Breathing Apparatus

Regulations make clear to fire training centres what they must cover when instructing basic or advanced firefighting or other similar courses and to achieve a recognised Flag State accreditation, that syllabus must be followed correctly.  However our on board training conducted since 2010 has made it quite clear that with crew coming together and having conducted individual training at locations across the world, the standard of instruction varies.  Similarly the way the syllabus is instructed can also be different from place to place meaning crew end up on board with a multitude of ways to conduct the same task, i.e. door opening or firefighting.

More worryingly we have been discovering that some crew are being misled by management companies in their SMS or from guidance in Flag State documentation when it comes to the maintenance and use of the Breathing Apparatus (BA).

MSC/Circ.1432, 13 May 2012 is the revised guideline for the maintenance and inspection of fire-protection systems and appliances which should be applied in accordance with SOLAS II-2/  These includes at Para 3.4 which states "In addition to the onboard maintenance and inspections stated in these guidelines, manufacturer's maintenance and inspection guidelines should be followed."

Breathing apparatus weekly check. 

Examine all breathing apparatus and EEBD cylinder gauges to confirm they are in the correct pressure range.

Breathing apparatus annual check. 

  1. Check breathing apparatus air recharging systems, if fitted, for air quality;
  2. Check all breathing apparatus face masks and air demand valves are in serviceable condition; and;
  3. Check EEBDs according to maker's instructions.

Breathing apparatus ten-year service.

Perform hydrostatic testing of all steel self-contained breathing apparatus cylinders. Aluminium and composite cylinders should be tested to the satisfaction of the Administration.

What all Flag States would agree with is that the recommended instructions from the BA manufacturer should be followed for example from the Marshall Islands Maritime Notice No 2-011-14b:

Para 2.3 Equipment manufacturers’ recommendations, where existent, shall be followed by ships’ owners and officers in the maintenance, testing and inspection of such equipment. Manufacturer maintenance manuals should be available on board where appropriate.

Para 10.0 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)

  10.1 Weekly Inspections
      SCBA should be inspected weekly to ensure that they are in the correct pressure range.
  10.2 Monthly Inspections
      For ships subject to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), IBC Code, and Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code), SCBAs shall be inspected at least once a month by a responsible ship’s officer.
  10.3 Annual Examination

All SCBAs shall be examined at least annually as part of the annual statutory survey for the SEC or MODU Code Certificate. If applicable, the SCBAs air recharging systems should be checked for air quality as part of the annual statutory survey for the SEC or Compressed Air Breathing Quality (BS EN 12021)

Therefore as a simple reminder, the detail below is what has been issued by companies in relation to their equipment.  As we receive more from the various providers, we will continue to update this web page.


One of the most common BA sets found on ships, the details on how to conduct the set start-up and face seal check on the two most regular masks are accessable by clicking the appropriate face mask image below.



FPS7000 Face mask                                   Panorama Face mask                             Clip-on mask

Below is the maintenance scheduld for the BA set.



1. These maintenance tasks may only be carried out by Draeger or trained service personnel. Details of the tests are contained in the Technical Manual which is issued to service personnel that have attended a relevant Draeger maintenance course.
2. Lightly lubricate the O-ring of the lung demand valve (A-type coupling only) as required (recommended lubricant is Dow Corning Molykote 111 Valve Lubricant and Sealant). Products other than the recommended lubricant are not tested and may damage the equipment.
3. Overhaul every 6 years is applied to equipment users subject to German regulations only. Users in Germany must meet the requirements of:
    a. German fire brigade regulations (FxDV 7 and vfdb – RL-0804)
    b. German national regulations (BGR 190 or GUV R190 and GUV-I-8674)
4. Replace the sintered filter if a drop in reducer performance is observed during a flow check or if it is visibly damaged.
5. Replace the high-pressure connector O-ring if it is found to leak during functional testing or if the O-ring is visibly damaged.
6. Where the breathing apparatus is subjected to a high level of use (in training establishments etc) reduce the overhaul period for the pressure reducer. In these circumstances, Draeger recommend that the overhaul frequency should be less than 5,000 applications of use. An application of use is defined as a single use of the fully assembled breathing apparatus, where the user breathes from the air cylinder. It down not include system pressurization for pre-operational checks.



We're awaiting further information from this provider of fire equipment however the dressing procedure and face seal checks recommended by this manufacturer are available by clicking on the images below:

Scott Sigma 2


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