Saving Our Own Starts With Attitude
Photo: Farmingville Fire Department Engine Company 2
Fired Up Training Services
At a recent fire I overheard the incident commander tell the mutual aid rapid intervention team, “Thanks for coming; my guys would have killed me if I assigned them as RIT.” Take a minute and think about that. If you are assigned as RIT at a fire, is that your attitude? If it is, stop reading, you’re wasting your time. If it isn’t, and I hope it isn’t, let’s talk about what a RIT program should consist of and how you fit into the plan.
Many departments just don’t know where to start. First, it is vital to write SOPs on what RIT consists of, when they are put in place, what tools they carry, etc. Next, a strong SOP on calling MAYDAY and emergency communication is needed. RIT cannot function if the lost firefighter does not clearly communicate the need for help. If you only have two SOPs in your entire department, they should be RIT and MAYDAY policies.
Second, if your department is like most of the rest of the country, you will need mutual or automatic aid when a firefighter is trapped. Working through the neighboring departments, a mutual aid association, the union, or the operations chiefs of the various agencies is vital. We all have disagreements with our neighbors but this is a subject that everyone must be on the same page with. Develop the SOPs so that everyone is using the same definitions and terms and the call will go smoother. This website will give you an excellent idea on a mutual aid RIT association.
Next is training. We start in our recruit academy with an 8-hour intro to RIT. The class consists of case studies, simulations, MAYDAY videos and examples. It’s important at the early stages to get recruits thinking about these issues. They will likely be a part of RIT early in their career. For simulations, we start with some of the standard RIT drills. Langvardt, Nance, Fowler. These are drills based on past line of duty deaths. They are also known as Denver, Columbus, and Queens. On our web-based bulletin board, you will find some of them listed in our never in vain drills. The bottom line is develop and practice drills for scenarios that a firefighter needs to be…
-Taken down stairs
-Taken up stairs
-Lifted from a hole
-Taken down a ladder
-Removed through a tight space
-Searched for in a large space like a store or warehouse
Many of these drills are available on our website. If you have made it this far, congratulations. You are the type of brother or sister firefighter your fellow firefighters deserve. One who knows that attitude and training are the best insurance policy in helping each of us return home when the job is done. The kind I am proud to share this great business of ours with. Thank you and be safe.