The nature of fire fighting places the firefighter at risk for becoming lost, trapped or imperiled with equipment malfunctions. The toxic environment where work is performed provides only a narrow window of survivability. Survival depends on a mix of predictable self-survival actions by the affected firefighter(s), the Incident Commander and the Rapid Intervention Team.
The purpose of this procedure is to provide action steps to be taken by the trapped/lost firefighter(s) and the Incident Commander. Specific procedures provided in this document include how to activate the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) and remove those in danger to a safe location in a quick and efficient manner.
The term Mayday will be designated solely for when a firefighter is in immediate distress in an IDLH atmosphere.
Examples include when a firefighter or firefighters become trapped, lost, disoriented or experiencing equipment malfunctions.
13.3- Mayday Prevention
The number one basic self survival responsibility is to avoid getting into situations where a firefighter or fire company gets trapped, lost or low/out of air. The rescue of trapped or lost firefighters within a burning building is extremely time sensitive due to our SCBAs providing a limited supply of air
All personnel entering IDL atmospheres shall be equipped with a working radio
Minimum entry crew size is two members. These members must remain intact and together
Crews operating in IDLH environments are to be working on a specific assignment and working under the direction of an OIC or command level officer
Crews will follow all SCBA guidelines, including, but not limited to PASS device usage
13.3- Emergency Procedures
When a firefighter(s) become lost, trapped or experiences an equipment malfunction, the following procedures must be followed:
Searching For an Exit
A lost firefighter should always attempt to exit out of the building by whatever means possible
Where doors, windows, or other means of egress are not available, firefighters should next attempt to reach an exterior wall
Once at an exterior wall the firefighter can try to locate windows, doors, or hallways that generally lead to the outside
Rescuers will first search hallways, around windows and doors before sweeping large areas if victim location is unknown
Getting to hallways, doors, or windows will greatly increase the chances of being rescued early
Breaching walls for escape or fresh air can aid survivability. These actions will also provide predictable activities that will aid rescuers
Retreat to a Safe Refuge
Where a firefighter cannot find a way out, but there is a safe refuge (protected room or floor) away from the fire that the firefighter can retreat to, he/she should take advantage of this location
Command and the RIT team must then be notified of this location as soon as possible
Flashlight / Noise
Firefighter(s) should attempt to position their flashlight towards the ceiling. This will enhance the rescuers ability to see the light and locate the downed firefighter
If able the firefighter should attempt tapping noises to assist in location by rescuers, (hitting a tool on a metal door, tapping on the floor)