Getting Out Alive - A Quick Confidence Builder

Mark McLees shares a drill which may help you escape from a burning structure if you become trapped on an upper floor.


Planning and running a good drill requires forethought and energy. Occasionally, due to alarms and other supervisory duties, we get caught behind the eight ball and don't have a drill prepared. Well, here's one that is simple and a springboard for a whole realm of discussion. Photo by...


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Photo by Mark McLees
Photo 7: The "pros" and "cons" of wearing your helmet strap are accentuated during a drill such as this one.


1_97_getting9.jpg
Photo by Mark McLees
Photo 8: Always have two "spotters" at the base of the ladder during the drill to slow down the slider. Remember, these conditions are ideal. In reality, your gloves will be wet, and there won't be anyone there to catch you.

You can spice up the drill by having two members come out the window in rapid succession. Don't forget your partner is behind you burning up while you are exiting first. Always have members footing the ladder during the drill to avoid injuries.

Some members attempt a flying acrobat act and grab the rungs and flip themselves over halfway down. In reality, there may be no one at the bottom to catch you.

Without a doubt, there will be skeptics who frown on this type of behavior. To them I say this is a confidence builder. For those of you who do go inside burning buildings, I hope you never get caught in a window that lights off over your head.

I wish to acknowledge Captain Michael Lombardo of the Buffalo, NY, Fire Department for giving me the idea for this drill.


Mark McLees is captain of the Syracuse, NY, Fire Department Rescue Company.