When Should Command Be Expanded – Before or After the Mayday is Called?

Photo by Tim Olk

My article for the Firefighter/EMT Safety, Health & Survival Section of  the May 2012 issue of IAFC On Scene: Expanding Command Ahead of Demand.

If a mayday operation requires rapid, concise decisions and actions to increase firefighter survivability, then when should command be expanded—before or after the mayday is called?

We know that our work on the fireground is complex, dangerous and chaotic. We know that building and maintaining effective command and control is essential for successful and safe operations. We also know that fireground operations demand that we have a heightened sense of awareness, the ability to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and the skill and will to make critical decisions, and do so fast.

But how do we accomplish that, especially during a mayday situation, with limited or no command staff?

Read the entire article here.

Do you have adequate staffing and resources to handle a Mayday operation? Is your command staff ready to manage the risk and make the decisions to successfully control a Mayday incident?

Are You Ready for a Rapid Intervention Event?

My March 2012 column at Fire Rescue Magazine on FirefighterNation: Forming a rapid intervention committee allows fire departments to focus on awareness, readiness and response to mayday events. By Billy Schmidt Published Thursday, March 15, 2012.

On the fireground, what makes things real for you as a firefighter? What gets your heart racing, your blood pumping? Fire and angry, black smoke surrounding the house on arrival? Bystanders on the scene screaming that someone is still inside? Or the sound of “mayday, mayday!” over the radio at the height of an operation? Any of these can put your brain into overload—naval aviators call this “helmet fire.” Everything you experience during stressful situations will tax your ability to handle the crisis—but a mayday call will take you to your limit. So ask yourself this question: Whether you’re the downed firefighter calling the mayday, a member of the rapid intervention crew (RIC) responding to it or the incident commander trying to get control of it, are you really ready to handle it?

Are you ready? Read more here.

HEAT Conference 2012 [Event]

I will be leading a roundtable discussion at the South Florida HEAT Conference 2012 on Rapid Intervention Realities.

Date:  Thursday, February 9, 2012

Time:  1:15 to 3:00 PM

EventSouth Florida HEAT Conference 2012

TopicRapid Intervention Reality Roundtable Discussion

SponsorTraining Officers of the Palm Beaches

Location:  Herman W. Brice Complex at Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, 405 Pike Road,   West Palm Beach, Florida

Registration:  Click here to register

More info:  Click here for more information

Rapid Intervention Roundtable at HEAT Conference 2012

Photo by Tim Olk

2012 South Florida HEAT Conference

Hosted by the Fire Training Officers of the Palm Beaches

Rapid Intervention Realities Roundtable

The sound of “Mayday, Mayday” heard over the radio will bring a sense of uneasiness and urgency to everyone on the fire ground. One of our own is in trouble. Is your fire department ready to manage an incident where firefighters transmit a Mayday?

Where does your fire department stand with rapid intervention team (RIT) operations? Many changes have taken place since RIT was first introduced, but how has your fire department RIT operation changed? Do you have RIT policies and procedures that are accepted and used? Do you provide realistic training for firefighter assist and survival? Do you have adequate staffing and resources, and relationships with other response agencies that will assist you with your RIT operations? Is your command staff ready to manage the risk and make the decisions to successfully control a Mayday incident?

District Chief Billy Schmidt (PBCFR) will host a roundtable chat on rapid intervention realities across Palm Beach County. Members of the Rapid Intervention Group will discuss RIT policies and procedures, practices, staffing and resources, and command and control. The Group will share its mission and intent to help fire departments in Palm Beach County raise the awareness of prevention, heighten the state of readiness, and strengthen the level of rapid intervention response.

Come and listen as they discuss their research into the following:

  • The impact of NFPA 1407
  • How to prevent unsafe conditions that may cause firefighters to become lost, trapped or injured on the fire ground
  • How to build knowledgeable, well-trained Rapid Intervention Teams
  • How to get Command and RIT working on the same page
  • How to get a fire department ready to respond to the unthinkable: A Mayday

The Rapid Intervention Group includes members from most Palm Beach County Fire Departments and is working to develop a fully comprehensive rapid intervention program through a collaborative partnership and a solution-centered approach that focuses on “fire-ground firefighter safety” as the highest priority.