Rapid Intervention: What Should We Be Seeing and Doing?

The most experienced firefighter can have difficulty applying realistic approaches to rapid intervention methods, techniques and maneuvers especially if they haven't even pursued the training.Well it has been a good 10 years since rapid intervention began...


The most experienced firefighter can have difficulty applying realistic approaches to rapid intervention methods, techniques and maneuvers especially if they haven't even pursued the training.

Well it has been a good 10 years since rapid intervention began its foothold in the fire service and my involvement with it has been an eye opening experience with unbelievable progress and innovations as well as setbacks and controversy.

What should we be seeing and doing in rapid intervention as it pertains to the firefighters, line officers and chief officers at fireground incidents? The following article will probably surprise some while others have known or have been aware of what true rapid intervention, combined with proactive and reactive behaviors are so "That Brothers May Live." And I do truly mean live.

The most experienced firefighter can have difficulty applying realistic approaches to rapid intervention methods, techniques and maneuvers especially if they haven't even pursued the training. Worse yet, if the department that didn't provide the means to get the training that not only saves lives but ensures an enhanced measure of safety on each and every fireground. Even worse then that is the firefighter that waits for the department to provide the means of training from the very start is his responsibility to attain for himself, his co-workers, his department and his family. Enough said!

Realistic and Appropriate

Let's really take a look at applying realistic and appropriate behaviors in rapid intervention in the training environment and on the fireground. Many individuals and departments talk a big game but are not truly a student of the game when it comes to rapid intervention. Rapid intervention has been interpreted, toyed with, chewed up and regurgitated into several approaches, methods, maneuvers and techniques by many individuals in the fire service. Some of those individuals are what we would call pretty prominent figures in the teaching and lecture world. Many of these respected and appreciated individuals are starting to lose sight of what are truly rapid interventions capabilities and its life saving expectations. Rapid intervention may very well be coming over theorized with inappropriate applications resulting in less than adequate results for the line firefighter all the way on up to the chief in training and on the fireground.

Here's what we need to know as the bottom line when it comes to rapid intervention:

  • Training that is consistent but innovative in rapid intervention and self survival skills
  • Provide training and understanding in air management skills
  • Training that instills both proactive and reactive behavior during fireground incidents
  • Innovative methodologies for teaching techniques and maneuvers that is clear and simple in order to be performed under extreme duress
  • From the firefighter to the chief, know the purpose in basic rapid intervention tactics and strategies
  • Develop simple but urgent operating guidelines
  • Realize the simple and appropriate equipment required for rapid intervention
  • Understand the tactical positioning and deployment of rapid intervention
  • Give rapid intervention the freedom to function effectively on the fireground

These are some of the top priority items and philosophies in establishing and developing a continuous and sound rapid intervention program and operating guidelines for just about any size department. Through years of instructing in both combination and volunteer departments, I have found the needs and priorities of rapid intervention for each of these types of departments to be well intentioned but for some to them, they wherever difficult to achieve. In many cases it is extremely difficult for some departments to even muster two-person team dedicated to rapid intervention, let alone the more blessed departments that can dedicate four or five firefighters to a RIT. What can one department do and accomplish for rapid intervention that another department can't do in addressing the needs of rapid intervention? The answer is that each department needs to train, train and train according to their levels of realities.

This content continues onto the next page...