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  1. #1
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    Default RIT v. RIC v. FAST, etc.

    The fire service is full of different terms for the same thing. This is in spite of NIMS and other attempts to standardize it. The term(s) RIC , RIG, RIT and FAST illustrate this. I mostly see the term "RIC" in the national training /NIMS stuff and the use of the term "RIC/UAC connection" when talking about SCBA.

    And yet I seem to most often see "RIT" on the forum.

    What are your thoughts on this? Do we need to standardize this term for mutual aid or other larger incidents?

    Personally I think that FAST and RIG should not be use because the risk of someone, especially mutual aid companies, misunderstanding it. (Some people call their apparatus "rigs".)
    Last edited by captT52; 01-07-2008 at 03:31 PM.


  2. #2
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    Standardization would be good. Stick with Rit or Ric.
    Hello. Fire dept.. You light'em, We fight'em!

    "hard working, gear jamming, nail driving, "jake". "

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    Default USEPA On-Scene Coordinator

    The terms RIC and UAC are defined by the USCG as 'Regional Incident Command' and 'Unified Area Command'. As I understand it, the USCG establishes a RIC for major marine oil spills and it serves as a Unified Area Command (for oil spills).

    In situations where there is a need for senior executive
    level response coordination, command and control of
    an incident may include the use of a Regional or
    National Incident Command (RIC/NIC). The purpose of
    a RIC/NIC organization is to oversee the overall
    management of the incident(s), focusing primarily on
    strategic assistance and direction and resolving
    competition for scarce response resources. This
    organization does not supplant the IC(s), but supports
    and provides strategic direction. Execution of tactical
    operations and coordination remains the responsibility
    of the IC(s)/UC(s).

    Regional Incident Command - A RIC is an
    organization activated by the District Commander to
    ensure coordination for Command, Planning, and
    Logistical matters. The need for a RIC may arise when
    there are multiple on-scene ICs, multiple Coast Guard
    ICs and/or when there is heavy demand for Coast
    Guard resources from other agencies such as the
    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The
    RIC will determine which critical resources are sent to
    which incident and determine priorities for their
    assignment.

    When the decision is made to activate a RIC/NIC, the
    following actions should occur:
    •= The District Commander will activate a RIC or,
    the Area Commander or the Commandant may
    designate a NIC.
    •= A deputy RIC/NIC will be designated with clear
    succession of command authority.
    •= If an incident(s) is multi-jurisdictional, the RIC/NIC
    shall establish a Regional or National UC.
    Regional or National UC representatives will
    typically consist of executives possessing the
    highest level of response authority as possible.
    For efficiency of decision- making within the UC,
    the RIC/NIC shall determine the proper make-up
    and number of representatives.

    Note: There may be incidents where it is
    beneficial to activate a RIC or NIC, but
    the Coast Guard is not the lead
    response agency. In these cases, the
    RIC/NIC will coordinate with the lead
    agency’s response organization and, if
    agreed upon, form a UC.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by captT52 View Post
    The fire service is full of different terms for the same thing. This is in spite of NIMS and other attempts to standardize it. The term(s) RIC , RIG, RIT and FAST illustrate this. I mostly see the term "RIC" in the national training /NIMS stuff and the use of the term "RIC/UAC connection" when talking about SCBA.

    And yet I seem to most often see "RIT" on the forum.

    What are your thoughts on this? Do we need to standardize this term for mutual aid or other larger incidents?

    Personally I think that FAST and RIG should not be use because the risk of someone, especially mutual aid companies, misunderstanding it. (Some people call their apparatus "rigs".)
    I've tried to make the point many times. From my perspective there are so many different terms and associated definitions that is it impractical for this goal of everyone nationally using the same language.

    As I've pointed out almost everyone outside a few older and larger cities calls their companies by some unit designation system that uses a coded 3 or 4 digit idenification (Engine 3 is Unit 1423...etc.)

    What are your Depts terms or definitions for the following:

    -Cockloft
    -How do you cut a roof?
    -How do you cut a trench?
    -OVM
    -Parlor floor
    -enclosed shaft
    -Doubtful will hold
    -dumbwaiter shaft
    -duplex
    -Deadlight
    -taxpayer
    -Partywall Balcony
    -Doorman
    -Controlman
    -Exposure 4D

    This is a short and random list of terms or duties...is is possible to have a common definition accross this country?

    As for the RIT/FAST....What tools must your FAST team bring? How many men are assigned and what are their general duties? What should you generally do once you have found a downed fireman? What things must one do to prep him for removal?

    Just because we could plausably call the FAST a RIT and supposedly avoid any confusion...the real problem would be the meat and potatoes of the RIT. The operational factors, manpower and the such.

    Our members were in NO and despite an obvious difference in language/terms (some could argue that isn't even English they are speaking down there) we did just fine and worked well with them.

    I feel it is more realistic to do what you and your neighboring depts need to do and when and if that rare occasion where you are working in a different timezone with different depts should arrise...then you can easily and quickly work out any differences as best as you can under the circumstances presented....there wasn't a "communication" issue when members of my dept traveled to the Great Baltimore fire in 1904...I can't see why we should look to have common definitions and terms that in many cases are nothing more than window dressing.

    JMHO

    FTM-PTB

    PS-How could anyone not understand what FAST (firefighter Assist and Search Team) is...is beyond me. It at least makes some sense as to what they do...I never understood what RIT meant...rapid intervention??? What is this a swift interveening for a friend with a drinking problem?

