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Thread: Mask fogging while on RIT standby

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    Default Mask fogging while on RIT standby

    Upon arrival our dept. has the RIT team fully geared up with the exception of going on air. Of course our masks fog up extremely quickly in this situation and before you know it we can barely see a thing. Obviously, this makes it very difficult to see exactly what is going on with the fire. Of course you can give it a few shots of air every now and again, but that depletes the amount you actually have available if you have to go to work.

    Other than just not masking up, any ideas on how to maintain situational awareness under these circumstances?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by auxman; 12-18-2011 at 01:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    Other than just not masking up, any ideas on how to maintain situational awareness under these circumstances?
    I know you said "other than" but not masking up really is the solution. There's no compelling reason why the RIT should be standing around actually wearing their SCBA masks. They should be equipped for the tasks they anticipate doing but wearing their masks isn't warranted.

    There will be time for those RIT members who need to mask up for entry to do so while they are being briefed on the mayday situation and rescue plan.
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    I think the advantage of being masked up and intermittently giving a shot of air to clear the mask (it doesnt use that much air, maybe the equivalent of a few breaths) overrides the time needed to mask up. The ability to quickly deploy for an unknown mayday issue ("Engine 21A is lost on floor 2, Alpha/Delta bedroom"); the ability to see a firefighter in trouble at a window and to quickly climb a ladder into a room to get the firefighter down; etc.

    I agree with the Deputy that for the issue where the RIT needs to be briefed by an IC or other supervisor is a time where you could be masking up, but I think for the other times where the RIT sees something and self-deploys (they let the IC know of course) already being masked up is worth it. For those times that need immediate intervention the 20-30 seconds it takes to mask up can add up. Certainly others will disagree, but that is the great part of these forums - getting different opinions.

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    To be honest I don't have an issue with the RIT crew being masked up. The less time it takes them to get inside to save a firefighter the better. As for the mask fogging up, I've heard of using shaving cream smeared on the inside works. That is what some divers and paintballers use to keep their masks from fogging up. If the mask doesn't have them nose cups work wonders as well.
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    On the one hand I agree with Deputy that the time needed to get masked probably isn't going to make a difference, but on the other hand, the chief says do it....

    Spencer is right that a few shots of air isn't a big deal, but if you're standing around for most of a fire on a hot day when you fog up almost immediately, you have to do it so often that it may actually reduce your air supply enough to worry about a bit.

    I don't know how the sort of techniques that Ryan mentions stand up to this sort of situation as compared to the sort of fogging that can happen when you're working on air. It can get awfully bad, awfully quick under some environmental conditions.

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    It shouldn't be the same RIT team sitting there for the entire operation. They should be switched out as well. Especially if it's hot or freezing.
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    The RIT should NOT be masked up.

    I see no grey in this, so forgive me.

    Wearing a mask you have artificially narrowed your situational awareness. The RIT should be fully engaged, using all their senses, to monitor the fire. Not looking through a tunnel with ALL their senses compromised.

    Wearing a mask and being fully outfitted is a great way to wear out the RIT before they even get called to be used. I'd rather they take an extra 20 seconds to mask/hood up then to be heat stressed to an even worse degree. Think of the 90 degree days when just being turned out wears you down... now add a mask/hood and stand around for 30 minutes. Stupid.

    Seriously, if you are deployed, do you think that extra 20 seconds is THAT critical? I don't.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-18-2011 at 07:38 PM.
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    How long can it possibly take to put your facepiece on one you are put to work at an incident?

    I just don't understand the logic here at all.

    This policy sounds like it was written by someone who has never actually worn a facepiece.

    It fogs up because it is not designed to be work without the regulator hooked up to it. That is because there is really no reason to be wearing it in that manner.
    Last edited by jakesdad; 12-18-2011 at 10:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    The RIT should NOT be masked up.

    I see no grey in this, so forgive me.

