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  1. #41
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by NYSmokey
    While we are on this topic, what type of apparatus do you use for your RIT/RIC/FAST? Our chief wants our FAST members to use a utility (converted bread truck)to respond. It has some basic handtools, chain saw, wire stokes basket, and it will have a FAST bag with rope, webbing, and carabiners. We have a rescue pumper which has every tool the team could possibly need. Some of the team members would like to use the rescue pumper. They feel that you can't go to the call without your "toolbox." I should also mention that the chief never went through the training or even observed it so he is not "enlightened" on the concept. Your thoughts?
    We found that what type of truck they come on is less important than when they get there. Our SOG designated that the third-in company would become the RIT. That gave us 2 companies to start engine and truck ops, then we set up RIT, then everything else could follow.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).


  2. #42
    This space for rent NYSmokey's Avatar
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    I agree with you firemanjb. I don't think anyone cares what you show up in if they are in trouble. I just wanted to see what was used across the nation.
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  3. #43
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by NYSmokey
    I just wanted to see what was used across the nation.
    For us, as I mentioned, the SOG established the 3rd company as the RIT. This usually meant an engine or a truck; it could have been a squad, however.

    As I was leaving, we were applying for a FIRE grant to establish a squad that would carry specialized RIT equipment (but not exclusively)and make it available county-wide. That grant was denied. In general, though, I think most FDs benefit from assigning engines or trucks to the RIT, since those tend to get there early enough to make a difference. Having the squad show up 12 minutes into the incident and be RIT is probably too late to be really effective.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  4. #44
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Firemanjb...

    Question/clarification:

    Our SOG designated that the third-in company would become the RIT

    Do they function merely as a standby-team, or is an "active" RIT that is also handling secondary functions like 360 surveys, raising ladders, position standby hoselines.

    I can see designating the 3rd due company to be in charge of making the scene safer, I have a hard time with them being limited to a purely standby role though -- unless your first two companies had filled 8 man cabs, there's still a lot to be done on the fireground to put the fire out.

    The faster we put the fire out, the less likely it is you'll need Fast Rics Farting Rits

    RITs should be resources added to what you're used to fighting fires with, not something that takes away from the basics.

  5. #45
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    Our SOG designated that the third-in company would become the RIT

    Do they function merely as a standby-team, or is an "active" RIT that is also handling secondary functions like 360 surveys, raising ladders, position standby hoselines.

    I can see designating the 3rd due company to be in charge of making the scene safer, I have a hard time with them being limited to a purely standby role though -- unless your first two companies had filled 8 man cabs, there's still a lot to be done on the fireground to put the fire out.

    The faster we put the fire out, the less likely it is you'll need Fast Rics Farting Rits

    RITs should be resources added to what you're used to fighting fires with, not something that takes away from the basics.
    Our RIT SOG recommends that the RIT company perform a full walk-around of the structure as a team. The SOG also recommends that the RIT ensure that every floor above grade has at least 2 aerial or ground ladders to it. Partially exposed levels above grade can have only 1 ladder. Also, if the IC believes the 4th company is less than 90 seconds away, he can designate them the RIT rather than the 3rd company.

    They then gather their tools on a tarp and wait. They do NOT stretch lines.

    We normally had 4-man companies, so yeah, it only left 8 to handle the other jobs at the begining. However, our experience was that if we didn't make RIT a priority, it didn't get done until 20 or 30 minutes into the incident. By then, most tragedies have already happened...and you are reacting from a tremendously disadvantaged position, beecause you have no forces you can commit quickly.

    My former FD is a suburban dept, so most of our issues were with single-family dwellings. With 8 guys at the begining, the basics could get done: 2 man hose, IC, engineer, 2 man roof or search, OVM or part of 2-out and another FF for the 2-out. Busy? You bet. Did things get done as fast as we'd like? Not always. But the insurance policy for the FFs (RIT) was more important to us than speed.

    The system worked for us. While it may not work for everyone, I do believe (and it is just that, a personal belief) that waiting for the 5th or 6th company to show up is too late. If there are immediate and obvious life risks, certainly those take precedent. But slowing an advance, or even pulling out and going defensive, because I can only commit 8 guys to the supression effort....well, that bothers me less than committing 12, but then needing a RIT 'cause a roof collapsed, and not having anyone immediately ready to go.

    Buildings can be sacrificed; firefighters cannot.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  6. #46
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    because I can only commit 8 guys to the supression effort....well, that bothers me less than committing 12, but then needing a RIT 'cause a roof collapsed, and not having anyone immediately ready to go.

