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Conquering Snowdon in full BA For The Fire Fighter Charity And Help For Heroes
Published:  04 August, 2010

Awe-inspiring, exhilarating and challenging, a recent Snowdon climb in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity and Help for Heroes was a test of fitness, determination and, unusually, Draeger breathing apparatus (BA).

Headed by Vij Randeniya, OBE, CFO at West Midlands Fire Service, the 27-strong team comprised a number of West Midlands firefighters as well as product and service specialists from the climb’s sponsor, Draeger Safety UK.

Wearing the latest Draeger PSS7000 breathing apparatus complete with the PSS Bodyguard 7000 and FPS 7000 face mask, the firefighters used 6.8L 300 bar cylinders in both twin and single configurations. Taking 20 cylinders with them and supporting each other along the arduous route, the team was massively impressed that the Chief not only wore full working BA throughout the climb but that he reached the summit in only 2 hours 40 minutes. As a testament to both his fitness and the BA performance, he did so by using under 5 cylinders of air, equating to a consumption rate of just over 50 litres/minute.

Thwarted by severe weather on two previous attempts, the Chief was faced with an agonising decision before making the climb. Unbeknown to the rest of the team, he had suffered a calf injury several days before but, rather than disappoint everyone involved and intent on not letting down the charities, he decided to go ahead without mentioning a word about it to his colleagues. Luckily for him, this time the weather was exceptional and, although cold at the start, the wind chill soon eased off, until the summit was reached and -2ºC temperatures were encountered.

Relieved and elated on reaching the summit, Chief Randeniya said that he had been apprehensive the night before but had, in fact, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “Naturally I was delighted that my training had paid off and I was able to achieve my personal goal. More importantly, however, I learned a lot about team spirit and how to work together both before and during the task to achieve everyone’s ultimate goal. I will use that knowledge going forward and would like to thank everyone involved for their outstanding effort and support which carried us upwards when difficulties were encountered.

“Climbing Snowdon in full BA was certainly a different experience but the kit was comfortable to wear, with an exceptional facemask vision and lightweight cylinders that did not hinder me in any way. Easy to breathe through, it also meant that I had a constant supply of cool, clean air. Who knows, maybe that might even have helped me!”

Greg Barber, BA product specialist, was accompanied by Eamonn Treanor, Head of Service at Draeger Safety and added “The Chief and his team are certainly fit! The whole group rallied together when exertion took its toll, encouraging everyone to push on and reach the summit. The views at the top were stunning and certainly well worth the effort. We feel very privileged and grateful to have been allowed to join their team on this momentous occasion.”