Rapid Intervention: Separating Fact from “Friction”

Issue 5 and Volume 160.

Fire departments nation-wide are struggling with the implementation of rapid intervention. This struggle is not based on need­-we all know we need rapid intervention. The difficulty is caused by the mindset of many firefighters when they receive a rapid intervention team (RIT) assignment. Rapid intervention should no longer be assigned to a company out of convenience or just to satisfy departmental operational plans. It should be assigned with full knowledge of the capabilities of the company officer and his company. Here is the “friction”: Many firefighters believe they are more effective when assigned a function like fire attack or search and rescue; most believe their abilities are wasted when assigned to rapid intervention. I’m not sure trapped firefighters would be encouraged by a weaker company being assigned to rapid intervention; they would want the most experienced and toughest company to rescue them if the need arises. The modern fire service…

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