Home | Drill of the Month | IDLH Bottle Swap

IDLH Bottle Swap

The above video is of an IDLH or “hot” bottle swap out. Some often ask when a skill like this can be used. The best example is in a firefighter rescue situation where the access to the down firefighter may be limited. Lets say you are breaching a wall to down member and that member is low on air. Once you get a hole big enough for a fresh air bottle they can perform the hot swap while the rescue team is still working on the wall breach and extrication plan.

It is important to use a building block approach for this drill. Start with just station wear and no fire gloves. Then add fire gloves, then full ppe, then place them under some sort of physical stress.

Your heart rate has a direct effect on how you make decisions, and how you function. Usually when we are working on the fire ground our heart rates are up because of adrenaline. Then we get multiple stressors placed on us in a dynamic environment.

Here is a great article on it http://ultiworld.com/2013/04/02/stress-spikes-the-impact-of-fitness-on-decision-making/

And a chart from the Georgia Smoke Diver Manual http://www.georgiasmokediver.com/documents/SCBA%20&%20Emergency%20Procedures.pdf

Heart Rate Effects on Senses

Heart Rate Effects

115 Loss of certain motor skills

145 Loss of hearing

175 Extreme tunnel vision, visual tracking is

difficult, difficulty focusing on close


185 Hyper vigilance “deer in the headlights

The best way we can become successful in this and other drills is to train ourselves to make decisions while under stress.

While performing this drill full PPE and Physical fitness element was added (1 min of jumping jacks in full PPE) prior to attempting the bottle swap.

air drill air drill 2

This made the drill MUCH HARDER, but way more realistic. It forced you to get yourself under control and THINK so that you could get the fine motor skills down to accomplish the task.

You can add stress anyway you choose and you can always find ways to ramp up the difficulty (more fitness, blind fold, smoke, loud music) The important thing is that your training!

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!




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