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber JohnVBFD's Avatar
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    Default

    It could be argued that many, maybe not the original poster, want to see the term FAST go away and RIT placed in its place.

    Why?

    Firefighter Assist and Search Team. Spelled out pretty clearly why they are there and what their function is.

    Rapid Intervention Team. Pretty vague. Rapid for who? Intervening for what?

    There are officers out there who will play semantics and use that to gain extra bodies. There are too many among us who have no desire to serve in a FAST duty because they wont get there leather helmet dirty or get some smoke stains on their bourkes. They will jump at the chance to "intervine"

    Is that everyone? No. Are they among us? Heck yes.

    Which I do have to ask the orignial poster, who would even consider referring to the FAST Co. by using UAC, Univerisal Air Connection?????

    PS- any spelling errors please forgive before someone points any out. Navy computers do not allow downloads or have built in spell checkers.
    Last edited by DocVBFDE14; 01-08-2008 at 11:25 AM.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    Default Different Terms

    FFFred,

    Your reply is interesting and possibly illustrates the need for more standardized terminology.

    My first question is, where are you located? Based upon some of your comments I would guess that you are in the northeast.

    Please allow me to address some of your comments.

    >I've tried to make the point many times. From my perspective there are so many different terms and associated definitions that is it impractical for this goal of everyone nationally using the same language.

    This is apparently the lofty goal of NIMS and other programs. Many people would have us believe that communication, or a lack thereof, is often a factor in firefighter deaths. This happens in many ways, sometime technological, but it does appear to be a common factor in many cases.

    > As I've pointed out almost everyone outside a few older and larger cities calls their companies by some unit designation system that uses a coded 3 or 4 digit identification (Engine 3 is Unit 1423...etc.)

    Can you provide more real examples or statistical examples? In my local area there are approximately 50 fire departments. I would guess that only 10 use a (voluntary/proposed) county wide system of designating apparatus. These ten also happen to be the smallest departments in the area. I don't think any departments with over 8 stations uses this system. I know of only one department with 8 stations who uses this system.

    > What are your Depts terms or definitions for the following:

    -Cockloft
    -How do you cut a roof?
    -How do you cut a trench?
    -OVM
    -Parlor floor
    -enclosed shaft
    -Doubtful will hold
    -dumbwaiter shaft
    -duplex
    -Deadlight
    -taxpayer
    -Partywall Balcony
    -Doorman
    -Controlman
    -Exposure 4D

    I would have to say that I do not recognize half of the terms in this list. I can point to several websites that have comprehensive lists of FF terms that don't list them either. Here is one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossar...fighting_terms
    Some of the terms I could probably guess but I have never heard or used some of them in my 28 years in the fire service. I know the term "taxpayer" strictly from a historical perspective. This is a rare structure in my part of the country. In fact, last year, I asked everyone at my station if they knew what a "taxpayer" was. Not a single one knew. I took the engine down to the old, historical, part of town and showed them the SIX examples that exist in our city. This is also the only place where any party walls exist too.

    >As for the RIT/FAST....What tools must your FAST team bring? How many men are assigned and what are their general duties? What should you generally do once you have found a downed fireman? What things must one do to prep him for removal?

    This is a very good point. But I have seen several other forum comments that suggest that there are many departments who do not take RIC seriously. Some don't even establish or call for RIC until a Mayday occurs and then their policy is to put together a team. How can we agree on how to perform RIC when we can't even agree on a common term?

    > I feel it is more realistic to do what you and your neighboring depts need to do and when and if that rare occasion where you are working in a different timezone with different depts should arrise...then you can easily and quickly work out any differences as best as you can under the circumstances presented.

    This is probably the reality of the situation. But there are 21 fire departments in my little county alone. This means that there are 21 different ways hose is loaded and many other differences. I don't have to go very far to be in another world.

    >>there wasn't a "communication" issue when members of my dept traveled to the Great Baltimore fire in 1904...I can't see why we should look to have common definitions and terms that in many cases are nothing more than window dressing.

    Wow. Equating the terminology and technology of 1904 to that of today's fire service. I don't know what to say. Isn't this like saying, "We didn't need breathing apparatus in 1950. Why would we need it now?" or "We didn't have a FAST team in 1871 for the Great Fire and we did just fine."

    If I am assisting another department on a big fire and call for help, I would hope that we could have common terms for what I need. The term "Mayday" caught on and spread quite quickly. Now if we could just standardize what to do when that call comes in.

    >PS-How could anyone not understand what FAST (firefighter Assist and Search Team) is...is beyond me. It at least makes some sense as to what they do...I never understood what RIT meant...rapid intervention??? What is this a swift intervening for a friend with a drinking problem?

    I have to agree that "firefighter assist" makes more sense that "rapid intervention" but I have to add that of the 4000-5000 FF's in my area, I would guess that 90% have never heard the term "FAST". I doubt that many of the 20,000 firefighters in my state, are familiar the term FAST. I am not saying that RIC or RIT is better than FAST. It is just not very common. Besides, the call over the radio is not, "I need a firefighter assist and search team." If we are at a mutual aid incident and command says, "We need a fast unit to the rear of the structure." Most of the people in my state will think that he wants someone there quickly. We won't be thinking that there needs to be someone with specific tools for rescue required. The possible advantage that RIC has over FAST or Rig is that the term is less likely to be understood to mean something else.

