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  • Oxygen BA/Long Duration BA/Closed Circuit BA

    Just a quick question to some of you guys from the USA.

    Is OBA/Long Duration/Closed Circuit BA used in the US? I've been looking on lots of individual department websites and can't find any references to its use or any specialty appliances that carry it.

    If they are in use, what models do you use?

    Thanks

  • #2
    OBA/Long Duration/Closed Circuit BA are used only for specialized situations (hazmat, confined space/tech/tunnel rescue, etc)
    The only brand I have seen is made by Bio-Pack.

    The prevelant type of SCBA units in use are the open circuit, positive pressure types. The major manufacturers are Scott, MSA, Interspiro, Draeger and Survivaire.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #3
      I don't know of any departments in the US that use them, but a few years back the US Navy was still using them. I really doubt any Depts here do. My friend was in the navy, but I'm not sure what brand they used.
      http://www.sanantoniofire.org

      IACOJ
      Got Crust?

      We lucky few, ... we band of brothers

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      • #4
        Not in use with any FD's outside of NASA but the liquid air pack (LAP) may be the BA of the future.

        The LAP uses liquified air (under surprisingly low pressure) to provide the wearer with cool (reduces fatigue) supply of air, is lighter than traditional pack (again fatigue), of lower profile (confined space), and provides a working FF'r with almost an hour of air.

        The unit was designed by NASA to address the long exposure to hazardous enviroments and high work load the Kennedy Space Center fire department shuttle rescue squad must endure (they respond to the scene in a M-113 armored personel carrier).

        The unit may find commercial success now that a small portable liquid air generator has been developed by NASA.

        There was a pretty neat web site for the KSC fire brigade but it appears the job has been contracted out and I can no longer find their site

        This is a press release regarding the latest development with the LAP.

        http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/release/1996/106-96.htm
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        • #5
          My brother is in the Canadian Navy, and they still use closed circuit systems for ship-borne fire fighting. The dedicated on-board firefighters are employed primarily for aircraft firefighting and they use standard Scott SCBA and conventional turnout gear (helicopter deck crashes, etc.).
          Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

          IACOJ

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          • #6
            OBA/Long Duration/Closed Circuit BA are used only for specialized situations (hazmat, confined space/tech/tunnel rescue, etc)

            And at that I'd say *highly* specialized. Safety regs allow use of supplied-air breathing apparatus with hose lengths upto 300' in conjunction with either an SCBA or a 5-minute "Escape Pack" and that's what I've seen the most of.
            IACOJ Canine Officer
            20/50

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            • #7
              OBA/Long Duration/Closed Circuit BA are used only for specialized situations (hazmat, confined space/tech/tunnel rescue, etc)
              The only brand I have seen is made by Bio-Pack.
              OBA is only used in my organisation for the same purpose and is only carried by our specialty BA appliances. Generally speaking it's a strictly career staff affair too, I only know of a handfull of volunteers who are trained in it's use.

              I only asked the question because on all of the dept websites I visited I couldn't find any mention of it, even specialty hazmat departments.

              The sets my organisation use are the Draeger BG-174 and the newer, BG-4

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              • #8
                YES THE US NAVY STILL USES OBA'S . BUT THEY ARE BEING REPLACED BY THE SCOTT PACK 4.5 SCBA THE US NAVY HAS MANY WEBSITES LIKE WWW.TPUB.COM/DC32/ AND WWW.NAVSEA.NAVY.MIL/O5P9 I SHOULD KNOW THIS I AM A DAMAGE CONTROLMAN THE NAVY'S FIREFIGHTING EXPERTS WE DO THE TRAINING AND ARE THE PRIMARY FIRE PARTY OR SHIPS FIRE DEPARTMENT. THE TYPE OF OBA THAT IS USED IS MSA TYPE A-4 . YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS EMAIL ME AT [email protected]

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                • #9
                  notice OBA's in the locker, and made some comment like "oh S**T they still use OBA's."
                  Why does the seeing of OBA strike such a reaction?

