Mayday Policy

Southwestern New Hampshire District Fire Mutual Aid System Standard Operating Guideline

Subject: Mayday ---Rescue of Lost/Distressed Firefighter

Purpose: To identify the procedures for the Communication Specialist to implement in the declaration of a MAYDAY incident, a report trapped or lost firefighters.

Scope: The rescue of trapped or lost firefighters in a burning or collapsed building is especially time sensitive. There is a very narrow window of survivability for a firefighter who is out of SCBA air supply and trapped by approaching fire or heavy structural members. Additionally, it is extraordinarily difficult to control the well intentioned actions of would be rescuers. However, the risks and disadvantages associated with not controlling the fire ground activity effectively during this time cannot only hinder the operation; it may actually contribute to firefighter fatalities. Therefore it is vital for dispatch to work as a team with Command to take appropriate actions and make concise decision to increase survivability. This policy is designed to prepare all personnel on what actions to take in case a MAYDAY is declared while they are on duty.

Policy: 1. Declaring a MAYDAY:

1.1 The radio message “MAYDAY” will be used by lost or trapped firefighters to report their status as being in trouble and needing rescue. This message will be transmitted from the distressed firefighter on the tactical channel to Command. Command will notify Dispatch on the dispatch frequency.

1.2 If the distressed emergency responder cannot communicate verbally, the portable radio Emergency button shall be activated.

1.3 By the company officer, group or division officer, or other member who cannot account for an assigned firefighter who is operating in the hazard zone. This “MAYDAY” would generally occur following a PAR that fails to locate/account for the suspected lost member. PAR stands for Personnel Accountability Roll, a procedure used in conjunction with the incident organization chart and the Personnel Accountability System to verify the accountability of all personnel on the scene of an incident.

1.4 By a member who witnesses or has confirmed that a firefighter is lost or in trouble.

2. Communication Specialist Responsibilities:

2.1 Command will advise that a “MAYDAY” has been declared and provide a brief progress report.

2.2 Dispatch will put an alert tone (#2 on console) out on tactical frequency (if possible) and advise all personnel a “MAYDAY” has been declared and only radio traffic pertinent to the incident will be permitted. The alert will also be broadcast over the dispatch frequency to advise personnel. Assigned an additional tactical frequency for all other radio traffic not related to the MAYDAY incident.

2.3 A communication Specialist will be assigned to monitor the tactical channel of the MAYDAY Event. If frequency is no in console use the Astro Radio in the center of console.

2.4 Immediately notify Command of radio emergency button activation and treat as a MAYDAY event until proven otherwise. Provide all pertinent information known about the unit I.D.

2.5 If the firefighter comes up on an unassigned channel, Command shall be advised and Dispatch shall remain with the firefighter on that channel. Never Ask the Firefighter to Change Channels.

2.6 Immediately dispatch the Next Greater Alarm Assignment including an extra ALS unit and RIT unit. RIT stands for Rapid Intervention Team.

2.7 Notify units when MAYDAY event has been concluded by Command.