Updated: Feb 27
Rapid Intervention Teams
Personal Protective Equipment
Where can we start?
Before we start talking about the RIT and all the PPE necessary for proper operation of a RIT we need to go back to the beginning and start from scratch. Here In North America (USA and Canada) we use NFPA or National Fire Protection Association to give us the standards or foundation where we can build a process or policies. In plain english NFPA are guidelines or recommendations for the optimal practice of our profession. In this case for RIT, that means we have to revisit NFPA 1407.
This standard specifies the basic training procedures for fire service personnel to conduct firefighter rapid intervention operations so as to promote firefighter safety and survival. And specify from roles of the RIT team to equipment.
What is RIT?
Now that we establish the basis we can talk about the RIT (Rapid intervention team) or RIC (Rapid Intervention Crews). RIT basically is a group of firefighters, preferably no more than 4, dedicated to rescue a down brother or sister in the case of an accident, like SCBA emergencies, entanglements, disorientation or injuries. RIT operations should be fast and precise, because, we have a general idea of the location of the down fireman, in addition, an idea on what to bring to accomplish the rescue and a pretty good idea where are all the egress or exit or escape routes in the structure.
The details of RIT team’s procedure, crew, training and execution will be discussed in another occasion but for now lets keep RIT capabilities, skills and performance to your own fire department standard operating procedures or SOP for now. Let’s focus on what tools a RIT team will use or need to bring the down fireman back to safety.
RIT Equipment and PPE
As we talked earlier RIT teams must be able to mobilize in a rapid manner, too much equipment can make that task difficult so minimizing and adapting are the key to accomplish the goal. All you need are tools to get in and out, Air supply equipment to give a second chance to the down firefighter and some type of system of guidance to move to and from with or without a down firefighter, like any fire ground operation everything is incident dependent, so do not go crazy. If you are thinking of building a RIT program in your fire department, always start from simple to complex, sometimes less is more.
As a disclaimer, each RIT member should receive training and evaluation on every piece of equipment used by the team, and these are some of the equipment you might use:
Ropes, including search, rescue, and life safety ropes and webbing
Forcible entry tools, as provided by the AHJ
Rescue air supply
Personal protective equipment
Radio communications equipment
In addition, A RIT equipment package could include the following:
Personal escape (bail out) rope and bag
Rabbit tool (forcible entry tool)
8-ft attic ladder
Additional heavy rescue equipment should be available on scene for immediate use by the RIT if needed:
Hydraulic rescue tools (spreaders, cutters, and rams)
Air lifting bags
Rope rescue equipment to build lowering and hauling systems
RIT is about speed and precise procedure that can save one of us from dying or getting hurt, and what I showed you are just tools to make your job easy. Dedication and training are the real stars of the show. Remember to keep it as simple and mainstream as possible. Do not forget to ask yourself these questions: how do I get the down firefighter?, how will I get the firefighter out of the situation? Does the firefighter need air? And how will I get out of the structure?.
Fire Rescue Group
McCormack, J., & Pressler, B. (2002). RIT Operations. FD Training Network.
Posted by Jason Hoevelmann on October 10, 2013 at 12:56pm V. B. (n.d.). Alternative to lunar for mayday. Fire Engineering Training Community. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from https://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1219672%3ABlogPost%3A588048
NFPA 1407. NFPA. (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.nfpa.org/