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Filling SCUBA Tanks at Fire Station

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by BigDaddy051570, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. fire_diver

    fire_diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NW Oklahoma, USA
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Please get some information before making statements like this.
    DM_cappie and Deep South Divers like this.
  2. Paladin

    Paladin Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Virginia
    Both of the fire departments in my hometown do, as do the two departments in the closest two towns. They've been doing it for years, from what I was told. When they fill SCUBA tanks, they do it straight off the compressor. SCBA tanks are filled from the cascade bank, which contain O2 enriched air.
  3. Deep South Divers

    Deep South Divers Loggerhead Turtle

    This is a common myth.

    All breathing gasses bottled for storage in the U.S. - be they bank bottles, SCBA tanks or SCUBA tanks - are mandated by ANSI/CGA standards to be "grade E" or higher. OSHA mandates "grade D" with a lower dew point that means effectively "grade E" for practical purposes. This is where the myth comes from, since the OSHA rules were written prior to the "grade E" nomenclature... So they simply said "grade D with this modification...". That modification is essentually "grade E."

    I do not have access to NFPA standards, but I am confident that they are consistent with ANSI/CGA standards, who is the entity that creates the standards and grades.

    The hottom line is, if they're bottling it - whether it's a fire station or police station or US Navy or your local dive shop... Compressed, stored breathing air is "grade E" or higher.

    "Grade D" air is the minimum standard for surface supplied "hookah" applications where the air is compressed but never stored. Even then, in most cases, that air will also pass "grade E" standards.
  4. Gilldiver

    Gilldiver Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northeast US
    The first mistake that all seem to make is to think ALL Fire Departments are the same. Departments with no diving in the area may have lessor quality than a department on Cape Cod, but the "MAY" is very important. It will all depend on the quality of the departments maintenance and control. I have been in some departments that have systems way better than any dive shop and have also seen systems that got condemned and now have to get their bottles filled at a dive shop. I have also seen some dive shops that have crap for air quality.

    But in general, a Fire Department that supports a dive team will have good air and most likely be better than a dive shop as they are subject to much higher Inspection standards than any dive shop will have (OSHA, insurance, etc.) and have customers, the dive team, that usually know all about what they need and want. I will also go out on the limb and say that a Fire Department near diving in an area with low dive shop coverage will have some divers on the department and better air - Cape Cod, Maine, Northern New York come to mind. I have also seen some of these shops with a few bottles of O2 and He for some reason.

    So, no 2 fire departments are the same, you need to ask, and they may not fill your tank anyway unless they know you.

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