Author Topic: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA  (Read 7109 times)

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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2017, 14:06:53 »
Perhaps, Jjt. But in all logic, is it possible that the reason MSA and Scott were not interested in servicing their equipment is that, as the most common products in use, there are sufficient numbers out there that an actual servicing industry exists for their models? If so, wouldn't that mean that the CAF could have tendered servicing out separately, possibly at a good price in view of the large number of potential bidders? [I guess that is so: Scott just beat me to it with the answer  :pirate:]

Anyway, my original point was trying to elicit wether the CAF had done the logical thing and bought the long duration SCBAs for the ships in view of the nature of their firefighting requirement (not a City FF force, so no support truck pulling up after an hour or so with spare bottles and the equipment to mass recharge the empty ones). I guess they haven't.

Now that I see the answers above, I am even more disturbed to find that the Daeger product they selected may not be the easiest to use of the available products on the market.

Considering that all shipboard personnel has to be trained in fire fighting, regardless of the fact that some trades are more specialized in it and are employed in such capacity first and foremost, and that this training is infrequent for most trades (NEQ, then annual quals of ships companies), I would have thought that ease of use would be an important consideration.

But, hell, who am I to think that you would consider the end user and the actual environment for use when selecting a primary piece of gear for a function that can literally be the salvation of a billion dollars ship and 240+ lives. Much better to save  a few tens of thousands of dollars per ship. /SARC OFF

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2017, 15:58:34 »
As l understand, price played a part, yes.  We were given the Canadian Friend price as they were wanting to clear off the model we bought because newer stuff was being rolled out.  But what really set the others apart was their reluctance in the servicing department.  It had to be part in parcel of the whole shooting match and only Drager were willing to give us all we wanted to get our business.

I have found in my portfolio that we as in the RCN and CAF are a minor bit player in our equipment buys when set against the big dogs, like our friends to the South.  In many ways, we're not worth the effort.  Just in the same vein we pay much more as consumers for our goods than the folks in the Ststes do for the same damn crap.  We're too small a market.

Getting back to SCBA, the Fire Halls use MSA.  Great gear and they would love for the navy to join forces.  The reluctance on our end is that the professional firefighter will use the bells and whistles and more importantly take care of it.  Your average duty watch OD or AB etc don't give a rats *** about the gear and it's more than we need in features for masks (for example).  Plus at say $1600 a mask X 60 masks X 12 CPF..... it just isn't an economical argument you can win with.  I'm not the SCBA guy, so l can only hear what's happening, not participate beyond voicing my opinion.

 

Offline dapaterson

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2017, 16:03:41 »
Lifecycle maintenance costs are an important element in any purchase decision - if the CAF bought the latest and greatest (fill in the blank) but was unable to keep operating it after a few years, we'd be no further ahead.

Any purchase decision has tradeoffs.  Making sure that leadership knows about what is and is not acceptable is the role of the SMEs involved.
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2017, 16:11:38 »
Quite correct Dapaterson. Which is why I am surprised that the two points that would have been close to  top of my list of requirements don't seem to be there: ease of operation (for all its faults, Chemox were easy to operate - and even then some seamen still managed to screw it up) and long duration of air supply (if you have to keep changing and recharging the bottles all the time and at highly variable intervals, it's not good for proper rotation of personnel in the fight).

Offline Scott

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2017, 16:37:52 »
OK, so the CAF has a minimum of two platforms. Not a show stopper, and certain things are designed and legally bound to interoperability, like cylinders, but still not the wisest of moves.

I think that the servicing line of argument is a weak one, at best. If procurement knows what they are doing, and the piece of equipment being sought, then they'll know when something is serviced by the manufacturer, or when it is serviced by a manufacturer's representative in a third party capacity. I know what I just said.

Hell, I just did a quick search for Drager in Canada and it appears they "might" have a service centre somewhere in Nova Scotia, but it also shows "authorized service partners" The trap that I see having been sprung was that of purchase and service married together. It's a fallacy. The difference between Drager servicing a Drager set and AGI servicing something from MSA is minimal, at best.

If I currently ship most of my stuff to AGI, an authorized MSA service centre, for repair then I am not even permitted to get the training required to carry out the repairs and/or testing myself, it's kind of a protectionist thing. If AGI can't handle it then it goes to MSA in Toronto and the process, aside from the time it takes, is quite seamless.

