Hopefully we all know the answer to that question. Of course it is. As the old saying goes, "Train as if your life depends on it, because it does." Truer words have never been spoken. "Why is he bringing this up again?" you may be asking yourself. Here's the answer to your question.


Sunday morning my dept. conducted our monthly training. The training for that day was Mayday and RIT. During all of the evolutions I noticed the same mistake being made by everyone from the Chief to the lowest man. Standing up to do the search, and no physical contact with their partners.


I know this was a controlled atomosphere, it was in the station, but if we practice like this then this will be the standard for searches. This will eventually lead to our next LODD. None of us ever want to go through that.


Remember, when performing searches for victims or downed firefighters always carry some kind of tool and a flashlight. If your dept. has a thermal imager, this will be the most important tool to take in with you. It is very important to stay low and have constant contact with your partner, wheather it be physical, verbal, or with a rope tied to each firefighter. If at all possible all three. The most important is verbal. If my partner stops talking to me and I don't feel them back there, I assume the worst has happened. There will be some situations that require one firefighter to break off and do a search alone. This is where a rope is a good idea. If you have to search a small room, one firefighter will search while the other stays at the doorway. Constant verbal communication is a must in this situation.


Also remember, when doing a search, start off either going left or right and stay in that pattern. Follow a wall or, in a bigger building, the hoseline. Your hoseline is your lifeline if you become lost or disoriented. Always remember that the male end of the line points toward the fire and the female will take you back outside. If you do become lost or disoriented stay calm. If you panic you will use your air much faster. Take a deep breath and go to your happy place. Sounds kinda funny, I know, but this is what I tell my guys.


This is just a quick run down of search and rescue. If anyone else would like to add or critique be my guest. I would like to see some discussion on this, especially from the "big city" firefighters who also have other ways of doing this. This is just from a small rural volly.


TCSS Everyone!!!!

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Capt. 70-this question is a good one. And I agree that we should train like we mean it. If we laze around during training, will we do the same at the run when it matters most? More likely we might if we don't take things serious. Question, In your training did you smoke up the place, black out mask or anything like that? I remember one time going to training and as soon as you drove in to the parking lot there was a member there instructing you to get your PPE and report back. When we got back we where given a piece of paper with very limited info.-Possible structure fire, 123 street , respond.-thats not much to go by but we made due. When we got there we found a house charged with smoke coming from the eaves and they had stragtegically placed portable heaters inside the house to really make it real hot. We had to do the real deal-stretch line, search, vent. etc, etc. If you make it real, it will be great and those that didn't make training will hear about it and want to be there for the next one.

We have to stay on top of the game no matter what. Stay safe, Stay low-God Bless, Mike.
Hey Capt.
Always remember that the male end of the line points toward the fire and the female will take you back outside
I have to say that I don't think this is correct. I've always been taught, trained and experienced that the male goes to the pump and the female goes to the nozzle. Heard a nice little saying in here before: "smooth bump bump, going to the pump".

But,yes, 100%, train realistically. Your life does depend on it, as well as your partners life. Luckily we have our Chief and training personel that make sure we train realistically. We make use of radios and physical contact by grabbing the cuff of the leg.
I hate to tell you Derek, unless you use a double female adapter, it is impossible to hook the male end of the hose to the discharge. The male end of hose is mated with the female end of the nozzle.
I'm impressed that you are able to get everyone together on a Sunday morning, much less drill. Anytime we try to schedule anything on a Sunday, everyone suddenly has to repent and go to Church, (unless it's free food).
Oh for crying out loud, my bad.
I'm thinking about when holding the joined couplings in hand and feeling them to see which way to go. If I'm holding the coupling in my hands, the female coupling is in my left hand and the male is in my right hand, I would go right to get out, because the female hooks up to the discharge on the truck.
Thanks oldman
I think maybe your "Training Officer" had a Cranial/rectal problem (Head up his ass)...if we take these drills lightly then we will perform the same when the real thing comes along....We had "Mayday" training as part of our Firefighter Survival training...we did a mask confidence course and as we were exiting they threw a section of chain link fence over us and stood on it until we managed to reach our radio and call "Mayday...May...Mayday.." then they let us free....you would have been surprised at some of the people panicing and thrashing about...
If that don't make a believer out of you, I don't know what will. I gotta go get some fence. I wonder of barbed wire will be as effective?
We need to practice like we play as closely as possible...unless we're doing live fire or other training that involves real IDLH hazards. In those cases, it's acceptable to back it down a notch to prevent training LODDS.

"Realistic" live fire kills and injures firefighters. The point of training is to, well, provide training, not to injure or kill firefighters.

One other point on staying oriented during searches. Truck companies, rescue companies, and engine companies assigned to search commonly do it without a hose line. A search rope is a good way to maintain a positive connection with the outside when you don't have a hose line. You can also search much faster, get in-and-out more quickly, and cover more ground in the same amount of time if you do it without having to drag a hoseline with you. The trade-off is that you don't have the hoseline's protection if you get close to the fire or if it gets close to you.

Also, don't count on a thermal imaging camera (TIC) as an escape tool. The TIC may get you in to the victim or the fire, but it won't get you out.
Derek, please go to the junior section until we call for you. :)
practice makes perfect is not always so as you pointed out. Perfect practice makes perfect. I have also seen alot of firefighters just "train until they get it right" I have my guys "train until they can't get it wrong". I have held training sesions at my department on ropes and knots, we all hate them but there will be the one time we may need them, will you be able to tie a perfect knot that someones life will depend on?
After showing the knot being tied I have them tie the knot several times, until their comfortable with it and then I have them tie the same knot 20 more times for muscle memory, they all have ropes and knots down now.
I use the same technique on the majority of my training sessions
Ouch!!! Ha ha
That's why burn towers work a lot better over abandoned houses. They are a lot safer and more controlled. That still doesn't mean something can't go wrong but it is a lot less likely. And personally I'd rather have a hoseline with me than a rope because the rope could burn thru if the fire comes in behind you. Just a thought here that's all.

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