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BA Inserts

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Hi all,

I start as a trainee firefighter in January and I’ve been notified that I will need to have BA inserts. My forms have been sent off so they can be ordered but I have had little explanation and information about them apart from I need them due to having glasses for driving. Does anyone have any information on them and how they work? Are they built in or do I put them in myself? Im also intrigued as to how it will work with my one eye being a stronger prescription (quite a lot stronger) than the other, so would it look or feel weird?

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Jack, if they have been ordered, then they will be specific to yourself. The are in essence a pair of glasses without the sides that simply clip into the front of the BA Mask to aid your vision when wearing the mask. Your use of them will be pretty limited to you entering and leaving a hazard as invariably you will be in smoke and the visor will be steamed or covered in deposits and plaster, so your unlikely to see well anyway. 

Ive never had them, but I am sure many on here do and will no doubt provide a better reply ;)

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Thanks for the reply. Yeah I did find it ironic that they’re giving me vision aids for a piece of kit that I’ll use for hazardous gasses which 90% of the time will mean I won’t be able to see anyway 😭. I do strongly believe I don’t need them as I only wear glasses for driving, but I did inquire this and they said it’s not because of my eyesight, but because I wear glasses which again is ironic as I wear glasses for poor long sight vision in my “one” eye so it must be for poor vision 😭.

But thanks for the insight, at least I know they clip into them. I must admit I have no problem having them, I just don’t think they’re needed in reality. Thanks!

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You say 90% of the time you can't see, but when you're searching a room for a casualty and desperately searching for them you'll want every single bit of possible vision you can get! 

The inserts are needed for getting you up ladders in BA, when travelling to the scene of ops, HAZMAT, outside fires etc. There's way more to BA than just thick smoke and fire

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you’ll probably need to wear them in training as they may be aware that you have been issued them. when you get out in the real world no one will be checking if you are using your aids to vision or not. 

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They are great. Put them in your face mask at the start of a cold night shift, stick your mask on for the first time at 3 in the morning and they will stream up within minutes because they'll be cold and you won't see bugger all! Not the greatest item. Once out of training make your own decision, I'd be absolutely gob smacked if anyone made an issue of it at station. 

Probably shouldn't say this, but your other option could be just stick in some contact lenses and don't tell anyone! I found contacts perfectly fine and I know plenty of other FF & officers that worm them and just didn't shout from the roof tops that they did!

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Thanks for all the replies, all interesting. I'm still questioning why I need them to be honest, as I don't rely on my glasses. I literally only wear them when I drive so maybe twice a day. My vision doesn't affect my day to day activities, including driving, I only wear them for driving as its on my licence from previous years, and my last two eye tests, my eyesight has improved. The only reason I need a prescription is because my right eye has astigmatism which literally means my pupil is shaped slightly like a rugby ball rather than a circle. If that wasn't the problem, I wouldn't need glasses. I did used to wear contact lenses, but it never made any difference (like my new glasses) so I went back to glasses as they were draining the bank for no reason. They even said on my actual medical that my eyesight was fine and I didn't even get tested with my glasses as my vision without them was well within standards so that's why I'm a bit baffled as to why I have them. 

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Jack being honest you’ve confused me a bit.  You say you don’t need specs, but then say you do for driving… so actually you do need them 🤷🏻‍♂️ 

What’s the issue anyway? I know loads of Ff’s who use them? 


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@Noddy I have a similar sort of story, I have a code on my driving license that says I need to wear glasses to drive because my eyesight didn't meet the required standards for the DVLA's purposes without. However, since then my eyesight has improved and now I do meet the standard (although the code is still on my license). Similarly, my eyesight is affected by astigmatism, but my acuity is 6/6 and 7.5/6 (better than average).

As such, I've never worn glasses nor needed to wear glasses for any day to day activity other than driving, because I don't need glasses for anything other than driving, and that only because it is listed on my license.

A parallel situation would be someone who uses reading glasses, for reading, but didn't otherwise "need glasses".

Having said all of that, there's obviously not a problem with being required to use aids to vision/BA inserts so 🤷‍♂️

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