We have seen over the past years that rebreather manufacturers are producing their units at a lower cost compared to say 10 years ago. As the growth of this equipment becomes more and more available, the next question may be, “Is there a place in the Public Safety market for Rebreathers?”
So what are some of the pros and cons of rebreathers on public safety teams?
- Increased time underwater per diver
- Lighter overall unit weight
- Smaller Profile for overhead environments
- Less exhaust noise for clearer communications
- Unit cost
- Training cost per diver
- More expensive maintenance fees
- More time spent on system readiness check
- Finding a fill station at your local fire station
- Added cost for up keep and routine maintenance supplies
- Other dive team interaction with the unit
- FLOODING WORRIES
- Decon worries
- Cost of communication for the unit
- Availability of spare parts
As you can see, we have only listed a few items under each of the categories and I am sure everyone will have a lot more opinions. As there are different versions of rebreathers, the next question is which version would best meet the needs of public safety dive teams. If there was a future for rebreathers on a public safety team one might say the SCR would be a likely choice as the cost of these units has come down and there is no need for a mixed gas version.
I agree with the SCR idea, but I also believe that, just like with scuba regulators, every team would want a different make of SCR. Until the PSD industry trends towards the rebreather as an option, I don’t see the industry promoting R&D for a truly qualified (harsh conditions) rebreather. What do you think?
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