During our hydrostatic test, the SCBA cylinder is examined to ensure it can safely hold its rated pressure. This regular testing is crucial because SCBA cylinders, or any compressed gas cylinder for that matter, can rupture if there’s degradation in structural integrity. A hydrostatic test consists of filling the cylinder with a nearly incompressible liquid, in most cases water, pressurizing the cylinder and examining it for leaks or permanent changes in shape.
In conjunction with the hydrostatic test, CFR Part 180.205 also specifies that a visual inspection be performed each time a cylinder goes through the pressure testing process. It states the cylinder “must be given an internal and external inspection,” and references various Compressed Gas Association (CGA) pamphlets for the visual inspection performance guidelines. The CGA pamphlets that are referenced are unique to specific cylinder types.