    But I am not trying to sell one term over another. I just want something decided upon so I know what command is telling me to do OR what I am trying to tell command that I need in a bad situation. If some one calls command in my area and says, "We need a rig. We need a rig!", they better hope that this was not their last radio call because it will not be understood.

    Since the Feds are anticipating more incidents involving multiple departments and agencies, they want to try to establish a more common language. Discussions like this one help some of us be a little more "bi-lingual".
    That is a good thing.

  7. #7
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    Default RIC v. FAST

    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post
    It could be argued that many, maybe not the original poster, want to see the term FAST go away and RIT placed in its place.

    Why?

    Firefighter Assist and Search Team. Spelled out pretty clearly why they are there and what their function is.

    Rapid Intervention Team. Pretty vague. Rapid for who? Intervening for what?

    There are officers out there who will play semantics and use that to gain extra bodies. There are too many among us who have no desire to serve in FAST duty because they wont get there leather helmet dirty or get some smoke stains on their bourkes. They will jump at the chance to "intervine"

    Is that everyone? No. Are they among us? Heck yes.

    Which I do have to ask the orignial poster, who would even consider referring to the FAST Co. by using UAC, Univerisal Air Connection?????
    I can agree with you completely. ...but....

    I am not suggesting that one term is better than the other. I would just like to see one term decided upon. The only valid argument that I can see for RIT or RIC is the fact that RIG or FAST can have other confusing meanings to those who do not use it. The other thing I see is that several athorities have apparently chosen RIC as the nationally recognized term. Has it been decided what term we will use? (I ask because I don't know, not because I am trying to sell one term over the other.)

    The Federal/NFA/NIMS Safety Officer class uses the term RIC.

    The SCBA industry seems to have decided upon "RIC" as well.
    http://www.premiersafety.com/product...l.cfm?pID=1379
    http://www.westernsafety.com/msaproducts/msapage16.html

    NFPA 1981-
    "This edition also includes new requirements for a Rapid Intervention Company/Crew (RIC) Universal Air Connection (UAC) (or RIC UAC) on all new SCBA. The RIC UAC provides a standard connection that allows a rescue breathing air supply to be connected to a victim fire fighter or other emergency services responder's SCBA"
    http://www.nfpa.org/catalog/product....order_src=A183

    And yes, in my department we say "There is a UAC on the RIC PAC." Until you just posted it, I have never heard the term "Fast connection" (I am assuming that is what you meant by "FAST Co.")

    It is kind of funny that the case made for FAST is that the acronym stands for a clear description of what it does and yet "Universal Air Connection" is not clear enough.

    Yes there are many who would rather be attack than FAST/RIC. I would be concerned if ANYONE preferred RIC over attack. But people are beginning to understand how important RIC is and don't gripe as much when assigned to it.

    My original question was about which term is used most often. We haven't received enough replies to make a judgment and perhaps we never will.

    There have been some really good observations and comments. I have learned a great deal already.

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    Default Mentality

    The biggest problem we have is getting a nation of firefighters to agree on one term, considering the designation for RIT is different anywhere you go. The fire service has a lot of stubborn people in it that don't like change. How many older guys still wear their three-quarter length boots and rain slickers instead of the superior gear we have now? Some of you many not believe this still occurs, but believe me it does.

    RIG is too easily confused with a vehicle.
    FAST may be confused with needed something done quickly

    RIT/RIC: Rapid Intervention Team/Crew is named as such because we are trying to accomplish our goal quickly (Rapid), we are intervening into a bad situation to try and stop it from deteriorating further (Intervention), and team/crew is self-explanatory. Rapid Intervention Team/Crew may sound like a flowery name, but it is probably least likely to be confused with something else.

    As far as which term is used most often, you can flip a coin, roll a dice, or pick a name out of a hat; it can vary from town to town, or county to county.

    If a final decision is ever made, we all need to be open-minded enough to accept the change instead of nit-picking over something so small. Bickering over something like this is almost as bad (and irritating) as career firefighters talking crap about volunteers (we're all doing the same job here).

    And in response to the post by "dshane", while your post demostrates confusion in terminology between agencies, you seem to be missing the boat. This thread is about the fire service, not the coast guard. While it was informative, it didn't really apply.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Clear Text. Plain and simple.

    F.A.S.T. = Firefighter Assist and Search Team.


    The name tells you what it is about. That is the problem. It's too simple and it makes too much sense.
    "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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captT52 View Post
    FFFred,

    Your reply is interesting and possibly illustrates the need for more standardized terminology.

    My first question is, where are you located? Based upon some of your comments I would guess that you are in the northeast.
    Yes I am in the Northeast USA.

    Please allow me to address some of your comments.

    >I've tried to make the point many times. From my perspective there are so many different terms and associated definitions that is it impractical for this goal of everyone nationally using the same language.

    This is apparently the lofty goal of NIMS and other programs. Many people would have us believe that communication, or a lack thereof, is often a factor in firefighter deaths. This happens in many ways, sometime technological, but it does appear to be a common factor in many cases.
    I know that is their stated goal. I for one think it is unrealistic and unachiveable. Communications issues at fires...and communications issues in something on the scale of NO and Katrina is quite another. One is a local issue that is of limited scope and easily dealt with...the other is a rare and huge undertaking that under the current system will never be resolved satisfactorilly.

