ISEA Warns Against Use of MAE-Requalified Firefighter Breathing Cylinders

The International Safety Equipment Association is warning firefighters against use of "MAE-requalified" breathing cylinders, citing health and safety concerns.

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is warning firefighters against use of "MAE-requalified" breathing cylinders, citing health and safety concerns and reporting that studies have shown they can leak breathing air. In addition, ISEA reports these requalified breathing cylinders void manufacturer warranties, violate OSHA regulations, and don't comply with standards from the National Fire Protection Association and NIOSH.

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus cylinders requalified via the Modal Acoustic Emissions (MAE) process can leak breathing air through the aluminum liner. MAE evaluates the carbon fiber wrap but not the aluminum liner, which could potentially fail by fatigue or corrosion pitting if the cylinder continues to be used past its 15-year design service life.

As a result, SP-16320, the Special Permit used by third-party programs to requalify cylinders with MAE testing should not apply to SCBA, and ISEA has learned that SP-16320 is expired as of March 31, 2019.

"Saving lives is vastly more important than saving money," ISEA President Charles D. Johnson said. "Fire departments may be tempted by the siren song of a company that's pushing 'MAE-requalified' breathing cylinders, but giving in to that temptation will put firefighters at risk of having leaky or empty cylinders when they need them most. Never run into a burning building with an 'MAE-requalified' breathing cylinder."

Fully wrapped carbon fiber-reinforced aluminum lined cylinders currently in the market comply with U.S. Department of Transportation standards for a 15-year service life, but it is unsafe to use them beyond their 15-year service life.

A cylinder used by firefighters for 15 years has seen frequent, rapid fluctuation of extreme high and low temperatures, degrading its overall integrity. Cylinders eventually fail after their 15-year service life is exceeded, often because of compromised aluminum liners. MAE testing and visual inspection are insufficient to identify whether aluminum liners are compromised.

NIOSH has stated that MAE-requalified cylinders are not for SCBA use unless the manufacturer authorizes it. ISEA reported it is not aware of any manufacturers that allow use of MAE-requalified cylinders on their SCBA.

"Fire departments seeking a safe, legally, and regulatorily compliant option should speak with the SCBA manufacturer," said Dan Glucksman, ISEA's director of public affairs.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2022

    June 2022


      Corporate Safety Culture Is Workplace Culture
      Keeping Workers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses & Injuries
      Should Employers Consider Oral Fluid Drug Testing?
      Addressing Physical Differences
    View This Issue