HEED 3-SWBA® -  Swift Water Breathing Apparatus

You can’t breathe water: Partnership leads to game changer for swiftwater rescuer safety

Public Safety Institute and Submersible Systems (Spare Air) are pleased to announce the launch of the first type-approved Swiftwater Breathing Apparatus (SWBA®) for first responders to water rescue incidents.

This innovative product is the result of a successful collaboration between two industry leaders, combining their expertise to create a product that will revolutionize the safety of those responding to flood and swiftwater incidents.

Based on Submersible Systems' highly successful HEED3, a compressed air emergency breathing system used by crews to escape ditched aircraft in water, the Spare Air SWBA® extends self-rescue time, ensures critical breathing capability, and minimizes risks in contaminated water, making it essential for rescue agencies.

It is designed to be mounted on the rescuer’s Personal Floatation Device (lifejacket), allowing for hands-free operation and maximum mobility. By always ensuring it is used in conjunction with a PFD, this prevents diving, clearly distinguishing it from traditional self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) operations.

Download and read the full Press Release

The SWBA® has undergone rigorous testing and has received type approval under the Good Practice Guide – Swiftwater Breathing Apparatus. It is now available for purchase from Submersible Systems or through any authorized Spare Air dealer.

The SWBA® is a revolutionary product that will change the way first responders approach swiftwater rescue situations. The collaboration between Public Safety Institute and Submersible Systems has resulted in a product that is reliable, easy-to-use, and designed with the safety of first responders in mind. We encourage all swiftwater professionals and whitewater paddlers to visit the website to learn more about the SWBA® and how it can improve their safety in the field.

5 Reasons SWBA®

SWBA® revolutionizes swiftwater rescue by extending self-rescue time, ensuring crucial breathing capability, and minimizing risks in contaminated water, making it essential for rescue agencies.

Protects from


Sudden immersion into cold water can cause the rescuer to involuntarily gasp leading to aspiration of water. SWBA® can give valuable minutes to stabilize breathing.

Minimizes ingesting


Floodwater frequently contain sewage and chemicals. SWBA® helps reduce the risk of swallowing contaminated floodwater.



Research on EBS showed users were calmer and more focused knowing they had extra time for an orderly escape. SWBA® operators can now focus on the task at hand.



Without SWBA, self-rescue time is limited to breath-holding. With SWBA, critical additional minutes offer rescuers a genuine opportunity for self-rescue or being rescued alive.



SWBA® can be emplyed in emergency situations to supply air to individuals who are trapped and at imminent risk of drowning. Responders can also use it to escape from submerged vehicles.

HEED 3 Approved Training

SWBA® Awareness, Operator, Specialist and Instructor training available through www.swba.tech.

According to Dr. Steve Glassey, Director of Public Safety Institute, "SWBA® is not a diving system; it provides those extra breaths a rescuer needs to carry out a rescue, such as untangling debris that is entrapping a victim, surviving being swept away through rapids, or giving their teammates that critical extra time needed to rescue them if needed. In swiftwater, everything is measured in how long you can hold your breath; SWBA® gives valuable minutes that can literally mean the difference between life and death."

Similarly, Christeen Buban, CEO of Submersible Systems Inc., said, "We are excited to be working with Dr. Glassey to launch the SWBA® product line. Our expertise in designing and manufacturing the iconic Spare Air system for over 45 years, combined with Public Safety Institute's knowledge of swiftwater rescue situations, has resulted in a product that we believe will set a new standard for safety in the industry."


Part Number:
Cylinder Capacity:
3 cu ft / 85 liters
Service Pressure:
3000 psi / 207 bar
13.4" / 34 cm
2.25" / 5.7 cm
2.2 lb. / 1kg
Cylinder Material:
Aluminum - Black Anodized
Regulator Type:
Piston, downstream demand valve, 27" flexible braided hose
Pressure Relief:
Integrated in regulator
Operational Temperature:
-22°F / -30°C < +158°F / +70°C
Duration of Air:
57 breaths*
 *Based on 1.5 liters per breath


HEED 3-SWBA® can be equipped with an optional 959 Nose Clip with Lanyard Combo 

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