Drill of the Week: SCBA Training Evolution

By Brandon Bass

In February, the Fredericksburg Fire Department conducted a drill at an old water treatment plant. The drill included blind SCBA assembly, use of a thermal imaging device, use of the SCBA buddy breathing device, and reading hose couplings to find your way out of an area. The drill helped develop skills in several areas, helped instill confidence in participants, and ensured familiarity with their equipment. Major points of the drill follow and can be easily adapted into your SCBA training regiment.

The following illustrates the progression and objectives for SCBA training that will be conducted at the Old Water Treatment Plant on February 4th, 2005.

The upstairs training area used artificial smoke to help create a more realistic atmosphere. All participants were required to wear full PPE with SCBA (where applicable). Participants split up into teams of two. Each team carried a thermal imager and hand tool with them.

Scenario Progression
Teams began at the base of the stairs on the first level. They started out in buddy-breathing mode with one team member wearing full SCBA and the other with just a face piece and regulator. The teams proceeded up the stairs and entered the training area on the second floor

Once in the training area the teams began a search (using both the TIC and traditional methods) for the individual parts to an SCBA. Once all parts were located, the SCBA was assembled and donned.

While searching for and assembling the SCBA, the firefighters also located and identified a simulated fire using the thermal imaging camera.

Once the above objectives were met, the teams continued to move through the training area. In the third room (where the rear exit door was located) the firefighters found a knotted up piece of 11/2″ hose. They had to find and read the couplings and follow the hose out the rear exit. The door was in the closed position and needed to be chocked open as teams passed through it.

The teams continued to follow the hose, which lead them to the window of the fourth room. At this time the team members who were originally wearing the full SCBA came off their air and buddy breathed from their partners’ SCBA. Once accomplished, the teams passed through the window into the forth room.

Once in this room, the teams encountered a wooden confined space prop. Working together, team members passed through the prop while still buddy breathing and carrying all tools they began the scenario with. Once this was negotiated, the teams worked their way back through the training area and down the steps to the first floor, completing the drill.

All firefighters went through rehab and the scenario was evaluated.

Brandon Bass is sergeant with the Fredericksburg Fire Department, Fredericksburg Virginia.

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