1. #1
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    Default Putting SCBA on in less than a minute?

    Is this really possible, I am told to pass Allegheny County Fire exam in conjunction with other requirements I must be able to put on a SCBA on, hook it up and be breathing air And put my fire gloves on in 60 seconds. Ive tried this and my best time so far in 90 seconds. Though I am really really new and haven't practiced at great length this part of the exam scares me simply cause it is pass or fail if I go over 60 seconds.

    Is it really possible, any tricks out there other than to practice practice practice to get this all on, hooked up and be breathing in 60 seconds?

    Thanks

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    Default Practice, practice, practice!

    Just keep on practicing. It can be done. When I was a Vol, I had to do it for the two dept's that I worked for, and when I was hired full-time I had to do it again for my dept. Most dept's that I know of require this skill to be passed.
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    Yea its definately possible. Me and a few other guys from my dept. averaged in the mid 40's. But the trick is go fast by going slow. They don't care if you do it in 20 seconds or 59 seconds, as long as its done right. And another thing stay on your knees the entire time you are putting everything on, that took about 5 seconds off my time, instead of standing up and bending over to pick everything up. You just got to keep practicing and see what works best for you.
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    Default Keep it up!

    We used to have to do it in 60 from a cabinet, the time stopped when the cabinet was closed. What worked for us, was to break it up into sections. Practice each part separately, get good at each part, and then put them together. It is one of those things were practice makes perfect. You need to have done it 30 times in less than 60 to know on test day you can.

    A lot of this is mental. You have to know it can be done, and that you can do it. Scientists said the 4 minute mile could not be done. The first person ran one and in the same week 6 others did also. They just had to know it could be done.

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    In Ct its called the 45 sec drill. You have to be on air with gloves within 45 seconds. You will pracice this drill in the several hundred times before you your tested. So dont beat yourself up over it, you will be doing this in less then 45 seconds.

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    You have a full minute?!

    When I went through the academy (1990), we only had 45 seconds.
    We wore the old 2216psi MSA's back then.

    We had to check the cylinder pressure, open the valve, don the pack, tighten the straps, buckle the waistband, don the mask and perform a mask seal check as well as check the operation of the exhalation valve. Next, we had to connect the low-pressure hose to the regulator, open the mainline, then don the helmet with the chin strap fastened, and finally don our gloves.

    My times by the end of the academy were in the low to mid 30's...32 seconds on my State Exam.

    The only thing we did not have to do was don a hood. They were not commonly used back then.

    There are a few time-saving things you can do to shave a few seconds off your time.

    *Use gloves with no liner that are a size or two larger than you normally wear.

    *Before donning the mask, put your helmet on with the chinstrap fastened and the postman's slide fully extended. Hang the lid on your back with the strap across your throat. When it's time to put the helmet on, simply pull it up onto your head and sinch the strap.

    *Practice every step in the same order every time.

    *Start slowly and be 100% accurate. Speed will come as your accuracy improves.

    *Practice, practice, practice! Then practice some more!
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949 View Post
    You have a full minute?!

    When I went through the academy (1990), we only had 45 seconds.
    We wore the old 2216psi MSA's back then.

    We had to check the cylinder pressure, open the valve, don the pack, tighten the straps, buckle the waistband, don the mask and perform a mask seal check as well as check the operation of the exhalation valve. Next, we had to connect the low-pressure hose to the regulator, open the mainline, then don the helmet with the chin strap fastened, and finally don our gloves.

    My times by the end of the academy were in the low to mid 30's...32 seconds on my State Exam.

    The only thing we did not have to do was don a hood. They were not commonly used back then.

    There are a few time-saving things you can do to shave a few seconds off your time.

    *Use gloves with no liner that are a size or two larger than you normally wear.

    *Before donning the mask, put your helmet on with the chinstrap fastened and the postman's slide fully extended. Hang the lid on your back with the strap across your throat. When it's time to put the helmet on, simply pull it up onto your head and sinch the strap.

    *Practice every step in the same order every time.

    *Start slowly and be 100% accurate. Speed will come as your accuracy improves.

    *Practice, practice, practice! Then practice some more!

    Kevin..........you forgot to mention that you had to do all of this while walking backward in the snow..............
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZFF25 View Post
    Kevin..........you forgot to mention that you had to do all of this while walking backward in the snow..............
    and uphill!!!!!!!!!!
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    It's kind of like riding a bike or hitting a baseball....you have to practice, practice, practice until you develop "muscle memory" and all the motions become automatic. If you're having to think about it as you're doing it, you'll get all fumbly and mess yourself up.


    I agree with FfighterRob....get familiar with each step, one at a time, until you can do each step with your eyes closed, no fail, every time. Then, put them all together.

