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November 17, 2004

“Random Thoughts on R.I.T. Ops-The Officer”
By Lt. Mark Gregory

Mishaps can occur on the fire/emergency scene at any time. As the Officer of the Rapid Intervention Team, we must always be prepared for what can be presented upon us. Here are just a couple of tips to help you successfully manage your team.

Size-up during response:
While responding, review the Alarm ticket/CAD info. Get a good size-up going in your head. Are there any hazards we should be aware of? Is it a commercial or residential area? Share this info with the other members of the crew. Pay attention to who is first or second due. I have responded to several fires as the R.I.T. Officer and had to commence operations forthwith. Knowing a company’s position can help determine where we should start looking for the missing member.  

Announce Your Arrival:
When you arrive on the scene we must report into the Incident Commander. While approaching the Command Post I like to announce my Company’s arrival and designation as the R.I.T. unit over the fire-ground channel. This allows all members to know that the Rapid Intervention Team is on scene and who they are. 

Debrief the I.C.
Report into the I.C. face to face and get a situation report from him. If there are any hazards or company response irregularities, pass this info on to your crew. 

The Officer should remain at the Command Post unless otherwise directed. At large-scale incidents or hi-rise fires, the I.C. may decide to deploy the R.I.T. unit to the Operations Post. The crew should be within verbal distance of the R.I.T. Officer and ready to be deployed. In the FDNY, we have assigned one member of the R.I.T. Company to remain remote (20’-30’) from his Officer and Company. This member’s purpose is to solely concentrate on monitoring fire-ground radio transmissions Mayday or Urgent messages. 

On-Scene Actions
Do not become distracted as the R.I.T. Officer. Remember the primary reason you are there “To Assist Firefighters in Trouble”. If the I.C. wants to put you to work for fire duty, remind him of your designation as the R.I.T. unit. Make sure that you are replaced in this function.

Know where your resources are. Tools such as the Hurst tool which are not a part of our general tool deployment may be several feet away on the first or second due rigs. 

If your services as a R.I.T. unit are required, remind the I.C. to call for an additional R.I.T. unit and to confirm that EMS (preferably an ALS unit) are on scene or enroute. A “PAR” or Roll Call should also be performed.

Next time, we will discuss your company’s actions once in the fire building for a firefighter in distress.
Mark D. Gregory is a Lieutenant at Ladder Company 111 FDNY, "The Nuthouse Truck". He previously served in Rescue 2 and Ladder 132. A Deputy Chief Instructor in Suffolk County Fire Academy on Long Island, NY, Lt.Gregory is the Ex-Chief / Commissioner  East Quogue Volunteer Fire Department with 18 years in the fire service. He also serves as an instructor for Command School.