Firefighter Mayday / Search Techniques
I'm an explorer and we've recently been practicing some room search (aka victim removal...search and rescue..etc), and also how to handle firefighter maydays. I understand this is a lengthy post...but I think that victim removal is one of the funnest/hardest and important topics to learn.
We're taught to use the left/right hand technique. In a left hand search, we keep the left hand on the wall and search with the right. Vice versa. I would love to hear the opinions/tips/advice from actual career/volunteer firefighters so I can maybe get some better views on how to improve our search/firefighter mayday techniques.
ON ROOM SEARCH:
We always (for some reason)...train with a group of 4 for room search. How would you suggest we split the roles up? Normally we'll have one designated leader and 3 "firefighters". We will split up in two groups of 2 and one group will do a left hand search...while one group does a right hand search. Is that a good technique? Would it be better to keep all 4 explorers close together (as in...in the same room) so we can cover each room quicker?
Also...a "concern" that I have is...we use a 175lb dummy. If we split up in groups of 2...there is no way on earth that two people could remove a dummy quickly/efficiently. We would have to find the other group of 2 explorers. Since people search at different speeds...it would be hard to determine where inside the building they were at. For all I know...they might have covered three rooms while we're still in room one (example: they're rooms are empty....ours has desks/junk/etc). Then we would have to wait until the other group came and assisted us in victim removal. Air is being used up quickly...and chances of survival are decreasing.
Does that mean that searching with a 4 man crew is the way to go?
We're taught that as soon as we find a victim...we go the "opposite" way we came in. Example: Started rescue operations with a left-hand search. Victim found. We'll exit through a right-hand search (essentially tracing backwards).
I'm sure there are other searching techniques but these are the only ones that we are taught. What other search techniques are available and a good choice to use? What about using a tag line?
We're also taught that we *should* (but doesn't always actually happen)...leave one explorer at the door of the room being searched and have the other three search the room. That way...they can spread out and eventually find their way back to the origin with the help of the firefighter at the door. What do you think about that?
Also...a "best case scenario" would be a room with one door. How would you handle a room with two doors? Do you finish searching the first room? How would you know that which door was the one you came through? (assuming you didn't have anybody at the door....aka...searching with 4 explorers....or two groups of 2 explorers)
Is there any good way to keep track of where inside the room you are? We use "WALL 1" as the first wall...and keep on continuing. What if the door is not in the corner...but instead of in the middle of a 4 wall room? Does that mean you will have a "WALL 5"?
For some reason...I always think that communication is what we can always improve on. How can you improve communication in a stressful...pitch black enviroment? I hate to yell because it uses up air...but sometimes...you have no choice.
ON FIREFIGHTER MAYDAYS:
What are some techniques that can be employed when a firefighter gets into a mayday situation? Do you find a wall and just keep on following it?
ON BIG STRUCTURES:
If there was a multi-story...large office building on fire w/confirmed entrapments...how do you search? The office could be "open" and could be huge! With the regular 30 min bottle...you probably wouldnt even have enough air to find (and then remove) the victim. How could a situation like that be handled?
I know this is a lot of questions and I probably could have worded/organized it a little better. However, I hope I can learn some great advice from actual firefighters out there. Thanks!