1. #1
    Douglas Cline
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb Proactive verses Reactive

    Just a note to spark question in your minds. Is a Rapid Intervention Team Proactive or Reactive? It just depends on how they function and how they were trained.
    I was taken back when a firefighter returned from a weekend school to talk about a RIT class he was in. It was great!...They taught us how to do carries and drags and follow hose to safety. We stayed in gear the whole time. They even sent us into a room with a blacked out mask to assemble our SCBA. This was to put pressure on us.

    I hope these guys never have to rescue me with that little of knowledge. RIT is much more than just putting that BIG S on your chest and being the Kevin Costner in Back Draft. It is much more. Where is the Building Construction section or Fire Behavior? What happened to atypical forced entry? Tools and even just maybe, just maybe techniques for laddering a building for life safety issues?
    Follows I think we are missing alot here. Maybe thats what is wrong with the fire service today..we look for the glory, not the danger.
    Please consider more when you train your personnel in RIT. For more info Email me at SpudC@aol.com or contact the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) @ ISFSI@aol.com or 1-800-435-0005

    Douglas K. Cline
    Chapel Hill Fire Department, Chapel Hill, NC

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    I’ve noticed several posts where RIT and FAST are talked about. In many of these discussions I’ve detected an underlying arrogance concerning the teams and their function. There is no magic here, and the members assigned to the RIT are not stored in climate controlled compartments waiting to be activated should there be an emergency. They are members of the fourth due engine or the third in ladder co. They are manpower, which has been assigned a duty very much like those tasked to force entry, stretch lines, outside vent or vent enter search. The skills of the RIT are not unique to that assignment and should not only be taught to a select few. All well trained firefighters carry with them the basics and with a little extra tweaking are able to slide right into the RIT assignment

    The class you mentioned sounds like a firefighter survival / save our own course. I believe this is an important part the RIT and should be promoted. Many of the other things you mentioned are also important, and should be part of a firefighters regular training.

    As far as Proactive vs. Reactive, there is no question…it should be Proactive. The team does no one any good by sitting and waiting for a problem. Identifying and attempting to correct hazards should be part of the job. If the need arises and the team has to be put to work doing something like manning a backup hose or venting the roof, do it. If the things they are assigned to do will help prevent a flashover or protect firefighters already in the building, then they are helping to prevent a disaster in which they may have to be activated. Why wait for the s**t to hit the fan. Just make sure you assign a new RIT if you re-assign the current one.


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

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree with your point of view that more needs to be done if people are going to learn about the proper function of a RIT. As I view the different SOP's from around the country, I realize that everybody has a good segment somewhere in their guidelines. The only problem is that each area has their own particular strength. If there was a system in place to gather all the good ideas and make one general, functional outline, we would at least have a starting point to work from. There are some great resources out there, we just need to figure out a way to share them. This particular forum is a great asset for doing just that. Input like yours will help others to see that they need to do more. They need to get outside their area, and explore other avenues for education. Teaching prople that an RIT means to do more will help us all become safer and possibly save a life or two down the road. I for one thank you for your input. Now we need to teach folks how to do other RIT functions like size-up, tool selction, communications, and a host of other duties. It can only make us better...be safe and take care


  4. #4
    tundra fire
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree that there is no magic involved in a RIT. Its just a logical (and, yes, proactive)life safety procedure that any well trained group of firefighters should be able to provide. I for one will be just as happy if our dept never has to activate a RIT. The bigger problem I see is getting the command staff to properly use it.

    Alan Martin, Bat. Chief
    Steese Area VFD
    Fairbanks, AK

  5. #5
    Wabash Express
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey Doug,
    Here is a question for you. Do you feel comfortable catching my feedline? http://www.firehouse.com/interactive/boards/smile.gif

    Long time no see...

    See you on the BIG ONE!

    ~mike clumpner
    Squad Company #1
    City of Durham Fire Department

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Just to stimulate some discussions....
    I believe that on the fireground, you are going to have RIT situations that are proactive and reactive. Prior to the IC or SOPs establishing a RIT, some situations will require the immediate deployment of a RIT, thus falling into the reactive category. On those situations where a RIT has been established prior to its need falls into the proactive category (which should be the norm and not the exception). I agree that all members should be trained and/or have a complete knowledge of what's required when called to perform RIT functions. It shouldn't be a secret shared by a select few. Training everyone can have a positive effect on the persons in need of rescue!!!
    For one who has been involved with several firefighter rescues, the fireground is not the place to develop RIT training...

    [This message has been edited by LAfyrfytr (edited September 05, 2000).]

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In our area the RIT concept has met with alot of hostility. The basic premisis is that most departments are small and have a small crew turnout to fires. The decision is who to put on the RIT. If we put all of our top FFer's on the RIT and send in the Probies and less agressive FFer's we'll ensure the need for the RIT.Other FFers don't want to trust mutaual aid companies to be their rescuers because they don't train together enough to know what they are capable of. Many FFer's I spoke with at the Providence SAfety and Survival Confrence shared this problem.Putting less trained/experienced FF's on the RIT makes many people wonder if when the "first string" team is in trouble how will the "second string" react? These concerns were brought up in a forum with BC John Norman and BC Robert Cobb and here's another view they pointed out. When your inside a structure looking for help, is anybody who is trained to rescue civilians better than no one at all?? FFers are trained to rescue civilians so why not our own, just add a few pounds (and a few more for some of us) and a perfect grab handle (the SCBA straps), the bottle reduces the friction(easier to remove a FF).
    As for the proactive and reactive. The RIT job by nature is reactive (someones is in trouble go get them) but they shouldn't stand around and wait to see if they may need to ladder an upper story or force doors or remove bars as was stated before RAPID means when the SH*T hits the fan the obvious obstacles should already be gone.

    Whatever you do, do it safe.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    VERY good posts so far. I agree with most of the tactical situations mentioned. We've run FAST truck for awhile. SOP tools include circular saw and chain saw. If there are burglar bars or other items that need removal, or ladders up, etc. it is done right away (with commands permission)(proactive). After ANY job is done we report back to our staging area. If we need to go in service it is reactive.

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