As we’ve discussed at previous SCBA and Safety training, NFPA has issued the attached warning regarding SCBA facepiece failure under high temperature conditions. This bulletin identifies several warning signs of impending failure and if identified, should signal an immediate withdrawl from the high heat area by all members. Take a minute to review this important reinforcement of our previous training and to look at the referenced incident reports in the bulletin. Here are two important extracts from the complete memo:
- Exposure to high temperature environments, which firefighters can encounter during fires they are attempting to extinguish, can result in the thermal degradation or melting of a Self- Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) facepiece lens, resulting in elimination of the protection meant for the user’s respiratory system and exposing the user to products of combustion and super-heated air.
- Any SCBA facepiece lens found to have cracks, crazing, bubbling, deformation, discoloring, gaps or holes should be immediately removed from service and a replacement issued.
- In addition to following existing departmental Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines regarding use of PPE, all personnel engaged in commanding, supervising or performing interior fire attack operations can reduce the possibility of facepiece lens deterioration or failure by maintaining constant situational awareness and by being alert for deteriorating conditions indicative of extreme thermal temperatures/flashover conditions. When confronted with such conditions, personnel must initiate self-evacuation or be directed to retreat to a safe area.