Roundtable – Rapid Intervention Teams

Different departments call a designated crew ready to act if a firefighter is lost, trapped, or injured by various names. In New York and in the eastern part of the country, it is the FAST (firefighter assist and search team); in Pittsburgh, the “GO” team; and in still other departments, the RIC (rapid intervention crew) or the RIT (rapid intervention team).

In Toledo, we have trained the heavy rescue squads and the engine company that houses with them as our rapid intervention teams. They are dispatched on commercial structure fires, to any fire in a four-family or larger residential occupancy, or at the call of the incident commander. Team members have been given advanced training (beyond the firefighter level) in safety, search, and rescue techniques similar to those presented in the Saving Our Own program.

If a RIT team is activated, we will send another RIT crew to stand by as “RIT for RIT.” We also send an additional battalion chief and Life Squad (advance life support unit). One thing our department has done that I don’t believe too many departments have done is to assign each RIT member a specific task. This provides focus and coordination at a very emotional and confusing time. If we are looking for a downed or trapped firefighter, once he is located, each member of the team has a specific task to accomplish. This eliminates confusion and redundancy after the firefighter has been located.

The officer is in charge-as such, he is not a “hands-on” person. His task is to ensure that operations are being conducted as safely and with as much coordination as possible. He acts as the team’s eyes and ears. One member concerns himself with approaching and assessing the downed firefighter. One of the members is assigned to check and ensure that the firefighter has a good air supply. The last firefighter (of a four-person crew) is a “utility firefighter” and remains with the officer. He will clear the paths of obstructions, may take windows, may set up a lowering system, or may simply help to drag the firefighter.

We have offered the use of our RIT team to all the departments with which we have mutual-aid agreements. With any luck, it will be the least-used crew in the department.

John (Skip) Coleman, deputy chief of operations, Toledo (OH) Department of Fire and Rescue; author of Incident Management for the Street-Smart Fire Officer (Fire Engineering, 1997); editorial advisory board member of Fire Engineering; and member of the FDIC Educational Committee.

Questions: Does your department have a rapid intervention program in place? If so, how is it used?

Jim Murtagh, deputy chief,
Fire Department of New York

Response: Our department uses the firefighter assist and search team (FAST), a group of firefighters immediately available on the fireground and solely dedicated to helping other firefighters who are trapped or in distress.

In the mid-’80s when FDNY introduced the FAST concept, an additional engine company was called and assigned this responsibility. In the early ’90s, the response was changed to a truck company and remains that way today. All FDNY ladder companies have been specifically trained to effectively function as FAST teams. The FAST truck is dispatched immediately after the first-arriving officer at a structural fire reports a “10-75,” an announcement that there is a working fire. The dispatcher, over the dispatch radio system, notifies the unit that it will be the FAST truck and tells the incident commander (IC) the identity of the responding FAST truck. This broadcast notification places responsibility on the officer of the FAST truck to ensure that the IC knows it is the FAST truck so that the truck is not given any assignment at the scene other than to stand by prepared to assist firefighters in distress.

Although the rule is that “the FAST truck will not be used for firefighting,” there are exceptions, such as emergency conditions, when the services of this unit may be needed. The IC has the authority to override the rule, based on a command judgment and evaluation and the immediate call for a replacement FAST truck. The FAST truck may not be used to relieve other operating units or for other routine fire operations until the IC declares the fire under control. “Under control” means the fire is out and no additional firefighting forces will be needed at the scene. The FAST truck, on arrival, reports to the IC at the command post and stays out of the way but within verbal contact range of the command post so it can be readily deployed. At large-scale and high-rise fires, more than one FAST truck may be needed. At high-rise fires, a FAST truck is assigned to the operations post at the floor below the fire. When reporting to the command post, the FAST truck must bring a life-saving rope with a life belt, a search rope, a stokes stretcher, and an extra SCBA. The IC will then assign it to “stand fast” as an intact unit ready to go into action. While standing fast, in a position of readiness, the unit should determine the locations of the aerial, the stair tower, portable ladders, specialized power tools, and EMS facilities. It should also monitor fireground radio traffic.

The officer of the FAST truck is the IC’s second set of “emergency ears,” constantly listening for the dreaded Mayday or a firefighter’s cry for help, and should become familiar with the locations of the operating units and their assignments. The FAST truck should not take it upon itself to respond to the call for help or to go into action until the IC orders it. However, as the second set of “emergency ears,” it has a responsibility to notify the IC that someone is calling for help and that it is ready to respond to the call.

