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I am one of the cadre leaders for the Rapid Intervention classes being taught in my state. I have read articles lately about using equipment to remove a downed or mayday FF, for example, the air bag article on FE's web page. My question to everyone is remembering the first word "Rapid" in RIT, when does training start teaching technical rescue vs. rapid, simple techniques for removing FFs? I am not discounting using technical equipment, but RIT training should be focused on simple. quick techniques. Also, Rapid Intervention Teams may be made up of FFs with no technical rescue experience. Any department that says they do not have FFs like this has their head in the sand. The technical rescues should be left to FFs with knowlege of the systems. The RIT techniques can be easily taught to any FF. Any thoughts? Be safe

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I agree, although in my department (60 members) extrication skills at the operations level, including air bag lifits, is part of our minimum standards and annual training. In the heat of battle, FFs will do what ever it takes even if they have no idea what they are doing. When our mutual aid region revised its RIT SOG a few years ago we recommended that any time we go to a first alarm for mutual aid that the RIT consist of 1 four member engine, 1 four member truck and 1 chief with an ALS ambulance (which may be in rehab but reserved for the FFs). We also recommended that up transmission of a mayday with any member trapped or buried that our regional TRT be dispatched. With nearly 100 tech on the TRT, it is likely atleast a few will be on companies at the fire. The key wikll be to get the tools and more help quickly. That's the plan. We'll have to hope we never need it and if we do that it is sent (it will not be our dispatch that drops this ball but perhaps an IC who truly thinks the trapped member will be removed quickly).
Russ,

Great post! This has been a topic of discussion in our department and technical rescue team lately. My thoughts are this; Rapid intervention is just that, rapid. Perhaps creating a "tiered response" to firefighter intervention operations is a potential avenue of approach. That is, dispatch a rapid intervention team (comprised of an engine company or whatever apparatus your department uses). If available in your jurisdiction, assign a rescue company to working fires. Their job can be flexible, depending on the needs of the incident commander.

The Rescue Company is, therefore en route to the incident as soon as it is declared a working fire. On arrival they can be available for search and rescue, suppression, ventilation, etc. IF a MAYDAY is called then the rescue company is reassigned to become the SUSTAINED INTERVENTION part of the RIT Group.

While the RIT is deployed (immediately), the Rescue Company performs their RECON of the incident and prepares technical rescue equipment in the event the distressed firefighter is entrapped, or additional intervention is needed.

That is the summarized version. Our team is looking at implementing this soon. I would love to hear the thoughts on this potential avenue...

Scott
Scott and Drew
Great stuff! In my job, members are trained to the level that they took the initiative to go to school for. Not that we don't train, we are a Class 1 ISO job that mandates training to the nausium! I really like both the posts.
We do not have a dedicated Rescue Company. We are a 104 man job, with 5 - 1 and 1 equipped. The "Rescue" is actually an ALS ambulance. The members on the job by the most part are very highly trained. We keep the KIS princepal in RIT on purpose.
I have many friends on the FDNY, as we are close by. Many departments around here hold them to the standard, for the main reason is that they, unfortunatly, have the most experience in this subject. But my friends, who are on R-1, will remind me that General Order #1 of the Rescue companies, when they were first put in place (I believe in 1918) was for the sole purpose of rescueing down FFs. They still train to this level, so the FAST units go to work then they show up for the technical aspect of it. I would like to hear from more folks if possible. Thanks and be safe.
The city for which i work has a TRT. With this Team we treat it as any other subject with the fire service. That said we have a RIT team in place for when a Rescue is a Technical Rescue non suppression. We also believe in the 2 in 2out rule. EXAMPLE - 2 in the water with 2 RIT on shore or near by etc.This is the same with rope we prefer to over the edge not one with RIT ready to go.
We currently conduct all water rescues except SCUBA, and rope rescue and extrication.

Now as for RIT during suppression activites we dont mix the RIT and Technical Stuff via members but our department is small and we have a total of 60 members which include 12 Career. Out of the that number all career but 2 are on the TRT and we have 15 volunteers on the Team as well. So if RIT was ever called to act Im sure 1-3 members would be Technical Trained to some point. Not to get into our protocols but we understand is not as rapid as it sounds but were working on that part of our program.

W Benner
I agree with the other posters. Keeping it simple should be the goal of any firefighter as Russ alluded to; however, we must train with advanced options. Start simple and escalate the solutions, as the problem requires.

In my FD, we start with the fourth due Engine Company to serve as RIT - level1 at every fire. Their goal - in simple terms - should be to locate downed firefighters and provide air supply, by either buddy breathers or extra air pack, or RIT pack. If they can move, great, if not, they will need to identify proper resources.

With RIT level 2, we use that in "anticipation" of problematic operations or unusual occupancies. With extra engine, truck, rescue companies, EMS, and chief, they can provide protection lines, long-term air supply, and more people to search if necessary.

With RIT level 3, we add the technical rescue companies, usually in response to a collapse of some sort. With that, you get more breaking, cutting, lifting, shoring, and technical search options. We can provide numerous long-term air supply options for multiple companies who are either trapped or for companies who are working as the rescue group. We use confined space inline airlines that can either plug directly into the downed firefighter, into a RIT pack, or into the rescuer.

Simple and rapid is good 98% of the time. Complicated plans are usually complicated. BUT... we need all the tools in our toolbox for when simple will not work. Does everyone need to be technical rescue? No, but hopefully you have that resource available. What should firefighters who are not trained in tech rescue focus on? Good search techniques, discipline, and thorough knowledge of their airpack, RIT packs, and additional air supply resources in YOUR department.

