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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

PGFD Upgrades SCBA

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department is nealy complete upgrading its Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and associated infrastructure in our fire stations. We have been upgrading fill stations in the fire stations and installing new compressors at pre-designated locations. The transition from our current SCBA, the SCOTT Air-Pak Fifty 4.5, to the new SCOTT Air-Pak X3 has moved into the training phase. This has been one of the most significant training endeavors that the Fire/EMS Department has ever undertaken, and its success will depend largely on the cooperation of all personnel. The Training Academy, in conjunction with the Volunteer Services Command and the Prince George’s County Fire Commission, has developed a training program for the upgraded SCBA that is currently being presented to all Fire/EMS Department personnel.

Training for the SCOTT Air-Pak X3 is being delivered in two components. All personnel were required to view several online videos. Once personnel complete the online training, they will be required to complete a practical training component at the Training Academy. Training sessions will be held seven days a week with multiple sessions each day, to include evening hours. 

Personnel must complete the training in sequential order to successfully complete the program. Upon completion of the online component, personnel will be cleared to receive the practical training. When the practical training has been completed, personnel will be eligible to receive a SCBA facepiece, which will be distributed during their station’s changeover to the new SCBA. It is anticipated that this changeover will occur immediately after all personnel have completed both training components.

This is an outline of the practical training.  Images obtained during a practical training session at the Training Academy are posted below.

PRACTICAL TRAINING

Skills/Stations

1)           Emergency Breathing Support System (EBSS)

Students will begin the cognitive process of re-learning how to use their EBSS system.  Arguably the biggest change upgrading from the SCOTT 4.5 to the SCOTT Air-Pak X3 is the location of the EBSS.  Phase one of this station will be a quick overview to reinforce what the student learned in the on-line training, and it will give them a chance to put their hands on the new system.  Phase two is simply making connections with a partner while being able to see; the purpose of this station is to develop muscle memory with the new stored location of the EBSS.  Phase three is making the EBSS connection with zero visibility.  This will be achieved by blackout shields for the SCBA mask. 

NOTE – Prior to the evolution, personnel will be required to perform a pre-use inspection.  Video #5 of the online SCBA training describes the recommended procedures to be followed. 

2)           Reduced Profile Prop

The reduced profile prop will give students an understanding of the differences between donning and doffing the SCOTT Air-Pak X3 while still on air.  Students will notice the difference between the old seatbelt buckle style waist straps on the SCOTT 4.5 versus the new cam system clips on the waist strap of the SCOTT Air-Pak X3.  It is crucial for students to understand that the new cam system will not release with tension on the system.  This skill will need to be achieved while on air and in full PPE.  Students will go through a realistic prop made of 2x4 studs, with the dimensions mimicking the building code in Prince George’s County for wall studs. 

3)           Entanglement Prop

A prop constructed of wood, wires, and conduit will give the students a chance to encounter many of the challenges they will be faced with during routine operations.  Students will enter the prop and go through a series of manageable entanglement emergencies.  The purpose of this prop is for the student to understand the difference in the sleekness that the SCOTT Air-Pak X3 provides compared to the SCOTT 4.5. 

4)           Confined Space

In full PPE and SCBA, students will complete a confined space course in the burn building using basic search skills.  Students will be in a zero-visibility environment and moderately tight space. The purpose of this station is to have the student build confidence in operating all of the functions of the new SCOTT Air-Pak X3 while operating in a zero visibility environment. 

5)           Ladder

In full PPE and SCBA, the student will perform a single-person shoulder carry of a 14-foot ground ladder.  The student will perform an emergency raise with the ladder to a second floor window.  The student will don their face mask and, while on air, climb the ladder and ventilate a window with a hand tool.  The student will then properly sweep the window and sound the floor before entering in a controlled fashion. 

6)           Hose Line Deployment/Standpipe Pack Carry

A pair of students will deploy 150’ of charged 1 ¾ handline up one flight of stairs.  Upon entry, the student will don their face mask and be on air.  The student will advance the hose line while making both a left and right turn.  Students will take this opportunity to feel the difference between the SCOTT 4.5 and the SCOTT Air-Pak X3.  During the second part of this station, the student will carry a 100’ standpipe pack/hose bundle from the fire apparatus to the door of the burn building, a distance of approximately 100’.  The student will then drop the standpipe pack and climb to the third floor of the burn building while in full PPE and breathing air.  Students will understand the feel for advancing a standpipe pack on their shoulders, and they will climb up multiple floors while breathing air, in an effort to determine how stress affects the air time of the new cylinders.  Students will also experience low-air warnings and alarms and must be able to communicate the meanings of each one, to include identifying approximately how much air they have left. 

Video and images by Mark Brady, PGFD PIO
























































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