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RoadRacer1978
10-26-2007, 23:20
I was visiting a couple of my buddies at the local fire department and saw that they had got a brand new compressor. I asked them about filling my SCUBA tanks and they told me I was welcome to come fill my tanks anytime I wanted and they had an adapter for SCUBA tanks and one of the local instructors fills his tanks there. I know nothing about filling a tank, other than put the air in slow. I would have one of the guys show me how to work the compressor and how to fill the tank. My specific question is there any problems or things I need to check or watch out for when using a compressor outside of a SCUBA shop? I was wondering mostly about air quality, such as checking the filters and ensuring the air was dry. Like I said, I really no nothing about filling a tank and am not sure if there are any differences to the compressors at a SCUBA shop and those at the fire departments.

I know the compressor can easily fill my AL80 to 3000psi as they told me one of the other local FD's fills their cylinders to 4500psi.

Thanks.....

finflippers
10-26-2007, 23:26
I have had my tank filled at the fire department before you will be fine using their compressor.

texdiveguy
10-27-2007, 00:28
Ensure you 'fully understand' the operation of the compressor and don't over fill your cylinder. Ask for evidence from the FD of an Air Quality Check....this is usually done 4 times a year with many scuba shops.....a min. of Grade E air for breathing.

RoadRacer1978
10-27-2007, 08:58
Ensure you 'fully understand' the operation of the compressor and don't over fill your cylinder. Ask for evidence from the FD of an Air Quality Check....this is usually done 4 times a year with many scuba shops.....a min. of Grade E air for breathing.


OK, that pretty well answers my question. I am sure they do these checks as their lives depend on the air they breathe as well, but I will check to make sure.

WV Diver
10-27-2007, 09:10
The firemen fill their fire fighting bottles with the same air as we do for scuba. I'm surprised they don't have a dive team. Maybe that would be a good suggestion for you to make RoadRacer. Become a fireman and be the dive team leader.

I realize your new but that would be a great way to get a lot of training and have it paid for while helping out the community.

RoadRacer1978
10-27-2007, 09:22
Some of the guys are divers, but I do not think they have an actual dive team. Out fire department is a small one with only 2 full time firefighters on duty at a time and mainly supplimented by volunteers. The Oklahoma Hiway Patrol has a dive team and are used by most of the smaller agencies anytime a dive team is needed. Only the larger cities or counties have actual dive teams. There is a Tribal police department in the area that is starting up a dive team. I have talked to their chief and one of their detectives (a good friend of mine) about becoming a reserve officer and volunteering for the dive team. This is a new departmen and was just formed 3 years ago. They do not have an actual reserve program yet, but are working on implementing one and I am waiting until they get the logistics worked out on that. With my background they told me it would no be a problem, they just had to get the details worked out and would give me a call. I can't wait. It will be nice to get back into law enforcement and give some good dive training as well :)

ScubaToys Larry
10-27-2007, 09:23
A couple points here... One is being a diver on a fire team is something you have to take a good long look at before you do it. Your primary job is going in and pulling bodies out of the lake or river - some times in very dangerous diving conditions. I had a friend that did it, and when he had to pull a little girl out of a car that was the same age as his daughter - it caused so much grief - he quit.

And as far as the air - they are normally filtered great - but keep in mind that the air quality has to be 4 times more pure to use it at 99 feet as it has to be at 1 atmosphere... But it is probably even cleaner. My compressor guy does a lot of fire departments compressors and they normally have excellent filter systems.

RoadRacer1978
10-27-2007, 09:33
Not real fond of the poor diving coditions I would be put in. I am not extremely concerned about body recovery though. I was a police officer for 6 1/2 years and saw way more than I'd like to talk about. I would like to get all the training I could and if I could use that training to give a family closure, then I would be willing to put those skills to use. Thank you for your concern though Larry. With my current carrer though I am not sure how being on a diving team will work out. I am away form home a lot and do not have a set schedule (on call 24/7). So I will have to see if it is even possible to get on a team at this time.

