S.O.G. No.:01-007 Revision: Dec. 2007
Effective Date: Dec. 2007
1.1 The purpose of this procedure is to identify the roles and responsibilities of all the parties involved at an incident where a “May-Day” has been transmitted.
2.1 Union Fire District Board of Wardens August, 2005.
3.1 The department shall maintain proper guidelines in accordance with OSHA regulations.
4.1 “MAY-DAY” RADIO MESSAGE
The radio message “May-Day” will be used by a fire fighter to report their status as being lost, trapped, or injured and needing immediate rescue. The preferred emergency procedure will be: Depress Emergency Identifier Button (EIB) on radio “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” followed by an S.O.S., where the Sector, Orders and repeat Sector (location) will be broadcast. (Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, Alpha/Bravo 2nd floor, Portable Eng. 21, Alpha/Bravo 2nd floor.) Any member may use “May-Day” to report a lost fire fighter. Any report of “May-Day” will receive emergency radio traffic followed by the emergency traffic tone. The term “May-Day” will be reserved ONLY to report a lost, trapped, or injured fire fighter(s). The term “priority traffic” will be used to report all other emergencies.
4.2 COMMAND RESPONSIBILITIES
Command will maintain an awareness of the location of fire fighters on the fire ground primarily through assignments of the UFD accountability system. In the event that a fire fighter cannot be located through a PAR, or any other time a fire fighter is missing, the captain or any member should announce a “May Day.” The term “May Day” will indicate a lost, trapped, or injured fire fighter. Command shall respond to a “May Day” by implementing a rescue plan for the fire fighter(s).
The plan should include:
4.3 MISSING FIRE FIGHTER?
Company officers and individual fire fighters who suspect a fire fighter is missing must notify the incident commander immediately. The incident commander MUST ALWAYS assume that the missing fire fighter is lost in the building until the member is accounted for. The system must include the ability to identify when a fire fighter is going to be delayed beyond his/her SCBA air time.
4.4 USE EMERGENCY TRAFFIC TONES TO ANNOUNCE THE REPORT OF A MISSING FIRE FIGHTER
All personnel operating at the scene need to be alerted that a fire fighter is lost, trapped, or injured. A radio tone followed by a radio update will be utilized.
4.5 CHANGE THE STRATEGY AND PLAN TO A HIGH PRIORITY RESCUE EFFORT
The Incident Commander must restructure his/her strategy and action plan to include a fire fighter rescue effort. This may seem obvious to most. However, incident commanders can become overwhelmed by the emotion related to the crisis at hand and may become hooked on reacting to tasks rather than looking at the global picture. This can lead to disorganization and delays that can be fatal to the missing fire fighter.
Accurate information must be quickly obtained and acted upon. Additional resources must be immediately obtained. Rapid commitment of the RIT/Rescue Sector must occur. These resources must be organized and controlled. The Command organization must expand. The strategy, plan, and objectives must be quickly communicated to Command staff and sector officers. The plan and rescue activities must be continually monitored and revised as necessary. Conditions and updated information causes changes in the plan and objectives. The Incident Commander must communicate any changes to the Command staff and sector officers.
4.6 IMMEDIATELY REQUEST ADDITIONAL ALARMS
An additional alarm with additional rescue will be immediately requested upon a report of a lost, trapped, or injured fire fighter. Additional alarms may need to be requested based on circumstances. There should be no hesitation in requesting additional resources.
4.7 UTILIZE A CENTRALIZED STAGING AREA
All additional resources will be sent to a centralized staging area. The incident commander should commit resources from staging based on needs at the site. Staging controls resources and ensures that there is a route in and out of the scene, free of congestion, for rescues to transport recovered fire fighters.
4.8 COMMIT THE RAPID INTERVENTION TEAM
All significant fire fighting operations will have a rapid intervention team (RIT). This team should be fully outfitted with protective clothing, SCBA, etc., and monitoring all tactical radio traffic. Upon report of a missing fire fighter, the incident commander has a completely fresh crew fully outfitted, available for commitment to an immediate search and rescue of the last known area of the missing fire fighter(s). RIT, or any fresh crew(s) in staging, must be immediately sent to the rescue area. The commitment of additional crews, however, must be controlled and organized.
