SCBA Confidence Drill

This is a simple drill that†I learned a while back. I find it useful when we get new guys to acclimate them to the SCBA. It is†also useful for the guys that have been around for a while and† has the ability to humble some of the “Veterans” who think they have it all and are “good to go.”† There are a few different versions that†I have come up with over the last few years. Please feel free to comment on your likes, and dislikes for the drill and I will post the other versions over the next few weeks.

Equipment needed:

100 Ft. of 1 3/4 hose

1 1 3/4 combination nozzle

1 Complete SCBA

1 Male and 1 Female coupling (either 1 section of hose connected to itself or an old set of couplings.)

Full PPE and something to cover the face piece.

Hand Tool of choice


Lay the hose out and make a maze. Use your imagination. There are almost no limits to how you can set this drill up. Dis-assemble the SCBA and place the cylinder in one spot along the hose and the harness in another.

“Black out” the face piece. We used a commercial smoke trainer but you can use wax paper, press-and-seal or another type of material. I do not recommend using your flash hood turned backward due to it potentially getting in the way on the later parts of the drill. Have the Firefighter put on full PPE. Starting at the open female coupling, have the firefighter follow the hand line†until they find either the cylinder or harness, whichever you put inline first.

When found they must continue on till they find the other piece.

Once they have found both the cylinder and harness, have them assemble both pieces. This is the part that messes up†most people cause they get frustrated when they try to place the connection on the cylinder.

Once they get the SCBA assembled they will go on air and continue to the end. Once at the end they must be able to tell if the nozzle is open or closed and on fog or straight stream.

They can now come off air but stay on the ground. Hand them the attached couplings. Explain to them that they got separated from the handline but have found it again. They are not sure which way to go to get out. They have found the coupling and they must tell which way is out.

This is a relatively simple drill that doesn’t take much time at all to set up and involves a minimal amount of equipment.† Thank you to Firefighters Greene, Johnston and Sorenson for their assistance in setting up and performing this drill. I hope everyone can get some use out of the drill. Let me know what you think once you have tried it. Give me some feed back about what you liked or disliked and if you have anything to add to the drill. Take care and be safe.


  • Ty says:

    Cool – I like this idea. Would be really good for all people new recruits and veteran firefighters.

  • Christopher says:

    Great little drill info. This one brings new and old thoughts together by combining the scba fam, equipt fam, and lost firefighter fam. Great Work.

  • Willie says:

    It sound like a great drill. What happen to the pictures? It would get everyone in the frame mind again.

    • firestudent1 says:

      Willie the pics where lost in our gallery. We are working to recover them. Sorry about the delayed response. Hope to have them back up soon.

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at

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