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Mayday....please help.

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  • Mayday....please help.

    Hey guys,
    We could use some help. Our dept does some pretty good training. But, one thing we don’t train on and need to is Mayday and Saving Our Own. We haven’t had one of these situations but one night…..I’d just rather have been trained on it. Can you help?
    How/When to call Mayday?
    Mayday communications
    Scene organization once a Mayday has been called?
    Any input or help at all will help. This is something we really need to incorporate into our training. Thanks a lot guys and gals!

  • #2

    These are just a few of the NUMEROUS threads on here about them. Try searching Denver Drill, Saving Our Own, RIT, Mayday, etc etc etc

    Also try http://feti.lsu.edu/municipal/NFA/TRADE/

    Also try fh.com and all of the articles on here and in fh mag.
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.


    • #3
      Not claiming to be an expert at this or even a certified training officer but:
      Things to consider are When to call Mayday,the way to call Mayday(which will probably go out the window when it's for real),and who does what,all points you've brought up.
      For drills,I suggest having a fire scenario set up and the training officer designate someone to be"trapped" and standing aside,not offering any help or advice,while his team sizes up the situation,determines what tools will be needed and works to resolve the problem.
      On a practical matter,my old department kept a blue 2" line charged and ready for RIT work,drag lines and forcible entry tools,a spare SCBA pack with buddy breathing fittings and at least two people,one of whom had to be EMT licensed on stand by for nothing but going in and rescuing a fellow firefighter.They did nothing but stand by.Not going off where another captain told them he wanted some exposure control,not heading off to rehab for milk and cookies when that got set up or giving interviews to the hottie news reporterette.They were near the IC and monitoring the fireground for any problems that might have cropped up.
      When the stuff started flying,the entire fireground was supposed to check in with who was where and who they were working with at the time.The only people supposed to be using the ops channel at the time were the IC directing the RIT crew,the RIT team and of course,whoever was sounding the Mayday giving their location,what happened and any hazards that they know about.
      Like I said,it most likely won't work that way but with practice it will go better and should it actually happen,more people will be on scene(talking about volly departments,especially)that know what they are supposed to do,who is in charge and who is doing the rescue work.
      Hope this gives some ideas that actually work.


      • #4
        Do a search for Dr. Burton Clark and Mayday and you will find everything you need to know about when, why, how, why we don't like to, and how to do the drills. They were here on Firehouse.com at one time and I suppose they still are.

        Dr. Clark wrote some of the best material on this subject that I have seen.

        a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for


        • #5
          Check with the National Fire Academy. They've got a program that sounds like it's just what you're looking for. It includes the articles by Dr. Clark that ullrichk mentioned. Click on the link below, and it will take you to a description of the CD, and explain how to get a copy.

          Calling the Mayday
          Steve Gallagher
          IACOJ BOT
          "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes


          • #6
            First and foremost you need to train your people to not get into a situation where they will needed to be rescued. A good place to start is with building construction and MODERN fire behavior. Another area is to take a serious look at your current fireground tactics. Are your engine companies deploying sufficient sized handlines and adequate flow rates at the different types of occupancies? Does your department have good support functions (aka. TRUCK CO. OPS) at all fires? Good support functions can prevent a lot of problems with regards to trapped firefighters. Are your incident commanders actually running the show, or is there free-lancing taking place? Do they use sound tactics? With that being said...we can not predict or prepare for every possible problem that can take place on the fireground. It's not a matter of if, but when. No matter how well we are trained there will come a day when one of your people are going to require help.

            The first hurdle to overcome is egos and pride. If your people want to survive this type of situation, they first must admit they are in trouble and need help. Fire conditions and air supply do not afford the luxery of time. Anytime you believe you're in trouble, call for help immediately. You can keep trying to free yourself and if you're sucessful, great, call and let the recue team know, and procede out of the building. This brings up another point. Every firefighter must have a portable radio. This small piece of equipment may be one of the most important items on the fireground. Also firefighters should never enter a hostile environment, the fire building, without the proper tools. I prefer at the very least a high-quality halligan bar. A firefighter without tools is nothing more than a very informed citizen. You would never see a police officer go to work without a gun to protect themselves, so why would a fiirefighter go in without the protection afforded by a tool.

