Good morning from the jumpseat! Over the past two years of blogging, I have had the pleasure of interacting with firefighters from around the world. This past week one reached out to me for some suggestions on training ideas with a focus on rapid intervention training (RIT). Upon receiving permission from the person, here are some of the "view's crews" ideas on training:
1. Quit making it so freaking complicated!
I see this way too often in my travels. The excuses start with "we don't have a training tower," or "we can't build that prop due to cost." Training firefighters doesn't have to take place in a burn tower and you don't need the Denver Drill prop to teach RIT skills.
Start simple, how about learning each one of your members true work time on air. Every fire officer should know the air consumption rate of his or her firefighters. You should be aware of it as well. The best RIT training is not getting yourself into a position where you will be in need of rescue.
Set up a obstacle course with a ladder to raise, a dummy to drag (if you don't have one, use the one standing beside you. Just kidding, they are not a dummy, so just grab a firefighter). Grab a section of 2 1/2-inch hose with a 50-foot section of rope attached and pull it too you. Set up a crawl and continue to do these tasks until your low air alarm goes off. Bam!
RIT starts with personal accountability, accountable to being prepared to perform. I heard one story of an actual LODD where many of the firefighters were not fit enough to climb the stairs then help with the rescue. What a horrible tragedy to lose one of ours made extremely worse with the guilt that you will encounter if your fitness is not where it needs to be!
2. Team work rules!
Back to the RIT training from another point that is often overlooked: teamwork. Our swim team once used the quote "teamwork makes the dream work." This is a great point to add to your next RIT training situation.
If your department is anything like mine, crews can be a mix of three different shifts, some having rarely worked with each other. This can be a hard hurdle to leap if you are faced with a stressful event such as a Mayday with rescue.
Set up some drills where you have to work on teamwork. Place some sections of rolled up hose on one end of the bay and assign a crew to move them without separating out of voice contact and without standing up. Give them the option of who is in charge and black their masks out. They should use your operational guidelines to deploy the lead person, officer, and dragging firefighters.
Sounds kind of like a lame drill, but give it a shot. Make it even more interesting; make it a roll of 5-inch or anything that takes more than two firefighters to move. This drill is about communication and teamwork. The safety guidelines of your jurisdiction having authority should be followed. This drill is just a suggestion not a standard adjust to meet your departments SOPs.
Thanks for the stop in the jumpseat! Remember, when training firefighters you should never leave the basics. The only thing you should get "back to" is the station when you have completed your training evolution. Train hard, train safe, and remember that if you cannot do the simple stuff you are not #jumpseatready!