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What is 'Autonomous Insulating BA?'

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I was just reviewing a safety sheet for a flammable product that is being stored in bulk at a premises and it advises that: 'Fire-fighting personnel are to be equipped with autonomous insulating breathing apparatus.'

I have never come across that phase before and have determined (guessed) the 'autonomous' part of the description means 'self-contained' which is fair enough. But what on earth does 'insulating' mean in relation to BA?

I assume this is probably new-speak for some established BA characteristic or component, if so can somebody translate it for me please as Google has not been very helpful? 


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I agree, the "autonomous" part is probably another sales pitch for "self contained". The insulating part must be the difference between those that work in situations where heat transfer would be an issue and those that it wouldn't? Im guessing, but there will be lots of industrial types of scenarios where heat transfer wouldn't be an issue and therefore not needed to be insulated, such as working in a grain silo or a industrial spray booth. Again I am just guessing,. Im sure someone will have a far better answer?

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May be you keep it  in a fridge.🤣

In seriousness though if the environment means that the BA set has to be insulated, what about the firefighter wearing it?

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Im thinking that perhaps the components of the set such as frame and backplate. We used to have the Siebe Gorman Fire-fighter MkII sets with the stainless steel backplates until we changed to the Dräger sets. Perhaps insulating to prevent static? The metal backplates used to get hot and as it compressed your fire gear, removing the thermal insulation it provided, it become hard work.

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Google has been useless as a search simply brings up Material Safety Data Sheets for various materials, all of which seem to use the 'Fire-fighting personnel are to be equipped with autonomous insulating breathing apparatus.' phraseology 

To be fair, it doesn't effect the work I am doing, its just a phrase on the MSDS meant for Fire Service staff that doesn't seem to mean anything to three of us so far - which rather defeats the purpose of the safety sheets. Maybe as MSDS's are a globally harmonised document, the phrase means something elsewhere or doesn't translate well?


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I repeated the question on the IOSH forum and got this 

"The insulating means the wearer is not exposed to the atmosphere in which they find themself e.g. a filter respirator would not protect the wearer from a low oxygen environment"

Mystery solved 👍👍


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