    > As I've pointed out almost everyone outside a few older and larger cities calls their companies by some unit designation system that uses a coded 3 or 4 digit identification (Engine 3 is Unit 1423...etc.)

    Can you provide more real examples or statistical examples? In my local area there are approximately 50 fire departments. I would guess that only 10 use a (voluntary/proposed) county wide system of designating apparatus. These ten also happen to be the smallest departments in the area. I don't think any departments with over 8 stations uses this system. I know of only one department with 8 stations who uses this system.
    I suppose you haven't seen the many threads on this in these very forums discussing the complicated and varried numbering systems that exist. Not to mention the vast difference in what an "Engine" or "Ladder" or "Rescue" is. Some places an "Engine" is actually a quint with 2 firemen and an officer. Some places you can call for a "Ladder" company and you will get a Big truck with 2-4 people who haven't the expiereince or proper mindset to complete "truck" duties. Other Places a Rescue is a ambulance...my place...it is a walk in tool box with 5 men and an officer....you see what I mean.

    My old job had identifiers such as Unit 551, 723, 1124...etc. As compared to any number system which I've seen listed here...10-210 Unit 13445, A102, Aerials vs. Trucks vs. Ladders...etc...depending on where one is standing at any one moment could mean anything. My Dept simply has Engines and Ladders...Engines carry pumps, hose and a small assortment of tools...Trucks carry Ladders, tools, Hurst Tools...etc. They are numbered starting at No. 1 all the way into the 330s for Engines and 170s for Ladders...all the hose is loaded the same and all the ladders are outfitted similarly. Whereas some Depts I worked for...compeltely change their operations and design with every appratus purchase...Engines carry this or that...hose is loaded this way on this rig...and now it is loaded this way on this one with this new load but then will be discontinued on the very next purchase.

    You want Depts to have a consistant language and defintions yet...many can't even maintain a stable "definition" of what an Engine is or carries year to year.

    > What are your Depts terms or definitions for the following:

    -Cockloft
    -How do you cut a roof?
    -How do you cut a trench?
    -OVM
    -Parlor floor
    -enclosed shaft
    -Doubtful will hold
    -dumbwaiter shaft
    -duplex
    -Deadlight
    -taxpayer
    -Partywall Balcony
    -Doorman
    -Controlman
    -Exposure 4D

    I would have to say that I do not recognize half of the terms in this list. I can point to several websites that have comprehensive lists of FF terms that don't list them either. Here is one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossar...fighting_terms
    Some of the terms I could probably guess but I have never heard or used some of them in my 28 years in the fire service. I know the term "taxpayer" strictly from a historical perspective. This is a rare structure in my part of the country. In fact, last year, I asked everyone at my station if they knew what a "taxpayer" was. Not a single one knew. I took the engine down to the old, historical, part of town and showed them the SIX examples that exist in our city. This is also the only place where any party walls exist too.
    My point is there is no reason you need to know some of those terms...they are our terms (some exclusively) They are regional to us...you might have terms that mean the same thing but then again...you might not. You might have the same terms but different defintions. (Duplex for us is an appartment that is two or more floors- in some parts of the country...it is a semi-attatched private dwelling)

    No matter what NIMS states and what terms you think are or could be universal...there is more than enough local lingo and protocol that will prevent this utopian goal of seemless fire service "interoperablity"(differernt context I know) among firemen and Departments. I wouldn't make it a big priority on trying to come to some common terms accross the country...your local Depts probably is a big enough obstacle to overcome.

    >As for the RIT/FAST....What tools must your FAST team bring? How many men are assigned and what are their general duties? What should you generally do once you have found a downed fireman? What things must one do to prep him for removal?

    This is a very good point. But I have seen several other forum comments that suggest that there are many departments who do not take RIC seriously. Some don't even establish or call for RIC until a Mayday occurs and then their policy is to put together a team. How can we agree on how to perform RIC when we can't even agree on a common term?
    Me I would worry less about the term and more about the substance of the procedures. That is what saves lives...not what we do or don't call it.

    > I feel it is more realistic to do what you and your neighboring depts need to do and when and if that rare occasion where you are working in a different timezone with different depts should arrise...then you can easily and quickly work out any differences as best as you can under the circumstances presented.

    This is probably the reality of the situation. But there are 21 fire departments in my little county alone. This means that there are 21 different ways hose is loaded and many other differences. I don't have to go very far to be in another world.
    Perhaps that is where someone should start...if you work typically with those 21 other depts...the best course of action should be some standardization...but comming from a guy who worked in a similar situation before I can appricate how difficult that can be.

    >>there wasn't a "communication" issue when members of my dept traveled to the Great Baltimore fire in 1904...I can't see why we should look to have common definitions and terms that in many cases are nothing more than window dressing.

    Wow. Equating the terminology and technology of 1904 to that of today's fire service. I don't know what to say. Isn't this like saying, "We didn't need breathing apparatus in 1950. Why would we need it now?" or "We didn't have a FAST team in 1871 for the Great Fire and we did just fine."
    Have you ever read any texts from that time period...to see what the men of those days were confronted with or the ideas and concepts popular at that time? The only major issue that arose from this fire was everyone realized that there was a problem with not having the same fittings to conect hoses and to hydrants. The point being that a number of departments worked together and didn't have "communications" issues because for the most part we all spoke English (perhaps with a brogue).

