1. #1
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    Default Hypothetical: Firefighter freaks out, trys to leave house fire

    This is a hypothetical situation.

    If you and your "interior buddy" (remember that guy??), anyway, you and your partner are inside an advanced working structure fire and he/she freaks out when you get to the fire room. Your partner trys to leave and literally has to crawl over you to get out, do you:

    A) Grab him and try to calm him down
    B) Grab him and make him stay regardless of his determination to leave
    C) Let him go (and you leave to)
    D) Let him go and you stay and put out the fire (probably wrong, but be honest)

    Now, I think the obvious answer is going to be for both of you to leave. Assuming you grab the guy and try to calm him down, or maybe you even force him to stay, can you face legal consequences for your actions? Can the firefighter who freaks out sue you on any basis?

    Situation 2:
    Lets assume that there are 3 entry men on the line. Would this change your actions? A) Would you still try and calm him down, B) force him to stay, C) Everyone leaves, D) Would you let him go and you and your other partner stay and put out the fire?

    I think the correct answer in any situation is for everyone to leave (unless you fortunate enough to have 4 ff's on the line in which case 2 could leave and the other 2 stay), but my real question is whether you would face legal consequences for preventing a firefighter who gets scared from leaving.

    Has this ever actually happened?

    -mike
    Last edited by Jedimike007; 11-04-2002 at 11:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    You and the member leave the building and deal with it outside the structure, has far has holding him there and trying to calm him down.....ever hear of Alan Baird . Im sure you will recieve long and lengthy posts on the legal part of this question, but let common sense dictate what you do and alway error on the side of safety.
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    Don't know about the legal part of it, and not really concerned about it. Firefighting is a team job. If one of the team needs to get out, the team gets out. Once outside, re-group, re-enter. That other guy is more important than a fire, if he ain't comfy being there, help him get out. You come first, your team comes second, victims third, the burning building.....
    "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?

  4. #4
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    Your partner is like any other piece of equipment. If it malfunctions like a mask, you should pull back a fix the problem before continuing.

    What's wrong with your partner?
    Is he scared?
    Is he hurt?
    Are his actions the result of CO in his system?
    Is he acting rational?
    If you let him leave alone, will he get lost?
    Are you afraid people will think YOU bailed if you leave with him?

    He's your partner, you'd better make sure he's okay and safe.
    Bring him out.

  5. #5
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    ..........
    Last edited by MedEvac; 02-12-2010 at 03:06 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Your a team

    Once your partner starts freaking out your main priority is to him or her. The Fire can wait. Like they have said in previous posts, your partner is an extra set of eyes. Even if he or she gets a "Funny Felling about the situation drag ***.
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

  7. #7
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    Default This happened to me...

    A new lieutenant and I were on the nozzle in a smokey apartment fire, working our way to the fire room. The contents were giving off a lot of very black snotty stuff and we could see nothing. We were getting pretty deep into the apartment and finding our way by sensing the heat and as we made our way into the fire room, I heard his bell go ding really quick and then he started clawing at his mask. I couldn't hear him breathing and I knew he was in trouble. I suspected that he had failed to turn his bottle on properly, opening it just enough to start it giving air, and had bumped back into the wall and shut it off. I felt around and grabbed his arms to keep him from removing the mask, in that soup I was sure it would be bad news if he got a few breaths of smoke and heat, and said to him "Whoa, easy babe, I got you." Then I reached around back of him and felt for the knob on his bottle. As soon as I found it, I cranked it as fast as I could. I heard another ding as the air filled the system and knew as soon as I heard darth vader that he was alright. We continued on and put out the fire, but he never said a word to me about it.
    A few weeks later, my brother called me and told me that someone said I had saved their life and was it true. I had never mentioned it to anyone, so I assume he told someone else about it.
    I think the key to this working out was keeping my head, helping him keep his and solving the problem. If I had been unable to start his air, I would have taken him out, but no way I would have let him remove the mask inside. If something like this should happen to you, stay together, stay calm and try to calm the other party down. If the problem can't be very quickly remedied, get them out. If they freak and try to run out, slow them down. If they get lost, you could both be done.
    See You At The Big One

