When we teach personal safety and survival, we try to teach practical techniques that just about any firefighter can use with limited equipment. One of our motto’s is “No gadgets or gizmos!” We want to train firefighters with what they have available to them.
So, when we speak of window bailouts, if the department we are working with does not have the capabilities to do a true window bailout, we want them to know that there is a very basic method to escape a rapidly deteriorating fire condition.
The window hang needs no special equipment and any firefighter can perform this skill. In addition, you can practice this on a ground level window. This skill is important and should be mastered by all firefighters. You may need this in any building, whether it is multiple stories or a single-story ranch.
This drill also demonstrates that the use of RIT Prevention is paramount and can save lives without the actual deployment of a RIT crew.
To practice this drill, find a window or window prop. This can be as easy as framing a small wall with a window out of scrap lumber, but use what you have available. Firefighters should be in full PPE with SCBA.
As the firefighter searches or is operating in the room the instructor should tell them that conditions are rapidly becoming untenable and they must exit via the window.
The firefighter, staying as low in the window as possible, should go head first out the window towards one corner or the other. If the firefighter exits towards the right, his left hand should be below him against the building and his right hand should be hooked on the inside at the bottom of sill. His left leg should immediately follow his body out the window with his right leg hooking the wall on the left side of the sill.
This takes practice and the importance of staying low is paramount. The firefighter has to stay below the intense heat and fire that may be issuing out of the window. This is a temporary fix for poor conditions. The firefighter will have to get the attention of ground crews.
This is the importance of throwing ladders as soon as possible on multi-story buildings. If a ladder is ready at that window, when the firefighter goes to this hang, he can transfer right to the ladder.
Train hard and practice this technique. No bailout system required.