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What is a Rapid Intervention Team?

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  • What is a Rapid Intervention Team?

    Sorry guys this may be silly, I have heard this term alot on here, but I do not know what one is, what is it? I have been a volunteer fire fighter for two years and my department does not have one unless they call it something else which I doubt since I am one of the interior attack fire fighters. Someone please explain it to me if you have a minute, Thanks.

  • #2
    I help you out, although I am sure there are other people who will be more knowledgeable.

    You may have heard the term FAST company as well, that is the term FDNY uses.

    Basically the concept of RIT is to have a company of firefighters,(Company can be defined however you want, but usually 3 to 4 members), standing by at an incident(structure fire, gas leak,etc) to assist firefighters who may become injured, trapped, etc.

    There are probably as many variations to how a RIT company will perform as there are people in this forum. Most of how a RIT co will perform can be decided in your fd's SOPs. The trend is for the company to be stationed near or at the IC's location to assist him with radio monitoring.(another recommendation is to have the company ensure that there are ground ladders to all sides of the building. This provides for rapid escape from the building whens all goes bad). The team should have an assortment of hand tools with them to assist in any task they may be assigned. Search ropes, spares SCBAs, spare cylinders, power saws are items that are also recommended, depending on which article or person you listen to. Again it comes to to what works for your FD. The key word here is RAPID. You do not want them carrying so much stuff, that when it comes time to do the job they can't move quickly.

    I am sure there are mony more things that I have not covered, and I am by no means an expert on the subject. The idea goes hand in hand with the 2 in/ 2 out concept, just on a larger scale.

    You can check out most of the trade journals, as they have covered this topic very well. (Firehouse, Fire Engineering)

    Hope this helps,


    In Memory of those who have passed before us, may their loss not be in vain........

    [email protected]

    [This message has been edited by hfdfao (edited 02-27-2001).]


    • #3
      I've been around the fire service for many years and my thought is that new terms for old procedures are coined every day. I think of Rapid Intervention as being what we've called a back-up crew(s). In fact I think I like a back-up crew better as these firefighters have a charged line, are in full gear, have a leader/officer with a radio, and are truley ready to go into action.

      If a Rapid Intervention team has a larger scope, lines up ladders, saws, fans, etc. and stages away from the core fire I personally have a problem with this. If we run into a problem with the interior attack we need instant action. The back-up team(s) clearly know why they are staged where they are and do not need permission from several layers of command to spring into action.

      I know; perhaps the "old dog" can't learn new tricks but when I read about two firefighters dieing during a flashover(just read this)and A RI team was available, with a hose line, but couldn't get radio approval to act, I can't help but question the new procedures.

      Let's hear from the supporters, perhaps an "old dog" can learn new tricks.

      Dept. Chief Gilbert


      • #4
        A short time ago I too questioned RIT vs Back-up crews. I found that this was due to a limited knowledge on RIT. I recently completed a RIT course. A very educational and eye-opening experience. I now look at RIT as a much needed "company" at emergency incidents. RIT is intended to be a group of specially trained, dedcated, and knowledgeable FF's. This group of men and women are there when the bad gets worse. They have the tools, training, and operational experience to help downed or trapped interior FF's quickly and efficiently. Back-up crews still have a much needed place on the fireground as well. Back-up crews have a set of SOG's they operate under and RIT does as well. In the course, they stressed the importance of also assigning a company officer to RIT. In this course they did not indicate the need to wait for IC approval in order to activate the team. If they see the situation is changing they are immdediately put into operation based on set SOG's and the RIT Officer. There are some recommended SOG's for RIT but it is left up to indivdual departments for final decision in RIT use on the fireground. I now see and appreciate the need for such a team.


        • #5
          RIT vs Backup:

          A properly trained, equipped, and developed RIT will be prepared to deploy anywhere on the fireground. According to most SOP's, a backup company is restricted to a particular geographic area of an incident. If the RIT SOP's are well thought out, there should be no delay in deployment when an emergency (firefighter rescue) arises. If the RIT needs to deploy immediately, the RIT leader notifies the IC of the action he/she is taking to mitigate the situation.


          • #6
            here is a web site that will explain what our group, the abbet-rit group(allegheny beaver butler emergency team) in southwestern pa does


            hope it help
            asst.chief k smith

            [This message has been edited by chief462 (edited 03-03-2001).]


            • #7
              Two years ago, one of our members decided to start our own RIT. There were already two others in the county but spread out far enough to show a need for more. We joined efforts with a neighboring company and got quite a few members right from the start.

              We drilled for almost a full year before we felt we were ready to put ourselves in what would certainly be some very dangerous positions. Needless to say, some of the original members bowed out as the drills became more and more demanding.

              Some of the specialties we drilled were numerous carries, a good knowledge of ropes and knots, ladder techniques, and most of all, teamwork.

              Each one of our teams consists of four or five members depending on our response numbers. That team will not enter the building unless there are at least two members outside to back them up. On most occaisions there is the team captain that will enter the building first carrying with him the rescue rope the other members are tied in to. On a perfect call, there will be four other team members in the house that can work in groups of two during the initial search. Every team member carries a radio. The second man in line will carry the thermal imaging camera and the other members will each have a tool depending on the situation.

              There will be a FAST team commander who remains at the command post as well as a Safety officer equipped with a stopwatch. At five minute intervals, the team captain is informed of how long the team has been in the building.

