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  • SCBA Waist Straps

    OK , just a B.S. question for you'se guys. How many of you actually wear your SCBA waist srap correctly? Which apparently means connected and tightened. If not,Why Not?

    Me personally, I prefer not to, and usually don't. If there is certian brass on scene i will connect it outside, but when I am in my world, on the iside, I usually end up disconnecting it. That way my coat pockets are unobstructed.

    Not real ground shakin' stuff here, just curious. Thanks Brothers.

    ------------------
    FTM - PTB

  • #2
    I always wear my waist strap buckled and cinched up tight. I keep the shoulder straps loose enough to fit a gloved hand under. I find it much more comfortable that way. The weight of the SCBA is much more easily carried on the hips than on the shoulders. This same principle is also used by backpackers, carry the weight low and over your center of gravity. It is also much easier to work if the shoulder straps are looser, they do not confine your upward mobility. I also do not want my waist strap to snag on anything and restrict me.

    As far as coat pockets go, that's were I keep my gloves and hood and I have those on with my SCBA so there is no need to get into the coat pockets. I keep other things i may need, like wire cutters, webbing, wedges, latch straps, etc. in my turnout pants pockets which are much more accessible.

    ------------------
    Mike Gentili, Capt.
    New Bedford Fire Dept.

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    • #3
      I've had my get tangled on things and have got stuck if they're not snapped together and pulled tight so I do it all the time now.

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      • #4
        $10.00 first time fine for not buckling your waist strap in my Company - $25.00 second time fine - and suspension for third time. We have had members injured with minor sprains and slight(?) burns because their waist straps have been caught on ladders, under doors, on machinery, on and under furniture, AND besides getting hurt - they delayed our SAR, fire attack, and emergency egresses. Same fines for not wearing NOMEX hoods and gloves.

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        • #5
          It seemed I always needed something from a pocket (hinge hook, wedge, spanner, knife) and those darn straps were in the way so I used to roll mine up and put a small velcro strap around them. I liked it, kept them from getting caught and I could get in the pockets easy, but I was told to use the straps or else by my officers - one of which got his buckled waist strap caught on the top of a handrail yesterday. I don't like them, but I use them.

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          • #6
            I took a R.I.T. class a few years back that made me change the way I wore my waist strap. Before I always wore the shoulder straps cinched tight and the waist strap connected, but loose. The instructors told the us that the majority of us were wearing it wrong, that the shoulder straps should be loose and the waist strap tight. That way it was easier for a fellow firefighter to grab us and drag us out if we needed it. So from then on I have worn the straps the way they taught us. Another thing, If your SCBA mask has a neck strap, be sure to wear it the proper way. My partner got his neck strap hung up in a mobile home fire and when he tried to pull free he ripped his mask off, took in a lung full of smoke, fell to the floor and had to be drug out. He was ok after a while...and you can imagine from that point on he makes sure the neck strap is right as rain before he goes in.

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            • #7
              Me-Sometimes I get lazy and leave it hanging, like on alarm system calls and BS, but the majority of th time I clip it and wear the pack weight on my waist. I know its wrong not to wear it and thats my bad but I guess we all get lazy at some point.

              As far as others not wearing them, I still have yet to understand if it is standard FDNY practice to not buckle the waistbelt. I guess it just confuses me and I wonder why almost any picture I see of them the guys arent wearing them. I am not an FDNY basher by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I have taken training with many of their firemen and respect them for their knowledge. Anyway, will someone explain this FDNY waistbelt phenomenon to me?

              ------------------
              The information presented herein is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.

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              • #8
                I don't wear my waist straps for the same reason 51Truck stated, and I think a lot of the guys on the job do it for the same reason, so your coat pockets are unobstructed.

                GB

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                • #9
                  I wear my waist strap tight and my shoulder straps loose. This keeps the weight on my hips and my upper body is less restricted to do things such as pulling ceiling, etc...also keeps my shoulders from getting burned b/c of better air space in my bunker coat.

                  A lot of other guys in our dept. don't wear the waist strap. It comes down to personal preference really.

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                  • #10
                    I'd be lying if I said it was the first thing I hooked up, but I do try to keep it buckled. It keeps it from getting snagged and it is there for a reason.

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                    • #11
                      I noticed noone here mentions what type of packs they are using. I wear MSA and with the waist strap buckled, it tends to get in the way of accesing my pockets on my coat. It makes it much more difficult to retrieve webbing or small tools I keep stored in the pockets. Therefore, I've gotten into the habit of leaving the waist strap undone, and making sure that it is tucked back out of the way to prevent snags, and I've encountered no problems so far. Also, if I do fasten the strap, it tends to ride up and makes belly-crawling really uncomfortable. So, I'll continue to wear it this way... it works for me.

                      [This message has been edited by lumpy649 (edited 06-04-2001).]

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                      • #12
                        yeah they may get in the way, but anyone that has taken a r.i.t. class or save your own knows the importants of the waist strap.
                        After thoughs classes you will have a different outlook on the straps.

                        [This message has been edited by haliganpg (edited 06-04-2001).]

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                        • #13
                          Sounds like it's time to start spec'ing bellows pockets on the bunker pants to carry all your stuff in!

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                          • #14
                            Good Question !!!! - I used to be one of the ones that didn't wear it because it got in the way of my pockets. That was until I stepped off the end of the Ladder and got the regulator holder stuck on the end and look like an idiot trying to get it unstuck. As far as it being in the way of my pockets, I only keep my Fire gloves and my PBI hood in them and I get them out before I tighten it.


                            ------------------
                            Eddie C. - a.k.a - PTFD21
                            Local 3008
                            "Doin' it for lives n' property"

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                            • #15
                              Greetings...Obviously, the strap buckled securely places the weight on the hips not the shoulders. Why not take the load off the shoulders, anyway? Just personal preference...Interesting innovation to mention...Scott is integrating the R.I.T. escape pack into the waiststrap next year as on option. They are working on the prototype and it sounds like a good idea.
                              FTN-PTB

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