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Okla. incident highlights need for fully-functional SCBA

We are completely dependent on fully-functional breathing apparatus to safely and effectively fight today's fires


Editor's note: The Tulsa, Okla., Fire Department is investigating how a firefighter was injured fighting a New Year's Eve fire that was intentionally set, with the probe looking at whether SCBA was to blame.

I know we're all thinking of the Tulsa Fire Department and wishing FF O'Neal a speedy recovery after his harrowing experience.

This isn't the first, nor will it be the last, time I've written about the importance of selecting, maintaining, and training with self-contained breathing apparatus.

Perhaps because my first experience breathing compressed air (as a 15-year-old SCUBA diving student) was at the hands of a retired fire captain, I've always been a bit, uh, "detail-oriented" about making sure my assigned SCBA was properly maintained and ready, and that I was personally highly-proficient in its use.

While we still don't know the exact nature of the suspected/reported SCBA issue that led to FF O'Neal's injuries, this story reinforces the fact that we are completely dependent on fully-functional breathing apparatus to safely and effectively fight today's fires.

Stay safe!

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