common and the tanks were hot enough that you wouldn't want to hold them for too long, regulator failures were common, as well as a few tank failures, with catastrophic injuries.

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    Personally, I'd not bother with trying to fill their bottle. I'd just give them a new one. Think about it, the FF has a 4500psi bottle and you bring in another 4500psi bottle. His is empty, the new one is full. Hook them up to refill his bottle, and you will end up with two bottles at 2250psi. Why not just give him the full 4500 bottle.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Personally, I'd not bother with trying to fill their bottle. I'd just give them a new one. Think about it, the FF has a 4500psi bottle and you bring in another 4500psi bottle. His is empty, the new one is full. Hook them up to refill his bottle, and you will end up with two bottles at 2250psi. Why not just give him the full 4500 bottle.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the MSA is set up that way. You take the spare bottle with you that has a quick connect on it. Each pack has a special quick connect solely for the purpose. You plug it in and the downed firefighter has a full bottle.

    "MSA’s patented Quick-Fill® system makes every SCBA capable of both receiving and donating air to firefighters in need. Although the NFPA standard requires all brands of SCBA to incorporate the RIC connection, only the MSA air mask can make full utilization of the fitting with our exclusive transfilling capability."

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    Quote Originally Posted by WebFire View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the MSA is set up that way. You take the spare bottle with you that has a quick connect on it. Each pack has a special quick connect solely for the purpose. You plug it in and the downed firefighter has a full bottle.
    I don't know about other MSA stuff but ours just equalize the pressure between bottles, as bones said.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Me thinks a lot of people are missing the 'downed firefighter' part of this post. Obviously it's nice to change bottles but this post was about topping up a downed firefighter. We have relatively new MSA's with the whip to balance between two packs but I don't recall being warned about possible problems with fast filling a bottle. Think I'll go through the literature again if we don't get a post from an MSA expert....
    Cheers,
    Gord

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    Why couldn't you take in another pack ,and if the downed ff facepiece is'nt damaged you can just swap the regulator and secure the pack to the victim,then hopefully out you go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WebFire View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the MSA is set up that way. You take the spare bottle with you that has a quick connect on it. Each pack has a special quick connect solely for the purpose. You plug it in and the downed firefighter has a full bottle.
    "MSA’s patented Quick-Fill® system makes every SCBA capable of both receiving and donating air to firefighters in need. Although the NFPA standard requires all brands of SCBA to incorporate the RIC connection, only the MSA air mask can make full utilization of the fitting with our exclusive transfilling capability."
    The pressures in both bottles will equalize out. Comes down to the fact that a lower pressure cylinder cannot fill a higher pressure cylinder. Gases are lazy and always seek equalibrum (sp). The "Quick-Fill" system is mis-named in my opinion. Quick-Connect would be more appropriate.

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    Me thinks a lot of people are missing the 'downed firefighter' part of this post.
    No, not missing that at all.

    take in another pack ,and if the downed ff facepiece is'nt damaged you can just swap the regulator and secure the pack to the victim
    Bingo.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    Why couldn't you take in another pack ,and if the downed ff facepiece is'nt damaged you can just swap the regulator and secure the pack to the victim,then hopefully out you go.
    This is an option on our RIT packs, while they have the quick connector to transfill a bottle, they also have a regulator and mask for a complete change if it is needed. My understanding is once the quick connect is hooked up you can keep it connected and utilize the air in both cylinders. Ultimately the consumable volume of air is slightly less, but, we also use 2216 cylinders and the RIT pack is 4500 so the volume of air is not an issue for us.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexfd5 View Post
    The pressures in both bottles will equalize out. Comes down to the fact that a lower pressure cylinder cannot fill a higher pressure cylinder. Gases are lazy and always seek equalibrum (sp). The "Quick-Fill" system is mis-named in my opinion. Quick-Connect would be more appropriate.
    Yes I realize this, but I thought the system bypassed the first bottle altogether, which is what gave the FF the full bottle.

    I'm not sure, just what I always thought.

    The equalizing part is what some of our members don't understand about our cascade system. They just open bottles at random, or think "oh this bottle is only 1200, so I'll open the second one." So we get about 12 bottles filled instead of 60.

