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MSA overhauls SCBA design with G1

The GI meets the latest NFPA 1981 standards including face piece integrity and communication

G1 SCBA.jpg

MSA unveiled its newest SCBA, the G1, at the 2014 Fire Rescue International conference in Indianapolis. The SCBA meets the most recent safety standard changes set forth in NFPA 1981 2013 edition, which encourages increased face piece lens integrity, new voice communication intelligibility and changes to the end-of-service time indicator.

“The G1 is a brand new SCBA designed from the ground-up based on customer feedback and NFPA standards, which led to needing a new architecture for the SCBA,” said Ben Mauti, MSA’s fire service market manager.

The NFPA 1981 standard — the primary standard for SCBAs — has been updated to include new capabilities not available on older models. These changes required new electronics to be developed and installed in the SCBA, Mauti said.

“For example, a heads-up display is now required to meet the standards as well as high-heat resistant lenses,” he said.

Mauti said MSA tasked its engineers with developing an advanced design technique to remove all electronics from the face piece. The result is the G1 model that has no electronics or external components.

“There are no electronics on the face piece and as a result no snag hazards,” he said.

To improve face piece integrity, MSA engineers used a custom-blended Hycar rubber design on the G1.

In addition, Mauti said the G1 face piece has been field and high-heat tested at 500° and -30°F. He said further durability testing, such as squirrel cage and vibration table testing, will be conducted soon.

Communications also have been updated. Electronic voice amplification now is standard on each G1. Options include Bluetooth and RFID. A Bluetooth with radio frequency pairing scheme is under development, Mauti said.

“Communications comes up as one of the most safety factors on the fireground, so we wanted to include that standard on the SCBA,” he said.

MSA engineers also added seven buddy lights for 360-degree visibility of air levels. It is green until 50 percent; it then turns yellow for warning and red for emergency. Digital and analog displays on the PASS device are viewed via an LCD display with large print.

“It is an extremely visible SCBA,” Mauti said. “It’s actually like having a small flashlight shine on the rescue connection to make it easier when things are going badly,”

The G1 estimated charge time is 4 to 6 hours to fully charge from a completely depleted battery. Life expectancy of the rechargeable battery is 300 cycles.

The G1 has a 15-year warranty.