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FORCIBLE ENTRY & BEYOND
unintended falls or injuries caused by voids or gaps in the
playground equipment. Understandably, your safety officers
should pay close attention to SCBA or other personal protective equipment (PPE) malfunctions.
If your radio system permits, assign your training sce-
nario to an alternate channel and notify your communi-
cations center. Designate a phrase to use in case of a real
emergency such as “STOP, STOP, STOP!”
Next, give the team the nut/bolt set at the beginning of
the drill. Place washers on four to six cones inside the equip-
ment (photo 3) and drape rope through the inside and outside
of the barriers. Place the nut on the last cone at the end of the
crawl. Firefighters must crawl through the equipment and
complete the evolution by placing all the washers and the
nut on the bolt.
Instruct your teams to move slowly enough through the
course to locate the washers and nuts without knocking
over the cones. Encourage your team members to communicate with each other as clearly as possible while being
mindful to conserve their air. This also provides an opportunity to practice disentanglement and low-air alarm procedures (photo 4). Depending on how each scenario goes,
there may be a chance to execute Mayday procedures.
You will need the following materials to conduct this drill:
• Three-inch bolt and nut set.
• Four to six washers.
• Inexpensive rope (at least 50 feet long) that can be cut.
• Four to six orange safety cones.
• Mask “blackout” inserts or wax paper.
• Full PPE including SCBA for each member.
Also consider variations of this training scenario. For example, place a rescue manikin inside the equipment or use
different objects on cones. Another option is to have members on a search rope throughout the exercise. Or, begin the
exercise with low air or by calling a Mayday.
As with all of your training exercises, it is good practice
to discuss the scenario with your crew. In this specific scenario, we have found that debriefing topics generally include
communications, movement through restricted passages
and entanglements, low-air emergency procedures, disoriented firefighter procedures, and feeling surface textures to
determine your location in structures.
This drill costs very little, reinforces basic skills, and gets
your firefighters out of the station and into their gear. There
is nothing like having been through a tough situation during
training when it’s needed during the real thing.
ROBIN HOUSE is a 20-year fire service veteran and a battalion
chief (ret.) with Paulding County (GA) Fire and Rescue. House is
also a nationally registered paramedic, an arson investigator, and
a registered nurse.