The focus of the project was to replace one of the most important pieces of equipment that every firefighter depends on to survive, the SCBA. ( Self Contained Breathing Apparatus ) Firefighters wear an airpack on their backs when fighting a fire or entering a hazardous condition. These have normal air stored in the cylinder (tank) at 4500 psi. The SCBA reduces this pressure to a level that can be used for normal breathing. The volume and stored pressure of the air allows us remain in the dangerous territory for several minutes. These tanks are of a special material and design to withstand those pressures. They are subject to ongoing testing, but ultimately have an expiration date and must be replaced.
This project allowed the bid out for all new SCBAs. An evaluation process was followed to get the best benefit and value for Athens-Clarke County. The selected model is the MSA brand. These feature numerous advancements in technology and features.
The following are items or features that we did not have on the previous model:
Single battery pack to power the whole SCBA.
Integrated led color display that shows the remaining pressure.
Option to display amount of time left based on current breathing rate.
Stored recording of the past several hours of data and performance.
LED status lights on the backpack that can be seen by other firefighters while the user is upright or crawling.
Red blinking leds and a sound alert to identify low pressure, a manual emergency activation or activation based on lack of motion for a certain amount of time.
Integrated voice amplification from inside the mask to a speaker located outside of the mask.
Ability to connect one airpack to another to transfer air under extreme emergency conditions.
No electronics located inside the mask, allowing for each person to have their own mask, sized for each user.
Fiber light pipes to show status leds inside the mask, so that all pertinent conditions are displayed.
Annual testing of each mask for ongoing fitment.
Built in Thermal Imaging Cameras inside the SCBA control module, to see in low or no light conditions.
This makes for a safer working environment for our employees under the most extreme and demanding environments. Their lives depend on this equipment.