Pieter Maes | articles_english


Below you can find an overview of articles that I have (co-)written or that I find interesting. Feel free to share or comment.


October 3th, 2014

Phoenix fire department, USAPhoenix fire department, USA4/3/02

Phoenix Fire crews train on Rapid Intervention Crew operations at the Coyote Grille in South Phoenix. Without having seen the inside of the Structure, darkened masks and only a hoseline to follow, the crews search for a downed FF. The training is designed to give crews a better sense of a real fire without the danger.

With this  article we want to explain that there is an evolution regarding RIT. That lessons are learned. That early mistakes are addressed and that criticism is incorporated in adjusted procedures. But also that we should realize that we have to be ready for that day when a colleague calls out for help with a mayday. That next to individual trainings like Fireground Survival we will also have to train on how to evacuate a colleague. And last but not least, that as an incident commander, you will have to train on receiving a mayday and how to respond. It is one of those calls that you just won’t feel at ease with. It will put your world upside down, you will feel your heart beating in your throat. At such a time you better have a plan ready, to get to work as efficiently as possible.

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April 16th, 2014

MAES_2011_RIT under fire_8926MAES_2011_RIT under fire_8926

This article is about the parcours it took for some firefighters to launch a Fireground Survival course in their firedepartment (Brussels fire department, Belgium). In the beginning it is about passion, concern, motivation to grow, the will to be better and safer. But throughout the process this changes to vision, long term ideas, working out procedures. The article gives a good view on how we believe one could think about implementing Fireground Survival training. But that is also all it is, our experiences in Belgium. I do hope that this training will spread further then just Belgium. It is fair to say that in the most countries of Europe today this is not a topic. Sometimes it has to do with other priorities, lack budget, lack of time,... And all that is understandable. But isn't it time that...

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Firefighter after the burn.Firefighter after the burn.A live fire training during a Compartment Fire Behavior session is fysical quite demanding. Firefighter need to have attention for active cooling and rehabilitation. Cooling down and good rehydration is crucial to keep these trainings safe.

April 7th, 2014

As a firefighter and as an instructor I believe that every firefighter has a personal responsibility to stay healthy and in shape. This said Ishould also ad that healthy and 'in shape' are different for every person. It depends a bit on your natural physique. So it is hard to standardize this. To solve this everybody who starts in the fire departement has to meet certain demands on a physical level. And these are checked by physical tests when you start your career. But then... we have to maintain this physical readiness. Not many have written an better view on it then Timothy E. Sendelbach.  He is a veteran within the fire services and has 28 years experience as student and as educator in fire and emergency services. 

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Firefighter from Leuven (Belgium) putting on his SCBA before starting a RIT training.Firefighter trowing on his SCBA to continue his exercise.

February 18th 2014 

This article was published in the Belgian magazine 'Brandweerman'. It has been translated to English and is available for download or you can read it online in the blog.

"In Europe, and Belgium more specific, some fire departments and training institutes are considering to start the formation of a RIT. With the training institutes wanting to provide the necessary training. But RIT has as many critics as believers. And both have their arguments that make sence. First of all a RIT has to be seen in the right perspective and secondly training has to be given in a proper way with a logic learning process. And this regarding each individual firefighter and the potential RIT member.

The idea and concept of RIT, founded in the USA early ‘90ies, is in the first place a personal responsibility for each and ...

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