This month’s firefighter survival drill uses a can of soup. How will a can of soup help save firefighters? Think vomit! While a disgusting thought, it is a very real possibility and a life-threatening emergency when a firefighter vomits into his face piece. In 2010, a Kansas firefighter died inside of a large single-family dwelling. He was located by the searching rapid intervention team (RIT). When he was found, his face piece, helmet, and gloves were not on. It is believed that he became ill, vomited, and removed his facepiece in an attempt to clear the material. Here is a link to the NIOSH report:
The Virginia Beach Fire Department has developed a technique to help with this SCBA emergency and they explain it well in this video:
Have you planned for this scenario? You don’t want the first time you perform this technique to be while you are deep in an IDLH environment. Get a can of your favorite soup, pour some of it into your face piece and try to clear it using the technique provided in the Virginia Beach video. You may want to check with the Air Mask Room and see if they have a Mask-Mounted Regulator you could borrow. Please give this one a try. Not only will you learn a firefighter survival technique, but you will also honor the memory of Firefighter John B. Glaser, of the Shawnee (KS) Fire Department. Remember to send pictures/videos of you and your crew performing the Mayday Monday drill/skill to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony Carroll is a battalion chief with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.