This video is the first team during a RIT evolution at Western Taney County Fire Protection District. They encountered wires and a wall with rebar in it. They had to call for resources and then they entered the room with trapped firefighters. They had to determine and try to fix the following:
Find the Firefighter
Fix any Air Problem
This photo shows a way to make an SCBA face piece for your RIT bag/kit glove friendly. You can use a garden hose or any kind of rubber tubing or hose that would be easy to grab with a gloved hand. We used a small bungee cord and ran it through the bonnet and attached both ends to the hose. This allows for easy feeling and grabbing the back of the mask with gloved hands.
We also attached large key rings to the pull tabs for the face piece bonnet to pull it tight. These rings can be any size you want, but make sure they are easily accessed and grabbed with glove hands.
These two methods have worked very well for us and during training evolutions has stood up to the pulling and tugging.
Let us know if you have other methods that work well for your department.
Here is a short video of our thru the floor prop. This is soley for the use of calling a Mayday and recognizing that parameter. We place mattresses and foam below the firefighter and is monitored closely by our instructors.
This gives the firefighter a sensation of falling but is a short enough and controlled fall as to keep the drill safe. Email us if you would like to know how we built it.
This is a video of a drill we do. It starts as a VES drill with the firefighter ascending the ladder and then clearing a window. The space is smoked up and the fierfighter enters, starting his search for the door. While he’s searching we throw a rug or piece of plywood ontop of them to demonstrate conditions deteriorating and making them exit fast to the window.
The intent is to force quick recognition to exit and to perform the ladder bail fast. We do this drill after evolutions of just ladder bail practice. This let’s them put their practice into real life type situations and to do it at full speed.
We have a new YouTube channel and we hope to start posting new videos.
If anyone has ever taught a bail out class, I am sure you have heard many comments such as: “Do we really need this thing with all of the other safety classes we’ve had?”, “I don’t want to carry around this extra weight”, or my personal favorite “I have been on the job for (insert Number of years here) and never had to jump out of a window”. As an instructor, how do you handle this situation? One method I have found useful is to give real life scenarios where firefighters had to bail out of a building. Two of the stories I use is a close call in 2003 involving the Saint Louis Fire Department and the Black Sunday story. (in my opinion should be used in every bail out/safety and survival class)
Recently, I started thinking about other dangerous occupations that have some sort of personal escape device. An occupation I came up with is fighter jet pilots and their bail out device called the ejection seat. The military spends millions of dollars to train their pilots and billions to give them a plane to do their job. In addition to the years of training, pilots are required to train on the proper ejection seat procedures every six months. If they fail the training they are grounded until they pass.
Additionally, do you think pilots complain about having to wear the extra weight of the parachute or want to get rid of the ejection seat because they have never had to use it? I would guarantee you that the answer is no. Do you think they complain about going to training on their ejection seat? Yep you guessed it, also a big no. So why do you think some firefighters have a hard time wearing and training on bail out systems? I don’t understand it either, but I always say it’s because of complacency. We can go to 20 fires and not need a bail out system and then get comfortable and think we don’t need it. Then on the 21st fire, guess what, we need it and don’t have it.
After thinking about it for a while, firefighters and fighter pilots are not that different. They both have access to an emergency escape device that they must stay up to date and train on regularly with the hope of never having to use it. But it is always nice to know that it is there. If you’re having a hard time training members of your department, remember that we have had hoods for years and we’re just now seeing everyone use them in every fire. Thanks for reading and remember get out there and train, train, and train some more.
Firefighter Jeff Weffelmeyer is a 11 year veteran of the fire service serving the last 3 years with the St. Louis Fire Department were he is assigned to Truck 17C in North St. Louis. Jeff is a certified Missouri Fire Service Instructor I, a member of St. Louis Area USAR Strike Team 2, an instructor with Forest Park Highlander Fire Academy and Engine House Training, LLC. Jeff also serves as a bail out instructor for the St. Louis Fire department.
Here is a short video on ladder bailout. This drill must be done with a safety line in place and all students must wear all PPE. Make sure the chin straps are secure. Remember, which ever arm is your pivot arm, the one that goes under the rung, it should be on top when you get side ways. Practice and train frequently. Train with your ladders and get proficient.
As always, thanks for reading (watching) and stay safe.