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    We use ISI packs that will equalize pressure when connected, I agree that changing out a cylinder is the best way to guarantee a completly full cylinder of air but it also takes time !! valuable time if the downed firefighter is already in trouble !! My original question since I started this post was, does the " hot " filling put undue stree on the cylinder ? Thanks for all of your responses !!!!

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    My old department had carbon fiber cylinders that supposedly could take the stress of rapid refilling.
    However,everyone that showed me around the cascade system ion the air truck was too old a dog to even contemplate rapidly refilling a cylinder,no matter how new it was,how strong it was or how badly a full one was needed."Son,that's why we buy extras.So's we can have everyone on air and keep newly filled ones ready for rescue and rehab."was how it was put to the guy that asked.
    The newer composite cylinders may well take the stress of hot filling but eventually even those will have been rode hard and put up wet once too often.Then,you'll be seeing if that "bombproof" filling station really is and I don't want to be around it that day.
    Set the air truck up as soon as it arrives to refill and keep ahead of the need for more air.That way you can slowly refill your cylinders and not have to worry AS MUCH about how hot they're getting from all that compressed air creating heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    My old department had carbon fiber cylinders that supposedly could take the stress of rapid refilling.
    However,everyone that showed me around the cascade system ion the air truck was too old a dog to even contemplate rapidly refilling a cylinder,no matter how new it was,how strong it was or how badly a full one was needed."Son,that's why we buy extras.So's we can have everyone on air and keep newly filled ones ready for rescue and rehab."was how it was put to the guy that asked.
    The newer composite cylinders may well take the stress of hot filling but eventually even those will have been rode hard and put up wet once too often.Then,you'll be seeing if that "bombproof" filling station really is and I don't want to be around it that day.
    Set the air truck up as soon as it arrives to refill and keep ahead of the need for more air.That way you can slowly refill your cylinders and not have to worry AS MUCH about how hot they're getting from all that compressed air creating heat.

    This is not true. The carbon fiber cylinders do not hold up to rapid filling. Some departments around here have run into issues when the cylinders get hydro tested and experience a very short life span due to rapid filling. The metal cylinders are better capable of withstanding the rapid fill but I still wouldnt recommend doing it. And if you absolutely have to get it tested before it goes back in service.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewiston2Capt View Post
    This is not true. The carbon fiber cylinders do not hold up to rapid filling. Some departments around here have run into issues when the cylinders get hydro tested and experience a very short life span due to rapid filling. The metal cylinders are better capable of withstanding the rapid fill but I still wouldnt recommend doing it. And if you absolutely have to get it tested before it goes back in service.
    I did say,"supposedly",Cap,because some of the training came from a guy that had only recently been checked out on the rig himself.After I mentioned that to a couple officers,it got corrected very quickly.
    We'd have to log each cylinder,it's hydro date and when it was last filled(according to previous entries for that last box)before refilling,and routinely assigned probies and/or Explorers to inventory the cylnders to check dates.
    As I also said,there may well be a material that can take repeated rapid fills but I'd be willing to bet real money that even that cylinder made of unobtainium will eventually be filled too fast and rupture like a balloon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    No, not missing that at all.

    Bingo.
    Now that this thread is hijacked, might as well stay on the ride. There is no faster way to get air to the mask of a downed firefighter (I'm going with the assumption that he is down and his pack is simply now out of air) than using the whip on the MSA. Two push on quick connects and you've now shared the air from the rescuer's pack.
    Now, if this is happening in a large enough structure that the two will not be able to get out after sharing the rescuer's air, then it would be better to take in a pack or a bottle.
    As for the original question; I would assume rapid filling would be hard on any bottle. Only recommended when necessary and if you're doing it in training, only connect packs with somewhat close levels of air so you're not transferring enough to stress the bottle.
    Cheers
    Gord

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    I don't know that I'd ever advocate refilling a downed firefighter's pack as the first choice during RIT/RIC operations. As was said above, you're usually left with half a bottle but more importantly it takes too much time. I'd rather swap out the pack with our RIT bag, or another whole pack. Use the quick disconnect between the facepiece/regulator and pack(Scott). It's one step instead of several that have to be made under stressful and potentially dangerous situations.

    As for hot filling, the bottles *may* stand up to it, for a while but you're still going to be left with less-than full once the bottle cools.
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