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Mayday: Basic Concepts

Tue, 6 Nov 2012|

In this free training program from the Firefighters Support Foundation, Eric Stroud of Fire and Rescue Concepts, LLC discusses firefighter self-survival and issuing the Mayday on the fireground.



[BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] The way may day has changed and how its been looked at in the past 20 years 20 years ago if a firefighter called Mayday, he would be considered a wuss among his crew. Now in today's environment we have a responsibility as firefighters to stay safe and to go home every day. So if you're in an environment that you need to call Mayday and you do not call a Mayday, you're being irresponsible to yourself, to your crew, and to your family. The purpose of this course is to show you an awareness level training of calling a mayday. What we plan to do in this course is to go over a few key points why you call a mayday, when do you call a mayday, who is to call a mayday, and what your responsibilities are. We're also gonna go over some key points of what to do and how to train and prepare for a Mayday. But keep in mind, this is awareness level training, and you need to take this further after this course is complete. [BLANK_AUDIO] One the most important rules to live by when calling a Mayday is. Never be afraid to call a Mayday. It's better to call it than to find out that you really did need it then actually wait too long to call it then you're already in a position where you can't get help. Remember, you have a duty and responsibility to your crew. The life you save could be your very own life by calling a Mayday. Our ultimate goal is to go home every day, every night to our friends and family and our loved ones. The bottom line here is, never be afraid to call a may day when you need it. Now we're going to look at who can call the mayday. Obviously the fire fighter in trouble can call the mayday. But we have a whole list of people on the fire grounds that can call the mayday and have a responsibility to call the mayday. The incident commander as well, he's going to appoint a safety officer to oversee the whole operation of the fire ground. Then you have your commander of your crew that's with you as well or team member of that particular crew can call the mayday. And anyone else on the fire ground, whether it's the pump operator or whether it's the hydrant man that sees a situation where he deems necessary to call mayday. Why call mayday? Studies have shown one of the major leading causes of fire ground fatalities are firefighters, or team members, or company commanders who have become lost and disoriented. How do you become lost and disoriented? From the moment you step away from your hose line, the moment you step away from your rope. The moment you lose track of your crew and you cannot see your exit in front of you, you are lost. The next point we're gonna look at are out of air emergencies. There are two reasons why we may have an outta air, air emergency. The first reason may be due to SCBA malfunction, that you may lose your air supply immediately. The second reason is firefighters stay inside too long. And they run out of air. We are trained as firefighters, when we enter a structure, to pay attention to our regulator and to our gauges of our air supply, to let us know how long we need to stay in. We're also told as firefighters that when we reach an air supply of half a tank. That we exit the structure immediately. Now many firefighters will ignore the warnings of their low pressure alarm going off. The whole purpose of the low pressure alarm is to let firefighters know that they are in their reserve air supply and that they need to be finding their way out. Now in this presentation we're going to be talking about more about. Staying inside too long, pushing the envelope of, during the out of air emergency. Now remember, when your low pressure alarm has been activated, you are either on your way out already or you need to find your way out. At this point, if you are not on your way out when your low pressure alarm's going off. You need to think about start calling a Mayday, and having somebody on the way to meet you on your way out, in case you run out of air while you're trying to exit the structure. The next point's the building collapse. Whether it be inside the structure, or outside the structure, you know, we have building collapses all the time, in firefighting. The crew has to be inside. Fight fire and the building can come down around them. That is the point they call a mayday. Or the IC or safety officer from the outside sees that part of the building collapse or is getting ready to collapse, he can pull the crew out by calling a mayday and call the crew to come out. Same thing with the vent crew on top of the roof. If they're working on top of the roof and the vent. Starts to give way, and the roof starts to give way and they start to have a collapse, and they are in trouble, they call a mayday to have more additional resources to help them out as well. Now after a building collapse, many firefighters become trapped. Often many times firefighters thinks they can get themselves out of the situation whether by moving themselves or moving the debris around them. But remember. Don't hesitate