How the right SCBA bracket can promote safety without sacrificing speed
Keep SCBA secure in transit, reduce the potential for injury and help contain carcinogens with two new bracket models just released by Ziamatic
Sponsored by Ziamatic Corp.
By Robert Avsec for FireRescue1 BrandFocus
I remember clearly my first experience using SCBA on a fire scene. I was a new volunteer with the Harrisonville Fire Company in New Jersey, and the year was 1976.
When I arrived in my personal vehicle, I went to the first pumper on scene, removed the SCBA storage case from the compartment and donned the Scott 15-minute SCBA unit. Or at least I tried to don it.
The shoulder straps and regulator were all a tangled mess, and in my adrenaline-enhanced state, it took me forever to figure out how to resolve the problem.
Fast-forward to my first job as a career firefighter in 1981 with the James City County Fire Department in Virginia. By that time my department, like many across the country, had taken SCBA units out of the box and placed them in mounting brackets in the jump seat area behind the seated firefighter.
That evolution in SCBA storage design enabled firefighters to don their SCBA more effectively and efficiently before they left the truck. It also enabled firefighters to quickly inspect their SCBA at the beginning of their tour of duty, thus ensuring that all the straps and belts were properly positioned for quicker donning.
REDUCING EXPOSURE TO CANCER RISKS
Fast-forward again to the current situation for most fire departments: Reducing the exposure of their firefighters to the chemicals, chemical compounds and carcinogens present in the smoke of today’s structure fires.
Foremost in these efforts is the introduction of the “clean cab” concept. The goal of the clean cab concept is to remove the threat of secondary exposure to firefighters posed by having their structural firefighting ensemble (PPE) and SCBA that have been contaminated during interior structural firefighting – as well as any fire suppression operations where the PPE and SCBA were exposed to smoke – in the crew compartment when returning to the fire station.
The strategy employed by many fire departments has been to use storage space – legacy fire apparatus compartment space – for the storage and transport of dirty PPE and SCBA back to the fire station for proper cleaning and decontamination.
One component of such a strategy is putting the SCBA back in the box (e.g., storage box or case) and storing those SCBA units in compartments on the apparatus. (Amazing how history repeats itself, no?)
Another is to use static, compartment-mounted SCBA brackets (typically used to store spare SCBA or SCBA cylinders). But with such strategies comes other concerns like:
- The impact on the time to don the SCBA once on scene.
- Potential for injury with a firefighter reaching upward (above the level of their clavicle) to remove a piece of equipment weighing about 26 pounds (e.g., the MSA G1 SCBA with a 30-minute, 4,500 psi cylinder weighs 25.5 pounds).
- The time and effort necessary to check SCBA during daily apparatus inspections to ensure they are ready for service. (This concern is much greater for volunteer-staffed departments where daily inspections may be not the norm).
TWO NEW SCBA BRACKETS FROM ZIAMATIC
Both new products enable firefighters to access and don compartment-mounted SCBA from a more comfortable standing position, thus reducing strain and the potential for injury, as well as providing an alternative to behind-the-seat SCBA mounting.
The QUIC-SLIDE faces the pack outwards and extends down slightly further, whereas the QUIC-SWING 180° stores the pack facing inwards and reduces chances of straps, hoses and buckles being accidentally caught in the compartment door.
These new brackets make it easier for fire departments to both store SCBA in the side compartments of the apparatus and to follow the clean cab concept – reducing firefighter exposure to harmful chemicals, chemical compounds and carcinogens – without sacrificing speed, comfort or safety.
DONNING THE SCBA FROM THE QUIC-SLIDE BRACKETS
For maximum safety, powerful locks in both models hold the SCBA firmly in place until needed. To don their SCBA, a firefighter simply releases the locking handle(s), slides the bracket assembly out over the lip of the compartment, and then swings the SCBA down to a convenient height for quick and easy donning.
Using these brackets can not only make the donning of the SCBA easier but also provide these advantages:
- Easy visual and hands-on inspection of the SCBA. (No need to remove the storage case from the apparatus and get the SCBA out of the case.)
- Better protection of the SCBA while in transit to and from the emergency scene.
- Easier cleaning and decontamination of the apparatus compartment space where the SCBA is stored. (No need to clean and decontaminate individual SCBA storage cases.)
- Cleaned and decontaminated SCBA can be placed back on the apparatus and allowed to air dry within the compartment.
For more information, visit Ziamatic Corp.
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