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Ok folks, here's my shot at trying to jumpstart things abit. I watched a webcast last week asking," How would you grade your RIT?" and started doing some thinking, scary, I know. Seriously, are we being realistic in our depts, counties, etc, on the manpower, tools, training etc, it takes to be a Pro at RIT, or, are we just going through the motions like many other basics, that we should know like the back of our hands? My dept got a better grade than the county I work in did, but, I'll save that for later on. It is all you guys!

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I honestly don't think we are taking this serious enough. My dept expects a RIT to perform, know where means of egress are, know where the crews are operating, know where the fire is etc. This isn't about standing in front with your hands in your pockets complaining about the task your company has been assigned. We surely don't have the adequate resourses available, but, the walls will come crashing down, if we add 2 or 3 companies as a RIT or rescue sector. Some thoughts Bro, Agree Disagree, it's all good.

Be Safe, glad you had a good B-day!
Jeff
Hey Jeff,
I'm sad to say that my FD does not take RIT nearly seriously enough, especially for a FD that experienced a senseless LODD 8 years ago. Some Chiefs are starting to talk seriously about "saving our own" training, so I guess we're starting to move in the right direction, but we are definitley behind the curve on this one.
Hey Jeff,

Heres my take on your question! I like the term FAST (firefighter assist and search team) because it truly stands for the purpose of those gathered with specified equipment to assist, find, rescue one of our own.(stoneage) Rapid intervention team (RIT) puts those gathered into a transfixed state of mind that if something goes wrong it needs to be done at a high rate of speed. (2010) This causes us to overlook the basics we have been taught to maintain a level of order. It is never rapid in the sense of rushing in, finding and rushing out. The stats show it takes an average 20 min just to find. The first one has a calm demeanor that translates into a common sense approach. Rapid becomes chaotic thus losing the level of order we need to peform in an efficent manor. We have brainwashed ourselves that we have these mighty powers to perform superhuman feats but in reality we do not. The fire service over the last 10 years has evolved so fast that we can not maintain an effective role when we respond and add the downsizing and layoffs we are clearly behind the eight ball. Leaders need to start looking at "THE BIG PICTURE" as to the fire suppression requirements, the need for FAST, RIT capabilities or the need for a RESCUE Co. We are all professionals, that said, all the Engines, trucks and so on mean nothing if the required training, mental and physical needs are not met. That is what puts us in the stone age, or the year 2010. Consolidation, a word so many fear, also could greatly change how FAST we come out of the stone age and move beyond 2010 !!

Stay Safe!
Dennis
Retired Captain, not by choice, but by politics!
Nothing like rattling my Brothers cages..lol.. Great stuff guys! Ian, it seems you guys are moving in the right direction, I agree it will take time and many things have improved due to the efforts of senior men and bosses that have a clue, it's up to these same folks to pass this along and keep it moving. Dennis, thanks for jumping in and I couldn't agree with you more. In my part of the midwest, I may say FAST and hear about how I pay to much attention to my east coast Brethren, I take that as a compliment. Consolidation has been talked about since I came on the job, my county has 42 separate FD's all with their own view on RIT/FAST, while it has gotten a little better, we have a long way to go and then to Nick. Nick that was truely a senseless loss of 2 outstanding Fireman, I knew one of them from riding the rescue on my off days, but we need to adopt an entire different mentality in the City and the County to protect our Brothers and Sisters, I guess it starts with us Bro!
RIT is done by one department in town they respond to all Structure calls automatically on the 2nd alarm, they are highly trained in RIT, now when they get a Structure they relie on a FAST team from the Albany county which in turn are highly trained.
RIT in my department is taken seriously. Thank god we have never had to put it into play.
However every year we have 9 mandatory subjects of which we must participate in (Career / Volunteer) Rapid Intervention is one of them. AS well we do SCBA this subject has the Pittsburgh drill as part of the Subject so as you can see RIT is covered 2x in a year and if members miss the drill and dont make up within 1 month (Volunteer) will be taken out of service, Career have no choice as the Shifts get it done.

