The IAFF has been notified by IAFF Local 3918, South Fire District (Middletown, CT) of problems with their Scott AirPak Fifty SCBA. The problem involved leaky cylinder valves causing inadvertent activation of the integrated Pak-Alert PASS device. The PASS device is activated using air pressure from the SCBA when the cylinder valve is opened.

Scott indicated in a letter report that the air pressure required to activate the PASS device is very low. Scott noted that certain SCBA’s, which have not been utilized for a period of time, may have small amount of leakage from the cylinder valve that builds-up to the point where the PASS device is activated. Scott determined that the leak rate is too small to have an appreciable effect on the respirator’s duration.

The problem was reported to National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for investigation and in turn was forwarded to the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI). SEI concluded that Scott’s plan to work individually with customers to resolve problems and replace the activation spring for the PASS device when necessary is the appropriate course of action.

The IAFF wants to determine if this is an isolated occurrence or if this problem has occurred in other jurisdictions. Therefore, any IAFF members that have experienced problems with the Scott AirPak Fifty SCBA should document the incidents in writing and please forward this information to the IAFF Department of Occupational Health and Safety at [email protected] or fax to 202-737-8418.

View the SEI report here and the NIOSH Report here.