Big Bear, CA – There is no call more challenging to fire ground operations than the MAYDAY call — the unthinkable moment when a firefighter’s personal safety is in imminent danger. Firefighter fatality data shows that firefighters becoming trapped and disoriented represent the largest portion of structural fire ground fatalities. During the month of March, members of Big Bear Fire Department will complete life-saving training through the Fire Ground Survival program created by the International Association of Firefighters.

This program provides step-by- step tools for the firefighter if they become lost, disoriented, injured, low on air, trapped, or are leading a rescue effort. This is the most comprehensive survival skills and Mayday prevention program currently available within the fire service.

Battalion Chief Ryan Harold stated, “The guiding fire service philosophy is training for success. This training teaches how to put the fire out, mitigate other hazards and get everyone home safely. Practicing under these simulated conditions is essential to firefighter survival.” What a firefighter knows about a fire before entering a blazing building may radically change within minutes once inside the structure. Smoke, low visibility, lack of oxygen, combustible and explosive gases, structural instability, and an unpredictable fire ground can cause even the most seasoned firefighter to be overwhelmed in an instant.

The curriculum is a combination of classroom presentations, coupled with interviews with firefighters who have survived Mayday incidents. Training culminates with three live-fire sessions at the Paradise Training Center in Big Bear City on March 16, 17, and 20, where all members of Big Bear Fire Department will reinforce these vital skills.