Our packs have aluminum bottles that weigh 21 1/2 pounds. I have been pushing for composite bottles that weigh around 7 to 8 pounds. I believe the weight of the packs are dangerous they cause fatigue. Don't even get my started on working on a ladder they want to pull you over backwards. Crawling the weight wants to roll the pack around you so you must try to keep it balanced in the center of your back. The shoulder straps have to be so tight that it restricts movement. The guys don't want to wear them when they should. Some of the guys that belong to another department that we call for aid from alot will wait on them to show and use there packs.
Everytime it is brought up I get the same old speech on how when they started they had steel bottles and they were so much heavier. So I weighed a steel bottle and they are almost the same. So I get well aluminum bottles are good forever and composite are only good for 15 years. So my statement is if no one wears them what good are they? Then I have been told we don't average 3 to 5 structure fires a year we can't justifiy the cost. I ask about all the car, tractor, combine fires and was told once that they really were not that important on those calls. I just felt like banging my head against the wall.
We have nice trucks, The packs are great themselves radio interface, voice amplification there nice. But why cut corners on the bottles.
Alot of our guys are not young and 11 or 12 more pounds cantilevered on there backs is hard to work with after awhile of working. Its not good to be afraid of your packs and alot of us are. I have tried wearing them loose and tight and nothing helps. I have tried them with composite bottles and they are fine. We have some well fit, paid firefighters that have joined are all volunteer department that say there too much to work in and now will just wait on there rigs to show to pack up.