I can speak somewhat at length about my experience with Scott and Survivair as well, having been a service tech for both. It was kind of like having a fast food franchise - you had to do things a certain way and stock certain items, but you were the business end of things. You have the same training and access to libraries as their own techs. And if your experience was overshadowed by an issue you had them to call upon from somewhere in the States - but given the life history of their particular products, their were not many issues you'd encounter that weren't easily researched and solved. I can think of only one in all the years I worked on and used them primarily.

As far as durability, I have never seen a set as bombproof as a Scott. I know near originals still running like a top. MSA is chugging right along behind them. I have some gripes, but think they'll get ironed out as generations evolve. In fact, I always have more worries about the one-off sets or those ones that are heavily discounted, compared to the big two. You get what you pay for, ultimately.

Finally, on duration, most of the SCBAs on market now have a max duration of 60 minutes. Yes, that is limiting, but cylinders are cheap, relatively and anyone can be trained to run a compressor or cascade. In fact, I am pretty sure some of the sisters to our huge Jordairs are in the dockyard.

[/bageek]
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 16:42:26 by Scott »
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2017, 17:22:36 »
Finally, on duration, most of the SCBAs on market now have a max duration of 60 minutes. Yes, that is limiting, but cylinders are cheap, relatively and anyone can be trained to run a compressor or cascade. In fact, I am pretty sure some of the sisters to our huge Jordairs are in the dockyard.

But at sea, it is more than limiting, Scott.

Regardless of how cheap they are, there is a limit to how many cylinders you can have onboard a warship. If you have had a chance to sail on a destroyer or frigate, then you know how much stuff we already pack in every nook and cranny.

Then, you don't necessarily have the personnel to spend a lot of time on reload.

On a frigate in  the middle of fight, about 120 of your 225 personnel will be involved with fighting the ship, be it watching over some sensor or actually operating the weapons systems. Out of the 100 or so left, you have about 20 involved in running all the propulsion and machinery spaces and keeping track of the damage control/stability situation at the same time, so you are down to about 80 for first aid, fire fighting and damage control. That may seem a lot but not if after a hit you have to stop flooding in one or two compartment, fight a major fire while re-establishing power to an essential weapons system, such as the CWIS, because the sonovab***h airplane who did this is getting lined up for another pass, the whole while trying to evacuate about 15 casualties from the area hit and provide them with first aid.

having to over-rotate your personnel involved with the fire in such circumstances and spending time you don't really have on reloading the empties, is not necessarily something you can do.

The French navy have a backpack style breathing apparatus that gives them between two and three hours of air and recharge in five, so the materiel exists that can do it, and MSA has a four hour pack breathing apparatus. That's all I am saying.   

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2017, 18:12:40 »
But at sea, it is more than limiting, Scott.

Regardless of how cheap they are, there is a limit to how many cylinders you can have onboard a warship. If you have had a chance to sail on a destroyer or frigate, then you know how much stuff we already pack in every nook and cranny.

Then, you don't necessarily have the personnel to spend a lot of time on reload.

On a frigate in  the middle of fight, about 120 of your 225 personnel will be involved with fighting the ship, be it watching over some sensor or actually operating the weapons systems. Out of the 100 or so left, you have about 20 involved in running all the propulsion and machinery spaces and keeping track of the damage control/stability situation at the same time, so you are down to about 80 for first aid, fire fighting and damage control. That may seem a lot but not if after a hit you have to stop flooding in one or two compartment, fight a major fire while re-establishing power to an essential weapons system, such as the CWIS, because the sonovab***h airplane who did this is getting lined up for another pass, the whole while trying to evacuate about 15 casualties from the area hit and provide them with first aid.

having to over-rotate your personnel involved with the fire in such circumstances and spending time you don't really have on reloading the empties, is not necessarily something you can do.

The French navy have a backpack style breathing apparatus that gives them between two and three hours of air and recharge in five, so the materiel exists that can do it, and MSA has a four hour pack breathing apparatus. That's all I am saying.

No idea what it's like on a warship.

And your MSA 4 hour bitty is a closed circuit type BA, not a positive pressure type - just so we are clear. Comparing something with compressed air to another type of chemical oxygen set is apples and bowling balls.

Is it possible part of the reasoning behind open circuit SCBA was the inclusion of compressed breathable air at a CSA/NIOSH standard?

Genuinely curious.
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Offline Scott

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2017, 18:16:06 »
Didn't want to edit in case someone is replying.

Here is what is linked as the French Navy's answer: http://www.matisec.com/products-services/respiratory-protection/supplied-air-respirators/scba-triplair

Still only 60 minute duration, just a slim design and perhaps lighter weight.
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2017, 18:44:08 »
Good to known Scott.

