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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
Rapid Intervention Team Training
Every firefighter faces the possibility of having to rescue one of their own or having to be rescued themselves, and because of this Rapid Intervention Teams (RIT), also known as Rapid Intervention Crews (RIC), train diligently to be prepared for this type of situation. In San Bernardino County, California, firefighters from twelve agencies recently participated in a "train the trainer" Rapid Intervention training exercise. This event featured drills on various aspects of Rapid Intervention designed to give current and potential fire department trainers knowledge of rescue techniques that they can pass along to the members of their respective departments.
This all-day session was held on the grounds of the former Arrowhead Springs Resort. Once a luxurious destination for stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart and Esther Williams, this property was abandoned in 1991 and has since become the site of many fire department training exercises. The props used in the RIT training were built by the San Bernardino City Fire Department.
The course used in this training was designed and published by the state of California, according to Captain Shawn Millerick of the San Bernardino County Fire Department, and it taught firefighters techniques on how to manage their air supply, how to find downed firefighters, and how to rescue them quickly and safely. One drill involved wall breaching. Firefighters learned how to get through a wall while wearing all of their gear. Another drill taught the student instructors effective methods of maneuvering firefighters up and down stairs.
The firefighters also had to navigate through a maze built through three rooms in the dark. This drill simulated a search through a building in tight quarters with low visibility. According to Captain Josh Wilkins of the San Bernardino County Fire Department, "There's multiple obstacles, whether it be going under floors that are only 3 to 4 inches high, and our body profile is quite big, so we have to manipulate our body and our equipment around it. You can go up, down, lifting objects out of your way. You are basically adapting to the environment that you are in."
Another technique that was practiced used the Denver Prop. This drill is based upon a real-life scenario in which a sixteen-year Denver Fire Department Veteran, Mark Langvardt, was killed in the line-of-duty. In this drill, four firefighters are required to remove one a firefighter from a small hole. Of the exercise Wilkins says, "We've perfected the technique, made it very efficient, and we're able to get a downed firefighter out of a small confined space within thirty to forty seconds. Most people don't believe it's possible until they actually do it with a proper technique."
Another Rapid Intervention drill named after a fallen firefighter is the "Nance". In this scenario, eight firefighters must raise a firefighter up from below a floor, according to Captain Jack Markle of Cal Fire in the City of Highland. The Nance Drill was developed after the death of Columbus Fire Department Engineer John Nance, who was trapped in the basement of a burning commercial building.
The low profile ladder bailout was another important skill that the student instructors practiced. In this exercise, firefighters simulate crawling on the second story of a well-involved structure fire to look for an exit. They find a ladder placed at a window by the Rapid Intervention Crew, grab it and secure themselves to it. They then spin around and slide down the ladder in a controlled manner. According to Captain Wilkins, an entire crew can evacuate a burning building in seconds using this technique.
Those who participated in this training event enjoyed it, and look forward to future trainings. Captain Dave Delay praised the event and those who developed it saying, "The training is great. Everybody that's put this thing on has been real good at it, and they obviously put a lot of time and effort into it."
To watch an ice rescue training exercise involving the San Bernardino County Fire Department, click here.
Author:Barbara Brooks - FDNNTV.com
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