    One instructor put it to me this way..."Slow equals smooth and smooth equals fast". Get all the motions perfected just taking your time, and eventually the speed will come naturally.

    Actually, it shouldn't take too much practice to get under a minute. It seems hard at first, but once you've done it a few times a minute is a piece of cake.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
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    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFRDxplorer View Post
    and uphill!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for having my back!
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    just keep practicing man when i first started it took me around 1.30 to don all gear and air pack and now i can do it between 45 and 55 seconds all day long its just practice practice practice like the rest fo the guys have said

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFRDxplorer View Post
    and uphill!!!!!!!!!!
    ...While blindfolded, I might add!
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    Ditto,

    Practice, Practice, Practice.

    No rookie of mine has ever made it first try, but by the end of fire school, you'll be well under a minute. Most of my crew can do it mid-forties when they keep sharp.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949 View Post
    ...While blindfolded, I might add!

    You forgot to mention....while chewing gum and whistling Dixie!!!
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

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    Ditto what the others said, especially "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." That's not just something to tell yourself, it's truth.

    OP still has the coolest username on here, BTW.

    But what're you gonna do when you're not a Probie anymore? Darth Axe? Jedi Knight Hal'ee-gan?
    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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    Don't worry about it too much, and just practice, practice, practice. This is something I originally had difficulty with, though I've now gotten my time down to around 40.

    Use gloves that are too large for your hands, and fold the cuff over the glove itself. It's easier and in my experience quicker to slide the glove on without the cuff in the way, and then to pull that back, than to try to do it, fumbling your hand into the cuff. If you have to start with gloves on, start with your fingertips a little bit away from the tips of the glove, put both glove's tips under your knees, and as the clock starts, just rip your hands out. Saves time.

    Get everything down pat... check your air before you ever take the test, know the value and be ready to call that out (almost as if you didn't really look). Have anything that's verbal down to cue... don't think about it, it just slides out as your hands work.

    If you're allowed, get yourself into a position hunched over the SCBA, so that when time is called, your arms are already through the straps (not touching), you can pull the thing up, read pressure, low air, pass, twist the knob, and have the thing going over your back in a couple seconds flat.

    All sorts of tricks and tips to this one. Experiment, pay attention to what works for other guys.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by THEFIRENUT View Post
    You forgot to mention....while chewing gum and whistling Dixie!!!
    With two saltine crackers!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AZFF25 View Post
    Thanks for having my back!
    Anytime.....(stupid 10 character minimum)
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    Try putting gatorade bottles in your gloves over night too. My biggest challenge in getting the scba under 45 seconds was always my gloves, they took a good 10 seconds to get on. But once i got good gloves and got them worn in and loose I was able to do 32 seconds with the MSA packs my department uses. Also back when i took the fire academy at the local community college we used scott packs (which i think were a lot easier to do), and after learning some tricks on that me and another guy almost could throw them in under 20 seconds. That was using the overhead method from the ground. Now we do the coat throw.

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    Thanks for all of your great suggestions. I will be keeping those in mind in the following weeks as I start practicing this.

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    It is hard the first time you try but you will get the hang of it. Im only a jr firefighter and my dads a chief at the same station and when i joined a little test they made us try was putting on our gear in 60 seconds and then we messed around with the packing up in 60 seconds. just start out slow and work into it. a good way of first putting the air pack on is the over the head method. ask some guys at your station they will probably be able to show you.

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    My two cents would be to learn how to do it with your gloves on! So when you start taking in runs you can have your gloves on while responding and you don't have to mess around with them at the front door/ fire floor! I've never been timed but I'm pretty sure I can get my facepiece , hood, and helmet on in less than 30 seconds w/ my gloves on! Practice makes perfect though!

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    Originally Posted by AZFF25
    Kevin..........you forgot to mention that you had to do all of this while walking backward in the snow..............
    Originally posted by THEFIRENUT
    while chewing gum and whistling Dixie!!!
    Originally posted by RFDExplorer
    and uphill!!!!!!!!!!
    Both ways!

    to quote Yoda...

    SCBA you will don in less than a minute with practice, practice, practice.. try not, do Young Jedi
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 03-13-2008 at 09:25 AM.
    ‎"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

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    Quick question...
    Do you have 60 seconds to don your SCBA and be breathing air or do you have 60 seconds to don all of your PPE (including SCBA)???
    MCFD Station 1- "The Second-Due Saviors."
    ***My views and/or opinions on this site are those of myself and not my department.***

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    I can have my PPE on in about 20-35 seconds, depending on what type of call it is. SCBA I can get on in about 35-40 seconds average. Not that hard, just depends on how you lay it out, what type of SCBA it is, etc. Obviously, you aren't going to get in on in the same amount of time sitting in a crowded engine, but still, if you get it down to an art form, it always makes it easier.

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