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  1. #1
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    Default Interchanging SCBA - Real, or a pipe dream?

    Since we are getting new SCBA, FF at nearby departments keep saying we should have gotten the same brand they did, in case of an emergency (?).

    So:
    Have any of you had to interchange your SCBA with another department? I don't mean using their bottles. or even using their SCBA. I mean, have you ever had to use, say, your mask with their SCBA. Or their mask with your SCBA?

    Please note, I said HAD to mix equipment. If both departments have the same vintage of, oh, MSA, you COULD use your mask and their pack. But have circumstances ever compelled you to mix gear like this?

    Thanks for your time.


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    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    You can't mix masks and packs between different manufacturers and models but SCBA bottles of the same pressure rating are designed to be interchangeable in an emergency.

    IOW, if you both have 4500psi systems, you can use each others air bottles in a pinch. It should not, however, be something that you plan do do in the normal course of mutual aid responses.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 02-02-2007 at 02:47 PM.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    IOW, if you both have 4500psi systems, you can use each others air bottles in a pinch. It should not, however, be something that you plan do do in the normal course of mutual aid responses.
    so you are telling me that you should wait till someone fills a bottle from your dept.? around here we all run 2216 bottles, we interchange them all the time on calls, no problems whatsoever doing that, filled ones go in one area, and empty one in another to get filled, whatever they grab to out in your pack you get, whether aluminum or carbon fiber. after everything is through and completly under control then we worry about sorting out bottles.


    slueth, are you talking about in like RIT situations? other than that I am having trouble figuring out why you would need to use a mask with a different comp. pack as they should all have the mask and pack together

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    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire0099881 View Post
    so you are telling me that you should wait till someone fills a bottle from your dept.? around here we all run 2216 bottles, we interchange them all the time on calls, no problems whatsoever doing that, filled ones go in one area, and empty one in another to get filled, whatever they grab to out in your pack you get, whether aluminum or carbon fiber. after everything is through and completly under control then we worry about sorting out bottles.
    It's not an issue of who owns the bottles but who who the labeled manufacturer is. i.e. Scott packs should be used with Scott bottles, MSA packs with MSA bottles, etc.

    The bottles are all physically interchangeable* (and may well have all come from the same factory for all we know) but they're not supposed to be mixed and matched between manufactuerers except in an emergency. i.e. Scott bottle on an MSA pack or vice versa, etc.

    *Obviously you can't use a 4500psi bottle on a 2216psi pack but you can use a 2216psi bottle on a 4500psi pack if that's your only option.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    It's not an issue of who owns the bottles but who who the labeled manufacturer is. i.e. Scott packs should be used with Scott bottles, MSA packs with MSA bottles, etc.

    The bottles are all physically interchangeable* (and may well have all come from the same factory for all we know) but they're not supposed to be mixed and matched between manufactuerers except in an emergency. i.e. Scott bottle on an MSA pack or vice versa, etc.

    *Obviously you can't use a 4500psi bottle on a 2216psi pack but you can use a 2216psi bottle on a 4500psi pack if that's your only option.
    ok, I guess I wasn't thinking the same way as to what you was saying, guess they never heard of that, we used to have old style MSA packs, but all we used and had was scott bottles, and there is still a few depts. around us that use MSA and are still the same way as they use scott bottles with theirs, and everyone else runs the new scott's

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    When my old department was out on mutual aid,we'd fill any air bottle brought to the air truck,no questions asked.Well,we did ask how much PSI it took.
    I don't know if that counts as interchangeable but the threads all screwed in correctly and we didn't test the "bomb proof"container in the filling station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire0099881 View Post
    so you are telling me that you should wait till someone fills a bottle from your dept.? around here we all run 2216 bottles, we interchange them all the time on calls, no problems whatsoever doing that, filled ones go in one area, and empty one in another to get filled, whatever they grab to out in your pack you get, whether aluminum or carbon fiber. after everything is through and completly under control then we worry about sorting out bottles.
    In the past we have been told by SCBA company reps that no company will warranty their pack with anothers bottle on it, as it sits stored. In an emergency if you need to utilze another's bottle for any reason, this would be acceptable. This at least assures them that departments are standardized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    When my old department was out on mutual aid,we'd fill any air bottle brought to the air truck,no questions asked.Well,we did ask how much PSI it took.
    I don't know if that counts as interchangeable but the threads all screwed in correctly and we didn't test the "bomb proof"container in the filling station.
    When operating a mobile air supply unit..

    #1: Check the pressure on the bottle Trying to fill a 2216 bottle with 4500 PSI will cause the burst disc safety to blow... and it's guaranteed to scare the living crap out of you!

    #2: Check to hydrostatic test date. It must be within 3 years of the date for an aluminum or carbon wrapped bottle, 5 for a steel bottle. If it exceeds the time frame.. do not fill it, despite how much the brothers beg. If it lets go while in the shatter shield, it will make a loud bang and scare the rest of the crap out of you. If it happens on someone's back.. it's a LODD.

    #3 All SCBA cylinders are to be filled in the shatter shield. Period. See reason #2 above.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 02-03-2007 at 06:54 PM.
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    MembersZone Subscriber Thaddie's Avatar
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    Hey Chief , question,

    aren't aluminum bottles five years for hydro aswell?
    Firefighter
    Eureka District Fire Department

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thaddie View Post
    Hey Chief , question,

    aren't aluminum bottles five years for hydro aswell?
    I thought so too. But the New Chief (Congrats) may know something I don't. I just picked up 16 aluminum bottles from hydro today. They did not say hey, your two years over... now you have me wondering.