to call a mayday. We can always send people inside to come help you out if needed. The next point we're going to look at is deterioration of the fire conditions, both inside and outside the structure. Now, outside the structure, the fire crew on the inside may not see what's going on and they may not be aware of fire wrapping around behind them or wrapping around over their head into a dangerous condition. The IC, the safety officer, or anybody else from the fire ground, can call a Mayday or a mercy situation to get the crew out. Now inside the structure could be that deteriorations have, the fire has deteriorated so rapidly, that it may cause the firefighters to back out of the situation, or get lost or trapped, or get away from their hoseline, and they cannot escape quickly. Now, often many times firefighting is definitely hard and stressful on our bodies. Now, there may not be a reason of somebody being lost or disoriented or at an emergency that may actually dictate the medic situation. It could be a class firefighter both inside and outside the structure due to an unforeseen medical condition at that time. If that happens, please don't hesitate to call the Mayday to let IC or the safety officer or even communications know that you have an emergency on the fireground and that you need help immediately. Next we're going to look at fear of calling the Mayday. Even in today's society firefighters still fear calling the Mayday. And we're gonna look at these points individually why a firefighter may be afraid to call Mayday. Our next point is retribution. Sometimes firefighters fear retribution because their poor decision allowed them to get into a Mayday situation. So they're not gonna call the Mayday because they don't wanna be punished. It's better to be punished and to go home at night than not to be punished and not go home at all. Also firefighters fear calling Mayday because they fear ridicule from their supervisors and their crew. Everybody needs to attend Mayday training so that ridicule does not happen. But don't allow yourself not to call the Mayday because you fear being ridiculed. Now remember just like before, it's better to come home to your crew and be ridiculed than to not come home at all and not be ridiculed. Forget retribution, forget being ridiculed. Make the decision, call the Mayday, and go home. Another fear of calling a Mayday is because firefighters are often overconfident. With overconfident comes pride and denial. If you're at a point where you are trying to decide that you can get out of a situation and that you are telling yourself that you can get out of this. It's already too late. You need to call the mayday. Forget being prideful. Forget being over confident. And get out of the situation that you're in. Another reason why fire fighters fear calling a mayday is because the lack of training. They're not exposed to it. They don't understand the terminology. IC don't understand the responsibilities. And they really don't have a clear picture of what goes on a mayday training scenario or a mayday situation on a fireground. After this presentation you should be aware of what a mayday is and allow yourself to train on it more in depth, so that you do not fear call them, calling a mayday. Next, we're gonna look at what happens after you call the Mayday. Here we're gonna look at the firefighter. What is the firefighter's responsibility after he calls the Mayday. One of the first things that you need to do when you call a Mayday is remember the acronym LUNAR. When we look at the acronym LUNAR, we're going to break it down by each letter of the word. First we wanna start with l. L is the location. When you're calling on mayday give the location or your best description of where you think that you are inside the structure. Whether it be division c d corner. C a corner. In the hallway. First floor, second floor, or in the basement. Try your best to remember, get a bearing of your area, and let command know your location. Now, it's gonna look at the letter U. U stands for unit. After you've given your location, you need to give to command your unit assignment. Your unit assignment is gonna let command know a better idea of what location in that building you are assigned to. Next, we're gonna look at the letter N. N stands for your name. Once you give your location in your unit also give your name. For example, firefighter John Doe. That will allow the fire ground operations, whether it be the IC safety officer, or the commander, your location, better understanding of it and your possible assignment at the given time before the Mayday was called. Next we're gonna look at the letter A. A stands for air supply, whether it be yourself, your partner, or your crew. When you're calling a may day, make sure you update the status of your air supply to command. Next, you want to look at the letter R, R stands for resources, when you're letting command know of your status and your situation, try to give him a better understanding of what type of resources that you may need. Whether be an extra SCBA, extra [INAUDIBLE] pack, hose line, whatever the situation may deem necessary for what type of equipment that you may need. Now, the acronym lunar does not cover why you're calling the Mayday. So, be sure to remember when your giving your