We do a lot of firefighter emergency training. At least four times a year we exercise our Firefighter Emergency Guidelines to assure they are up to date and that everyone is intimately familiar with its content. Recently we did a very basic Mayday drill that taught us a few very valuable lessons, the things we learned were somewhat outside of the established learning objectives and were so fundamental that we probably would never have designed a drill to evaluate these particular areas.
A one alarm assignment answers a reported structure fire in a multi-story commercial building (our training tower). Upon arrival, there is no evidence of a working fire and the first-due is expected to go into the investigative mode with other companies staging. Upon further investigation, the first due reports smoke on the second floor (coming from an incipient phase fire), transmits a working fire and everyone goes to work as they would in this particular situation. During the early stages of the initial fire attack, an inside facilitator and an inside safety officer instruct a company officer to go down with a medical emergency. If during this initial Mayday a crew acts in a manner that may compromise crew safety, the interior safety and facilitation crew are instructed to set-up a second Mayday to reinforce the fact that one Mayday may easily lead to multiple Maydays.
Exercise our department’s Mayday checklist
Exercise our department’s Firefighter Emergency Guidelines
Exercise our ability to respond effectively to a firefighter emergency
Place a firefighter(s) in a position to respond to their officer going down
Exercise our ability to respond to multiple Maydays
Some of our firefighters are not prepared to assume the communications role once their officer is taken out ie. Direct RIT, answer PARs, quickly and effectively operate their portable radio. NOTE, every firefighter has a portable radio on them at every incident, yet they rarely talk on them
There were questions as to when to interrupt the PAR
Some of the critical information that was communicated face to face needed to be communicated over the radio
There were questions regarding how to handle a situation where a crew is providing hose line protection for the firefighter rescue effort and one of those members on the hose line has an air emergency during the firefighter rescue effort.
Unless you can confidently answer how your organization will consistently handle the above, this is an easy drill with many benefits. This drill created several mental markers for our organization.
Let me know what you think...experiences