Hydrostatic Testing Of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus Used By Firefighters And Rescue Personnel – Part 1

Travis Jolliff

Part 1 in this series identifies the need for hydrostatic testing of self contained breathing apparatus used by firefighters and rescue personnel.

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) are one of the most important items of personal protective equipment used by firefighters and rescue personnel. SCBA allow firefighters to enter hazardous environments to perform essential interior operations including offensive fire attack, victim search, rescue and removal, ventilation, and overhaul. They are also used at non-fire incidents involving hazardous materials and confined spaces where there is a threat of toxic fumes or an oxygen-deficient atmosphere. There have been cases in the past where catastrophic SCBA failure may have been a contributing factor in the deaths or injuries of firefighters. Standards and testing procedures have been changed over time to address problems which led to these failures and to ensure that SCBA are more durable and reliable. Nonetheless, firefighters must realize that catastrophic failures of SCBA are still possible. There are limits to the physical and environmental punishment that SCBA can endure. Regular inspection, upgrade, and preventive maintenance which includes hydrostatic testing of self contained breathing apparatus will lessen the potential for catastrophic failures of SCBA in the future.

Catastrophic failures

The catastrophic failure of a SCBA is characterized by the sudden and unexpected failure of any component that would subsequently expose the user to a hazardous environment, or introduce a major complication hindering the ability to escape from the environment. One example of catastrophic failures is cylinder rupture. Due to the nature of the hazards faced by firefighters and rescue personnel while using SCBA, there is a high probability that the occurrence of such a failure during fire or rescue operations would result in serious injury or death. Most of the documented catastrophic failure incidents were caused by the rupture of breathing air cylinders.

Catastrophic failures of SCBA are extremely rare considering the number of units currently in service, and the number of routine uses of these units daily. SCBA that are tested, including hydrostatic testing, and certified according to the requirements of the NFPA Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for FireFighters are extremely durable and rugged. Properly used and maintained, by well-trained personnel, they should provide years of trouble-free service with little potential for hardware failure.

The Jay L Harman Fire Equipment team understands your firefighting needs and is ready to help

Jay L Harman’s DOT Hydrostatic Testing facility and equipment meet all NFPA requirements for the hydrostatic testing of self contained breathing apparatus compressed gas cylinders in addition to testing ABC portable fire extinguisher cylinders.

Jay L Harman is the best and one of the biggest firefighting equipment suppliers and service providers in the region, specializing in fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, fire hoses, hydrostatic testing and more. Serving El Paso TX, Las Cruces NM and the surrounding areas, we pride ourselves on buying local and hiring local whenever possible.

Jay L Harman Fire Equipment is your go-to distributor for OVAL low-profile fire extinguishers in West Texas and New Mexico.

Contact Jay L. Harman Fire Equipment in El Paso TX at 915-533-7021 or Las Cruces NM at 575-523-8880.

Since 1925, we have protected businesses throughout the area from the harms and hazards of fires. Every Jay L Harman technician is licensed and regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance State Fire Marshal’s Office.  Each of these technicians continually receives the most up-to-date factory training and certifications by our manufacturers. Contact Jay L Harman Fire Equipment today. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff tell you more about our fire suppression systems and help you find the ideal fire suppression system for your needs. Learn more about our full offering of fire extinguisher training, firefighting services, firefighting products, request a quote, ask a question or request additional information.