BY: Lieutenant Angel Medina
Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department
Station 24, Woodlawn. C-Shift
Recently, members from Station 24, Woodlawn and Station 9, Mount Vernon, C-Shift met at Station 24 to conduct training related to rescuing a downed firefighter in a hazardous environment.
The training started with a review of the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) Rescue Pack. Each component of the RIT pack was explained along with when and how to use it. For those who do not know, a RIT is established at structure fires in which a crew from a unit is assigned to be ready to enter a fire to save any firefighters who may require rescue during the incident.
Crews then put full gear on and prepared for the practical component of the training. The scenario was a firefighter who called a mayday and needed to be rescued. Their objective was to assess the situation, force entry into the building, use either the hose or search rope (will help guide them back to safety), and locate the downed firefighter.
Firefighters had to force entry into the building using our forceable entry prop that is very realistic. Each firefighter had to place one of their protective hoods (a part of firefighter gear that covers neck, ears, hair) over their face piece so they could not see – which is usually the case in fires. They then had to locate the downed firefighter, utilize the RIT pack and remove the firefighter from the hazardous environment to safety.
Members of both stations did an outstanding job performing the assigned task. Training together like this is important as both stations frequently respond and work together on structure fires. We hope we never have to use this training in an actual fire. However, we will be ready to save one of our own if it occurs.