Firefighter rescue is an important and over looked skill in firefighting, at least until the last 8 or so years. Ever since the Worcester, Mass. fire deaths more emphisis has been placed on firefighter safety and rescue or Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). Federal Law requires a minimum of two firefighters standing by ready for firefighter rescue anytime they go into an atmosphere or area that is Immeadiatly Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH). That law was in place back in 1999 when that disaster happened, but having a skilled team trained specifically for this is something that is realitively new on the fire scene. We all know what happened on 9-11 and even as recent as the Charelston, SC last year where nine firefighters died in what some fire professionals said recklessly. Many point the finger at poor training, lack of safety offices, RITs, RIT training, and firefighter self rescue training.
Here are some photos I took during my RIT train the trainer course a few years back. So far I have aided in the training of around twelve firefighters on shift (out of 50). It has been difficult, in my opinion, to get time for more training like this. In part because we have so many restrictions on what we can do with buildings we have, in other ways because a lack of serious thought to "this can happen" to us and risk analysis to think it won't happen to us at all. Again, those are just my opinions.
The two in and two out rule is the minimum. Studies show you need more than just two firefighters to rescue one downed firefighter. You may go through six or more personnel just to extracate one trapped firefighter. Remember tools and equipment all need to be brought into a dangerous environment that has injured or trapped someone you work with.