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    Default Mayday? Evacuate?

    As a rule what is the general thoughts concerning an evacuation order? Airhorn songle long blast, three short blast, key two radios close together for feedback??? What seems to work best for YOU???

    Mayday rules, policy. If anyone has any please forward to nlfireguy@yahoo.com or post a link to them please.

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    I don't have the procedures handy, but basically here is what we do:

    Evacuate: Order is given over radio, Dispatcher sounds evacuation tones over radio system and apparatus operators sound their horn for a time (I belive it is 30 seconds, but not sure).

    Mayday: Mayday is called and command and dispatch acknowledge it. Radio is cleared, all traffic not involved with the mayday is moved to another channel. RIT is activated and whatever steps needed to rescue the ff's are taken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nlfireguy View Post
    key two radios close together for feedback???
    That sounds like a terrible idea to me. Yes it's loud and annoying but it can and does happen at times other then when you intend it to. Whatever signal you choose to evacuate, in my opinion, it has to be something that will ONLY be heard when you want people to evacuate. If not people will start to pause when they hear it and wait to confirm what they're hearing instead of heading for the door post haste.

    Think of it like PASS devices. How many firefighters have gotten to the point that they don't react when they hear a PASS device going off because they've heard it too many times when it meant nothing. (Guys taking a break without turning it off or setting a pack down etc)

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    Quote Originally Posted by EGregory View Post
    That sounds like a terrible idea to me. Yes it's loud and annoying but it can and does happen at times other then when you intend it to. Whatever signal you choose to evacuate, in my opinion, it has to be something that will ONLY be heard when you want people to evacuate. If not people will start to pause when they hear it and wait to confirm what they're hearing instead of heading for the door post haste.

    Think of it like PASS devices. How many firefighters have gotten to the point that they don't react when they hear a PASS device going off because they've heard it too many times when it meant nothing. (Guys taking a break without turning it off or setting a pack down etc)
    The radio things was from a SOP for a department I found on line . Did not feel that was real affective, just tossing out what I had picked up on already.
    The pass example is spot on. Like a car alarm in a parking lot or wherever, noone pays a bit of attention, its a noise we have gotten "used" to hearing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nlfireguy View Post
    As a rule what is the general thoughts concerning an evacuation order? Airhorn songle long blast, three short blast, key two radios close together for feedback??? What seems to work best for YOU???

    Mayday rules, policy. If anyone has any please forward to nlfireguy@yahoo.com or post a link to them please.
    This may be nitpicking, but you seem to be lumping an evacuation and a mayday together.

    The two are quite seperate.

    An evacuation is sounded when the IC determines that the fire building needs to be .. evucated for a number of reasons including fire conditions, collapse lor a water supply failure.

    A mayday is when a firefighter, or a crew of firefighters, are in distress and requires assistance.

    Each requires a seperate departmental policy and seperate SOPs as they are two very different situations.

    We have a policy for both. Let me know which one you are interested in.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 03-25-2011 at 12:44 PM.
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    A "Mayday" for us is anyone on a radio indicating a MAYDAY, A Pass alarm going off, a firefighter unaccounted for or a visual of a firefighter in trouble, like in a window etc.

    An "Evac" is two shorter blasts followed by a long blast from all our apparatus on scene. When our an Officer determines the interior is unfit.

    I don't know that the two are related, but I could be wrong. I guess it is possible for the two to co-exist, though remote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    This may be nitpicking, but you seem to be lumping an evacuation and a mayday together.

    The two are quite seperate.

    An evacuation is sounded when the IC determines that the fire building needs to be .. evucated for a number of reasons including fire conditions, collapse lor a water supply failure.

    A mayday is when a firefighter, or a crew of firefighters, are in distress and requires assistance.

    Each requires a seperate departmental policy and seperate SOPs as they are two very different situations.

    We have a policy for both. Let me know which one you are interested in.
    Not lumping them together. Thats why I asked it in two seperate questions. I needed input of BOTH of them. Mayday? Evacuate? I am composing a complete set of SOP's so am looking for anything on these two areas you may have available. Thanks for the input.
    Last edited by nlfireguy; 03-25-2011 at 03:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice09 View Post
    A "Mayday" for us is anyone on a radio indicating a MAYDAY, A Pass alarm going off, a firefighter unaccounted for or a visual of a firefighter in trouble, like in a window etc.

