Rapid Intervention/Firefighter Rescue Teams

When do you assign a RIT/FAST?

The Fire Ground is so dynamic and the functions that must be completed to save lives and property, make it a serious challenge on when to assign certain task, based on available firefighters/companies. The two-in-two out is not reliable when a real world event happens. Could those two firefighters possibly be more efficient doing some other fire ground functions to prevent a mishap?  Do you know what IRIT stands for and have you really read up on what two out really is? The two out is a temporary CHECK in the BOX and Check in the BOX it is. But, so many Chiefs’ are more concerned with checking the box, that THEY fail to understand if the check is really efficient and has been fire ground tested. Like the whole changing channels during a MAYDAY. Hey Brother, standby, while we have all your other brothers that are close by, change to a different channel. We have got to stop coming up with Tactical Theories and start talking with experienced veterans “ones that respond and actually have been there” on what will really work and not what sounds good in a conference room on Monday morning.

When should we assign RIT during the initial attack?  How many should be assigned? Where should they stage?  WHAT TOOLS SHOULD THEY HAVE?  What should they be allowed to do while standing by? Can they be put to work? What channel should they operate on? When do we terminate the RIT assignment? What type of training should they have? Does YOUR department only assign firefighters/companies to RIT that have been properly trained? Does your department just assign for the check in the box? What’s more important the first line and getting the building ventilated properly or having a RIT before any other tactics are performed?

Does your FD always assign FOUR?  What is the most important thing the RIT does for a down firefighter inside?


DO you assign RIT on all FIRES?

10 thoughts on “Rapid Intervention/Firefighter Rescue Teams

  1. In the monday morning quarterback room, RIT should be assigned before any tactical operations begin. With this being real world, we have to adapt and overcome. The only thing that is going to terminate this emergency is getting that first attack line in place and putting water on the fire. When determining how many should be assigned to RIT we need to keep in mind that when the “average” firefighter is down it is going to take 6+ firefighters to remove the firefighter. RIT staging should be out of the way of the main suppression activites but close enough to mobilize quickly and efficiently. Tools is a good question. Every incident is going to be different and the RIT team needs to gather up tools that they think might be needed but start by grabbing your RIT pack(spare air bottle, buddy breather tubing, spare mask, etc..), irons, rotary saw. RIT teams can do tasks that wont interfere with their ability to react when needed. Can throw ladders, pull a back up line so it can be charged while waiting, assist driver with water supply, secure utilities. They should be on your main tactical frequency to hear the mayday come in. Our department keeps the RIT team, Mayday firefighter and command on our main tactical channel while all the other operations switch to the backup tactical channel. Our RIT assignments arent terminated until overhaul has been completed. We have a RIT crew assigned on all structure fires. Our unattached garage fires dont usually have a RIT team unless it has exposures. All of our recruits are trained on RIT operations while in Recruit training. We continue training throughout the career but we dont have a designated crew of guys trained on RIT.

  2. We have an extensive RIT policy that sets the 3rd engine on the initial box assignment as the RIC. then upon confirmation of a working incident an additional ems unit, truck company and rescue squad are dispatched as the Rapid Intervention …Dispatch, when they arrive on scene they meet up with that engine company and form the Rapid Intervention Group. We have done a fair amount of inservice training dealing with RIT as well as company drills on it as well. Tools and eqpt. for the RIG is building specific, all are supposed to have full PPE and SCBA obviously, radio, flashlight, atleast one RIT Bag which has the SCBA cylinder, wire cutters and a sling link, stokes basket and building specific tools, saws, forcible entry tools. etc. If you would like to see oour policy or the training program that I have developed please contact me at cmdfools@yahoo.com. 2 in 2 out is more of an OSHA standard that covers any worker in an IDLH atmosphere it is essential to have some sort of policy/procedure or standard on RIT that is a stand alone one ours used to be part of our safe structural firefighting policy. It was decided rightfully so that it should be sepparate cause RIT could and should be used onany number of incident types.

      • Rescue is a heavy rescue squad.

        Most of our engines are staffed with 4 persons
        Trucks staffed with 3
        Squads staffed with 3
        ems units staffed with 2

  3. I have a good RIT program that I teach and would be more than willing to bring it to your department. The only expenses involved would be to get me and my instructors there, place to stay, transportation and food. There may also be some expenses with props if needed to be built. If interested please email me at cmdfools@yahoo.com and I can get you an outline of my program.

  4. I’m not sure about assigning a RIT company to too many tasks while in the” wait and see” period of an incident. If something goes down I want that team ready, assembled, and rested within a minute or less. Doesn’t mean we can’t task the team with minor outside duties near the command post but we need to think about how many tasks to give them…think conserving energy for the “just in case” moment…and no it has nothing to do with fitness but workload and preparation (think during a 110 degree heat index)…

    • I agree, they can do some activities outside the IDLH atmosphere, I believe all members of the RIG should do a walk arround of the structure to get an idea of the buildings (size, configuration, window and door locations etc.)

  5. considerations for RIT team…we stress the fact that a RIT should have all these tools and equipment and a RIT pack and all this good stuff…some things a RIT should do after arriving on scene…find out the location of the nozzle and search teams…go to the immediate area and assist with ventialtion and egress operations if not alredy being performed…have the RIT evaluate each window or door and have a plan in case of emergency…while at the firehouse kitchen table discuss ways of making egress in residential houses…a recent event (2009) in Colorado could have gone horribly wrong…a chainsaw with a carbide tipped chain is an invaluable tool for turning windows into doors and doors into garages…a rabbit tool is good tool for removing bars if the halligan doesn’t work well…place the flathead blade first between the wall and bar and that should minmize the distance the cylinder has to travel and you may end up removing the entire bar in one shot…ok done for now…just some food for thought…

Comments are closed.