The FAST truck is not put to work often; however, experience has proven that when it has been needed, its immediate availability to go directly to the aid of a fellow firefighter has proven invaluable. The motto of the FAST unit must be “He who sits and waits also serves.” Many a FAST truck has responded, stood fast, and taken up without getting a piece of the action, and this generally does not appeal to the firefighter’s action-oriented nature. The saving of one firefighter’s life is worth all the training, standing fast, and frustration of not getting into action. Standing FAST is serving.

Leigh Hollins, battalion chief,
Cedar Hammock and Southern Manatee Fire Districts, Florida

Response: We use a rapid intervention team (RIT) program. During routine emergencies, we use the two-in/two-out concept. However, if interior operations are going to be performed for an extended period of time, as determined by the IC, our department implements the RIT. This may be done with available resources, or an additional company may need to respond. One other consideration is that the more companies committed to interior operations, the more justification there is for the RIT.

When this occurs, a two-person RIT is assigned. The RIT reports to the command vehicle, and the firefighters exchange their helmets for orange RIT helmets and obtain a large orange tarp. A RIT check-sheet is also available; it assists the team by listing various equipment and the duties of the RIT. The RIT is then assigned to a staging area close to the scene, where its first responsibility is to spread the orange tarp and begin collecting equipment for its exclusive use. The general fireground rules are that (1) the personnel with the orange RIT helmets are not to be assigned other duties, and (2) “hands off” the equipment on the orange tarp.

Once the RIT acquires the necessary tools, which may include such specialty items as a thermal imaging camera, a battering ram, and a “vent” saw, its duties should be reviewed. These duties may include monitoring radio traffic, placing additional ladders, surveying the scene from an “escape” standpoint, forecasting danger, and advising the safety officer of issues such as burglar bars that need to be removed or deadbolts that need to be “taken.”

It is important to note that one of the RIT objectives is to stay “fresh” and be available for immediate deployment. If at all possible, the RIT should not be used for other strenuous fireground activities.

Frank C. Shaper, chief,
St. Charles (MO) Fire Department

Response: The St. Louis Fire Department (from which I retired) sends 28 firefighters on its first alarms. The way the standard operating procedures are written, several firefighters are assigned outside duties, which include raising ladders and horizontal ventilation. As such, these firefighters can be mobilized to handle RIT duties. When a second or greater alarm is requested, the second heavy-duty rescue squad is dispatched. This squad, with six firefighters onboard, is assigned RIT duties.

The St. Louis County system is under review by the Metro Chiefs Association. The draft system was written by the county training coordinates and submitted to the fire chiefs for review. The system calls for a rapid intervention team to be assembled at “working structural fires” or “working incidents.” The team is made up of two fresh personnel in full gear available to the IC. The primary task of the RIT is to respond to any firefighter reported to be in distress. The RIT must monitor radio traffic and continually size up the fire building. To facilitate fireground operations, the IC may rotate the firefighters assigned to the RIT.

Since the St. Charles system was the model for the St. Louis County system, both systems are similar. The team is assembled at all incidents where a 11/2-inch or larger line is deployed and where self-contained breathing apparatus are used. The team assembles near the command post with rescue tools readily available. This includes a charged handline, portable radio, and thermal imaging camera. The procedure covers Maydays and the calling of extra alarms in case of an explosion or a building collapse.

The system also spells out exceptions to the standard-for example, a situation in which there is imminent life-threatening danger. However, adequate evaluation of the risk must be considered prior to deploying firefighters.

All the systems have been well thought out and are constantly reviewed.

Bob Oliphant, lieutenant,
Kalamazoo (MI) Dept. of Public Safety

Response: Our department does not have a rapid intervention policy or a dedicated RIT team. From what I have read, the concept of the rapid intervention team requires a specially trained crew whose sole purpose is to rescue fire personnel. During initial operations, we are typically “maxed out” and do not have a sufficient number of personnel to dedicate to a RIT sector. If it becomes necessary to rescue fire personnel inside a structure, the rescuers would have to come from our general personnel pool.

Although I think the dedicated concept is good, I am not sure it is necessary for the typical room-and-contents or small commercial fire. A quick knockdown with a backup hoseline would seem to be the best approach. For larger, complicated operations, where additional personnel would be available, I think it is a good idea, provided adequate personnel are available to staff other essential fireground operations.

