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 RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
         NEW TECHNOLOGIES
 
 

Test #99-022, Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
Test #99-023, Flooding Control Evolution

DAMAGE CONTROL ENGINEERING TEST FACILITY

(DCETF)
NAVAL RESERVE CENTER, BALTIMORE
TEST DATA

 

TEST NUMBER: 99-022 DATE: 8 June 1999
TEST TITLE: Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA): Donned while wearing the standard Fire Fighter’s Ensemble (FFE) during Water Immersion Evolutions and evaluating the FFE (modified) with the foam liner and the Caldora/Aerolite liner.

TEST NUMBER: 99-023

TEST TITLE: Flooding Control Evolution: While wearing the standard FFE, FFE with foam liner and FFE with Caldora/Aerolite liner. Also evaluated the Guy cotton suit (wet suit) in Flood Control Evolutions.

STATUS: Phase 1 completed 5-20-99

ENCLOSURES:

  1. Fire Fighters Ensemble/Self Contained Breathing Apparatus Water Immersion Evaluation
     
  2. Medical Considerations
     
  3. NATICK Report, Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility
     
  4. Photos of Evaluation

TEST TEAM: DCC Bobby Womble
EN1 Jerome Stoney
HM2 Edward Tokonitz
Mr. Harry Winer

TEST OPERATIONS AND SAFETY TEAM:
Crieg Beck
Ken Carter
Greg Bielawski
HM2 Tokonitz

RECORDER: Richard Wojtaszek

Enclosure 1: Fire Fighters Ensemble/Self Contained Breathing Apparatus Water Immersion Evaluation

DESCRIPTION OF TESTS:

  1. One man entry made into 4’8” deep water – “flooded compartment” while wearing full FFE outfit with the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) (see Test #1 NATICK comments) and test results.
  2. One man entry made into water “flooded compartment” 5’0” deep while wearing the full FFE outfit with the SCBA. See test results and test #2 NATICK comments.
  3. One man entry (flooding control) made into water 4’, 0” deep to perform emergency hull repairs. “Hole in bulkhead” by installing the 12” splinter patch with “L” bolt. See test results and #2 NATICK comments.
  4. Two man entry (flooding control) made into water 3’6” deep to perform emergency hull repairs, hole in bulkhead by installing 12” splinter patch. See test #2 NATICK comments.
  5. One man entry (flooding control) into water 4’6” deep to conduct emergency pipe repair operation by applying jubilee patch. Blue dot gloves were exchanged for Shelby FF gloves to provide more dexterity. (See test results and #4 NATICK comments).
  6. One man entry (flooding control) into water 4’8” deep made while wearing the Caldora/Aerolite liner FFE to determine maneuverability and water absorption and buoyancy. (See test # 4 NATICK and test results comments). Note: wearer cooled down very fast while wearing the Caldora/Aerolite liner FFE.
  7. One man entry (flooding control) into water 5’0” deep made while wearing the FFE with foam liner. Good buoyancy and wearer did not cool down as fast as with the other two FFEs. See Test #4 NATICK comments).
  8. One man entry (flooding control) into water 5’0” deep while wearing the water immersion suit. Wearer able to remain in water 62°F for a longer period. Body temperature dropped off 1°F compared to 2°F and 3°F with the foam liner and Caldora/Aerolite liner. See Test #3, NATICK comments.

RESULTS:

