Thread: scba breathing

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    Default scba breathing

    Ok, we 're starting our scba training/refresher and we have a few who tense up when they put on the mask and tank. when this happens they get soo nervous they cant breathe and end up getting light headed. i was like that until my cpt just talked to me and got my mind off of the situation, and then he said, you ve been breathing fine for the past 10 minutes! after that, ive been fine!! Do any of you guys(and gals) see this? if so, what do you do?

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    Do your masks have Purge valves? If so, turn on the purge for those who tense up. That way, they have the mask on, and have air that's not forced. Then once they get comfortable with the feeling of their face being covered, turn the purge off, and let them breath on their own.

    If there aren't purges, then have them just wear the mask around without the regulator in it. Do some drills like that with just masks on, and maybe the SCBA on their backs. That way they're used to the feeling of the mask. Then try the regulator in, and see how they do.

    Take baby steps for those who need it, don't rush!

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    Quote Originally Posted by st42stephenAFT View Post
    Do your masks have Purge valves? If so, turn on the purge for those who tense up. That way, they have the mask on, and have air that's not forced. Then once they get comfortable with the feeling of their face being covered, turn the purge off, and let them breath on their own.

    If there aren't purges, then have them just wear the mask around without the regulator in it. Do some drills like that with just masks on, and maybe the SCBA on their backs. That way they're used to the feeling of the mask. Then try the regulator in, and see how they do.

    Take baby steps for those who need it, don't rush!
    I'm going to second this...

    That's exactly how I was at first... probably the first few times I went on air. Last night we did a search/attack/ventilation drill and I was fine. Before last night, when I went on air and started to sweat really bad, I got sorta claustrophobic and couldn't wait to get out of the mask. But I got over that since the last time... each time it gets better.
    Firefighter/EMT
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    Like the man said,take it slowly until you get used to the idea of putting a rubber mask over your face.
    When I went through a Kentucky state fire school basic course three years ago,one department sent its Explorers to it without showing them all about the SCBAs.
    The kid I got paired with ran out of air during the smoke maze and started beating the tar and nicotine remnants out of me trying to get out.Turns out,he still had his air.He'd just managed to get the valve closed while moving around.He may have been playing with it,too.I don't know.
    Anyway,it's best to learn critical skills in no stress situations.A fireground is NOT the best place to learn how to wear and operate protective gear.

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    i remember the first time we were introduced to SCBA's...

    We went over everything, than they had everybody put one on for 45 minutes(roughly) and we just did normal things with them on until everyone got use to them. From sitting around doing nothing we worked our way up to doing more intense trainign with them.

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    Talking

    Many people get claustrophobic when first introduced to SCBA masks. The keys are:

    1. Patience
    2. Small, easy steps
    3. Time

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    Some people may not always need the baby steps. I remember the first time I put one on. They told me what it the SCBA is The main parts then told and showed me how to put it on and breath. But yah. Baby steps. Maybe just have them walk around or do the searches with just the face piece on then slowly go to air. I kind of like the compressed air. Not sure why.
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    I never really had any problems with the mask. I'm not claustriphobic and they never really bugged me. If you have trouble conserving your air, sing, hum, say your abc's, or my favorite, keep talking to your partner. You will be amazed at how much you calm down and focus. Oh yeah, you save a otn of air too.
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    or my favorite, keep talking to your partner. You will be amazed at how much you calm down and focus. Oh yeah, you save a otn of air too.
    That's my favorite. When I'm doing a S&R or hose stretch with a partner, I'm in constant communication with them. Just talking about anything. Weather, sports, etc. It really calms you down and steadies your breathing. You're 100% right there.

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    Before last night, when I went on air and started to sweat really bad, I got sorta claustrophobic and couldn't wait to get out of the mask.
    Just wait'll you get to confined space drills..... totally blacked out.
    Fun stuff for me, but I can see how a lot of guys would freak. Best bet is just not think about it...do what you gotta do.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Quote Originally Posted by the1141man View Post
    Just wait'll you get to confined space drills..... totally blacked out.
    Fun stuff for me, but I can see how a lot of guys would freak. Best bet is just not think about it...do what you gotta do.
    Well that happened to me during S&R drill in a confined space trailer. I was freaking out just take your time.

    Keep your mind of your of the drill and think of sports, school, pray if you have to, but always remember to have plenty of advisors so they can help you if you get disoriented and you begin to freak out and feel claustrophobic they will help you relax and calm down, or if you have to they will get you out

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    I have to disagree with the "keep your mind out of the drill" advice. Better yet, occupy your mind with the drill. If you're simulating a rescue situation, think of how you might encounter the "victim" and what you're going to do when you find them. The various ways they may be positioned, and obstacles to overcome, how you'll successfully get them out and complete the drill.

    If you're in the trailer...this'll be egocentric-sounding, but I've found it is hands down the best. Advice. EVER.
    Close your eyes. Hell, it's dark, you don't even have enough room to lift your head and look more than 1 foot ahead of you anyways, even if you could get your light to shine down the tunnel. Your eyes are pretty useless in that situation, so just close em. "See" with your hands and arms, feel all around ahead of you, that'll give you an even better picture of what's there than trying to lift your head and look 2 feet in front of you.
    Just my 2.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

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    I have to disagree with the "keep your mind out of the drill" advice. Better yet, occupy your mind with the drill. If you're simulating a rescue situation, think of how you might encounter the "victim" and what you're going to do when you find them. The various ways they may be positioned, and obstacles to overcome, how you'll successfully get them out and complete the drill.
    If you do this, I feel you might psych yourself out. If you're sitting there searching thinking about packaging and entrapment. It might turn a simple move and quick rescue into a longer project because you've been thinking about all these other aspects. Or worse, you're thinking in depth about what might be coming ahead, and you miss a change in conditions, and end up getting yourself trapped or lost.

