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
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Thread: Need help re: RIT/Mayday Policy
05-10-2003, 01:32 PM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2000
- Oakland Fire Department, CA
Need help re: RIT/Mayday Policy
05-10-2003, 02:01 PM #2
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.United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.
05-11-2003, 09:04 AM #3
- Join Date
- Oct 1999
- Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas
visit www.rapidintervention.com there are many helpful items there for you to use. including many depts SOPs available for download.NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.
05-13-2003, 12:57 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2000
- Oakland Fire Department, CA
thanks for the help. good websites. anyone else out there?
05-13-2003, 08:36 PM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
Here is another good website. Go to the SOP/SOG's page.
05-13-2003, 10:57 PM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- cincy O-HI-O
Well here we call our teams R.A.T.s (Rapid Assistance Teams). On most boxes the first in is 2 or 3 engines and 2 (rarely three) trucks plus a district chief and a paramedic ambulance. All comanies have minimum manning of 4 firefighters maybe even five. After the initial assessment dispatch will ask if a RAT is needed on scene. With a one alarm it is usually called off, and all multiple alarms escalate with a RAT truck and maybe a RAT assist engine. This is all very new in my department, not even 6 months old yet and it seems to be working well so far.
The RAT teams are very proactive, but aren't allowed to go to work on the fire since my department is very, and I mean very, aggresive. The RATs throw a ton of ladders, clear windows, doorways, etc, the basic RIT/RAT stuff. One of the RAT team members is placed in control of an accountability board, and he keeps tabs on all on the scene, occasionally calling for a PAR to find out exactly where all the teams are at. The RAT teams wear pullover covers on their packs so everyone knows what they are. The entire dept. carries radios so that is moot for us. If a mayday is called those FFers fighting the fire are to keep fighting the fire, but to switch their radios to another channel so as to keep the Mayday channel clear and to allow command to keep in contact with the mayday. Then command is to find out location and send in the RAT team. No one is to stop what they are doing, (within reason of course) we are to let the RAT team handle it. The thought behind this is that the best way to make the scene safe is to put out the fire. The RATs carry a hand-pumped cutter/spreader hurst tool, and an additional air pack with mask that is set up for a quick fill to the downed FFers pack and assorted tools too. All trucks carry thermal imagers too so that may go in too.
Currently only a portion of my 800+ dept is trained to be on the RAT team, but eventually all will be, since there is alot of switchover between companies.
We too had a LODD recently, actually just on March 21st of this year. Unfortunately the Mayday and the RAT teams would not have helped, since our FF was caught in a flashover and got burned to such an extent and so quickly that nothing would have helped him.
If you want to see more there are some discussions going on about our RAT teams over at CFDhistory.com. Take care
Last edited by PeteThor813; 05-13-2003 at 11:09 PM.
05-14-2003, 11:28 PM #7
- Join Date
- Sep 2002
You are lucky that your department is assigning companies to the R.I.T./R.A.T. team. I am on a very small rural department with 20 guys, we had 140 some calls last year. I asked that very question on monday night at our weekly meeting/training. I was informed that the law or rule stated that you had to have personnel prepared to go in for R.I.T. purposes. Like a dumb new guy I asked who our R.I.T. team was, and was told it would be the chief (incident commander) and the assistant chief or engineer of the first due engine, none of these people usually have on an air pack at any time or are located in the same place at the same time. I tried to tell them that the R.I.T. team was supposed to be a group in air packs with the appropriate equipment (including spare air pack) ready to go in, but doubt that will happen anytime soon on my department. I have even tried to find the actual law or N.F.P.A. regulation regarding the actual way the R.I.T. team is supposed to work. Good luck to all you guys/girls....take care and be safe....
05-15-2003, 08:29 PM #8
Although it is a good idea that all RIT members carry a radio, this can sometimes cause feedback and squealing problems if one member tries to use his or her radio while fellow team members are close by (which they usually are). If possible, all members not talking should cover their mics to prevent this. Also, if you have a dedicated RIT team (the only right way to do it), I would hesitate to have them commit to too many activities once they arrive. This will prevent them from becoming tired. Also, running saws and other power tools may prevent them from hearing a request for the RIT. I understand that many departments don't have the manpower for a dedicated RIT team on every working incident. However, I feel that RIT's should be stationed close to the IC and not used for any other purpose. This keeps them "fresh" and able to do the job when called. Leave other tasks to truck companies or other personnel. The RIT leader should make a "walk around" or size-up, and set up the RIT staging area with everything that may be needed in a rescue. In the event that a firefighter is down and the team is activated, another team, or RIT 2, should be organized immediately at the staging area to bring whatever extra resources RIT 1 may need to perform the rescue. In turn, RIT 3 should be organized as soon as possible to replace RIT 1 or RIT 2 should they become too exhausted to continue. All measures should be taken to stop "freelancing" by unassigned firefighters, as this usually only hampers an already complicated situation. Establishing RIT guidlines and adhering to them, as you are in the process of doing, is a great idea. I wish you luck in changing the "old school", though.
05-17-2003, 02:54 PM #9
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- Norfolk, Virginia
OFD226 - I have responded with an e-mail and attachments. If you do not get these, or have problems with the documents, please let me know.
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