By Greg Fenrick

Wikipedia defines a self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA as "a device worn by rescue workers, firefighters, and others to provide breathable air in a hostile environment." It is also sometimes referred to, as a Compressed Air Breaching Apparatus (CABA) or simply Breathing Apparatus (BA). There are two kinds of SCBA: open circuit and closed circuit.

Closed-circuit SCBAs - The closed-circuit type filters, supplements, and recirculates exhaled gas. It is used when a longer-duration supply of breathing gas is needed, such as in mine rescue and in long tunnels, and going through passages too narrow for a big open-circuit air cylinder.

Open-circuit - Open-circuit industrial breathing sets are filled with filtered, compressed air, the same air we breathe normally. The compressed air passes through a regulator, is inhaled by the user, then exhaled out of the system, quickly depleting the supply of air. Most modern SCBAs are open-circuit.

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