descriptions of everything to let the IC know why you're calling Mayday. Now we're gonna look at the incident commander, after the Mayday is called. What do you do as an incident commander when you here a Mayday, a call for help? One of the first things you need to do is remember your department's SOG's. SOG's are Standard Operating Guidelines. If you do not have an SOG for Mayday procedure, you need to sit down with your staff and develop a Mayday procedure for your SOG's. Well, now I see here is a Mayday, he needs to ensure that all traffic not associated with a Mayday needs to be squished over to a different channel. By doing that, it will allow less confusing and allow clearer communication between the IC. And the person calling for help. That may seem obvious. But you'll be surprised how many communications are. If somebody calls a mayday, everybody tries to talk all at once. The red team is trying to communicate. The person calling the mayday is trying to communicate. I-C is trying to communicate. And everybody has got something to say. But the one person, needing the help, can not get their point across and can not get the radio traffic out into open air. Once all radio traffic has been established. And has been switched over to another channel. The ICV's will call a PARK. Park stands for personal, accountability report. By doing this, he can get a better he can get a better location where all the crews are. And see who's accounted for and who's not accounted for at that time. Now remember, every fire ground operation, a personnel countability report needs to be given roughly about every 15 or 20 minutes so that way everybody ensures the safety and the locations of their crews. Now remember, after the mete's been given, the IC must maintain radio control. One thing you do not want there in a mayday is freelance radio traffic. By having freelance radio traffic may hinder the ability of the rescue team in the IC to locate the down firefighter. Now when the IC is maintaining radio control and radio discipline. When the may day has been called, be sure that the IC gives enough time for the downed firefighter to answer his questions on the radio. By doing this, this will alleviate, or, the problems that, people have in radio communications. So many times in the past, the IC, has talked to the downed fire fighter and not given him enough time to answer questions. By keying up the radio or being overly excited when that time time is given. Give the firefighter enough time to speak his needs. Now, during the Mayday the IC needs to remember to stay calm on the radio. By doing this, this sets the tone for everybody else that can hear him over radio traffic. It will allow the firefighters, and allow everybody else to work at a nice smooth pace and not get overly excited. Remember, don't let the problem rattle you. Remember your training, and stay calm on the radio to have a positive outcome. Now once somebody has been called, and once the IC has the last known location, or the current location of the downed firefighter. That is when his decision is to deploy the rapid intervention team is applied. By doing so it allows the team to quickly get to the location of the downed fire fighter and to have a successful extraction of the downed fire fighter. Now after your red team has been deployed. Go ahead and call for additional resources. Call for additional alarms. Call for more companies to come to the ground, fire ground. But also you'll have the amount of people there that you need. It's better to have them and not need them to need them and not have them. Now after maydays have been called you as a firefighter, the biggest thing that you can do to help yourself is to stay calm. Work the problem, don't let the problem work you. And also try to remember, any relevant training that you've had in the past. Now after you've made contact with the IC, you may decide to use a self-rescue technique to get yourself out of the situation if immediate rescue is unavailable. But if you use a self rescue technique, you may want to coordinate this with the IC so they send in resources in after you in one area of the structure when you actually may be in another area of the structure trying to escape. Now we're gonna look at the techniques of rescue operations. During a mayday. You got two options as a downed firefighter. Either wait for help, wait for the red team, or to apply self rescue techniques to get yourself out on your own. If you or your crew have decided to wait for help, be sure to get yourself into a safe location. Out of harm's way and relay that location to the IC, and try to let them know, give them a best accurate picture of where you are outside the structure. Once that has happened, the second thing you need to do is active your passive voice. By activating your passive device is going to create a loud sound to allow, other fire fighters inside the structure. When the rig team come and they assist you to find you in your location. Thirdly what you can do is take your flashlight. Turn your flashlight on. Have the beam facing towards the ceiling and put it up against the wall. By doing this it will create a silhouette of light through the smoke to allow firefighters to potentially to be able to find you. Now, flashlights, you can actually get different