In my previous article, Rescuing the Trapped Firefighter Part 2 ,we discussed four essential components to the firefighter rescue. This article will wrap up my series and it will discuss the skill sets needed to bring this all together.
The first set of skills we need to be effective at rescuing one of our own, is teamwork! We must be able to function in a coordinated manor as a team. If we do not have the team mentality then our ability to bail out a brother or sister in trouble will be significantly limited. Each member of the team must have a set of responsibilities when faced with deployment to rescue one of us.
The following is a list of skills and activities that a firefighter rescue team must possess:
Forcible entry and wall breach systems and techniques
Search- a clear understanding of how to conduct a search for a downed FF
Utilization of Thermal Imaging equipment and techniques
Utilization of a search line or system
Downed Firefighter assessment skills
Conversion of the SCBA straps to a harness
Lowering or raising systems and techniques for downed Firefighters
Downed Firefighter carry and drag methods
SCBA replacement or supplement system usage
Four Stages of FF Rescue
The listed skillsets are meant as an initial guide to what it takes to be effective at locating, assessing and removing a downed firefighter. As we move forward in the learning curve, we will dig into each skillset and how it relates specifically to getting one of us out of a world of hurt. Each skill must be practiced in the toughest of training conditions. Those conditions are what you will encounter if faced with the real deal.
Firefighter rescue is conducted in four stages:
Each of these stages are intense, require thorough training and are necessary in order for us to be even remotely successful. In order for us to begin to function as a team we must understand the need to be fully prepared for “rapid” deployment. That means ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Each member of our rescue team must have a predetermined and assigned function within the team. Those assignment can be based on the four functions.
The locate function is the primary search person on the team. The assessment is conducted by the by the primary search person or another team member.
The maintain function is assigned to the RIT/RIC pack person and removal is the responsibility of 2 members. Each of these functions must be practiced and assigned before we must deploy.
Once the “crap” hits the fan there is no time to talk about what each team member needs to do. It must be automatic and quickly executed.
In the next article we will dig deeper into each stage of deployment. Until then, be safe, stay low and keep learning!