    That I don't argue with -- it's bad to commit all your resources.

    I'd still have them stretch stand-by lines 'cause putting a line between life & fire is generally the #1 lifesafety thing you can do. Not that there using them for fire attack at this point, just that the lines are pulled & flaked so they can be deployed as quickly as a pump operator can pull a handle.

    we didn't make RIT a priority, it didn't get done until 20 or 30 minutes into the incident. By then, most tragedies have already happened

    I was going to argue that. Then I actually started looking at the NIOSH reports, took first four traumatic building-fire deaths:

    F2003-03
    1350 Dispatch
    1356 On Scene
    1411(about) Ceiling Collapse.

    F2002-50
    2004 Dispatch
    2008 On Scene
    2012 Exterior Wall Collapse.

    F2002-44
    2230 Dispatch
    2233 On Scene
    2253 Roof Failed

    F2002-32
    0136 Dispatch
    0139 On Scene
    0206 First Floor Collapse

    I kinda gave up at that point. At least three of those involved delayed notifications -- two came in fully involved, and one had at least a half-hour delay from the first smell of smoke.
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 11-26-2003 at 01:40 PM.

  7. #47
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    That I don't argue with -- it's bad to commit all your resources.

    I'd still have them stretch stand-by lines 'cause putting a line between life & fire is generally the #1 lifesafety thing you can do. Not that there using them for fire attack at this point, just that the lines are pulled & flaked so they can be deployed as quickly as a pump operator can pull a handle.
    I know places that keep 2 or 3 guys extra on a scene, and call them RIT. In my mind, RIT is a consciencious effort to have a coordinated firefighter rescue team. So, just avoiding full commitment is not the same, to me, as having an organized RIT. As Chicago's Bob Hoff says, "RIT is the firefighter's 9-1-1."

    It would be reasonable for the RIT to stretch a dry line for themselves, although the SOG did not require it (again, we were normally in smaller buildings). Perhaps future versions of the document will include that recommendation...
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  8. #48
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Hehe...we're crossing our posts big time Firemanjb!

    *Especially* in smaller structures the hose line is critical.

    Part of this I'll admit goes back to my initial training and that was getting a second/third/whatever line pulled & staffed. While outside that crew's task was to be ready to go in case something went south and get the hoseline in operation ASAP. We would be rotated inside, but a couple other guys would take over on the standby line.

    With only 2 men inside on a hose and either 2 men searching or on the roof, you're gonna need more water before you can extricate, and there's a good chance you're gonna need water just to push by whatever event just happened to get to trapped firefighters.

  9. #49
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    With only 2 men inside on a hose and either 2 men searching or on the roof, you're gonna need more water before you can extricate, and there's a good chance you're gonna need water just to push by whatever event just happened to get to trapped firefighters.
    Most of the RIT deployments I have heard were not because of a catastrophic event, but because a FF got disoriented. While we should be training to handle a catastrophic event, my impression based on anecdotes is that usually the RIT is just helping a guy find his way out.

    But, you're right about the water: put out the fire, and half your problem just went away.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  10. #50
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    but because a FF got disoriented. While we should be training to handle a catastrophic event, my impression based on anecdotes is that usually the RIT is just helping a guy find his way out.

    Which raises it's own host of questions.

    Do we really lose (both in terms of "track of" and LODD) that many firefighters by getting lost in small buildings and running out of air? Larger buildings, absolutely -- Worcester, the Phoenix supermarket both come to mind right off the top of my head.

    Do we train well in searching? I'll freely admit there is very few, only 4 I can think of, firefighters in my department that I would be willing to "aggressively" search with, and by aggressive I mean where you're not holding onto each other's boots or a hoseline or something. But in a case like that, training time is better spent on learning how to search away from hoselines so you don't get into trouble then learning RIT skills that are put to use because you never learned the basics. Oriented searches -- one guy in the hallway, one guy in a room (or a couple in a couple rooms) is something I very much want to get us doing, but we're not there yet.

    For that matter, do we well with "panic training" -- how well someone can calm themselves down, breath slowly, call for help, and guide help to them if they become disoriented. How well do they listen to sounds, so they can give their location relative to a hoseline they hear in operation, or distinguish the rhythmic "thud" of someone tapping a tool so you can radio them/yell to them if their getting closer or further.

    (If you get lost while on a hoseline...well, what can I say.)

    I'm not pooh-poohing RITs -- we just have to remember it's another skill, but there are other skills that have to be in place too.

    Remember the basics!

