MAE-Requalified SCBA Cylinders Dangerous for Firefighters

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ISEA Issues Warning About SCBA Cylinders

 

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has issued a warning that “MAE-requalified” self-contained breathing apparatus cylinders (SCBA) are not safe for use by firefighters.

The association reported that these requalified breathing cylinders can be leaky, exposing firefighters to both health and safety hazards.

 

What is “MAE-requalified?”

 

Breathing cylinders must be lined with fully wrapped carbon fiber-reinforced aluminum.

Those that are currently in the market with the U.S. Department of Transportation are good for a 15-year service life.

 

Related Article: Are you forgetting this key part to the respirator standard?

 

After this service life, breathing cylinders have previously been able to be requalified through the Modal Acoustic Emissions (MAE) process — but not anymore.

 

Don’t exceed 15-year service life

 

MAE only evaluates the performance of the carbon fiber wrap, but not the aluminum liner.

The liner can become corroded if the cylinder is used past its 15-year service life. Usually, a full 15-years of use means the cylinder has faced frequent rapid changes of extreme temperatures.

MAE testing, along with visual inspection, are not sufficient in determining whether these liners are safe to use.

According to ISEA, these requalified breathing cylinders void manufacturer warranties, violate OSHA regulations, and fail to comply with both NIOSH & NFPA standards.

 

Related Article: Breaking down the requirements for NFPA 1582

 

Due to ISEA’s findings, the special permit used by third-parties to requalify breathing cylinders, SP-16320, will no longer apply to self-contained breathing apparatus cylinders as of March 31, 2019.

“Saving lives is vastly more important than saving money,” said ISEA President Charles D. Johnson.

“Fire departments may be tempted by the siren song of a company that’s pushing ‘MAE-requalified’ breathing cylinders, but giving in to that temptation will put firefighters at risk of having leaky or empty cylinders when they need them most. Never run into a burning building with an ‘MAE-requalified’ breathing cylinder.”

 

Firefighter Inhalation Risks

 

Heat and flames aren’t the main risks that firefighters face; respiratory hazards can be just as dangerous.

Furniture, building materials, and electronics can give off fumes that create a toxic environment during a fire.

Firefighters may be exposed to smoke that contains formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide, dioxins, polynuclear hydrocarbons, and other gases.

SCBA is one of the most important pieces of protective equipment in the firefighter’s arsenal, so it is crucial that the breathing cylinder is working correctly.

 

NFPA 1582

 

NFPA 1582 is the standard for fire chiefs to use to ensure that their firefighters are performing at their best physical ability.

It contains a concise list of requirements for medical testing and physical examinations that should be done when firefighters join the department, and each year thereafter

With Standard 1582’s specific guidelines, the NFPA aims to reduce risks and improve the health, safety and effectiveness of firefighters. Keep your fire department safe with comprehensive NFPA 1582 medical testing.

 

Related Article: PA fire department accepts NFPA 1582 award

 

Worksite Medical can come to your department to complete all firefighter physicals and respirator fit tests. We bring the entire clinic to you, whenever you need it, just like we have for dozens of fire departments in the eastern portion of the United States.

To learn more and to get a quote on NFPA physicals & respirator fit testing, contact us today at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below.

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