    An "Evac" is two shorter blasts followed by a long blast from all our apparatus on scene. When our an Officer determines the interior is unfit.

    I don't know that the two are related, but I could be wrong. I guess it is possible for the two to co-exist, though remote.

    Their is a high probability of both exhisting at once, which is why I am lookig to make them so totally seperate that those on the fireground will not get them confused.
    I like the two short blast then followed by a long one.
    I need to write SOP's on both these things which is my reasoning for asking for input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nlfireguy View Post
    Their is a high probability of both exhisting at once, which is why I am lookig to make them so totally seperate that those on the fireground will not get them confused.
    I like the two short blast then followed by a long one.
    I need to write SOP's on both these things which is my reasoning for asking for input.
    I see your point. Though I'm not sure how you be able to differentiate the two if you were a crew on the inside fighting a fire and it's noisy. I still believe the air horn should be evac and radio contact/communication for a Mayday. The reason I was thinking that is you want the Officers making the command to a RIT etc, not all the firefighters inside and outside at a scene, you know what I mean? You could have 20 guys confused.
    I don't know, I was just giving my point of view. let me know what you decise, this is an important topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice09 View Post
    I see your point. Though I'm not sure how you be able to differentiate the two if you were a crew on the inside fighting a fire and it's noisy. I still believe the air horn should be evac and radio contact/communication for a Mayday. The reason I was thinking that is you want the Officers making the command to a RIT etc, not all the firefighters inside and outside at a scene, you know what I mean? You could have 20 guys confused.
    I don't know, I was just giving my point of view. let me know what you decise, this is an important topic.
    Most definetly and I am not taking this one lightly. Youtube revelaed a few instances where a FF called a mayday and for safety reasons IC called for evacuation to regroup and perform a "par". These two areas tho could co-incide need to be specifically different, but able to work as one. It is one of the toughest SOP sections I have encountered.
    Mayday "has" to be radio only in my opinion while an evacuation would be airhorn only after verbal orders were given. This only working if a proper IC is set in place with a designated place for IC. A spot to gather in the event of an evacuation and "PAR"
    Last edited by nlfireguy; 03-25-2011 at 03:46 PM.

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    Quite a bit of different terminology out there. FWIW, this is what we use for verbiage.

    Evacuate/evacuation refers to removing civilian occupants that need to leave, but aren't neccessarily being "rescued".

    Withdraw/withdrawl is when we leave the building, in a hurry, but still take tools, hoselines, etc. This is broadcast over the radio by the IC, and acknowledged.

    Abandoning the building is when Firefighters GTFO, by any available means, leaving anything that would slow you down behind. When the decision is made to abandon, the signal is a repeated series of three air horn blasts, in adddition to a warbling radio tone on all frequencies, and the announcement "Abandon the building", repeated three times.

    A PAR is conducted after any withdrawl or abandon order.

    Mayday is for a Firefighter down, lost, trapped, etc. At least here, a mayday has nothing to do with withdrawl/abandoning the building.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nlfireguy View Post
    Most definetly and I am not taking this one lightly. Youtube revelaed a few instances where a FF called a mayday and for safety reasons IC called for evacuation to regroup and perform a "par". These two areas tho could co-incide need to be specifically different, but able to work as one. It is one of the toughest SOP sections I have encountered.
    Mayday "has" to be radio only in my opinion while an evacuation would be airhorn only after verbal orders were given. This only working if a proper IC is set in place with a designated place for IC. A spot to gather in the event of an evacuation and "PAR"
    I agree with that. It is a very tough job. And, like my department, which is a smaller deptartment than most, we are just beginning to inccoperate radios for interior firefighters. It's just always been a area with shortage. Hoenstly, I'll have to look into this topic, but I'm not sure why. We have limited man power, great apparatus, equipment etc. But there really is no reason why our interiors can't take radios evertime they enter a involved fire. Just my opinion. I mean, we have a system of 2. 2 on a line, back up, etc. So at least 1 per line with a radio. Seems plausible. Not sure why we don't.

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    OK, I'm new here, and I will try to NOT get anyone upset lol.....

    However I AM very much a supporter of the Firefighter safety and Survival asspects as wel as RIT etc.......

