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Here is one mans opinion.
Not too long ago, there was a bit of an arguement about training firefighters to perform the "head-first" bailout, as well as the "rope slide". I fully agree with DC John Salka, that if you don't train and create "muscle memory" for a particular evolution, you are very likely not going to succeed if and when the tactic is needed. I feel it is up to the trainers to create a safe environment to allow members the opportunity to practice these dangerous skills. Obviously, a strong system of belay lines are necessary, and trainers who are well versed in the hazards as well as safe techniques to perform the skills necessary for self-rescue.
Our job is dangerous, and we must train as closely as possible to reality, while implementing a level of safety for the personnel who's lives may depend on it someday. In my dept alone, we have done such training, and the ladder bail out has been performed at a working fire more than once already. If one life is saved!
I have also been involved in a training day where one firefighter fell from the ladder approx 15' up. The belay line was properly managed, and no harm came to the member. We must train in firefighting more than ever since the incidence of fire is less.
Phil Lemire

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The simulator could well be an extremely useful innitiation device, as it could demonstrate the entire procedure from a "safe" altitude. Also, at any height above say, 6 feet, safety lines should be obligatory.
You must remember that it's not the fall itself that's a problem, it's that sudden stop at the end that breaks things.
George Potter
I agree whole heartdly. In my dept. we are currently having a problem with our county Risk Management Division (county government run not FD run) with approving training in acquired structures. Since we are a self insured county everything has to go through them. They most recently tried to stop a FEMA drill becuase they didn't want to pay for it if one of our guys got injured. We constantly lose real life training scenarios becuase of these people. We have not had an acquired structure burn on probably 10 years.

We have a dangerous job....but is it more dangeorus for us to train or not train for this dangerous job? We have to train because if we don't we increase our chance of not going home. People get hurt, things get broken, its the price of doing business. Better those things happen in training than for real. Thats just my 2 cents
Insurance problems always seem to rear their ugly head. We have it hard in NJ due to the fact we cannot even do a burn in an aquired structure. This is due to many instructor wanna-be's hurting a lot of people in the past. To do a burn in a "real" building as opposed to a "burn" building, a lot of things need to be. First, you need "experianced" and "qualified" instructors. These two words seem to have very different meanings dependant upon what state you may be in. Notice I did not used the word "certified". Most states will not certify anybody in anything because once you do that, the state becomes liable for what that instructor does....right or wrong.

I disagree with one statement you do make.....people get hurt......but that should NEVER happen during training......if they get hurt, let not the instructor have been the cause.
Yea mabey I didn't make myself clear on that wich is my fault. What I ment by "people get hurt" is that people get sprained ankles, busted hands, torqued backs etc but doing nothing but the job. If people are hurt doing unsafe actions then that is unacceptable. For example guy on shift the other day was climbing a ladder that was being heeled properly, right angle, full PPE etc. and he just flat out slipped and caught him self by hooking his arm on the rung and it tore is forearm muscle. Now he is outta work for a while. Its these types of things that just happen. I hope that makes it more clear if not Ill give ti another try.

I knew you didn't mean that members getting hurt during training was acceptable. Firefighters do some strange things. I've been instructing for more years than I care to remember, and I have seen seasoned vets do things you would only expect from a probie. The biggest problem we all seem to face is how do we give the best and safest training experience to our students without possible injury. I train with our state USAR team and we constantly work under concrete slabs that weigh tons, attacking them with tools that vibrate the hell out of them, and we always come out un-crushed. I'm not sure if it's luck, or just good safety techniques. We have to train as we work, it's the only real way to be ready for the real thing. Hopefully some day all the lawyers that are afraid to let us do the things we need to do will see the light. Then we can safely set up real life training sessions that will properly prepare the members to do their jobs.
Obviously training will become second nature only as long as you get it as close to real as possible. Of course some people take it to the extreme and show reckless disregard but the bail out is essential.
I believe DC Salka that these tactics are a necessity in our personal "tool cache".Furthermore, it is up to the trainers/instructors to keep the evolutons safe. We run training on these skills at the Academy I work for, and no one does these maneuvers without belay lines, even the instructors. Our department has even discussed the placement of egress ladders at 45 degree angles, to make bailing out a little safer, should the need arise. Nothing has been changed yet, but further discussions are on-going.

Just my two cents...
I agree with what many are saying on this thread. The job is dangerous and the training to do the job will have certain inherant dangers. That said, a critical eye on the training objectives can mitigate most dangers. Like someone said earlier, F/F's can do some crazy stuff to get themselves hurt so the trainer must be ever vigilant and assume nothing to avoid needless injuries. Head first or hook 2/grab 4? Pro's and con's to each. Both are dangerous. Rig the belay and teach both. The important point is that the first time that you have tobail out better not be the first time that you attempt it!
Not that long ago I had a spirited discussion with a young officer who said we shouldn't be teaching emergency doff/donn of the SCBA. HIs position was that you should never take your pack off and teaching the technique would get someone killed. Spoken with such passion and authority as only someone who never got in a pinch could profess..........
Training is the biggest part of this whole question. Whether it is riding the ladder down head first or turning yourself around and coming down in safer manner doesn't really matter. There are a variety of ways of self rescue out of a window but unless you train on or teach a certain way we will constantly hurt or kill brother firefighters. I have seen to many people teach or train people on personnal theory.... pure b*******!!! We should all be training on or teaching on proven ways of egress. You just can't go out on a training session and throw a ladder to a window and tell the brothers to have at it. You need to teach with belay lines and show in slow motion proper technique, and then move into a faster pace. One of the brothers wrote that instead of teaching these rescue techniques we should be teaching when to get out and knowing the signs of when to leave, he is right to an extent. But we all know that fires and some structures are very unpredictable, so when the s*** hit's the fan it's go time. Stay safe one and all

Who invented the Denver Drill? From the photos it looks like a well thought over rescue procedure. I would like to see more on this operation as it could be of interest here in Spain, due principally to the fact that ther vast majority of family dwellings are multiple story apartment buildings with only one stairwell, normally unprotected, from street level upwards to normally 6 to 9 flooors, with from two to six apartments per floor. A working fire in any of these could quite possibly aisolate FF's making considerations for self rescue or companion rescue within possibe neccessities.
Again, as with all of these procedures, training, practice, drills, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera are absolutely essential.
Take care over there.
George Potter
I am looking for training tips and techniques that address firefighter self rescue from a basement. If anyone has any information, please let me know. Thanks for your help.
Jason Hoevelmann asked about basement information.
I think this may fall into the discussion of dangerous tactics.
Most here seems to be addressing ladder bail-out.

Basement/cellar removal/extrication can be dangerous in training and on-scene emergency.
Training: potential for rope or hose breaking or slipping during lifting and lowering.
Emergency: Need to be able to do and apply the stuff done in training during crappy conditions.

Fire Enginnering articles concerning basement/cellar rescue
Extrication of a Downed Firefighter Using An Attic Ladder
By Matt Rarick and Rob Tieche

Firefighter Trapped in the Floor: The Rochester Drill

Robert Dube



Tom Sitz

Firehouse articles
Trics Of The Trade: Nylon Tubular Webbing
A Tool That All Firefighters Should Carry

Trics of the Trade: Firefighter Removal Using A Hoseline
A Technique for Removal of a Firefighter Through a H***

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