Ken Folisi, battalion chief,
Lisle-Woodridge (IL) Fire District

Response: The Lisle-Woodridge Fire District began to consider formal RIT guidelines in April 1995. An internal Research and Development Committee was established to look into all aspects of the then- emerging RIT concepts. Like many departments, we felt we were already addressing the RIT concept by following the good incident command practice of keeping a company or companies (depending on the incident’s size and scope) in reserve in case the unexpected takes place.

However, in light of all the documented cases and discussion about the RIT, we acknowledged a need to be more specific in regard to the RIT concept. To improve our fireground capability, we established the goals of defining a workable standard operating guideline (SOG) and backing it up with specific training. We developed an SOG and began to train all members in a variety of RIT tactics.

The SOG worked well, and we felt that we now had an even greater capability to react to an unforeseen emergency involving our members. Then, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) two-in/two-out standard emerged as an additional concern. Last year, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) adopted the OSHA standard. We reviewed our RIT SOG to see if we were compliant. We thought the RIT concept and the two-in/two-out rule naturally flowed together and, therefore, decided to combine them into one SOG. After much discussion between our members and the IDOL staff, as well as surveying other departments, attending seminars, and so on, we were able to reach consensus.

We cannot guarantee the order of company arrival on all responses, but we do know that the first-arriving suppression company will obviously be the first of our members in an IDLH atmosphere. Therefore, the SOG basically states that the first-arriving company other than the first engine covers the two-in/two-out responsibility until the arrival of the second engine or other designated suppression company from the original assignment. This company is then assigned the RIT responsibility. As a last resort, should an assigned RIT be needed to perform suppression or other duties, it is to be immediately replaced.

The following is extracted from our SOG:

Title: SOG 1205-IDOL adopted Two-In/Two-Out and Rapid Intervention Team (RIT)

Objective: To enhance overall safety during incidents involving IDLH atmospheres or other significant hazards by having the capability to immediately react to a threatening situation.

General statement of compliance with the two-in/two-out standard: Personnel shall not enter IDLH environments without at least two personnel capable of immediate reaction to a threatening situation involving the personnel working in the IDLH area. In situations where there is a reasonable indication of immediate life hazard to occupant(s) in the IDLH area and risk/benefit is considered, then entry is allowed without immediate compliance with the standard.

Guideline: The first suppression company on the scene other than the first engine company shall assume the duties of two-in/two-out-RIT. The company shall be equipped and available for immediate intervention. The company shall also make itself ready to fulfill responsibilities as previously described in the SOG document.

Being “equipped” means full protective clothing, SCBA, and necessary tools.

Being “available” means outside the IDLH area. Activities that ready the company for SOG responsibilities may be performed only if they can be discontinued immediately on the need for rapid intervention.

On arrival of the second engine or other suppression unit designated by Command, the initial two-in/two-out-RIT company quickly confers with the second engine or the other unit designated by Command. The RIT responsibility is then transferred, allowing the initial RIT company to perform the SOG responsibilities as previously described in the SOG document.

The Lisle-Woodridge Fire District SOG states that Command shall assign a RIT per previously established SOG 1201-Incident Command. The company or companies assigned RIT may be assigned directly to Command or to locations as determined by the IC.

The company or companies assigned RIT shall report to their assigned officer with protective clothing, SCBA, and required tools. The RIT should conduct reconnaissance of the scene to determine potential areas of response and preplan the likely tactics they may need to perform. The RIT shall position itself at a point of vantage with the necessary equipment to perform the preplanned tactics. Recon and positioning of the RIT shall be coordinated with its assigned officer, who will advise Command of the team’s location and readiness status. The RIT officer closely monitors all radio traffic, as well as the locations of all operating companies on the fireground.

Gary Morris, assistant chief,
Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department

Response: Our department has been using rapid intervention crews for more than 10 years. Initially, they were implemented only at “special-hazards” events, such as multiple alarms, and were not used routinely.

Five years ago, RIC team response was standardized to be a component at all structure fires. Presently, the dispatch center will automatically dispatch the next available company (engine or ladder) as the RIC on the report of a working fire. For multiple alarms, two companies are dispatched for RIC duties.

