Today we did our yearly... 1/4 tank test at the station to see where everyone was at. First run cylinders on our pumper are Scott 4.5 45min. cylinders. To do the test we drained the tanks until the vibralert activates and shut everything off. All participants then donned all PPE, including SCBA and then placed a 60lb hose bundle on the participants shoulder (or across SCBA tank). We then timed each person as they walked up and down a flight of stairs inside the station, until they sucked their mask to their face. Four members participated and times ranged from 6:26 to 9:58 with stair sets ranging from 15 to 20. The average was about 8 minutes of air under moderate activity until the air supply was depleted completely.
Here is why we did this: with air management becoming a pressing issue these days we as firemen can be proactive in helping determine what kind of air management standard is needed at our departments... not just letting the chief tell us what is what.
For the majority of our structural fires we face single family dwellings varying in size from 1200 to 3000 square feet... and now to pose a serious question, are we doing right by waiting until our vibralert goes off to leave a structure? you tell us...