HOW MANY FIREFIGHTERS IN A RAPID INTERVENTION TEAM (RIT)?
The answer to this question identifies the difference between theory and reality. In an ideal setting, where staffing is not an issue, the ideal Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) size is four (4) members, with multiple RITs available on the fireground. This allows one team to stand-by for deployment, while additional teams perform proactive fireground tasks. Where staffing is not ideal (which is in most departments), there should be a four-person RIT put in place to deploy. The bottom line: You must have a team ready to deploy immediately, or you really don’t have a RIT in place.
During actual fireground rapid intervention operations, multiple RITs are needed. Any time a RIT is deployed, additional RITs must be established for their relief and safety. Rapid intervention operations take two or more teams to actually remove a downed firefighter. If everything falls into place, the first RIT may locate, package, and remove the downed firefighter. More likely, however, is that the first team will work to locate the firefighter and secure his air supply, while additional teams will work to extricate him.
There are many individual tasks that members of the RIT must perform. Remember this: If you do not have a RIT immediately ready to deploy, you don’t have a RIT — you have a team doing support functions. RIT tasks can be broken down into proactive tasks before and while responding to a Mayday. (more…)