RoadRacer1978
10-27-2007, 09:35
a min. of Grade E air for breathing.

So when looking at an air quality check I am assuming that grade A would be the best, B next, then C, D and finally E. Or am I really confused. If I saw something other than grade E on the air quality check what would be good, or bad?

ScubaToys Larry
10-27-2007, 09:52
I found this chart that shows everything except E?!

http://www.creativemethods.com/airquality/ambient/index_files/gradelevels.gif


Then I found this for E

NAUI Modified CGA Grade E Air Standard

For Filling Compressed Gas Containers Using Air to Produce Nitrox or Oxygen-Enriched Gas Mixtures.

Oxygen: 20% to 22% (balance of gas predominantly nitrogen)
Water vapor:128 ppm (v/v) -40 F Dew Point
Condensed hydrocarbons: 0.1 mg/m 3
Gaseous hydrocarbons (methane): 25 ppm
Solid particulate: none >2m
Carbon monoxide: 2 ppm
Carbon dioxide: 500 ppm
Odor: none
Sampling Frequency: Quarterly
Lab Analysis: Recommended CGA Grade E Air Standard

For Filling Compressed Gas Containers Using Air.

Oxygen: 20% to 22% (balance of gas predominantly nitrogen)
Water vapor: May vary depending on intended use
Condensed hydrocarbons: 5 mg/m 3
Gaseous hydrocarbons (methane): 25 ppm
Carbon monoxide: 10 ppm
Carbon dioxide: 1000 ppm
Odor: none
Sampling Frequency: Quarterly
Lab Analysis: Recommended

RoadRacer1978
10-27-2007, 10:04
Thanks Larry. I'll study those charts and and get a handle on what I'm looking at.

DRhodes
12-05-2007, 16:58
My local Fire Station said they would fill my tanks for but I would need to get the adapter from their tanks to the scuba tanks. What adapter is it that I need if anybody knows.

Thanks

Flatliner
12-05-2007, 17:44
Not to be the killjoy here but I recall from a recent thread that the operating expense on the compressor is fairly high. I know a guy here who gets his AL80 (for paintball use) filled at the firestation. He also tosses in a $5 when he does to the volunteer's whatever kitty.

Just a thought.

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
12-05-2007, 17:51
Be very careful here. My buddy told me about a guy dying from air that was good enough for the Fire Department SCBA but not good enough for SCUBA. He's an ex-firefighter and IANTD instructor. I'll try to remember to ask him the details next time I see him and post back with what I find.

wheelman
12-05-2007, 18:40
Even if the air quality was acceptable, I would also be curious about the moisture, especially if I wasn't using the tank for a while. IMO

mitsuguy
12-05-2007, 20:15
um, guys, the FD's use the same compressors as dive shops do... moisture, etc... it's all monitored - so long as they pass the air quality tests, nothing to worry about...

in_cavediver
12-06-2007, 05:18
um, guys, the FD's use the same compressors as dive shops do... moisture, etc... it's all monitored - so long as they pass the air quality tests, nothing to worry about...

Not quite true. Yes its the same compressor and yes its filtered. It just may not be filtered to the same standard as scuba air.

As Larry pointed out, when diving, contaminants are breathed at much higher PO2's than would ever been seen at the surface. Some stations use less 'thorough' filters to get longer life but at a lower air quality. Usually its moisture that's higher which can cause freezing of regs in cold water.

At least for me, my FD has the station compressor and rescue truck compressor set up specifically to support dive activities.

teog
12-18-2007, 10:21
By no means am I an expert on compressors. But I can tell you the compressor we have at our stations are far superior than any of the LDS in the area.

Also I cant imagine any FD allowing a non-employee with no training on the compressor to fill their own scuba bottle. It would be a huge liablilty for the city or county. Im sure they would be happy to fill it for you though.

