Recently my department heald training at our county's smoke house. during one of the evolutions a proby from one of the other dparments panicked while inside, the two other men on his hoseline had to DRAG him out. the team anounced the exit but didn't call a mayday, by the time they got to the door myself and other members of the rit team noticed that he was unconscious. He turned out to be ok. but do you think they were right in handling it themselfs or should they have called a mayday and let the rit come in and help... I mean isn't that why we were there?

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RIT should be called as soon as a firefighter is in trouble. Whether it is the firefighter or the firefighters partner someone should call for RIT. This ensures that help is on the way. If the situation changes that all are safe then RIT can be cancelled.
Funny you should ask this..

Video: PA Live Burn Mayday

Firefighters participating in a live burn evolution experience actual mayday call for an injured firefighter.
The sooner the better. Don't wait because your not sure. If you think you might need help you probably will. Call the mayday, maybe you needed some extra help. You could have gotten jambed up inside on the way out and started running low on air. Don't wait til its to late. And don't forget when you deploy one RIT, have another one equipped and ready to go. Better to be safe than sorry.
I agree ... it is protocol to have a RIT team set up on our department. Anything from entanglement, Lost, fall through a floor, or something falls on you. It is easier to cancel the RIT team then it is to call them when it might be too late. When a Mayday is called it is designed that all other operations stop unless they are imperative to keeping the fire under control. Then the FF who called the Mayday will be put on a separate channel so that he/she can clearly communicate what is needed and what the situation is.

Remember, Stay Safe
Kevin Hatfield
Chris is absolutely right. If the thought "should I broadcast a Mayday" or "I think I have enough air to exit" or whatever. If the thought or a thought different than the norm enters your mind. Activate your departments Mayday/RIT.

Chris makes some good points. If he would allow me to expand on his post. Does your IC have a Mayday checklist at the ICP? If not, why doesn't he? A laminated checklist should be part of his 'toolbox' at the ICP. This will ensure a smoother transition by aiding him in getting things done. Things like
1. Is EMS on scene? If so, notify them of the situation.
2. Alert dispatch of the Mayday, at the same time call for another EMS unit(s) and a second alarm. If no additional alarms are established in your area then special call additional units.
3. Check on status of an aircraft (air ambulance) once the extent of the injuries or potential injuries has been determine get an aircraft(s) heading your way. (If the firefighter in distress can't make it out of the structure under their own power OR with minimal assistance we autolift an aircraft).
4. Establish a second RIT.
5. Establish a RIT Group Supervisor.
6. Move all operations with the exception of the RIT team distressed firefighter to a alternate frequency.
7. Redirect suppress operations to SUPPORT RIT (i.e. establish a confinement zone from the distressed firefighter to the closest/most appropriate exit and maintain that route).

These are just a few of the things on our checklist. Having them on paper in front of you will ensure things are performed in a timely manner and a significant task isn't overlooked.
Not sure if a mayday would be in order in that case, in my opinion. I would announce there's a ff down and to send the RIT in and meet us on the way out. But I wouldn't call it a mayday. To me, a mayday is for when there is no help/not enough help available. Mind you, I have no experience with a mayday situation, and we haven't covered a lot of "what-ifs" in training, so my opinion could be changed. But, as of now, this is how I see it.
RIT has become a very valuble and necessary part of firefighting! But I'm am a strong believer that we as firefighters are losing our basic firefighting skills! This is a very dangerous situation! because of better building codes, better fire supression systems we do not see the fires we did 10 years ago. I work with young firefighters that have been on the job for 3, 4 and even 7 and 8 years and have not been first into a serious working fire. At the same time, my gepartment does not have a serious live fire training system in place. All of this makes a well trained RIT team invaluble at all times! But to your question, when to deploy them?? Great question! From your words, it sounds like the crew that he was with were quite well trained. They realised he was in trouble and they got him out. As far as guidelines go, i believe yes they should have called an URGENT and notified all crews they were bringing him out. This would have given the RIT team time to size it up if they were not able to get him out.
Recently my department heald training at our county's smoke house.

Can you clarify as if this was a live fire training, or just a smoke house using theatrical smoke?

during one of the evolutions a proby from one of the other dparments panicked while inside, the two other men on his hoseline had to DRAG him out.

Can you explain or do you know if the instructor was in the space with the team or know where the instructor was?



James Borsellino: "i believe yes they should have called an URGENT and notified all crews they were bringing him out. "

I agree with James here. The person panicked and an URGENT message or EMERGENCY TRAFFIC message would perhaps be more appropriate. This tells people on the scene there is a situation, but may not necessitate a RIT activation.


Some things that stick out to me is the type of training going on. Samuel, from you profile, it basically indicates you are a jr FF. Is this correct? If so, what kind of training was going on? I can see a smokehouse situation, SCBA confidence course, etc but not live fire training. Secondly, if this was training, typically an instructor is right there alongside those doing the training to ensure safety, etc. What type of smokehouse was this because most training devices/props have emergency exits/access points?
Why would you make someone who is calling a mayday go to a different tac channel? Why not have everyone else move to another tac channel?
NEVER wait to call a MAYDAY even in this situation! Using any other terminology can lead to a false sense of an emergency. It was at a training session, SO WHAT! This could of happened on the real deal. When your training and something goes wrong, CALL IT!!

Do not get complacent!! Yes I know their was other personnel inside, but there is always the what if's? Two many firefighters have lost their lives in training sessions, we should be learning from those incidents not repeating them!!
I was unfortunate enough to have to go through a mayday situation personally. During a structure fire call I went through a floor into the basement of the house on fire. I was knocked unconscious. Luckily for me there was no fire in the basement at the time. My lt. called the mayday and the RIT crew was sent in. I know from experience that you cant wait to call a mayday just to see if you can get them out yourself. Less than 5 minutes after they got me out the floors in the back room where the fire was collapsed and the basement was engulfed in flame. Luckily also after I went through the floor and they got me out the evacuation tone was sounded and all personnell left the house. In that situation if the mayday hadnt been called out immediately, myself as well as several other firefighters could have been seriously injured or killed. ( I was lucky and only had bruised ribs and a concussion from my fall.)
just to add to the mayday info
some standardized actions for lost or disoriented firefighters
1.stay calm, conserve your air supply
2. stay with your partner or crew
3. Initiate a MAYDAY
4.Activate your PASS
5. Monitor radio/ Update command (turn pass of to talk then reactivate)
6. use flashlight to signal
7. use tools or debris to alert rescuers
8.attempt to locate an exit
move toward visible light
listen for audible sounds
search walls for windows, doors, etc.
search for hose line(remember smooth bump bump to the pump)
attempt to locate a life line
9. go down steps unless in a basement or sub-floor
10. assume defensive posture
right lateral side
protect facepiece with gloves

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