There is a direct relationship to the routine use of RIT and fire fighter survivability on the fire ground. The significance of the routine use of RIT to fire fighter survivability on the fire ground is substantial. National Fire Protection Association studies reveal that a majority of fire fighter fatalities occur at residential fires. To combat this risk we will automatically dispatch an additional engine company upon the report of a working structural fire. Once the fire is declared under control, the incident commander has the option to cancel the company’s response, utilize the company as a fresh crew for relief, or to conduct overhaul if needed. At multiple alarms, additional companies will be assigned to RIT.
4.9 WITHDRAW COMPANIES FROM THE AFFECTED AREA, IF APPROPRIATE, TO OBTAIN A ROLL CALL AND RECONNAISSANCE INFORMATION
In some situations, such as collapse or explosion, crewmembers may get separated. The only practical method, to obtain an accurate count of effected crews, may be to withdraw them to the exterior. In addition, withdrawal may be the only way to quickly obtain accurate information and reconnaissance on exactly where trapped members may be, routing to victims, debris locations, and the type of rescue equipment needed. Once the roll call and reconnaissance information is quickly obtained, crews can be re-assembled into a more organized rescue effort.
Withdrawal is a judgment call based on circumstances at the time, information available, and resources. It may not be practical or possible to do. However, the absolute need for an accurate roll call and information on missing fire fighters remains a critical priority. If it’s determined not to withdraw, a detailed roll call must be obtained from each sector for all crews operating under his/her direction.
4.10 DO NOT ABANDON FIRE FIGHTING POSITIONS–HOLD POSITIONS AND PREVENT FIRE SPREAD
The reason for a rapid intervention team, and the immediate request for additional resources, becomes very clear with this critical fire ground need. If a missing fire fighter(s) is to survive, the incident commander must keep the fire out of the rescue area. Does he/she relocate companies committed to fire combat to the rescue effort and allow the fire to spread? Or does he/she hold the fire positions and wait for additional resources for the rescue effort? With RIT in place, the incident commander can initiate an immediate rescue effort without withdrawing or relocating fire combat companies.
4.11 ASSIGN A CHIEF OFFICER TO THE RESCUE SECTOR
The incident commander is faced with a time critical crisis. Critical decisions and strong management of rescue operations is essential. A chief officer or designee must be assigned to direct the rescue sector and rescue operations if not already assigned. Depending on the size of the rescue area and the complexity of operations, more than one chief officer may be needed to fill additional support positions or sectors.
4.12 ASSIGN A SAFETY SECTOR TO THE RESCUE OPERATION
Rescue operations are high risk. The operation may be taking place in a post-collapse environment. Flashover may have occurred. The incident commander must avoid sustaining additional injuries. Each additional injury requires a resource commitment that will draw away from the priority rescue effort. A safety sector in the affected area will help control the risk taking. The officer will be able to conduct an assessment of the hazards allowing time for the rescue sector officer to concentrate on the critical rescue effort. These sector officers must work hand in hand to insure that a safe and effective rescue operation is conducted.
4.13 INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES
4.14 DISPATCH CENTER RESPONSIBILITIES
When a fire fighter is declared lost, trapped, or injured, station K will sound emergency traffic tones on ALL tactical channels being used on the fire ground; personnel will be advised that a “May-Day” exists for a lost, trapped, or injured fire fighter.
Command must be advised to immediately assign someone to monitor Fire ground Channels in the event the missing fire fighter broadcasts on either channel.
Station “K” will assign a dedicated dispatcher to the incident, if this is not the case already. ALL non-emergency activity will be suspended and ALL channels will be monitored very closely for any transmissions from the missing fire fighter.
4.15 PORTABLE RADIO EMERGENCY ACTIVATION
When activated, the portable radio Emergency Traffic tone transmits an audible signal to all consoles in the Dispatch Center, along with a numerical identification of the unit the portable is assigned to.
Should the Alarm Room receive an emergency activation from a portable radio (button), Dispatch will first identify the company, which activated the alert. Dispatch will then go to that company’s current radio channel for direct contact with the affected company to determine if an emergency exists.
When the activation occurs during an incident where Command has been established, Dispatch will contact Command directly. Command will contact the affected companies to determine if an emergency exists.
If the missing fire fighter comes up on a channel other than the assigned channel, the dispatcher will maintain communications with him/her on that channel and relay to Command. It is essential that once communications have been established they not be lost.
Once the fire fighter has been recovered, or at the conclusion of the incident, all personnel and outside agencies will be notified that the station “K” is back to normal operating conditions.