    Wearing a mask you have artificially narrowed your situational awareness. The RIT should be fully engaged, using all their senses, to monitor the fire. Not looking through a tunnel with ALL their senses compromised.

    Wearing a mask and being fully outfitted is a great way to wear out the RIT before they even get called to be used. I'd rather they take an extra 20 seconds to mask/hood up then to be heat stressed to an even worse degree. Think of the 90 degree days when just being turned out wears you down... now add a mask/hood and stand around for 30 minutes. Stupid.

    Seriously, if you are deployed, do you think that extra 20 seconds is THAT critical? I don't.
    Ditto. Can't say it any better.
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    http://www.maskview.com/

    I use this. That said, I don't have my mask on till I am ready to make entry either.
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    Just throwing it out there, but how about both.

    It is called a team after all, so one of you could remain unmasked while the other masks up and stays off air.

    None mask guy- focuses on the structure mainly
    Masked guy- focuses more on the radio

    I'm sure we have all heard of incidents where maydays were missed by IC to only be caught by companies, RIT or dispatch. It's one of *the* most important jobs of RIT because we can't help if we don't know there's a problem. Preaching to the choir I'm sure.

    If you get deployed, the masked guy starts choosing the appropriate equipment for the Mayday while the other masks up.

    Feel free to pull out the AA guns, but figured it wouldn't hurt to throw it out there as a suggestion. Happy shooting, and stay safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yjbrody View Post
    Just throwing it out there, but how about both.

    It is called a team after all, so one of you could remain unmasked while the other masks up and stays off air.

    None mask guy- focuses on the structure mainly
    Masked guy- focuses more on the radio

    I'm sure we have all heard of incidents where maydays were missed by IC to only be caught by companies, RIT or dispatch. It's one of *the* most important jobs of RIT because we can't help if we don't know there's a problem. Preaching to the choir I'm sure.

    If you get deployed, the masked guy starts choosing the appropriate equipment for the Mayday while the other masks up.

    Feel free to pull out the AA guns, but figured it wouldn't hurt to throw it out there as a suggestion. Happy shooting, and stay safe.
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    Just kidding.

    No, I disagree... still don't see it as a benefit.

    Do people think that when a mayday is called the RIT just start running towards the building swinging axes and screaming "I AM SPARTA!"
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    lol, in VA when I was observing they kept their truck doors open in the bay to minimize response time. Really if it takes you ten seconds to open a door, then you don't need to be a driver. Saving time isn't that necessary, but you should be confident in your speed and skills that you shouldn't have to worry about those extra five second. Kind of like the CPAT.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    lol, in VA when I was observing they kept their truck doors open in the bay to minimize response time. Really if it takes you ten seconds to open a door, then you don't need to be a driver.
    It's not that it takes us 10 seconds to open the door, it's about being ready and eliminating the steps necessary. Leaving the doors open (as we do both at work and my VFD) isn't comparable to wearing or not wearing a mask while assigned to RIT. Besides that, I've always thought that having the doors opened created on air of readiness while in quarters.

    Back to the regularly scheduled discussion, I don't see the benefit of standing around with the mask on either. As ChiefKN said, the few seconds to mask up doesn't offset the situational awareness that you lose by standing around with the mask on. I also think that a lot of people are losing site of the fact that in the case of a trapped or downed FF, a two-man RIT is going to be nothing but a recon team to locate and determine what resources are going to be required to remove the downed FF.
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    so while placing a RIT team on standby, does this mean the IC will have to stage additional companies to extricate? Also since we're on the topic, the mask fogging up can be prevented by rain-x or "low abrasive toothpaste".
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    so while placing a RIT team on standby, does this mean the IC will have to stage additional companies to extricate?
    RIT's vary in different regions, areas, and departments. Some RIT's might be a 2-man crew off an engine, whereas others might be a 6-man crew off a rescue company. In case of a true FF down/unconscious/trapped, a 2-man crew is going to have a lot of work ahead of them, and will likely use up their own air supply trying to effect the rescue. This is why they'd be treated more like a Recon Crew within the RIT Group.

