Breathing apparatus & Compressors
Published: 01 June, 2007
Most sets BA sets available now offer a basic framework set to which can be added modular options such a electronic monitoring, telemetry capability and second-wearer adaptors.
New BA from France
The latest news is that the X-PRO SCBA - said to combine high levels of comfort with reliability - has been developed by FENZY of the Bacou-Dalloz Group.
The X-PRO backplate is vertically adjustable in two positions in less than five seconds; it features an innovative foldable foot to protect the valve and a moving shoulder plate. The cylinder strap with quick fastening buckle is also adjustable to any kind of cylinder diameter.
The new harness concept includes specific aramide straps with Nomex pre-formed padded cushions and quick adjustment buckles.
The waistbelt has two quick-release buckles and a swivelling waist cushion made of Nomex which are designed to reinforce the comfort of the wearer.
The backplate also includes two strong carrying handles. The X-PRO apparatus is fully adjustable and can be really adapted to the wearer and to his movements. Designed for use under the toughest conditions, the unit’s backplate is made of carbon-fibre loaded heat-resistant polymer, and is fully antistatic, flame and fire-resistant in line with the latest EN 137/2007 standard for firefighters (which includes a flame engulfment test at 1,000°C).
The FENZY X-PRO is also equipped with the new SX-PRO first-breath demand valve offering an extreme comfort even at high consumption rates.
The FENZY X-PRO can also be fitted with warning and monitoring device such as the ANGEL II.
Comprising two parts, the FENZY ANGEL II is the only unit to have a design which separates the system and the display.
The weight of the display unit fixed on the strap has been reduced to a minimum by the manufacturer, but it still offers a variety of functions:
• Automatic start when cylinders are opened,
• Digital pressure gauge,
• Remaining duration,
• Automatic Distress Signal Unit, 2 different alarms electronic and whistle,
• Automatic self test,
• Temperature sensor,
• Black box and radio link.
Compressors & cylinders
The logistical considerations for the use of BA include the recharging of compressed air cylinders.
Essentially a panel for wall mounting with connections for the line from the BA compressor, including the line from the high pressure storage and the line to the filling panel the autofilling selector is vital to the operation.
Available in three versions, the L&W autofilling selectors come in pneumatic and electronic formats. The high-end version has programmable settings for switching between filling panel/storage and back again to filling panel and a port for automatically turning on a semi-automatic compressor at a pre-set pressure.
“Used in applications where the storage pressure is at least 30 bar/450 psi higher than the highest filling pressure on a panel, the L&W pneumatic unit is extremely effective,” says L&W’s David Jackson.
“We also manufacture a pneumatic version with integrated pressure reducing station. This unit is the same at the pneumatic version but features an integrated high flow pressure reducer in the filling panel line outlet,” concludes David.
L&W auto filling selectors are available for all fire department filling stations and can be installed with filling station modules made by other manufacturers.
The amount of cylinders on site and the possibility of requiring cylinders at a remote location may give rise to the need for you to establish a mobile compressor system. This may be achieved through portable compressors.
These styles of compressor may be used to provide airline facilities or recharge cylinders. The decision about which compressor you should opt for is a fairly easy one to make.
The location of the charging point will be a consideration. Some compressors can be unwieldy and not fit in to normal doorway openings. The compressor, if it is to be kept in a stationary position, should be able to fit through a standard doorway, thereby reducing any issues with installation.
The compressor should be easy to maintain and quiet in operation. This will be of particular importance if it is to be placed in an inhabited building where the resonance can be annoying in nearby rooms. The filtration system must be suitable for breathable air. This should include filtration for smell and taste.
It is worth noting that the air intake should be at a point where it is free of excess pollution - i.e. not facing into a car park where cars may start up directly in front of it. Automatic controls to monitor filtration conditions to avoid inadvertent poor air quality should also be a consideration. For portable compressor units, electric, petrol and diesel types can be found. These will have many of the same features of the stationary units but will require a mobile unit to transport them. Whatever type of compressor you choose remember that it should be backed up by an emergency maintenance system that will see an engineer on site ASAP.
The market is now flush with a range of options from BA suppliers who offer systems to monitor this both internally and externally. Improving the reliability of the information available to the firefighter, BAECO, incident commander and ultimately improving incident ground safety.
To complete your overall BA response package the choice of compressor will be reasonably straightforward. The logistics surrounding the use and location of charging units will heavily influence your decision and final purchase.