Drill Time

Hello all I’m Drillmaster, Fire Student asked me to keep the site in drills for basic company operations. I will be putting up drills regularly to give firefighters and company officers alike, a place to grab a drill for the shift. We train everyday, we train to be our best in our chosen profession, and we train to survive! Now let’s start the show.

Expanding on mayday procedures, here is the drill:

1. The next EMS run, at the conclusion, have a firefighter tell you how he/she would call a mayday from a room that you choose inside the structure, see if the guys were paying attention to their surroundings or day dreaming.

2. Next tour on inspections or building familiarization, stop and have a member call a mayday, from an area of the structure that you’ve been through.

3. Finally, if you don’t get out of the house due to weather or whatever, pick a member, let them know this is only a drill and they aren’t being kidnapped. Put a hood over their head, turn them around twice and take them to another area of the engine house. They should have a clue where they started, see how close they are to where they end up.

4. Last on the list, Bosses are not exempt! This is a great drill to learn your skills and build company pride, if you’re in a double house, challenge the other company, losers pick up the Ice Cream for the Shift!


  • Damn Yankee says:

    Hello Drillmaster et al.
    Those are excellent suggestions for the off-guard /unsuspecting firefighter. I love it. I even do this with ‘detail firemen’ from other companies. Hey, they’re apart of my crew for the day…I shouldn’t have to defend my request.
    I have a suggestion to add to this but not get away from practicing a good/solid Mayday and maintaining good situational awareness.
    This is something I am known to do with my crew:
    While they are vision- impared, Take their Portable Radio apart (batt,antenna, switch their channel,zone etc) and put it right at their knees or where ever (thats not the challenge).
    Gloves manditory.
    What I watch for are several key behaviors.
    -Do they activate their pass First?
    -Do they yell out for help (to a nearby fireman)?
    – Do they stay calm inspite of the technical challenge?
    -Can they complete the radio assembly and (our radios have a home Zone button and an E-button) get it to a dispatch monitored channel and fire off a good mayday?

  • drillmaster2 says:

    Brother, detail guys deserve the love too. I’m all for suggestions Brother, which are top notch I might add. The drills, like all we do can be modified and run with, Have Fun Bro!

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    Damn Yankee, I’m curious about your radio comment. Do you go “on direct” when at an incident (outside of a repeater)? Or do you have unmonitored channels. I know you probably don’t have any say in it but..
    Why would you have an unmonitored channel?
    Why would the firefighter who is calling mayday have to change his channel? He might have enough things on his mind already.
    I understand the rest of it, and thank you. Good first post Drillmaster.

  • Damn Yankee says:

    anchorpoint, yes I know quite a bit out our communications system. Our system is quite large. I am in your nations capitol. We have approximately 12 Zones and numerous channels (roughly 15). If the fire is kept in house (no mutualaide) the Zone is constant, but you may be using up to 4 different channels
    -Dispatch Only (always Alpha) regardless of jurisdiction (Zone).
    -Response and Fireground (are the same channel)
    -Talkaround (because of poor 800mHz inbuilding or underground coverage)
    -Command Channel

    All of the above are for 1 fire or large incident. And with the exception of the talkaround are monitored by dispatch.
    Gee when I write all that out it sounds more confusing than it actually is.

    If I called a Mayday on just the talkaround channel, it may go unheard. I say MAY…a good Battalion Chief and RIT team will turn a radio to a talkaround channel and listen for that.

    It’s not uncommon for a team of 2 for each Firefighter to be on different channels (Fireground and Talkaround). In fact thats one of my directives if I am operating in a highrise.

    Lastly, you can see we’re using 4 of the 12 avail. channels. The others are not monitored (just open channels for a separate incident). So it is common for when giving a Mayday a firefighter may turn their channel nob to the Dispatch (Alpha)which is allways counterclockwise until it stops!, and fire off a Mayday (its guaranteed to be heard theory).

    I know you only asked for the time not how to build a clock, sorry.

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    LOL. That’s great. It does sound confusing but I guess if you work with it enough you get to know it. The partners on different channels is something we do also. Not SOP, just good practice. One final comment and I’ll leave you alone. Our Ch1 is position 1 and 15 on our radios so no matter which way you turn it you get ch1. Thanks for the info.

  • drillmaster2 says:

    Damn Yankee, building a clock is fine, that’s how we all learn. Does sound confusing to me, but I don’t have to work with it, ours is a different breed unto itself. We have 4 command channels, a mayday is called, the IC should have all companies except IC and RIT change to another command channel, again it all takes practice, with the system we have.

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