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Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Use

The Georgia Smoke Diver Program

The Georgia Smoke Diver Program was developed in 1977 to teach firefighters the necessary skills needed to use a fairly new and highly technical piece of firefighting equipment…the SCBA.  The fire service was quite nervous about firefighters relying on a manmade piece of machinery inside the fire environment.  At fire stations around the country the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) was a piece of equipment that was kept in a case in the back of a compartment and only to be used by those who were weak or on rare occasions when it was "really bad".  Veteran firefighters warned that the SCBA would lead to injuries because firefighters wouldn't be able to use their senses as they did before.  They were also concerned with the possibility of equipment failure while deep into the structure.

Georgia Smoke Divers believe that the SCBA is to the firefighter what the rifle is to the Marine.  You cannot expect to be adaptable in various situations and be able to troubleshoot problems that you might encounter with this piece of equipment unless you are intimately familiar with all the parts and how they work.

The breathing apparatus is a critical life-support system that allows firefighters to work in smoke-filled environments or areas containing noxious fumes or gases.  The breathing apparatus is used to rescue civilians from life-threatening environments and allow firefighters to minimize or prevent damage to property.  The lungs and respiratory tract are the most susceptible to injury during these conditions.

Georgia Smoke Diver SCBA and Emergency Procedures Manual

NIOSH Report on a 2006 firefighter fatality

NIOSH Report on a 2007 firefighter fatality

NIST Study on Fire Exposures to SCBA Facepiece Lenses



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