Company Level Training - Rescuing a Downed Firefighter - Part 2

You must train your crew to a level that each and every one of them is capable of making high quality decisions under extreme stress.

All of the information in Part 1 of the article is used as a foundation in which quick decisions are to be made with. You must train your crew to a level that each and every one of them is capable of making high quality decisions under extreme stress. Training and experience are the only two methods to accomplish this One you can control, the other you can only wait around for.

The last method is to train for the rescue of a downed firefighter in a collapse situation. This takes quite a bit of creativity. If you can locate a space where you can use scrap wood and pallets, and using a mannequin with an airpack in position, attempt a rescue while having to deal with a buried firefighter, low air supply and trying to accomplish this in as little time as possible. You can try to simulate the rescue of a firefighter from a floor below due to a floor collapse. The use of ropes and/or ladders will be necessary. Again, you are only limited by your creativity and that all important safety factor. Training is useless if someone is seriously injured.

The beauty about this training is that most of the scenarios that I have described can be conducted in the relative comfort of your nice air conditioned fire station. There will always be some moaning and groaning about training, but once you have covered the boring information and begin the hands-on portion, more than likely everyone will get into it. This is training that you may have to use once or twice in your career. I cannot think of a more important task that you will ever be asked to perform. If you succeed, a brother, sister or friend or all of the above will live. If you fail, they die. Why not give yourself every chance at success and train on this subject. I believe this subject should be trained on by every member of every department at a minimum of four times a year. But that is my opinion.

I want to share a favorite quote of mine, "Amateurs train until they get it right, professionals train until they can't get is wrong." Words that every department should live by, whether paid or volunteer. We are all expected to be professional when that tone goes off.

I would like to thank Engine 22 "C" shift, the crew of Engine 24 "A" Shift and Glen Ellman for their assistance with this article and the pictures that go with them. You guys are the best.

Please send any ideas for future training drills, or suggested improvements and variations on this drill, to my e-mail: You and your department will receive credit for any ideas used in future articles.

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LARRY MANASCO, a Contributing Editor, is a captain with the Fort Worth, TX, Fire Department. He was an assistant instructor for FDNY Battalion Chief Salka's "Get Out Alive" hands-on training class. He has participated in the Training & Tactics Talks podcasts on To read Larry's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. You can reach Larry by e-mail at