    In this whole thread, I haven't seen a defib listed as one of the tools -- but what's the leading cause of firefighter deaths? No, you're not hauling it inside, but if someone collapses on the fireground...
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 11-26-2003 at 03:38 PM.

  11. #51
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    Do we really lose (both in terms of "track of" and LODD) that many firefighters by getting lost in small buildings and running out of air? Larger buildings, absolutely -- Worcester, the Phoenix supermarket both come to mind right off the top of my head.

    Do we train well in searching? I'll freely admit there is very few, only 4 I can think of, firefighters in my department that I would be willing to "aggressively" search with, and by aggressive I mean where you're not holding onto each other's boots or a hoseline or something. But in a case like that, training time is better spent on learning how to search away from hoselines so you don't get into trouble then learning RIT skills that are put to use because you never learned the basics. Oriented searches -- one guy in the hallway, one guy in a room (or a couple in a couple rooms) is something I very much want to get us doing, but we're not there yet.

    (If you get lost while on a hoseline...well, what can I say.)

    I'm not pooh-poohing RITs -- we just have to remember it's another skill, but there are other skills that have to be in place too.
    If memory serves, less than 10% of the LODD each year are attributed to disorientation. Around 60% are attributed to cardiovascular events. So, from a standpoint of controlling LODD, the reality is that FFs have the greatest control by regulating their health habits. That said, a structure fire is an inherently uncontrolled environment. A safety action plan should be in place, even at the small ones. We owe it to ourselves to have a trained, well-equipped RIT in place. After all, we can't call the cops if a firefighter gets lost...we can't rely on anyone but ourselves. Even the Marines can get back up from the Navy, Air Force or Army (though you might not get a Marine to admit it ). Firefighters fend for themselves.

    We have more LODDs in single families than anywhere else; we have a higher rate of LODDs in commercial, manufacturing, etc. They are both dangerous, and both deserve our full attention...and therefore a RIT.

    As for "aggressive" searches...I have conflicting thoughts. First, I think, "yeah, we had about 7 or 8 guys where we trusted each other enough to split up and search 'harder'." But then, I think, "why are we placing ourselves at unnecessary risk when it isn't our problem?" Sure, we justify it by saying there might be a victim inside...but how often is there? Long ago, on a board far away, a guy used to write that at 90% of the structure fires, there is no life hazard until the FD arrives. Then, I was to young to understand...now, it kinda makes sense. I understand the theory...heck, I followed the theory. But I always wonder why we did things that were high risk when the potential return on that risk was minimal.

    Also, now there is equipment that can allow firefighters to search 'harder' without leaving the hoseline as much. Sure, thermal imagers are expensive...but so are SCBA. If we properly equipped ourselves, we wouldn't have to take unnecessary risks. Fire leaders need to stop thinking of imagers as 'toys' and demand them for the troops as 'tools'. A chief in OH told me once, "I think it is criminal that we continue to send firefighters into buildings without the ability to see." He is outfitting every front line company with TWO thermal imagers...not Bullards, but it doesn't matter...his guys will HAVE THEM.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  12. #52
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Also, now there is equipment that can allow firefighters to search 'harder' without leaving the hoseline as much. Sure, thermal imagers are expensive...but so are SCBA.

    Take that idea and expand a little.

    Typical ranch, small cape house...heck, even a McMansion.

    Hose crew to fire, search crew starts working from fire back to entrance.

    2 man search crew. One stays in hall by the door as the "orientation" while second person clears the room with the TIC. If TIC fails, you still have someone who knows just where they are to guide you out.

    Remember too, search crew isn't just about victims. They're helping vent, and they're also finding extension -- if they find fire when they open a door a couple rooms back from the hose crew, that's something the hose team's gonna wanna know about!

  13. #53
    Forum Member FiremedicMike's Avatar
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    Interesting that I stumbled upon this post, as we just refreshed our RIT training and made some great changes to our procedures.

    We have always had a RIT compartment on our new engine. It is a large compartment with a full assortment of hand tools, 2 complete SCBA, a hydraram, and two 300' search lines.

    As for our training. We started by discussing nationwide average times, the PFD study, etc. We decided that 21 minutes to get a brother/sister out was absolutely terrible and wanted to figure out a way to fix this.

    Our new procedure does not involve a right handed search, it doesn't involve a left handed search, its not slow and methodical, it is this -

    4 people with a 300' or 600' search line. Guy in front of the pack takes the line, throws the bag on his shoulder, holds an 8-12' pike pole in front of him for sounding the ground. Person behind him has a TIC, other two have a few hand tools. Whole team goes in the front door and stops, listens for the pass device. Once they hear it, they go balls to the wall to get to it, grab the firefighter. The guy in front pulls on the search line to pull it taught, everyone else grabs the downed firefighter, someone puts a hand on the line, and everyone goes balls to the wall to get out, the guy holding the line taught will wait a few minutes for his team to get past, then follows.

