I have two problems with the buddy-breathing device on SCBA’s.
1) Unless you drill on using it “often”, like once a month, in blacked out facepiece conditions, you probably won’t be able to actually do it in a real, stress-filled emergency. 75% of what you learn is forgotten within two weeks if it is not reinforced! (That’s a fact Jack!)
2) It’s (for lack of a better word) illegal to use. Not to buy (to the joy of the manufactures) but to actually use.
When I was a Lieutenant in 1984, we had a recruit class of 64 recruits. I was moved from Field Operations (# 7’s Ladder) to training and given the assignment of teaching the recruits SCBA’s and Search.
I taught each recruit three ways to buddy-breathe. (One of which is no longer an option now thate we no longer have belt-mounted regulators and corrugated breathing tubes.) I took all 64 into the burn building and actually buddy breathed with each one of them in real smoke conditions. We also went over a few other low air emergency operations.
Later in my carrier, we began to purchase new SCBA’s with buddy-breathing attachments on them. As chief of training at that time, I was reviewing a lesson plan for the “in-service” training for the department in the use of these new tools. Reading the warranty info attached to the new SCBA threw up some red flags to me. The warranty stated (And I paraphrase) “NIOSH and OSHA does not allow any form of buddy breathing. This device is designed for single-wearer use. Any other use voids the warranty of the device.”
Did you catch that? They sold us a device attached to our new SCBA (an option – like cruise control on a car) for a few hundred dollars extra – that they say we can’t use!
That warning is still on the SCBA. Probably on yours. We sent a letter to the IAFF and their Safety team sent us a letter back saying they do not advocate buddy breathing!!!!!
So! I end with this. I know what I would do if you crawled over to me in a fire and said you were out of air or your SCBA wasn’t working. I would give you air and it would not involve any “connection” or bubby-breathing device. There may be an OSHA rule prohibiting buddy-breathing, but there is no rule about letting your brother or sister pass out and eventually die because they ran out of air.
So! Do you know what you would do??? Do you and your crew members have a plan in the event of an “accident” (no one “plans” to run out of air or have their SCBA break) happens????
Just think about it!