Drills, Training Help Firefighters Prepare to Rescue One of Their Own
Rapid Intervention training will continue throughout the week
Rapid City, S.D. - Loud music, sirens and alarms are all part of a training being conducted this week to help Rapid City Firefighters prepare to rescue one of their own should the need arise. Under the direction of Lt. Hunter Harlan, Rapid City Firefighters are participating in Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) training this week in Rapid City.
A Rapid Intervention Team is a group of firefighters who are specifically designated to provide for the safety of firefighters at an emergency incident. The responsibilities of a Rapid Intervention Team can include ensuring easy ingress and egress for those firefighters operating inside of a building, ensuring accountability of firefighters operating inside of a hazard zone, and -if the need arises- rescue of downed or trapped firefighters. Situations in which firefighters are in need of emergency assistance are known as "mayday" situations.
Functioning as a member of RIT requires that firefighters possess a set of skills that ensure their ability to function quickly and efficiently in a mayday situation. Early in 2017, the Rapid City Fire Department placed specialized RIT equipment on all large fire apparatus. This ensures that no matter which crews is on scene and assigned to RIT, they have the proper gear to perform in that capacity. This includes operating on incidents as part of a mutual aid assignment outside of the city.
|Above: Members of Engine Co. 6 prepare for a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) assignment during a drill this week. The mission of RIT during this training is to rescue a firefighter who has become disoriented and is low on air.|
The specialized RIT pack includes an air bottle for firefighters who are low on air. Specialized quick connect fittings allow firefighters to quickly attach the full bottle to a low bottle and do so in low light, low visibility environments while wearing gloves that limit dexterity. Cutting tools, webbing and carabiners are also part of the RIT pack.
|Above: A specialized pack that can be deployed by RIT's in the event that a firefighter is in need of rescue. The air bottle inside the pack features quick connections for use in low visibility conditions with limited dexterity,|
During the week, RCFD members are taking part in lecture and discussion training activities at morning briefing. The discussion centers on procedures and policies regarding RIT as well as different theory and considerations for a Rapid Intervention assignment. Throughout the day, each on-duty crew will rotate through a drill session at a local training facility.
The drill involves a scenario in which a firefighter has become disoriented in a low light, low visibility environment, is low on air, and is in need of rescue. The RIT firefighters must navigate this environment that also includes loud music, alarms and sirens meant to increase the stress level for the rescuers and cause difficulty in communicating. Once firefighters reach the simulated victim, they must drag them back to safety. During the evolution, firefighters are closely monitored by instructors through use of a thermal imaging camera (TIC). At the completion of the drill, a discussion is held between participants and instructors to find out what went well and what can be improved for next time. Despite their hard work on the training ground this week, Rapid City Firefighters hope that their Rapid Intervention skills are never needed.
|Above: Firefighter/Paramedic Rob Thompson navigates a dark, smoky environment to search for a simulated victim during RIT drills this week.|
|Above: Engine Co. 6 is viewed during RIT drills through the use of a thermal imaging camera (TIC). The TIC detects differences in temperature and is utilized during poor visibility conditions.|
|Above: Utilizing webbing and carabiners, firefighters from RCFD Engine 6 work to extricate a simulated down firefighter during RIT drills this week.|
|Above: Students and instructors discuss the RIT drill and look for areas in which to improve on. The group also discussed items that were performed well.|
For questions or comment related to this post, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at 605-394-4180.