(picking up from where my last post left off, just so it's not TOO long in one page)
Then you've got your mask, which I've heard can be freaky to wear if you're claustrophobic. Well let me just say this; I am very claustrophobic, but I didn't have much of a problem with it. I think the real reason though was because I've gotten used to wearing a swimming mask (the kind you use for snorkeling), and it felt almost exactly the same. Just the additional suction along my jaw.
There's a hole just over an inch wide in the front where the regulator (it's basically a small air hose) clips into. A good way to make sure the mask is on tight is to press your palm into that hole and take a deep breath in.
HOW MUCH AIR?
Here's another common question that I asked the guys that night too; "how long does one tank usually last?" Honestly, it depends on the person. On average you should get between twenty and forty minutes out of one if you're breathing steadily. But let's just say I have a panic attack or something, panting heavy and deep. Keep going like that and I'll probably only have about five minutes of air. Especially since I'm a thin boy and my lungs aren't as strong or big as Mookie's probably are.
And here's a real handy-dandy thing about the regulator; first off, as soon as you start breathing it clicks open and lets the air flow into your mask. And when you're running out of air, with just minutes left, it will vibrate as a warning to GET OUT!
If that mask comes loose and smoke starts to get in, you flip this red switch called "the purge" and you'll get a strong blast of air from the tank, so the pressure becomes too strong for any more smoke to enter.
Good thing too, since all the toxic gasses in the smoke can burn your lungs.
*** don't try to be a hero and stick around longer. Every second counts, and you could always trip or get tangled in electrical wires. ***
If you get knocked out, held up, or for any other reason you stop moving, the sensor on your harness will go off, beeping loudly for the other firefighters to hear. That's basically the warning bell that we've got to go help our fallen teammate.
Well, for now at least that's all I got on air tanks. Hope this has been an interesting read, and you may hear from me again soon.