1. #1
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    Default Why do we all of a sudden need bail-out systems today?

    I was reading through a recent issue of "FE" and a question struck me as odd. It said "Why do we all of a sudden need bail-out systems today?" Why wasn't more emphasis placed on them before the last 5-7 years? What do you think? Here is my list just to name a few:
    • Declining machismo
    • Advances in technology
    • The inception of the modern RIT Team
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    It's the new marketing fad. 25 years ago, when I started, we carried short lengths of rope in our pockets and learned to drive a tool in the corner of the window and get out. Somehow, that has become a "bail-out system" that needs to be purchased. Go figure.
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    I agree it's a lot of marketing around the "Terminology" and fancy equipment, but the market is also expanding at the same time.

    More and more small towns and cities are facing mid-rise and high-rise construction over 4 stories these days. This means more departments are being exposed to the risk. 25 years ago it was an "Urban" FD risk/problem.

    And we are running with less staff to throw backup ladders, better gear and tools that allows us to go deeper (good or bad), and better awareness of FF injuries and killers.

    It may very well be another mis-direction of focus too, causing us to reduce/abandon throwing backup ladders, or reducing our risk management, but that is a different arguement.
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    Lack of staffing.
    Lack of training.
    S*tty building construction leading to rapidly deteriorating structural conditions.
    Heavily encapsulated bunkergear, allowing for the rapid deterioration of fire conditions, without the FF knowing it.
    an so on, and so forth.

    I have one. God forbid I have to use it, but if I am on a Truck Co. Ladder (ok, QUINT!) no ladder, other then the one that I went up on, is gonna get me out if the fecal matter hits the overhead oscillating devise.
    Anybody ready the FDNY Black Sunday report? That solidified my opinion of owning one.
    Be like the rest of my dept. Make fun of me. Flame me. Call me a wacker, Ricky Rescue, Tool Man Taylor, whatever.
    I got it. I train on it. I DONT want to use it. But I also want to be safe if it goes bad.
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    I think a lot of you have hit it on the head. Gear which reduces your situational awareness and over confidence in it. Younger FF's who allow themselves to get in bad situations due to lack of training/experience. Staffing (definitely an issue around my area) which leads to lack of ladders being thrown, or not thrown quickly enough. Building construction and quicker combustibility (is that a word?) of things in the home. Like someone said, how many more mid rises and high rises are there now. When land is at a premium, it is always easy to build up instead of out. There are lots of reasons that are firefighting related. Also I think todays society is more marketing related. In my opinion todays society has become more greedy, which pushes people to sell "the latest and greatest" inventions.

    Referring back to FDNY and Black Sunday, it was said that FDNY had personal escape ropes years before then they were taken away. Not to get into that debate, but that would have been the same as "bail out kits" now being marketed. Like Blsboy said, he had one years ago, I know I have had a bailout rope for over ten years now after a close call I had.

    Over the last ten years, think of all of the new items that have been marketed to the fire service. A lot of it has to do with newer technology also. Not that 8mm rope wasn't available 10 years ago, but it probably wasn't as strong, and lightweight then compared to now. Also carabiners an descending devices weren't as compact and lightweight. I think it is feasible to say 10 years ago a bailout kit may have weighed 6-8 pounds, nowadays it is half that weight and more compact. That makes for a better selling point.

    One mantra I use a lot is "Better to have it and need it than need it and not have it." At least I know I will be able to help myself or others if the need arises.

    Stay Safe

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    I don't know what anybody else's motivation for carrying a bail out kit is and frankly it is irrelevant to me. I carry one because it is just another way I can give myself a way out so I can go home at the end of the shift if all hell breaks loose and I need to bail.

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    - Lightweight construction, poor building codes
    - new housing and furniture materials that burn faster and hotter than even ten years ago
    - "better" bunker gear that keeps you from feeling just how hot it is
    - City's inability to properly staff departments

    I don't believe it has anything to do with fads or marketing, or machismo, but a change in what we're fighting and unfortunately cities are slow to keep up with the times.

    I agree, have it and never use it is better than; need it and not have it. Why risk it because you're "too cool" to use one?
    Vita brevis; terra larga.

