1. #1
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    Question Engine company - What ya gonna do?

    This situation popped into my head and I though it might start a discussion:

    You are the officer or a member on a hose team performing initial attack and you lose one of you crew or they call a mayday. Beyond the initial calling the mayday if they haven't. What would you do? Continue the fire attack, look for/help your crew member, evacuate and call in backup, or something else? What situational details would change your actions?
    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA
    kevinsink@northstate.net

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    lots of variable here....really too many to just type about.


    the key to most situations: size it up.
    did joey just go outside to push more hose in? are we at the fire room and can apply water puting the fire out? is he into the basement through a weakend floor? did he collapse and is not breathing?

    call for more people, do what you can do, make the situation better.
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

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    There is no set way that it can be done. Every situation will be different and they all have to be treated in that regard. It would depend on many factors such as air supply and fire conditions.

    To break down your examples: Continuing the fire attack could help save the down fireman, may not make a difference, or worsen the situation . It would depend on the amount of fire and the condition of the fireman. Is he out of air or have missing PPE? If so do I want to risk creating steam? On the other hand knocking down the fire could help it from reaching the fireman if he was trapped or disorientated. I would like to say that I would never leave the building without my entire crew but as an officer, I have a responsibility to get the other men out safe as well. Also I would not evacuate unless the rest of the crew was at risk of going down. To generally answer your question, I would do absolutely everything in my power to help my downed crew member, while still maintaining integrity with the remaining crew.

    Those who worry too much about a plan, will get nothing accomplished. Firefighting is about problem solving and common sense. You take the current situation, look at your options, and generate a solution based on the present factors.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
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    As stated, every situation is different, and the company officer will have to determine the course of action at that particular time. That being said, an FDNY Officer who makes the rounds on the lecture circuit is fond of saying "Put water on the fire and 99% of your problems go away."
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Like you stated the first thing I would do is call a mayday which will bring more lines and people. Everything else is in the air, If we were at the fire start knocking it down.

    If the firefighter fell into a basement involved with fire then the only thing that is going to save him more than likely is alot of water.
    Last edited by L-Webb; 01-12-2012 at 07:06 PM. Reason: grammer
    Bring enough hose.

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    When a MayDay is called, FAST is activated. All other operations are to continue their assigned tasks. FAST will find/rescue the Mayday.

    Ya, everyone takes a quick look where they are at to check for an immediate rescue, but their assigned tasks are continued.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    You have to think what will happen if you stop putting water on the fire. If it gets bigger will it trap other crews operating in the building? It could put your lost firefighter in greater danger. Putting the fire out or at the least contained, will make things better for everyone.

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    As already stated, too many variables to really give a detailed answer. Two things not touched on so far given the scenerio presented that will most definitely impact your actions:

    1) As the initial attack team, there's a really good chance that the RIT, FAST, etc. could not even be on scene yet. For that matter, your 2nd and/or 3rd due units could not be there yet either. So you could be in a situation where "help" just isn't immediately available.

    2) Company staffing will also have an impact on what can reasonably be done. Obviously, the higher the unit staffing, the more personnel that could be of assistance in this situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    When a MayDay is called, FAST is activated. All other operations are to continue their assigned tasks. FAST will find/rescue the Mayday.

    Ya, everyone takes a quick look where they are at to check for an immediate rescue, but their assigned tasks are continued.
    What if the MAYDAY is called before the FAST, RIT, etc. is even on scene?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    What if the MAYDAY is called before the FAST, RIT, etc. is even on scene?
    Can't answer that one. If he is close by then get him out, If you are close to the fire then put it out or hold it in check. Maybe if you have a back up man on the nozzle with you then you could send him to search for the downed firefighter.
    Bring enough hose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    What if the MAYDAY is called before the FAST, RIT, etc. is even on scene?
    Well, speaking for our situation, they are on scene within 2 minutes of the first engines arriving so the attack has not progressed all that far yet. And in that first 2 minutes, Engine 2 and/or Truck 2 could be assigned FAST if a MayDay occurs.

    Like stated above, there are many variables to this. I gave a reply based on our operations/situation.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Well, speaking for our situation, they are on scene within 2 minutes of the first engines arriving so the attack has not progressed all that far yet. And in that first 2 minutes, Engine 2 and/or Truck 2 could be assigned FAST if a MayDay occurs.

