Welcome back to Views from the Jumpseat. Today I would like to take some time to revisit a subject from last year. Bailing out a window to save ourselves has continued to be a hot topic around the fire service community. “Is a bailout system worth the weight that it adds?” and “do we really need such a system?” are questions that continue to pop up. Let’s take some time to again visit bail out systems and “are they worth their weight?”
Bailout systems have been an up and coming topic in our world since the tragic day in New York City that claimed the lives of two firefighters that jumped to their death. So why is there still resistance in adding this tool to our firefighters? Most often the replies to this question are that it adds too much weight or, if you do things the right way the fire goes out. These are both true statements. But is the weight that it adds to your PPE really not worth the chance to survive a fall or not burn up in a room?
Here are a few points on this subject to think about. First, do you have a bailout system that you can deploy in 17 seconds in a zero visibility environment? If you choose to carry a system it needs to be pre-rigged and deployable fast. When you are at the window seal making the decision to jump or burn you have approximately 17seconds. Deploying your system should be a skill that needs to be perfected in the training grounds before using it on the fireground.
Second, when you train with your system it is crucial to make the training realistic as possible. I would suggest starting off with no SCBA and 100% visibility to get yourself familiar with your system. By starting off like this you can develop good skills in its deployment.
As you get more familiar and better with using it, add in the SCBA and then zero visibility. Once comfortable in these conditions add in a limited size window to egress through. Training like reality will prepare you for when you’re under stress and ready to go.
It’s time to hear you opinions firefighters. I would like to hear a view from your jumpseat. Do you have a bailout system and if so how often do you train with it? Please leave comments below and let’s start our discussion on bailing out.
Thanks for the visit to the jumpseat.