Mayday Monday: Calling the Mayday

Mayday Monday: Calling the Mayday

By Tony Carroll

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017!! Over much of 2016, there has been discussion in the fire service about the best method to use to call the Mayday. During the course of the Mayday Monday campaign, we have used the LUNAR mnemonic as a framework. We have also mentioned alternatives such as LUNCH. There are some fire departments that use a basic WHO-WHAT-WHERE structure. Still others use CAN, or UCAN, as a basis for teaching a firefighter to get his or her distress message out. Whatever you use–PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

For the first Mayday Monday drill of 2017, we will practice Calling the Mayday! Contact your dispatcher and secure a radio channel that is not in use. Have your members don their full PPE, with a portable radio, and obscure their vision. Now, lead the member(s) around the firehouse while their vision is obscured. Once you have them confused enough, tell them to make a Mayday call on the radio. If possible, have another member acknowledge the message. To add more realism, get the member in a state of stress with their heartbeat elevated (suggested: run around the firehouse in full PPE, up-and-down stairs, beat on wooden pallets or railroad tie with an axe or sledge until breathing heavy) and then have them make the call!!

This is a fairly basic drill but FIREFIGHTER SURVIVAL STARTS WITH THE BASICS! Please, send some pictures of you and the crew performing this month’s Mayday Monday drill to We would love to see them. Please come back next month.

Tony Carroll is a captain with the safety office of the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.

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