the patient to safety; and procedures for transporting
the injured after first aid has been given.
The use of appropriate items of protective
equipment will increase your ability to effect rescue
from life-threatening situations. Protective equipment
that is generally available on naval vessels and some
shore activities include the oxygen breathing
apparatus (OBA); hose (air line) masks; protective
(gas) masks; steel-wire lifelines; and devices for
detecting oxygen insufficiency, explosive vapors, and
some poisonous gases.
Oxygen Breathing Apparatus
An oxygen breathing apparatus (OBA) is provided
for emergency use in compartments containing toxic
The apparatus is particularly valuable for
rescue purposes because it is a self-contained unit. The
wearer is not dependent upon outside air or any type of
air line within the effective life of the canister.
There are several types of OBAs, but they are all
similar in operation.
Independence of the outside
atmosphere is achieved by having air within the
apparatus circulated through a canister. Within the
canister, oxygen is continuously generated. The
effective life of the canister varies from 20 to 45
minutes, depending on the particular apparatus and the
type of work being done. One of the newer types of
OBA is designed so that you can change canisters
without leaving the toxic atmosphere.
If you are to enter an extremely hazardous area,
you should also wear a lifeline. The lifeline should be
tended by two persons, one of whom is also wearing a
Never allow oil or grease to come in contact with
any part of an OBA. Oxygen is violently explosive in
the presence of oil or grease.
If any part of the
apparatus becomes contaminated with oil or grease
smudges, clean it before it is stowed. Care should be
taken to prevent oil or oily water from entering the
canister between the time it is opened and the time of
Hose (Air Line) Masks
Hose masks are part of the allowance of all ships
having repair party lockers. They are smaller than the
oxygen breathing outfits and can, therefore, be used by
persons who must enter voids or other spaces that have
very small access hatches. The hose or air line mask
consists essentially of a gas mask facepiece with an
adjustable head harness and a length of airhose. Note
that the air line mask uses air rather than pure oxygen.
It must NEVER be connected to an oxygen bottle,
oxygen cylinder, or other source of oxygen. Even a
small amount of oil or grease in the air line could
combine rapidly with the oxygen and cause an
Safety belts are furnished with each air line mask
and MUST BE WORN. A lifeline must be fastened to
the safety belt; and the lifeline should be loosely lashed
to the airhose to reduce the possibility of fouling. The
airhose and lifeline must be carefully tended at all
times so that they do not become fouled or cut. The
person wearing the air line mask and the person
tending the lines should maintain communication by
means of standard divers signals.
Protective (Gas) Masks
Protective masks provide respiratory protection
against chemical, biological, and radiological warfare
They do not provide protection from the
effects of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and a
number of industrial gases.
Protection from these
gases is discussed in the section, Rescue from
Unventilated Compartments, later in this chapter.
In emergencies, protective masks may be used for
passage through a smoke-filled compartment or for
Figure 3-24.Battle dressing.