Our RIT on the FIreground does not stand still and thrwoing ladders, conducting size-up. If for some reason members of the RIT are reassigned for a task other then RIT tasks only the Firefighters may be switched the Officer assigned to RIT see 's it through to the end.

Needless to as Jeff states : "It starts with us"
-Like many FD's across the country I think that RIT, for the most part, is not taken to seriously here. However, depending what shift is on duty, I know some guys take it more seriously than others.
-As a general rule the Heavy Rescue is assigned to RIC operations but that role may be filled by another company if the Rescue is not on scene or if the Rescue has another job to perform.
-My personal belief is that a RIC must be dispatched with the first alarm assignment and should be responding Code 3. Having the RIC respond after a fire has been confirmed or on a greater alarm is entirely to late for the RIC to provide any definitive service. Calling RIt after firefighters have been committed to an IDLH is to late; get them there ASAP.
Mike and Wayne, obviously positive steps forward, good to see! Brick agreed! I mentioned adding 2 companies on a structure assignment, these would be the first 2 off the second alarm to ensure they got there in a timely fashion. I'm not a fan of a dispatcher giving out that assignment to the last company on the card. I've been given that over the radio, only to be the second due, out of town, dropping a line to be water supply, big moneywrench, oh quick think on our feet IC. Serious is just that, I don't want someone telling my wife, they tried.
I have a few thoughts on this topic. First no one should wait on a chief officer to tell them whether or not RIT is important. If the people tasked with RIT, deem it important then treat it as such and the BCs will fall in line.
Chris, you have a valid point about four not being enough but, two is enough to start a search and gather help to extricate the victim. Remember time is of the essence. As for trapped victims we need to get in there and establish an airway and set up for a prolonged extrication. A pumper company may have to be employed as a protection line for the RIT. (2 1/2)
Jeff, you said if we start employing 2 or 3 companies as RIT the walls will come down. Think about this, if we deploy a team and they enter a structure, what then? Who's going to back them up? Does the firefight stop? If we deploy a team our dispatch immediately orders a 2nd alarm with RIT qualified companies. The fire goes out, the problems for the RIT go away, at least the time aspect.
Dennis brings up an interesting point. One thing no one has mention yet is the use of thermal imaging cameras. WHY? These are part of the new fire dept. This technology enables the user, if trained properly, to increase the find time of either a civilian or a down firefighter. I'm not sure where the 20 min. avg. came from but a lot of that time depends on the box. Is it a warehouse, a grocery store, a two and a half story or a 900 square foot house?
Not only does it start with us, it stays with us.
Our department is very fortunate to be able to send a significant number of resources to working structure fires...particularly those in single family dwellings. Interestingly we send (and almost always handle incidents with) the same number of resources (32 firefighters)...whether it be a 1500 ft2 house or a 4 story 125,000 ft2 multifamily dwelling? Could we be sending too many resources to one and not enough to the other? I think so...but that's something to talk about in another forum.

Any reported structure fire for us begins with what we call a 2-1 response (2 engines, 1 truck, b/c and medic). Mutliple calls or a report of visible flames requires dispatch to upgrade the response to a "full first" which is a total of 5 engines, 2 trucks, 1 medic, 2 b/c's and our utility (air/light) truck. The full first is almost always called before the arrival of the first unit because we usually receive multiple calls, flames are visible, or the upgrade is made by responding units.

According to our SOPs our administration has determined that we can have as many as three different "RIT" teams depending upon where we are in the time frame of the incident. Our I-RIT (Initial RIT) fulfills the 2 in - 2 out requirements of our first arriving engine company.
Our first crew whose primary role is to estabish a RIT then becomes our medic when they arrive on scene. The medic crew is suppose to bunk out (we carry SCBA on our med units) and then do a 360, secure utilities if possible, and begin gathering a cache of RIT equipment.
Finally, our "true" RIT team becomes the crew of the 3rd arriving engine company. The company officer of the third engine can keep the medic crew as part of RIT or release them to begin setting up rehab, depending upon the situation. The third due engine company is then suppose to begin doing the proactive activities such as throwing ladders to other floors / roof, forcing exit doors, etc.

On paper this all sounds great. The reality of the rapidly dynamic fireground presents challenges and different outcomes.

