Firefighter Assist and Search Team
A Firefighter Assist and Search Team (FAST), also known as a Rapid Intervention Team/Crew (RIT/RIC), is a team of two or more firefighter
Firefighters are rescuers extensively trained primarily to put out hazardous fires that threaten civilian populations and property, to rescue people from car incidents, collapsed and burning buildings and other such situations...

s dedicated solely to search and rescue of other firefighters in distress. FAST shall have no other operational assignment during an incident. Multiple alarm fires may require multiple FAST/RIC teams.

Through the late 1960s and early 1970s the London Fire Brigade
London Fire Brigade
The London Fire Brigade is the statutory fire and rescue service for London.Founded in 1865, it is the largest of the fire services in the United Kingdom and the fourth-largest in the world with nearly 7,000 staff, including 5,800 operational firefighters based in 112 fire...

 introduced RIT procedures using EATL (Emergency Air Transfer Lines) and EASE (Emergency Air Supply Equipment). This consisted of designated firefighter search and rescue teams (termed "emergency crews") stationed at self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) control entry points, equipped with emergency SCBA specifically designed to be worn by unconscious, injured or trapped firefighters.

The National Fire Protection Association
National Fire Protection Association
The National Fire Protection Association is a United States trade association that creates and maintains private, copywrited, standards and codes for usage and adoption by local governments...

 (NFPA) and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970...

 (OSHA) have requirements for some type of FAST/RIT at structure fires. These standards require that a minimum of two fire fighters be standing by in full personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garment or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury by blunt impacts, electrical hazards, heat, chemicals, and infection, for job-related occupational safety and health purposes, and in...

 while other crew members are working in a hazardous atmosphere. The standards are the result of a series of incidents where fire fighters became lost, trapped, or disoriented while fighting a structure fire without a FAST present.

The FAST concept is not universal, with many fire protection agencies training all personnel in rescue duties. Rescue teams are then designated based on apparatus order in the dispatch to a call in which standard operating procedures (SOPs) require that rescue teams be held at entry points. This is the basic concept of the "two-in, two-out
Two-in, two-out
In firefighting, the policy of two-in, two-out mandates that firefighters never go into a dangerous situation in a fire or rescue incident alone...

" rule.

Note: While all of these versions of the name for a firefighter rescue crew either have been used or continue to be used in several areas, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) has determined that Rapid Intervention Crew, "RIC" will be the standard term. Currently, U.S. federally required training programs, from DHS and FEMA, are in the process of standardizing many terms and procedures under NIMS.

FAST equipment

FAST members are normally equipped with some or all of the following:
  • Full turnout gear
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
  • Personal alert safety system
    PASS device
    A PASS device also known as an ADSU , is a personal safety device used primarily by firefighters entering a hazardous environment such as a burning building, which sounds a loud audible alert to notify others in the area that the firefighter is in distress.The PASS device will automatically...

     (PASS device)
  • Portable radio that uses the fireground frequency and is available to the incident commander
    Incident Commander
    The incident commander is the person responsible for all aspects of an emergency response; including quickly developing incident objectives, managing all incident operations, application of resources as well as responsibility for all persons involved. The incident commander sets priorities and...

  • Hand tools
  • Hand light
    A flashlight is a hand-held electric-powered light source. Usually the light source is a small incandescent lightbulb or light-emitting diode...

  • Search rope
    A rope is a length of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength...

     or webbing
    Webbing is a strong fabric woven as a flat strip or tube of varying width and fibres often used in place of rope. The name webbing comes from the meshed material frequently used in its construction, which resembles a web...

  • Rapid air transport (RAT) bag which slips over an SCBA bottle and holds an extra mask to tap into the bottle to provide a downed firefighter with air. This so-called RIT Bag was invented by Darrin Shaw, a firefighter with Central Pierce Fire and Rescue. The term 'RIT Bag' is now widely used, but the trademark stays with RIT BAGhttp://www.RITBAG.COM from Puyallup, WA.
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