FIRTH – Firth volunteer firemen participated in a mayday class last Thursday designed to help save their lives in extreme situations.
To begin the class, firemen heard a recording of the Black Sunday call that took place in the Bronx, New York, when — on Jan. 23, 2005 — six firefighters were forced to jump from the fourth floor of an apartment building as they were trapped by a fire. Two firefighters died; four were critically injured. On the same day in Brooklyn, another firefighter died from fire injuries.
Speaking about the recording, one Firth volunteer said, “It sounds like complete confusion.”
“You need to recognize if the building is going to collapse, if the ceiling is sagging above you, or the floor is sagging below you,” said Firth volunteer Robert Jess as he led the training. “Check for a sound floor before stepping on it.
“If faced with an emergency — such as if the firefighter is trapped in fire or there is a default in your equipment — contact command by stating, ‘mayday, mayday, mayday.’ Stay with your partner.”
Command will shut down all other communication and direct the other communication to channel two on their radios.
For the trapped firefighter, Jess said, “Give command ‘LUNAR.’ L stands for location, where you are; U stands for unit, your unit number; N is your name; A is assignment and R is what resources you have. Sometimes S is added that stands for situation, what you are facing.
“Aim your flashlight straight up,” he said. “Try to make it as easy as possible for firefighters to rescue you.”
Firefighters were advised to give command conditions they are facing; what action they are taking, and any needs they have.
“Don’t panic and don’t give up,” Jess said. “Solve the problem. Do not ever take your mask off.”
To complete the class, firefighters suited up in complete gear, including air, to go through a wire maze.
“Lie down on the floor; put your air tank by a wall, and swim through the wires in a hall,” Jess said. “Pick up the wires to get underneath or cut them and put them to one side.”
To get through a 16-inch floor brace, he told them to lead with the air tank and, put one arm through and then the next.
Volunteer fireman Steven Ricks said, “We have a weekly meeting each Thursday. There is either a class or we work on the trucks.”
Firth Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Tim Shurtz said, “We always need volunteers.”
Contact Firth Fire Chief Dale Mecham if interested.