types of manufacturers or flashlights. Some flashlights have a regular, straight beam, some flashlights have a flashing beam. Now I've found out that the flashing beam flashlights will actually attract attention greater by having the flashlight pointed up and having that beam flash intermittently versus just one solid beam. The mix, though hopefully, you or your crew has some type of hand tools and saw with you. But you can use your hand tools to create sound by banging on the floor or banging on the wall to allow firefighters to get a better location or a better understanding of where you're at inside of the structure so they may be able to come and find you. Now, lastly, you want to be sure to conserve your air supply. If you're gonna wait for a team to come and find you, there's no given time how long it's going to take them to come and get you. So, you want to do some type of breathing techniques to allow yourself to maintain your current air supply, whether it be shallow breaths or skip breathing. Now be sure to always remember to maintain a radio contact with the IC. Give them updated status of your location, your air supply, and possibly injuries of your team members involved until somebody's there to find you. Now we're gonna look at rescuing yourself or your team. Now you and your team may not be able to shelter in place and wait for a red team. So we're gonna look at some techniques that, may allow you to be able to escape, do to, deterioration of the fire condition that's inside, collapsing of the building, or an out of air emergency that may require you to, immediately evacuate, the structure. Now, when you decided to rescue yourself and your team. The first thing you need to do, is you need to be prepared to escape that environment that you're in. And the best way to prepare for it is to train. And we'll tak about the training for an escape here in just a few more slides. Now secondly when preparing yourself for rescue, self rescue of a medic situation, you need to familiarize yourself with tools that you may need. Whether it be your air pack, your breathing hose, a rip pack that you may carry, already have with you. Your hand tools that you may have and the capabilities of what those are able to do, and also. Search rope and rescue filters as, as well. Now, you may have these tools on your truck or in your equipment cache right now but what you need to do is take these tools and to train with them for potential Mayday scenarios so that you may have a better understanding how each tool can help you during a Mayday. Next, next, we're going to look at some examples of why you may need to rescue yourself out of a Mayday situation. First off is, hot air emergency. If you run out of air, or find yourself running out of air, one thing you can use is use a buddy with a hose to give yourself more air. You can use your partners buddy breather hose, off his air pack, if he has one, and hook it to your regulator and allow yourself to share his air supply. But by doing so, you greatly risk of, both you now running out of air instead of just one person. Next we're going to look at another tool you can use in out of air emergency, or rescue filter. These filters are designed to be worn on your waist straps of your air pack that have a protection case and when you need it all you need to do is pop open the case, take the filter out of the wrapper, and hook it to your face piece where your [INAUDIBLE] used to be. And the filters are designed to give you 15 minutes of filtered air, in a smoke filled environment. Now another potential environment that may cause you to, hinder your escape in a mayday situation is if a firefighter is trapped in an unknown room. Now you can use your hand tools or your SCBA to help you out in this situation. Now if you find yourself in a a room that you're lost and you can't find your way out, and you have impending fire conditions that are coming down on you. You may need to breach the wall to escape to another room, by doing so you can take your SCBA, take your bottle, open the wall up in between the studs, or your hand tools, allow yourself to escape to safety. Now another rescue technique that you can use for yourself or your team is called a ladder bail out. By having an outside crew place the tip of the ladder at the window seal, that allows you an area to escape on an elevated floor. You can go head first out the ladder and grab yourself onto the rungs and use your feet as brakes to allow yourself to escape the harmful environment or impending fire conditions in that area. Another tool that you can use, you've typically got one of these two next tools with you. Whether it be a hose line or a rope. Some search crews use a rope when they're actually going into the building to start searching for victims and or other fire fighters, as a means to escape in some type of an emergency, whether it be a May Day or some other situation that they need to get out. By retracing their steps with the rope. They can get themselves right out to the point of entry that they have. Secondly, you have a hose line. Typically, when we're in an environment where it causes you to escape when you're on a hose line, a lot of fire fighters will drop the hose line right where they're at and they will do an about face and follow the hose line