I was told differently when I was on exchange on the French mine hunter Pégase. But that was from the petty officer I was questioning on the equipment, so he was obviously misinformed or plain wrong.


Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #34 on: November 01, 2017, 19:26:28 »
In practical terms, we carry enough bottles that if you are at the point where you need to refill them to keep teams going to fight a big fire you aren't doing anything else. At that point you have people dedicated to doing nothing but refilling the bottles, which you do when you swap the bunker gear for a new person.  It's really not that big a deal to remove it from the pack, although it is fidgety if you don't do it often.

The other big change is that there is no hesitation to use the fitted system and it's drilled into everyone that's the first thing they do, and they don't need permission for a confirmed fire to use it.  That's different than the 'gung ho hero' attitude I was taught a decade ago where you would save the halon, CO2, AFFF etc for when company comes over or something. With the fine water mist systems or some of the halon replacements its a lot more widely available anyway, but it's been recognized (the hard way) that the heat and smoke that will rapidly fill a space is much worse for electronics fitted in sealed boxes than some sprinkler water or AFFF. So your first team should be doing checks for casualties for evacuation and making sure it's contained, vice fighting a raging fire, if it was in a space with a fitted system.

Offline Scott

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2017, 20:01:08 »
Good to known Scott.

I was told differently when I was on exchange on the French mine hunter Pégase. But that was from the petty officer I was questioning on the equipment, so he was obviously misinformed or plain wrong.

You might still have it, I just went with google-fu.

In practical terms, we carry enough bottles that if you are at the point where you need to refill them to keep teams going to fight a big fire you aren't doing anything else. At that point you have people dedicated to doing nothing but refilling the bottles, which you do when you swap the bunker gear for a new person.  It's really not that big a deal to remove it from the pack, although it is fidgety if you don't do it often.

The other big change is that there is no hesitation to use the fitted system and it's drilled into everyone that's the first thing they do, and they don't need permission for a confirmed fire to use it.  That's different than the 'gung ho hero' attitude I was taught a decade ago where you would save the halon, CO2, AFFF etc for when company comes over or something. With the fine water mist systems or some of the halon replacements its a lot more widely available anyway, but it's been recognized (the hard way) that the heat and smoke that will rapidly fill a space is much worse for electronics fitted in sealed boxes than some sprinkler water or AFFF. So your first team should be doing checks for casualties for evacuation and making sure it's contained, vice fighting a raging fire, if it was in a space with a fitted system.

Here's a question then, if you can indeed answer it without giving something verboten away: do you guys have to wait for a full muster before setting something like a Halotron or CO2 system off?
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Offline Chief Stoker

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #36 on: November 01, 2017, 20:09:51 »

Hell, I just did a quick search for Drager in Canada and it appears they "might" have a service centre somewhere in Nova Scotia, but it also shows "authorized service partners" The trap that I see having been sprung was that of purchase and service married together. It's a fallacy. The difference between Drager servicing a Drager set and AGI servicing something from MSA is minimal, at best.

[/bageek]

Drager does have an service center in Burnside in Halifax.
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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2017, 20:19:42 »
Drager does have an service center in Burnside in Halifax.

Okey dokes.

And if Scott had a service centre in the same place you could still get the same service and repair from one of their partners. Same would apply to Drager.
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Offline Chief Stoker

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #38 on: November 01, 2017, 20:21:07 »
Drager is a good product, robust and fairly easy to use with training. Ships do not have a problem recharging cylinders with the cascade system and personnel are designated at section base to do so. The bauer diesel compressor is slow and takes time to get the bottles up to max psi. CPF's and Kingston Class have the capability to fight sustained events. Thats from a Sea Training perspective.
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Offline Pusser

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2018, 13:50:29 »
CHEMOX never bothered me.  As a young Reservist, I once spent an entire summer at the DC School wearing one for several hours, virtually everyday.  I became so adept at using it that I could put it on and have air flowing faster by myself than if someone was trying to "help" me.  I also usually did this without using the quick start candle.  One of the big advantages I felt was that with everything in front, one could move around much easier in a shipboard environment.  I even managed to get through an escape hatch without collapsing the lungs - and I'm a big boy.  The only real advantage I saw in the Scott Pack was that the air tended to be cooler and "taste" better.
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Offline FSTO

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2018, 14:02:53 »
CHEMOX never bothered me.  As a young Reservist, I once spent an entire summer at the DC School wearing one for several hours, virtually everyday.  I became so adept at using it that I could put it on and have air flowing faster by myself than if someone was trying to "help" me.  I also usually did this without using the quick start candle.  One of the big advantages I felt was that with everything in front, one could move around much easier in a shipboard environment.  I even managed to get through an escape hatch without collapsing the lungs - and I'm a big boy.  The only real advantage I saw in the Scott Pack was that the air tended to be cooler and "taste" better.