Working on a FD dive team is more of body recovery in nasty murky water than anything else. And here in Florida we have poisonous snakes and gators to worry about too.

I work for a small city outside of Orlando. At one time many years ago we had a dive team. However it was too expensive to maintain for the actual call volume relating to body recovery in the county.

And unfortunelty dealing with dead persons of all ages is part of the job. Some times certain calls are harder to deal with then other. The worst call for any FF/EMT or medic is a pediatric code.

But if we ever reimplimented the dive team again I would be on it!

Tom A
12-18-2007, 10:31
fill our tanks at fire dept were just volenteer its just like fill you scba

MSilvia
12-18-2007, 10:40
My only concern would be if you were using the air in an O2 clean tank. Since mixed gasses are not something the fire department would likely be using, they may not take precautions to ensure their air is O2 compatable. If you're just diving air that shouldn't be an issue though.

RoadRacer1978
12-18-2007, 16:38
My only concern would be if you were using the air in an O2 clean tank. Since mixed gasses are not something the fire department would likely be using, they may not take precautions to ensure their air is O2 compatable. If you're just diving air that shouldn't be an issue though.

Just plain old air for now. No worries yet. I will check though after I go through Nitrox and think about filling my tanks with EAN.



Also I cant imagine any FD allowing a non-employee with no training on the compressor to fill their own scuba bottle. It would be a huge liablilty for the city or county. Im sure they would be happy to fill it for you though.


Well, believe it or not, they will show me how to use the compressor and allow me to use it any time. Thisprobably ins't the case for everyone, but I was a Police Officer in the city for 6 1/2 years and it is a fairly small town. So I am good friends with all the firemen and know the Fire chief well. So kinda special circumstances. I'm sure they wouldn't allow just anyone to fill their tanks there.

ReefHound
12-18-2007, 16:51
Sounds like a special perk, one you might want to be discreet about lest it get cut off when some bean counter figures out it is costing the city for your fills or some attorney advises them it's a huge liability risk.

PsychDiver
12-18-2007, 23:23
My only concern would be if you were using the air in an O2 clean tank. Since mixed gasses are not something the fire department would likely be using, they may not take precautions to ensure their air is O2 compatable. If you're just diving air that shouldn't be an issue though.

Just plain old air for now. No worries yet. I will check though after I go through Nitrox and think about filling my tanks with EAN.



Also I cant imagine any FD allowing a non-employee with no training on the compressor to fill their own scuba bottle. It would be a huge liablilty for the city or county. Im sure they would be happy to fill it for you though.


Well, believe it or not, they will show me how to use the compressor and allow me to use it any time. Thisprobably ins't the case for everyone, but I was a Police Officer in the city for 6 1/2 years and it is a fairly small town. So I am good friends with all the firemen and know the Fire chief well. So kinda special circumstances. I'm sure they wouldn't allow just anyone to fill their tanks there.

Yes, probably not anyone. I use to have a compressor in my garage as a kid because my father was a commercial diver. I can remember being 10 years old and pumping my own air. It was a gas operated compressor so I always had to make sure the air intake was distant from the exhaust. Dad was not real happy that I was pumping my own air but allowed me to after he checked out that I could run the compressor.

cummings66
12-19-2007, 16:40
Many of the fire departments around here use Modified Grade E air. Not sure why but they do.

snagel
12-19-2007, 17:33
Larry,

Where did you get that information the "graded air". I'm a Safety Director and am familiar with Grade D air. We have to meet this criteria for our supplied air respirators in our paint operations. All our systems are set to alarm at 10 ppm for CO. For us, the criteria of Grade D air is <10 ppm for CO. Your chart shows 11 ppm for a 1 hour exposure and I think 6 something for a 8 hour exposure.

Just curious about where your information came from - not trying to pick a fight. Just curious.

