By JIm Smalley
Published Thursday, October 1, 2009
| From the October 2009 Issue of FireRescue
This year, the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Technical Committee on Fire Service Training completed a new document, NFPA 1407: Standard for Rapid Intervention Crews (RICs). The new standard specifies basic training requirements for “fire service personnel to conduct firefighter rapid intervention operations” and includes guidance for several “evolutions that can be adapted to local conditions and serves as a standard mechanism for the evaluation on minimum acceptable performance during training for rapid intervention activities.”
Attention to rapid intervention crews (RICs) has risen over the past several years as the impact of NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations Emergency Medical Operations and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, and NFPA 1720, the similar standard for volunteer fire departments, continue to shape the response demands of today’s fire departments. For example, NFPA 1710 requires RICs to be available for deployment, but provides little guidance on the training and equipment needs of these crews.
The focus of the RIC training standard is teamwork in evolutions selection preparation and rotation at the scene. From an overhead point of view, the standard provides direction for training officers in teaching intervention rescue skills and team coordination necessary to rescue a firefighter in trouble.
“Fire departments get into trouble when they try to adjust limited resources to meet the demands of the fire and fail to adjust their strategy and tactics to meet the limitations of their resources,” says Training Committee member Dan Rossos of Portland (Ore.) Fire & Rescue. A positive result in training RICs, Rossos says, is the “increased awareness of everyone on how to behave at a scene so the RIC will never have to be deployed—in other words, problem avoidance” through safer actions. This seems to be the major foundation of the Committee’s approach to the training requirements for RIC personnel.
Key requirements of the standard include establishing departmental training policies and guidelines for RICs; developing basic requirements for RIC members and leaders; and conducting, evaluating and documenting RIC training.
The standard relies on another important document closely related to RIC training and operations, NFPA 1404: Standard for Respiratory Protection Training.
According to Rossos, “More times than not, an RIC is needed to locate and rescue a firefighter who becomes disoriented and trapped when his air runs out.” Special attention is paid to the Individual Air Management training to develop an individual’s awareness of their air consumption rate while wearing respiratory protection equipment in a work mode, especially for the RIC members.
To review the proposed document visit www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=1407.http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=1407
The NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Service Training has completed the proposal and comment stages on NFPA 1407 and currently awaits any motions to amend it. If no amending motions are received the document will be available after approval by the NFPA Standards Council later this year and will carry a 2010 edition designation.
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