LBFD and Boeing Firefighters Practice Downed Firefighter Rescue Techniques

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On the morning of August 17, 2010, firefighters from Long Beach Fire Department joined firefighters from Boeing Fire Department for a joint exercise at the Boeing building number 15.  This structure is an enormous warehouse-like facility that has been used for aircraft manufacture.  Various scenarios were set up by proctors in order to test firefighter’s abilities to handle rapidly changing condition on the fire ground.  RIC team operations and large area search practices we also employed.  RIC stands for rapid intervention crew and is used in the event a firefighter should become trapped or seriously injured in the course of an emergency.  It is customary for on scene units to perform a thorough search of a fire building for persons trapped by flames.  In the case of the incident RIC team deployment, firefighters will be searching for one our own members who has become a victim of the incident.

In one of these scenarios, initial fire crews were met with a large volume of fire inside of a warehouse.  Firefighter’s masks were covered with a plastic material in an effort to obscure their vision and provide a feeling of working in a smoky environment.  Shortly after the initial interior attack the incident commander received an emergency call that there had been a large-scale roof collapse with one firefighter trapped in the rubble.  Immediately, the incident’s RIC team was deployed to find and rescue the downed first responder.  Rescuers were forced to use power saws to cut through debris as they made their way to the trapped firefighter.  During the rescue, all members needed to maintain crew accountability as well as monitor their own air usage.  Once the injured firefighter was located, he was provided fresh air, freed from debris and dragged to safety.  As with any fire rescue, all efforts required coordination between units assigned to fire attack and those assigned to RIC functions.

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