on the way out. Now there is a trick on the hoseline, that you can use. It's called [UNKNOWN] called the smooth bump, bump, to the pump. By the female end of the hose, is a smooth shank, with a nutty coupling. On the male end of the hose, you have just nutty coupling. If you feel yourself to the smooth shank first, to the two nutty couplings, you are in the direction towards the pump. That is toward a direction of the way out of the house. If you find yourself in the reverse situation, where you feel the nutted couplings first and then the shank, then you're going back yourself towards the fire. Now another tool that firefighters use are rope bailout kits. These are typically rope bags and kits and descent control devices inside of a bag. A bag that's very similar to this bag. It's designed to go on your waist belt or your harness that you may carry with you. And in times when you need to escape this environment and you don't have a ladder, you don't have a search rope, and you don't have a hose. You may find some type of anchor inside that room, hook up your rope bag to it. And ascend out the window and allow yourself to actually lower yourself down the windowsill and to a safe environment. Whether it be outside to a net or into, potentially, one floor below you into another room. Now there are numerous manufacturers of these rope bail out kits. And this is definitely something that you need to be using. Some type of training and use before you were to just buy some and put them on your rip, on your SCBA, so to speak. Some manufacturers won't even let you buy any unless you've gone to their specific training school for rope and bailout procedures. Their Mayday training, the best way to prepare for a Mayday is to train for it. Now remember, Murphy said it best, if it can happen, it will happen. You want to prepare your mind, prepare your body, and prepare your gear for potential Mayday situation. So you can have a successful outcome. Now preparing your mind is a key subject when you're dealing with Mayday training and to prepare for a Mayday. Now, mental fitness is a key to survival. Now if you allow yourself to be overcome with stress in a stressful environment, without even realizing it you've allowed your body to increase it's respirations. When you increase your respirations, you use more oxygen. When you use more oxygen, you're using up your air supply and your SCBA. By training yourself to handle. And yourself in a stressful environment. You can train your mind to be able to relax in these stressful times. So you don't use so much O2. Now, in preparing your mind, when you look at these slides right here, you see two examples of how different kinds of training to can prepare your mind and to allow yourself to become accustomed to the types of stressful environments. That you may have. The more we experience stress in training the less we are affected by it in a real situation. Next we're going to look at preparing the body. By staying physically fit it can help us conserve our air supply. Our muscles depend on oxygen for strength. The better in shape we are with our muscles the less amount of oh two is needed. Next we're going to look at preparing the gear. By allowing your crew and yourself to do daily, weekly, and monthly checks will help you ensure that your PPE is in proper working condition. Something else you can do to help you prepare your gear and yourself for Mayday situations. Is to train for equipment failure, and to also know your gear inside and out, to be able to disassemble and reassemble it in a hazardous environment, in a dark filled environment to where you actually cannot see the things that you're testing. Now part of our initial training as firefighters when we're starting out in fire service, we train to disassemble and reassemble our SUBA;s. What ten, typically tend to happen is, when a firefighter has some experience and some years on him, over time they get complacent and they fail to train, and they fail to readiquate themselves with the working parts of an SUVA. Now looking back looking back on this training what you really need to take away from this that. This, particular training that we're doing for you guys is, awareness that we're training. You need to keep on training after this. Don't let this be the only training that you have. The best way to help prepare for it, is to train for it as often as possible. Ya know, review your SOG's, review your equipment. Put yourselves' into training situations. You know, that may cause you to think outside the box, get yourself out of a harmful environment, you know. Best thing that you can do, in a stressful environment, is stay calm. You know, stay calm and collected, work with your teammates, work with your crew, and get yourself out of a harmful environment. The, the ultimate goal at the end of this is to get everybody aware of Mayday and get you adequate with calling the Mayday. You know, Don't be afraid to call it. Don't be worried about what anybody else is gonna think. When it comes right down to it this is your life and you only get one chance at it. So the best thing that we want to do is just to tell everybody just to stay safe and remember your training and to keep training. Don't let this. Stop here.

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