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                  • #10
                    Dave
                    I do not mean to rude.But I will tell you OBA's suck wearing them the things are dangerous and uncomfortable to wear.. The canisters are not only haz mat. they pose a explosive hazard. You have to depend on a timer and you can't use in a flammable environment . cause of the heat generated by the canister . I love the SCOTTS cause they are much easier to use and you can breath cool air in stead of hot air. and you wear them over a extend period of time with out killing your back . So you do not get run down as easy. OBA's are an antique . I am glad the Navy and Coasties are going in the right direction in updating their firefighting equipment. Being a Navy Damage Controlman I have used the OBA Scott and Introspiro . and the Scott is the best it is user friendly .and when you do a fly of to another ship. it is easier to bring along not as cumbersome like the MSA OBA type A-4

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                    • #11
                      I never suggested that OBA was the way to go in normal day-to-day firefighting, i never actually suggested it's use in firefighting at all. But while the technology may be old, they are far from "antiques" and still serve a purpose in Hazmat and Confined Space Rescue areas where CABA and Supplied-Air lines/trollies aren't practical.

                      With that said, if LABA (or the LAP as Fire304 called it) does become more widley available then it is likely that this will take the place of OBA, if not CABA*.

                      * I don't believe it should be allowed to, but that's another kettle of fish entirely.

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                      • #12
                        My thoughts on OBA's

                        The other negative issue with the OBA is that it is not possitive pressure.

                        On the plus side, they are lower maintenance while in storage, and anyone can "refill" one, even while in a hazardous (but not explosive) enviroment just by switching canisters.

                        I did a preplanning tour of a local USCG bouy tender a couple of years ago and was surprised to see OBA canisters in dispensers next to the damage control lockers. I ask the CPO who was giving the tour why they didn't have Scotts or other CABA's and he told me that they had them for a few years but after a couple of near disasters where empty bottles were "in service" during real fires the USCG switched back to OBA's.

                        I have to agree that OBA's (which I learned to use when I was in the US Marines) are simpler if you are going to put it away and forget about it. To put it bluntly, they are squid and grunt proof. While the Damage Control Team have the time to learn the aspects of CABA's the average sailor is much better off with OBA's, knowing that if the rip cord is still in the cartridge there is air to breath, if not toss the cartridge and install a new one.
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                        If you are new to posting please CLICK HERE for an essential lesson
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                        A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

                        IACOJ Fire Boat 1

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                        • #13
                          Liquid Air

                          Dave, like you, when I first heard of the liquid air BA's my initial thought was "what are they smoking?" but as I read it sounded more and more interesting.

                          Since the air is liquid you can carry a lot more in a smaller bottle. Also, since the liquid cools as it evaporates you are breathing quite cool (65 F was the target temp but it is adjustable) air. You could even use the air to cool yourself off if you wear a cooling vest tied into the system.

                          When NASA first started working on LAP the the KSC fire crews wore Scott's which had been modified so they could carry a total of 4 30 minute bottles, all strapped to their legs (The escape hatch to the shuttle is a 20" wide hole, back worn SCBA would not fit). While in the response vehicle (an M-113 armored personel carrier) they pluged in and breathed from on board tanks, and still barely had enough air to go up the launch tower, climb into the shuttle to unstrap the crew, and climb back down (some of the rocket fuels are very dangerous poisons so the crew has to be on air 100% of the time). The LAP (which is their acronym) gave them ample time to get their job done and involved less effort to use resulting in less fatigue = use less air and get done quicker.

                          The pack has a lot of tubing in it to allow the liquid air to evaporate and warm up, infact the tubing takes up more room than the bottle does. In testing they found that a firefighter could do over 60 minutes of medium to hard work and over 2 1/2 hours resting on one bottle.

