SCBA Training | Your SCBA Is Not Just A Tool
When it comes to SCBA training, there is simply no substitute. SCBA (self contained breating apparatus) training applies to anyone who needs to use a SCBA device while working in conditions where there is a considerable amount of smoke or fire, so naturally this will apply more to firefighters than any other line of work. However, if you are not a firefighter but you still work in conditions where you need to use a SCBA device, then you will also want to pay special attention to this article and the possibility of signing up for SCBA training. Anyone who needs to use a SCBA device needs to be comfortable and familiar with operating SCBA devices while performing duties such as fire attack, victim search, rescue, ventilation, salvage, or overhaul. Firefighters and other rescue personnel should also be trained in regular preventive maintenance procedures. These are usually daily inspections, cleaning, disinfecting, and cylinder changes.
The problem with SCBAs is that firefighters and other people who use SCBAs on a daily basis tend to treat their apparatus’ like a tool rather than a piece of equipment that their life is literally dependent on. Simply performing a cursory check before going in for a shift is not enough. Firefighters and other personnel need to make it a habit to thoroughly and carefully inspect and test every function of their SCBA on a regular basis. Career firefighters need to be doing this EVERY day. Volunteer firefighters should inspect and practice using SCBAs in every meeting, drill session, and training class.
It is absolutely vital that every firefighter take SCBA training. When firefighters are being indoctrinated, they should become very familiar with SCBA and should receive extensive training while using SCBA in low stress scenarios. They should also be trained in fully simulated fireground operations so they are ready when they have to use their SCBA in real life applications. Any and all training needs to be done in accordance to industry recognized regulations and standards. It is also recommended that records be kept on every firefighter and any other personnel for their individual training. This will ensure that everyone is keeping up to date on their training and proficiency with SCBA.
SCBAs will help firefighters in most situations, but it is important to remember that there are certain circumstances in which a SCBA will not give adequate enough protection and could potentially have a catastrophic failure. These specific instances are covered in SCBA training and will allow firefighters and other workers to make the determination whether or not their SCBA will work in a given situation.
Not only should firefighters and other personnel who work with SCBAs be fully trained and certified, but they also need to make it a habit to regularly practice and review SCBA guidelines and regulations to ensure that everyone is maintaining the appropriate proficiency with their devices. Performing regular drills will help firefighters and other workers become more familiar with their SCBA, which will naturally make them more comfortable with using it in situations of duress.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is is strongly encouraged that all firefighters, and other workers who regularly use SCBAs, consistently perform a “buddy check” with their partner before entering threatening conditions. It is fairly easy for each person to check the other’s gear to make sure that their SCBA is properly worn and fully operational. This is yet another step that can further prevent accidents from happening and a SCBA failure from occurring. SCBA training is extremely important and can literally save your life. Don’t look at your SCBA as merely a tool to help you breathe, look at it as your lifeline when you are in hazardous situations. Because that is exactly what they are.