11-26-2007, 11:05 PM #51
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
Better late than never
I realize I'm a little late in posting this, but what the hell, someone may read this and get some use out of it.
RIT is for saving firefighters...end of story, that is why/how RIT came into existence. Passing up a civilian to save a fellow FF is not "manslaughter", its battlefield triage, read on and you'll see what I mean. I think many of you that are so fiercely advocating saving the civilian first are forgetting a key factor, and that is RIT is not the only crew working on the fireground. Odds are you have at least one, two, or more teams working in the structure that can be reassigned to rescue; you can even use a team working on the exterior (or unassigned). Put the search rope in the victim's hand, direct them to the exit, radio their location to command, and move on. Command will reassign resources as needed, that's their job, just like firefighter rescue is RIT's job. Someone on this forum stated that they would rescue the civilian first because they are a "sure thing"; says who? How many times have rescued victims died later on?
Let's look at the numbers (assuming volunteer dept. at 2:00am): Let's say it takes two minutes for the call to get through the dispatch center to us, that fire has already been burning for about 5-10 min before it is discovered (and that is pretty conservative for 2am), then it takes, at best, 10 min to get to the station, gear up, get on the road, and get to the scene; that fire has already been burning for 17-27 min with the occupant still inside. Now let's say it takes two minutes to stretch your line, mask up, and make entry. In round numbers, this occupant has been exposed for 20-30 minutes. Most MAYDAY's happen only 5 minutes into the incident; bear in mind that during the time you make entry, back-up teams get in place, RIT team(s) stages, truck company does their thing, ambulances/chiefs/tankers show up (a volunteer dept can muster up a good response at 2am-ish, when many fires occur). Now let's say your attack begins 2 minutes after entry (give or take based on building size/construction). MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!!! FIREFIGHTER LOST, SEPARATED FROM CREW!! The RIT team, standing-by ever vigilant, masked up, tools in hand, enters the building in 1 min after gathering needed information. The victim has been exposed to this environment for 23-33 minutes (again, estimated); your fellow brother/sister has only been inside 5 minutes, breathing clean air, and wearing PPE. Think about it and tell me, REALISTICALLY, who has the better odds of survival?! That victim has already had the bad day! Also take into the consideration that many victims are found within feet of exits, so odds are your entry team will find them first. And, if you have one team committed to attack, you should have another performing a primary search simultaneously, followed by a secondary search.
Someone else said that the RIT team has all these extra members standing around outside while the RIT search team is inside, that they can rescue the civilian. WRONG! NOT OUR JOB! Studies have shown that it can take anywhere from 8-16 firefighters (RIT) to rescue an unconscious FF. Not hard to believe when you take into account the weight of the FF with their gear, the terrain, the heat, our own weight with gear, and the energy we expend just finding the downed FF. As such, no RIT member should be assigned to anything but RIT!
Another person said the last guy on the RIT crew can break off, lead the victim to safety, and rejoin the crew....WRONG! We work in PAIRS, and if your crew only has 4 members (average size of a RIT entry crew), it is not feasible for the other two to complete the rescue.
Bear in mind that the figures in this scenario are approximations and can vary, but not by much. I'm also not picking on volunteer departments (I've been on a POC dept for nearly 5 years, not much different than a vol.), I'm just writing about what I know, and many of the opponents to this way of thinking are writing from a vol. point of view. 99.9% of the time the FF will be the more viable rescue, and our safety always comes first, forever and ever.
An officer on a nearby dept. once said "There is no good reason a firefighter should die at work" and he is absolutely right. As I said, the civilian already had the bad day, our brother/sister shouldn't have one too. Reassign another non-RIT crew to rescue the civilian. It's not an easy decision to make, but few decisions are easy in this line of work; get used to it. If after reading all this (and the posts of the other proponents of this way of thinking), you can still say you would abandon a brother or sister, you should probably seek life elsewhere because you will get one of us injured or killed one day. I applaud your desire to save the life of those we are sworn to protect, but its pretty hard to do that if you're dead!
Use your head, think on your feet, and stay safe!
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