I would like to get some opinions from the group. We all know the need and importance of RIT/FAST teams. In the area where I work, its a mixed bag, from immediate deployment to none at all. I am all for RIT teams. The problem I have is when RIT is assigned to a 2nd or 3rd arriving company. With the limited manpower availbale at times, I feel that some very important fireground functions are put off until after a RIT team has been established, hence creating a greater need for RIT/FAST then if these task were quickly accomplished. It is my belief that an incident commander should be flexible enough to assign a company to another function if it is deemed necessary. I had an experience recently, where my engine was dispatched as a RIT team at a commerical fire. The fire was in that "you have 5 minutes to get a lot of water on the fire or its defensive time". My point being, we arrived about the same time as the 2nd engine and had excellent access to the fire. But as the RIT team, we set up our equipment and stood by. This was the type of fire that if the team was needed,we would probably be no good due to the construction of the building and the amount of fire. I dont know if I am getting my point across, but I have been around enough fires to know when we have a fighting chance. There was good egress routes and the fire was in the upper areas of the building(initially). I really believe that my company could have made a bigger impact by deploying at least one large handline. Once again this is not an indictment of FAST/RIT, but a different way of looking at keeping us safe..By preventing the need for RIT to begin with. Thanks for your replies in advance.
What about making the RIT/FAST team the last due engine or whatever? The local "Big City" FD added an additional engine to their 1st alarm, and that engine is assigned to RIT at the time of dispatch. Now they have 4 Engines, 1 Truck, 1 Squad, 1 Safety Officer, 1 Battalion Chief responding for 1st alarms......... That lets your normal 1st due companies handle the jobs needed done right away....