Drills, Firefighter Training, Firefighting, Survival Zone

Throw Back to Basics: Buddy Breathing

Firefighters training on buddy breathing techniques.

By Brian Zaitz

Buddy breathing is a skill drilled on during recruit school but is an often overlooked, undertrained activity thereafter. Many variations exist relative to low-air emergencies; these are dependent on manufacturer and department standard operating guidelines for dealing with low-air emergencies. 

The premise of this training bulletin is not looking for a specific “one-size-fits-all” approach but options. These stressful and chaotic emergencies can be easily and quickly mitigated if personnel are properly trained and comfortable with their SCBA and all its operations.

Take the time to review your SCBA–understand fully all components and operations. Determine how you would get air to a firefighter facing a low-air emergency, and work through all the options specific to your department’s SCBA. This simple drill will ensure that if this emergency is faced on the fireground your personnel are trained and proficient in how to handle it. 

Download this drill as a PDF HERE (2.5 MB).

Brian Zaitz is a 14-year student of the fire service, currently assigned as the captain/training officer with the Metro West (MO) Fire Protection District. Brian is an instructor with Engine House Training, LLC as well as instructor at the St. Louis County Fire Academy.  Brian holds several degrees, including an associates in paramedic technology, a bachelors in fire science management, and a masters in human resource development. Brian is currently and accredited chief training officer and student of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

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