Firefighter Training – Denver Rescue Drill Video

It appears in the video the existing sill used in the training evolution is lower then the 42″ standard. It may not seem like much, but it is a dramatic difference when I train Rit with the sill at 30″-36″ or 42″-48″. A much different approach is needed. At the 42″-48″ you really are almost bench pressing the down firefighter over the sill, and at the 30″-36″ height the FF at the window is really a ramp in this situation. In some cases were the sill is low enough the job can be done with only one FF inside. Train and know this scenerio.

The History:
The Denver Drill is based on the 1992 death of Engineer Mark Langvardt of the Denver Fire Department in Colorado. While working a commercial structure fire, Langvardt reportedly became separated from his crew when a floor collapsed, trapping him in a small storage room on the second floor. The room measured approximately six by eleven feet, but cabinets and equipment along the walls reduced the room to an aisle only twenty-eight inches wide. At the end of the aisle was an exterior window with a drop of 42 inches from sill to floor. Firefighters entering through the window had to crawl over Langvardt, who lay face down with his head against the wall below the window. There was only room for one rescuer to attempt lifting the victim to the windowsill and this, after multiple efforts, proved impossible. Firefighters recovered Langvardt nearly an hour later after breaching a wall to remove him, but the rescue came too late to save Langvardt’s life. The Denver Drill was designed in response to this tragedy and is taught in fire schools throughout the United States.

Construction: (
The Denver Drill simulator is fairly inexpensive to construct. Two sheets of plywood and a couple 2x4x8’s are all that is necessary. We have found that utilizing bolts instead of nails to construct the simulator will allow it to be easily set up and torn down as well as portable enough to transport in a truck. The plywood surface, a full sheet on each side, should be placed to the inside of the framework to recreate a 28 inch wide aisleway. Braces are then placed to the exterior of the plywood walls to add stability and keep them from falling over. An existing window from an acquired structure can be framed utilizing 2×4’s to create a 42 inch high windowsill with a 20 inch wide window or a like dimension window can be framed on to one end of the plywood walls.

Proper Steps in FF Removal (

Step 1
: FF1 enters the window head-first and crawls over the downed fire fighter. Once at the feet, FF1 turns and faces the downed fire fighter. Grabbing the downed fire fighter’s SCBA shoulder straps, FF1 sits back, thereby moving the downed fire fighter into a seated position. This should allow enough room for FF2 to enter.

Step 2: FF2 enters the window head-first, placing one hand on top of the downed fire fighter’s SCBA cylinder for assistance. FF2 then takes a seated position under the window with his/her SCBA cylinder wedged into one of the corners of the aisleway on the exterior wall. FF2 places his/her feet under the buttocks of the downed fire fighter with his/her knees bent and grabs the downed fire fighter’s SCBA cylinder valve, thus creating a ramp.

Step 3: FF1 straddles the downed fire fighter’s legs, places the downed fire fighter’s arms over his/her thighs, and gets into position to bear hug and lift the downed fire fighter onto FF2’s knees. FF1 will get the greatest amount of lift by grabbing the rear of the downed fire fighter’s SCBA harness assembly near the cylinder valve and utilizing a proper squatting technique; head up, back straight, lift with the legs. FF2 can assist with this step by grabbing the SCBA cylinder valve and pulling/pushing up.

Step 4: After sitting the downed fire fighter on to the bent knees of FF2, FF1 places the legs of the downed fire fighter on his/her shoulders. It is essential that FF1 gets the victims thighs on his/her shoulders with his/her face deep into the crotch of the downed fire fighter. If FF1 does not get deep enough and above the knees toward the buttocks, he/she will not get enough lift to allow the downed fire fighter to clear the windowsill.

Step 5: FF1 stands straight up creating enough lift for the downed fire fighter’s SCBA to clear the windowsill and drives the downed fire fighter out the window. FF2 assists with this step by pushing straight up on the downed fire fighter’s SCBA cylinder valve.

Step 6: Fire fighters on the exterior must be prepared to assist getting the downed fire fighter up and over the sill. This can be achieved by having at least one, if not two, fire fighters positioned outside the window to grab the downed fire fighter’s SCBA shoulder straps and assist with the final lift. Obviously, if this is from a second or third floor, the exterior fire fighters would be working from ground ladders. A number of techniques that will be discussed in later articles can be used to lower the downed fire fighter to the ground.