Although there is nothing wrong with writing down expectations and guidelines for our behavior at incidents, writing expectations or behaviors that in reality can't or won't be met is foolish...because we either inappropriately base progressive decisions and actions on falsities created by our SOPs or we routinely deviate from our SOPs which creates it's own set of problems.

First, calling the "2 out" personnel of the first engine company RIT is a not an accurate statement. The driver is almost never fully bunked out or in a condition to affect Rapid Intervention.

The purpose of dispatching our med unit should not be to bring two more firefighters to the call - instead they are there in the event that medical care is needed. Tying them up by focusing their efforts on RIT, I believe, is inappropriate. If victims are found, or one of us goes down during the initial minutes on scene then we have no one ready to assume patient care. I have seen this happen before. Compound this with the fact that many times our ambulance crews are some of the newest members of our department, who may not have the experience to look for / report appropriate conditions, or take appropriate actions (such as force doors / vent windows) as they are doing their 360. Our med units priority should be to get on scene, save a way out and be ready to provide medical care at an instants notice.

We recently moved our RIT assignment from our fourth to third due engine. This was a necessary move. Typically by the time our third engine is on scene we are in the process of committing two to three crews to IDLH conditions... either fire attack, backup line, search, or roof vent. Previously the medic crew was fulfilling the RIT duties until the 4th engine crew arrived...two (relatively inexperienced) firefighters carrying three to four crews.

RIT, just like all other fireground activities, needs to be performed rapidly and proactively...both in the setting up (being prepared) and responding to (initiating rescue). The analogy I like to make is the "hurry-up offense" in football. We should have a game plan before we arrive onscene, the team leaders briefly announces and team members acknowledge the game plan, and then get the job done.
-Charley, I think your mentioning of the TIC is interesting and many assume that it is part of the standard compliment of RIT tools. That being said, many FD's still cannot afford a TIC or more than just one TIC. In my own department, of the 60 companies and battalions in service we have only 12 TIC's on the street.
-And like many departments, we purchased them several years ago and have little if any, funding set aside for their replacement with newer, better TIC units.
-TIC's are great but they are delicate and expensive and like all technology, they are outdated the moment they are purchased.

Charley Cashen said:
I have a few thoughts on this topic. First no one should wait on a chief officer to tell them whether or not RIT is important. If the people tasked with RIT, deem it important then treat it as such and the BCs will fall in line.
Chris, you have a valid point about four not being enough but, two is enough to start a search and gather help to extricate the victim. Remember time is of the essence. As for trapped victims we need to get in there and establish an airway and set up for a prolonged extrication. A pumper company may have to be employed as a protection line for the RIT. (2 1/2)
Jeff, you said if we start employing 2 or 3 companies as RIT the walls will come down. Think about this, if we deploy a team and they enter a structure, what then? Who's going to back them up? Does the firefight stop? If we deploy a team our dispatch immediately orders a 2nd alarm with RIT qualified companies. The fire goes out, the problems for the RIT go away, at least the time aspect.
Dennis brings up an interesting point. One thing no one has mention yet is the use of thermal imaging cameras. WHY? These are part of the new fire dept. This technology enables the user, if trained properly, to increase the find time of either a civilian or a down firefighter. I'm not sure where the 20 min. avg. came from but a lot of that time depends on the box. Is it a warehouse, a grocery store, a two and a half story or a 900 square foot house?
Not only does it start with us, it stays with us.
We have a TIC on both companies, however, jump back to training, the 3 R's(thanks Ray), we lose focus. When we lose focus bad things happen. I personally feel that your first alarm is just that! Add the companies as RIC/RIT/FAST, SAFETY BATTALION, whatever, using first alarm companies will put you behind before you get started. Don't wait to deploy a team to decide, " I'm out of people" we are supposed to be proactive, then we must be just that. RIT is not the glamour job, ask alot of firefighters, but ask those of us that are commenting and understand the serious nature of this task and we'll tell those folks that we'd rather make sure a Brother or Sister gets out and goes home, than wet down even the hottest of jobs! Charley, you are correct, IT STAYS WITH US!

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