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Video: Mayday simulator for Prince George's County, Maryland.

Read report on Herrington Drive fire

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The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department made the video above to show off its Mobile Mayday Simulator. The simulator was developed in part as a reaction to lessons learned from a report into the April, 2009 fire at 87 Herrington Drive in Largo that left a firefighter critically injured. PGFD PIO Mark Brady issued a press release with details on the simulator and its development. Here are excerpts:

The Technical Services Battalion, under the command of Major Adon Snyder, has developed a mobile “mayday” simulator, accompanied by a classroom lecture, which can be easily brought to any Fire/EMS station or training facility. A 40-minute classroom session with power point presentation and practical evolution comprise this training program. The practical portion starts with participants raising their heart rate to about 140, a rate consistent with response and initial activity at an incident scene. It is also the heart rate where decision making could be adversely affected. Raising the heart rate is accomplished by participants donning full personal protective equipment (PPE) and self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) then carries a stand-pipe pack for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. The firefighter then places their cloth covered face piece on and begins to breathe air. The firefighter, with no visibility, is then instructed to follow a 100 foot section of hoseline. The firefighter follows the hoseline and is led up a ramp and then up steps to a simulated second floor and then experience a sudden floor collapse.

The firefighter, following General Orders and valuable lessons learned in the classroom portion of the drill, must then demonstrate the correct survival skills and mayday procedure.

The mobile mayday simulator was constructed inside of a fire department utility box truck. The conversion of the interior box of the utility truck includes elements required for participants to ascend steps onto an upper floor landing and a collapsible floor which will allow participants to feel the unexpected jolting experience of a floor collapse. The firefighter has been previously instructed to ensure their SCBA and PPE are still in place and then transmit, by way of their portable radio, a correct MAYDAY message.

The drill is designed not only for firefighters but also incident commanders that will receive the radio mayday message and act accordingly. Scenarios can be modified to include non-working radios, dislodged facepiece, etc. The mobile mayday simulator has been used at select stations in order to collect data and evaluate the program. The program has received very positive feedback from both evaluators and participants. A train-the-trainer program is now being developed and will soon be made available to all personnel.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    Great concept. Charge the battery on the radio. It’s dead. You can tell by the “chirp-chirp” when transmitting.

  • observer

    Glad they found something to use the old Mass Casualty Support 5 for. It’s been sitting at the fire services building for months.

  • Anonymous

    Major Snyder developed this by himself. All the credit should go to him.

    • Anonymous

      not to mention, he paid for all the supplies out of his own pocket

      • Anonymous

        He did not pay for all the supplies out of his own pocket. He had a little help in that department.

  • Anonymous

    The Mayday Simulator is nice but if there were just a little operational discipline, more accountability, and more training in fire behavior, there would be no need for a Mayday Simulator. It is like buying a mop to mop the water out of your basement before you fix the broken pipe.

  • truevet

    It is obvious that the poster at March 2,@ 4:25 pm is a professional critic. Basic fire ground operations and self responsibilty will keep you safe. The simulator is very nice compared to what; some fancy bells and whistles and LED lights and technology. I feel it will be usefull for the new recruits, the complacent fire fighter, the new red helmets, the untrained volunteers that just hang around looking for a free place to stay. That plywood and 2 x 4′s are bringing it back to basics. I challenge you to come up with a “operational dicipline” simulator out of your own pocket and present it to our Department. We have those mops in anticipation to clean up those fire houses that will be nasty.


  • Bob

    Drilling for failure…nice! Keep up the great work. Stay Safe.

  • Manny Freid

    I dont get blocking the mask vision. The female ask if the FF knows how much air the FF has. The response is that the FF cannot see the illuminated gauge.

  • Anonymous

    I viewed the Video and found it to be quite Innovative and Professional with the end result to help the average Firefighter. Major Snyder did what can only be described as really a great resource tool. He obviously realized the May Day May day dreaded call sems to be somewhat of more than an occasional situation. The most important issue here is that the Firefighter be Trained and prepared to avoid any panic.
    This Innovative Resource can and will be an integral portion of all training. One other very important aspect is to ensure the ICS, is in place to manage and ensure the appropriate Fireground Personnel/equipment are prepared in place. Whoever the Incident Commander may be Career/Volunteer has to be aware
    of this issue as being the Primary concern in Firefighter safety. Now with the 700mz Radio system, and when the 700mz Portables are in place the overall Fireground Operations will be enhanced with individual Talk Groups. Again Congratulations to Major Snyder for his forward Thinking, and for PGFD for recognizing the need and importance to implement. As everyone is aware the National Fallen Firefighter Safety Measures (NFFF)
    “EVERYONE GOES HOME” will be a Top Priority with this 21st Century, Innovative Progress. This Basic training Measure can/will help Minimize the repeat of another situation that occurred, where a Firefighter’s Life was hanging in the Balance.

  • Anonymous

    This appears to be a valuable training tool. Tunnel vision is a serious issue when it pertains to firefighter’s in life threatening situations. Particularly when lost, disoriented, or trapped in burning buildings. Many times, just slowing yourself down for a moment can allow you to reorient yourself and get out of trouble. If not, it may at least allow you to make a clear radio call for help and provide our rescuers with a good LUNAR report.

    However, I would like to point out that when the instructor tells the firefighter he is entering “Division 3″ and making a right turn, she is not being entirely clear. It is important to announce your location in the building to the Incident Commander or Group/Division Supervisor and not your position within the Incident Command structure.

    “Division 3″ is nomenclature that could mean any location within the structure or incident scene. It cannot be assumed that if you are in “Division 3″ that you are operating on the third floor of the building. Depending upon the ICS organization determined by the IC or OSC, Division 3 could include any number of floors or other geographic parts of the building. You may only get one chance to give your location, make sure it is the right one.

    I believe that this is an excellent training tool and all who have taken part in its fruition should be congratulated.

    Thomas Winship (CAVFD 34)