A self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is a critical piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) that firefighters rely on during emergency responses such as working structure fires and hazardous material exposures. SCBA provides firefighters breathable air, under pressure, to allow them to operate safely in environments that are inherently dangerous to life or health (IDLH). All firefighters who use SCBA must understand proper function of the equipment, limitations for use, and care and maintenance to ensure each SCBA is service-ready for the next emergency response.
Typical of technology, SCBA equipment continues to evolve to provide better performance and higher levels of safety. Members of the Guilderland Fire Department will soon be responding to emergencies with the latest SCBA technology thanks to a recent Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a division of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This grant subsidized a majority of the cost of new SCBA equipment for the entire department membership, which not only provides the latest and safest SCBA technology but also does so at minimal cost to tax paying residents of the Guilderland Fire District.
On Monday, March 1, members of your volunteer fire department completed initial training on the operation, care and maintenance of new Scott 5500 PSI SCBA under guidance of a certified Scott distributor. In addition to learning the form, fit and function of the equipment in detail, members had the opportunity to break down and completely reassemble the equipment and don the SCBA “on air” to better familiarize themselves with its operation and enhanced safety features. In the coming weeks more intensive training in simulated IDLH environments will be conducted by GFD members in order to certify the new SCBA for service by mid-April.