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What are the top survival skills taught by your department to all of your members? I have been advocating the following as MUST KNOW skills for all firefighters for a while now and am curious to see if anyone is adding to this list or doing anything more. Attached is a Fire Engineering Company Drill I wrote on this topic for your use.

Top 10 Survival Skills

1. Don SCBA in 60 sec or Less
2. Activate/Reset PASS devices
3. Emergency SCBA check procedures
4. Low Profile or SCBA dumping
5. Alternative air supply
6. Wire entanglement
7. MAYDAY procedures
8. Handcuff knot
9. Wall Breeching/Escapes
10. Self-Rescue Techniques

Take a look at the handout for some background and suggested performance levels.

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Replies to This Discussion

The list is swell but I need to expound on one of the items; Mayday Procedures. We just started doing the mayday program that was supplied to all of us by the National Fire Academy and some of their partners. My friends, I am here to tell you that this is some of the most well recieved and powerful training we have offered in some time. Our members are again fired-up about the job and about being safe. If you have the program and have not gotten around to it I urge you to do so...It is fantastic!
We include all on the list in basic entry training and work them into our two-year company drill rotation. I would echo Al's comments on the mayday drill. It is amazing what happens when you do the drill, and its under controlled circumstances. When we critique the events and ask how things would go in the real world, most guys state they would probable have died if they got trapped before doing the drill.
We do all of the above. Thanks to the Hanover VA, FD who built us an awesome firefighter rescue / survival prop we have a great training prop. All of our guys are required to do an SCBA reduced profile / entanglment drill each month. However, our biggest and most popular is the Line of Duty Death report we do each month and we just started doing serious training on cirtical fireground decsion making and fireground factors that cause us to deviate from our "standard practices". We also have an all inclusive Firefighter Emergency SOP that we practice during all live fire training. One final topic / issue is controlling communications with our companies and mutual aid companies during the mayday.
Good morning everyone,

We just finished doing a 3 day Firefighter survival class for our guys at Miami Dade Fire, it was an 8 hour class each day, so we could get guys from all 3 shifts. We broke it down into 4 stations:

1. Nance & Denver drill
2. Wire entanglements, going over, under & through & SCBA emergencies
3. Wall breaching& following the coupling out & Room orientation
4. Ladder & Window bailouts

The class was so well received that were going to do it again soon as well as start teaching this class to our Recruit classes.
Nice rotation Michael, do you have any lesson plans or skills sheets you would like to share here?
Hey Brent, we'll work to get some things posted here and in a couple of other new groups we are working on. There are many groups who can come help you on this, lots of great resources we can share. Let's help Brent out everyone!
Thanks Drew, keep up the great work. How often in the 2 year rotation are these skills covered?
Thanks Al, sounds like we could use an infomercial at the May 8th class. Can we see about getting copies of the programs for everyone who doesnt have it, I hear there;s another backlog on these
We have done the MayDay drill annualy with one of the other skills (RIT, Nance, Denver, etc.) done every six to nine months.
Hey Forest,

I Do have lesson plans as well as pictures from the drill. Send me an email to my personal account and remind me and I will send you some stuff, I am new to this site and not sure how to attach stuff here.

Looking forward to hearing from you. You going to be at FDIC ?
Hey Brent,

Hit me up at my personal account and I will give you info on putting together the prop and all the info we use for the class.

I see Wire Entanglements as probally the most important of Survival skills. Once a firefighter is entangled several additional skills will be called upon. SCBA emergency procedures, Activate PASS device, and May Day procedures. The threat of this entanglement in a hostile enviornment is much higher with the increased use of telecommunication cables and flexible ductwork. The threat also exists in public hallways of commercial buildings, hotels and multiple dwellings due to ceiling gridwork and whats above it. Disentanglement drills are an effective way to introdure the hazard and ways to overcome it, however firefighters MUST also carry a suitable cutting device. Our standard tools will not overcome this hazard. Some of the other survival skills listed such as Handcuff knot will be done by other firefighters for the trapped firefighter. Donning an SCBA in 60 seconds I do not believe is a survival skill, it is a response skill. I have always made it a point to train my new firefighter on wall breech day one in the company.


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