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My department's officers have been discussing which apparatus should respond for RIT calls into mutual aid towns. Our department has 36 members, all volunteer, and run 3 engines, 1 truck, and a heavy rescue. One of the engines has a set of spreaders, cutters, and power unit. I would just like to see what rig you would choose for mutual aid, an engine or the rescue?

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You could get away with a Rescue, if all of the stuff you need is on it. I'd bring an Engine with at least 4 working crew. You will need all of your tools, saws, rope, TIC, etc and can usually pull a hose line from the first Engine, but you might be getting it from your Engine. You also might need to throw ladders and drag an extra air pack into the building which you probably have all ready on your Engine.
Thanks for the input Larry. All of our tools needed for RIT are on the rescue except, a TIC, a hose line and ladders, but there are always hoses and ladders that can be pulled from other rigs on scene. The TIC we can grab before we leave quarters. We have a RIT bag with a 60 minute cylinder and extra mask. If we were to take the engine we would have to grab saws, search rope, and RIT bag before we head out. I think its easier to grab 1 TIC and an extra battery than to grab 2 saws, a RIT bag and a Search line bag.
As the RIT, you have to be ready to force entry to where ever the MAyday firefighter is. That could mean breaching a wall or going in second story.
In our SOG's we have a list of equipment for RIT. It includes a ladder, sizes based on size of structure. I'm not saying wait until you need a ladder to get one, but when you arrive on scene you go to a truck and grab a ladder based on the size up of the structure involved. If we ere to go with our engine we have a 26' extension and 12' roof. Doesn't really help on a three story structure, so we would be grabbing other ladders as well anyway.
I'm saying that you know where your stuff is on your rig and you will have everything that a RIT crew needs. If you are going to someone elses fire and they have what you need, take a six pac and go for it. You have less to do to get back in service.
Haha... Thanks Larry

Be Safe.

Hey Doug,

You have some good suggestions to look over so far. One thing I would add; what are the expectations of the departments you are responding to? Do you guys train with them? Are your SOG's the same? We have tried in Sacramento to create standard ops for all departments. We have had some success but we are not perfect. If you want copies of our SOG let me know and I get it to you. My e-mail is

Hope this helps!
Well that is a tuff one. When we get a call for RIT to our near by mutual aid Department we take our RESCUE it has ever thing we need on thier. As for a ladder you can get them off other engines that are on scene. I hope this helps if you need any info get a hold of me. STAY SAFE
Sean and Brad thanks for you input. Sean my department and the other area departments are all part of a organization where the fire officers from each department are represented. We just recently updated the organizations RIT SOG's, so all 8 departments that are in this organization have the same guidelines. We also run inter-department training thru this group.

Be safe

Doug, you really need to sit down with the mutual aid departments and discuss/inquire what their mindset is pertaining to RIT. Unless everyone (majority) has come to an agreement on the way RIT would be utilized on a working incident, you would have no way of knowing what their (mutual aid) expectations really are. As you said, the majority of your FD's RIT equipment is on your Heavy. Relay that info to the mutual aid departments but leave the decision to them and have the run cards reflect which vehicle they need. They may not all agree on having the Heavy respond. Devil's Advocate- If you take your engine for RIT and they have a mechanical issue with their primary pumper, you could quickly adapt and utilize your engine for fire attack....after all, "you are what the IC dictates you are" right? Just a few thoughts. Here is a RIT checklist my department has in our SOP's for RIT. The following sheet is laminated with a grease marker attached so the guys can make notes or draw a quick layout of the structure (reading the windows, knowing their district, talking to occupants, etc.) I hope this helps. In Brotherhood, Andy

*Officer= report to IC, notify RIT crew of staging location, do a
360` size-up looking for windows, exits, layout, etc.
*Firefighters= assemble tools to RIT staging area.
*Note elapsed fireground time= Alarm Time____________
RIT Arrival____________
*Know location of units in hazard zone & entry point(s).
-EQUIPMENT NEEDED (beg and borrow if needed)
*Blue staging tarp
*Stokes Basket/SKED- carry items needed in this to staging
*Thermal Imaging Camera
*Search rope(s)- life safety line at least 150’
*Irons (halligan & flathead axe)
*Denver tool/Sledge hammer
*Pike poles
*Bolt/Cable cutters
*Attic ladder/Portable ladder
*K-12 saw (metal/wood), Chain saw
*SCBA/Extra bottles (If M/A, get that FD’s pack)
Building dimensions, Occupancy, Construction type, Tactical
Mode, Collapse indicators, Ground/Aerial ladder placement,
Escape/Entry routes, Elapsed fireground time vs. fireground
progress, special hazards, review pre-fire plan if available.
-MONITOR FIRE CONDITIONS= Fire location/Smoke conditions.
-ACTION PLAN= Brief team on search type/pattern, Removal
methods, Safety concerns, SCBA air management, Assignments.
*OFFICER= Walkie, Light, TIC, Halligan
*DRIVER= Walkie, Light, LS rope, Flathead axe or Denver
*#3 F.F.= Walkie, Light, LS rope, Pike pole, Bolt cutters
*#4 F.F.= Walkie, Light, SKED, Rope, Complete SCBA
Created 01-30-06
Thanks Andy.
I stated earlier that the RIT SOG's that we had were the same as the other mutual aid departments. The include every thing from equipment to team structure. If you would like a copy of our SOG's, send me a message and I will email them to you. A couple years ago the areas mindset was to call a RIT from a noncontinuous town. The idea being that your continuous towns would be on the scene working already. That has since changed, and RIT companies are being called in earlier to incidents, but when they arrive, the rigs are still not always in the the close proximity of the structure, being that they are the four, fifth, or sixth piece to arrive. If we were to take an engine and the primary engine had mechanical issues, the RIT rig is not your first choice for taking over as the primary pumper. Normally there would be at least one if not two other engines from the department having jurisdiction over the incident that would be closer. When we revised the SOG's last year, we had discussed creating run cards, but shied away from it due to you knowing your department better than your neighbors. So each department would decide which piece of apparatus they were to respond with when called for RIT. Out of the 8 departments that are part of the organization, only 2 have rescues. All the others would respond as a RIT with an engine. My department is one of the 2 with a rescue, and thats why I asked this question.

Stay safe brothers
I would advise speaking with the other communities and get an idea of their expectations and apparatus responding. Are you the sole RIT company or part of a RIT Task Force or Group? Do you respond with a RIT Command Officer(Chief) or is your company Officer in command of the entire RIT operation? What is your FD's manpower after your RIT is gone and out of your city? If you take your Truck, is there another one available in a reasonable distance to your original response area? Is your equipment compatible with that of surrounding communites? Are you SOP's the same in regards to RIT or Fireground tactics? How many members are you committing to mutual aid request? These are all factors that must be discussed with the other communities before you decide which piece to take.

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