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Published by: bhardin4411 on Jul 02, 2013
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09/17/2013

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Most skills needed by RIT members are not complicated or technical, but for the most part, build
on the basics learned in frefghting and rescue classes. These skills can be learned in a short period
of time, but continual practice of the manual skills is essential to achieve and maintain competency.
The training should focus on specifc frefghter rescue skills and potential situations that may be
encountered. A good step to take is a review of pre-plans to identify the more complex structures
and land uses, and then use the pre-plans as possible scenarios where frefghting would be more
risky. Also, one should consider scenarios where fre is intentionally set, possibly aided by acceler-
ants or riddled with booby traps. These fres grow quickly and can trap crews faster than would be
the case in a comparable fre that occurred accidentally. One should study the lessons learned from
previous fres that caused frefghter fatalities and read published reports detailing the circumstances
surrounding these incidents.

Mentioned previously were the psychological stresses associated with frefghter rescue. It is nearly
impossible to simulate in training the stress levels associated with rescuing a downed frefghter
where one’s efforts directly affect the survivability of another member. NFPA 1043 (the standard
that governs live fre training) states that fre departments should not use live victims during training
evolutions. However, a realistic, life-size mannequin wearing turnout gear with an SCBA and a PASS
alarm that is strategically placed in a furnished training “burn building” (or an acquired structure)
provides a realistic scenario.

The Tempe Fire Department, Arizona, used an acquired structure without live fre for rapid interven-
tion training. A key element of that training was increasing the “outside stressors” such as noise (PASS
alarms, hysterical screaming, apparatus engines, chainsaws, etc.) and decreased visibility (non-toxic
smoke, “blackened” SCBA masks) among others. Tempe fre offcials indicated great success with this
training, and the frefghters left the training scenario with a greater appreciation of the pressure
conditions surrounding a mayday situation.

While basic frefghting skills need to be continually addressed and reinforced, emphasis during
Rapid Intervention Team training should be on teamwork. For the RIT to be effective, the members
must train and work together as a group. Some of the training topics that should be considered
include

USFA-TR-123/March 2003 11

• building construction;

• incident size-up;

• fre behavior and travel;

• team search techniques and problems
(including large area searches);

• use of thermal imagers;

• SCBA changeover and use of emergency
breathing support system;

• freground communications;

• accountability;

• methods of frefghter removal;

unconscious;

conscious;

• rescue scenarios;

entanglement;

foor collapse;

confned space;

above ground;

ground level;

below ground;

• self-rescue techniques;

• forcible exit;

• ladder bail out;

• rope/charged hose line slide; and;

• command of RIT operations.

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