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Practice for your MAYDAY using simulations and video

"Hey kid, go out on the apparatus floor and play with the R.I.T. bag, oh and put your gloves on." Well readers that's as far  as many command level officers regardless of rank handle their MAYDAY training. Sadly, few command officers prepare themselves emotionally and tactically for handling that MAYDAY call. Whether its a firefighter out of air, sudden change in fire conditions, or partial ceiling collapse that bangs a few noggins of your members will cause moments of excitement, anxiety and lets face it, increased "puck factor" in you and those you command on the fire ground.

So whats the answer? Well, I have created my own way of preparation and would like to offer the idea to you and your departments, it involves the review of close calls and LODDs, use of simulation and also a little editing of fire ground videos and audio that are plentiful on the internet.

Below are what I consider must study events for all firefighters and each of these have many lessons learned click on the link provided for all you need for self study and sharing. Remember to review as the officer in command of these incidents and most importantly review as a witness not as a juror (DON'T JUDGE), A good reminder when reviewing any firefighter LODD or injury report.

  1. Buffalo, NY- August 2009 Two firefighters were killed in a two story mixed use Type III construction building: Buffalo LODDs
  2. Homewood, Illinois-March 2010 one firefighter and one citizen killed, and one firefighter severely burned in a flashover event in a 950 sq ft residential dwelling (if you respond as a command boss on board a fire apparatus instead of a separate vehicle this is a MUST study: Homewood LODD
  3. Bryan, Texas: February 2013 Two firefighters killed in a VFW hall, one was on initial attack line, the other as a member as the R.I.T.  Bryan LODDs & excellent FDIC class here from Chief Goldfeder Goldfeder, They are us program
  4. Kansas City, Missouri- October 2015 two firefighters killed and several others injured in a collapse of an exterior wall of a mix use occupancy the members were on the exterior when collapse occurred.: KCFD
  5. Muncie, Indiana- One firefighter killed when a collapse occurred in a modern constructed church, he was on an interior attack. Muncie LODD

Command MAYDAY check sheet:

I have an example from Prince George County Fire of a check sheet you can practice with and maybe even incorporate into your department procedures, even the most experienced bosses can remember everything, especially under the pressure of a MAYDAY.

ICS-Mayday-PGFD.pdf 

Simulation Exercises & Video Exercises

I have created several simulation exercises which focus solely on a MAYDAY situation, feel free to look at and utilize for your own training they can be found here: 

If you think a MAYDAY will not occur or you're too good and competent think again, yes preventing them from happening is the first step in prevention but that all goes out the window when an unpredictable event happens on your fire ground. You owe it to your members to be prepared!

Practice and be safe.

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