I am looking for some input on Mayday training. We have had several training classes over the past few years, and I want to see if anyone has any better ideas than what we have been doing. This is what we have done in the past.
We started off by reviewing our SOGs and discussing when to call it and how to get the information across to direct crews to your location. We went with LUNAR, but also talked about UCAN. We also review any call that we can find on the internet that involved a mayday and talked about what was done right and what could be improved on. The next phase was to go to DFW Airport and use their training facility. They have a room set up where you can simulate 4 different conditions where a Mayday would be appropriate. There is a closet where a door closes behind you once you pass to simulate a "firefighter lost" situation. Once you clear that prop, an instructor clips a strap of webbing to your pack to simulate an entanglement. As you round the corner, two instructors throw a section of chain link fence on top of the firefighter and dog pile him (my favorite, by the way) and the last prop is a plank that drops you into a foam rubber pit to simulate falling through a floor. At each of the stations, the firefighter is asked to transmit a complete Mayday and activate their PASS device. Then, throughout the year, we set up "surprise Mayday" situations whenever we had any live fire training or any time we were in our gear crawling around. We would grab a member of the crew and pull them aside to see how long it took to notice them missing. Or, latch onto a boot and tell them that they were stuck. The crews usually noticed it right away and responded appropriately.
Any input on what you guys are doing would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you have a SOG that you would be willing to share, I'd love to read it. My email address is email@example.com
Lastly, I completly understand that training to not get into a mayday situation is equally important. We are working on that as well.
Thanks and stay safe brothers!
-I think it sounds like you're hitting all the buttons here. As an instructor the one thing I would NOT DO is a "spontaneous" Mayday during ANY live fire training exercises. That creates to much of a potential problem and confusion under those conditions. Avoid the headache and stay away from trouble. Practice your "spontaneous" Mayday when there is not real threat of death or injury involving other dangerous training.
-My department teaches LUNAR though many older folks use CAN. After having 2 situations this year involving real Mayday situations, it became clear that under real conditions firefighters had neither the time nor the inclination nor the presence of mind to follow the LUNAR flow. What came out was, "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday Ladder 30 Mayday!! Firefighter thru the floor!" Fortunately the IC was tracking company movements and was able to pinpoint Ladder 30 location without a problem.
-A couple of lessons learned were:
1. There was a misunderstanding during training that LUNAR is an actual check list and that ALL the LUNAR information must be given AND given in sequence. Not true at all. LUNAR is simply a mnemonic; nothing more.
2. During training everyone always practices giving a Mayday for themselves when in fact more than 50% of the time the member calling the Mayday will not actually be in crisis but rather witnessing events happening to others. When one of our members fell through the floor into a heavily involved room below he was fully engaged in a struggle for his life and unable to call the Mayday. Firefighters that were with him in the room above were the ones calling the Mayday. Due to training methods some firefighters may end up following route memory training and give inaccurate information, actually calling a Mayday for themselves and their location rather than the member in trouble. Mayday doesn't just happen to you, practice for alternatives. You may not be able to call it for yourself; I may be the one calling it for you.
Thanks for the info Mike. I think I misspoke, the "live fire" training I was thinking of were the times that we went to the drill field and did evolutions through the building without burning any hay. And I agree completely, you don't want to do any surprise stuff with actual flames in the building. Some of those training fires bite just as hard as the real deal. And I'm going to add a part of the training that will have us practice calling the mayday for someone else, I don't think we covered that as much as we needed to the last time we trained.
Also, did you guys publish any information on your mayday calls? I'd like to read it if its available.
I would echo Brick's comments. In addition I would emphasize the importance of handling a Mayday. Many times that is a cog in the wheel that is easily ignored but can save a life. One thing we talk about is taking control. Like Mike stated, the firefighter in trouble may or may not be calling the Mayday, but the IC needs to ask questions and keep the firefighter engaged. Some things the IC may want to ask is do you have a light? Can you see anything you recognize? Do you have wire cutters and can you use them? Simple questions like that may make all the difference in the world. However, if that firefighter is fighting for his life, get them help fast. Keep up the good work.
-We explored these comm devices several times over the years. The first time we looked at them the rep was candid in explaining that the design intent was for situations like haz mat and not interior structural firefighting.
-We looked at hem again about a year ago. Didn't notice a problem when wet but they sound like tin cans.
-Something to remember, these devices only work when the scba face piece is on the face. Remember, there is always more time spent on scene with the face piece off/not worn and therefor radio communication will be problematic again. Is everyone supposed to carry 2 radios, one for while wearing the face piece and the other for the rest of the time?
-The single largest factor to improve communications is training. Far to many firefighters are still trying to talk through the face mounted regulator, making communication poor and unintelligible. Once we instructed our members to hold the radio to the side of the scba face piece, holding the radio at the speaking diaphragm, the two vented disks on either side of the face piece, communications became clear and negated the need for any additional equipment purchase. We also encourage members to use the shoulder mic in conjunction with a radio strap. This places the mic in perfect position; the firefighter needs only to tilt his head to the side, lining up the mic and speaking diaphragm perfectly for clear easy transmission. And the mic is also positioned for easy listening.
John Wright said:
On the notion of keeping in communications with command, has anyone used the radio mounts that clip into the Scott masks? I am particularly looking at the E-Z Radiocom II or the Talk Around. I heard a rumor that these things didn't perform well when wet, but the person I was talking to could have been talking about something totally different. Thanks again for all of the great ideas, it sure makes our job easier to be able to talk shop with people around the country.
Thanks Mike. I have to agree with you, but I don't like it. I'm a "tech geek" and love gadgets, but I suppose nothing beats doing it the old fashoned way. Those would be perfect for HAZMAT calls though.