When dispatched to a fire, these companies are advised by the Dispatch Center that they are the RIC teams. Our SOPs require the crew to monitor the tactical radio channel while en route and to initiate a tactical worksheet to log the locations of all operating companies. On arrival at the scene, the company officer is asked to report to the incident commander for a briefing and final updating (for accuracy) of the tactical worksheet and crew locations. The RIC team continually monitors the tactical channel, and the worksheet is updated as needed.

The SOP also requires that the appropriate tools be collected as well as a “RIC bag” from a command vehicle. The RIC bag contains a full SCBA bottle with rapid refill hose connectors plus some small tools. Crew members will be fully dressed in protective clothing with SCBA and in a ready state.

In some cases, the crew may “recon” the building-as an intact crew. Precautionary backup hoselines may also be placed in position. If crews are operating aboveground, the RIC may preposition ground ladders (in some cases, aerial ladders or platforms) at various sides of the building for the potential emergency exit of crew members.

The Phoenix Fire Department operates a regional dispatch center involving 15 fire departments in the metro area. All other fire departments have adopted this RIC program. The SOPs are consistent.

Joseph A. Floyd, Sr., assistant chief,
Columbia (SC) Fire Department

Response: The Columbia Fire Department has a FAST team in place. When firefighters enter an IDLH atmosphere or other hazardous area, at least two other firefighters shall be assigned as a FAST outside the building or hazard scene, poised to immediately rescue them from or assist them in the interior of the building or hazard scene.

The regulation states that “One of the two individuals located outside the IDLH atmosphere may be assigned to an additional role, such as incident commander in charge of the emergency or safety officer, so long as this individual is able to perform assistance of rescue activities without jeopardizing the safety or health of any firefighter working at the incident.

“At least two employees enter the IDLH atmosphere and remain in visual or voice contact with one another at all times.” This is the two-in/two-out part of the requirement.

“At least two employees are located outside the IDLH atmosphere” and are prepared to rescue interior personnel, hence the two-out and the need for a FAST.

The regulation states that “Nothing in this section is meant to preclude firefighters from performing emergency rescue activities before an entry team has been assembled.

The exception applies only when firefighters have evidence that someone is in immediate danger. Before committing to a rescue, personnel will determine that they are acting on reliable information that a person is to be rescued and that a rescue is viable. Entry to search a structure may not occur routinely without meeting the two-in/two-out requirement. Examples of evidence that someone may have to be rescued could include a statement by a neighbor or a family member that someone is inside, the presence of a parked car in the driveway in the early morning hours and no one is outside the house, or a statement by the caller who reports a fire that someone is inside.

Application of the exception to perform rescues does not include performing firefighting except in situations where fighting a fire facilitates a rescue. Once rescues are made or attempted, firefighters may not stay in the structure or reenter it to perform other tasks without meeting the two-in/two-out requirement. The IC shall designate an early-arriving company as the FAST at working fires and other incidents where firefighters will be entering the structure or IDLH atmospheres. The IC should call for at least one additional company to respond to make up for the personnel shortage created by forming a FAST. A responding battalion chief who thinks that there is a likelihood of a working fire or an IDLH atmosphere before the first company arrives should request the additional assistance.

The point at which an atmosphere is considered to be IDLH is not defined in the standard, but the Columbia Fire Department’s guidelines consider it to be any atmosphere in which firefighters would normally wear SCBA.

Initially, a FAST may be established using only two firefighters, but this should be increased to four as soon as possible.

An officer or firefighter shall be put in charge of each FAST. Any personnel left without an assignment because of the formation of the FAST will be assigned to other work groups operating on the scene.

Multiple FAST teams are established at large incidents to cover personnel working in remote areas of the IDLH atmosphere or hazardous area. At least five firefighters must be on the scene of a structure fire for interior operations to begin: two to enter the structure, two on the outside ready to perform FAST duties, and the pump operator. Early in an incident, an IC can serve as a member of the FAST, but to maintain an effective incident command structure, ICs should not be a part of the FAST for any longer than necessary. When an IC is part of the FAST, he usually is the first-arriving company officer. All members of the FAST, including any battalion chief who must serve on the FAST early in an operation, must have full protective clothing and SCBA. An engineer setting up or operating a pump or an aerial ladder may not be included on the FAST, but engineers whose trucks are not actively operating may be assigned FAST duties.

