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Mayday calls keep getting lost in normal radio traffic. This method serves as the emergency tone to clear all radio traffic. We have found that firefighters that are trained in this method are more likely to activate their PASS after their Mayday as well. This method will get attention. Yes the PASS has been relegated to a car alarm in many departments. This must be stop. However firefighters are not accustom to hearing it on the radio. We train using the modified LUNAR report which includes assignment and air supply. For the firefighter that forgets to activate their PASS at the start of the MAYDAY dispatch will signal an emergency tone. Flimed by Ken Nolan Crash

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Replies to This Discussion

In my department if you push the orange emergency button on your radio no one else gets a word on the air until you are done. The emergency button transmits an emergency tone that everyone hears, your ID pops up on the dispatchers screen and on some other radios (newer ones). We use LUNAR and have had great success in training and fortunately never had to have it used on the fireground.

I'm not sure wehre all these lost mayday calls are occuring. I can't recall any posts on FFCC or other websites listing them. I am also unsure why this would help someone remember to activate their PASS after calling. I see nothing wrong with it but would not support this change at my department.

We did have a unique application of the mayday LUNAR. After we had completed a series of maydays drills over several days, a member went into our hose tower and the door shut. We had switched the lockset so that during the mayday drill no one could get out-they were trapped. Well, the member could not get out now. So he picked up his Nextel and called the shift with MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY THIS IS FF ____ I'M LOCKED IN THE HOSE TOWER AND CANNOT GET OUT PLEASE SOME GET ME. We call got a chuckle but at the training officer I was impressed that he remembed the procedure and followed it.
Drew, as for calls for help getting missed there tends to be a few each year and that is far to many, NY, CT and Texas to name a few. We had one in our department and the only one who heard the call for help was the dispacher. On black sunday tapes (FDNY) you can hear a firefighter or officer backing up a truck that cut off a mayday.

Is the button on the mic or on the body of the radio?

Though in the begining stages of looking at the activating the pass first and the end result of the ff activating it again. For recruit training we found when stress was added and they had to give a lunar report many forget to turn the pass on and looked for a way out. When we taught it the other way to another class the firefighters were much more likely to activate it. I think its the first thing that comes to mind. In a recent drill we found that many firefighters when truely stressed ( fall back to how they check their SCBA) If they manual active thier pass their mind kicks in durning stress. If they do not they tend to hit the reset only and when that fails they abandon the practice and start looking for a way out. All departments should conduct training using artifical stress to get a ture feel of how thing would go if they went bad!

Drew Smith said:
In my department if you push the orange emergency button on your radio no one else gets a word on the air until you are done. The emergency button transmits an emergency tone that everyone hears, your ID pops up on the dispatchers screen and on some other radios (newer ones). We use LUNAR and have had great success in training and fortunately never had to have it used on the fireground.

I'm not sure wehre all these lost mayday calls are occuring. I can't recall any posts on FFCC or other websites listing them. I am also unsure why this would help someone remember to activate their PASS after calling. I see nothing wrong with it but would not support this change at my department.

We did have a unique application of the mayday LUNAR. After we had completed a series of maydays drills over several days, a member went into our hose tower and the door shut. We had switched the lockset so that during the mayday drill no one could get out-they were trapped. Well, the member could not get out now. So he picked up his Nextel and called the shift with MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY THIS IS FF ____ I'M LOCKED IN THE HOSE TOWER AND CANNOT GET OUT PLEASE SOME GET ME. We call got a chuckle but at the training officer I was impressed that he remembed the procedure and followed it.
As for what Drew was saying about the orange button, we also have them on our radios, it is on the radio itself and truthfully with gloves on I am not sure it is an option to be pressed under mayday conditions. For us though, when it is pressed, your radio automatically switches from what ever fire ground channel you were on, over to channel 1 which is the main dispatch. And also if you radio was in "talk-around mode", which is the mode the emits a signal that is not repeated and can only be heard by radios, on or around the fire ground (aka communications does not hear these transmissions), then it will switch you back to a repeated channel. You ID pops up on the screen at communications, and things go on from there.

Not to long ago, a fellow firemen and good friend had to call a mayday as he fell through a floor at a house fire, his initial problem was that he was in talk-around mode and not everyone on the fire ground could be heard. He then switched back over to "A" mode, the repeated mode, and called his MAYDAY again and the proper people heard, and he was rescued by the RIT truck crew. I listened to the audio expecting it to be a lost FF, with his thoughts all over, it was not. He went through LUNAR properly and was as calm as expected to be in his situation. An example of both proper training as well as something to think about as to what mode to have your radios in.

