SCBA Familiarization

Do you know your SCBA? Really, REALLY know it? I do…mostly, I’m ashamed to admit I could know the numbers and pressure levels a bit better.  Being part of a few training classes has really opened my eyes to some of my deficiencies.  Some of the basic tasks of this calling I’m not as proficient as I thought. Granted, if I told the recruits that they could pump water from the East coast to the West coast and they would most likely believe me. But if they challenged me to prove it I would be hard pressed to demonstrate it.  As a rule I avoid making claims that I cannot prove or defend.

So when one of the recruits challenged me in a race to don an SCBA, I accepted. The challenge is to turn on the bottle, don the face piece, start air flow and have all equipment properly worn. Of course I had to handicap it in my favor. I told him the only way I would race him is if we put flash hoods on backwards first. I won.

With that in mind today’s drill is SCBA familiarization. This floated to the surface after watching the recruits struggle with the maze confidence course. There is nothing life threatening in the maze, and calling it a maze is a stretch.  It is a chance for them to work through a search, negotiate some obstacles and become more familiar with their equipment. Some obstacles require the removal of the pack, some just sliding the pack into their armpits and there are also some entanglements but nothing that should be too difficult to work through. The recruits had a difficult time, which is to be expected. We also ran a couple of seasoned guys through during that same time and a couple had SCBA issues that I can only attribute to lack of familiarization with the equipment, but  they did make it through without “dying”.

My opinion on training is that it should be harder than any expected reality. Anyone can kneel down and  don a bottle and harness. Try to make it harder.

Start with all necessary equipment laid out in front of you however you like, some guys kneel on their gloves  etc… The standards I used for a successful finished product in this drill are; Mask on flowing air, pack on your back fully opened cylinder with straps adjusted and seat belt on, 2nd PASS activated, gloved hands in the air.

The levels I had the recruits do are as follows.

1. No restrictions

 

2. Gloves on

3. Gloves on and a flash hood on backwards.

4. Gloves and reversed hood on, equipment messed with.

For the “Equipment messed with” the instructors would go around and rearrange the layout, randomly tighten straps, buckle the seat belt, turn the bottle or even the harness around. For the recruits that were really good we would tangle lines and straps.

 

Good luck to you, and stay safe.

 

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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 firefighterbasics@gmail.com
Comments
ladderjack
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
Anthony, Thank you for your response. I hope I didn't come off as saying that "I am the only opinion that matters in this paper." I agree with you 100% that there is no "Set" way to do anything, and that we need to keep our minds open to different techniques and thinking outside of…
2014-08-27 20:34:16
Ryan McGovern/ Ladderjack
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
Ben, Thanks a lot for your comment! You're definitely right that there needs to be hoseline protection given to the guys working above the fire; and that a TIC should be utilized when attempting VES techniques. Every little thing we can do and engineer to make an already dangerous maneuver safer is a must! Thanks…
2014-08-27 20:25:20
Anthony Correia
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
While VSP was written as an EFO paper, the paper it is not end all be all on this topic. In a presentation Marsars did last year, he himself said it wasn't 100%. Even gave an example of a fire in his home local where a person lived, that would of met unlikely survivability profiling.…
2014-08-27 19:24:24
Ben Waller
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
...OK, it was 3 points, but who is counting?
2014-08-26 23:44:08
Ben Waller
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
I agree, with two additional points. VIES of the tenable 2nd story windows should include the following - 1. A heavy Transitional attack in the 1st floor windows below the fire to protect the truckies' access, the ladders, and egress for truckies and (potential) victims. 2. Truckies take a thermal imaging camera and size up…
2014-08-26 23:43:33

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