This article is the third and final in a series of learning how to effectively manage a MAYDAY situation as seen from the Rapid Intervention Team. We have previously discussed Incident Commander and company officer responsibilities, now let’s move forward and talk about the crew’s role and put it all together.
Monitor Radio Transmissions
This is a recurring responsibility at all levels within the crew. It is imperative to maintain radio discipline so we can control our situational awareness on the fireground. All members should be equipped with a portable radio that is tuned into the tactical frequency being utilized. If a mayday is called the firefighter remains on the channel the transmission came over and all other operational units must switch to another channel. This must be coordinated with the incident commander who must also clear the air and acknowledge the MAYDAY.
The conditions of the fire are either improving or deteriorating, there is no middle ground. There are what I like to call “observable results” that dictate our actions. Often times firefighters assigned to the RIC assignment would rather be actively involved with “fighting” the fire; take this time to educate newer members and reinforce information amongst veteran members on all of the functions performed on the fireground.
This can seem very boring, especially in a longer operational period. I get it. Been there and done that! This time is a valuable teaching opportunity, don’t waste it! While standing by become proactive and engaged.
Be proactive & Mission Oriented
Proactive measures can include but are not limited to throwing ladders to increase means of egress on all four sides of the structure. Remove any obstacles you may encounter such as fences, window security bars, and excessive storage near the structure.
Verify that all utilities have been secured.
Ensure a dedicated hose line is in place for the protection of our members should it be needed.
Assemble a proper tool cache appropriate to the construction and occupancy of the structure.
Maintain a constant state of readiness both physically and mentally. These are just a few examples of what can be done; while the whole time staying close to our stand by location. As usual, please refer to your individual departments SOG’s.
Why Rapid Intervention?
RIC was created after the need was recognized by the fire service to be able to rescue our own. Firefighters have become lost, disoriented, trapped and killed on numerous occasions that could have been either prevented or mitigated. Please take the due regard when participating as a member of a RIC, other peoples’ lives are at risk; they just happen to be those of our brother and sister firefighters. In my opinion there is no higher an honor than to be called upon to protect my family!
You cannot contribute anything to the ideal condition of mind and heart known as Brotherhood, however much you preach, posture, or agree, unless you live it.
Cover and Feature Photos Courtesy: Damien Danis
Part 3 of 3
Part 1 link: https://firefightertoolbox.com/managing-mayday-part-1-incident-command-priorities/
Part 2 link: https://firefightertoolbox.com/managing-mayday-part-2-ric-officer-priorities/