What’s 500 PSI Worth?

It was brought to the attention of crews at a recent Chief’s Breakfast, that upon looking at the trucks, people where finding bottles that were in the high 3000 – low 4000PSI range. This is caused most likely by two primary culprits: hot-filling the bottles, and morning SCBA checks. Our bottles are rated to carry 4500PSI, and should be kept at that mark. With the new air management policy around the corner, it’s imperative that we start with the most amount of working time as we can….let alone leave ourselves with the most amount of escape air possible. Here is a post taken from another site – Traditions Training – a few months ago, written by Nicolas Martin. 

Look at the picture…it’s the pressure gauge on an SCBA bottle. Is this bottle full? I Say it’s not….In the DC Fire Department the “books” say that when you check an air pack, the minumum acceptable pressure is 4000PSI. But these are 4500PSI bottles, so that’s 500PSI you’re giving up! By my math, that is a little over 10% of the SCBA’s overall capacity – or about 6.5 minutes.

Unfortunately, bottles like this get an ‘ok’ during the AM checks everyday – and I’m sure it happens all over the country. You can call me ‘anal’ or tell me it’s no big deal, but it is a big deal. What is that 10%?

  • It was the last 10′ to the seat of the fire you couldn’t make.
  • It was the last bedroom you couldn’t search…the one with the civilian in it.
  • It was the last 5 minutes you wish you had before you died after you got trapped/disoriented.

Sorry to be the Grim Reaper, but that’s how I see it…These bottles take just a minute to change, just a fraction of the 6. minutes it’ll give you later when you REALLY need it.


~ by littlehippie on January 11, 2009.

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