    In NO my dept adapted to the obvious differences in terms as did the members of the NOFD. To let you in on a little secret...our operations and proceedures are vastly different as well...to the point that Truck duties were not similar in any way or aspect to theirs. (Engine ops weren't really either but not to the same degree) Common terminology means very little when there are such vast gulf between operational procedures.

    We didn't need to change our day to day operations so that we could work with the brothers in NO, they didn't change theirs so they could work us...and neither do you or anyone else.

    If I am assisting another department on a big fire and call for help, I would hope that we could have common terms for what I need. The term "Mayday" caught on and spread quite quickly. Now if we could just standardize what to do when that call comes in.
    And it should be standard for the departments that you work in and with. To think that we can all share the same terms is misguided in my view.

    >PS-How could anyone not understand what FAST (firefighter Assist and Search Team) is...is beyond me. It at least makes some sense as to what they do...I never understood what RIT meant...rapid intervention??? What is this a swift intervening for a friend with a drinking problem?

    I have to agree that "firefighter assist" makes more sense that "rapid intervention" but I have to add that of the 4000-5000 FF's in my area, I would guess that 90% have never heard the term "FAST". I doubt that many of the 20,000 firefighters in my state, are familiar the term FAST. I am not saying that RIC or RIT is better than FAST. It is just not very common. Besides, the call over the radio is not, "I need a firefighter assist and search team." If we are at a mutual aid incident and command says, "We need a fast unit to the rear of the structure." Most of the people in my state will think that he wants someone there quickly. We won't be thinking that there needs to be someone with specific tools for rescue required. The possible advantage that RIC has over FAST or Rig is that the term is less likely to be understood to mean something else.
    Well here there are 11,500 men who know what FAST is and unfortunately it is used frequently enough that if there was the potential for confusion at a job...we would have found it by now. And across the river and in the burbs they use the same term for the most part. We've been using FAST teams long before RIT, RIC or whatever it is called this week became fashionable.

    Not one of your men knows how to properly transmit a Mayday here nor should they be required to do so. That is the problem...changing a few terms will not make an appricable difference in operations and there will be little to no benefit. Don't worry so much about what you call it...but what is behind the words. There is no reason we should

    But I am not trying to sell one term over another. I just want something decided upon so I know what command is telling me to do OR what I am trying to tell command that I need in a bad situation. If some one calls command in my area and says, "We need a rig. We need a rig!", they better hope that this was not their last radio call because it will not be understood.

    Since the Feds are anticipating more incidents involving multiple departments and agencies, they want to try to establish a more common language. Discussions like this one help some of us be a little more "bi-lingual".
    That is a good thing.
    I will tell you now this concept that is being pushed by the Feds will never be achieved, certainly as long as the Feds are in charge. The countless procedural issues, countless local terms and phrases along with assumed proficencies and competancy will prevent any meaningful seemless operations.

    It doesn't take a Federal decree for you to know when I say "I have a hook"
    that to you might mean "I have a pike pole" or When I say "there is an enclosed shaft on the 4 Side that I mean " there is an enclosed shaft on the D side."

    I wouldn't worry as much about what the Feds want as much as I would worry about what works for you and your neighboring Departments.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwarrior76 View Post
    The biggest problem we have is getting a nation of firefighters to agree on one term, considering the designation for RIT is different anywhere you go. The fire service has a lot of stubborn people in it that don't like change. How many older guys still wear their three-quarter length boots and rain slickers instead of the superior gear we have now? Some of you many not believe this still occurs, but believe me it does.
    Some of you may not believe but the gear we have now isn't always so superior as you claim. Have you ever worn the old gear?

    RIG is too easily confused with a vehicle.
    FAST may be confused with needed something done quickly
    Never in the many years our dept has been using the FAST concept has there been an issue with this to my knowledge. Countless LODDs and many times where maydays are transmitted and the FAST team put to work(some LODD and some not) and not one word in any report of this easily confused language.

    Don't forget the 1000s of drills that have occured in the mean time and not one problem....

    RIT/RIC: Rapid Intervention Team/Crew is named as such because we are trying to accomplish our goal quickly (Rapid), we are intervening into a bad situation to try and stop it from deteriorating further (Intervention), and team/crew is self-explanatory. Rapid Intervention Team/Crew may sound like a flowery name, but it is probably least likely to be confused with something else.
    See comments from above.

    As far as which term is used most often, you can flip a coin, roll a dice, or pick a name out of a hat; it can vary from town to town, or county to county.

    If a final decision is ever made, we all need to be open-minded enough to accept the change instead of nit-picking over something so small. Bickering over something like this is almost as bad (and irritating) as career firefighters talking crap about volunteers (we're all doing the same job here).
    I think you will find that upon reading the many conversations in these forums...there are many who claim to do the same "job"...but when it comes down to it...some are just in it for the t-shirt and cheap beer. There are plenty of guys in here who have nothing in common with me other than they sometimes ride in a red fire engine.

    FTM-PTB

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    Default National standardization of terms

    I think that we are seeing a large amount of standardization in the fire service. But I would probably have to agree with FFFRED that we would have a very long way to go to see any real big noticeable headway towards true national standards. He makes some good points about the differences between the simplest concepts, such as what makes up an engine crew.

    We would be dreaming if we thought for a second that we will ever see real standardization of the fire service. There might be a way for that to happen but I think that it is a good bet that no one alive today would ever see it.