We have all done a “Follow the Coupling Drill” where we are placed in the center of a pile of hose spaghettied around the engine room and told to find our way out. Here is a quick, inexpensive way to do this drill at every training exercise or anywhere around the engine house.
Find a piece of hose that has been removed from service, it works best if the couplings are not damaged. Cut both couplings off the section of hose, leaving about 12” of hose. Connect the couplings to each other and you’re finished.
During a training exercise walk-up to any firefighter, ask them to close their eyes, then place the coupling in their gloved hand and ask “which way is out”?
This can be taken anywhere, completed in seconds, and requires no set-up or tear-down time.
This is a post from Gary Graf on limited structures.
As I look at some of the homes in my fire district I realize the difficulties associated with access for firefighting activities. With homes that have been built on elevations, hill sides, tall retaining walls, and in alleyways; access for apparatus, hoselines and ladders is sometimes difficult. Other problems encountered could include access to the scene, water supply, additional lighting, air supply/rehab location and a generally difficult working area for firefighters. These problems are not limited to fire incidents, but can also pose problems for patient removal in emergency medical situations.These structures are not only older style homes; but can be found as new homes in modern subdivisions, and multi-family dwellings. I have included pictures and some of the associated problems with access to structures in my district. I challenge you to go out and find these buildings in your area. After you find them share the information with everyone: shift members, co-workers, and mutual aid companies. The life you save could be your own!
This is a Multi-Family apartment building that is stacked two buildings deep; the picture to the right shows the access to these buildings
Photos 3 and 4:
These two residential structures are located across the street from each other. The picture on the left shows natural rocks that have been used as a retainer; the driveway is too steep to access with a pumper. The picture on the right is a 2-story house built on a steep hill; the roof is eye level with the street. Don’t forget; just because you entered the front door at ground level does not mean the back door will be at ground level.
Photos 5 and 6:
Older buildings with limited access to the front of the structure may have an alley to access from the rear (left picture). The structure pictured to the right has a drive-way that goes under the house to access the garage and front of the building.
Well, here we are and we are ready to roll. We are going to start posting on this site training ideas, discussions, pictures and videos. Our goal is to pass on as much information to as many firefighters as possible.
So, watch for future posts and events. Although we have been doing trainings together, next week we will kick off our first official “Engine House Training” at Missouri Summer Fire School. We will be conducting “Firefighter Safety and Survival on the Fireground.”
We will be updating and tweeking our site, so be patient and visit us frequently. Below is some information about our instructors.
Jason Hoevelmann is a Deputy Chief with the Sullivan Fire Protection District and a firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District. He has over 20 years of fire service experience and has been an instructor for the last 15 years. He is Instructor Level II and Officer II. He holds a BS in Fire Service Administration from Eastern Oregon University and presents at FDIC and Fire Rescue International as well as other regional conferences. He has been published in Fire Engineering magazine and OnScene magaizine and writes a monthly column on FireRescue1.com. He is on Missouri Strike Teams 5 and 3. He is a board member of the ISFSI, a board of director on the IAFC/FLSS and is on NFPA Technical committees for Fire Officer qualifiations and Fire Service Instructor qualifications.
Gary is a Battalion Chief/Training Officer with the Pacific Fire Protection District. Gary has been in the fire service for over 22 years. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection Technology and is a Level II certified fire service instructor and Lead Evaluator for the State of Missouri. Gary helps coordinates training for Tri County Training, Franklin/Jefferson County USAR Task Force 5 and is an adjunct instructor for MUFTRI. Gary has specialized in all aspects of rescue and firefighter survival.
Dave is a Captain with the Sullivan Fire Protection District and has been in the fire service for over 10 years. Dave is a fire service instructor 1 and has taught extensively on firefighter safety and survival.
Frank is a firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District and has been in the fire service for over 15 years. Frank holds a Bachelors of Science in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University. Frank specializes in rope rescue and firefighter safety and survival techniques. He is a member of St. Louis County Task Force 3 and is a Swiftwater Rescue Technician.
Andy is a Captain/Paramedic with the Creve Coeur Fire Protection and has been in the fire service for the past twenty one years. He holds an Associates Degree in Fire Protection Technology and is a Level I certified fire service instructor by the State of Missouri. He is a member of the St. Louis County Strike Team 3 and the St. Louis Co Hazardous Material Team. He has been teaching safety and survival training throughout the State of Missouri for the past ten years.
We appreciate your support and hope to have a long relationship in the fire service with all of you. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.