The first installment of this series (January 2011) discussed preliminary items that must be understood to have a successful rapid intervention team (RIT) on the fireground. The next question that must be asked is this: What is the true rapid intervention capability for your fire...
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• Insufficient communication – Failure to advise others of hazardous conditions or provide progress reports is a consistent item for consideration when analyzing why things go wrong
• Fatigue and stress – Our minds just do not function at the same high level when faced with fatigue and stress
• Task overload – Focus is lost and we become more concerned with quantity rather than quality
• Task underload – Complacency sets in and focus is lost
• Group mindset and philosophy – We do not like to admit that we cannot do something or risk having another company show us up on the fireground (we have to get over that mentality); yes we have a job to do and the public has high expectations, but our families expect us to return home after our tour of duty.
• Degrading conditions – How many times does this lure us deeper? Taking the time to fully realize what we are dealing with is critical (Figures 4 and 5)
Point 5 – The RIT is permitted to operate in a proactive manner.
What does the rapid intervention team do on your fireground? Are the members actively involved in making the scene safe or are they staged in a position that makes them useless? My next column will address working proactively on the fireground.