We are ordering new SCBAs and I am getting conflicting information of what size cylinders will be compliant with the next NFPA edition. Can someone please define the size/volume/pressure standards that will be compliant in 2020? Thank you.
Have you tried to contact the NFPA with your question? It seems that they will give you the fattest answer to your question with most accurate answer. Just my opinion. Hope this is helpful.
I do not believe NFPA requires any particular size, volume or pressure SCBA cylinder. The only thing I can find in the newest (2019) edition of NFPA 1851 is a requirement that the cylinder provide 30 minutes of air as certified by NIOSH.
NFPA does not specify cylinder size. That is governed by NIOSH. With changes to the EOSTI for fire service since 2013 and the 2018, All cylinder sizes are still avaiable. Consideration with your operational SOG's would determine what would be the size for your department. Standard avaialbe sizes are 30 min, 45 and 60. If using the standards as written a 30 minute cylinder will provide approx 19 minutes of operational air, a 45 will 28 to 29 minutes operational air and a 60 minute provide about 37-38 minutes operational air.
The answer to your question depends on the intended use.
NFPA 1981(2019) is the SCBA product standard; it does not address how you use it. It does address the minimum 'service life' in section 188.8.131.52: 'SCBA shall have a NIOSH-certified rated service time of at least 30 minutes'. This translates into a minimum 1200L cylinder volume. This is the only reference to rated service time in this and other relevant Standards.
To help determine what you need, you need to consider the training and use standards, NFPA 1500 and NFPA 1404. NFPA 1500 (2018) has three pertinent requirements. The most relevant is if you are going to use your SCBA for structural fire fighting: SCBA cylinders used for structural fire fighting shall have a minimum gas capacity of 1699 L of air (7.15.3). Unless you are using an old 3000 psi cylinder, this requirement means that you will need to purchase an 1800L/45-minute rated cylinder or greater.
NFPA 1500 (2018) also requires: 'standardized IDLH exiting shall require that an exit strategy will be practiced when the SCBA cylinder reaches a level of 600 L or more' (7.15.12*). This corresponds with the 33% low air alarm on a post-2013 SCBA with a 1800L cylinder. If you are using a 30-minute rated cylinder (1200L), than you have to initiate exit at 50%!!
If your using a Emergency Escape Breathing Support System (EEBSS) -aka buddy breathing system, there is an additional requirement that the 'EEBSS shall not be initiated if the “donors” cylinder has less than 600 L of air remaining... also, 50% with a 30-minute cylinder.
Lastly, NFPA 1404 (2018) Respiratory Protection Training does not specify times or volumes, but does require that exit shall begin before the activation of the low air alarm (184.108.40.206).
There is some Annex material in NFPA 1852 - Selection, Care, and Maintenance of SCBA that mentions 30-minutes , but it only uses 30-minutes as a reference for understanding air consumption. There is nothing in 1851... that Standard does not cover SCBA.
I hope this is helpful.
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