My department and my company were involved in a large area search drill our last shift. This was a multi- company, multi -department event in an old automotive plant in a neighboring district. I urge everyone reading this to go to Urban Firefighter Magazine, volume 1 for the whole background on this drill, the Brothers on the West side of my State came up with this after the loss of one of their own, there is your background, Drill Time!
Large area can even be the engine room, if needed. Two teams, a search and a rescue team, of two members. First team, Officer leads in both members tethered together. Tools needed, TIC, tool, and a rope bag. The rope is secure outside the door to the search area. The first guy in sweeps the area for a downed member. The officer needs to take a look at the ceiling to check the temperature of the ceiling, if it’s up about 600 degrees are we going in? In a large area, big box store, automotive plant, etc, are we dealing with a basement? Normally walking in is acceptable. Officer take your time with the camera, use it correctly.
Second in on the search team is the “mule” this member is carrying the RIT/RIC bag. the search is performed while always being aware of air management and situational awareness. Stay in constant contact with command advising your status. When the Search team finds the downed member, advise command, give a situation report, and request the second team.
When the Rescue team is activated and making their way in, the Officer moves to position the downed member for removal, the “mule” holds the downed member in a sitting position if possible.
When the rescue team arrives, the second on the rescue team moves to assist the “mule” each grabbing a shoulder strap of the downed member. The Rescue Officer, turns while maintaining contact with the rope. The #2’s of both search and rescue grab a strap of the rescue officers SCBA, with the Search officer following a keeping the rope tight, it’s time to get out. The rescue officer leads both crews out with the downed member.
This takes practice and research on preparing ourselves to do this. Please read the article on LAST in UFM. This is a taxing drill, our drill area was smoked up very well and tested our skills, it truly was a rewarding experience. Just to be clear, the rescue officer is responsible for the downed members air, obviously with his second team member. If anyone does this different or has questions, please don’t hesitate to comment. Be Safe Everyone!