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maritime DC & PPE Information Center
Breathing Air System

The Shipboard Breathing Air System is used by the ship’s damage control and firefighting personnel to fill and recharge the various breathing apparatus with breathing quality air. In the fleet, there are a variety of breathing air-charging systems that are capable of producing Grade “D” quality air as defined by the Compressed Gas Association (CGA).

Information on the SCBA and cylinders is found in Personnel Protection (PPE) Description, Tips and Information area under Breathing Air Devices in Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).

First rapid charging and recharging is provided by the BACS or the high pressure breathing air compressor systems. Next additional SCBA cylinders are spread throughout the ship as an alternative and last the portable BAC is available as the last resort because of its lower recharge capability. The various breathing apparatus include: SCBA cylinders and SAR/SCBA cylinders. The combination of the different breathing air system configurations found on ships provide flexibility and redundancy to adapt to a casualty situation. The different types of breathing air systems include:

For more information, see the Index.