    Yes, if we are going to worry about standardization we should probably start with something other than a word or two here. I would suggest that we have. ICS over the past 15 years is a very good example.

    But the question is, does it appear that the feds have taken a stand on just a few terms when it comes to this ICS issue? After all, the very concept of a Incident Command system that we all could even begin to work with was unheard of just a few years ago. I remember when we started learning about command. Many of the old timers said that this would never work. "You can't command a fire out."

    2 in 2 / 2 out is another concept that has brought major change and common practices to many departments. Standardization is slowly happening.

    We now have national standards for FF-I. FF-II, Fire Officer I, Fire Officer II, etc. Things do change. Some of the larger cities will choose to ignore the national standards and set their own. I don't have a problem with that. I think that these standards are for the smaller departments who have 2 people on a truck. This might make them understand how understaffed or under trained they might be.

    If Chicago wants to use FAST or make up a word like "TERD" to mean Tactical Emergency Rescue Detail, that does not bother me. They can ask for a "Terd in sector D" all the want. I am sure that the fire departments around there will know what that means. But there are plenty of areas in this country where the "big department" has 4-7 stations and other little communities depend on them for help. These people might need the feds to help them work together and establish common terminology.

    I am not pushing for RIC or anything else. I don't have a dog in this fight at all. I am just looking towards the future and I think someone has drawn a line with this one term. I think is is coming. I could be wrong.

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    FFFRED: Sarcasm noted, moving on. If the current gear didn't work better than the old stuff, then why would we be using it? Firefighters tend to stick with what they know works; we'll try new things, but if it doesn't pass our bench test we generally don't use it. The superiority of current gear may depend on the manufacturer you go with, not all gear is created equal.

    Never in the many years our dept has been using the FAST concept has there been an issue with this to my knowledge.
    Just because your dept has not had a problem with it, doesn't mean it hasn't happened, and may not have been reported.

    Never in the many years our dept has been using the FAST concept has there been an issue with this to my knowledge. Countless LODDs and many times where maydays are transmitted and the FAST team put to work(some LODD and some not) and not one word in any report of this easily confused language.
    Have there been any reports where a RIT/RIC has been requested and there was a delay due to confusion with terminology? Just curious. I think what this all boils down to is that each dept needs to choose a name that works for them and stick with it, so long as it is a common term (see captT52's post regarding "TERD"). It is entirely within the realm of possibility that a mutual aid company knows what a RIC team is but has never heard of a FAST team, or vice versa.

    I think you will find that upon reading the many conversations in these forums...there are many who claim to do the same "job"...but when it comes down to it...some are just in it for the t-shirt and cheap beer. There are plenty of guys in here who have nothing in common with me other than they sometimes ride in a red fire engine.
    They still do the same job as you, just for different reasons. I've heard from guys, both career and volunteer, that are just in this for the adrenaline rush which I think is a worse reason than those you listed due to how dangerous these individuals can be to the team. If you want an adrenaline rush, go skydiving. I think we can both agree that there are people in the fire service who shouldn't be for one reason or another, but that's no reason for career guys to make sweeping deragatory generalizations about volunteers, or vice versa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captT52 View Post
    I think that we are seeing a large amount of standardization in the fire service. But I would probably have to agree with FFFRED that we would have a very long way to go to see any real big noticeable headway towards true national standards. He makes some good points about the differences between the simplest concepts, such as what makes up an engine crew.

    We would be dreaming if we thought for a second that we will ever see real standardization of the fire service. There might be a way for that to happen but I think that it is a good bet that no one alive today would ever see it.

    Yes, if we are going to worry about standardization we should probably start with something other than a word or two here. I would suggest that we have. ICS over the past 15 years is a very good example.

    But the question is, does it appear that the feds have taken a stand on just a few terms when it comes to this ICS issue? After all, the very concept of a Incident Command system that we all could even begin to work with was unheard of just a few years ago. I remember when we started learning about command. Many of the old timers said that this would never work. "You can't command a fire out."
    And they are right...you can't command a fire out. Symbolism and superfluous designations and flashy sounding terms don't put out a fire...yet the discussion always seems to revolve around "command issues" when that isn't where the discussion needs to begin. It needs a sound base...a FD needs men and manpower and soild SOPs to properly combat a fire. Command is of no use when there are too few men to command.

    2 in 2 / 2 out is another concept that has brought major change and common practices to many departments. Standardization is slowly happening.
    It is a poorly written and applied law that is either misapplied or Engineered around as it were by Depts who look to maintain their low staffing...(mine is one of the few that Engineered around it and has what would be considered the best staffing in the country....in this light we are an exception not the rule)

    We now have national standards for FF-I. FF-II, Fire Officer I, Fire Officer II, etc. Things do change. Some of the larger cities will choose to ignore the national standards and set their own. I don't have a problem with that. I think that these standards are for the smaller departments who have 2 people on a truck. This might make them understand how understaffed or under trained they might be.
    And for the most part those standards are written for the lowest common denominator among us. For a large part of the fire service (Proffessional Depts anyways) these standards are woefully simplistic and even flat out wrong in terms of actuall fireground tactics...although we've seen some improvement in recent years to what is taught in FFI and II classes.

