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It strikes me as being rather odd that we have all come to agree that a RIT activation requires significant resources and by in large most of us are behind the "8" ball when it comes to staffing levels to begin with, yet most agencies wait until units arrive on scene of an incident and declare it a "working" fire before they add at least one additional company to account for RIT responsibilities. Time and time again we have seen that the majority of Mayday calls come early in an incident (perhaps even before that RIT company has even been dispatched). The final thing that confuses me about this situation is that since I got into the fire service it has been preached to me that it is better to call for too many resources and have to turn them around if they aren't needed than to wait until you actually need them and then you have to play the waiting game. If anyone can help make sense of this for me I would be greatful.

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When listening to others talk I think a ton of people are not understanding the RIT concept. First, a RIT should be a supplement to your response, not a crew pulled from the initial run assignment who act as RIT. You should have it set up where you have your initial assignment (my department has 4 engines, 1 ladder, 2 medic units, and a BC on all still assignments to a residential structure) and then on top of this initial assignment you should have a separate company to perform rapid intervention.

Second, many think that the RIT should be standing right next to the IC to be ready to respond if needed. As Wes stated above there are so many other things that the RIT should be doing. It isn't only their job to respond when a ff goes down, but they are also an integral part of making the fireground a safer place so injuries and deaths to ffs are lessened.

It has been found that 80% of all ffs that go down are found and rescued by crews already working near the downed ff.
With the proper work of a proactive RIT the crews rescuing that downed ff will have an easier time removing that ff which will increase his survivability.
Well put Wes, I really enjoyed your comments. I know I did not make my points well, I am not ever advocating just hit it from the outside. My point was if you cannot satisfy 2 in/2 out and establish RIT what are you to do? Let the fire burn uncontrollably until the resources arrive. Claim you have IRIC in place with a BC and an Engineer and then abandon IC and the pump panel if things go to s*** and Mayday is called? I deserve some of the opposition because of the way I communicated my thoughts. However, I still believe in my "extreme" tactics when necessary. If you look at my Bio and new me on personnel level, you know I do care about my customers and I do teach and have taught RIT at the Fire Academy for 10 years. It is not a concept I do not believe in, I just have voiced my concerns since 1998 when OSHA crammed this down our throat and RIT became the buzzword in the fire service. I really enjoyed Vincent Dunn’s article and I have for years thought about the idea that we have oversold the RIT concept. We did the training in the department I came from and are results were no different than Phoenix, we just did not broadcast on the level Phoenix did. People will read my post and think what an idiot! However, I am willing to take my lumps for something I believe in, which is my crew before the public, just as our Military. Ray had every right to call me out to a degree, my opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my City or Fire Departmentand. I do not impose them on my people nor do they cross over to how I operate on the fire ground. We are an aggressive and excellent fire department that does interior attacks frequently. Thanks, Wes, be safe brother!
Nice post Chris, I appreciate your thoughts, for my own sake I just want to know, how many do you commit to RIT? I operated in another department and they automatically dispatched a RIT crew to working fires and they were not an immediate response crew and the staffing for the RIT was recommended at no less than three. So, they were not on the scene in immediate fashion and they were sending three to five people to establish the RIT, so what do you do as I believe the original question was posed, why does RIT receive attention so late in the game? When after significant research and "real world" simulations by some of the biggest departments in the country who have established you need a minimum of 12 to rescue one and it will take inordinate amount of time. So, I also ask how do we accomplish this and ask the questions have we oversold RIT? Were we all not trained in the academy to do rescues and self-rescues, so essentially anyone at any given time can be a RIT. In Illinois where I hailed from we also did not allow the RIT to sit around, they were required to do a 360, throw ladders, removes bars, force doors, etc. I do not know the answers, but it makes think all the time if you do use an immediate resource on scene what fire ground priority are willing to sacrifice? Thanks Brother, stay safe!
That is the thing about these forums, everything is in writing so everything can be picked apart. We appreciate the lumps you take while putting the information out there. Those lumps cause people to question, and those questions produce answers that save lives.

I don't think anyone tries to determine your knowledge or dedication based off of one comment. I think your character is reflected in the care you show for your guys, and your obviously still seeking knowledge so your dedication is apparent.

Keep up the good work.
Well, a very interesting and spirited discussion so far. I am sorry I am posting so late on this one but I just joined yesterday. Anyway, these are my thoughts. I see the issue with RIT being similar to every issue we have in fire fighting from fireground tactics to who sits where at awards dinners. We, and I include myself, tend to create issues where none really exsist. We work in a dynamic enviroment (fire) that is unforgiving at best. What worked well for me at my last fire will not consistenly prove useful for me at the next. Why? because fire itself does not change but the enviroment that I will be in next will. The humans who live, work or occupy that next structure will have a huge influence on how I can use my resources to combat the fire. So a one dimensional approach will never work. So when an exterior attack works well for one department and not for another, we banter back and forth on who is right. We see it as a one demensional problem, that be default has one answer. I am a volunteer of 21 years and have been under staffed and over staffed. I have won fires and I have lost a few. I have also lived through the loss of three brothers at one fire. At the end of it all I have made a commitment to never loose another brother in a fire. So I choose to embrace any tactic that fits best with the fire I am presented with. We do not have a magic answer for RIT, we only have each day to become better at this craft.

Enough from my soap box. Here are my practical thoughts. On a room and contents fire, a well trained hose team should achieve the upper hand before RIT can even put tools in the front yard. That quick knock down makes for a safer fire all around. On a large fire, well involved, RIT, has a very involved role. They are working to throw ladders if needed, conducting 360s to determine interior teams locations, making suggestions that would improve interior teams conditions. So for me RIT is matched with the fire. Big fire, RIT is a very intregal part of the scene. On a small room and contents, RIT is not my first thought, more than a well trained and decisive hose team. A rescue of a civilian will take a prioriity on the fireground but not to the exlcusion of all other assignments. A rescue, although riddled with emotion, is another assignment that must fit into my overall tactical plan, when it does not fit, I re-write the plan. Again, fire , is dynamic so my tactics must be fluid but consistent. A consistent evaluation of fireground priorities makes for better decisions.

Words of wisdom
I am getting in this discussion a little late in the game also. I agree with most of what eveybody is saying. As I see it, the first issue is that the majority of the fire service does not make the RIT a priority. Our main focus is on the fire and putting it out. Assigning a crew as the RIT is secondary. And by secondary, I mean the assignment isn't important. As Kelby stated, giving the assignment is an afterthought. It is something that must be done eventually, but isn't made a priority. We put alot of effort into placing our engines, assigning attack crews, ventilation crews, pulling the right line, using good strategy and tactics, etc. How much thought is really put into the RIT?

The second issue is that the crew assigned as the RIT does not take it as a serious assignment. It may be viewed as a "do nothing, crap job". It means that you won't get to do anything fun. Stage tools? Soften the structure? Place ladders? That isn't what we came to do. They are forgetting the importance of the assignment. Most firefighters in my department don't take the RIT assignment seriously. Some of the older guys who want to coast along ask for the assignment so they can "rest". Others stage a few tools and don't pay attention to the structure, what the fire is doing, where the interior crew is, etc.

My guess is that almost everyone who is a member of the Fire Engineering Community takes a RIT assignment seriously and knows the consequences if they don't. It is up to us to remind our fellow firefighters (including chief officers) about the importance of RIT and provide needed training.

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