Using RITs to do...
I have a had a few discussions around the station concerning RITs being used for outside ventilation work, such as removing security bars. I feel that they should not be responsible for this duty. Other feel however, that is creating another exit point for the interior crews. How do you feel on this subject or if you belong to a RIT, what are your guidelines?
This is not the RIT's responsibility. Even if it means another entry/exit point!
The RIT is worthless, if you have them doing the "Odd" jobs outside the structure. This hampers the time the RIT members get inside for S&R, and also takes alot of stamina out of the crew.
A RIT already has jobs that need performed while waiting for the "Mayday Call". Officer at the command post, size up, ladder the builing in certain situations "if not done", tool placement etc. After everything is covered by the RIT, I feel that the RIT should STANDBY. A tired, drained RIT member takes away the extra energy that is needed to do a rescue - extrication.
If you have enough RIT members on the scene, and the manpower is needed for "Odd" jobs that do not follow under the RIT SOP's, then I feel it is fine to release 1 or 2 RIT members, but only if the RIT is fully staffed.
This is to help bring you and I back to our families!!!
Some of you may disagree with me here, and some of you will probably agree. But this is my honest opinion.
Some feedback on this please. This is a great question for RIT Teams!!
Take Care and Be Safe.
P.S. HAPPY EASTER TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!
Clairton FD (swPA)
I have to agree with John on this one. It has come up in a couple other posts that the team should be "dedicated" to standing by ready to act. If you're on a ladder removing security bars when the *#?& hits, you now have to come down, meet up with the rest of your team and get into action. This kind of takes the "Rapid" out of the process?? Not to mention if whatever went wrong has affected you, (by being on that ladder when the wall collapsed for example!!)
You've now added work to your team which now also has less helping hands without you.
Our general rule on things like this is covered in our size up when we arrive on scene. We will look for things just like this and bring them all back to the Incident Commander. We don't order things done, but we give a 'Wish' list of things we want done, bars removed, ladders raised for secondary means of egress, etc. If we have the manpower, we will raise a ladder to accomplish this objective, but that is about it. Things sometimes get a little 'hectic' on scene and we generally find that by providing Command with our thoughts, it triggers a few other thoughts and gets things moving to address the 'extras' that may have been overlooked on arrival. Even if it means bringing in another company for additional hands.
It all comes down to manpower and the practical utilization of personnel. If you have an adequate number of firefighters on scene to do all the jobs necessary, then let your RIT do it’s size-up and wait for the call. If not, use them as needed.
As an IC it would be my decision to utilize this pool of manpower if I felt the situation dictated it. The RIT is not a “Sacred Cow” made up of only super firefighters. It is whomever you assign to it. Granted they should be experienced and well trained, but so should the poor slobs inside fighting the fire.
As far as them being the guys to make sure you get home to see your family…I don’t buy it. The IC, Engineer, Officer, Nozzle Man, OVM and any Rookie running around fetching equipment have that same responsibility. We are a team, not individuals. Golfers may decide their own fate, but no football team ever won the Super Bowl just because of one player. Good firefighting practices carried out by all the team members will take us home at the end of the day, not just the actions of the special teams.
Use your common sense, don’t abuse the RIT but don’t pamper it either. I’m sure my view won’t be popular, but I think it’s practical. Do more with less is what we’re faced with every day and we’re just trying to get the job done.
These two threads contain other other posts I’ve made on the same subject:
Captain, Metuchen FD
President, Jersey Fire & Rescue
Let's Remember one thing..RIT is for Rescue of FF's.This includes preparing openings for those FF's to Escape from the Building. Now if Opening or Removing Security Bars are imperative for those people, or your RIT to escape, it warrants some thought. Removal of Locks in the Rear of a Building to allow Rapid Egress is also in the realm of their duties, before they,the RIT, are called upon. I sure would hate to lose FF's or my RIT, because I did not provide for their Rapid Escape, and yes and Laddering BEFORE the Incident must be considered too. Standing around twindling your Thumbs does not make for GOOD Rapid Intervention. Good Rapid Intervention is Not Useing them, but rather having FF's Escape on their own.
JOHN M. SCHEIBEL
NY State OFPC.
Just remember Proactive not Reactive!!!
I agree HH..
Safety is paramount..
Got a Question for you All though..
How many people do you use for RIT ?? I use 8 FF's, and have good reason. Someone who lost 3 FF's instilled their reason, and I think with the my 26 yrs on the line, I got to go with this Chief. Treat this like an Extracation from Enemy Lines for a Downed Pilot.