  1. During the two days of testing evaluation, personnel experienced no malfunctions while wearing the SCBA when submerged in water.
  2. While wearing the SCBA during testing evaluation, the SCBA served as an excellent floatation device, and improved once the boots were removed.
  3. While wearing the Navy Standard fire fighting boots maneuverability was reduced due to an excessive amount of water contained inside the boot (about 5-7 lbs), depending size.
  4. The Foam liner FFE allowed the person to have more maneuverability while performing various tasks, etc., pipe patching and plugging operations submerged in water. The Foam Liner FFE is the more comfortable fire fighting ensemble of the three suits evaluated. The Foam Liner FFE was the lighter of the three ensembles and also provided a shield between the water and wearer. The foam liner ensemble provided the most buoyancy of the three suits.
  5. The Caldora / Aerolite liner FFE was a much cooler ensemble which allowed the body temperatures to drop more quickly than the Foam liner FFE and Standard Navy FFE.
  6. The Standard Navy FFE does contain more water than the other two ensembles and maneuverability was the least efficient of the three FFE ensembles while wearing the standard FFE.
  7. The SCBA experienced no malfunctions when completely submerged in water frequently over a one hour evaluation period.
  8. The SCBA mask maintained a good seal while floating in water or submerged.
  9. The SCBA added to buoyancy helping the individual stay afloat.
  10. FFE boots detracted significantly from the buoyancy of the individual.
  11. The only clothing that should be removed upon water entry is the boots.
  12. The SCBA uprights the individual if entry into the water was made on one’s side, but it does not keep the person’s head above the water.
  13. The current issue fire fighting ensemble proved to add to buoyancy, however, after an hour of exposure in 62°F water, early signs of exhaustion/hypothermia became apparent. The body temperature had decreased approximately three degrees F.
  14. Maneuverability while wearing the Fire fighting Ensemble and the SCBA was not significantly decreased as to impede DC functions.
  15. Exiting the water put a significant strain on the person, especially the legs, due to the added weight of the water trapped in the FFE suit and boots. This could be of a major consideration if the person had already been actively involved in DC efforts/fire fighting prior to entry into the water.
  16. While wearing the Shelby fireman’s gloves, personnel could perform repair functions with little loss in dexterity.
  17. No problems were observed with the voice amplifier during test or after the test, During PMS, opened battery cover and dried out for 24 hours. Voice camp worked fine.
  18. All FFEs were dried in less than 24 hours when hung to dry and properly spaced to allow air circulation. A box fan was used to allow for proper air circulation.

SUMMARY: The standard Navy FFE absorbs about 10 lbs of water while the gloves absorb approximately 1 lb and the boots accumulate 5-7 lbs of water (depending on size). The added water is not a problem until exiting the flooded compartment water. Personnel wearing FFEs with the SCBA donned had no problems because of water immersion. Personnel were completely immersed in water and were able to continue breathing. Removing the boots did add to the buoyancy of the wearer, however, in a shipboard environment where sharp objects and debris’s may be a major problem removing the boots is not recommended. The voice amplifiers performed well – no problem with water exposure – however, post test PMS – all voice amps were opened and air dried for 24 hours to prevent internal corrosion in case of small leak.
Hypothermia: The most significant drop in body temperature was 3°F after one hour in water 62°F fully immersed.

RECOMMENDATION:

  1. Need to further evaluate FFEs with Caldora/Aerolite and foam liner in flooded compartment.
  2. Promulgate Lessons Learned to the fleet to increase awareness and the confidence of Navy Personnel while wearing the FFE/SCBA in a casualty where transition Damage Control “Fire Fighting to Flooding scenarios is required, especially important under the reduced manning concept anticipated for future Naval operations.

Enclosure 2: Medical Considerations for SCBA/Water Immersion Testing Evolutions

  • one safety observer to be present at all times
  • medical department representative present during testing in water
  • medical screening of participants prior to donning SCBA to be included: head, ears, eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and physical condition
  • familiarization of SCBA prior to entering water on test day.
  • water temperature taken by MDR prior to conducting evolutions
  • use of water exposure tables to prevent possibility of hypothermia
  • proper hydration of all participants.

The following personnel from Naval Reserve Center, Baltimore were participants:

 

  Weight Temperature
DCC Bobby Womble 190 lbs 98.3
EN1 Jerome Stoney 170 lbs 98.2
HM2 Edward Tokonitz 170 lbs 98.2
 

These members were screened in accordance with the above recommendations.

Water temperature 62 °F.
19-20 May 1999

Enclosure 3: NATICK Report, Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility

DAMAGE CONTROL FLOODING SUIT

Report of Damage Control Flooding Exercises at Naval Reserve Center, Baltimore, Maryland on 19-20 May 99

Background: Presently the Navy has no adequate clothing for personnel involved in cold water flooding activities. Medical data has shown that exposure to cold water for even short periods of time can lead to hypothermia. In water temperature below 60 F, performing effective repairs is questionable. Presently, the only protective equipment available for personnel is the Firefighter's Ensemble (FFE) worn with the FF glove, boots, helmet, and the self-contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).

Objective: Examine capabilities of the Flooding Simulator to qualify personal protective equipment. Identify deficiencies related to personal protective equipment for damage control flooding activities, including pipe repair, bulkhead shoring, and de-watering. Evaluate the present FFE, including handwear, footwear, headwear, and breathing equipment. Examine other personal protective equipment capable of meeting the existing threat.

