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  • Refilling SCBA

    Just wondering if people are using the quickfill method of refilling SCBA or are you taking the cylinder off of the FFs back and replacing it with a full one and then refilling in a "chamber" for protection.

    Some of us feel that it should almost always be filled in the chamber but are being told that quickfill system is also just fine.

    Just wondering what methods different FDs are using.

    Thanks
    Lance

  • #2
    We don't have the quick fills. We just replace the bottle, and if we will be on scene for awhile, we call one of our Mutual aid departments for their air-wagon.
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
    IACOJ

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    • #3
      Our Cascade System is on our Salvage truck. We dont have a "chamber" we put them in we just sit them on the table in our truck, Us three Cadets have found it fairly fast to just take the bottle off the firefighters back and replace it with a full one, then we just simply hook the empty one to our Cascade system then refill the bottle then place it back on the shelf. When we get back to the station we usually refill the cascade system.

      We have a five bottle cascade system, its just simply the five yellow bottles and hose connecting them together. we fill Cascade to 2800 and the Compressor shuts off. The Airpacks get filled to 2200 psi.

      We do it the old way with filling up bottles, most Departments now days have a non-homemade fill station. Kinda scares the crap out of you when you undo the hose from the bottle, since we dont have a little relief valve or what ever you call it, but we do have one on the compressor that fills the Cascade system.
      Ryan

      I.A.C.O.J. Probie

      You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt

      Lets not forget those lost on 9-11-01

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      • #4
        Quick Fill?

        I don't even want to think about the idea of refilling an SCBA bottle while it is still strapped to ones back I don't care how safe somebody tells me it is.

        My department uses Scott 4.5 Air-Pak Fifty. When a firefighter needs a new bottle, a new bottle is put in the harness for them. All used bottles are refilled inside an enclosed Bauer compressor back at the station which fills three bottles at a time.

        Have you ever seen what an exploding bottle does to fire apparatus? Could you image what it would do to a firefighter if it exploded on their back?
        Chris Shields
        Lieutenant / EMT
        Haz-Mat Technician
        East Syracuse Fire Dept
        Onondaga County, NY

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        • #5
          On our heavy rescue, which includes the High Pressure Air Unit, we fill the bottles in well a better spot than a table but less safe than a chamber. We have pretty much a chamber that does not close. If I think of it maybe I will take a picture.

          I dont know which is better. I know we are being told now that it should be a completely enclosed area to fill bottles. But back in the day they were supposed to be in water? So who knows.

          As always this statement stands true.

          Theres always a better way, but there is usually only one way you can do it.
          Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
          Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
          Randolph Fire Co. Inc

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          • #6
            we have a cascade system on our rescue truck and in the back of our firehouse.when a firefighter has an empty bottle we change it with a new one then we put it into the chamber to fill up.

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            • #7
              No quick fill system here. Bottles are swapped out for new ones on the firefighter's back. They are either refilled with a compressor at the station or, on extended incidents, by a neighboring FDs portable cascade unit.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Here's a funny story:

                When we bought our MSA 2200's a few years back, the quick fill was starting to become very popular. The salesman touted this and made a big deal out of the "safety" of this system, blah, blah, blah. While this was not a deciding factor for us, we used it pretty regularly, as our chief at the time didn't think it was neccessary to include a fragmentation tank with our new engine's cascade system (sigh).

                We bought new MSAs last year, 4500s this time. Different supplier, salesman again preached the beauty of the MSA quick fill. So great was this thing, that after such-and-such date, ALL SCBAs would have to have THIS STYLE per NFPA. Uh, okay, yeah, we've got that now. It's okay, but.... Anyway, we got a new compressor at the same time.

                Service tech from the same company came out a short time later to install the new compressor. He saw us filling a pack (on the ground) using the quick fill and turned white as a ghost! After a breif conversation, we wrote an SOP that states that the quick fill will be used only in dire emergencies where a full bottle is needed immediately and none are ready for swapping (rescue or RIT situation when a fresh bottle is needed RIGHT NOW). And we are installing a frag tank in the engine for the cascade.

                So the point of that rambling diatribe is, it's probably not a good idea to use those quick fills as a general rule. And backdraft, I would quit filling bottles outside of a frag tank, if I were you. If one does blow on ya, OSHA will tear your department a new one.
                Omnis Cedo Domus

                www.hinckleyfd.org

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                • #9
                  FYI. The DOT Research and Special Programs Administration investigates cylinder failures. Under the Freedom of Information Act they put a number of their reports on the Internet. Some are SCUBA cylinders, some are SCBA but the point is pretty obvious. Fill high pressure cylinders only in a fragmentation container. Be safe.

                  http://hazmat.dot.gov/files/foia/3al...is.reports.htm

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                  • #10
                    We are using a metal purpose built rack for filling draeger 300 bar (4500 psi) cylinders. Cylinders are filled in upright position with only the top inch and the valve protruding. We have also put a water circulation system on it to keep overheating to a minimum. Absolutely no thought of quick filling on a fire fighters back. I've never seen a BA cylinder go, but I have seen results of a N2 cylinder that exploded. Right through a concrete block wall and put a dent about 8 inches deep in the tank of a water tender in the next bay. Quick fill may be safe most of the time but that is not sure enough in my book. Just my opinion

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                    • #11
                      I wasn't aware of this system that re-fills bottles while they are still attached to your back. Not for nuthin' but that seems kind of like strapping C4 to to chest and playing with the trigger button. I don't like the way we fill them now behind a concrete wall, forget while it is on my back.
                      Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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                      • #12
                        Quick fill is not a good idea, except in really dire circumstances, air cylinders should be filled SLOWLY, between 300 and 600 psi per minute, and always in a safe environment.before refilling back at the station the cylinder should be inspected for damage and also to ensure the hydrostatic date is still in compliance.

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                        • #13
                          I wonder if anyone could find some pictures of a blown cylinder or what damage it could do. I think our Department needs a chamber installed so we can safely refill our Air Bottles. Is there any certain type of chamber you must get, I have seen many that are just a chamber that is open at the top, and you jsut slide the bottle in, wouldnt you think it should be completely covered for the fear of the (What ever its called, the thing on the neck of the bottle) blowing off?
                          Ryan

                          I.A.C.O.J. Probie

                          You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt

                          Lets not forget those lost on 9-11-01

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Luxfer, who actually manufacture's most SCBA bottles, has a limit of 2000psi per minute when filling bottles. Of course, that leaves it red hot and once cooled about 25% of volume is lost. Call them, they'll tell you.

                            The only "approved" filling station have a completely enclosed fragment tank. They are designed to keep all parts of the bottle from flying loosely and are also designed to handle the large volume/pressure of air that will be released and direct it away from the operator. Are there other types out there, Yes, of course, but should something go wrong...OSHA will say Hello.
                            "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
                              Fill on your back??? Not for this guy!!

                              I have a guy in a neighboring town who learned the unfortunate way what happens when a cylinder fails and is not in a fragmentation chamber. You get permanently injured (luckily not dead in this case!)

                              Oh and as a result guess who knocked on the door since it was a workplace injury?? You got it OSHA actually it sounded more like OH SH#T when the door opened!

                              You're right and they were right with the statement "we've always done it this way!" If you live to tell about that complacency I bet you won't do it that way again. Learn from other people's experiences and reduce the risk as much as possible!

                              Comment

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