    I also think "some" depending on manufacture and manufacture date of the composites can go to 5 years, but still have the 15yr Remove from service date.

    But... no matter how hard I try I still get those moments when I say to myself, " You stupid $#@@%!! What were you thinking!!!"

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    yeah, thats why I'm asking, I'm not 100% sure myself. I didn't think I was getting old this young At least the grey hairs haven't shown yet
    Firefighter
    Eureka District Fire Department

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    Here's what I found on hydotesting...
    All SCBA cylinders require periodic hydrostatic testing as required by 49 CFR 180.205. The frequency of the maintenance depends upon the cylinder material.

    Steel cylinders should be tested every five years. They have an indefinite service life until they fail a hydro test.

    Aluminum cylinders (not including hoop-wrapped) should be tested every five years. They have an indefinite service life until they fail a hydro test.

    Hoop-wrapped cylinders should be tested every three years. Hoop-wrapped cylinders have a 15-year service life.

    Fully wrapped fiberglass cylinders should be tested every three years. They have a 15 year service life.

    Fully wrapped Kevlar cylinders should be tested every three years. They have a 15-year service life.

    Fully wrapped carbon fiber cylinders should be tested every five years. They have a 15-year service life.
    ‎"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."
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    Dang i gotta get my mind out of the gutter and wash it off. At first i thought this said intercourse.

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    Default They keep changing the rules

    We started using the carbon cylinders six years ago. Received first hydro after 3 years. I was starting to gather them up for their sixth birthday hydro & have found out that they can now go five years.
    From Scott’s web site:
    Aluminum Cylinders
    • Scott’s Aluminum cylinders are built around the DOT
    specifications and has a working pressure of 2216 psig
    • Rated for 30 minutes in duration
    • Free gas capacity of 45 SCF
    • Hydrostatic testing to be performed every 5 years
    • Unlimited life expectancy
    Carbon Cylinders
    • Scott’s Carbon cylinders are built around DOT specifications
    and have a working pressure of 2216, 3000, or 4500 psig
    • Lightweight, composite cylinder consisting of an aluminum
    alloy inner shell, with a total overwrap of carbon fiber,
    fiberglass and an epoxy resin
    • Rated for 30, 45, or 60 minutes in duration
    • Hydrostatic testing to be performed every 5 years
    • 15-year life expectancy

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Interchangeability. (not even sure thats a word)

    FF down, damaged regulator. do you have one that can be swapped with his? does he have one that can be swapped with yours?

    Do you have more guys showing up than SCBA's available?

    Can group purchasing happen? Like each department in the area buy 5, but all on 1 order for qty discounts?
    "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 rfdlou View Post
    We started using the carbon cylinders six years ago. Received first hydro after 3 years. I was starting to gather them up for their sixth birthday hydro & have found out that they can now go five years.
    From Scott’s web site:
    Aluminum Cylinders
    • Scott’s Aluminum cylinders are built around the DOT
    specifications and has a working pressure of 2216 psig
    • Rated for 30 minutes in duration
    • Free gas capacity of 45 SCF
    • Hydrostatic testing to be performed every 5 years
    • Unlimited life expectancy
    Carbon Cylinders
    • Scott’s Carbon cylinders are built around DOT specifications
    and have a working pressure of 2216, 3000, or 4500 psig
    • Lightweight, composite cylinder consisting of an aluminum
    alloy inner shell, with a total overwrap of carbon fiber,
    fiberglass and an epoxy resin
    • Rated for 30, 45, or 60 minutes in duration
    • Hydrostatic testing to be performed every 5 years
    • 15-year life expectancy
    RFD that all depends on the date of manufacture. Some of the first carbon bottles are still every three years. We have a mixture of both which make it a pain in the a@# keeping track. Scott has a list available that tells if it a 3 or 5 year test bottle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Interchangeability. (not even sure thats a word)

    FF down, damaged regulator. do you have one that can be swapped with his? does he have one that can be swapped with yours?

    Do you have more guys showing up than SCBA's available?

    Can group purchasing happen? Like each department in the area buy 5, but all on 1 order for qty discounts?
    Scott RIT pack, if we're going in with it, we're coming with air, regulator and a mask.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber Thaddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Here's what I found on hydotesting...
    thanks alot for the info chief
    Firefighter
    Eureka District Fire Department

  19. #19
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    D/C Gonzo,Composite Scotts PRIOR to 6/1/05 are three year cycle.After that time they are five year cycle (to their 15 yr life) All others are as indicated or until DOT changes their mind whichever occurs first.Almost all Scba bottles are produced by Luxfer or one other competitor.Like was mentioned,don't fill ANY bottle without checking and confirming the hydro date.Whenever possible, group bottles to be filled by PSI class,IE 4.5 with 4.5,2216's with 2216's.Bottle necks pointed toward the air unit are empty,bottle necks pointing away are full. T.C.

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    Sorry for the delay in responding, but I did not know there had been any replies.

    Thanks, but I knew we could exchange bottles of the same pressure. As for a FF down with a busted regulator:
    1. If I give him mine, now there are 2 FF who inhaled an IDLH atmosphere.
    2. If I go out to get another regulator, I'll grab the RIT pack and solve more than one problem.

    So, as I understand it, so far no one can justify the "we all need the same SCBA" claim from actual experience. At least, not based on 'interchanging' parts on a scene. That's what I thought.

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