Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lightening the Load

More than the weather changed for the better at this year’s FDIC event. Challenge competitors were thrilled to don the new Scott 5.5 SCBA. Probably the first thing you notice is the way that it hugs your back; the bottle is the smallest 30 minute unit in the industry. It’s not just the reduction in mass of ≈1-2 pounds, but it’s the significantly lower profile that makes rotation while performing such tasks as the hose hoist easier and helps better balance your center of gravity. We immediately noticed that the clanging sound associated with banging the handrails on the top of the tower have disappeared.

Will records fall? We can’t say for sure, but this will sure help. I’m making no apologies for my age, but my first experience with the Scott Air-Pak was a low-pressure steel cylinder that weighed in at around 45 pounds. It operated under negative pressure, meaning that you had to suck the air out of the bottle. This gave rise to respiratory imbalance and the feeling that you were suffocating, resulting in a lot of guys tearing off their face pieces to disastrous consequences.

Things have come a very long way; today, little thought is given to dashing into atmospheres that are unsurvivable absent respiratory protection- SCBAs that allow world-class athletes run full out while performing arduous tasks. We’ll be interested in getting your feedback this season when you run with the new Scott 5.5 Air-Paks. Please feel free to send me your observations.

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