Hazmat Rapid Intervention

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Tom Walsh 1 year, 6 months ago.

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    Tom Walsh
    Joined 1 year ago
    online 5 months ago

    My unit is looking at developing a written Hazmat Rapid Intervention procedure. We have always had a game plan in our back pocket, but we are looking for outside input on what other agencies might be doing. If you have any unique equipment or tactics you want to share please do.

    I do take into consideration the various standards and regulations that may or may not be imposed by any AHJ when it comes to staffing or PPE selection for a situation such as rescuing a down member in “Level A” PPE or less. I am just looking to see what is out there.

    The Hazmat Guys
    The Hazmat Guys
    Joined 1 year ago
    online 5 days ago

    We are currently looking into some options and have this topic slated for our 2018 refresher training for FDNY. I am helping to design this because I think that this topic is robust and really not addressed in anything more than a “chemical” aspect.

    From my personal point of view, the more likely cause of the tech going down is a slip/trip/fall or cardiac related incident. So that will be our focus.

    As you can imagine, we have to put about 2000 people through our refresher, so I will keep you posted on our findings…



    Tom Walsh
    Joined 1 year ago
    online 5 months ago

    I think as a tech working out in the field, I see the emphasis the fire service puts on rapid intervention leads me to wonder why we have nothing more than “suit up and go get ’em boys.”

    I look at multiple level ‘A’ entries or the use of a HAZMAT branch in ICS as the equivalent of an “all hands” fire and we should staff a RIT function the best we can. I understand not all agencies are created equal, but I believe we should start the ground work sooner rather than later. Additionally, agree that most likely scenario is a tech going down is going to him or her more than PPE failure or catastrophe.

    We are looking at designing a training program/scenario rescuing a tech in a Level ‘A’ considering if we can do it in that all other PPE would be less complicated (I concurrently hate using that logic). I want to throw what we have/do out there and see if anyone reading this has any input or could gain from the following:

    We utilize Kappler Frontline 500 with flash integration makes up 99% of our level ‘A’ suits. The genesis of our unit designed our suits with pass-through air fittings for our HAZMAT SCBA. This allows us to tether an airline for a SAR Cart or bring an additional SCBA cylinder in a carrier for extended work operations. Modern times and staffing have brought us get a way extended work times in Level ‘A’.

    We still find use for the pass through in SAR Cart operations and now in our RIT concept. Hooking the pass-through and SCBA up on the inside of the suit prior to entry gives us a way to support their air supply short of regulator failures or blunt forces damaging their mask.

    When it comes to removal of a tech in level ‘A’ we have been working with and possibly modifying our HAZMAT sked (the yellow one) for securing and transporting that tech. Obviously drags and carries would be a last resort due to the stress on the rescuer, down tech, and PPE.

    Finally, we are looking at staffing that RIT function with personnel. I know we all work somewhere else with different staffing issues and regulations. The baseline of the CFR 2 in 2 out is a great place to start. We have not found a set number that is optimal, but we normally end up with 2 techs making entry, a second team of 2, and 4 techs from our task force or squad companies (rescue-engine). Those 4 techs one day may be designated as RIT. Additionally, we may utilize the second entry team, as all of which should be “half-dressed” in their PPE while there is a team working downrange.

    PPE is the last stop on this train of thought (thanks for reading this far). We obviously found a reason (research/resource) to put our entry teams in level ‘A’. Logic would put your second entry team in the same level of PPE. What about that RIT function? Would it be too much of a risk to put them in a Level ‘B’ to gain dexterity, field of vision, and obvious comfort?

    I think a garment like the Lion Apparel MT-94 (NFPA 1994/Class 2 garment and NFPA 1992 compliant) is a solid risk management PPE selection that gives the user the advantages you lose with level ‘A’. I like to apply a risk-based approach over a hazard-based approach most of the time. I think those true unknown hazards; the “we have no idea what this is and it is scary so lets go level ‘A’ “ are more unlikely than likely. I find that we most likely know our hazard upon arrival due to a S.A.R.A facility listing or on scene information provided by witnesses or workers. So from there I lean more towards the risk based approach. Sending a team in to secure an ammonia leak in level ‘A’ is the standard in the industry. I am willing to go down range to rescue one of those guys and take on the risk of using a garment like an MT-94 with a good tape job to effectively increase the fluidity of the RIT deployment.

    So my big picture shrinks down to this:

    – Dressing down the RIT into an MT-94.
    – Deploying the second entry team to support RIT or finish the job of entry team 1.
    – Giving them an easy way to supply air to a tech in a level ‘A’ if need be.
    – Giving them an easy to use lifting and moving device like the Sked.

    Okay that was a lot…I know. Please let me know what you think. Where am I wrong? Might there be something I am not seeing or considering?

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