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Air Bottles

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  • Air Bottles

    I am on a small volunteer department. We are soon going to be providing extrication. I have several questions, but at this moment the one I need answered is this: Using 2216psi airbottles to power airtools and airbags, how many 30 min(SCBA) bottles should we carry?

    Thanks all for your information.

    Patrick Cassidy

  • #2
    "how many bottles should you carry?"

    how much air does your tools use?
    My opinion only, try to have enough air for 20 to 30 minutes of cutting, if after 30 minutes you havent made significant progress then that obviously wasn't the correct approch to your problem. Hopefully after a few minutes you'll know if your tool selection was correct.

    Also how many tools are you will you be using that need air. Will you have just an air chisel, or will you be using airbags, impact wrench, saw?

    I would start with the thirty minutes of use. Try using the tools in drill and see how much you need.

    Stay safe


    • #3
      For us, we generally carry two 2216 bottles and one large nitrogen bottle for our airbags and chisel. We have found that the 2216 bottles only last about 5 minutes worth on the chisel. We have easily cut the top completely off of a "on its side" minivan with one 2216 bottle before. As for the airbags, we use high pressure bags and we can fill quite a few bags(more than we have ever needed) with one 2216 bottle. One other thing though, I like to keep the air supply 2216 bottles separate from the actual breathing 2216 bottles. Once used on the airtools or airbags, I like to keep them that way.
      Hope this helps! Remember, practice and drilling with your tools are the only safe and efficient advice to take from.

      Todd Metzger
      Captain, Extrication Instructor
      Rolla Rural Fire Dept.


      • #4

        How come you keep them separate? Just an orderly way of doing things or is there an operational concern?

        I ask because on our heavy rescue we made an effort to make sure the air cart bottles were interchangeable with the SCBA. Reduced our inventory number needed to meet the NFPA 1901 requirement to have one spare bottle for every SCBA.


        • #5
          engine 224, The reason that they keep them separate is that you will be moisture in the tank and you dont want to use it with a scba if you have water in the tank. Right Todd.

          By the way whats up todd, have a good one.



          • #6
            hammerhead 338
            I don't see how your going to get any water in your air bottles. When filling the compressor takes the moisture out of the air before it goes into the bottles. Keeping the bottles seperate seems like extra work.

            Keep as many bottles as you have room for on your rescue. We carry 11 2216 bottles on our rescue but that's all we have room for. If we had more room we would probably carry more.

            Mike Piekielniak
            EMS Officer
            Remsen Fire Dept.


            • #7
              FFMike9, I use to be on the dept that firetoad is on and our officers always told us that you could get moisture in the tanks, and they wanted to keep them separate. We were told that the air is taken out of the tank so fast the it leaves moisture in the tank.



              • #8
                Might get water on the OUTSIDE of the tank when you use the air rapidly but it can't condense on the inside unless the air is moist to begin with. There are breathing air standards that specify the maximum humidity of compressor air.

                Any SCBA or compressor experts out there?

                Can the rapid use of an air cylinder cause excess moisture fall out INSIDE the cylinder?


                • #9
                  Hammerhead 338
                  I hadn't heard of that before. It sounds possible, although there still shouldn't be any moisture in the air.

                  I have to agree with engine 224 about condensation on the outside of the tank.

                  He's right any compressor experts out there?



                  • #10
                    I'm not an expert on SCBA in any way but I worked for a fire equipment company that tested SCBA bottles both steel and fiberglass for 5 years and have seen and tested a countless number of bottles.

                    The test performed every three years on a fiberglass SCBA bottle, and many other "pressurized cylinders" such as CO2 extinguishers, oxygen etc., is called HYDRO-TESTING. The bottle is visually inspected internally for rust, damage, particles and then filled with water and overpressurized to a certain percentage in a water filled, steel enclosed tank. The expansion and contraction is measured on a machine and the bottle is dried and filled.

                    You're concern about moisture in the bottle from airbag, chisel, regulator use is pale compared to the above. Besides, the bottles go through a variety of temperature extremes anyway, don't they????? You can cause moisture, still minimal and maybe more than an air chisel, by sucking hard while working with your face piece on. The moisture built up around the bottle and the valve when the air escapes is actually cold because of the atmospheric pressure (sort of the same thing as ice crystals forming on the windows of an airplane at 40,000 feet). Open a cylinder for a couple of seconds without the regulator attached, you'll see what I mean. When a compressor or even cascade fills the bottle, the friction of the air pressurizing inside the cylinder causes the bottle to feel warm (again the airplane except this time it's on re-entry to ground level).

                    In short, even if there was moisture return to the inside of the cylinder, the bottle will be inspected every three (for fiberglass) or five years (for steel) anyway. Don't "sweat" it......

                    Stay safe

                    Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)


                    • #11
                      If the air we put into our tanks is dry then you can't build up moisture in the tank. Unless you leave the tank empty with the valve open in a high humidity environment.

                      As you know our tools loose substantial power prior to completly running out of air. It is that residual pressure that prevents moisture from entering the tank.

                      We should all be testing the air from our compressors on a regular basis and this testing would tell us if the compressor wasn't getting the moisture out of the air.

                      Stay Safe


                      • #12
                        We began keeping our bottles seperate when we purchased all new composite bottles for our SCBAs, keeping the old aluminum bottles for the air tools. We couldn't see dragging the composites through the fluids and debris found at most accident scenes.

                        As to the orignal question we keep approx. 6 2216 aluminum bottles available for our air tools.


                        • #13
                          How many air bags do you plan to put on your piece and what type? Also look into the possibility of an air reel as well. Be mindful of your budget when you spec this thing out but make sure that you do not limit your capabilities. You must also keep safety in mind as well. Do not purchase something that will be beyond the departments level of training. A good rescue truck is only as good as the people on it and there levels of training.

                          [This message has been edited by pwc606 (edited August 31, 2000).]


                          • #14
                            We use a 300'hose & reel set-up on our rescue for air tools, bags,etc. It is regulated at our right bank of 4-6000 psi cascade to 300psi max. If by chance we ever use up the right bank cascade we have a jumper to run it off the left bank. We do carry 12 spare 2.2 scott 30 minute bottles on rig as well. There are 2 bottle regulators on rig with couplings for the more remote calls also. stay safe



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