I just finished recruit training last week and I had a few claustrophobic issues with the SCBA, mainly with the face piece blacked out. For the most part I think I have gotten over the panicky feeling but I can't say I am 100%. Something I would do is to put on my full gear and crawl around my apartment in the dark or have my family hide in the dark and search/rescue them. I am just going to keep working with my gear until I am totally over my issue. I know a lot of it is trusting my gear.
honestly guys i was scared half to death i mean i was feelin like i was gona have a heart attack but hey guys the best thing is just take a deep breath try to stay calm and go for it do it a few times and when you get it on leave it on for a little while and keep doin that a few time and youll get used to it.
after 8 years as a vol. i haven't had a whole lot of structures that i could make entry, and to this day whether its training or live fire I still have to take a second or two to "reorganize" my thought pattern once the mask goes on and the smoke is in front of me. So don't feel bad if you still get nervous. Take any time that you have to get used to it, if your dept has enough to let you take a mask home that's great but if not then try meeting another ff at the station for extra training with the air pack, we usually offer this to all our people new or not, even being on for 8 years i still need extra training on some things since it's so far in between calls, so don't be afraid to ask, hell, if you need it wear the mask through business and training meetings even if the meeting has nothing to do with the SCBA
not to sound like a broken record, but part of what I did to work on my mask problems was to just spend time in it. I have my own mask because i don't get a good seal with the standard issue ones kept with the air packs. So I took my mask home with me and wore it around the house, laid in bed (not asleep) for a while etc. just getting comfortable having it on. Also practice breathing evenly and smoothly in the mask. That practice has helped me in air conservation on the pack. (at least I think so)
My other issue I have is with my mask/regulator. I had an experience on a river a few years ago where I was kinda stuck underwater for a while unable to take a breath. So how that translates to my SCBA is that I have problems putting in and taking off my regulator, especially if I forget and try to take a breath. The panic feeling I get when I can't get a full breath is slowly getting better. Another practice thing I think. holding my breath at the right time and getting the regulator in and out smoothly.
Having some fear is good- it means you are not be complacent. Maybe a confined space or SCBA awareness class would help too. The more you know, the more comfortable you become. And like all the others- just get used to it. If your department doesn't answer to many calls that require the SCBA be sure to continue putting it on every once in awhile. If you go for 6 months before you use it again, you my find yourself in a state of panic. Good Luck!
you get over that feeling the more you wear one. when i went throught the fire academy they spent alot of time having us just wear them. at first we wore them everyday. so just keep on practicing with one
well in my department i had to go through TONS of scba training before they would even let me take any classes like FF1 or anything requiring a pack.---what they did with me was first teach me evreything about the pack and how it worked and all that and then i had to show them i knew what i has doing before i could do any donning or anything with it. then we moved into doing the donning with the pack but not putting the mask all the way on just to get used to the feeling of having it on my face- then they did that but with breathing air off the mask. then finally we did donning with the pack and mask and on air- just like for a real call. the first few times they had me just stand ther efor a few minuits and look around and talk a but, then they had me walk around the station and we would talk back and forth. then we went from walking to crawling and doin like the real thing... they set up some obstacle course type stuff for me to do also like grabbing the nozle and pulling hose in the bay around the trucks then they would get mu lost and i'd have to fallow it back and stuff like that.--just little things to get used to working in the mask and being in a controlled environment. then we did a bottle breath-down. that was a good training night! we had a big course to go through that night and we did the full breath down. when the low air allarm went off we had do go to one of the guys and kneel down next to them(that way if we freaked they could get us out quick)-and they had us go all the way untill tyhe ruber sucked to our face to see if we could handle all of it. it was relly good training a little over-kill maybe but a couple of the kids that did it with me really needed that tho. eventho they where the most worried about me just because im a girl and was the youngest but i actually did the best and the kid they thought would be fine did the worst .
deffinately the most important thing is to really be familliar with your set up and how to use your pack-and the more training you can get in the mask the better. you gotta practice how you play and the more you practice the more comfortable and natural it all becomes. there are alse scba confidance courses available in most counties
we have a guy.....a yearling.....who is very uncomfortable with scba. We had training the other night specifically and strictly on scba. He fought his fears and participated in the drills. This particular drill was to do complete donning with air as a team, go grab a pre-charged 2 1/2 and hit an empty 45 gallon drum and push it between 2 pylons. he and his partner finished in roughly 3 minutes. in that 3 minutes he was hyperventillating and sweating so much. took his faceshield off, and simply said..."yup...still hate it". But he said he will keep trying until, hopefully, he can do it. So for now he drives the apparatus and gives us water which is another very important position. I guess all I'm trying to say is, don't give up. It HAS been conquered before. He says it's not only the claustrophobia but also the regulator and the way it operates. We told him to open the relief valve a bit for constant air, he will try it next time.