Many times, we find ourselves sitting around the firehouse not doing anything. I am not talking about taking a break, or eating, or even down time sometimes, we are just sitting there. This is a GREAT time to get that hour of hands on training in.
However sometimes you find yourself all alone while trying to get that training done. The people on your crew may be in the middle of something else, they may be talking to their families on the phone, or they may simply not want to train. DO NOT LET THIS STOP YOU! There is a ton of things you can do on your own to get that training in and make yourself better. Here is an example:
Self-RIT Bottle Drill
All you need is the following:
1 RIT Bag
1 Spare Bottle
1 Air Pack
1 Pair Firefighting gloves
First start with going over the pieces and parts of the RIT bag. Work all of the buckles, zippers, connections, etc. with your firefighting gloves on. Also, pull out the mask and transfill connection and make go over how they connect and make sure they are all in working order.
Next, put all of the stuff back in the bag. Start a few feet away and crawl to the air pack. Once you reach the air pack, go over your down firefighter assessment
procedure. Once you do this, make the transfill connection to the URC (Universal RIT Connection) or Transfill valve (whatever you call it).
Of course, we are doing this with firefighting gloves on.
Repeat this as many times as it takes for you to not fumble around with getting the trans fill hose out of the bag and onto the connection. Once you have it down you can move on to the next phase in the drill.
For this phase, we bring in the spare bottle. Start again with you bag fully zipped up, and squared away. Begin a few feet away and crawl to the spare bottle.
The spare bottle is going to simulate a firefighters face and head. Approach the bottle and perform a down firefighter assessment. Simulate that the mask has been damaged or dislodged and you have to replace it. Then (of course with firefighting gloves on)
pull out the RIT mask and place it on the spare bottle, just as you would a down firefighter. The spar bottle can actually be very challenging as in you gloves it can slip and slide, it is a great simulator for an unconscious firefighter as they will usually have no muscle control and be difficult to maneuver.
If you want to increase the difficulty, you can add your full PPE compliment with SCBA, black out your face piece, increase the distance, or of course add a live victim.
This drill may seem simple but being able to replace a mask, or make that connection is truly life and death stuff as when you are asked to do it, you will be performing it under fire conditions, with your brother’s life in the balance. Do not let the fact that it has never happened before in your department make this any less important.
Bottom line is there is NO excuse for not training a minimum of 1 hour every shift, even if you are by yourself. No excuses get to work. So this month get out there and work with that RIT bottle hopefully your crew will join you but if not it is ok because you can do it alone.