1. #51
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    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).

  2. #52
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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!

  3. #53
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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.

  4. #54
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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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  5. #55
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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?

  6. #56
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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.

  7. #57
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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

  8. #58
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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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