SAVING OUR OWN
Rapid Intervention, F.A.S.T., RIC, RIT, these terms all mean the same thing, rescuing a trapped or downed firefighter. Most of these terms and theories are fairly new (within the last 20 years) to our business. The best I can trace the theory of having a dedicated “team” to rescue its own is the FDNY’s establishment of the Rescue Company.
The point I am making here is that it really doesn’t matter what we call it, what matters is that we do it!
So what does Firefighter Rescue mean to you? I will tell you what it means to me and that is EVERYTHING. It is one thing to understand and be really good at our job. It is another to be prepared and the best at saving our own!
Does your department or company treat this function as an afterthought, a “give it to someone else” practice or,a we really don’t need this function? Let’s be honest, since I became involved in developing, training and practicing this function, my answer to the above question is yep that is just how most departments and firefighters feel.
No, I am not happy with that approach. Why?
Because it does really matter to the guy that get’s “jacked up” and his family, his friends and ultimately you! I kept a saying in my locker at the fire house and it read, in big bold letters, “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION”! Some may think this is a little harsh or setting one up for failure. Not me, it is the only mindset we can have in order to save one of our own.
I won’t bore you with statistics or video or even my own personal story of losing a friend, I will make an effort to show you that this function, is and always will be the most important to the BROTHERHOOD.
Quite frankly, we are all we have. If our leadership will not take Firefighter Rescue as THE priority then the brotherhood must make it THEIR priority. We only have to look to Houston recently to see what this really means. I saw firsthand the cost, and the rally of losing 4 good firefighters; while at the same incident they saved several others.
Why did Firefighter Rescue save some? It was because those brave men and women took it seriously and functioned with that “failure is not an option” attitude. Those folks laid it all on the line to save their brothers and sisters.
I will explore this function step by step in future articles. We will learn how to establish a policy, how to get the skillsets, how to function as a team, and how to be successful in the worst of situations. First, you must adopt an attitude that nothing in my job is more important than “everyone” goes home and that means EVERYONE!
Be safe , Be Ready and stay low!