Coming Back to Focus: Check your SCBA

After having several very engaging conversations with some good friends and respected colleagues I find myself in an odd place with the Firefighter Basics blog. I was reminded the purpose of the blog was to stay consistent on providing content on the basics and a place to vent, and share Ideas. Blogs these days have turned into much more. That being said Firefighter Basics is going to go back to its roots the Basics, but with a twist. Our Facebook page will continue to bring you content everyday on various thoughts and Ideas shared within our crew, and the happenings around the fire service. Our main site here will be refreshed with a new look, and will provide content on the BASICS of the fire service, Health and Conditioning, training and drilling content. Our intent is to bring you qualitative content and not quantitative. We are looking for some Brothers and Sisters of varying back grounds whom are interested in sharing their knowledge with the fire service. In particular if you are in to the Health and Wellness we are looking for you! If you are into training and drill development we are looking for you! If you are interested please write us a 300 word or less post and Include a BIO in the third person and the best ways to get in touch with you. As stated before the focus will get back to the Basics and we will also have information on how you can bring our crew to your area for training. Starting in June we will be doing a blog talk radio show. Here is a little something to wet your appetite.

SCBA Check Off

1. Check the the straps

2. Check the Backplate

3. Check the cylinder for significant damage i.e. exposed composite material

4. Check the cylinder to see if it is within the correct hydro date

5. Mask up and take a breath off of the cylinder

6. turn the cylinder off, breath off the rest of the air and see if your low alarm alerts on the regulator work. If you have them

7. Manual activate your pass device. with a glove hand

8. let the automatic alert for your pass device go off as well.

9. Check the cylinder to ensure if its full, if not follow your procedure to get it topped off.

10. If you are unsure of any of these steps ask someone, you know that is current with SCBA operations.

You should be arriving at work early enough so that if an alarm comes in at the start of your shift there is no guess work.

If you arrive to your volunteer station any truck is an option, so I guess you should get to work.


  • SCBA is a life saving equipment.

  • Ken Gaskin says:

    Good Afternoon
    I am interested in sharing thoughts and experience with brothers and sisters wherever they work.
    Ken is a retired firefighter with 33 years of full time professional service. The bulk of my career was riding and as an officer on a heavy rescue in London Ontario Canada. I was the platoon instructor for auto extrication and have been platoon team leader in High Angle (technical) Rescue and assistant team leader in Dive/ Surface Water Rescue. I have been involved in some very hazardous rescues and searches. Eg: male trapped in cement silo which became a Readers Digest article. This was an unusual operation as it involved confined space plus high angle and trench aspects.
    Ken has also conducted a search and fire extinguishment operation in a home with a gunman who had killed. three members of one family. While applying water and searching the home we were flanked by two members of our local SWAT team who were armed with a shotgun and a Heckler and Koch MP5.
    Ken started his career in 1980 after becoming a journey man plumber, this experience as a tradesman has proven invaluable in many aspect of my firefighting career. Ken has seen many improvements in equipment but less improvement in methods and tactics over his career. Ken was successful in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to equip all of our engines with SAED capability and was in charge of making claims for which resulted from exposures to the chemicals we al face. Ken was successful in gaining several million dollars for widows of deceased firefighters and securing medical coverage and substantial aid to help afflicted members die with dignity and without financially ruining those they left behind. We were also successful and having these brothers recognized as both Canadian LODDs and IAFF LODDs.
    I wonder that you require this be written in the third person and must admit am a bit uncomfortable writing in the third person as it seems like bragging.

  • Chris Henderson says:

    I like where you are going with this information. As I was reading I noticed a key factor that was missed and warrants mentioning. When manually activating your pass device, do so with the pack on your back. This will develop muscle memory, so in the event of a mayday your hand placement will go to the correct position and press the correct button. Checking your pass while facing it, will develop a reversed muscle memory.

  • Sandra says:

    I helped make these Airpaks earlier this year. That was a fine company to work for.

  • glenn says:

    Here are my inspection steps
    SCBA Inspection Steps
    Harness: Straps Fully Extended
    Straps No Fraying/Damage
    Frame No Damage
    Control Console good
    Battery cover good

    FacePiece: Straps good no tears
    Rubber Face seal/Nose cupgood no tears, deformities, or cracks

    Cylinder: Pressure gage both side consistent
    No Damage
    Tank above 4,000PSI
    Engage into pack flashing blue light and Orange tabs not visible

    Regulator: All hose and connections good/not cracked
    No cracks, dents, damage, gaskets good and sealed
    Locking latch operational
    Airsaver switch and purge nob operational

    Press Yellow Button on Console. Console should have one green light. If nothing, or red light batteries need replacing. On Battery pack blue light should turn to green. Anything else batteries need to be changed.

    Turn on Air at Cylinder: Regulator vibralert (bell) should sound
    3 chirps from PASS indicates that it is on
    Control console PSI consistent with tank
    Regulator shows 5 lights on heads up display (20 seconds only 2 green show)

    PASS Alarm: Let pack sit still for 20 seconds and pre-alarm should sound. Shake pack to stop
    Let pack sit still through prealarm into alarm shake pack to stop
    Let pack sit still into full alarm. Shaking should not stop alarm. Press yellow button to stop alarm
    Press red panic button. Shaking should not stop alarm. Press yellow button to stop

    Turn off Cylinder: Bleed by opening bypass ensure vibralert activates
    Double click yellow to turn off. Should click down as air bleeds with final chirp when turning off
    Close bypass valve
    Ensure that cylinder is still above 4,000PSI

    Store SCBA in ready position

  • David Norton says:

    Along with checking the hydrostatic test date, check the manufacture date to make sure the cylinder has not exceeded its life span.

  • karen dore says:

    Thanks for that info on the scba…its always a great to go back to basics. …keep up the with the grest posts.. cheers kaz ☺

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