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KThis week is another retro-SOS from my original first few months. These were pictures only so now that we are broadcasting out to the FE community and in full blog mode I will add some commentary. Again, if you already saw this one I hope you get another laugh or affirmation that you are not alone in your thinking.

How many people are needed outside the building while a company is struggling to make the second or third floor with the 1st hose line? My late friend Tom Brennan said it best, “You know what we used to call RIT in my day? Having enough guys on the scene to do what we needed to do. We always had a couple units that were back up, we just didn’t call them RIT.”  The RIT concept is supposed to ensure that enough members are on the scene to initiate the rescue of a firefighter if one becomes trapped or in distress. Great concept totally carried to the extreme to early by some. When some members are assigned to RIT its like a switch is turned off and eternal flame is extinguished. You can hear it in the acknowledgement of their assignment on the radio………. The frustration is often carried over because overzealous instructor or maybe overreaching policy demands that once that assignment is given you are required to stand and wait until something bad happens. Have you ever seen a company calling for someone to help with a line and a RIT is standing right beside it and never touches it? We don’t need to do away with RIT but some need to use some common sense and remove the switch. RIT needs to help the incident commander prevent firefighters from becoming trapped and sometimes that might include humping a little hose for just a few seconds in the initial few minutes so the inside crew can apply the liquid safety (water) to the fire and prevent the need of their rescue.

RIT should build up with the incident but you can’t expect to have everything in place in the initial minutes of a fire. Please don’t let a one room fire turn into a raging inferno while you are waiting to assemble a 4 company RIT. Remember RIT doesn’t make things “safe” sound fundamentals and skilled crews operating efficiently make things safe. RIT is a backup in case something goes wrong.

Lay down thy hooks ye yard Sheppard’s and pull some hose!”

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Comment by Charley Cashen on May 22, 2014 at 8:13am

I really enjoyed this read and it click a couple of responses. First let me say I'm on a department that practices 1710. I've instructed several departments that don't. A lot of these departments have one thing in common, the people working on them want to be firefighters. RIT is a very important part of any fire scene and it has become that because incident commanders have been told they have to establish them. I think what's missed is the fact that the first in company plays the biggest role in how the scene will play out. If they decide they are going to be aggressive and go in on an interior attack, they have to remember that they will be responsible for their own rescue if they do. Little experience inside fire enviroments gets too many people in trouble. Even if the next in company is right on your tail you have to take responsibility for your actions, or inactions. If you decide to " go get it", do you know how to get back out if it decides to " get you"? My point is that I agree with you on this point but that RIT should always, very well trained, and always at the scene but never called on. 

Comment by Paul Strong on May 21, 2014 at 6:34pm

Pro-active RIT - Absolutely! Thanks for putting this out here as a reminder for us all.

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