Toronto Fire Services recently invited members of the media to learn and participate in advanced firefighting self rescue and team rescue. On Jan. 3, a six-alarm blaze ripped through a historic building on Yonge Street. During that fire, two firefighters fell through the roof after its collapse, prompting a mayday call. The Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) was quickly deployed and within minutes had located the two firefighters in trouble. Using a technique called Hose Rescue, the RIT was able to pull both firefighters out of the building and out of harm’s way.
Peter Atkins, a RIT instructor, was one of the firefighters involved in the rescue. “Everybody fully engaged and understood exactly what needed to be done, and that is why it was as successful as it was,” he said. He went on to explain how extensive the training is to become a RIT qualified firefighter, and also how all firefighters need to understand what to do when they need to be rescued.
Some media members participated in various rescue scenarios, including Hose Rescue. Toronto Sun reporter Chris Doucette suited up and was ‘rescued’ from a hole. When asked about the experience, Doucette said “it’s good to get that feel for what it was really like- minus the heat, smoke, and danger, obviously.”