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SCBA tips and tricks

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  • SCBA tips and tricks

    What tips and tricks do you use to slow your breathing or just generally calm your anxiety?
    Last night we ran black out drills and I found that my breathing was not what I would want it to be number 1 and when facing tight quarters (i.e. under a truck) I found that the combination of my accelerated breathing and my anxiety over that plus the tight quarters and lack of mobility led to what I would call a panic attack in the sense that I "had" to back out from under the truck and fess up to the captain. I am disappointed as I have not struggled with anxiety or panic before, but I've also not been blacked out, jammed under a truck and sucking down a bottle of oxygen ahead of schedule. Just looking for pointers.

  • #2
    Just keep practicing. It will improve with time. You have to be conscious of your breathing rate and remind yourself to just slow that rate down some. Being in good shape from a cardio-vascular standpoint is important too. You'll never control your breathing if you are simply out of shape.
    The other consideration is the type of training you do. Is it necessary to be "jammed under a truck" for some reason? Do you have an unusually high number of indoor truck storage facilities in your response area that you are preparing for? For someone who is not real experienced, the training should be simplified.

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    • #3
      Captain said the same thing. Practice will ease the anxiety and thus let you focus more on controlling your breathing. We did run the pack out of air purposely (EMT at the ready) to shed some light on what that was like and what kind of timing you'll have, etc. I think that helped some to shed some light on that.
      Fair point on training type. I did a blackout room course a few weeks back and didn't have the same response as under the truck. The drill was simply following the line to the nozzle with some obstacles thrown in.

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      • #4
        That's why we train. You'll do better each time.
        “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
        ― Hunter S. Thompson

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        • #5
          I see this a bit of an older post, I just stumbled in here for the first time. I was taught many years ago in order to get familiar with the pack do simple chores such as sweeping the bays out or even sitting in the day room with it on. Start with the facepiece only and then go on air after a bit. You will be comfortable with the surroundings and will be at ease. Time yourself to know how long you can make a cylinder last, the average firefighter can only get 10-12 minutes from a 30 minute cylinder in heavy working conditions. If you know your limits and can improve on your practices it might just save you in a survival situation.

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