Personnel assigned to a FAST may perform low-priority support tasks such as assisting with ventilation, hose deployment, ladder placement, or other duties that would not render them unable to carry out their primary function, but they shall not become involved in any duties that cannot be stopped immediately. An IC who does not have the resources on the scene to meet the two-in/two-out requirement must allow time for responding companies to arrive before starting operations within an IDLH atmosphere.

Although any delay in attacking a fire is usually undesirable, this extra time can be put to good use performing other important functions and preparing for work in the IDLH atmosphere. Common tasks that can be performed before beginning interior operations at a structure fire include the following:

  • Radio the next-arriving company’s officer to assign two members of that company for a FAST.
  • Lay a supply line with the first-arriving engine when smoke is showing.
  • Perform a thorough size-up by conducting a quick 360-degree walk-around of the scene and gather other important information.
  • Shut off utilities.
  • Choose a point of entry, and pull and charge handlines for the interior attack.
  • Stage smoke ejectors and tools that may be needed near the point of entry.
  • Determine the best means for ventilating, and choose points for horizontal or vertical ventilation. Begin ventilation if appropriate.
  • Ladder a structure that will require ventilation at upper levels or to provide a secondary means of escape.
  • Make an exterior attack to knock down a large volume of fire or to slow fire spread (but do not spread the fire with an exterior attack).

Requirements of the two-in/two-out standard may result in delayed interior operations, which are difficult to justify to the public, particularly when additional damage has occurred while waiting for resources to arrive. Whether or not an interior attack is delayed, the public often misunderstands fire department response times and operations. Make every effort to provide response times recorded by Central (911) and to explain operations to owners, occupants, and neighbors so that firefighters’ actions will not be misunderstood.

The FAST should be maintained throughout the duration of the incident until the IC determines that an IDLH atmosphere or other hazard for which the IC voluntarily implemented a FAST is no longer present. FAST members will monitor radio communications for any indications of distress by interior operations crews. Should they notice distress calls from interior personnel, they will immediately notify the incident commander. Should a FAST be committed to a rescue operation, it will attempt to ascertain the last known location of the downed or injured firefighters, the number of personnel operating in that area, and any special hazards known to be in the area.

When a FAST enters a structure or hazard scene, it must meet the same requirements as others working in an IDLH atmosphere, including remaining in visual or voice contact with each other and in radio contact with personnel outside the hazard area. When a FAST is committed to assist interior personnel, the IC must designate another group to perform FAST standby duties.

The FAST company may not be used to relieve operating units until the incident has been declared under control and the IDLH atmosphere or other hazard no longer exists. The IC should anticipate this need and have companies other than the FAST available for relief.

Ronald Hiraki, chief of training,
Seattle (WA) Fire Department

Response: The Seattle Fire Department has used RITs for approximately five years. The concept began simply as having a team of firefighters standing by the command post to react to a problem.

After using the RIT at larger and more complex fires, there was some discussion regarding (1) the role of a RIT and when it should be established, (2) the number of teams that should be established at an incident, (3) which unit should assume the role of RIT, and (4) what equipment the team should have. The discussion led to a desire to have a policy or procedure and RIT training.

During the past year, we invited Lieutenant Jay B. Olson of the Portland (OR) Fire Bureau to teach some of our members the AWARE concept (see “‘AWARE’: A Life-Saving Plan for Rescuing Trapped Firefighters,” Fire Engineering, December 1998, 52). Additionally, members in Battalion 2 used a large multistory YMCA building in downtown Seattle to organize a series of drills for training in RIT, AWARE, and firefighter rescue concepts. A RIT policy/ operating guideline has been drafted and is being reviewed by various department members.

Battalion Chief Mike Jurus, the supervising chief of our Safety Battalion, reminds us that to protect and save our colleagues, we must develop a positive attitude about being on the RIT. Many firefighters feel as though they have been “benched” when assigned to the RIT. They are disappointed to be “stuck” with this assignment while others get to fight the fire. The RIT is there to rescue the rescuers. The team is often referred to as the “Firefighters’ 911.”

Jurus asks Seattle firefighters to do the following when performing the role of a RIT.