                          There were only two problems they came up with. First problem was that at some angles the pickup in the bottle would draw gas instead of liquid into the pickup tube, this caused a drop in the feed of air to the user if the user stayed in that position (it was something like laying on your back with your head down at a 40 degree or greater angle for a few minutes). The other issue was that if you sat perfectly still for longer than 30 minutes the nitrogen and oxygen would begin to stratify out (like oil and water). Oxygen would boil out and you'd use up your oxygen and still have liquid N in the bottle (not good). In order for this to happen you'd have to sit perfectly still for over and hour.

                          Both of these problems have been overcome in the newest system called the SCAMP, or Super Critical Air Mobility Pack (I'm not making that up). See this link for more info on how it works:

                          http://www.nasatech.com/Briefs/Nov99/KSC11683.html

                          This link is more of an advertisment for it:
                          http://www.nasatech.com/Spinoff/spinoff2000/ps1.htm

                          The short version is they pressurize the liquid air to 750psi (still much lower than SCBA) and as a result the bottle is full of liquid, never gas, and the pressure keeps the oxygen from boiling off.

                          The filling station can fill a 1 hour bottle in 5 minutes, bottles can be changed on scene just like SCBA.

                          I like it and look forward to testing one out!
                          ________________________________________________
                          If you are new to posting please CLICK HERE for an essential lesson
                          ________________________________________________
                          A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

                          IACOJ Fire Boat 1

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                          • #14
                            I understand that there are specialist areas where the liquid air sets would be most desirable, if not a must.... But I still don't think that they should be out-sourced to your every day pumper crew. My organisation, like every other organisation in the world, has a firm belief that safety of it's firefighters is most paramount and having the most advanced breathing protection would seem to be an obvious continuation of this.

                            However, do you really want your fire fighters to be able to go into an environment that the human body wasn't designed to go for up to an hour and a half, if not longer. (Some of the stuff i've been reading says that these sets may be able to accomodate 2hrs of moderate work and still have air to spare no problems). With you're average 200bar CABA set , depending on fitness, you're looking at somewhere between 25 - 35 minutes of working time... I'd much rather firefighters do 30 minutes of work, come out have a break and then continue. It's not a good idea to send people into a burning structure for them to come out 2 hrs later.

                            I fear that if used in normal, day-to-day, firefighting these sets will give your average jo-blo firefighter an unrealistic view of it's own abilities. Just because you CAN work for an hour and a half, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

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                            • #15
                              I hear you Dave, and I've expressed simular doubts in the past, but there are two thoughts that go with my desire to see these units.

                              #1, you don't have to get a 2 hour pack. You can get "1hour" bottles for our Scott 5.0's but we chose to stick with 30 minute bottles. The 1 hour bottles have a higher profile than the 30 mintues do. I'm sure if you spec'd smaller tanks you could get them (and the packs would also be smaller and lighter).

                              #2 a 30 minute Scott bottle gets me 15-20 mintues of work, I go through a bottle if I vent a roof with an axe by myself (and I can outlast most of my peers in a head to head competition). Also, 20 mintues of air is not much when you are searching a large building. I can't help but wonder if the 6 brothers who died in Worcester would not have walked out had they longer endurance bottles. It is SOP for FDNY and other highrise FD's to carry spare bottles in the building with them if they are in a highrise, longer endurance packs would mean they could carry more tools and be better rested (since their packs and tools are lighter) than with current packs.

                              No, I don't think the exact model used by NASA would be right for all FD's but a smaller, lighter, and shorter endurance model (45 minutes actual working time) would be great. And with some advances you could see your SCBA built into your coat with intergrated cooling vest, super low profile, high endurance. It may take a while to get there, but I look forward to it.
                              ________________________________________________
                              If you are new to posting please CLICK HERE for an essential lesson
                              ________________________________________________
                              A bad day in the boat is better than a good day in the office. And in my case the office is a boat!

                              IACOJ Fire Boat 1

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