Find'em and get them air. Take a deep breath. In addition, do not forget that we must keep fighting the fire, which takes discipline from companies not assigned to the RIT function.


RIT operations are nortoious for taking a LONG time. Ohio is an example of when what seemed to be a simple removal of a downed FF turned into a FF that ran out of air and died.
Rex, Great post !! do you have a tactical sheet that your department uses for Mayday acitivations ? I forsee a guidline that splits the incident and both functions can continue with limited intrerfearence....



Rex Strickland said:
I agree with the other posters. Keeping it simple should be the goal of any firefighter as Russ alluded to; however, we must train with advanced options. Start simple and escalate the solutions, as the problem requires.

In my FD, we start with the fourth due Engine Company to serve as RIT - level1 at every fire. Their goal - in simple terms - should be to locate downed firefighters and provide air supply, by either buddy breathers or extra air pack, or RIT pack. If they can move, great, if not, they will need to identify proper resources.

With RIT level 2, we use that in "anticipation" of problematic operations or unusual occupancies. With extra engine, truck, rescue companies, EMS, and chief, they can provide protection lines, long-term air supply, and more people to search if necessary.

With RIT level 3, we add the technical rescue companies, usually in response to a collapse of some sort. With that, you get more breaking, cutting, lifting, shoring, and technical search options. We can provide numerous long-term air supply options for multiple companies who are either trapped or for companies who are working as the rescue group. We use confined space inline airlines that can either plug directly into the downed firefighter, into a RIT pack, or into the rescuer.

Simple and rapid is good 98% of the time. Complicated plans are usually complicated. BUT... we need all the tools in our toolbox for when simple will not work. Does everyone need to be technical rescue? No, but hopefully you have that resource available. What should firefighters who are not trained in tech rescue focus on? Good search techniques, discipline, and thorough knowledge of their airpack, RIT packs, and additional air supply resources in YOUR department.

Find'em and get them air. Take a deep breath. In addition, do not forget that we must keep fighting the fire, which takes discipline from companies not assigned to the RIT function.


RIT operations are nortoious for taking a LONG time. Ohio is an example of when what seemed to be a simple removal of a downed FF turned into a FF that ran out of air and died.
Thanks David. RIT activations in my opinion should definately be seperate from the original attack. It is in our nature to want to help our fellow firefighters, but if everyone drops what they're doing to deal with the down FF, the fire goes on to grow, unchecked. One of the best things we can do, outside of the RIT companies searching, finding, and providing air, is to put the fire out. EVERYTHING gets better when the fire is out. It buys you time and safety. That goes with any incident, but thats another topic...

RIT group, for us, reports directly to the IC. RIT at any level does not stage, but reports directly to command (or the RIT Group Leader, a Battalion Chief from the RIT-2 assignment.) If not activated, they do a lap to size-up conditions, egress, and get locations of companies. If they can do so without getting overly committed, they can force doors as they take a lap. They also monitor our non-repeated safety channel.

I can send you some of our documentation for RIT. Fly me an e-mail at rex.strickland(AT)fairfaxcounty.gov.

Stay safe-

David Mackenzie said:
Rex, Great post !! do you have a tactical sheet that your department uses for Mayday acitivations ? I forsee a guidline that splits the incident and both functions can continue with limited intrerfearence....



Rex Strickland said:
I agree with the other posters. Keeping it simple should be the goal of any firefighter as Russ alluded to; however, we must train with advanced options. Start simple and escalate the solutions, as the problem requires.

In my FD, we start with the fourth due Engine Company to serve as RIT - level1 at every fire. Their goal - in simple terms - should be to locate downed firefighters and provide air supply, by either buddy breathers or extra air pack, or RIT pack. If they can move, great, if not, they will need to identify proper resources.

With RIT level 2, we use that in "anticipation" of problematic operations or unusual occupancies. With extra engine, truck, rescue companies, EMS, and chief, they can provide protection lines, long-term air supply, and more people to search if necessary.

With RIT level 3, we add the technical rescue companies, usually in response to a collapse of some sort. With that, you get more breaking, cutting, lifting, shoring, and technical search options. We can provide numerous long-term air supply options for multiple companies who are either trapped or for companies who are working as the rescue group. We use confined space inline airlines that can either plug directly into the downed firefighter, into a RIT pack, or into the rescuer.

Simple and rapid is good 98% of the time. Complicated plans are usually complicated. BUT... we need all the tools in our toolbox for when simple will not work. Does everyone need to be technical rescue? No, but hopefully you have that resource available. What should firefighters who are not trained in tech rescue focus on? Good search techniques, discipline, and thorough knowledge of their airpack, RIT packs, and additional air supply resources in YOUR department.

Find'em and get them air. Take a deep breath. In addition, do not forget that we must keep fighting the fire, which takes discipline from companies not assigned to the RIT function.


RIT operations are nortoious for taking a LONG time. Ohio is an example of when what seemed to be a simple removal of a downed FF turned into a FF that ran out of air and died.
This is a very real situation in today's world of cross training, and sometimes over cross training. All f/f's need to remember the basics of R.I.T. even if they are trained to a higher tech rescue standard. I think simpler is better and most people tend to over think what needs to happen especially in training and routine runs that we make.
If the RIT team can find and sustain the member, the removal can be more calculated. Providing air supply and fire protection to a downed firefighter buys time for the removal solution to be executed. I do agree, as well that we need to keep these lifesaving techniques simple, and train everyone how to use them. Pick a path, blast it open and slide through...

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