This week’s drill is the second component of Howard A. Chatterton’s two-part SCBA drill found in his Volunteer Training Drills-A Year of Weekly Drills. The drill’s objective is to review the procedures for using SCBA and to develop proficiency in its use. Working as a team, members will search a large open area with aisles.
First, review your department’s checklist for donning SCBA and conduct an exercise similar to SCBA I where members don all of their protective gear including SCBA and PASS device. Time this exercise.
In the building members are to search, place a few tools and rescue dummies in the search area. Each member should have a 50-foot length of personal rope with a snap hook on each end. Members should be somewhat familiar with the building they are going to search and should be instructed to bring out any victims and firefighting tools they find. Assign four to six firefighters under one officer to monitor the progress of the search team and account for each member.
Optimally, members should be breathing air so as to practice air conservation. If refilling empty cylinders presents a problem, have members wear full turnout gear with SCBA donned but with the mask not connected to the air supply. Have search team members hook their ropes to their coats. The lead firefighter will search down the first aisle either to the end or to the limit of the chain. Have him then back out and do the same for subsequent aisles. Members should work their way to and then cross each aisle, staying connected by their personal ropes. Team members should work together to maximize the area searched as they try to search aisles–areas in which members can become easily disoriented, lost, or entangled. The drill will help team members work out a system using the chain technique to conduct the search quickly and ensure the safety of all members.
After the drill, have each team review what they did and the difficulties they experienced.
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