    If Chicago wants to use FAST or make up a word like "TERD" to mean Tactical Emergency Rescue Detail, that does not bother me. They can ask for a "Terd in sector D" all the want. I am sure that the fire departments around there will know what that means. But there are plenty of areas in this country where the "big department" has 4-7 stations and other little communities depend on them for help. These people might need the feds to help them work together and establish common terminology.
    From the idiots who brought you FEMA and the Katrina response...these are the people you want guiding your local FDs? What expereince do they have? I would say locally you and the other guys on your Dept are better at determining what you need and what you can call something. Plus there are plenty of FDs out there with established and working SOPs on RIT/FAST...etc. Do the homework...go to FDIC and walk and talk and you will have all the info needed to establish a sound policy for your area.

    I am not pushing for RIC or anything else. I don't have a dog in this fight at all. I am just looking towards the future and I think someone has drawn a line with this one term. I think is is coming. I could be wrong.
    Neither do I...I know my dept isn't changing to suit anyones needs and I'm not really concerned with what anyone else does...just offering my opinion that most of what is needed isn't what some of these FEMA cheerleaders are calling for.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironwarrior76 View Post
    FFFRED: Sarcasm noted, moving on. If the current gear didn't work better than the old stuff, then why would we be using it? Firefighters tend to stick with what they know works; we'll try new things, but if it doesn't pass our bench test we generally don't use it. The superiority of current gear may depend on the manufacturer you go with, not all gear is created equal.
    One reason and one reason only...LAWSUITS. Don't believe me...look to Drennan v. City of New York. And then research the archives of the local papers to see why the city was looking to provide us with bunker gear after they lost the suit. It wasn't because it was good gear...it was because of $$$.

    Just because your dept has not had a problem with it, doesn't mean it hasn't happened, and may not have been reported.
    If we haven't found a problem with it...it is either a non-existant problem or it is exceedingly rare.

    Have there been any reports where a RIT/RIC has been requested and there was a delay due to confusion with terminology? Just curious. I think what this all boils down to is that each dept needs to choose a name that works for them and stick with it, so long as it is a common term (see captT52's post regarding "TERD"). It is entirely within the realm of possibility that a mutual aid company knows what a RIC team is but has never heard of a FAST team, or vice versa.
    No there haven't. I agree each area needs to establish their procedures and polices with the Depts they work with. Not mine...not yours...not one 4 States away in another timezone. The whole idea of a national standard will never work when the fire departments are organized and funded locally. That is where the decision on a procedure such as this needs to take place.

    They still do the same job as you, just for different reasons. I've heard from guys, both career and volunteer, that are just in this for the adrenaline rush which I think is a worse reason than those you listed due to how dangerous these individuals can be to the team. If you want an adrenaline rush, go skydiving. I think we can both agree that there are people in the fire service who shouldn't be for one reason or another, but that's no reason for career guys to make sweeping deragatory generalizations about volunteers, or vice versa.
    I'm only basing it on what can easily be read on these forum pages and who I've met and worked with over my career....I never said all are one way or another...but there is a substantial amount of persons out there who have little to nothing in common with me.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Clear Text. Plain and simple.

    F.A.S.T. = Firefighter Assist and Search Team.

    The name tells you what it is about. That is the problem. It's too simple and it makes too much sense.
    Got to agree with you there. FAST has always been my preferred acronym although RIT seems to be the more common one in these parts.
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    Default F.a.s.t.

    Bones42
    Clear Text. Plain and simple.

    F.A.S.T. = Firefighter Assist and Search Team.

    The name tells you what it is about. That is the problem. It's too simple and it makes too much sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Got to agree with you there. FAST has always been my preferred acronym although RIT seems to be the more common one in these parts.
    Acronyms are not clear language or plain English unless you happen to know what the acronym stands for.

    Again, it does not matter to me but the problem, I believe people are having with FAST, is not about what it stands for. It is about what is said on the radio when help is needed. We don't ask for a Firefighter Assist and Search Team. Do we? Are mutual aid companies going to misunderstand? Will some sector or company officer say that "we need a fast crew to cut off the fire", and command, or everyone else simply hears the word "FAST" and thinks there are firefighters down. We (English speakers) use the word "fast" in common language all the time. We tune our ears to certain words. If FAST means collapse or firefighters down and someone happens to say, on the radio, "We need a crew to get up there and trench cut that roof, fast!" We will also be asking, "What did they say?" "Is there a rescue going on?" "Has there been a collapse?" Could that lead to more confusion than normal on the fire ground? I don't know.

    Do departments who use the acronym FAST have a rule against using the word "fast" in radio communications? That wouldn't be a bad thing. At one time we had a procedure that said we should always use the terms "pressure up" or "pressure down" because increase and decrease sound so much alike through an SCBA mask. (

    Should we use a commonly spoken word to mean disaster or danger?
    What if we used "R.O. O. F." to mean "Rescue Operations Of Firefighters"? This is a very clear understanding or definition of what the team does. But wouldn't it be confusing to think that there is a rescue of firefighters every time we hear the word Roof? I don't know about all of you but our radios are not a perfect form of communications under noisy fire conditions. We often miss every other word.

    BTW I know that ROOF is an extreme and ridiculous example of using a confusing word. It is just a silly illustration.