Your arms must be longer than mine. I constantly collapsed my lungs. I doubt if I ever fought a fire with the chemox working.

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2018, 16:12:26 »
Once the guy who made the quick start candles retired the canisters became rather sketchy and dangerous. There were more than one incident at the school where students and staff had close calls. Plus the lungs must have been breeding grounds for god knows what.

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2018, 16:21:30 »
Once the guy who made the quick start candles retired the canisters became rather sketchy and dangerous. There were more than one incident at the school where students and staff had close calls. Plus the lungs must have been breeding grounds for god knows what.

Never worn the device, but heard loads of stories.

We have a CBRN approved hood with attached filters now rated to 5000 ppm H2S, but something tells me if push came to shove, I'd want positive pressure any day of the week.

Then again, I cut my teeth on 2As and moved to early generation 2.2 and onward to several other makers - so I have always been a cylinder guy.
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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2018, 16:41:58 »
I was witness to one of the sets catching fire while strapped to an instructor.  They were just able to cut it off him before it really went south.  Nothing says "holy crap" like one of those things going Chernobyl on your body.

Now that being said, they were fantastic when set against what they had before, which was SFA.

As for lungs, l was frequently collapsing mine and always at the worse possible time.  I'm glad they're gone for good.

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2018, 04:43:49 »
Your arms must be longer than mine. I constantly collapsed my lungs. I doubt if I ever fought a fire with the chemox working.

Yes.  I always wondered why the lungs were in front rather than on the back.  Even though I have no chance of using it again, I'm glad they're gone.
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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #45 on: March 10, 2018, 07:47:05 »
I have a CF-98 on my file from WUPs in 04 on STJ.  We had multiple cannister failures - instead of producing oxygen, they were producing chlorine.

*not fun* to get a blast of Chlorine gas in your face when you are expecting oxygen.
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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #46 on: March 10, 2018, 12:14:01 »
Yes.  I always wondered why the lungs were in front rather than on the back.  Even though I have no chance of using it again, I'm glad they're gone.

They were designed to provide air to miners escaping from a collapse; think it's on the front so you can crawl out on your hands and knees.  Of course, they had cages around the lungs to prevent them collapsing.

Had one with a tear on one lung, so we cut it open out of curiousity; it was full of mold and all kinds of crap.  Glad they are gone, they were never meant for repeated use, but guess they were better than nothing.

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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2018, 17:23:15 »
Here's a question then, if you can indeed answer it without giving something verboten away: do you guys have to wait for a full muster before setting something like a Halotron or CO2 system off?

Didn't see this answered earlier, with Halon the system is activated and a pipe is made, with AFFF the spaces is checked before activation. The attack team will clear the space as much as possible visually, and with the TIC looking for casualties. Every effort is made to ensure nobody is in the space short of a verification muster when AFFF is used.


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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #48 on: March 12, 2018, 11:32:39 »
Your arms must be longer than mine. I constantly collapsed my lungs. I doubt if I ever fought a fire with the chemox working.
The trouble that I witnessed most often at the DC school with collapsed lungs came from wearing the set too low.  The key was to wear it so the canister was high on the chest (i.e. with your chin only about 4" above it.). It was also more comfortable up there and easier on the back.
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Re: CHEMOX vs Drager SCBA
« Reply #49 on: March 12, 2018, 11:46:37 »
I have a CF-98 on my file from WUPs in 04 on STJ.  We had multiple cannister failures - instead of producing oxygen, they were producing chlorine.

*not fun* to get a blast of Chlorine gas in your face when you are expecting oxygen.

Admittedly, my chemistry is a little rusty, but I don't that's chemically possible.  Chemox uses potassium superoxide (KO2), which when combined with water (i.e. from your breath) produces a "breathable mixture" (containing oxygen).  Using normal chemical processes, you cannot create an element (which chlorine is), nor can you separate it from a compound if it doesn't contain that element in the first place.  Therefore, those canisters that malfunctioned were not producing chlorine.  That's not to say they weren't over producing something else unpleasant (hydrogen peroxide is produced in the normal chemox process), but it wasn't chlorine.

It's worth noting that potassium superoxide is also used in oxygen generators used in submarines and spacecraft and has even had limited use in some underwater rebreathers.
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