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BA Testing


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In GMFRS we carry out random BA Downloads. Basically stations are visited and the data from a random BA Set is downloaded and analysed. From this data, you can see if the set has been tested correctly and match it with the data in the book. Anyone who signs for a set incorrectly or misses out a particular part of the test can face investigation and worse case scenario end up on a written warning and loss of CPD. 

Since its introduction many years ago, test have gone from 40% to 90% accuracy. 

For me, the test should be 100% and if the BA Set is not being tested correctly, its could bring into question other areas of professionalism.

Do any other services carry out the BA Downloads and if so, how often and what's the process?

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90% accuracy? So that's 10% of the test effectively not done? You're right Carl that's not really good enough. Going through the BA test procedure is something we should be doing on BA/CFBT refreshers. It will be sucking eggs for most firefighters but you just never know if you've slipped into bad habits over time. Especially if you didn't do your initial BA with the same set.

And to answer your question, LFB do the test downloads although I never actually saw them carry one out myself.

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Are  we talking 90% of completed test are completed correctly or of all tests carried out and signed for are only 90% completed correctly carl? If its the later there should be no excuse, however the former there are a million and 1 different reasons test may not have been carried out completely from something being found defective and it being taken off the run before completion or turning out during checks and having to start it again. It could be the difference between a full routine or a pre-entry check test after a wear before its serviced again fully. 

It depends if there is consideration given for this?

But bread and butter checks should be carried out without missing stuff if its being signed for.

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Happy to come to station and go through it all @Mess6311. Theres no excuse at all. I can show you the exact data and errors that are commonly seen. Ive visited a good few watches now and gone through it, all of which have fully understood once I have ;)

Incomplete tests are discarded when we can see it's not been completed due to turnouts or a defect or even disturbed through a phone call. 


If a test is started at 08:40 and then isn't completed, we see that, and when we then see a test at 10:30, we know the test was completed later on or return to station. If the 8:40 test is incomplete and the next test logged is 19:15, we know that was the only test carried out that day and wasn't complete, hence the incomplete test. 

At the end of the day, we simply want a complete test which takes around 7 - 8 mins to undergo the 30 point check and we ask that 5 of the 30 are done so correctly. If the test isn't being completed on such a vital piece of equipment then you have to worry what else isn't as it should be. Why would anyone not want to check that their set is not 100% and put themselves and the rest of the watch at risk.

The 90% is the percentage of full tests that have been completed correctly. The 10% are the tests that have an omission of some description but were signed up as complete and correct.

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  • 1 year later...

Been at station when someone turned up to download the data from the sets. He was quite informative, they check mainly for risk critical stuff so even if something is done slightly out of sequence, ie pre alarm and full alarm in the wrong order which could happen due to getting distracted etc it still won't be a fail. 

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As long as all the elements of the test are carried out, we don't fail them. Miss an element out and its a fail. The risk critical will come from someone signing for a set they have not checked or signing for a set that has failed the test. If a set can't be checked properly, it raises the question of how good other items of equipment are checked.

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Yes. We check the 30 point check. The following is what we check

  • Leak Test Started / Leak Test Passed
  • ADSU Pre Alert on and off, and then allowed to go off
  • Manual DSU Alarm
  • Log on to ECB

The above not being carried out would result in a failure to carry out parts of the test, and as mentioned in the previous post

  • Signing for a set you have not checked
  • Signing to say a set has passed when it has not

would result in a safety critical and the discipline route. 

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Years ago in London we had 'Turn Out Drills'. A bunch of senior officers would put the bells down and make us all jump through hoops like performing animals in a circus.

We would drive an appliance onto the forecourt, get rigged and parade - and some officers would check you had a whistle and gloves etc. Ver occasionally they would check BA tallies against log books - but never start the set to check the actual pressure against that recorded 

I HATED these turn out drills as they were all about establishing an 'us and them' culture and nothing to do with 'managing'

I always said that it was right and proper for senior officers to visit unannounced and check safety critical stuff, but without the patronising theatre of the turn out performance. Some stations were lazy and some watch managers were lacking.

I fully support this GMFRS strategy and cannot believe others are not doing the same now the technology allows this intensive monitoring. Of course its safety critical, but as @Carl says, it could be an indicator of poor performance elsewhere.  

When that bottle of wind, with its associated tubes and facemask is the only thing between you and certain death, why the hell don't people test them properly? 

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Had ours downloaded yesterday. Fully unannounced and no arguments. All for it as messy says, it's your last line of defence and testing it properly takes no time at all

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We had a annual formal inspection, drills, exercises,q and a, and someone would have to do a lesson, and the records checked,but you always got notice of the visit so the idle or hopeless would be on leave or sick, one year i asked why they did not just come out of the blue and they just laughed.

Given they had the same list for every station you got a call telling you what was coming off your mates warning you what was coming, so much so that so that after a rescue drill from the 3rd floor using a 13.5, jack beam, lines and short ladder that was perfect, the ACO said you may as well bring my dummy and your pre planned one down at the same time

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