Frank, you also mentioned something about PASS devices, now things I hope are different elsewhere, but here a activated PASS device on the fire ground is a common thing and is brushed off as people just not knowing how to work their equipment. Which, sadly is the case often, but if you were in the FF's position I talked about earlier this is a serious matter. This is something that he actually thought about while he was down waiting for his rescue. He thought that changing from fluttering your PASS, to constant tone, is a way to gain attention quicker which in this department's I believe to be true. Something that he thought of that I never did, just sharing it with you as another form of PASS device notification that also has its pro's and con's.
Frank, I find the PASS assisted Mayday interesting. My only concern is adding more things to do and to remember during a very stressful situation. I have listened to quite a few real Maydays and it seems that the situation or interpretation of the situation directly impacted the quality of the MAYDAY. The Mayday becomes less thorough as the severity of the situation increases. I believe in keeping it simple and repeated training so it become almost like muscle memory. Why do you feel transmiting the PASS alarm is more effective then saying MAYDAY over the radio? The PASS alarm has basically become just a nuisance on the FG. I feel addressing this problem and reinforcing the importance of PASS alarm usage will help fix this problem. The PASS alarm should mean someone in trouble, period! Do you think fixing the PASS problem would help? Radio discipline is a big problem as well. We have heard many instances when Maydays have not been heard because others are talking on the radio or because the IC was busy doing other things and not focused on what was happening on the radio. I would be curious to study this further. If the Pass assisted method is proven effective, I'm all for it.
See you at FDIC
Pat
Patrick,
We found that for the resons you state that when a PASS is heard over the radio it gets attention. Yes it has become a car alarm that is often overlooked, but we are not used to hearing it over the radio. It makes people pay attention. Something eles we found that when they are trained like this the firefighter is more likey to active it after the mayday. Don't take my word conduct a drill with added stress and have them give a mayday see how many firefighters forget to turn on the pass after. Often we do not have the right location so being able to hear the pass is critical. Next use stress then over the radio tell the firefighter to active the PASS is recent training 70% of the class reached for the wrong side of the SCBA or first went for the reset button. Firefighters do 2 things when something dos not work. Hit it harded or just forget it. This goes back to muscle memery, If they do not hit it when they check thier pack in the morning they often will not do it when they feak out. The only way to know what works best is conducting hands on training. Rember the IC must act as the air traffic controler with radio disapline and giving directions to the firefighter that needs help.

Patrick Brown said:
Frank, I find the PASS assisted Mayday interesting. My only concern is adding more things to do and to remember during a very stressful situation. I have listened to quite a few real Maydays and it seems that the situation or interpretation of the situation directly impacted the quality of the MAYDAY. The Mayday becomes less thorough as the severity of the situation increases. I believe in keeping it simple and repeated training so it become almost like muscle memory. Why do you feel transmiting the PASS alarm is more effective then saying MAYDAY over the radio? The PASS alarm has basically become just a nuisance on the FG. I feel addressing this problem and reinforcing the importance of PASS alarm usage will help fix this problem. The PASS alarm should mean someone in trouble, period! Do you think fixing the PASS problem would help? Radio discipline is a big problem as well. We have heard many instances when Maydays have not been heard because others are talking on the radio or because the IC was busy doing other things and not focused on what was happening on the radio. I would be curious to study this further. If the Pass assisted method is proven effective, I'm all for it.
See you at FDIC
Pat
In case of fire.
In sweden we do have a orginastion with a comander, a pumper, a smoke-dive-leader and two smoke-diver. This crew of three smoke-diver have a own radio channel. Are we less then this five we do not allowed to enter a smoky building.

Smoke-diver leader will be in a safe point and have one hoseline. Two radios with diffrent channels. He also are ready to get inside to help the smoke-diver in a case of emergency.

The two smoke-diver will have another hoseline. They are never allowed to drop the hose. They are not allowed to enter a building without the hose. They only have radio-contact with the smoke-diver leader.

In a emergency will the smoke-diver be calling for help thru the radio. They do also have a PASS in case if the smoke-diver will be inactivated (dont moving). They will do not aktivate the PASS manually until the radio communication fail.

The comander will have one radio with smoke-dive-channel, only for listening. He also have phone and radio with other channels.

Ambulance normally stay outside of a building in case of injury och firecrew.

Be safe
Ola

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