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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Respond the way you train and train the way you respond.
remember smooth bump bump headed to the pump
No problem - I didn't make my assumptions clear, either.

We only use purpose-made kevlar search ropes. They work very well for their intended purpose.
lol No need to apologize Derek!!!
that's exactly right Jeff!!!
yes it's very important to train like it's the really deal. you know how each other will hold up and you will be able to learn and inprove on the stuff you need to.
Well since I've been out of the fire service for about 10 years I'm still trying to get used to the idea of "rescue specific" rope and all the new things that have come about lol. I can't believe so much has changed in 10 years.
Michael, I have 35 years in, I'm a training chief, and I still can't believe all of the changes in the past 10 years, either.

It's a full-time job just re-writing our training programs to keep up.
I have some great help from my captain and some of our line officers and firefighters, or I'd never get it all done.
I have always heard that practice makes perfect. But as these in the main story were practicing wrong things happened. So I like to tell people the perfect practice makes perfect. If we practice wrong and don't learn from it we will do it wrong ALL the time.

Be trainable and stay safe out there,
"work hard, but play even harder"
I was a volunteer for about 6 or 7 years before I got hired by a larger fd. But when I went through that academy, we had a saying "train as you fight, fight as you train". This was the motto and it was ingrained into me. What we do in training is what we will do in the field. If you aren't going to train for the real thing, why not just take a field trip somewhere our next training night? Because either way, your not really training.

Some others before me mentioned the "bumps bumps to the pumps". This about it if you follow that line all the way out, it will take you straight to the pump panel. As a side note, a good drill is to take a few different lengths of attack hose and put them into a room (maybe even throw a wye with two more lines of it). Have each member go in on the line, get through the chairs and whatever else you have to throw on top of the hose and have them find the wye. Once they get to the wye, have one line open and the other closed, have them proceed to follow the "charged" line to the pipe. Is the pipe open or closed? I'm sure you can get creative with this drill.

Also, in some departments you can't rely on a partner to be by your side. You have have maintain contact through portable radios. That's a whole other topic, ves and oriented vs traditional searches. I prefer oriented myself. I hope this helps.

Just remember....train as you fight, fight as you train.
I noticed you talk about your partner saying at the door. This is a good practice. I'm not so sure about the rope with all the objects it can be caught up on. You can also us this method of "leap frogging" for rooms within room and multiple spaces. It's like leaving bread crumbs. The main issue is communicating. Firefighters tend to run off at the mouth around the kitchen table but put half of them in an situation like this and they clam up. They all need to communicate and do it in a clear, loud, way. How about throwing ladders and performing VES? Sound the floor, get in the room, make a good search (be sure to shut the door) and meet up with your partner in the hallway. If your department has the man power, put someone on that ladder with a hand light. The ideas are endless!

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