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Coffee Table Quick Tips: Vol. 2 - Issue 5

And the Captain says,..."let there be light"

When implementing a RIT-PAK during FAST/RIT training, a common response from those participating is that “the greatest obstacle is the limited dexterity of a gloved hand and low visibility environment” when trying to manipulate the compartments and applying the hose for the Universal Air Connection (UAC).

Structural glove manufacturers have made leaps with the sizing, comfort, dexterity and protection of gloves which makes for a more effective and efficient means of carrying tools/equipment on the fireground while also making it easier to perform intricate tasks such as creating knots with a gloved hand or accessing the compartments on a RIT-PAK.

With the Scott RIT-PAK III, the manufacturer has installed a "T" handle to access the cylinder valve and a ball handle to access the mask end of the PAK. These handles have improved the issue with dexterity and have also made it easier to identify in a limited visibility environment exactly what end or component you are grabbing for.

For this week’s Coffee Table Quick Tip, we are going to shed some light (NO pun intended) on a quick tip that was passed on to me from my first Engine Officer when hired with my respective department. His quick tip is both cost effective and user friendly to implement with ANY RIT-PAK, regardless of the make or model.

By adding an industrial grade penlight to the end of the 3’ low-pressure hose, it provides a means of illuminating the area of the connection for UAC on the hose as well as the working area in which you are going to connect on the downed Firefighter.

The penlight shown in the photo above is secured in place with two (2) 4” cable ties and can be turned on/activated upon arrival as FAST/RIT or when called upon to deploy once on scene.

As a recommendation, at the start of each shift or tour, while checking the RIT-PAK cylinder psi level and the PAK’s functionality, you should be ensuring that the penlight is operable as well.

Also to provide longevity of the light, the batteries for the penlight should be replaced every six (6) months when swapping out the batteries on your SCBA PASS Alarms.

AB Turenne is a 25-year veteran of the fire service and is currently the Captain of Training and Safety with a career department in Middlesex County Connecticut. As a Certified Level III Fire Service Instructor, AB's training curriculum has proven to be conducive with the operational needs of those he teaches and in turn has improved the human capital knowledge of many. A graduate from the Master of Public Administration program at Anna Maria College, AB has continued his efforts in training and education by contributing to the Fire Engineering Training Community.

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