    Drop your tools if they are in the way, forget about the line, etc. These tools have served their purpose now and the focus is getting the downed firefighter out, not saving tools.

  14. #54
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    That sounds pretty intense.

    Those guys are going to be pretty tired when it comes to carrying a downed FF(s) out.

    I lean towards splitting the team up, so that half effect a search/air supply mission, and the other half effects the rescue mission. This way you're only bringing in tools that you need, and not leaving something you might need outside.
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  15. #55
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    We send in a team of 2, first guy with TIC and rope bag, second guy with SCBA and irons. Their job is to locate the downed FF, then radio to rest of team as to what they need. Might be simply manpower to help drag or may be more tools if guy fell through hole or became trapped. Gets air to him as soon as possible, gets a fairly solid way to locate them, gives a good way for finding way back out, and brings what equipment you need for the situation.

    We also do not have RIT performed by our own company at our own calls, we have a team called in from previously setup mutual aid companies. They are usually on scene within 2 or 3 minutes of our first due.

    We do not have equipment on our trucks dedicated for RIT only as it's our normal equipment. We do respond to other towns as their RIT. Never heard of someone going and taking someone else's RIT equipment from their trucks, by me, every RIT brings their own equipment, and if you don't know where it is on the truck, you don't belong on the RIT.
    "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?

  16. #56
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    One important thing about forming a RIT policy is to stick with it. Confusion and communications during a RIT activation are very important things to consider. When a firefighter is down, everybody wants to help, but they shouldn't be allowed to if you have teams already designated to do so. Sending in firefighters who are emotionally charged and physically drained only increases the chances that you will have several more victims to remove. Removing a downed firefighter is a VERY physically demanding thing to do, and it doesn't help having 20 other firefighters in the way. Normal operations should take into account that the incident has changed, but basic fireground functions should not cease. Let the team take over the rescue and support them properly. If the primary RIT is activated, a second RIT (RIT 2) should be formed of your freshest firefighters to assist them, but they should not enter until called by RIT 1 or ordered by the IC/Ops Chief. Trying to crowd more than four firefighters around a downed firefighter is impossible, and only slows things down. Move all fireground communications to another channel; do not risk having the trapped/lost firefighter(s) attempt to switch channels, as you run the chance of losing communications with them. A well-trained RIT can remove a firefighter much faster than thirty confused and emotional firefighters. This being said, I am a firm believer that RIT should be established only if you have enough trained firefighters to do so. Manpower for basic functions should not be robbed to form a RIT, as this only increases the chance you'll need one. Also, as we all know, heart attacks are the leading cause of death by firefighters. Consider adding medically trained firefighters to your RIT and an AED and 02 equipment to their gear, or at least have them readily accessable. We have to take care of ourselves, and in this situation, our downed brother/sister can't wait for the paramedics to get off their asses and get to a scene they know nothing about, or run a block back to their bus to get gear they should have with them in the first place. Nothing against "blue glovers," but we should look after our own every chance we get. If you have a firefighter down, don't wait; call for the bird if you don't have a Level 1 trauma center locally. They will probably need it and no time should be wasted. The quicker you call, the quicker they will be there, ready to fly your brother or sister out.
    Last edited by ThNozzleman; 11-28-2003 at 11:34 AM.

  17. #57
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    We added a third engine to our structure responses (high rise is diifferent) to act as RIG (Rapid Intervention Group), and that's ALL they do. If the other units (2 engines, a truck and a heavy rescue) cant handle the situation more untis are called. But as long as crews are operating inside, a RIG is standing by.

    Dave

  18. #58
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    Hose crew to fire, search crew starts working from fire back to entrance.

    2 man search crew. One stays in hall by the door as the "orientation" while second person clears the room with the TIC. If TIC fails, you still have someone who knows just where they are to guide you out.

    Remember too, search crew isn't just about victims. They're helping vent, and they're also finding extension -- if they find fire when they open a door a couple rooms back from the hose crew, that's something the hose team's gonna wanna know about!
    Excellent points...sounds like you've been practicing! Having contingencies for a TI failure/loss is critical; practicing such failures/losses is equally so. During drills, take the TI from the team at some point in the drill, simulating the loss or failure of the TI...make sure they remember the ol' fashioned way of continuing their tasks.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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