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    i would never begrudge anyone for wearing one of these...but, when they added these devices to our scbas it went from being a really comfortable scba to sh*t, its almost impossible to get the waist strap cinched tight enough to carry the weight and the thing is damn near impossible to deploy with your gloves on...we carry a personal rope and they said we could not use it for rescue..but i would have liked an option to carry it or not...am i any safer on a roof with an uncomfortable, cumbersome pack that has 75 ft of rope i may or may not be able to get out in time...i hope i never find out

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    "we carry a personal rope and they said we could not use it for rescue."

    First, is the personal rope issued or bought with your own money?
    Second, "THEY" must be the management or administrative people. Ask them what they think of "not using it for rescue" and someone dying. That would go over well. Sometimes I think when people put on white shirts it makes them ignorant. They all of a sudden or afraid to be the ones who are "responsible" for decisions.

    Stay Safe

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    it is just another way I can give myself a way out so I can go home at the end of the shift if all hell breaks loose and I need to bail.
    Well said!

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    Two names, John Bellew, and Curt Meyran, thats all you need to know. If they had ropes they would be names you have never heard of, or if you did a google search would never come up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    Two names, John Bellew, and Curt Meyran, thats all you need to know. If they had ropes they would be names you have never heard of, or if you did a google search would never come up.
    Testify Brother...Testify.

    The carrying of a bail out rope or kit or whatever you want to call it is for one thing and one thing only...Another avenue to save your own *** if it all goes bad. It has not one damn thing to do with loss of machismo or aggressiveness or anything else. I would carry my own even if the FD did not issue one for each riding position.

    My long term career goal is simple, retirement. I will be as aggressive as hell when it comes to doing the job but if I don't make it to retirement because of some nonsense of not being prepared because it doesn't look cool what is the sense in that?

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    If you ever have a chance, read or listen to the FDNY Black Sunday story. The survivors did a presentation at Firehouse World in San Diego in February and after hearing that you can easily understand the importance of the devices. It sounds overdone, but "It's just another tool in your toolbox, just in case."
    Somebody finally started to put more money and research into the devices and there is now a "market" for them. An evergrowing market so that is why we tend to hear more about them as well.
    Here is a link to Jeff Cool on a podcast who was one of the guys who bailed in New York. It is the 2nd podcast.

    http://dynamic.firehouse.com/broadcast/2006/11/

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    Two names, John Bellew, and Curt Meyran, thats all you need to know. If they had ropes they would be names you have never heard of, or if you did a google search would never come up.
    Johnny, I'll be willing to bet if they did have ropes we WOULD have heard of them.

    They would be preaching to us the importance of having them, as it would have saved them.
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    I think this is really two different questions.
    One: Why do we need any way to bail out a window. The answer is clear: Just in case. As everyone has been saying, it is better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

    The second question, which I think is really the one that was asked, is why do we need a bailout system? As Bones pointed out, back in the day it was just a length of rope and a hand tool. Now its decenders, bells, whistles..etc, all loaded into the belt of the SCBA. The real question in my mind is are we better off with the newer, more complicated, systems, or was there something to be said for the simplicity of a rope and a tool?

    I think the new systems make it less error prone then the previous solutions. You don't have to worry about contorting your body a certain way, or holding the rope a certain way when fire is licking your backside out a window. (theoretically) just jump and the system handles the details.

    I also think the new systems are more complicated, and therefor more prone to breakage then a simple rope. They're also more expensive.

    It comes down to trade offs. To some, they've always used a safety rope and tool. Its what they've used, and what they know. To others, this solution scares them and they'd rather pay to have a "foolproof" bailout system.

    The key thing is that there is SOMETHING that can be used when we need it. Have it, train with it, and hope you never have to use it.
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    I like it because it adds another option to help everyone go home at the end of the day and that is the most important thing in the end.

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    We don't have a mandatory escape "system" here yet.

    I have always carried rope with a carabiner (spelling sucks) and a small section of webbing to make a sling/harness.

    What I have done is look over a lot of these "escape kits" at trade shows. I have added another carabiner, a longer section of 8mm rope (25foot), a figure 8, and a longer section of tubular webbing tied into a sling. It works great as an anchor to hook to, and for firefighter/victim rescue. It took some experimenting, but I'm able to store it without adding bulk and I am able to fit it all in one "self-rescue" pocket in my gear. It was also a hell of a lot cheaper than buying a "NFPA certified Self-Rescue Kit".

