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Removing SCBA/Changing bottles when training for RIT situations

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  • Removing SCBA/Changing bottles when training for RIT situations

    Recently our department did some RIT training and during the training, one of the scenarios was to have the RIT team members remove their scba bottles in order to access a tube or tunnel, pushing the scba pack ahead of themselves, and once through put it back on. Also we were instructed to change out the scba bottles of the RIT team if they were low on air.
    I had a few concerns with doing that because of the problems that could arise. I don't think that a firefighter should ever remove their scba in a structure fire or RIT situation. In all of the training videos I have watched I have never seen a firefighter or RIT team member remove their scba or change out a bottle during these types of situations. My question is, do all departments train their firefighters to remove their scba or change out the bottle while insde a structure? Would a firefighter actually do that in a live structure fire? Seeking knowledge.

  • #2
    We teach our members to remove the pack in order to squeeze through tight spots, but not to change a bottle while interior. I'm not really sure of a practical use of changing out the bottle. Where would the new bottle come from and what air would they use to breathe while changing it out? I suspect the answer is another firefighter would bring it to them and buddy breathes while changing out the bottle, a kind of RIT for the RIT. If that is the case, just have the person bringing the bottle continue the operation and have the team low on air exit and replace the bottle.

    We do teach buddy breathing and using a RIT pack to assist a downed firefighter, but not change out the bottle.

    As far as removing the pack, again, we do teach that, more as a self rescue technique than a RIT technique. Part or our drill requires the firefighter to negotiate a small opening. Only very skinny firefighters can get through without removing the pack. we require them to keep positive control of the pack and check the other side of the operning before sending the pack through.

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    • #3
      We also teach the removal of the SCBA in order to fit through tight/confined spaces ... hell, I learned this 20 years ago as part of my Firefighter I class. Granted, there's always been discussion about pushing the pack ahead of you or pulling it behind you, but that's for another thread.

      I have to agree that swapping out the cylinder in the IDLH is pretty unorthodox, however.
      Career Fire Captain
      Volunteer Chief Officer


      Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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      • #4
        We teach firefighters to move remove their SCBA in tight areas to move ahead or back.

        The swapping out of SCBA bottles for RIT came about before buddy breathing systems were required. It is still a good technique to learn because not every fire department has new SCBA. The idea behind it was if you had a trapped firefighter that was low on air either because he/she had been inside too long or they have been trapped that long because it is taking the RIT crew a long time to get them untrapped. It is practiced enough the firefighter is only off air for a few seconds. And if successful they should have another 30 minutes of air to use.
        NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
        IACOJ Attack

        Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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        • #5
          Instead of trying to change the stuck ff's bottle....use a RIT pack. Couple seconds to change a regulator over on the mask.

          Yes, we train to remove your own SCBA for a reduced profile.
          "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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          • #6
            That is a quick way to do if the SCBAs are the same brand and model.
            NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
            IACOJ Attack

            Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bones42 View Post
              Instead of trying to change the stuck ff's bottle....use a RIT pack. Couple seconds to change a regulator over on the mask.
              Or simply use the universal refill connection (URC) to transfill, regardless of brand or model.
              Career Fire Captain
              Volunteer Chief Officer


              Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RyanEMVFD View Post
                That is a quick way to do if the SCBAs are the same brand and model.
                That's why RIT packs have a new mask attached to the regulator. IMHO, as much of a pain in the arse as it can be, changing masks will be a lot easier than changing bottles. I would also argue that switching masks and getting the FF back on air will be faster than changing out the bottle too.

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                • #9
                  All the information is greatly appreciated but I will try to clarify about changing out the bottles. We are teaching changing out the bottles of the RIT team with a secondary RIT team, and not the downed firefighters. My concerns to my captains were, there are few problems that could arise, like being unable to get the new bottle back in place in a timely fashion or dropping the botttle and it rolls away. I suggested that the RIT pack be used to refill the RIT teams bottles and if thats not possible the RIT team that is low on air should exit and let the secondary RIT team attend to the downed firefighter. I was trying to see what other departments are teaching and to see if our department is going about it differently then everyone else.

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                  • #10
                    The RIT packs I've seen only self equalize once connected. How many "RIT team" bottles do you think you will refill with one?? Your captains are teaching you air management. And the first rule of air management is.... more is better.
                    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
                      Or simply use the universal refill connection (URC) to transfill, regardless of brand or model.
                      To be honest....the URC is not common in this area. We give them a new full bottle, not a partial one.
                      "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AFD Firefighter View Post
                        ...We are teaching changing out the bottles of the RIT team with a secondary RIT team, and not the downed firefighters...
                        As you yourself state...if the RIT team is low on air, why is that team not being changed out instead of just their bottles? Are they super human and never get tired themselves?

                        Other question. If your RIT team is going to work, do you call (or have) another RIT team on the ready just in case the first team gets in trouble? If so, when the first team runs low on air, the second should take over.
                        "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bones42 - when training, we train with 2 teams for RIT which consist of 2 personell each. I think we would both agree that is still not enough personell to facilitate a proper rescue, but we work with what we have. I agree with you, the first team should remove themselves for the situation and let the second team take over. Just trying to see how other departments are training in regards to this type of situation. Thanks for you knowledge and advice. It is greatly appreciated.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            2 teams of 2....well, you got to learn to work with what you have.

                            Here's a link to our FAST (RIT) SOG....http://www.ofc1.org/pdfsogs/FAST%20Response.pdf
                            "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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                            • #15
                              I'm just glad this section of the forum is getting active. RIT has to be one of the most important concepts created for FDs in recent history.
                              NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
                              IACOJ Attack

                              Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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