Great question Frank! I was really hoping to see some answers since members of our department were just issued gear with the DRD (drag rescue device) with no other training other than "Read the manual." Noone in my department has deployed one of the straps or trained with it yet as far as I know (only1/4 of the dept. has this new gear). My thinking about the strap leads me to a couple of concerns. The first issue is the idea of a strap where a firefighter can't reach that could potentially catch on something hanging down. This could happen with an air pack, but there are methods to maneuver out of the airpack and remove the entangling object. The strap may not be as easy to get to or disentangle since it is attached through your gear and around the arms of the firefighter. My second issue is the length of the strap. If it's long enough for two firefighters to grab hold of to drag a downed firefighter, it is not short enough to lift a firefighter into a position where his air bottle is off the ground and not hanging up on stairs, rugs, thresholds etc. Even if it is short, that is still extra vertical distance to lift a firefighter to "clear" the air bottle from the floor.
I still like the idea of converting the SCBA straps into a harness. I know the manufacturers don't endorse it, but I've done it multiple times in training situations with success. First it's fairly easy to do. An SCBA waist strap is a little easier to find and thus move and secure between the firefighter's legs. Then the shoulder straps can be tightened or loosened to make lifting by them easier. Plus, as I mentioned above, it lifts the firefighter to a more seated position so the air bottle doesn't get as easily hung up. On top of all of this, we don't have to worry about someone forgetting to "install" their DRD when their gear gets cleaned.
I'm not saying the DRD is junk, but these are the concerns that come to mind.
My. Department has just started issuing the gear with the drag strap. We have done a little training with them in my company alone. It seems to be a use tool but here is an idea that we came up with in my company. The drag device is nice and pretty easy to deploy but, If we have any kind of heat condition and need to stay low It is not so usable by itself because we couldn't keep the drag going. What we tried and did seem to work ok was to deploy the device and use an extra length of either rope or webbing attached to the device and then over your shoulder to give you a little head start then you can stay low and go using by using both your ahnds and feet in like a bear crawl. Helps keep your momentum moving and a gut to the rear with the downed man to steer.
I have not heard of anyone using this device in a real situation in my area yet.
Another thing to remember especially if your the CO officer is mek sure you have copies of how this device is set in the coat. My gear doesn't have it but my new probies does. He misplaced his gear instructions book and it took awhile to figure out the loops when he stripped his gear to wash it after a MVA.
Hi Frank. If you're talking about the DRD strap that many manufacturers are building in to the back of bunker coats, the answer is no, we have not used them, I am unaware of anyone having to use one in reality and in fact we don't even train with them.
The fact of the matter is that they are now on our bunker coats because a salesman told us we had to have them.
When we tried deploying them in a practice setting we found the DRD strap to be difficult at best in ease of use and practicality of application.
Since then, our training has focused on true RIT procedures and tactics to include the scba conversion. The feeling of the training academy is that scba conversions are safer and protect the downed firefighter as well as his ability to breath. For all intents and purposes, we know what the DRD is and how it is supposed to work but we do not use it but rather focus on scba conversions.
These are the biggest snake oil job sold to us yet. Tell me when a brother down in a building did not have an SCBA that could be grabbed. Most of all, where are all the NFPA stats to support this alleged need? As Ray mentioned they are not to be used for vertical lifts so half the time they are useless and the other half of the time the SCBA should work. They have added must cost to turnout coat and many members report to me that restrict head movement when tilting your head with helmet back.
I have to agree with Drew, we've not even gotten our new PPE with the DRD. I'm not a fan, just from going through the gear process. Seems using these in training would rub on the inner liner and cause undo wear. Just my 2 cents.
I have used the orignal DRD in training and thats why I came up with the WILKI strap . It's simple to use you click in to the downed firefighter and go, with the offset it allows you to go threw narrow hallways and doorways. The DRD is good only if someone has not tampered with it , and they dont have their air pack to high or its to hard to get to . But it still dont give you a offset to get threw the hallways and doorways with rescuer's side by side it tends to take a lot longer and they end up geting hurt more offten . check wilkirescuetools.com out is cheep and every rit bag and firefighter should have one .
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