1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Encountering a trapped civilian while FAST operating

    During a FAST operation...if a civilian victim is encountered...would the team divert there attention to the victim first...or radio to command and move to the trapped firefighter. I've heard mixed comments on this question and would like to hear your views....

    BE SAFE..

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Once the FAST team has been activated its main concern is to recue the down fire fighter. At that point the location of other victims are sent to command to decide what to do. You have to take care of 1. yourself, 2. Your Brothers, 3. the public, 4. property in that order.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Talk about a rock and a hard place... It's tough to say without considering all the facts. A 4 or 5 man FAST? A 2 man FAST? A firefighter calling for assistance who may still have air? A firefighter not accounted for? An unconscious, maybe dead victim? A victim that needs to be pointed in the right direction? I'd hate to make the call. Since we try to use a 5 man team, I'd probably opt for splitting the crew and calling for reinforcements. Way to ride the fence eh?

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In Atlanta we usually will have a 4 man team.If it was my team,I would probally split the team,if it looked like the civilian was saveable.
    I think this is a pure judgment call on the part of the officer.It would also be the toughest.
    Hopefully the manpower wouldbe present to send in another team to get the civilian ,while the RIT continued on there assignment.


  5. #5
    McF 33
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I would agree with Wolf2980 that the fast team's main concern is a downed fire fighter. The other point that came to mind is that in most cases if a fire fighter is down a civilian's chances are very low at that point. However, I think I would request a separate team giving them the location of the civilian and moving on to the fire fighter.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Tough call to make but I think if firefighters are in trouble I must continue the rescue effort for them and let command decide strategy for downed civilians. As Lt. Todd stated, a lot depends on the number of members on the FAST. In my city, we have at least a 4 and sometime 5 member team. If I was to physically encounter a downed civilian I don't think I could just leave them. I would have to split the team. Two to remove the victim and two or three to continue FF rescue effort. After delivering the civilian to a safe location, the rescuers must immediately rejoin in the FF rescue. If, on the other hand, I am part of a 2 person team, I would probably radio the location of the civilian to command and continue the FF search & rescue like Wolf2980 and McF33 stated. I hope none of us is ever called upon to have to make that decision.
    This is a good thought provoking topic jmrescue.

    Mike Gentili

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have posted a reply to a similar post once before. The downed civilian is the responsibiliy of the original engine and truck crews. FAS Teams are for firefighters only. Hence the name "Firefighter Assistance and Survival Team." The other thing is that even if you have a five man team, remember that a downed firefighter rescue will not be effectively performed by a FAS Team of only two firefighters therefor splitting your team is completely in-effective. If the FAS Team encounters a victim while they are making their search for the downed brother, a request for the original or secondary search and rescue team should be made for them to re-enter the building or divert from their current assignment to come retrieve the victim. The chances of the victim being revivable at this point in a fire is extremely low especially considering that they had no PPE to assist them. Let the FAST crew concentrate on their job. In addition, as soon as the original FAST crew is activated, an additional FAS Team should be alerted to respond to the fireground.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    FAST teams are meant for firefighter rescue. Notify command and let them make the call (Big Bucks Thing). Breaking up the FAST team defeats the purpose

    Stay In The House!

  9. #9
    Douglas Cline
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There is alot to consider when you are on fire grounds or emergency scenes. The problem that is prevalent is lack of man power to do all of the tasks needed most of the time. The definition of a RIT or FAST team is a team of firefighters who have the sole task of rescueing Trapped, Lost , Disoriented or injured firefighters. Most of the time when you spring into action as a RIT the conditions are at their worst anyway. The chances of survival of a Civilian are near zero. We must remember that the most valuable resource for any department is its personnel. The key to your answer is waht is the purpose of the RIT or FAST team...To Rescue Firefighters. If you would like more information on training Rapid Intervention Teams contact me at SpudC@aol.com or through the International Society of Fire Service Instructors at 1-800-435-0005. Hope this helps. You can also view my training through the videos from American Heat. I have a 4 part series on RIT training.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    All are good points but the main question remains? Is the down or lost f.f.s location known. And how many members are involved in the search. If it is possible to split the team; do so. Our job is to take calculated risks to save lives. No matter what, our job is to save lives and return home alive after our tour to our waiting families.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There are a million possibilities in this type of scenario, but the fact remains, we are there to protect LIVES and property.

    Is the civilian an adult or a child? Are they badly burned or in a part of the house where they may still be viable? Is an engine company above forcing entry or venting, is it wrong for a truck company to advance a hose line if thatís what is needed at the time. Why would it be wrong for a FAST crew to save a civilian. Life is life and if that civilian has any chance of survival, we are obligated to rescue them. Split the team, call for more manpower but do not just crawl by.

    Believe me when I say that there is nothing I wouldnít do to try and save a downed firefighter, and I can only answer your question based on how the scenario plays in my mind. I pray Iím never actually faced with this decision.

    Rob Donnan
    Captain, Metuchen FD
    President, Jersey Fire & Rescue

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    From all corners of the country have replies come. Is there a right or wrong answer to this question? What I see in all these replies is, thought. We as firefighters are put into different situations everyday. Through training and experience we accumulate a vast amount of practical knowledge. This shows in the educated replies I have read. As in all situations that are not in the books or have not been experienced before we take in the problem addapt and overcome. Which is what I see written before me.
    Lt. Steve B.

  13. #13
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Forgetting about the question of the FAST's main purpose and the inherent moral dilemma for a moment, wouldn't passing the civilian by open you to direct liability for any injury or death that may occur from that time forward? Are there generally (legally) accepted standards on FAST that would support the decision to pass on the civilian? Do we really care about this question, or is there a moral imperative to press on toward the fire fighter?

    I don't have the answers, I'm just expanding the question a bit...

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Having been directly involved in a firefighter rescue and several civilian rescues I must ask you all one simple question....If it was you that sent out the mayday and you were almost out of air would you want the specialized team that is supposed to be coming for you not show up???
    Or should they radio to command the location of the civilian victim and press on towards our brother or sister??? I have seen it, lived it, and felt it. Me personally, I AM PRESSING ON!

    Jim Crawford
    Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire

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