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Beyond the Academy: Rapid Intervention Operations

Rapid Intervention skills are something we all need to be good at but hope to never use.  Rescuing a downed firefighter can be an extremely difficult task for the best-prepared firefighters.  Skills taught or refreshed in this course will enable members to “work smarter, not harder” to carry out some tasks more efficiently but also reinforce the fact that sometimes firefighters need to “work harder, not smarter” to get a fellow firefighter out alive.

Packaging Downed Firefighters – Other than in the case of a very short horizontal drag, packaging is one of the most important RIT tasks.  It is very difficult, if not impossible to move a firefighter considerable distance horizontally, up or down stairs, or out of a window without properly packaging the member.  Packaging techniques will be dependent on a given fire department’s SCBA, personal harness or lack thereof, and the environment the member is located in.  Techniques for packaging members in various positions and with different equipment types will be reviewed and practiced. 

Air Management – The most important task for a RIT company to perform is to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted supply of air to the downed member.  Historically, distressed firefighters are found with their face piece removed.  RIT personnel must be competent in putting a face piece on the downed member or switching the face piece if the RIT pack is not compatible with the member’s SCBA.   Other options for supplying air to the downed member such as the universal air connection, RIT pack low-pressure air hose, or an air cart will be reviewed and practiced.  Each member will practice these techniques in zero visibility until proficiency is obtained.

Window Removals – Often referred to as the “Denver Drill”, window removals can be extremely difficult if the proper procedures are not implemented from the beginning.  Students will have the opportunity to practice various options for removing members from a window as well as how to receive a member from a window onto a ladder. 

Through the Floor Removals – Often referred to as the  “Nance Drill”, removing a firefighter through a hole in the roof or floor is many times one of the least preferred options for removal.  Issues such as weakened flooring causing the initial fall, fire below members, etc. make this option less desirable.  In some cases this may be the only option to remove a member and RIT personnel need to be proficient.  Our instructors will present various techniques as well as when and where each is applicable.

Mechanical Advantage Systems – Using a mechanical advantage system to remove a firefighter from a window, hole, or up or down stairs may be required in a RIT setting.  This rotation will review creating a basic mechanical advantage system quickly for the RIT Company.  Pros and cons of each system will be reviewed and compared. 

Proactive Rapid Intervention – It is the belief of Brotherhood Instructors, LLC. that the best MAYDAY is the one that never happened because the fireground was properly managed to remove the likelihood of those situations occurring.  Tasks such as positioning portable ladders, removing window bars, forcing secondary means of egress, and building recon can help eliminate potentially hazardous situations before they happen.  The Conventional Forcible Entry and Power Saw Ops rotations from our Forcible Entry Operations can be added to this class to fulfill proactive RIT skills.

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