S.O.G. No.:01-008 Revision: March 2007

Effective Date: Nov 2002


1.1 The purpose of Emergency Incident Rehabilitation (Rehab) is to ensure that the physical and mental condition of all Union Fire District members operating at the scene of an emergency or a training exercise does not deteriorate to a point that affects the safety of each member or that jeopardizes the safety and integrity of the operation. This procedure shall apply to all emergency operations and training exercises where strenuous physical activity or exposure to heat or cold exists.


2.1 Union Fire District Board of Wardens Policy


3.1 The department shall maintain a safe working environment within the facility in accordance with OSHA


4.1 Standard Operating Guidelines of the Union Fire District of South Kingstown dictate that the Incident Command System be followed in all emergency operations and training sessions.

4.1.1 Incident Commander

The Incident Commander shall consider the circumstances of each incident and make adequate provisions early in the incident for the rest and rehabilitation for all members operating at the scene. These provisions shall include:

  1. Medical evaluation
  2. Treatment and monitoring
  3. Food and fluid replenishment
  4. Mental rest
  5. Relief from extreme climatic conditions and other environmental concerns
  6. The rehabilitation shall include the provision of Emergency Medical Services [EMS] at the Basic Life Support [BLS] level or higher

4.1.2 Line Officer

All officers shall: Maintain an awareness of the condition of each crew member operating within their span of control. Ensure that adequate steps are taken to provide for each firefighter’s safety and health. Utilize the command structure to request relief and reassignment of fatigued crews.

4.1.3 Firefighters
All firefighters shall:
Be encouraged to drink water and activity beverages during periods of hot weather to prevent dehydration in the event of an emergency. Advise their supervisor when they believe that their level of fatigue or exposure to heat or cold is approaching a level that could affect themselves, their crew, or the operation in which they are involved. Remain aware of the health and safety of other members of the crew

4.1.4 Rehab Officer

When conditions indicate the need for rest and rehabilitation for personnel, the Incident Commander shall appoint a Rehab Officer who shall be:

  1. 4.1.4a  CertifiedasaFirstResponderorhigher
  2. 4.1.4b  In charge of the establishment of a Rehab sector
  3. 4.1.4c  Responsibleforsecuringthelocation,supplies, equipment and staff needed for the sector

4.1.5 Emergency Medical Services

The Emergency Medical Services consist of Town of South Kingstown Rescue, and Kingston Rescue 6 and shall be responsible for:

  1. 4.1.5a  Providing all medical evaluation
  2. 4.1.5b  Evaluate vital signs, examine members, and make proper disposition of each firefighter

4.1.6 Union Fire District Auxiliary/Providence Canteen Auxiliary units shall:

  1. 4.1.6a  AssisttheRehabOfficerinsecuringthelocation, equipment, and supplies necessary for the sector to be established
  2. 4.1.6b  Provide nourishment to aid in the recovery process


4.2.1 Location

An appropriate location of the rehabilitation sector shall be designated by the Incident Commander and/or the Rehab Officer

4.2.2 Site Characteristics

The site should be in an area that is far enough away from the scene so that firefighters can safely remove turnout gear and SCBA’s

  1. 4.2.2a  Inalocationthatprovidesanopportunityforphysicalrest by allowing the body to recuperate from the physical and mental demands of the operation
  2. 4.2.2b  In an area that is protected from the environment. It should be in a cool shaded area during hot weather, and a warm dry area during cold weather
  3. 4.2.2c  Clearofexhaustfumesfromapparatus,vehicles,orother equipment.
  4. 4.2.2d  Large enough to accommodate several crews at one time and easily accessible by all staff and other resources

4.2.3 Site Designations

The following designations should be considered as possible site locations:

4.2.3a A school or municipal bus, a neighbor’s garage or home, a building lobby, any fire apparatus or emergency vehicle already on the scene or any open area using tarps, fans, etc

4.2.4 Supplies

The supplies should include the following items:

  1. 4.2.4a  Fluids such as water, activity beverages (Gatorade), ice
  2. 4.2.4b  Food such as soup, broth, stew in hot/cold cups, sliced oranges, bananas, bagels
  3. 4.2.4c  Medical equipment including blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, oxygen administration devices, cardiac monitors, intravenous solutions, and thermometers
  4. 4.2.4d  Other equipment such as awnings, fans, tarps, smoke ejectors, heaters, dry clothing, extra equipment, floodlights, blankets, towels, chairs, traffic cones, fireline tape


4.3.1 When to Establish a Rehab Sector

Rehabilitation should be considered by staff officers during the initial planning stages of an emergency response. The following items should be considered when determining the need for a Rehab Sector:

