1. #1
    Chris Shields
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down Dispatch RIT Immediatly!

    When setting up box alarms or response rules for your local 911 center, think about RIT NOW! Too many departments only have there RIT Team dispatched after they arrive and find an "All Hands Fire". It doesn't make sense to have your RIT Team arriving on the scene 15 minutes after the initial response. On reported structure fires, have them dispatched when YOU ARE and if it turns out to be minor, turn them around. At least their already on the road so when you do pull up and the first line is going in the door, you know that you have a Team of Firefighters that specialize in RIT already on the way to your fire. Which brings me to another area. Your RIT Team should consist of of your best firefighters who have some experience AND training under their belts. Guys that have "All the classes" but haven't seen a car fire yet are not the guys I want going in after my brothers.


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Amen. We have at least gotten to the point of dispatching RIT teams but as you stated, it is typically only after verifying a working fire. It would be my guess that if something is going to happen to truely threaten the guys inside, it will probably occur during the initial attack. This is typically over before the RIT Team from the 4th due company arrives.

    Joe Pechacek
    Hamilton, NY

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    RIT now is an excellent idea and the few that I know that do it love it. The bravest can feel more comfortable if they know that a unit designated to watch their backs is enroute with them.

    Stay In The House!

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Must be lucky to be in a big city, or not. I come from a small volunteer department. So our RIT team is basically who shows up at the call. There is always a team setup. Do you have to delay making entry until your RIT team shows up, if they aren't dispatched to you? Dispatching a RIT team isn't even anything I've heard of before, but then...I'm in Alaska

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In PG County, MD the RIT team is always the second or fourth due engine crews. Also depending on the staffing. Our Chief's Council is in the process of changing that to the Rescue Squads job. It is our SOP that if there is potential life threaten then we will go in without the RIT setup. IF it is a business and after closing hours then we wait for the RIT team to setup. Most time we have enough people to do the job. Because of the RIT Teams we have already made dispatch changes to add more company's to the call.

    Assistant Chief
    Marlboro VFD

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hmmmm, it comes down to an entire philosphy of when to call more resources.

    First off, proper staffing of first alarms to make an effective fire attack will do more to prevent more deaths and injuries than the existence of all the RIT in the US will in all time.

    Second, what is the criteria for dispatching the RIT? An officer arriving and finding a "Working Fire" is a pretty good and specific point. Does the dispatcher get to upgrade the call if he's receiving multiple calls? A single call of someone stating their house is on fire? A call of smoke in the basement (cause unknown -- could be a fire, could be a furnace backfire). Start a RIT to every automatic fire alarm because their might be a need potentially to conduct an interior firefight? I know dispatch centers that tone out Chimney Fires as a Structure Fire -- do you dispatch the RIT to chimney fires if it's a structure fire in your system?

    Many career departments are already thinly staffed and distributed before taking another company for RIT. Activating a RIT for every automatic alarm in a volunteer system is going to result in those members saying, "Bag this," and dropping out of RIT duties real quick.

    Maybe not calling for the RIT until the FD confirms a working fire is too late, but when is too soon from a practical standpoint?

    Personally, my compromise is when either the fire department confirms a working fire, or the dispatcher has credible reason to believe the incident is a working fire (i.e. multiple calls; a neighbor calling saying they see flames from such and such a building; etc), not everytime someone calls with a smell of smoke or automatic alarm. I'd also further that to giving the dispatcher authority not only to add a RIT, but also a Tanker task-force or LDH task force as may have been preplanned for certain areas -- i.e., "Chief, we're taking multiple calls for a working house fire now. We'll be starting the RIT and a Residential Tanker Task Force"

  7. #7
    RF Duval
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Change "reported" to "confirmed" and I'm in agreement 110%. I've been a dispatcher for 14 years in a regional 911/FD center in NE CT and I've taken a single call on a working house fire with people trapped and I've taken 100 calls on a "working car fire" on the highway that turns out to be a overheat.

    If the dispatcher has good information or even a hunch that it is going to be a "job", get the RIT wheels rolling, they can always be turned around or staged.

    We have established a townwide FAST group between four volunteer stations, with a core group of 20 trained FF's. On most first alarm or WF assignments, three stations are started. If a working fire is "confirmed" then the remaining station is started as the FAST. The IC also has the option to request the FAST upon his/her arrival. In the interim, you will have to make due with 2 in-2 out where applicable. Unfortunately we do not have the option of merely calling an additional engine, truck or squad as a FAST.

    The reality is, until every fire fighter in town is trainined in FAST, the additional Co. will be needed. In our case the FAST Team is made up of the most experienced and proactive FF's in the four departments. In many cases these FF's are the original entry team on the first alarm, so you need additional FAST FF's to fill out the team.

    Dep Chief RF Duval

    [This message has been edited by RF Duval (edited February 25, 2000).]

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