    Would the IC call for additional resources? Yes! I've seen some departments that will order a full additional alarm when an RIT activation is confirmed.

    I'm not sure about your use of "stage" and "standby" - I hope that you mean that they're "standing by" and "staging" on scene, not down the block or at the firehouse.

    EDIT: Forgot to add - if you're not familiar with Phoenix Firefighter Brett Tarver (RIP), research his name and the problems that PFD encountered while trying to rescue him. Then read about the unusually in-depth study that PFD did afterwards, which determined that on average it took 7 minutes just to reach the downed firefighter. At 200psi per minute of air under working conditions, we need to have those additional resources at the ready.
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 12-19-2011 at 06:06 PM. Reason: Additional information...
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    Guess I'll add more to this, if you are so concerned about diving into action that you want to keep your facepiece on while standing around. Perhaps the 15-30 seconds it takes to don the facepiece is a good opportunity to take a deep breath and compose yourself.

    As someone else pointed out, the reason the facepiece fogs up is because it isn't intended to be worn around unless you are breathing off the SCBA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    RIT's vary in different regions, areas, and departments. Some RIT's might be a 2-man crew off an engine, whereas others might be a 6-man crew off a rescue company. In case of a true FF down/unconscious/trapped, a 2-man crew is going to have a lot of work ahead of them, and will likely use up their own air supply trying to effect the rescue. This is why they'd be treated more like a Recon Crew within the RIT Group.

    Would the IC call for additional resources? Yes! I've seen some departments that will order a full additional alarm when an RIT activation is confirmed.

    I'm not sure about your use of "stage" and "standby" - I hope that you mean that they're "standing by" and "staging" on scene, not down the block or at the firehouse.
    My department has a "staging" area for tools and personnel which is just a salvage cover that stands out from the personnel with assignments
    EDIT: Forgot to add - if you're not familiar with Phoenix Firefighter Brett Tarver (RIP), research his name and the problems that PFD encountered while trying to rescue him. Then read about the unusually in-depth study that PFD did afterwards, which determined that on average it took 7 minutes just to reach the downed firefighter. At 200psi per minute of air under working conditions, we need to have those additional resources at the ready.
    I'll look him up, thanks.
    I also read somewhere either in Firehouse or Fire Engineering about RIC that said it took maybe 12 guys to remove a downed firefighter so this might be the one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    I also read somewhere either in Firehouse or Fire Engineering about RIC that said it took maybe 12 guys to remove a downed firefighter so this might be the one.
    Yes, those figures came from the Phoenix study.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Would the IC call for additional resources? Yes! I've seen some departments that will order a full additional alarm when an RIT activation is confirmed.
    Yep, automatic to call for more resources if RIT is engaged. We don't use alarm assignments, but I believe our SOP calls for another RIT as a minimum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    so while placing a RIT team on standby, does this mean the IC will have to stage additional companies to extricate? Also since we're on the topic, the mask fogging up can be prevented by rain-x or "low abrasive toothpaste".
    Good idea- rub a flammable liquid into your mask.
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    eh, it works for paintballing and diving.
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    The RIT serves many other functions on the fireground as well that will ease their job should a MAYDAY situation arise - throwing ladders, utility control, identifying access/egress points, marking sides of the building, staging tools & equipment, and knowing where the next hoseline may come from if needed. You can't size up a building properly with a facepiece on, how are you going to perform any of those other functions with one on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    eh, it works for paintballing and diving.

    paintballing and diving don't take place within a burning building
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    I agree with 53fireman. In our area the RIT is active on the fireground. They never engage in an activity that they can't drop at a second's notice and report to their point of entry. They do recon of the building, harden entrance/egress points, ladder upper story windows etc. They will have all their equipment staged and ready to go if they are needed. It's worked very well for us.

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