SCBA Poker is designed to be a fun and challenging way to learn, practice, and refresh, firefighter SCBA air-management techniques. Ideally played in a theatrical-smoke filled multistory building that has a few challenges, SCBA poker is easily adaptable to many structures, and may be played with or without obstacles.
Suggested Rules and Guidelines:
All players must:
Have Chief’s signed permission to attend
Be in good standing and a current member of a fire department, not presently
drawing Workman’s Compensation benefits and be medically and physically fit for this training including complete and current respiratory clearance and fit test.
Provide their own compliant PPE and SCBA w/spare tank
Provide their own two-way radio (as possible) and accountability tag
SCBA Command Team:
Scribe, Time, & Score Keeper
Technical Merit Judge(s)
Air Trailer and Operator
Rehab crew (local EMS if available), snacks, water, misc.
A team consists of two firefighters.
Teams include “Search” teams and “RIT” teams.
An equal number of both teams are needed to start each 15-minute evolution.
Cards from a new deck are shuffled then randomly placed and lightly hidden throughout the building search area / maze. Cards are not staged more than three feet off the floor as practice with “staying low” is a technical merit quality indicator.
Four (4) Search Teams and four (4) RIT Teams and staged for entry. The Search Teams enter and proceed to search for cards. No team may hold more than 5 cards at any one time. If they choose to pick up a card and keep it, they need to leave one in its place. (if you are playing SCBA poker in a smaller area 2 or 3 teams of each may be more appropriate)
Search Teams must exit the search area before either low air alarm goes off. If either alarm goes off, the team must stop where they are and declare a MAYDAY using their Dept’s SOP’s (LUNAR or UCAN formats are both acceptable in our region). A RIT Team then will enter, find the Search Team, obtain their cards, and continue searching. The original Search Team must turn their cards over to the RIT Team and exit the search area. After rehab, the Search Team stages as a RIT
A Search Team may exit the search area any time they feel they have enough of a “winning hand”. They must exit before either low-air alarm goes off or forfeit their cards as noted above. As a successful team exists the search ares, their cards are given to and recorded by the Poker Judge. The team then reports to rehab and after rehab reports to stage as a RIT team.
A SCBA Poker game of two hours will usually give enough time for each team to participate in three evolutions as Search and three evolutions as RIT. This allows time for Rehab as well as filling air cylinders, etc.
Awards:Decision of the Poker Judge for top SCBA Poker scoring team is final
Decision of the Technical Merit Judge for top Technical Merit team is final
A participation certificate can be awarded to all players and is often designed to be used to compliment local Department’s SOP’s as training and annual refresher certification.
Suggested Technical Merit Quality Indicators:
stays low and uses quality FF search techniques
stays in verbal, physical, or visual contact with teammate (webbing & rope allowed)
follows standard communications for entry into and exit out of search area
follows standard communications when moving to a another level
follows standard communications when declaring “mayday” or responding to a “mayday”
reports correctly when asked for a PAR (personal accountability report)
reports correctly when asked amount of air routinely checks air supply
maintains relaxed attitude and uses air efficiently checks in and out of accountability per SOP’s participates in effective Rehab (bp check, stays hydrated, etc)
We have a three story Laser Tag facility in our region whose owners and managers are very happy to allow us to use it a few times a year for SCBA Poker drills. The facility has built in smoke machines and areas that are ideal for staging teams, our air-trailer and rehab equipment. We couldn’t ask for more!
Our mutual aid training association also has a letter of agreement with the facility that states we cover any damage to the facility. Our insurance from VFIS covers this for us. To date, we have never had to use it. We usually have 20-24 firefighters show up for SCBA Poker games. Our region also has a mutual aid air trailer which is used during the game. We also ensure all air tanks are filled before leaving the facility so firefighters arrive back at their stations with packs
ready to go back into service.
In addition, our mutual aid association routinely provides $25 give certificates, caps, tee-shirts and other trinkets as prizes for first and second place winners, as well as first and second place technical merit teams.
We have not included heavy maze or firefighters survival obstacles in our SCBA Poker search areas as the goal is time to practice and remind ourselves of “get back to the basics” of good air management skills along with team search techniques and radio communications.