After a recent training evolution where we were activating the RIT team to rescue a fallen firefighter, we discussed the difficulties the teams were having with communication once they had located the fallen firefighter. One of the issues was the fallen firefighter's PASS alarm. I suggested that once the fallen firefighter is found, that the PASS alarm could be turned off in order to improve the communication flow during the rescue of the firefighter. There were mixed opinions on doing this. I searched the forums and wasn't able to find this subject. I also checked training documentation and the only thing I could find was the importance of activating the PASS when problems are encountered, but nothing on when to de-activate it.
communications, I think is a good Idea once the rescue of the firefighter done and RIT team going to leave the building. radio command ..par 2 plus fallen firefighter par3 firefighter is found, that the PASS alarm could be turned off
I have to agree, should be turned off. The Volunteer Department that I run with has a department wide R.I.T. team, for which I am the Captain of. I was tasked with setting up standard operating guidelines, The questions you posed are outlined in our guidelines. Here is a little rundown, In a Mayday event the incident commander shall notify communications that a mayday has been transmitted, expands the IMS structure to include a rescue sector advising that the officer in charge of R.I.T. is rescue command, and switch fire ground operations to an secondary channel. The downed firefighter and the R.I.T. team stay on the same channel. R.I.T. is Deployed, they stay in contact with the Rescue officer and firefighter in distress, Once the downed firefighter is located, PASS alarm is turned off, notify command that firefighter is located and give best known location. Check if breathing, if not remove immediately by most expedient means available. If firefighter is breathing, check air supply, change supply if needed, attempt to extricate firefighter to a safe area, and if firefighter must be abandoned temporarily, re-activate his/her PASS alarm, leave extra S.C.B.A. and search rope in place while team relocates to a safer position. Again , These are some of the highlighted areas of the S.O.G. Hope this helps !
Our SOP's direct RIT to turn off the PASS alarm when they find the firefighter in distress. It enhances safety through improved communications, which are guaranteed to be poor already in that situation.
If we are the individual calling the mayday, we are to activate the emergency button on our radio. This alerts dispatch that there is a problem and gives the radio priority. After we have informed command of our location, identification and problem, we are to turn on our PASS.
Well, the only way to turn our pass off is to shut down and bleed off the scba.. not an option. My department teaches the rescuee to manually operate it by turning it off and on (if he/she can). This helps rescuers to pin point where the sound is coming from. Now, resetting the rescuee's pass, once located... I am all for that.
Our RIT SOG is very similar, but we include a couple of additions.
1) If possible, RIT takes a Stokes basket (solid type) for removing the downed FF. If the downed FF is breathing, we conduct a transfill, move the downed FF into the Stokes, keep the RIT/transfill SCBA attached to the downed FF's SCBA, secure the FF and the RIT SCBA in the Stokes, then drag the downed FF out. That doubles the downed FF's air supply and eliminates the potential for at least one of the additional transfill operations that might otherwise be needed.
2) If we replace the downed FF's SCBA or conduct the transfill with a regular (non-RIT) SCBA and the donor SCBA is left in place, RIT deactivates the donor SCBA RIT before evacuating the downed FF. That prevents a second (false) MAYDAY from being transmitted simply because RIT forgot to turn off the donor PASS.
We have the MSA Firehawk 4500 SCBA's, all equipped with transfill hoses and Universal Rescue Connectors.