S. Nagel

teog
12-19-2007, 21:11
My only concern would be if you were using the air in an O2 clean tank. Since mixed gasses are not something the fire department would likely be using, they may not take precautions to ensure their air is O2 compatable. If you're just diving air that shouldn't be an issue though.

Just plain old air for now. No worries yet. I will check though after I go through Nitrox and think about filling my tanks with EAN.



Also I cant imagine any FD allowing a non-employee with no training on the compressor to fill their own scuba bottle. It would be a huge liablilty for the city or county. Im sure they would be happy to fill it for you though.


Well, believe it or not, they will show me how to use the compressor and allow me to use it any time. Thisprobably ins't the case for everyone, but I was a Police Officer in the city for 6 1/2 years and it is a fairly small town. So I am good friends with all the firemen and know the Fire chief well. So kinda special circumstances. I'm sure they wouldn't allow just anyone to fill their tanks there.

Thats awesome that they will make special arangments for you. We dont even let our rookies fill their own bottles for the first year. :)

Puffer Fish
12-19-2007, 22:28
Larry,

Where did you get that information the "graded air". I'm a Safety Director and am familiar with Grade D air. We have to meet this criteria for our supplied air respirators in our paint operations. All our systems are set to alarm at 10 ppm for CO. For us, the criteria of Grade D air is <10 ppm for CO. Your chart shows 11 ppm for a 1 hour exposure and I think 6 something for a 8 hour exposure.

Just curious about where your information came from - not trying to pick a fight. Just curious.

S. Nagel
I think it is a bit confusing to compare weighted averages to a fixed concentration... as weighted averages assumes that the concentration is varying.

In your case, the alarm set at a maximum, assuming that the maximum is not the steady state condition.

I would suggest that the modified E standard is a more reasonable one for a tank...

danielh03
12-20-2007, 03:24
Our City FD was recently banned from filling SCUBA tanks due to the liability factor.

medicdiver
12-20-2007, 05:39
Both of the fire departments in my area will fill my bottle. One of them has a dive team which they fill their bottles from the departments compressor. And it doen't hurt that I dive with the Fire Chief as well as a few of the dive team guys. The chief said their standards are the same as a dive shops that are around.

No Misses
12-20-2007, 08:01
Here is a copy of the test results from my LDS (FillExpress). It is an attached PDF file. I hope it is readable.
All of thier gasses are ultra pure grade E / O2 compatable. The PDF file shows what the standard is and what the test results indicate.

P.S. thier website is full of useful information Fillexpress.com

Puffer Fish
12-20-2007, 15:27
Here is a copy of the test results from my LDS (FillExpress). It is an attached PDF file. I hope it is readable.
All of thier gasses are ultra pure grade E / O2 compatable. The PDF file shows what the standard is and what the test results indicate.

P.S. thier website is full of useful information Fillexpress.com
You get air from them???

Note: For those that don't know, they charge the same for Nitrox as air. They also only charge for how much gas they put in your tank...

I think fillExpress is an exceptional organization, and not very typical of what most dive shops run...

in_cavediver
12-20-2007, 17:35
Here is a copy of the test results from my LDS (FillExpress). It is an attached PDF file. I hope it is readable.
All of thier gasses are ultra pure grade E / O2 compatable. The PDF file shows what the standard is and what the test results indicate.

P.S. thier website is full of useful information Fillexpress.com
You get air from them???

Note: For those that don't know, they charge the same for Nitrox as air. They also only charge for how much gas they put in your tank...

I think fillExpress is an exceptional organization, and not very typical of what most dive shops run...

I went there this past October - Nice place. Reminded me of Cave Excursions. Oh wait, they used Cave Excursions as a template for pumping and selling gas!

Still, gotta love the air is same as nitrox pricing and its all per cubic foot!