              As far as equipment and staging goes:
              Our SOP's have us staging as close to the scene as possible without hindering the fireground Ops that are already taking place. We have a tarp that is laid out and a list of items to be placed on it. IE: Spare bottles, power tools, hand tools etc. While the team is setting up, the safety officer will take a quick walk around the structure noting all possible escape routes and builing conditions, passing this info on to the team captain. The team captain meanwhile, has his four members in line, the rescue rope tied off outside if possible, and is in full scba. When the call to enter the building arrives, all that needs to be done is to put the masks on and the team is in action.

              We have run into our share of doubters in the past. Change is always something hard to accept. But with patience, we have convinced many of the surrounding chiefs that having a FAST team on location is a good safety measure. We accomplished this by inviting most of them to see us drill. One big misconception among the doubters would seem to be that this FAST team would show up on scene and take over the show. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our sole job at the call is to cover the commander for the 2 in 2 out law, and be prepared if a fellow firefighter were to go down.

              We have yet to be put in that position and I hope we never are. But we will be prepared if it does.
              On a side note, alot of the things we drill as far as knots, carries, and advanced firematics DO come in handy as a first responder as well.


              • #8
                An RIT is a group of firefighters, with the knowledge, training, tools and motivation to handle the rescue of our own. Check NFPA 1500 for the criteria but I must say that it is very vague. If you are interested I have a few models available because I have started designed a training class.


                • #9
                  After reading the replies one sticks out in my mind the most. The reply about the FF's killed in a flashover and the lack of te RIT response. First of all if it was a true flash over and those FF's took the brunt of it there was nothing any RIT team was going to do except a recovery of some fireman sad to say but thats the way it goes.
                  On the other hand if an RIT team knows there is trouble wich they should because it is their job to moniter the scene, radio ext.. for any problems, then those aren't the right fireman to be coming to get me. An Rit team should have the training to react to a situation with out somebody haveing to tell them to go.
                  As far as back up teams we still need them event thought we have our RIT team. The intial crew and the back up crew are the first line to prevent the need of the Rit team, because if things start to go to s--t
                  its nice to have that second crew to bring things back in to control.


                  • #10
                    In Orange County California, that operational function is called a RIC (Rapid Intervention Crew). Its duties and responsibilities are very much the same as "2 in/2 out" yet, should not be considered exactly the same, because "2 in/2 out" is a Federal mandate for first arriving fire attack companies to insure early fireground safety.

                    A RIT or RIC, is usually put into place sometime after the first arriving attack companies are working. Their only responsiblity is the safety and well being of the firefighters operating within a hazardous zone. They are not to be used for other supression activities nor for rescue of occupants/vicitms. They need to be placed in a strategic position to be able to monitor the interior firefighters, structural conditions, changing conditions inside a structure. On large fires, it is prudent to place RIT/RIC in "points of entry" where significant activity is going on. RIT/RIC SOPs go hand in hand with Accountability SOPs.

                    There certainly are a lot of different ideas of how to impliment RIT/RIC and the interchangeability of RIT/RIC with "2 in/2 out". But remember this...one is a Federal mandate, the other is an operational safety net.

                    This is just an opinion and others might have differing views.

                    PS - I recently rewrote the "2in/2 out"/RIC SOP for out department.


                    • #11
                      A RIT, or RIC whichever you care to call it, crew or team, is an emergency safety device. A true RIT team should NEVER, NEVER, be used to gopher equipment like ladders, fans, and other tools for suppression crews. If your RIT team is in 4 different places gathering tools for someone else when a brother goes down they are ineffective. Now I understand that my position in a career dept. makes it sound easier due to always haveing a crew available. But even if you have to call in help, designate that crew for just that, If you only have one safety tool to use, this is the one.


                      • #12
                        One of the perks of working at a paid dept. is having the manpower needed to do the job fast and safe. The problem is, as far as the RIC team is concerned, the lack of specialized training required to do an effeective firefighter rescue. Simply having a team standing by with all the tools at the ready is not enough. The crew needs to be aware of the whole operation. They need to know how many are inside, what side of the building they could(or should) be on, how big are they? Does your team have the strength to pull your biggest brother out? Could an effective rescue be performed with a regular crew? If not, The RIC team leader needs command to add more manpower to the team. Does the team know how to use the tools they chose? These questions need to be answered before the time comes to activate a rescue.



                        • #13
                          I feel there is no way you can compare a Back-up crew to a RIT team. Back up teams do just that,Back up the operation that the interior crew is doing.They can only assist with fire/smoke heat conditions. they can not handle trapped,entagled,pinned firefighters.RIT must have special training and special equipment(nothing we don't already use, just reserved for RIT use only).RIT training opened my eyes to several facts.1)Extreme conditions call for extreme measures. 2)If you are not 110% competant with all basic skills you will NEVER make it as a RIT team. 3)We all joke that we're crazy for running into a building when the other people are running out, but RIT teams are running in when the other FIREFIGHTERS are running out.
                          For those who are lucky enough to have never been there for a brother (or sisters)LAST CALL,I hope you never have to. And if we keep working on RIT aggresively,hopefully we can eliminate them all together.
                          God Speed our fallen Brother and Sisters.
                          Leather Forever.

                          [This message has been edited by SBVFD-RESCUE7 (edited 06-06-2001).]


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