Air it Out with your Crews!

 When was the last time that you truly paid attention to your air supply during a structural fire? I will throw myself under the bus and reveal that I do not pay enough attention to my air supply.  It seems like something that should not even need to be mentioned

Firefighting because if you run out of air you run out of life.  Then why is it the many firefighters, like myself, only pay attention to our air supply when the vibra-alert is going off.  Does this really give you enough time to escape?  How often should we look at our regulators to see how much air we have left?  Let’s take a few moments to review something we all should pay more attention to, our air supply!

 

Heads up:

Most all of you that are reading this blog post will have the availability of a heads up display inside your mask  to give you an idea of 

how much air you have left.  This tool is something that is overlooked often and can be blurred out by the laser focus we have on the task.  We should start a routine of taking a quick glance down at various points of our assignments.  Most of us are creatures of habit, so starting to make a check of your heads up will allow you to have this down to an automatic task done on every fire. 

Here are a few Quick tips points of reference that can be used to give a look at your gauges:

  • Making the initial entry into the IDLH Atmosphere
  • After the first “Knock Down” has been made
  • Upon finding a victim and starting the removal process
  • When you have finished opening up a vertical vent hole
  • Before you descend or ascend a set of stairs
  • Anytime that you have completed a labor intensive task (such as forcing a door) on air

Whose Job is it?

Just who is responsible for air management of a fire, it should be everyone.  As jumpseat riding firefighters we should be able to gauge or air consumption without even looking at our gauge.  Spending at least three training sessions a month doing various tasks “On Air” will allow you to have a good estimate on your air consumption rate.  Adjusting this rate for decline or improvement in fitness, sickness, and other various factors will allow you to judge just how hard you are working and how much air you are using.

 It is YOUR job!

Managing your air supply is everyone who pulls on a set on boots job to make sure we do not run out of life!  Net time you are on duty, grab your crew and set up an air consumption drill to gauge where you are at and compare everyone’s to yours to have an idea of how you will be able to work as a team to get the job done!  Make it a safe competition to see who can Air it Out the longest!

Bunker up, Buckle in, It’s where we ALL begin!