    I think the fact that you seem to be basing some of your ideas based upon a youtube video is perhaps NOt the best means of getting this kind of Information....

    Lets just clairify......as has been stated several times, an EVACUATION signal MUST be clear and audible to EVERYONE on the fireground....it is signalling a MAJOR change in the operations/conditions etc....ie: the most common and widely accepted seems to be the three blasts on apparatus airhorns...

    A "Mayday" is a VERY SERIOUS situation for a smaller group within the fire ground..specifically the Firefighter or Firefighters that have become disoriented/trapped or other specific conditions...these messages MUST be relayed clearly and concisly to the I.C. BY RADIO....radio freq's are monitored by dispatch in most cases and recorded.....

    By developing and using a system to report a "mayday"...such as C.L.A.N. ( Condition, Location,Air and NEEDS), as well as CLEARLY identifying the member(s) in trouble...it gives the I.C, the RIT/FAST team as well as the Sector Offficers a clear idea of Where the trouble is, what it is, how much air they have and what special needs or requirments are needed to assist them....

    In most cases, were a good set of SOP's exist for these types of emergencies, an SOP is also included that outlines the Proper means to radio in a mayday,as well as what all other ( NOT the FF calling the mayday or the IC) should do...ie.switch to a second Ops radio Channel....

    A P.A.R. ( Personal Accountability Report) is usually called by the Safety Officer or the I.C. at the onset of an emergency situation OR at even intervals during a call...depending on SOP's for any given Department.......often the P.A.R is a quick efficient means of assertaining which if any Companies etc. MAY also be in a situation such as the mayday...

    Again, clear comms, just a simple (Company #, # of members, location, condition and actions)...ie: Engine 4, three members, in the rear second floor hallway , all OK, advancing the line) or whatever.....

    IF an Evacuation is called....then YES, Command SHOULD be calling for a full PAR....that is the fastest and best way to get the info to the IC that everyone is out etc......

    Just after I posted this up I saw some really good other posts too......and as can be seen I guess even some of the terminology changes from Location to location as well..( I've learned something new today too!....lol)

    These are all seperate and distinct parts of the same puzzle...don;t confuse them, and please don;t try to "short cut" them...they have a purpose.....

    anyway, cheers and good luck
    Last edited by Northern Lights FF; 03-25-2011 at 04:38 PM.

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    Our SOP on an evacuation is call the evacuation over the radio, then 2 short 1 long blast on the air horns. The air horns are hit until a P.A.R. check is completed and everyone is accounted for. Everyone is supposed to report to staging.

    Our SOP on a MAYDAY is to call the MAYDAY over the radio and give a L.U.N.A.R. report. Once that is complete, activate your P.A.S.S. device and wait for the calvary to come, while trying to get your composure and see if there is anyway to resolve the issue (ie notice the window near you, etc). Those not calling the MAYDAY are to switch over to Channel 3 (our secondary radio channel) so that command can have an uninterrupted (in theory) communications with those calling the MAYDAY. Also R.I.T. is sent in at that point
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    My comments are mine and mine alone - they do not represent any thoughts or views of my department or anyone else

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    oops it double posted I deleted this
    Last edited by nlfireguy; 03-25-2011 at 05:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsfd184 View Post
    our sop on an evacuation is call the evacuation over the radio, then 2 short 1 long blast on the air horns. The air horns are hit until a p.a.r. Check is completed and everyone is accounted for. Everyone is supposed to report to staging.

    Our sop on a mayday is to call the mayday over the radio and give a l.u.n.a.r. Report. Once that is complete, activate your p.a.s.s. Device and wait for the calvary to come, while trying to get your composure and see if there is anyway to resolve the issue (ie notice the window near you, etc). Those not calling the mayday are to switch over to channel 3 (our secondary radio channel) so that command can have an uninterrupted (in theory) communications with those calling the mayday. Also r.i.t. Is sent in at that point


    :d thank you
    Last edited by nlfireguy; 03-25-2011 at 05:25 PM.

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    Thanks BSFD,

    I had forgotten the L.U.N.A.R ( it's Location, Unit, Needs, Air and Resources is it not?)

    Our SOP's and many I have seen have the actual "Mayday" radio proceedure as or simular to....

    MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY...( either C.L.A.N. or L.U.N.A.R inserted here).....

    again the mayday actually being called three times,

    moving yourself or group/Company whatever to a location near an outside wall if possible radioing in any change of location to the I.C. is also helpful...

