Firefighters may work or train in hazardous and high risk situations, such as interior structural fires, confined space rescues, high angle rescues, hazardous materials incidents or swift and ice water rescues.


There may be situations where a firefighter’s life is in jeopardy as the firefighter is lost or trapped at the incident and needs to be quickly rescued.

Actions for employers

Employers should provide written operational procedures for establishing rapid intervention teams of at least two firefighters.

Rapid intervention teams

Rapid intervention teams (RIT) may be:

  • on-scene firefighters designated and dedicated to RIT
  • on-scene firefighters performing other functions, but ready to deploy as RIT if necessary

Consider the following, for personnel designated as RIT:

  • inform them that they have been designated as RIT
  • restrict them from performing functions that require the use of their air supply so that air can be preserved for use as RIT
  • restrict the incident commander or other sector officers from being designated as RIT so that they can remain safely in command positions

Considerations for operational procedures

Consider the following key elements when developing operational procedures:

  • RITs should be implemented as part of the incident command and accountability systems, to ensure firefighters have rescue available
  • provide RIT teams with appropriate personal protective equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus, portable radios and any specialized equipment needed for the specific operation
  • when emergency rescue activities are necessary before a full RIT has assembled:
    • initial RIT should be designated before a crew enters a controlled area
    • report the circumstances in writing to the Fire Chief and provide a copy to the local joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative for review
  • if a firefighter becomes lost or is missing, conduct a personnel accountability report immediately and alert the RIT
  • once a RIT is deployed, implement another RIT team for their protection if resources allow
  • a RIT is not required for every pair/crew making entry into a hazardous area, but more than one RIT may be required depending on the size and geographical layout of the incident

Applicable regulations and acts


  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • clause 25(2)(a) for providing information and instruction to a worker
    • clause 25(2)(d) for making workers aware of hazards
    • clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers


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