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    A and C. Calm him down enough to for both of you to get out in an orderly fashion, if he freaks, runs off and you lose him you may get lost trying to find him. Once you get outside, regroup and find out what happened. Earlier posts point out alot, maybe he's hurt, his SCBA is failing... etc. Forcing him to stay there is not very smart, unless for some reason it would be more dangerous to go back from whence you came... if that's the case you'd both better keep your head on straight and get to an alternate way out. And if he's really freaking out, get on the radio, hit your PASS alarm, get some help.
    Chief Frank Rizzio
    Pea Ridge Fire Dept.
    Pea Ridge AR. 72751

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    but no way I would have let him remove the mask inside.
    Which is worse? Breathing snotty, black, sh#tty, hot, air....or no air.

    When your pack runs out of air, you are trying to breathe in a vaccum.


    firemangeorge - Good job to you for keeping your head in a bad, bad 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?

  10. #10
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    Which is worse? Breathing snotty, black, sh#tty, hot, air....or no air.
    If you consider both may require resusitation, I would opt for the latter. Why burn the airway and risk not being able to intubate if needed. Buddy breath if you have to.

    The options are many when the time is short.

  11. #11
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    My answer is A and C. You went in as a team you come out as a team, But you should take charge of the situation guide you partner out don't let him or her leave on they're own they might not be in the right state of mind to exit the building safely.

    As for this type of incident happening before in my knowledge, yes and no I've seen it before but not in a fire building. It was at the county fire academy we had a class going thru FF1 and it was the first day of SCBA in the smoke house/maze, now let me set the stage here this was the first time thru for the students they were crawl thru doing a right hand search "NO" smoke was to be used for the first run thru I guess it was the fifth or six pair thru "I'm going to state this first I'm not against female in the fire service" the pair going next was a male and a felmale, female in the lead they no sooner had come in the first hallway then made a right hand turn when the lead person just got up on her feet off came the helmet then the mask then the pack then the coat and she walked out the first exit which was 10 foot in front of her, her said her pack had malfunctioned but was checked afterwards and was working fine. Call it nerves or fear of dark spaces or what ever, she did very well in the outside part of the class (donning and doffing).
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  12. #12
    iceman4442
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    Yep, have to leave with him.

    I really, really hate to use a corny quote from "Backdraft" of all movies, but, "you go, we go."

    Everything else I could add was already covered above.

    A day late & a dollar short - story of my life!

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    firemangeorge,
    Out of curiosity... what brand of pack was used that shut the air valve off when it hit the wall? Did it have a position locking device? We've seen this type problem on ISI packs, however Scotts still have the locking device.
    Chief Frank Rizzio
    Pea Ridge Fire Dept.
    Pea Ridge AR. 72751

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    You go in together, you leave together! I had this happen 2 1/2 yrs. ago at my volly house. We had heavy fire in Quadrants A+D in two bedrooms, myself and 3 other FF's advanced a big line through back door on Side 4, Quadrant C, we got halfway through when we heard windows breaking on Side 4, my Lt. said back up. When the bailee (also a LT.) heard this, he SCREWED without telling us and the room (open floor plan) lit up on us, involving the previous uninvolved smoke and heat charged room in heavy fire just as we hit the door. It was very frantic to A) Find out if he was left behind in the room, and B) Find out where he went afterward. Needless to say he quit shortly after that, (First real worker, for a 19 yo Lt. nice!) But in the critique after that (which he didn't attend) the remaining 3 of us wish he had told us as to
    his intentions, saving us a lot of nerves
    as to his whereabouts.
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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    Like it or not, "Com'on Buckwheat, its time to go..." is the only real answer to that question. If your partner is starting to freak out, there could be a lot of reasons why, and at the seat of the fire is not the place to figure them out.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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  16. #16
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    Default I had a guy freak...