  1. Any activity or incident that is long in duration
  2. Any activity or incident that is large in size
  3. Any activity or incident that is labor intensive
  4. Any activity or incident that will rapidly deplete the energy and strength of personnel
  5. Climatic or environmental conditions such as:
    1. Heat stress index above 90 F (see table 1)
    2. Windchill index below 10 F (see table 2)

4.3.2 Hydration

The maintenance of water and electrolytes is a critical factor in the prevention of heat injury. Water must be replaced during exercise periods and at emergency incidents as follows:

A) Heat Stress
The member should consume at least one quart of water per hour. The re-hydration solution should be a 50/50 mixture of water and commercially prepared activity beverage (Gatorade) and administered at 40 degrees F

B) Cold Temperatures
Re-hydration is even more important during cold weather because despite outside temperatures, heat stress can occur during strenuous activities when protective clothing is worn.

C) Avoid alcohol and caffeine beverages because they interfere with the body’s water conservation mechanisms. Avoid carbonated beverages

4.3.3 Nourishment

The department shall provide food at the scene of an extended incident when firefighting units are engaged for three hours or more. Recommendations are:

Soup, broth or stew because they digest quickly. Apples, bananas, or oranges because they provide supplemental forms of energy replacement. Avoid sandwiches, fast food products, fatty, or salty foods

4.3.4 Rest

The objective evaluation of a firefighter’s fatigue level shall be the criteria for rehab time. The following are general guidelines:

  1. 4.3.4a  The“twoairbottlerule”or45minutesofworktimeisan acceptable level prior to mandatory rehabilitation
  2. 4.3.4b  Firefighters shall re-hydrate at least 8 ounces of water while SCBA cylinders are being changed
  3. 4.3.4c  Restshallnotbelessthan10minutesandmayexceedanhouras determined by the Rehab Officer
  4. 4.3.4d  Fresh crews or crews released from the Rehab Sector shall be available to the manpower pool (to ensure that fatigued firefighters are not returned to duty until they are rested, evaluated, and released by the Rehab Officer

4.3.5 Recovery

4.3.5a Firefighters should not be moved from a hot environment directly into an air conditioned area because the body’s cooling system can shut down in response to the external cooling

4.3.5b An air conditioned environment is acceptable after a cool-down period at ambient temperatures with sufficient air movement

4.3.5c Firefighters should maintain a high level of hydration

4.3.5d Firefighters should notify EMS if they have taken antihistamines such as Actifed or Benadryl, or diuretics or stimulants, as they impair the body’s ability to sweat and caution must be exercised

4.3.6 Medical Evaluation

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) should be provided and staffed by the most highly trained and qualified EMS personnel on the scene. A minimum of Basic Life Support (BLS) should be required

  1. 4.3.6a  EMS shall evaluate vital signs and examine firefighters
  2. 4.3.6b  EMS shall determine if firefighter should: return to duty, continue rehabilitation, be medically treated, or transported to hospital, according to UFD policy.
  3. 4.3.6c  Continued rehabilitation shall consist of additional monitoring of vital signs, providing rest, and fluids for hydration
  4. 4.3.6d  Medical treatment for firefighters whose signs and symptoms indicate potential problems, should be provided in accordance with RI state Protocol
  5. 4.3.6e  EMS shall be assertive in efforts to find potential medical problems early
  6. 4.3.6f  The heart rate should be measured for 30 seconds as early as possible in the rest period
  7. 4.3.6g  If the firefighter’s heart rate exceeds 110 beats per minute, an oral temperature should be taken
  8. 4.3.6h  If the temperature exceeds 100.6 degrees F, the firefighter should not be permitted to wear protective clothing
  9. 4.3.6i  If the temperature is below 100.6 degrees F and the heart rate remains above 110 beats per minute, rehabilitation time should be increased
  10. 4.3.6j  If the heart rate is less than 110 beats per minute, the chance of heat stress is negligible

4.3.7 Documentation
All medical evaluations shall be recorded on standard forms indicating member’s name, vital signs, complaints, condition and disposition of the member and must be signed, dated, and time, by the Rehab Officer or his designee (Table 3)

4.3.8 Accountability

  1. 4.3.8a  All members assigned to the rehab sector shall enter and exit the sector as a crew
  2. 4.3.8b  The crew designation, number of crews, and the times of entry and exit for the rehab sector shall be documented by the Rehab Officer on the Company Check In/Out Sheet (Table 4)
  3. 4.3.8c  Crews shall not leave the Rehab area until authorized to do so by the Rehab Office