  • Think of the size and type of the building, and choose the type of equipment you will need (e.g., extra hoselines, SCBA bottles, forcible entry tools, lead-in lines, a thermal imaging camera, for example).
  • Get from the IC a briefing of the crew’s location and assignment.
  • The officer in charge of the RIT must monitor the tactical radio channel and follow the operation and condition of the fire and the building. If your department uses a separate radio channel for emergency traffic or rescue, other members need to monitor that channel.
  • All members of the RIT must conduct a size-up the building. Members must note the locations of entrances, exits, stairs, and equipment.

Rick Lasky, chief,
Coeur d’Alene (ID) Fire Department

Response: We are currently in the process of reviewing and rewriting our firefighter-in-distress policy. Our first goal was to ensure that we got enough help to the scene in the first place. This has been accomplished by creating new automatic- and mutual-aid agreements. Through these agreements, a mutual-aid company can be used for RIT; as part of the agreement, we provide a company to some of our neighbors for RIT. The overall attitude regarding RIT in our area has been very good, and most are utilizing the additional personnel responding to their incident for this assignment.

We still have some of the “Old Guard” in our area who feel that they need to wait and see what they have before calling for additional help. As we review the incidents across the country that claim the lives of our brothers and sisters, we can see that many of the injuries and fatalities occur during the first 20 to 25 minutes. So why wait to see what you have before you assign RIT members? If anything, get them started. You can always turn them around if you don’t need them.

One other area that has helped in the overall positive attitude toward RIT is that most of the departments in our area are training their personnel in firefighter rescue. Through this type of training, the firefighters have realized that if someone goes down or becomes trapped, they want as much extra help as possible on the scene, especially considering some of the response times for additional companies.

In the writing of-and as we finish-our lost/trapped firefighter policy, we want one that does more than meet a standard or look good on paper: We want one that is accepted and works.

Peter F. Kertzie, captain,
Buffalo (NY) Fire Department

Response: A full assignment for an “Alarm of Fire” in the Buffalo Fire Department consists of three engines, two trucks, a rescue, and a battalion chief. An extra truck is automatically dispatched as the FAST team on all alarms of fires. A division chief responds on all confirmed working fires. At the request of the officer in charge, additional companies, engines, or trucks can be called to enhance the FAST team.

Our department has guidelines governing the FAST team, but a lot of differences exist between platoons and battalions.

Recently, I served as the captain of a truck company that was routinely called as the FAST team. I have found it was sometimes hard to stay focused on the job at hand while others were having a “good time” fighting the fire. We don’t have strict FAST team rules, but I developed a basic plan of operation for when my crew was called. Most of our fires are 11/2- and 21/2-story wood-frame homes, so this is what I based the operation on. For different types of construction and occupancy, the plan can, and should, be adapted.

On arrival at the scene, our team an-nounces over the radio that it is the FAST team. The rig is placed as close to the scene as possible. It is not positioned in anticipation of getting picked up. The stokes basket is then filled with tools and equipment that may be needed, including-but not limited to-hand tools, a chain saw, an EMS bag, a defibrillator (a large proportion of line-of-duty deaths are cardiac-related), a 60-minute SCBA, and a rope. Additional equipment the FAST team can use is carried on the rescue and in the division chief’s rig.

The FAST team should stage within the area of the chief running the fire. I make it a point to introduce my FAST team to the IC so that if the need arises, the chief will know exactly where he can find a full, fully equipped crew in possession of fully charged SCBAs.

The person in charge and one other member should circle the perimeter and perform a size-up, focusing on possible danger areas. At night, portable lighting can be set up using the first-in truck company’s rig. The same rig should be stabilized and the aerial uncradled and readied for use if there is any indication it may be needed.

After the size-up is completed, unsafe conditions should be addressed where possible. The most common action we have taken is to throw additional ground ladders to create emergency exits and assist truck crews with ventilation. Other actions we have taken were placing cones around downed power lines, assisting with outside horizontal ventilation, laying in (but not advancing) additional lines, administering first aid to fire victims, and assisting a lone crew member who had lost his partner because of an SCBA problem. Keep in mind that the chief must always know what you are doing and where you are, because he is counting on your crew to be ready, willing, and able when the need arises.

A lot of what the FAST team can do is subtle and behind the scenes. We picture a major collapse with multiple lost and trapped firefighters. But this is the exception and will require more than just a FAST team. FAST teams need to focus on the everyday incidents, stay alert, and be aware of what is going on. They must not become bystanders in turnout gear. Other firefighters’ lives depend on them!

(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the Buffalo Fire Department.)

No posts to display