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SCBA Operations: Operational Necessity or Not?

STL Joseph Garcia

You’re conducting a routine inventory of your CERT gear when the emergency call goes out: “Fire in the laundry, CERT members report to ready room for immediate deployment.”

Your internal security cameras and reports from officers who have fled the area reveal a situation that is on the verge of getting out of control: Inmates have set a grease fire, the smoke is dense, and to make matters worse, you know the instigators have also spilled bleach and other hazardous chemicals.

Calmly, you re-check your ISI Tactical SCBA units, making sure the units are fully functional. You and your operators have trained and prepared for this type of emergency, and after a quick mission briefing, you confidently don your gear and deploy for CERT battle.

Tactical SCBA are an important part of any CERT units’ toolbox. If your facility has a kitchen, laundry, open Camp Housing Unit, or a High Risk Inmate Transport team, you need SCBA operational capability. We know from experience that fire is one of the main threats in the correctional environment. In the event of a fire, three major issues pose a great challenge to any responding CERT Unit: Water, carbon monoxide, and hazardous chemicals. Any or all of these will render useless your Gas Mask, and place your responding unit in terrible danger.

Although not addressed in the past by corrections, Tactical SCBA in the past year or so has become a leading topic in discussions among CERT commanders and administrators. This subject is so important and relevant because although it may one be a comparatively minor aspect of your response to an emergency in your facility, it represents the Achilles heel of every team that has not addressed this situation.

To say that this will never happen is to say that a hostage situation will never happen or a riot will never happen. To be unprepared is to be both reckless and naive with your operator’s lives.

ISI is the first tactical SCBA in the world that has developed a tactical SCBA specifically for special operations units. ISI’s tactical SCBA includes unmatched features such as a heads-up display, covert mode, integrated communications system, High Carbon Fiber, ballistic-safe air tank, Nomex skin and thread, making it a truly awesome SCBA unit. At the heart of this unit is a powerful integrated computer system that allows the operators to enjoy – and more importantly, rely on – these potentially life-saving features.

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