Saturday, March 24, 2007

RIT Team Comments, Part 1

Good thoughts on RIT teams written by Captain Russell Harris (68-A), from the Houston Area Firefighters Newsgroup, in response to a question about general advice on RIT team use at a fire. Captain Harris was part of the RIT team that found Lewis Mayo at the Mc Donald's fire. His "voice of experience" will be presented in two parts.
Steve, My personal experience in the search brought the following points to light:

  1. You must do a 360-degree walk-around of the building as soon as you are given the RIT assignment. This will give you a clear idea of where all the secondary means of egress are as well as the best point of entry. Make sure ladders are in place if needed. You may also find a better route to gain access to injured firefighters while conducting the walk-around by getting a visual of exactly where the action is taking place. The front or back door is not always the best point of entry.Let the IC know where you want to take a osition.He/she does have the right to over-rule your choice.
  2. When your RIT is activated, take a moment to talk to your crew and calm them down. You are about to enter hell and it is imperative that you have your mind right before you go.
  3. Take an attack line with you. If you have taken a position away from the command post and the IC agrees to let you assume that position, take a line with you and have it ready to go. You won't use the attack line in the same manner as you would in an initial offensive attack. It's more for the protection of the rescue crews and the victims. We needed the line to knock down a few areas so we could continue the search.
  4. The officer in charge should be the one to make the decision about what his crew takes with them. The only tools we needed were the usual tools of destruction;axes, halligan tool, etc. We had to breech a wall between the dining area and the kitchen to get to Lewis. Ropes would have been useless. We burned the hose line up so I really doubt the rope would've lasted very long.
(to be continued)

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