ChrisA
12-20-2007, 19:06
Not real fond of the poor diving coditions I would be put in. I am not extremely concerned about body recovery though. I was a police officer for 6 1/2 years and saw way more than I'd like to talk about. I would like to get all the training I could and if I could use that training to give a family closure, then I would be willing to put those skills to use. Thank you for your concern though Larry. With my current carrer though I am not sure how being on a diving team will work out. I am away form home a lot and do not have a set schedule (on call 24/7). So I will have to see if it is even possible to get on a team at this time.

I know something about what the local public safety divers do around here. Basically it takes a LOT more training than you can get from PADI. These guys will jump into a hazmat environment with a full face mask and comm gear. Zero viz and in an overhead environment. They do NOT use recreational dive gear There is considerable training involved, about the same as commercial divers get. Who pays for that, it costs thousands. and then there is the problem of keeping your skills up to date. You need to dive using those techniques and equipment weekly if you can. The local angencies here require some minimum number of training dives per month

SHAGGY
12-20-2007, 23:25
I was visiting a couple of my buddies at the local fire department and saw that they had got a brand new compressor. I asked them about filling my SCUBA tanks and they told me I was welcome to come fill my tanks anytime I wanted and they had an adapter for SCUBA tanks and one of the local instructors fills his tanks there. I know nothing about filling a tank, other than put the air in slow. I would have one of the guys show me how to work the compressor and how to fill the tank. My specific question is there any problems or things I need to check or watch out for when using a compressor outside of a SCUBA shop? I was wondering mostly about air quality, such as checking the filters and ensuring the air was dry. Like I said, I really no nothing about filling a tank and am not sure if there are any differences to the compressors at a SCUBA shop and those at the fire departments.

I know the compressor can easily fill my AL80 to 3000psi as they told me one of the other local FD's fills their cylinders to 4500psi.

Thanks.....

I will have to agree with what Larry said. I am a lake patrol officer in North East Texas and part of my job is searching for drowning victims and doing inspections on our dam and other various job. It is definately NOT what I call fun diving. It is pretty tuff work and very stressful. Our visibility is usually near zero so you have to go by feel and then on top of that you have to avoid all of the underwater obstructions like trotlines and underwater trees and submerged logs. BUT,.... The one bonus is that my Department pays for all of my training and they spare no expense on my gear and I get to use my gear on any of my dive trips because it still counts as training. Our local fire department fills our tanks and it works just fine since they use the same air in their fire SCBA tanks. Just make sure if you get them to fill them to check what pressure they put in the tanks, because normally their tanks are filled to around 2300psi and your AL80 will be 3000. Basically as long as they keep their equipment serviced and up to date its no different than the dive shops air.

No Misses
12-21-2007, 08:01
[You get air from them???

Note: For those that don't know, they charge the same for Nitrox as air. They also only charge for how much gas they put in your tank...

I think fillExpress is an exceptional organization, and not very typical of what most dive shops run...

"Do I get Air from them?" Well, I normally get EANx. At seven cents per cubic foot, I can not see a reason not to dive EAN :-)

An added benefit to getting my fills there is the people that I meet. How many LDS can you walk into and pick the brains of Tri-mix and rebreather divers. Here is an example of one little tidbit of information that I received from a new rebreather diver - "I used to think that I had pinpoint bouancy. I did not realize how much I was using my lungs to provide minute changes in bouyancy. With a rebreather you exhale into a bladder (closed circuit). This means that you can no longer use your lungs for bouancy control. I was bumping into things my whole first dive."

Now, some of you might be saying that you already knew that little tidbit about closed circuit diving. I can honestly say that it was news to me.

cummings66
12-21-2007, 11:26
I've read about CCR divers having that issue, not sure if it was here or another forum. It's common sense once you think about it. I know they fill their tanks quite often a well.

Hollywood703
12-21-2007, 14:10
I can tell you from experience....most departments that have their own airfill stations, have the money to replace the filters often. Our county dive team, fills our tanks from our airbank, if its good enough for them, its good enough for me......BUT, due to liability, they will not allow any non-fire departmental tanks filled except the county dive team.