The following tests were conducted in the flooding trainer:

Test 1
Test subject wore FFE, FF gloves, FF boots, helmet and SCBA
Water temperature 62 F Depth 4 feet, 8 inches
Comments:

  • Wearer felt cold on water entry, suit wet out immediately
  • When submerged, the SCBA exerted buoyant force pushing the wearer face forward
  • No restrictions in movement
  • Easier to float without boots
  • No dexterity problems with gloves, able to tighten bolts with wrench
  • SCBA alarm sounding at 25 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Upon exiting, hard to climb ladder, boots filled with water, drain holes in pockets helped drain water
  • Weights:
    • Initial man and suit 182 lbs.
    • After exit, full ensemble 233lbs, without tank 209 lbs., without
    • Helmet and gloves 211 lbs., man and suit 187 lbs.

Test 2 - Splinter Patch
Test subject wore FFE, FF gloves, FF boots, helmet and SCBA
Water temperature 62 F Flooding condition
Comments:

  • British patch, trouble to achieve complete seal
  • Wearer felt cold on water entry, suit wet out immediately
  • Can float in fetal position under water
  • No restrictions in movement
  • No dexterity problems with gloves,
  • SCBA alarm sounding at 29 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Upon exiting, hard to climb ladder, boots filled with water, drain holes in pockets helped drain water
  • Weights:
    • Water pickup of suit, 5 lbs.
    • Water pickup of boots, 8 lbs.

Test 3
Test subject (A) wore FFE with foam liner, FF gloves, FF boots, helmet and SCBA
Water temperature 62 F, flooding condition
Comments:

  • Wearer felt cold on water entry, however felt lighter in the water
  • Easier to move about
  • Easier to float
  • No dexterity problems with gloves
  • Upon exiting hard climb ladder, boots filled with water, drain holes in pockets helped drain water
  • Weights:
    • Initial, man and suit 206 lbs., with boots 213 lbs.
    • After exit, without SCBA 233 lbs., without boots 215 lbs.

Test subject (B) wore Anti-exposure suit, Warrenton leather boot, orange-coated glove
Comments:

  • Wearer felt comfortable in the water
  • Easy to move about
  • Easy to float
  • No dexterity problems with gloves, hand felt warm
  • Weights:
    • Initial, man and suit 197 lbs., with boots 203 lbs.
    • After exit, 213 lbs., without boots 200 lbs.

Test 4
Test subject wore FFE with Caldora/ Aerolite liner, FF gloves, FF boots, helmet and SCBA
Water Temperature
Comments:

  • Wearer felt cold on water entry, suit wet out immediately
  • No restrictions in movement
  • No dexterity problem with gloves
  • Upon exiting, hard to climb ladder, boots filled with water, drain holes in pockets helped drain water
  • Weights:
    • Initial, man and FFE, FF gloves, FF boots, helmet 216 lbs., with SCBA 243 lbs.
    • After exit, full ensemble 263 lbs., without SCBA 239 lbs., letting water out of the boots by raising legs 243 lbs. without boots 218 lbs.

Test 5
Test subject wore Guy Cotton Suit, FF boots, orange-coated boot
Water temperature 62 F
Comments:

  • No water entered the suit
  • No restrictions in movement
  • No dexterity problems with gloves, able to tighten bolts with wrench
  • Collar was a little tight, wristlets were good

Test 6
Test subject wore Standard FFE, Shelby gloves, FF boots, helmet and SCBA
Water temperature 62 F
Comments:

  • Wearer felt cold on water entry, suit wet out immediately
  • No restrictions in movement
  • No dexterity problems with gloves, gloves will float on water
  • Upon exiting, hard to climb ladder, boots filled with water
  • Weights:
    • Man and suit 203 lbs., with boots 211lbs., with SCBA 238 lbs.
    • After water exit complete ensemble 260 lbs., without boots and SCBA 229 lbs., FFE alone 215 lbs.

General comments: The Standard FFE with SCBA, FF helmet and FF boots are not a problem if there was accidental water immersion. The SCBA actually floats the wearer. The suit wet out immediately and the wearer feels the cold water. The foam liner model felt slightly better and lighter in the water. All the gloves tested had good dexterity. The anti-exposure suit has good potential as a flooding suit, keeping the wearer warm. The Guy Cotton suit had the best keeping the wearer dry. All the boots filled with water and posed some difficulty when exiting up the ladder. Bending each leg upward upon exiting eliminated most of the water.

Conclusion: The Flooding simulator seems to be a good tool for training and evaluation of personal protective equipment. A good test method needs to be developed to evaluate products, especially for lower water temperatures down to 45 F.

Enclosure 4: Photos of Evaluation

Image of SCBA Immersion