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  1. #1
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    Default RIT Line vs Backup Line

    Hello...my department deploys a RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) Hoseline @ every working fire. This is a hoseline manned by two personnel, that stands outside @ the ready in the event of a mayday. Initially, it was more to fulfill the 2 in 2 out concept on paper. We have since upped the ante a little bit, and have a RIT Line manned, and then a rescue team of 3-4 personnel with tools.

    My question is this. Due to this fact, we have neglected the "backup" hoseline that, according to most fire tactics books that I've read, is supposed to follow the first line in and back them up if something goes wrong. At most working fires, we'll have an attack line, and a RIT Line, but no backup line. Our department policy states that the RIT Line is for Maydays only.

    What would you deploy first: the backup line to potentially prevent the need for a RIT Line, or a RIT line to fulfill 2 in 2 out?

    Thanks for the discussion.


  2. #2
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Backup line. A backup line, in place, doing it's job, may cancel the need for RIT. Have to say, you are the first (I doubt the only) that I have heard of having a RIT hose line.
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  3. #3
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    I vote for backup line.

    Is your department large enough to have it's own dedicated RIT? Just curious because we're not... we rely on and provide RIT through mutual aid agreements.

    Accordingly, we'd staff fireground positions aside from RIT and allow our 1st due mutual aid RIT to perform upon arrival on scene. If your department is large enough to do its own, then why not let 3rd or 4th dues pick up the assignment?

    I have heard of some philosophies that advocate a dedicated RIT line available to RIT for their use only. That's not always feasible, but it is a nice thought. As we run RIT with our rescue-pumper, it's easier for us to do than some that use straight rescues (assuming we can get close enough to the building).
    Last edited by Resq14; 09-01-2004 at 01:48 PM.
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  4. #4
    Forum Member len1582's Avatar
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    I also vote for the backup line. If the attack line bursts,which I've seen and heard of in a few departments,the(charged) backup line can reposition and protect the first crew from possibly getting overtaken and burnt. A backup line also doubles your potential flow to knock the fire down quicker.Two crews can get alot more done faster than one.If there's fire in two apartments of a multiple dwelling the backup can take the other unit and attack that.Each line is the others backup,and is right there if needed.
    Does this delay getting a second or third line in place? What's your respones to a reported building fire?
    I also see the possibility of the RIT crew being slowed down by having to drag a line especially if they're needed on a second or third floor.
    I undertsand your 2in/2 out policy,but does the law require a handline in your state? Was that an add on by your department?
    Last edited by len1582; 09-01-2004 at 05:16 PM.

  5. #5
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I would go with the back-up line.......... Back-up your other crews inside to hopefully prevent your RIT from having to be used. I agree with len, I want the RIT to get in there and get to the downed FF ASAP, and it's much easier without a hoseline...........

  6. #6
    Forum Member len1582's Avatar
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    Not to beat a dead horse and drag this out. But if there were lines in the building and there were a MAYDAY they could be used to cover the FF. If there were a collapse or heart attack or other entrapment a line might not be needed. Instead there would be a need for forcible entry and cutting tools. No matter what happens you MUST bring a spare complete SCBA (not a bottle)in with you as the person has been inside working and is running out of air.

  7. #7
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    It appears that you got an SOG crossed. I have never heard of such a thing, usually around here departments pull a back up line of equal r greater size than the inital attack line and RIT prepares near the command post but doesnt have a line at all. So ..........I gotta go with back up,have RIT loose the line and go for quickness.
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  8. #8
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    Default back up/ RIT line

    The department which I work for is properly staffed; we can get proper manpower and equipment to a scene in about a 3 to 4 minute range. I understand that many departments do not have the NECESSARY RESOURCES to assure the safest and most efficient operation possible at a fire incident. It is not my intention to insult any person or department. I‘m not claiming to be an expert in the fire service, I do have a fair amount of experience and I am a “student of the game”. I tried to look at this from understaffed departments view and it was scary.
    So I start thinking (which can also be pretty scary). What do you gain abandoning the back up line, the line that protects the initial attack line? In just about any structure fire of significance you will need an attack line a back up and possibly a third to go above, if the back up can’t break away to do that. If these basic functions can not be undertaken how will we do the other necessary ones? Having two men on a RIT line is not making this a safer situation for us. What will make it safer is having the proper manpower to vent, search, ladder the building, monitor changing conditions and properly staff a RIT.
    Fires behave the same in small towns or big cities; it is how we operate that change our degree of safety. Try to determine what resources you need and what you actually have. When you find yourself in that situation, without a serious life safety issue, consider waiting for the proper help to arrive. If help doesn’t get there then operate within your capabilities. Our job has enough built in dangers we shouldn’t be adding to them by taking unnecessary risks. Inadequate resources/manpower (attempting to do too much with too little) is a huge unnecessary risk.
    It is a difficult position to be in, sounds like your department needs a boost in manpower. I sincerely hope you get it. Stay Safe!

