Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, firefighter, Mayday. The firefighters Mayday goes unheard, but who should have heard it. The answer to that question is Communications, IC, and the RIT. RIT teams must realize that they are a team of Accountability, and Safety Teams.
Communications while being the RIT team is more than just communicating what you are doing, but knowing and tracking each company on the fire ground. RIT’s communications should include in their initial size-up exterior hazards such as swimming pools, septic tanks, or grilling areas that may contain propane tanks or naturally piped gas etc…RIT will communicate after size-up, there staging location; It goes further than that, RIT must communicate the need for more RIT teams, the need for more ground ladders or windows bars be removed. The RIT also needs to communicate who they are tracking on the fire ground and where. Sometimes we have those extra companies make their way into the building without command even knowing.
Size-up What is it that you really see? What exactly are you looking for? Looking at the picture provided the first thing you have to have on a good RIT is folks who understand the the smoke condition and have the fire ground experience to predict possible scenario’s of what could potentially happen. Building Construction is going to play a significant role in your Size-Up is this Legacy Construction or Modern Construction. RIT members must understand that the significant differences in the burn times between the two constructions. In dealing with Legacy construction is it Balloon, Platform construction? Are your floors ceilings and walls tongue and groove, lath and plaster or a mix of both. Knowing your district and conducting a Size-Up can help you select the right tools to have at your RIT staging point. Staging will be covered later. Size-Up is an on going process, and should be done as a team and if at all possible a four firefighter team. I like to send firefighters in pairs in different directions, you will be amazed at what you can find that still needs to be done or are done in great fashion such as the picture below.
Now in the picture above you see some ladders at the traditional 75 degree angle and some in the rescue position at ex aggerated angles 60 to 65 degress. When operating as the RIT I like to see all ladders if possible in the rescue position. You can accomplish all task on the fire ground from the rescue position, victim or firefighter rescue, venting or VES. There is never any excuses for ladders not to be thrown on buildings or in a position to be used as a make shift stretcher or bridge. The uses are endless and every piece of fire apparatus are required to have at least three.
In the picture provided it would be likely to assume that the point of entry on the Alpha side dictates that you position on the Alpha Side as the RIT; Here is where Active Listening to the radio kicks in. Fire Attack Group says they are operating in the Charlie/ Delta corner, and there is a Charlie Side Door my suggestion is to have your RIT staged on the Charlie side to do the greatest good. Why make a 100 ft run we you can make it 25. You may have to stage RIT in more than one place due to the Size and/or complexity of the structure involved. Simply put Staging for RIT should be in the place firefighters can affect the greatest good. At a minimum your RIT tools should Include: Axe, Halligan,Sledge hammer, maul, SCBA/w mask, heat rated rope, Attic, extension, and roof ladders, and a selection of pike poles. I will leave it to you to debate the merit of the equipment. This does not dismiss the need on various fire grounds i.e commerical buildings as just one for air bag systems, and hydraulic tool to be among the Cache of tools. It is up to you to forecast based off of experience, and the fire ground conditions what your tool selection should be. Can you tell someone’s family, YOU ARE SORRY, BECAUSE YOU WERE SORRY!
During the next article of the Impact RIT team we will discuss the RIT Officer!