Mayday Monday: Survival Starts with the Basics

Mayday Monday: Firefighter Survival Basics

By Tony Carroll

Courtesy of the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department

As we all take stock of the tragedy in Dallas, this week we will get back to basics. Here is the scenario:  you are searching for trapped occupants on the fire floor. Conditions change and it is time to get out of the building. You are trying your best to retrace your steps and get out as fast as possible. During your exit, you come upon a hoseline. Are you heading in the right direction? You find a coupling and by feeling the arrangement of the connection you determine you are indeed headed out. How? How can the coupling provide feedback to help navigate?

Remember that the nozzle is connected to a male end of the hoseline. So, that means the male coupling points to the direction of the fire. The male coupling attached to the hose is short with a raised “bump” or lugs to assist with connecting. The female coupling attached to the hose has a long, smooth section with the swivel female connector that, also, has a raised “bump” or lugs. When the male and female are connected, this will form a three-piece assembly. When following along the hose and headed away from the fire, the first piece you encounter will be the long, smooth section of the female coupling. This is followed by the female swivel with bumps and then the male connection which also has bumps. SMOOTH-BUMP-BUMP. If you follow the hose to the end, you will find the pumper (or water supply). SMOOTH-BUMP-BUMP-TO THE PUMP!! Voila!! Wah lah!!

Got it? Let’s make sure. Get a couple/three sections of hose, connect the sections, and throw them around the firehouse. Get dressed up and blindfolded then follow the hose to find your way out. This is a very basic drill, but FIREFIGHTER SURVIVAL STARTS WITH THE BASICS!! See you next Monday.

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

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