Jerseyfire hit it on the head! Don't abuse the RIT but don't let them stand by while vital functions are left undone. Removing the bars from windows is of paramount importance, leaving them on will only increase the need to activate the RIT.
Throwing ground ladders is also an important function that must be done, calling in help while FFers are standing by is ridiculous.
Who asked about Proactive vs. Reactive? Be proactive and ensure the egress of the crews inside, if the RIT looks like it's bogged down call for another.
A problem our area is faced with is the dwindling numbers of experienced FFers. Most of us would like our best crews for the RIT, but then who goes in? New FF1 or FF2 rookies. This may cause the need for the RIT. It's a fine balance the IC must make to ensure the safest most effiecient job is done.
Whatever you do, do it safe!!
this post is solely my opinion and in no way reflects that of my department or local.
This is obviously a touchy subject, and SOP's will vary some. I agree that if security bars are to be removed, and you do have extra manpower on the RIT, then yes, free some members up. I DO NOT AGREE with this, if the RIT is short handed.
Jersey Fire (Ron) stated that the RIT members "are not sacred cows"?? What is a RIT member?? I agree with other posts that it is a team effort, and a RIT member has just as much responsibility as a nozzelman, roof ops, etc. But when you are taking the RIT members and putting them on other jobs, you losing an extra person(s) for a "RAPID" S&R. This applies to a RIT team that is short handed. Like I said in my first post, if the manpower is there, then it is fine to free up a few RIT members to assist. The IC should see to it that there are adequate resources on the scene, so that the RIT can perform their functions as a team.
This will vary call to call. You dont cut a hole in the roof unless if its needed, so do you send the vent crew in as nozzelman?? No, they do truck work!!
I am not trying to knock any one person here, and this is a good subject.
I am saying this: A tired, drained RIT member does not do the RIT any good. And when you take the "Rapid" out of "Intervention", its not helping the downed firefighter(s) that need rescued.
Jim Crawford...any input will be appreciated!
Clairton Fire Dept
I was trying to stay out of this discussion hoping that someone else would find the answer but oh well; Here it is guys....Each of you ask yourselves what you consider to be the definition of the phrase "RAPID INTERVENTION"................. .............................. ............... the real definition of INTERVENTION means to interfere or interrupt. Now throw the RAPID on the front and we have TO RAPIDLY INTERRUPT. In our case we are rapidly interrupting a possibly deadly chain of events involving firefighters inside of a burning structure. Our RIT teams need to be constantly in a posture ready to strike during the entire fire. We cannot commit our RIT teams to any long or laborous duty that would prevent them from "striking quickly" and with their full strength. My opinion is that the initial 4 person RIT team is only the beginning of the force that will be needed to rescue a trapped firefighter or firefighters. This initial team will perform the most important tasks needed to create a successful outcome of this possible tragic situation. Tasks such as the advanced search, locating the FF, performing the sizeup, establishing an independant air supply on the victim (rescue pack), and starting the extrication. The teams air supply is not unlimited. They will at some point have to evacuate the building to resupply their own air. All of these duties require a firefighter at full strength from the beginning. I feel that the RIT team should standby and constantly observe the structure and fireground environment. The team leader and 1 team member should periodically (every 20 minutes) perform a walk around sizeup of the structure and report back to their staging area and discuss the changes in the conditions. I also believe in the philosophy of the RIT searching to prevent an accident from occurring. If a ground ladder is not thrown to an upper floor window, then two team members should throw it if no other manpower is available to do so. Thats why I believe in the 4 person team. Two will always be at the staging area ready for the MAYDAY. If the RIT team leader determines from his/her sizeup that window bars or forcible entry will be a problem if a MAYDAY occurs then they must intervene and minimize this danger before a situation were to occur. Again, if other manpower is readily available allow these individuals to perform these tasks, but if it is not, utilize two of the RIT team members to perform these duties. To have your RIT team placed in a situation where they must perform assignments such as these the team leader must be absolutely sure that if the problem is not minimized by the team it would become an even greater problem during a firefighter rescue possibly preventing the team from successfully rescuing one of our own. We must keep our RIT teams as fresh and ready as possible, but the team should become involved with the fireground, not be alienated from it. The team must perform the walk around sizeups, constantly keep a roving eye on all of the activities on the fireground, and strictly monitor the fireground radio frequency. A well trained and experienced RIT team leader will ensure their team is always on their toes and that they are performing their RIT duties as required. It all boils down to the sizeup...we all know what must be done...sometimes we just have to grin and chew!
STAY SAFE OUT THERE BROTHERS!!!
Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire
Truck Company #33
Thanks for the input Jim.
Clairton Fire Dept