Hey sisters!
Ok, I have a problem. I'm a kinda small girl. Last night I packed up for the first time at my station. I've taken my ff classes, but I used the equipment at the station I took them, not my own. I had thought it was all the same size, but last night when i put on my scba a found that I couldn't get my waist strap tight enough. Does anyone else small have any suggestions on what to do when you can't get your straps small enough? I can carry all the weight on my shoulders for a bit but then it wears me out pretty quick. I would like to find a solution for this

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I was hoping to find the "magical" answer at the bottom of the page too!
What kind of airpack are you using? When using scott airpacks, it should work with all the other brands too, (and this may be something you already do) rather than just pulling on the waist strap pull on it with one hand and also put a hand on the part close to the metal thing on the side (my mind just went blank for terms!) that way you are feeding the strap through it and hopefully getting it a little bit tighter.

My problem in the academy was with the shoulder straps constantly loosening up at the worse time possible if you have that problem too you can get a chest strap from the manufacturer or solve it the low tech probie way, tuck the remainer of your "shoulder straps" into your belt strap then when they try to loosen up there's a bit more friction keeping them there.

I'm not sure if that makes much sense I can explain it again if need be.
=) Whitney
Well, I guess I've found somewhat of a solution for now, but I would still like any suggestions. I told another firefighter about my problem with my air pack. We put it back on a tried several things to try to get it to work. For now, I'm just not putting my waist strap around my waist, I put it down over my hips, which then makes it so I can get that strap tight and not have to carry all the weight on my shoulders. So it works, I have alittle less mobility but it will work for now. I did this on the next fire and did ok with it. It took a little getting use to but it was much better then having a loose air pack hang on only my shoulders. I am still open to any and all suggestions. Thanks everyone
Hey Abby,
I'm not really that small around as some but I'm short. My air pack I usually wear like I do my hiking backpack. Waist belt around my hip bones shoulder straps sung but loose enough that the weight is more on my hips than my shoulders. I do have to hand feed the buckle of the waist belt before I put it on to get it small enough that I can get it tight enough once it's on. it's easier to work before it's under any tension. In my district you don't get your own pack. what's on the truck is what you get and they are pretty much all the same. we do have personal face masks if you can't get a good seal with the ones that are kept with the packs. I have a personal mask with 5 points to tighten whereas the regular ones have two points.
volunteer or paid? i ask becuase who to complain to differs. i thought scba packs were all the same size as well, but if your department does not have equipment that fits you, they must provide you with some that does- which can include borrowing from a nieghbor dept. it really depends on how much too big- if it is a safety issue, that's a concern and something must be done, but it is just a little loose they may tell you to deal with it. first, see if they are different sizes for sure by pulling out packs and trying them- see if you can get someone to help but you may be on your own. we just use whatever we get off the truck, they are not assigned, but if there is- for example- one smaller pack- see if the chief will assign it to you. our department has only 1 small face mask (there is one guy who can wear it as well, but he can wear a med too) so the chief has made it clear that the small is mine. if you have assigned gear, see if someone who is bigger than you but has a small pack will trade. i pull my straps as tight as i can on the shoulders (to get it higher) and around the waist. i also try to get a small bottle- if you use small and long bottles- the smaller ones are easier for smaller people. the pack is still a little big, but it's comfortable enough. there may be a way to alter the straps to make it smaller but don't do it on your own, have the chief or the officer who takes care of gear contact the manufacturer. good luck! it is always a battle to get gear to fit! PS- i keep big fuzzy purple socks in my 'smallest size available' boots- they fit ok with those and regular socks on! i agree with swenson- make sure your gear is fitted properly when you get new (if you haven't yet) i sent my new turnout coat right back with the salesman to have 18 inches removed from the length- this was after he measured me!! and if you have small hips, don't let them check the box that says the bunker pants are for female- the hips are wider when made for females and the bunkers are huge as it is, even when fitted. i was told that the thighs are all the same, they are not fitted so i look like an umpa-loompa.... i could go on and on, but i won't- again, good luck!
my district recently got a grant to replace our air packs. we'll see how they fit as far as masks and straps when they come on-line the first of next year. Last I heard they had the selection down to three different packs.
I have the same problem. Does your SCBA straps have padding on them? We finally got new packs and the padding helped me a lot. I am constantly having to sinch down my shoulder and waist straps I am 5'1" so my back gets a work out everytime I tank up.
i have a wash rag cut and stuffed in the toes of my boots. the smallest boots we have at our volunteer station our a mens size 9...which is like a womens size 11...& i wear a womens size 9...but ive got another volunteer dept. in the county looking to see if they have any that are any smaller
I've definately experienced what you're talking about. I'm only 5'2" and 115lbs. When I was going through the smoke house in the fire academy, I actually lost a boot because it was so big! After graduation we were all properly fitted and my boots and gear fit perfectly now. We use Morning Pride turn outs, which have adjustable straps on each side of the waist that can also be cinched tightly. I agree with firegirl when in regards to wearing air packs. I keep the shoulder straps tight so that after adjusting the waist, the weight of the pack is mainly carried on my hips. As far as suspenders digging into your shoulders from the weight of the pack, I remedied that by simply removing them completely.
Are your cylinders the composite material ones, or are they the heavy (Scotts? I think they are)? I have a bit of the same problem, and other than sore shoulders and a gooooood back workout, it seems to be a cross to bear for people our size. Is your captain aware of the problem and, if so, are they addressing it in any way? I ask only because it could become a huge liability if you encounter a restricted-size crawlspace and get a waist belt hungup....
I have the same problem. I'm not short, I'm rather tall, but I can never get my waist belt to fit me correctly, by myself. Something I tend to do is have my partner before we leave the truck is grab the waist belt and tug on it as hard as he can so it will snug up. Once I have him do that I immediately loosen my shoulder straps to keep the weight off my back, because it does wear me out a whole lot faster if I have all the weight on my shoulders. I learned this in my fire one and two class, I couldn't keep up with the guys, and had to figure it out, I eventually did..
As for your mask, my new department issued a different type of mask then I am use to. They issue AV200, and I am use to the AV300.. Which I prefer. I could not wear a MED.. They had to order me a small, that was issued to me.. Try everything you can to get yourself gear that fits you correctly, it may be a hassle now, but you'll appreciate it after you get the gear!

Good luck ! Be safe!
i don't know what type ur scba is...but have u tried all the straps?? tightening them all??? with my gear on and all the straps tightened...even tho the waist one is not so tight...it seems to work allright for me...just a thought...don't know what u have tried. other than bulking up under ur gear...i dunno what can be done...hope u found a solution :D


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