    Like stated above, there are many variables to this. I gave a reply based on our operations/situation.
    If your FAST is on scene within 2 minutes of your first engine, then that's great and I would suspect that you are the exception rather than the rule on that matter.

    Your reply came across as being a bit if a "textbook" answer, which is largely why I posed the question. Obviously, with no FAST unit on the scene, assignments would need to be changed to address the MAYDAY situation. It really doesn't matter whether it's 2 minutes or 20 minutes into the initial attack and the MAYDAY is called, if there's no FAST on scene yet, it's simply not possible for everyone to carry on with their assignments and even more of a problem if 2nd and 3rd due units aren't there yet either.

    In my area, I've had a number of discussion on-line and in-person with people who essentially believe that it's "not safe" to put that first line in service without a RIT standing by. They talk about how important this function is, but for most of the departments in my area, the company responding as the RIT if often at best the 4th closest department to the incident. What do you do in the mean time when your RIT is a good 15 minutes travel time from the scene? Not something that many think about or plan for.

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    We have been the FAST response for a department that is close to 15 minutes away....so we see the "other" side of that delay. Most times, when we finally arrive...they are in overhaul mode. Not a great setup, but it's what works out as their best option.

    They dedicate their 3rd arriving vehicle as their interim FAST I believe.

    And yes, I have met people with those same beliefs...in delaying the initial attack. Too me, that decision lies in "your" individual department...basically the trust level you have in your guys and their abilities. (and no, I don't mean you specifically). A well trained department would be more apt to make that attack...the less trained may not.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I have been in this exact situation. Long story, late night. Maybe tomorrow.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    I would take a PAR of my crew, assess our air supply and egress routes, radio our status to Command, and then advise Command that we need another attack team because we were abandoning the attack in order to search for our lost member.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    What if the MAYDAY is called before the FAST, RIT, etc. is even on scene?
    There is always RIT on scene. They just don't know it. If a mayday pops before the assigned RIT is on scene the IC simply directs another company to assume the role. No delay, no fetching RIT packs, just do it the way it was done before RIT was common; with the gear on your back, and the tool in your hand.

    My dept has the luxury of being well staffed, so man power is seldom an issue. I can only speak of how I would do it. If it was a member of my engine co we would continue to attack the fire while the officer or the back up man makes a quick sweep of the area behind us. If the member called a mayday we would have some idea where he is, and what happened. PASS devices give us a pretty good clue as to where they are too.

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    We are the priority. Not the incident or the structure or even any possible victims. We are.

    Easy call ... Advise command of the situation. Tell them that we are no longer in fire attack mode. Hold the line where it is to cover us. Look for the missing member.

    If command has another crew to send in and replace us on the line as fire attack, great. If he doesn't, fire attack ceases until we find our member.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Naturally, when a member of our crew goes missing, we are going to want to drop what we're doing and go find him. You have to control that urge, and keep doing your assigned task. Activate the RIT team, and continue fighting the fire. If you can hear his PASS device and it's close, I'd try to do a hasty search to find him, doing my best to stay in contact with my guys on the line.

    It also depends on the structure. Are you in a 800 square foot house? A 50,000 square foot warehouse? A 5,000 square foot mansion? It's all situational. If you can get to your guy quick and get him out faster than waiting for the RIT team to find him, I'd do it, as long as there was 2 guys on the line.

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    Lots of variables here. If we are in the process of making a fire attack and we hear one of our members call a mayday, Command will activate our RIC SOPs. Means, A whole seperate operation will activate with a completely different Command. Operating on different radio channels and the single purpose of that operation is to find the downed firefighter. Now as for the company already fighting fire (me), I'm going to continue knocking down the fire (assuming this is a structure fire able to be controlled by one crew). UNLESS I can see him down or something crazy like that. I'm NOT going to leave my line and try and search for him when we have Mulitple RIC teams doing that. My goal is to knock down the fire to keep it off of HIM where ever he might be..

    That being a perfect scenario.. haha
    "....train as if your life depends on it, because one day it could.."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Well, speaking for our situation, they are on scene within 2 minutes of the first engines arriving so the attack has not progressed all that far yet. And in that first 2 minutes, Engine 2 and/or Truck 2 could be assigned FAST if a MayDay occurs.

    Like stated above, there are many variables to this. I gave a reply based on our operations/situation.
    90% of all firefighters that get in trouble do so within the 1st two minutes of the incident.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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