Firefighting, Technical Rescue

More Rapid Intervention: “Grab-and-Go” Turnout Handles

Issue 2 and Volume 162.

BY LARRY COLLINS There’s almost nothing more important than reducing the time to remove downed firefighters (except preventing them from becoming lost, trapped, or injured in the first place). The faster we can make it, the better. In addition to the standard drag rescue device (DRD), building handles into each knee and shoulder of turnout gear can improve firefighter safety and survival — rescuers can just grab the handles and go with no special equipment needed. With such handles, colleagues can drag, lift, carry, and lower an incapacitated firefighter, depending on how many rescuers are available at the moment. We’re often reminded that “Rapid intervention isn’t always rapid.” Rapid intervention teams (RITs) may encounter time-consuming problems locating, freeing, and removing lost, trapped, or injured firefighters. Dragging, lifting, carrying, or lowering downed firefighters, who with full personal protective equipment (PPE) may weigh more than 250 pounds, can be problematic. More often…

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