Forum Deputy Chief
We have a cascade system for the air bottles for fire SCBA's but O2 is refilled professionally.
ive also seen it done opening the m tank valves very quickly without a problem on a regular basis.
So easy a basic or even a fire fighter can do it. A cascade is easy to use if a person has any common sense. Biggest problem is some try to fill to quickly. Do not get in a hurry. Double check that all fittings are secure. We use a cascade to fill the D's, E's, and M's. A supply company brings the large tanks for our cascade system.
At the small "mom-and-pop" transport ambulance Co. I worked at a few years back, I was the only field employee who was allowed to use the cascade, because I demonstrated that I could use it in front of the Ops. manager, and he trusted me. The Owner and the Ops manager were REALLY upset about the cascade, becuase the month before, some yahoo had equalized the high pressure tank with the low pressure tank... this was a HUGE deal because the service was VERY small, and oxygen was a big part of their ongoing expenses... and having to replace a brand new H-size cylinder made the tight-fisted owner VERY upset.Same. I'm on an FD and for our ambulance, we use the cascade and once the big tanks are empty/too low, I believe they're replaced either by us or a company. And for the ambulance O2, we would just replace the entire tank.
I've only used it once. I kinda forgot to close the valve on tank 1 when switching to tank 2...thus equalizing the two tanks. It wasn't an issue (except a mistake on my part, which I have learned from!) with the dept, as the tanks were low as is. However, our cascade system for the SCBAs is similar, but if you equalize the tanks, it's not a big deal because it's just the air we breathe (...filtered though) and can be easily refilled.
But I do agree with many poster's above in saying it's dangerous. Gas=pressure. Too much pressure=bad=it go boom! h34r: