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Do You Have a Play for This?

Fast forward the video to about 1:56 in it you will see an exterior fire attack being performed. During this fire attack the firefighter on the nozzle goes down (unknown reason) and is experiencing some sort of medical emergency.

After a few minutes a sort of Mayday is called stating that a firefighter is down and they need the Paramedics for medical assistance. Now I’m sure we could focus all day on the improper Mayday call, and even the tactics themselves for this fire but the real question here is Do you have a play for this?

I use the word play interchangeable with plan. At my old company we had an Engine Company play book that laid out all the various type of scenarios that we responded to and our actions according to riding position. This gave us an avenue to focus our training and to have maximum efficiency on the fireground/emergency scene. I can tell you with honesty we had NO PLAY for the on scene firefighter medical emergency.

Taking one look at the USFA LODD Annual report will show you that our fireman are dying on scene from medical emergencies, usually not on the interior of fire buildings. Yet we have ZERO training, drills, or even plans for how to deal with the Firefighter on scene medical emergency in the middle of an emergency. Sure we train on RIT/RIC but that focuses more on removing firefighters, bailing out, wall breaching, buddy breathing, etc. It NEVER focuses on how to treat, or handle the exterior or even interior medical emergency.

Sure we have great training, and plans if the medical emergency happens interior to get the firefighter out, but then what? Just hand them off to the medic unit, What if it’s not there. In my department we do not send a medic until it is a confirmed working fire, so that is a lot of lag time between the arrival of the first in companies and the arrival of the medic, a lot can happen in that amount of time, so whats your plan for treating that sudden cardiac arrest?

Like everything in this job we have to adapt our plans, and evolve to meet the current needs and emergencies we are facing, for years we have been experiencing medical emergencies on the fireground, and still there is nothing out there to deal with these instances. If we are our best chance of survival then perhaps we should begin to adapt our Firefighter survival training to more realistic events that have actually happened.

If you are doing anything like this in your department, then please drop me a line in the comments section, twitter @averagejakeff, or on email.

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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