    ...out on me in FF1 during one of the final training burns. We had done a couple of evolutions, and this idio..., I mean guy, decided that he could get through the last one without topping off his bottle or grabbing a new one from the BA room. He neglected to tell any of us or the instructors.

    The basic idea was that the place was smoked and heated up pretty good, and an instructor was laying on the 2nd floor somewhere, feigning incapacitation. Our team of four (2 + 2) had to find him and bring him out. All we knew was that he was on the second floor.

    We found the stairs in the smoke, crawled up as we had been taught, and got to the top. The guy with the 1/4 tank and his partner went to the right for a right hand search, my partner and I went left. We found the instructor after a few minutes of feeling around, and were in the process of moving him toward the second floor door/landing to remove him. All of a sudden, I feel someone/something hammering on my back. I turned halfway around, and Mr. 1/4 tank grabs me by my BA straps and starts violently shaking me. I've noticed at this point that his low air alarm is going off, but he's still breathing well enough to be screaming at me that he has to get out. He would NOT calm down. The only thing I could do was grab him and drag him bodily to the second floor landing door and guide him out, as best I could (he was a pretty big dude). We found out *afterward* that he had not topped off his tank. He left fire school shortly thereafter (not sure if it was his decision, or if someone 'talked' to him). His partner was left alone after the panic-stricken guy just up and ran through the smoke, and had no idea what happened to him. He made his way out as quickly as he could.

    The point, I guess, is that you have to take care of your own, even if they're completely freaking out, screaming, and beating on you. If someone on your team panics, the best thing you can do for him/her is to get them out as quickly as possible. The fire, the victims (if there are any) have to wait. It can be sorted out *outside*. We did wind up getting the instructor out also, so we passed that evolution.
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  17. #17
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    He had better have a REAL GOOD reason for bailing out...

  18. #18
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    FSRIZZIO - Brand is not relevant. I like what we have and won't bring them into it. He obviously only turned the knob far enough to hear it go "ding", which takes less than a quarter turn. When he backed into the wall, the knob rolled on the wall enough to shut it down. Makes a good case for turning the valve on ALL THE WAY, as the manual clearly instructs.
    Interesting thought here... if the valve points to the firefighter's right, and counterclockwise turns it on, dragging the firefighter on his back would not turn the valve off. If it pointed to the left it would turn off being dragged on the floor. By design you think?
    See You At The Big One

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    FSRIZZIO - I have seen it happen while trainig using Scott's, Survivair's and ISI's. Happened on bottles that had developed leaks and were sent out for repairs. When they came back, they no longer had the safety locks, just knobs.
    "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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    The reason I ask is because we've had problems with ISI's that we own... they don't have a locking device to hold valve position. We'll be getting rid of them this year and the locking mechanism is a pre-requisite on anything else we purchase. Scott seems to be the way to go.
    P.S. drag 'em feet first down a couple sets of stairs and watch the valve close.
    Last edited by FSRIZZIO; 11-06-2002 at 05:13 PM.

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    P.S. drag 'em feet first down a couple sets of stairs and watch the valve close.
    It all depends on how much we like the member being dragged. Sometimes, we like the feet first bottle closed option.
    "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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    bbbbbbbbBBBBBBBBOUNCEbbBOUNCEBOUNCEbounce.....

  23. #23
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    if i was on a three person line, then i'd call for RIT and let them escort the freaked firefighter out.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    I've had it happen to me as well, was in a team of three when the probie branchman dropped the TFT in my hands and bolted - myself and the other firefighter looked at each other and shrugged. We radioed command to confirm that he had made it outside (which wasn't far) and then got back to work.

    Far worse was when I had to order another firefighter out after his wild actions endangered the rest of us - has anyone else ever had to do this?
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