Browndale Fire Company 
Fire Station 43 
Standard Operating Guideline 

Date of Issue: 6-1-97 
Effective Date: 6-10-97 
Developed By: Earl Obelenus 
Issued by Authority of: Earl Obelenus, Fire Chief 

S.O.G. 500-97-9 


The purpose of the “Firefighter Assist and Search Team (FAST) is to have a fully equipped rescue team on-site, in a ready state, to immediately react and respond to rescue injured or trapped firefighters or civilians. 


This procedure shall be implemented at all fires using offensive, defensive firefighting tactics and other incidents where fire department members are subject to hazards that would be immediately dangerous to life and/or health in the event of an equipment failure, sudden change of conditions, or mishaps. 

 Examples of special hazardous operations include but, are not limited to: 
1. Hazardous Material Incidents 
2. Confined Space Rescue 
3. Offensive Interior Fire Operations 
4. Defensive Exterior Fire Operations 
5. Any other incident having significant risk 


The IC will assign a crew, plus an ambulance, for rescue standby duties at the incident. 

The FAST will consist of a minimum of three (3) firefighters and an officer. The type of EMS crew and treatment capability (BLS or ALS) will depend on the hazards of the situation. The ambulance shall be in addition to any ambulances that are needed for transportation of civilians at the incident. 


Fire departments may respond to incidents that present an unusually high risk to firefighter safety. This guideline identifies the requirements for and operations of standby rescue teams during fire operations and special hazard operations. 


1. The IC will determine the standby location near the CP, at the entry point or other selected location. FAST members will consist of experienced and trained firefighters. Members will assume a ready state, including full protective clothing and SCBA’s for all personnel. For other types of incidents the protective clothing and equipment will be appropriate for the hazards. 

The FAST will be assigned a radio and will closely monitor radio communications at all times. The team must be able to react immediately to a sudden emergency event at the incident site. It is imperative that the team  do a size-up of the scene. In addition to the personal protective equipment listed above, rescue equipment shall include but, not limited to: regular  and specialized rescue equipment, multi-purpose disk saw or chain saw, halligans, axes, hand lights, PW extinguisher, search ropes/tag lines and ceiling hooks. It may be necessary to get the equipment from different companies on scene. 

2. FAST will be reserved for immediate life threatening situations, such as firefighters lost, injured or other critical situation. The FAST could also be assigned to a civilian rescue situation, if needed, at the discretion of the IC. Another FAST will be activated to replace the one being used immediately by the IC. 

3. During the course of an incident, the IC may elect to assign the FAST to a tactical function but, again shall activate another team, as long as the hazardous situation continues. 

4. Command will assign “FAST SECTOR” to the FAST. The team will remain in the sector until needed or the incident is terminated. The only time the team will leave other than being called will be to do a “size-up” of the building to get an idea of the building size, construction, etc. They will at all times be in contact with the IC by radio. 

5. Command may assign more than one team and ambulance for standby duties if necessary. For extremely hazardous rescues ( i.e. confined space rescue ) there shall be a minimum of two (2) firefighter rescuers on standby for each firefighter involved in direct rescue efforts. 

6. Command should assign the FAST from firefighters at the scene whenever possible. In other situations it may be necessary to call additional mutual aid companies for FAST duties. 

7. Additional firefighters, including additional mutual aid, will be requested and sent to the rescue area as the emergency dictates. 

8. This guideline is intended to increase the overall level of safety for fire department personnel operating at emergency incidents. 

This is a new guideline.

Reviewed: 7-01-07

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