            Michael Terpak just wrote an article in the September issue of Fire Engineering on Maydays. You will need to have a solid SOP in place so that everyone is on the same page. Don't reinvent the wheel there are numerous departments out there who already have great mayday/rit sop's and are more than willing to share them with you. All you would need to do is tweak them a little and study there content.

            As far as training goes...pick a couple well respected training personnel and send them to learn everything they can on the subject. They can come back and train the rest of you, this may be another area where egos will need to be put aside. There are some great programs at Firehouse and FDIC. The same instructors at these two conferences also teach at fire department sponsered local training conferences. In fact there is a great one in Charlotte, NC next weekend. Mayday, safety/survival and RIT are not the classroom theory type, they require constant training, with realistic evolutions, practiced frequently. You will also need some props to support your program. Most of the designs are easily available on-line and hit up your local hardware/lumber yard for material donations.

            The biggest problem with (sucessful) RIT is that it's manpower intensive. One of the best programs I ever took was from the Cincinnati Fire Department. Their RAT program was designed from the Chicago FD and utilizes on average only two rescuers with no gimmicks (special equipment) using simple techniques. If fact the most rescuers used on any evolution was four and they showed us how to accomplish the same evolution with only three rescuers. You can contact them and they will set you up with all the information you could ever want.

            Check with other departments in your area to see what they are doing, you may want to team up with several local departments and pool training resources.

            One more thing...disipline is key to survival. When a firefighter is trapped everyone wants to help. Personnel need to stay focused on their current assignment(s) and allow (trust) the IC to send the resources they deem necessary and as hard as it would be, you need to know when there is nothing more that you can do to save that person.

            Stay low, stay safe!


            • #7
              Originally posted by ziggy171
              Hey guys,
              How/When to call Mayday?
              Mayday communications
              Scene organization once a Mayday has been called?

              1- Imminent Collapse Feared
              2- Structural collapse has occurred.
              3- A firefighter is unconscious or suffers a life threatening injury.
              4- An Officer becomes aware that a member under his/her supervision is missing. (If the missing member is an Officer, any Team member can transmit this message.)
              5- Member becomes trapped or lost.

              1- When a member suffers an injury that is not immediately life
              threatening but which requires medical attention and hospital care.
              2- An interior attack is to be discontinued and an exterior attack instituted.
              3- Discovery of a structural problem indicating the danger of
              4- Fire is discovered entering an exposure to a degree that any delay may considerably enlarge the fire problem.
              5- Loss of water, which would endanger members.
              NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
              CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
              LT. John Ginley Engine 40
              FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
              FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
              FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
              FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
              FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
              FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
              FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
              FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
              FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

              Charleston 9
              "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
              *******************CLICK HERE*****************


              • #8
                I recently wrote our departments new MAYDAY policy and I was going to post it but the stuff I have seen already posted would make my post seem redundant. What I did is I read a bunch of SOP's and info from big city departments i.e. FDNY, Boston, Baltimore, Jersey City, Ann Arbor County, Fairfax County, DCFD, etc. and I figured out what our department needed specifically based on our staffing, what we have to work with, our RIT policy, etc. etc. Once I had all of this it was quite easy to put it all together into a policy that would work in our area. There needs to definetly be something in your policy about radio communications after a MAYDAY is transmitted as this was an area that we had problems with in all of our drills. I wrote the policy so that as soon as the MAYDAY is transmitted Fire alarm acknowledges it and then the firefighter calling the MAYDAY gives his information (how he entered, air supply, what his problem his, what route he took etc.) after which command or ops will acknowledge and ops will take over fireground operations on a SEPERATE channel. Command will stay on the primary with the RIT team leader (usually an LT or CAPT. from the company doing RIT or FAST) and all RIT activities will take place on this channel. This is just one of the many things that I kept in mind when working on our departments policy. There is a wealth of GREAT information posted above by fellow brothers and this is the best way to learn...talk it out with those who have been through it. I cant thank everyone enough for all of the great posts that I have read on here.

                Be Safe.
                Everyone Goes Home
                FD343NY W6 Countless Others
                Still Riding


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