  9. #9
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    Default Re: RIT Line vs Backup Line

    Originally posted by phyrngn

    My question is this. Due to this fact, we have neglected the "backup" hoseline that, according to most fire tactics books that I've read, is supposed to follow the first line in and back them up if something goes wrong. At most working fires, we'll have an attack line, and a RIT Line, but no backup line. Our department policy states that the RIT Line is for Maydays only.

    What would you deploy first: the backup line to potentially prevent the need for a RIT Line, or a RIT line to fulfill 2 in 2 out?

    Thanks for the discussion.
    I would have to say that you should have a back-up line that is deployed from a sperate souce of water than your attack line. The same can be said about the RIT line but manpower is the key.
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  10. #10
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    I'll agree with everyone else here and chime in that the backup line is more important and could prevent a situation where RIT is needed.

    If the RIT is activated, the backup line can always be redployed to protect the trapped firefighter if needed.
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  11. #11
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    The backup line is key. DC fire dept just lost 4 guys. Because fire came up the stairs behind them.
    Having the backup line at the stairs watching there back could of saved them.
    Then there would be no need for the rit team.

    If the rit teams is going in its already to late

  12. #12
    Forum Member nyckftbl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liuhoba View Post
    The backup line is key. DC fire dept just lost 4 guys. Because fire came up the stairs behind them.
    Having the backup line at the stairs watching there back could of saved them.
    Then there would be no need for the rit team.

    If the rit teams is going in its already to late
    Saved them? WTF? Did I miss something here? Last I heard the SGT is in critical but stable condition, and the one FF not yet released has been upgraded to good condition. DC didnt "lose" anybody.
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  13. #13
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    Default Dc

    It's tough to tell from the video everything that went wrong. I thought I also saw some footage of an interview with Chief Rubin where he mentioned something about an LP Gas Tank BLEVE. My thoughts and prayers go to the burned firefighters and their families. There hasn't been mention of who was doing what and where, and I know tha DCFD has pretty strict SOPs on that....so, we'll see what comes out of it.

    Stay safe...

    http://www.dcfd.com/ has been updating everyone on their conditions.
    Last edited by phyrngn; 11-04-2007 at 09:19 AM.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber CKirk922's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Go for the back-up line (remember: The back-up should be equal or larger than the attack line and, if possible, supplied from a different apparatus than the initial attack line (OK, I know it sounds excessive, but I've seen a situation develop when a pumper went down and the primary and secondary lines were supplied from it.))
    Last edited by fireeaterbob; 11-04-2007 at 09:45 PM.

  15. #15
    Forum Member LADDER2EKU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liuhoba View Post
    The backup line is key. DC fire dept just lost 4 guys. Because fire came up the stairs behind them.
    Having the backup line at the stairs watching there back could of saved them.
    Then there would be no need for the rit team.

    If the rit teams is going in its already to late

    D.C. didn't lose anybody. There is one Sgt in critical but stable condition and another member who is in good condition.
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  16. #16
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    I say go with the back-up line.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Pretty consistent answers so far, so how about a slight hijack.


    Backup line in a standpipe equipped mid-rise. Both primary and backup lines off of the same standpipe connection (via wye)? or second line off of a different point or pipe?
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  18. #18
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    We routinely give the assignment of a (manned) second line to check for extension. In almost all cases this would be prior to a RIT line.

  19. #19
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    I agree, a backup line is first to protect the original team.

    Backup line in a standpipe equipped mid-rise. Both primary and backup lines off of the same standpipe connection (via wye)? or second line off of a different point or pipe?
    To me the best option would be backup off of a different pipe if at all possible. If it's not possible due to building layout, then a different point on the same pipe or the same connection via a wye.

  20. #20
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Yep, agreed.

    We also believe that in the event the RIT is activated, all firefighting units will continue to fight the fire (unless given other orders, like evacuation), and the RIT will work on locating/rescuing the missing/lost.

    Ideally, RIT shouldn't have to advance a line to do their job, although I suppose they might in some cases.
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