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What is your departments Mayday policy and does your department train on it? After conducting several drills in different departments I found that many command officers, even some great ones are not prepared to answer the call. We must add this training into our smoke house training and have command manage the mayday. Often firefighters do not include all the info we need as the RIT team the, IC must switch other units to another channel. Have someone else either command the fire or the rescue. We must train on this.
We must call for help early enough, it is better to be made fun of at the kitchen table then to have everybody say what a great firefighter you were at your funeral. If you wait to call your will just be screaming for help, hindering the very people trying to save you. Check out video of trapped firefighter from my department who waited too long. Note I do not throw rocks, we all make mistakes and it is how we recover that makes us good firefighters. Any post of mine is to simply say train to avoid getting jammed up, train to be prepared if something goes wrong and any rock throwing is just to remind us that we can all do better.

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I have a couple of SOG's that are related. The first is Calling the Mayday, which sets the perameters for when and how it is done. The second is Firefighter Safety and Survival which guides the FF through the steps of what to do to maximize there survivability while waiting for RIT. I have these electronically, if anyone would like them. They are in word format, so they can be modified easily. If anyone would like them, just message me. EGH-PFB
I will do my best to get them on here today. We are in the process of updating, writing, and re-writing ALL of our SOP's, so I have them on several topics if anyone need any others. EGH-PFB
Here are three SOG's that we have regarding RIT. EGH-PFB
The most important point to consider is the fact that we must be able to teach firefighters to recognize changing conditions that they will face during a job. Our PPE has allowed us to penetrate further into an unsafe environment while, at times, masking the ability for us to recognize that things are going bad. At this point the mayday is too late. At the command level this scenario is a nightmare. The transmission of a Mayday is an incident commanders worst fear realized. We play catch-up ninety percent of the time at a job and it's the ability to adapt and overcome that separates the good departments from those that are less prepared. Our lives depend on preparation and training.
How can you try and place the blame on technological advancements in gear and a firefighter's ability to recognize condition changes? The real culprit is the construction methods that are readily accepted by government today. Glue and plastic construction methods kill firefighters. Government Representatives do not mind killing firefighters to pad their pockets with millions of dollars from lobbyist from various building organizations. Don't blame the fact that a structure can go from cold smoke conditions to flashover in a matter of seconds on anything but that. Start with changes in the bulding codes, and Officer training on Strategy and Tactics, then you will see a reduction in LODD's for our firefighters. Some of these Officers are still employing the same strategies and tactics that were used when structures were stick built. Don't blame PPE manufacturers for keeping up with the times. Advance the Officer training to keep up.
We do train on our Mayday policy. We are in the process of RIT drills this month. Our policy states that the communications center automatically strikes a second alarm upon receipt of a Mayday. All units switch to another Tac channel with the exception of RIT and the one's being rescued. My concern is that the typical RIT consists of a 3-4 man crew. That just won't cut it in most situations. If any of you have doubt how many FF's should be on a RIT....take Crawfords rapid intervention combat drills at FDIC. Great class.
Your point is one that cannot be over-emphasized. It is imperative that we all take an active role in assuring out personal safety on the fireground. This is not a point to be taken lightly. Entrusting our own personal safety entirely to anyone else regardless of rank or experience is a recipe for disaster. That being said, every opportunity must be seized to educate members to be constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the atmosphere in which they are operating-this is a lesson that actually can be applied to any of the responses we undertake routinely, but is especially important on the fireground. All members need to remain engaged in the active effort of constant size up of how the operation we are currently engaged in is progressing, and are our actions having an effect/ little effect/ or no effect on the problem? Doing all we can to avoid mayday situations from developing through education and experience prior to the alarm should be implicit in any formal mayday response plan.
Mayday Mayday Mayday FF Gavin, E41 down approx or exact or things you see around you, location. You can replace the down with whatever but that is pretty much the standard. Our Main problem is the pass device built into our scott packs. If you are standing outside the building they want your air off as not to sound the alarm. My problem is that if your told to "go" you may have forgotten you tuned your air off. We are in the process of getting most of the companies in the city RIT trained, I am on one, we do not yet have a SOP on it and some people have missed the training. Should that put you out of service as a rit team ?
FDNY has recently started doing accountability checks via handi-talkie at our jobs. It is working but, there are some bugs to be worked out. Having done alot of teaching in Pennsylvania, I like the "PAR" checks I have seen them do. Every 10 minutes, short and to the point. How about this as a topic, we all have been discussing handling the "MayDay", what about preventing the "MayDay". There are things that we can do as FAST / RIT teams to help prevent situations from becoming MayDays. Had a good job the other night. My Outside Vent man was conducting VES. The FAST Officer noticed conditions changing on the floor my guy was operating on and notified the IC and the OVM. I have noticed alot of guys downplay the FAST / RIT role because they feel they are "missing out on the job". Look at the last week or so, more guys are getting jammed up in fires. We need to get this point out to the brothers so that we become more "proactive " to the situations at hand.
THANK YOU Mr. Gregory for putting it out there that EVERYONE is responsible for monitoring conditions inside and out. I am very glad that you also used the term proactive. More people need to realize that our job is "fluid" because it is constantly changing. We have to make our strategies and tactics just as flexible as our work. Regardless of how much we train to try and prevent a Mayday from happening, there will always be obstacles that make it impossible to completely avoid it happening. We cannot instill a false sense of security in our firefighters that if they follow our training and guidelines that a Mayday situation will not come about. In addition to training on how to operate safely, we have to stress the importance on the proper actions to take when a situation arises. Thank you again Mr. Gregory for being a forward thinker and stressing the importance of being proactive and helping to mitigate a Mayday BEFORE it happens. EGH-PFB
Nice to see there is a group of us on the same page. Look at the latest craze in "bailout systems". Are they good? Yes . Are they a cure all? Some will say so. Whatever happened to administering basics and I will say it once again "proactivity" We are in the age of the "educated firefighter" yet, I watch some of my bs and ms degree brothers do some stuff that boggles the mind. My own volunteer dept is guilty along with many others of having 10 interior guys with 25 exterior guys watching the show. What about portables, what about properly positioned handlines and supply lines? If we even covered 2 exposures with portables, it is 2 more means of egress. And they are proactive means, not last ditch efforts to save a guy at a window needing assistance.
FYI, Mr Gregory is my Dad. I think he even prefers to be called by his name. We are brothers so my name is Mark ..Take care and be safe.
Amen. You are correct. We have an all inclusive Firefighter Emergency SOP that we practice. However, we are now trying to really focus on critical fireground decision making. We constantly try to get our guys to look at the big picture and make decisions that will keep us out of trouble based on the available info. at the time. To sum it up:

Our first priority is to keep our guys from getting into bad situations. Next we get our IC and RIC to be proactive on the fireground and do what they can do to build in safety precautions / pre firefighter emergency actions . We then must train on how to react if / when things go bad. Finally let’s not forget we MUST study and pass on what we learn from bad situations and close calls.


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