CABA (Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus)

BA in use today by the CFS are "Open Circuit, Positive Pressure" sets.

Basically, this means that:

  • the air, once used is expelled to atmosphere;
  • the amount of air used is dependent upon the physical work being carried out by the operator and how much they need (on demand);
  • the air inside the mask is slightly above atmosphere - meaning that in the event of a failure around the mask, material cannot enter as the force of air coming out from the mask is greater.
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Backplate & Harness Contents Gauge Backplate & Harness Low Pressure Warning Whistle Panaseal Face Mask Demand Valve Air Cylinder Pressure Reducer Cylinder Valve & Connector

The BA set consist of:

  • Aluminium moulded backplate and harness
  • Pressure Reducer Valve, Contents Gauge, Demand Valve and "Panaseal" face mask;
  • 207 Bar Aluminium Fibre Wrapped Cylinder (9 Litre water capacity)
  • Firefly K (or similar) Distress Signal Unit
  • Mini Torch
  • 6 Metre Personal Line

Other Equipment worn by BA Operators

  • Structural Protective Clothing (PBI Gold)
  • Structural Helmet
  • Structural Gloves

CABA Equipment (Components)

DSU (Distress Signal Unit)

This unit is designed to emit a high pitched continuous alert tone if an operator fails to move after 40 seconds. The operator can reset the unit by depressing the reset key twice.

In the event an operator is trapped, the DSU can be manually triggered. If a DSU is heard in a structure and is not 're-set' all crews inside and outside converge on the sound to render assistance to the downed operator.


Entry Control Officer

The ECO (Entry Control Officer) performs an important function at an incident involving the use of BA. This person ensure that:

  • No unauthorised person pass them and enter a structure;
  • All BA operators entering the structure have their tally removed from their DSU, their Cylinder capacity recorded and the time in;
  • All operators are correctly attired (no exposed areas of skin which may be exposed to heat).

The ECO is also responsible for briefing the crews going in and de-briefing the crews coming out to build a picture of the incident.

Entry Control Equipment

The primary tool an ECO has the BA Control Board. As each group of BA operators enters the area, their tallies are inserted into the board and the expected time out is worked out using the slide. This information is recorded onto the board as well as what tasking they were given.