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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That's the way to do it, especially in a volunteer dept. where training is limited and you might not cover that subject again for awhile.
LIke you mentioned, it's important to never get comfortable, even in a burn building. The city I run EMS in (career dept.) had a LODD, a capt. a few years back in a burn building at the state fire academy, he was an instructor...that was a huge reminder to everyone in the area that even the most experienced of us can perish in the "safest" training enviroments.

... your first on scene, single story residential working fire, occupied? rescue needed? defensive or offensive? exposure issues? establish command, name the incident, get more resources coming, figure out where to stage equipment, and on and on and on... you prepared for this? ...

Without getting into a lengthy story about why it's important to train as if your life depends on it... Here's some facts.

1. Adult learners require repetition to ensure competency. We just need to do the same things over and over again until it becomes second nature.

2. When adults are under stress, we most often go back to the basics, doing what we were originally trained to do in a situation. The situations we encounter don't give us a lot of extra time so we have to make snap decisions based on our training and experience.

3. When adults make decisions, they know the difference between right and wrong. We all do. When we train, we develop what some folks describe as a gut feeling. When we are in a situation that is dangerous, aside from the fight or flight issues we have to deal with (e.g. adrenaline rush), we also have to actually figure out what to do... and we always revert back to the basics, how we were taught in the very beginning which is why it is so important to keep doing things over and over again...

History of complex incidents all point toward the need to train as if your life depends on it.. because if you don't, you just might be history yourself. And... we owe it to our families, our community and ourselves to be as prepared as possible.

Failure to prepare is preparing for failure. Don't be a failure. Be prepared... How?

"Train as if your life depends on it because it does..."

Michael, if a search rope made from kevlar or other aramid fiber burns through behind you (or anywhere else) then you have a bigger problem than a typical hoseline will solve.
2. When adults are under stress, we most often go back to the basics, doing what we were originally trained to do in a situation. The situations we encounter don't give us a lot of extra time so we have to make snap decisions based on our training and experience.

It is what we refer to here as "default training."
OH WOW!!! LOL!!! It's alright Derek
I suggested that we change it from meeting night to Sunday morning due to the fact that alot of guys had to cut out after the meeting to go to work from there or had to go to work early in the morning. We took a vote for Sat. or Sun. morning and Sunday was the winner.
Thanks Captain. You made some excellent points there. Especially those last two lines.
I just completed a search and rescue evolution, still very sore! We had a "firefighter down" somewhere at the end of an uncharged line. Full turnout, airpack and mask blacked out. Follow the hose, find your firefighter and bring 'em out on your knees. I have to say we all need to practice as much as possible,as real as possible, it's no picnic in a controlled environment!
Good point I wasn't thinking of rescue rope for that purpose. Sorry.
ouch,,, that hurt jack. I'll be in my corner.
Oh, and my deepest appologies Capt.
"Never an Adult Moment"...

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