I'm confused, maybe somebody can help explain this.  When I took my level 1 (recently) we were told roof ventilation would not increase fire intensity and on an interior entry sounding the floor while searching is what you need to do while searching in zero vis.  Was just reading testing conclusions from UL and they say none of this stuff is accurate and in some cases more dangerous then helpful.  While reading there were other techniques taught in level 1 that are contradicted and possibly dangerous or wrong.


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concentrating on the bread and butter might PREVENT you from finding yourself in a Mayday situation. We may not like to admit it but a fair amount of our Maydays are the result of bad decisions or bad judgment. (Too Gung Ho, ignoring risk vs. reward, etc.)

Having a focus on the basics and ensuring those basics are engrained before one does go interior is fine, however, there are still too many variables that can not be truly accounted for. While many MAYDAYs can be chalked up to bad decisions or judgement, there are many MAYDAY situations that stemmed from a "bread and butter" fire. There is more to a size up and looking at things and all the more imperative that even the newest probie knows what to do if things go wrong and to have options.


This is not alternative or advanced tactics in any way, but the very basics, anyone that were to go inside a fire structure should know how to call for help and those situations to call for help if they were to encounter it. In fact there have been numerous LODD and even successful MAYDAY situations where you read reports that many times a MAYDAY was called when conditions got too late or beyond control of of the FF.


There are just way too many things that can go wrong inside of a structure, even on the most "routine" or "bread and butter" fire to not account for the most important FF safety element. Even in those situations when there is a good size up, crews are collective, risk vs reward adequately addressed that things can still go wrong. Learning about and having other options is not going beyond those basics, but should be the basics.


In this case, the OP asked about using a line to search from and questioned charged or uncharged. The fact remains a search can be done without a line at all, but if it is a particular dept's protocol to use a line, then so be it. I'm not here to change those minds or to change anyone else's SOGs or protocols, I don't know nor work in their situations. I do know there are other options to consider and that is what I responded with.


Would we routinely do a window cutdown for a rescue? No. Have we rescued people from windows on multiple levels? Yes we have. Are the majority of rescues going back through the way we came? Yes they are. Would we employ the RIT to perform the cutdown? For the rescue itself, it would depend, however, if a search team is asking for it, who is to say this couldn't be a MAYDAY situation with a victim rescue? Do we teach "landmark recognition" yes we do, but we also teach and train on alternatives and options to consider.

If you're on your way out and not recognizing anything by feel, you may have gotten spun around somewhere. Don't forget to keep voice contact with other members. Just because you're spun around doesn't mean they are. It's very reassuring to hear those other voices.

Yeah true, but what do you do if you don't have that voice contact? What do you do if neither of you are sure?

If there is no voice contact with someone who has their bearings, keep trying to find the way out. If conditions worsen to the point of withdrawal or air runs low, then it is time to use whatever is available including windows. If on an upper floor there may or may not yet be a ladder to that particular window. Communication with other members via HT is key. You want and need for them to what you are doing. There could be another member right outside the room you are in who can guide you.

You are so correct in the giving of the "Mayday". The message has to go out in time for someone to help. There is NO downside to giving it early. There is NO shame in giving it and then canceling it if it turns out not to be necessary.

I teach RIT classes and one of the first things I ask the students is can you picture yourself calling a MayDay if you found yurself in trouble?  If they can't then I don't thnk they are right for the RIT crew.  How can you believe in a crew for rescuing firefighters if you don't believe in calling for help when you are in trouble?


Better to be embarassed and teased by the guys than to be dead and carried by 6 of them.  Call early for help, you can always cancel it if you manage to free yourself.  But those seconds, or minutes, you wait may mean the difference between life and death.

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