As required by NFPA Standard 1983 "Standard on on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services 2006 edition". Firefighters are to be equipped with a personal escape system. At the SLVFD all interior firefighters are equipped with an integrated seat harness, Sterling Rope-Fire Tech 32, A Crosby Hook, A Sterling F4 Decender, and a Safe-D Auto Locking Carabiner. All this equipment is required to be worn in it's "ready status" while operating at any fire scene.
History of Bail Out Systems: "Black Sunday"
Development of FDNY's personal rescue system came after two firefighters died on January 25th 2005, and four others were badly hurt in the Bronx when they were forced to jump out a fourth-floor. One firefighter had a rope, which helped save his life and that of another firefighter. Since this tragedy FDNY has vowed to spend millions to reissue rope and equipment and conduct training that would help firefighters escape if they were ever faced with a similar situation.
Legislative Battle Ensues:
Since this incident NY state lawmakers have sought to make it a legal requirement for all interior firefighters to be equipped and trained in a rope bailout system. Ironically cities with populations over 1 million were exempt from the legislation leaving rural fire departments to implement these expensive and training time intensive programs. Recently the law was ammended to require all departments to conduct risk assesments of their response area to determine if a rope bailout system was necessary. Here in Saranac Lake we have many buildings in which our interior firefighters work on upper floors. Some examples are the Hotel Saranac, both of the senior high rises, the hospital, Adirondack Correctional Facility, Trudeau Institute, Petrova School, and many more. The presence of these structures requires us to provide equipment, training, and Standard Operating Guidance to our interior firefighters.
SLVFD Training Developed:
Using accepted techniques, Chief Keough has developed a training program that will include 1) History and development of the personal escape system, 2) components of SLVFD's personal escape system, 3) setting up your system, 4) anchoring systems, 5) system deployment and basic window bailout techniques-locking in, 6) overview of roof bailout, and 7) demonstration of a few other uses such as victim rescue techniques.
Training consists of classroom, video, and practice sessions. In order to conduct the practice sessions a special prop has been built for use in the firehouse which allows firefighters to train on all the steps necessary to actually bailout of a real building. This prop was modeled from another departments design and was constructed by our own Captain and Training Officer Shawn White. Shawn spent many hours preparing the prop.
On Thursday 1/24/2013 training officially kicked off in a drill conducted at the firehouse where interior firefighters were issued their components and learned how to place them in the proper ready configuration on their gear. The firefighters had all previously participated in video sessions provided via the members section of this website. After a brief classroom session they were introduced to the prop and practiced some basic bailout techniques.
Only The Beginning:
This class is only the beginning of multiple sessions aimed at making our firefighters proficient in rope bailout. Training will continue again this Thursday night and until and as often as necessary to make the use of this system a reflex action allowing our members to "Get Out Alive in 30 Seconds"
(note: training is being conducted in a crawl-walk-run manner. Photos depict firefighters without coats and SCBA. This is so the instructor and students can have full view of the components. Future sessions will require these evolutions to be completed at full speed and in full gear)
It takes a tremendous amount of work, dedication, and training to operate in todays volunteer fire service. Chief Keough and the officers and members of the SLVFD have made it our mission to have the best training possible so that we are able to respond to our communities emergencies in the safest and most efficient manner possible.