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FAST!! Get a RIT Team, RIC!!!
"......Is your FAST/RIT or RIC Team for real....." ?
By Chief Billy Goldfeder

As you can see, here is an updated article from St. Louis. As always, we don't take what the media prints as the "gospel" ...especially when it comes to the tragic loss of 2 Brother Firefighters. However, the development of a FAST, RIT or RIC Team (you wouldn't expect this fire service of ours to be able to agree on one name, now, would ya?) isn't the toughest challenge we have out there. Numerous FD's have had RIT procedures in place for years...policies that cover the development of RIT procedures, duties, training, dispatch, responsibility etc etc. 
Simply put....this is simple. This reminds me of how some FD's have to do their own "evaluations" to see if a proven concept (ANY concept) that's been used by many many FD's in many areas for many years, have to "test it locally"...to see if it will work "here." FAST, RIT or RIC teams do work...have been tested and have made a difference.
As they say, this ain't ROCKET science. Are some "RIT" teams bogus? Yeah-I guess there are some "name only" RIC teams...some places have RIT teams respond but ya may wonder what their training is...in areas such as collapse, rescue, tools etc. But you would think, in a City like St. Louis, that wouldn't be the case. Whatever the case may be though, at this stage of the "game"...pretty much all FD's and their bosses should have this figured out. You would think.

I guess a good question to any of us would be:  Do you have a RIT team response procedure for a structural fire? What are the qualifications and training of those "arriving" on the scene to be YOUR RIT team? Does your FD DRILL regularly with the company or department that provides you with your RIT team? What about your FD providing RIT services to your neighboring FD's?
Who are you sending to their fire and what are their qualifications and training?
 
FF's love to bitch about being "stuck" on a company that is given a RIT team assignment. It is rarely a job where you will have to "go to work". I am even familiar with one County where some fire companies have worked hard to "avoid" being a RIT team on an assignment, cause they would rather "play" inside (their words) than just "stand around."...life's tough, huh!? No doubt, everyone wants to be "inside"...but in this day and age, some places are attempting to make the fireground just a lil'safer. 

One of those ingredients are a qualified and "ready" FAST, RIC or RIT Team. The "stand by" duties of a RIC team is usually on the other end of the "glamour" scale...but when things go to hell at a fire, a team that "has a clue" and will be able to "save the day" needs to be heading inside to get "our own"...Next time ya hear "FAST!! Get the RIT Team, RIC!!!"...what will come running to help you?

What are their qualifications? Have they trained with your crew, shift or FD? Can they even talk on the same RADIO channel as your FD? What tools do they have? ....do they have a CLUE? Now is probably a good time to find out. Also, check out  www.rapidintervention.com   as well as www.fdtraining.com for some good information. Those sites may provide some info on helping your FD.

Related Story: St. Louis Post Dispatch
About the author....
CHIEF Billy Goldfeder, a firefighter since 1973 and a chief officer since 1982, serves as a Battalion Chief for the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department .The Loveland-Symmes Fire Department serves both the City of Loveland and Symmes Township, in southwestern Ohio. L.S.F.D. is an I.S.O. Class 2, full service career department providing advanced life support, heavy and tactical rescue as well as a full range of traditional and non-traditional fire, rescue, emergency medical and community services.
Previously, he served as a Fire Chief in Ohio, Virginia and Florida and served as Chief of Department for 14 years. Chief Goldfeder also served as an Engineering/Public Protection representative covering southern New York, for I.S.O. as well as a Lieutenant with the Manhasset-Lakeville FD, in Long Island, New York.

A 1993 graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program, he is the former Chair of the International Assoc. of Fire Chiefs VCOS Section. Chief Goldfeder was also recently honored with an appointment of Honorary Battalion Chief of the Fire Department of the City of New York. Additionally, he is the recipient of over 30 operational as well as administrative awards and recognitions.

Chief Goldfeder was recently reappointed to his 2nd term as a Commissioner on the Commission of Fire Accreditation International. He serves as an Associate/Contributing Editor for FIRE ENGINEERING, FIRE RESCUE, FIREHOUSE, THE NEW YORK VOL. FIREFIGHTER and the PENNSYLVANIA FIREMAN Magazines as well as WithTheCommand.Com and Firehouse.Com. He has spoken on as well as published numerous articles on subjects such as combination fire departments, fire command and tactics, fireground safety, apparatus design and deployment and fireground staffing.

Chief Goldfeder has served on several NFPA and IAFC Committees and has been an Instructor at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (F.D.I.C.) for the past 19 years as well as a member of the F.D.I.C. Advisory Board for the last decade. He is on the faculty of Northeast Fire Command School again for 2002.