    Take care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captT52 View Post
    Again, it does not matter to me but the problem, I believe people are having with FAST, is not about what it stands for. It is about what is said on the radio when help is needed. We don't ask for a Firefighter Assist and Search Team. Do we? Are mutual aid companies going to misunderstand? Will some sector or company officer say that "we need a fast crew to cut off the fire", and command, or everyone else simply hears the word "FAST" and thinks there are firefighters down. We (English speakers) use the word "fast" in common language all the time. We tune our ears to certain words. If FAST means collapse or firefighters down and someone happens to say, on the radio, "We need a crew to get up there and trench cut that roof, fast!" We will also be asking, "What did they say?" "Is there a rescue going on?" "Has there been a collapse?" Could that lead to more confusion than normal on the fire ground? I don't know.

    Do departments who use the acronym FAST have a rule against using the word "fast" in radio communications? That wouldn't be a bad thing. At one time we had a procedure that said we should always use the terms "pressure up" or "pressure down" because increase and decrease sound so much alike through an SCBA mask. (

    I don't see where there could be any confusion, honestly.

    "Cut the roof fast." I did not hear a mayday before that. I did not hear, "Man down" I did not hear "Urgent"

    Once the FAST Co. is set up in there staging area, the only time they should move is when they hear on the radio "Command to FAST co. Firefighter down report to command for depployment" or something to that affect. They should not be acting on there own to something like "Cut the roof fast".
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post
    I don't see where there could be any confusion, honestly.

    "Cut the roof fast." I did not hear a mayday before that. I did not hear, "Man down" I did not hear "Urgent"

    Once the FAST Co. is set up in there staging area, the only time they should move is when they hear on the radio "Command to FAST co. Firefighter down report to command for depployment" or something to that affect. They should not be acting on there own to something like "Cut the roof fast".
    Very true.



    "we need a fast crew to cut off the fire"
    Have you EVER seriously heard anything like this on a radio? My first answer back would be "As opposed to a slow crew?". Give me a break.
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    Quote Originally Posted by captT52 View Post
    Acronyms are not clear language or plain English unless you happen to know what the acronym stands for.

    Again, it does not matter to me but the problem, I believe people are having with FAST, is not about what it stands for. It is about what is said on the radio when help is needed. We don't ask for a Firefighter Assist and Search Team. Do we? Are mutual aid companies going to misunderstand? Will some sector or company officer say that "we need a fast crew to cut off the fire", and command, or everyone else simply hears the word "FAST" and thinks there are firefighters down. We (English speakers) use the word "fast" in common language all the time. We tune our ears to certain words. If FAST means collapse or firefighters down and someone happens to say, on the radio, "We need a crew to get up there and trench cut that roof, fast!" We will also be asking, "What did they say?" "Is there a rescue going on?" "Has there been a collapse?" Could that lead to more confusion than normal on the fire ground? I don't know.

    Do departments who use the acronym FAST have a rule against using the word "fast" in radio communications? That wouldn't be a bad thing. At one time we had a procedure that said we should always use the terms "pressure up" or "pressure down" because increase and decrease sound so much alike through an SCBA mask. (

    Should we use a commonly spoken word to mean disaster or danger?
    What if we used "R.O. O. F." to mean "Rescue Operations Of Firefighters"? This is a very clear understanding or definition of what the team does. But wouldn't it be confusing to think that there is a rescue of firefighters every time we hear the word Roof? I don't know about all of you but our radios are not a perfect form of communications under noisy fire conditions. We often miss every other word.

    BTW I know that ROOF is an extreme and ridiculous example of using a confusing word. It is just a silly illustration.

    Take care.

    No one just calls for the "Fast" Truck here. There are specified Mayday and Urgent Procedures.

    Straight from our Communications Manual Chapter 9 Section 4


    B. Structural collapse has occurred.

    1.
    A member who is aware of the condition shall immediately contact the Incident Commander in the following format: "MAYDAY-MAYDAY-MAYDAY." "Ladder 44 OV to Battalion 17, MAYDAY."

    2.
    The Incident Commander will respond in the following format: "Battalion 17 to Ladder 44 OV, go ahead with your MAYDAY."

    3.
    The member giving the MAYDAY will respond with "Ladder 44 OV to Battalion 17, MAYDAY - COLLAPSE HAS OCCURRED" and provide the location and extent of collapse, number and nature of injuries, and if anyone is trapped.

    4.
    The Incident Commander will immediately assign specific units to assist at the location of the collapse and simultaneously conduct a roll call and account for all members.


    C. A firefighter is unconscious or suffers a life threatening injury.

    1.
    A member aware of the situation will contact the Incident Commander in the following format: "MAYDAY-MAYDAY-MAYDAY". "Engine 222 to Battalion 37, MAYDAY."

    2.
    The Incident Commander will respond in the following format: "Battalion 37 to Engine 222, go ahead with your MAYDAY."

    3.
    The Unit giving the MAYDAY will respond in the following format: "Engine 222 to Battalion 37, MAYDAY-INJURED MEMBER" and provide the location, unit identity of the injured member, and extent of the injuries.

    4.
    The Incident commander will assign specific units to assist with the injured member.

    This is how one would know that there is a Mayday situation and then the Chief in command would issue orders for the FAST Truck to perform or other companies nearby that member that is in trouble.

    The only word that is to be used in context is the word "collapse" is always to be used in reference to a building not a member who has "collapsed".

    Honestly as I stated before the FAST team originated here and has been used many times and not once in any report documentation, my expereince or anyone elses has this been an issue. The orders given here are very clear and there is not any confusion due to the use of the term FAST truck or FAST team.

    You can call your team whatever you like...just make sure it is consistant with all the people you work with regularly.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 01-14-2008 at 10:37 AM.

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