Need help re: RIT/Mayday Policy
Here is the situation. We are a fully paid urban fire department with 25 Engine Companies and 7 Truck Companies in a city of 410,000 people with 490 Uniformed members. We run about 75,000 calls a year or which 550 or so are working structural fires. Our current assignment on the report of a structure fire is 3 Engines, One Truck and One Battalion Chief. The third due engine is assigned as RIT. Our manning is 4 men on the engine co. and either 4 or 5 men on the trucks depending on whether the trucks are downtown or not. We have the barest outline of a RIT policy at the moment and since RIT and 2 in/2 out is only about 2 years old for us, it is not progressing well. We are a VERY old school traditional fire department, and like everyone else out there, change is slow and painful. I am currently on the committee to re-write the RIT policy for the department. I have a few things on my agenda, and I would appreciate any input from the brothers out there regarding our situation. Here are some of my plans/ideas:
1) Increase the box assignments to 3 engines and 2 trucks, with a truck assigned as RIT. This is due to higher levels of training and experiance usually found on a truck, as well as the tools and equipment necessary for rescuing a fireman.
2) Have a plan of action once the RIT has arrived. This includes being proactive on the fireground and removing bars on windows, cutting rollup doors, throwing ladders to remote windows etc.... Not just sitting at the command post.
3) Having a written policy regarding situations where civilians are trapped, and using the assigned RIT team to effect civilian rescues and then assuming their assigned duties, while having another company disptched as an additional RIT.
4) Creating a training program for all members of the department and ensuring all members complete a mask confidence course as well as a RIT/FF survival course.
5) Creating a Mayday signal and radio policy when the RIT is activated.
6) create an evacuation tone for use on the fireground.
7) procure radios for all RIT team members.
8) procure TIC's for all Truck Co.
Unfortunately not all of these wil be accomplished due to lack of interest as well as severe lack of money. We recently had a LODD from a collapse in 1999, and nothing has changed since then. I really would appreciate any help you can give me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks
How much does keeping people safe cost?
An interesting question.
As a firefighter from elsewhere, (the UK), I realise that we do things quite differently. But this is one area in which our procedures could be adopted/adapted to suit your needs.
Our policy on situations involving Breathing Aparatus have remained the same for many years and I believe have stood the test of time. Although out initial response to say a dwelling house fire is smaller, 2 pumps, we generally carry more crew. In most cases 9 crew would arrive at the job in two engines, with possibly 11 if staffing was at the max. This gives the OIC the chance to commit 2 BA teams to fight fire/search and rescue. Leaving 6 staff to cover other tasks. (Water etc will be taken care of as we use hosereels for 90% of jobs).
In most scenarios, if 4 BA are committed, the OIC will appoint an Emergency Team of two to standby with the BA officer. This crews task is to monitor operations and await further instructions in case of an injury or entrapment of the crews inside the job. They are not committed to any other tasks at all, if they are standing by as the ET. If needs be, we will make up on the attendance to ensure we have a 3rd team ready to go in at all times. If this crew are sucked into the job, then another team will be appointed in their place to act as the ET, and so on.
If we get a Distress Signal Unit activation, (which all our BA sets are fitted with), or a crew transmits on air that they are in difficulty, the Emergency Team will be committed immediately to assist, and all other operations, bar firefighting stop and all hands commence a search or travel to the crews location. In addition to this, the message "BA Emergency" is transmitted to Fire Control, who automatically dispatch a further engine plus ambulances to assist.
Should the need arise to evacuate a building, we use repeated whistle blasts on the outside, and on the inside our BA sets have an electronic whistle which is set off by the wearers, so the signal is transmitted throughout. We do not use sirens to signal an evacuation, as these could be confused by crews on the inside, for further engines arriving.
We don't (as yet) have one radio per crew member and I can't see why you would need to issue the RIT crew with more than one. Everyone having a radio in the situation where a crew member is down, will just cause everyone to use their radio, thinking they are helping by throwing suggestions in, possibly affecting the task at hand. The same goes for TIC's. We carry one per station at the moment,but again, if we are talking about a crew being entrapped, do we need a camera to locate them? Given that we should have some idea of where they are or were going, and be able to search up to them. The camera is a great bit of kit, but will probably be left behind if you have to carry a firefighter back out.
Hope this helps.