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maritime DC & PPE Information Center

personnel protection

Supplied Air Respirator/Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SAR/SCBA) System




The SAR/SCBA System was designed to enhance the capability of Gas-Free Engineers (GFE) by increasing the available air supply, thus expanding operational capability and duration. The SAR/SCBA provides breathing air, Grade D or higher, to shipboard personnel for access to spaces presumed to contain hazardous atmospheres. The equipment is not to be used for firefighting or underwater applications.

The SAR/SCBA System consists of:

  • Primary Air Supply Packs (PASPs)

  • Reserve Air Supply Packs (RASPs)

  • Escape Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses (Escape SCBAs)

  • 75-foot lengths of hose (part of the NIOSH approved Escape SCBA)

In 2009, the SAR/SCBA System allocation (AEL) was changed.  The number of RASPs, Escape SCBAs, and hoses were reduced on all ship classes except CVNs.  This reduction was made possible because of the new capabilities from the Firefighting SCBA program.  Now that ships could fill cylinders with Grade D air while underway they did not need to carry as many spare cylinders and Escape SCBAs.

Starting in 2010, the SAR/SCBA System (MOD 1) was introduced into the fleet to replace expiring gear.  The MOD 1 system uses the Scott Ska-Pak AT Escape SCBA.  The MOD 1 has all 4500 psi, carbon fiber cylinders with a 30 year service life (PASP/RASP and Escape SCBA).  Ships with the MOD 1 no longer require the Breathing Air Reducing Station (BARS) to refill any breathing air devices.

Figure 1 SAR/SCBA System (MOD 0)  - SCBA (MSA)

Figure 1 SAR/SCBA System (MOD 0)  - SCBA (MSA)

Figure 3 SAR/SCBA (MOD 1)  Escape SCBA (SCOTT) case

For more information, see the Index