    I've also heard of some SOP's calling for the FF to use flashlights or glowsticks to "illuminate" their location as well as for the FF to bang their handtool on the floor or wall in addition to their PASS alarm

    there are likely as many different or slightly different variations of essentially the same things as there are Fire Departments.....There used to be a great site by a Fire Officer in Pittsburgh that covered many if not all of these types of SOP's from all over Canada and the US......unfortunately it seems to have been shut down ....mores the pity.......it had TONNES of specific area info including SOP's etc...........

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    [QUOTE=Northern Lights FF;1258858]Thanks BSFD,

    I had forgotten the L.U.N.A.R ( it's Location, Unit, Needs, Air and Resources is it not?)

    QUOTE]

    Location
    Unit
    Name (John Smith)
    Air (how much remaining)
    Resources you require

    This is one example I found

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    Evacuation

    3 air horn blasts by the attack engine only.
    Radio transmission by IC indicating "evacuate".
    IC then tones and repeats "evacuate".
    All company/crew officers acknowledge,

    Mayday

    1 blast on the qair horn by the attack engine only.
    Radio transmission by IC states "mayday in progress".
    IC then tones and repeats "mayday in progress" on fireground frequency.
    Department Dispatch tones and repeats "mayday in progress" on primary/dispatch.
    EMS unit on scene contacts 911 (Parish Dispatch) for 2nd ambulance and 2 additional fire departments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Evacuation

    3 air horn blasts by the attack engine only.
    Radio transmission by IC indicating "evacuate".
    IC then tones and repeats "evacuate".
    All company/crew officers acknowledge,

    Mayday

    1 blast on the qair horn by the attack engine only.
    Radio transmission by IC states "mayday in progress".
    IC then tones and repeats "mayday in progress" on fireground frequency.
    Department Dispatch tones and repeats "mayday in progress" on primary/dispatch.
    EMS unit on scene contacts 911 (Parish Dispatch) for 2nd ambulance and 2 additional fire departments.
    That looks like a very good system. Has it been used and how well did it work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice09 View Post
    That looks like a very good system. Has it been used and how well did it work?
    I agree completly. Looks like a good system for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice09 View Post
    That looks like a very good system. Has it been used and how well did it work?
    Luckily we have never had a mayday since implementing the new procedures but we have drilled on it several times. So far, it has worked well. EMS contacting our dispatch was added after a couple of drills as it took some of the load off the IC in terms of radio contacts.

    We have used the evacuation procedure on a couple of occasions, and it has worked out well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Luckily we have never had a mayday since implementing the new procedures but we have drilled on it several times. So far, it has worked well. EMS contacting our dispatch was added after a couple of drills as it took some of the load off the IC in terms of radio contacts.

    We have used the evacuation procedure on a couple of occasions, and it has worked out well.
    Well, I guess it is a good thing you haven't used it. I'm going to look into what our department utilizes, so I'm sure.
    It bothers me that communication is somewhat of an issue at times where I'm at. Nothing major, just in general. Some of the people working dispatch get it right every time and are just plain good at what they do. Some have their issues. I don't mean to judge, it's an extremely difficult job and very high stress. I am no better. just wish we had a harness on a few things.
    Radios and pagers is my gripe. Plus the system is par at best. I have to have my pager aimed a certain direction to work. In my opinion, everyone that puts on an airpack should be trained and ready to use a radio. But, I degress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice09 View Post
    Well, I guess it is a good thing you haven't used it. I'm going to look into what our department utilizes, so I'm sure.
    It bothers me that communication is somewhat of an issue at times where I'm at. Nothing major, just in general. Some of the people working dispatch get it right every time and are just plain good at what they do. Some have their issues. I don't mean to judge, it's an extremely difficult job and very high stress. I am no better. just wish we had a harness on a few things.
    Radios and pagers is my gripe. Plus the system is par at best. I have to have my pager aimed a certain direction to work. In my opinion, everyone that puts on an airpack should be trained and ready to use a radio. But, I degress.
    Same here.

    Actually it was the same everyplace I have been. The only exception was one department where the county had dedicated fire dispatchers, not PD who also dispatched fire. Since fire was all they handled, they knew what to do and how to do it in just about every situation.
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