Home Podcasts THMG081 – Tips to Perform Better in Level A

THMG081 – Tips to Perform Better in Level A


In this episode, we explore some old tips and introduce some new ones to make you a rock star in your Level A.

Complete Show Notes

4:25 Before Donning Your Level A

  • Ask yourself whether you even need Level A in this situation
  • Check the last test date
  • Check to see if the one-way valves were put in properly
    • Since this is a sealed unit, the air we breathe out needs a place to go – otherwise, we would pressurize in the suit, which is bad
    • So, these one-way valves in the suit allow air to come out
    • When the suit is pressure tested, the valves are removed or plugged up
    • Sometimes, these plugs are left in by accident – this is what we’re checking for
  • Remove any packaging – includes desiccant packets and film over your shield
  • Apply your second window (if that’s an option) – this is important because it creates a double window effect that prevents fogging
  • Dress comfortably – there’s nothing that states what you have to wear inside your Level A – while long sleeves and long pants aren’t required, they’re a good idea
  • Know the chemical you’re dealing with is compatible with the material you pick
    • Breakthrough time is the time it takes the test chemical to pass through the clothing sample until its first detected by an analytical instrument
    • Permeation rate is the speed at which the test chemical passes through the clothing sample once breakthrough has occurred

14:45 Things to Keep in Mind

  • Your core body temperature goes through the roof in your Level A, so it’s important to stay hydrated
  • There’s limited time and communication, so you have to determine who’s in charge beforehand
  • Come up with some kind of game plan – even the most routine actions in a Level A require pre-planning
  • Review the tools you’ll be using

18:45 Donning Your Level A

  • Everyone should don their suits at the same pace
  • Use a rag to wipe your shield and the regulator of your SCBA
  • Put defog on your shield and facepiece
  • Make sure everything is comfortable and don’t rush – when you’re downrange in a Level A, you can’t fix things that are bothering you

23:10 Operating in Your Level A

  • Be deliberate in your actions – plan your next move and try to be efficient – don’t waste movements
  • Control your breathing – this helps with air conservation and makes it easier to stay calm and focused
  • Use your meters if you can
  • Take mental notes on the actions you take and what things look like – you’ll need to relay this information to the next team so they can pick up where you left off

31:15 Doffing Your Level A

  • Make sure to follow your AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) procedures
  • General tips and suggestions:
    • Don’t touch the outside of your suit
    • Don’t stand over the bench or seat you will sit on once the suit comes off
    • Make sure your feet have a dry place to step onto
    • Take a deep breath and hold it before you remove your facepiece

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