    I like to talk about anything that comes to mind, simple topics. Keeps me free and ready to act. Not saying I'm out of the drill at all though. I'm still 100% focused on what's going on, and my surroundings. I use this talk only to stay in communication with my partner. With the partner I normally pair with in these types of drills, I am confident in both our skills at firefighting, and trust him 100%. I know that when we come across the victim we'll be able to get him(her) free/packaged and get them out.

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    It might turn a simple move and quick rescue into a longer project because you've been thinking about all these other aspects. Or worse, you're thinking in depth about what might be coming ahead, and you miss a change in conditions, and end up getting yourself trapped or lost.
    *sigh* Yeah, you're right, O Great One... one should be thinking about weather, sports, whatever is relaxing, rather than what they're doing on the fireground. I yield to your superior wisdom and experience on this issue. Perhaps next you'd like to schedule a seminar on pump theory and hydraulics? We have a Command 1A class coming up that could use an instructor, would you be willing?
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    *sigh* Yeah, you're right, O Great One... one should be thinking about weather, sports, whatever is relaxing, rather than what they're doing on the fireground. I yield to your superior wisdom and experience on this issue. Perhaps next you'd like to schedule a seminar on pump theory and hydraulics? We have a Command 1A class coming up that could use an instructor, would you be willing?
    Only if it's a paying position.


    I guess the argument I used can be easily used against me. I'm just stating what I do. If you don't like it, argue it

    I guess it really doesn't matter what you're talking about, as long as you know what to do when you come across the victim. That's the main part. No matter what you're talking about the whole time, if you can get the victim out safely, that's what matters.


    By the way - I know nothing about pumping so you need a new instructor

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    Personally, I don't even really like talking all that much.

    Probably because our BA's don't have voice amplifiers, so most talking becomes yelling just to be heard...and half the time the yelling is "SO mmphhehfmm mmph mepmfhmf that?"
    "WHAT????" (he hears: "MMMPH?!")
    "I mmmphd, mmph you mphment mmm that?"
    "CAN YOU SIGN IT TO ME?" (translates to: "MM EWW MMNGH T EWW MMPH?!")

    Yeah, not much conversation goin on there period...intelligent or otherwise. hah.
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Well, the masks we have do have the voice amplifiers. So when you talk you can actually make out what's being said most of the time. Unless the person's an idiot and is screaming and talking real fast. But then you can't make out what they're saying even if they don't have a mask on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the1141man View Post
    Just wait'll you get to confined space drills..... totally blacked out.
    .
    That's easier for me.

    Just a thought I had similar reactions when i first started air pack training, then somebody showed me how to switch to ambient air -- we didn't train on air because we couldn't fill the bottles locally. It's probly not that simple tho
    I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.

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    We were doing search and rescue one night and I put my mask on and I was breathing fast and the captain was trying to calm me down. So yeah I have seen that.

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    I reccomend trying to stay as calm as possible. If you're not calm, you consume more air. You also lose focus on your task. Just keep your
    mind on the drill and don't be afraid.

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    Default "I've grown accustomed to the mask"

    I mentioned in another area of these forums that I eliminate a lot of "mask issues" by wearing the facepiece whenever I am wearing the pack. Fires, crashes, trainings, sitting by the pool. . . wait that might not work, but any way. If you have trouble getting used to it do it for short periods while doing something else (cleaning the station maybe :} ). It isn't normal to have that "thing" stuck on yer face, but ya NEED it, to be where we gonna go. If others laugh at ya, remind 'em, in a few years, how they made fun of ya as you are taking the knob past them while they do the "helmet dance" outside the fire room (assuming your partner is not "dancing" too).

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    I mentioned in another area of these forums that I eliminate a lot of "mask issues" by wearing the facepiece whenever I am wearing the pack. Fires, crashes, trainings, sitting by the pool. . .
    Hmm... While I completely agree that wearing a mask while doing other stuff around the firehouse will definitely help eliminate any fears, I'm not sure wearing them at other calls is a good idea. That's just my opinion.

    If you're at a crash, and just cleaning up fluids, and there's no fire or smoke, I think it's pointless to walk around with a mask on. They will inhibit your field of vision - not something I want happening when we're operating on a highway, and 1 lane of traffic is still flowing. Don't trust drivers and rubberneckers now a days. Plus it might start fogging up. I just feel it's unnecessary.

    During training, if you're doing evolutions where you're simulating a fire, I would hope you'd be packed up with a mask on. Even if they aren't smoking up the house/area you're using, I would still expect a mask on, and hood backwards to block your view.


    But by the pool... well that's your time....

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    Smile

    i am just so pumped up that i don't even think about it i put my mask on at the last second so i don't freak out.

    P.S. EVERYONE freaks out sometimes putting your mask on
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    Put it on and watch TV walk arounf the station for a little while take it off if you have a problem. keep trying a little at a time and build up to wearing the pack walking around then try to go on air. just my thought.
    These are my views and mine only! They do not reflect those of my department.

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    I agree with just sitting and getting used to breathing in the mask, or doing tasks around the station. Some people just aren't comfortable with the forced air breathing and hold their breath thinking they can't breathe until they hear the air. When they realize the air is there, they calm down.

    I personally HATE the purge valve, unless my mask has fogged up. I don't like the "fan" blowing in my face. Focus on your breathing, take nice long slow breaths and stay focused on your task, if these people continue to get freaked out in their face piece, then maybe their claustorphobia is going to be an issue.
    Vita brevis; terra larga.

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