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    Guys have used ropes to get out of a window before, just below the window ledge. I always carried a 30ft section of rope with two 'biners on them, one hooked onto the edge of my pocket and the other at the other end of the rope. Its always there for emergency use only, not for swinging tools through a window or to raise and lower a ladder. Its still in my pocket even though they gave us the PSS system.

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    If you look at the FDNY system that Petzl produced for them it is made to be the simplest most foolproof setup they could make. Its a good, small rope with a Great hook sewn in the end. Do tools stuck in the corner of a window work? Absolutly but are they safe? No. Would a hook work better and be a little safer yes. Does a rope wraped around a carabiner work as a decender? Absolutly! Is it better to have a pre assembled rig that you dont have to screw with when literally everything else is going wrong (that is why we are using a bailout technique)? 100% yes. Another awsome thing about the petzl system is that it is self aressting (and I dont mean handcuffs and miranda rights) so when you akwardly roll your 200 lbs of scared worked up flesh wrapped in a quilt with a giant air tank on your back out the window if you lose hold of the rope, or slip or something else goes wrong because evidently this is the day that murphy or godd or somebody chose for stuff to happen to you, the belay device automaticaly stops you. The system is integrated as a sytem that goes onto your bunker pants so that you dont have the option of forgetting to grab it or attach it or anything else. Also the system is designed that it is already attached to the harness so when this monumentally bad day is happening and you have 6 inches of visibility and you are wear XXL 5 year old crappy fire gloves you dont have to mess with attaching it. You open the pouch, place the hook somewhere at the window and roll out. Just my $.02

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    Default why is this a question

    The only thing that is permanent is change. Thank God, and Petzl, that this thing exists. If it saves one firefighter's life all the complaints, questions, debates won't make a bit of difference. Every "new" technolgy gets questioned. I would place a large wager that somebody wondered, "why do we need hose? These buckets work fine!" I sure do like my G-xtreme a lot more than my duck coat and roll-ups. Embrace what we get guys, it's for us. I am glad someone is thinking about it.

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    Good Point..........BTW did any of the brothers at the Deutsche Bank use there PSS? I thought I heard about some of them doing that.

    Stay Safe

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    For as long as firefighters have engaged in aggressive interior attacks, the possbility and REALITY of exiting through a window during rapidly deteriorating conditions has existed. The members that made the Supreme Sacrifice and those injured operating at the "Black Sunday" fire are a testament to that.

    Systems have existed before this fire, and new ones are constantly being updated and devised. But one thing is certain, once again it took a tremendous tragedy in the fire service for the issue to come to light.

    Companies operating above the fire; primary searches without the benefit of a hoseline; fire over-running an interior handline are all situations in which a rapid exit out of a window from any height may be the only difference between surviving an incident and death.

    God bless the members that made the sacrifice that brought the issue of personal escape systems to the forefront, even if it is only for the moment. This technology is available and here to stay because good men died WITHOUT it .

    I think it would be more beneficial to understand these systems, TRAIN with them, and improve upon them when necessary rather than bemoan the fact that we have "something else to carry".

    And it should also be understood that the cavalier attitude of "in case I need to bail I will simply use the personal rope in my coat pocket" will get you injured or possibly killed should you actually need to escape hostile fire conditions. What will you secure your rope to? How will you locate a substantial object or anchor point? How will you secure YOURSELF to the rope? How long will it take you to perform this? On your stomach due to the heat? In Zero visibility? Are you going to the ground or simply the next floor below? If so, what will you do once you are out of the window? Who will you notify and how?

    Exiting out a window is not something you do because its warm in the room, or because you feel like your SCBA is running a little low. Using a personal escape system is an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT and should be used when you are in an absolutely dire situation with NO alternatives. But to use is, you first must HAVE it and you have to know HOW to use it.

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    I don't have a "bail-out system" per-se. I have a Yates gut belt through the harness loops on my bunkers. I normally use this as my ladder belt too, which was the main justification for buying it. If I have to (god forbid) bail out, out comes the webbing with the loop on either end. One end clips in the ladder hook, the other around the tool...that's it. I think integrating fancy bail-out systems into SCBA is a dumb idea, but like others, I learned to do it in the days before the fancy stuff came out.

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    Don't use a purchased or make shift one. Honestly see it as more of a day to day hindrance than a just in case maybe one day benefit.
    RK
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    That's why I have the Yates belt. No hinderance at all and I have a built in ladder belt.

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