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Recall notice for Hollis's Explorer breathing apparatus

Posted on 2nd Mar 2014 @ 9:26 PM

Hollis, the makers of the Explorer 'Rebreather' SCUBA equipment have issued a recall notice intended to avoid problems with leaks from the safety critical counterlung

(see: http://www.hollis.com/news/explorer-quality-notice)

'Re-breathers', more accurately called Closed Circuit Breathing Apparatus (CCBA), have been in common use since the late nineteen-forties but more recently, they have provided new advantage to Sports Divers because these lighter, less cumbersome equipment designs may provide longer diving durations and are able to reduce otherwise likely levels of undesirable blood gases. 

This has come about, not from any improvement in pneumatics but from the advance in the electronics used to monitor and control gas mixtures in the breathing circuit. 

The advantages: as ever: come with penalties. Using CCBA requires much attentive care and kit maintenance. Any such SCUBA kit used in Europe must be marked and approved to EN:14143 (which test this model has recently passed) and, like all SCUBA and diving suits, it must be CE marked.

It is perhaps, significant that since CCBA became popular amongst recreational divers, the number of fatal accidents has increased several fold.
HSE Diving Inspectorate reports record poor training and experience, together with a lack of understanding of kit used, as often most the cause of fatal accidents.

It is mainly for these reasons that use of CCBA by Firemen and Professional divers has declined since 1976 - when, incidentally, Westinghouse (Normalair-Garret) patented the first, viable, electronically controlled CCBA; intended for diving.

Corresponding developments in Open circuit breathing apparatus (OCBA) have increased its safety and duration and simplicity of maintenance and usage reliability (variously tested and approved to ENs, 136, 136, 250, etc) has resulted in a swing away from 're-breathers' among Fire Brigades and most military and commercial diving operations. 

In professional use, CCBA is these days mostly limited to Mine rescue, Mines clearance and counter surveillance diving and, to some degree, for tunnel rescue and other operations that we in the trade call 'deep penetrations'.

Notwithstanding a sensible approach of 'better safe than sorry': in the case of this re-call notice, the well versed diver should really not need such warning to know whether his counter-lung is functioning or otherwise might fail. 

When he or she is properly trained and carrying out the required function tests and maintenance, he will already know!