A Changing World
Firefighting is different now, thanks to increased heat load, duration, and toxicity of structural fires resulting from modern construction materials1. These factors, combined with evolving technology in firefighter protection, require a new approach to safety equipment.
Since the inception of the NFPA, the primary function of SCBA has been air delivery, with only minor changes geared towards SCBA performance improvement -- despite how technology has evolved so quickly for daily life in areas such as software and communication.
These technological advancements have opened wide the possibilities for transforming firefighting safety.
1Source: U.S. Fire Department Profile, National Fire Protection Association, 2017. http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics/the-fire-service/administration/us-fire-department-profile
Revolutionary Safety Explained
In response to these technological advancements, the NFPA has mandated the addition of certain electronic components. These components have been added onto the mechanical apparatus, increasing the complexity and cost of maintaining SCBA, and further widening the gap between NFPA standards and available technologies.
Missed opportunities for safety improvements are rooted in the idea that the gear must be comprised of separate, mechanical components. The truth is, the SCBA is not only about air delivery.
Technological advances can provide additional layers of safety and protection to firefighters:
- Limited situational awareness due to interrupted or incomplete communication capabilities
- Decreased physical strain
- Significant investment of time and money to replace or upgrade breathing apparatus
With the MSA G1 SCBA Breathing Apparatus, there's now a platform-oriented SCBA that protects both the investment and the safety of everyone on a fire scene.