Maybe there is a more current AUC or policy, but the 1996 AUC below requires RACs to carry coffee but near end of AUC in "DON'Ts", advises members not to drink hot beverages.
DCN: 3.05.12 A.U.C. 230
July 1, 1996
MEDICAL, RECUPERATION AND CARE PROCEDURES
STATEMENT OF POLICY
All chief and company officers have a personal responsibility for the welfare of their subordinates and shall remain aware of their physical condition. Officers should be fully aware of the problems faced by members as a result of demands placed on them during fire/emergency operations.
Rotation, relief and care of personnel during the operation is an essential element of good management. When companies have been engaged in operations that are unusually demanding, chief officers shall personally evaluate the condition of the members.
Members of the department shall not proceed to hospitals for treatment without the permission of a Medical Officer (MO), or the Incident Commander (IC). In the absence of a medical officer, the Incident Commander shall insure that hospital attention is provided for those individuals who have been severely exposed at fires or who are in obvious need of hospital treatment.
1 RECUPERATION AND CARE (RAC) UNITS.
1.1 There are five RAC Units at the following location:
RAC Unit 1 Engine 53 1836 Third Ave, Manhattan
RAC Unit 2 Engine 222 32 Ralph Ave, Brooklyn
RAC Unit 3 Rescue 3 453 East 176 Street, Bronx
RAC Unit 4 S.O.C. HQ Roosevelt Island
RAC Unit 5 Engine 242. 9219 5th Ave., Brooklyn
1.2 The RAC apparatus is manned 24 hours a day by firefighters trained in Recuperation and Care procedures. There is an administrative officer at Special Operations Command (SOC) headquarters, Mon - Fri from 0630 to 2000 hours, who will oversee administrative operations. On nights and weekends the SOC duty chief can be notified through Fire Department Operations Center (FDOC).
1.3 One RAC Unit will respond to 7-5 and doubtful fires, greater alarms and when special called by the Incident Commander. At an expanding operation, additional RAC Units may be special called.
1.4 The RAC units are equipped with the following: ice, water, drinks, cold towels, misting fan, blankets, heaters, coffee,
and a log book.
2. RECUPERATION AND CARE AREA
2.1 The Incident Commander shall establish a RAC Area when conditions indicate that a RAC Unit at the scene may be required. This area will be identified by a flashing green light and a flag marked “RAC Area”.
2.1.1 When the RAC Area has been established, the IC shall announce the location to all operating units via handie-talkie.
2.1.2 If the Salvation Army and/or American Red Cross Canteen are responding, the Incident Commander shall direct them to locate their vehicles at or in the vicinity of RAC Area if possible.
2.1.3 Upon arrival of canteen services, the Incident Commander shall consider allowing them to open up their services to supplement the RAC unit without waiting for the fire to be declared under control as in past practices.
2.2 The RAC Area should be located in an area that is sufficiently remote from the incident for members safety, allows members to remove their bunker clothing, provides shelter from the elements, and is large enough to accommodate members based on the size of the incident and:
2.2.1 It should provide suitable protection from the prevailing environmental conditions. During hot weather, it should be in a cool, shaded area. During cold weather, it should be in a warm, dry area.
2.2.2 It should enable members to be free of exhaust fumes from apparatus, vehicles. or equipment.
2.2.3 It should be easily accessible by FD EMS units.
2.3 The RAC Firefighter shall establish and maintain a log of all members/units entering and leaving the RAC Area. Condition and disposition of members shall be noted. The Incident Commander shall direct the Bureau of FD EMS to report to this location. At times it may be necessary for the IC to special call a Battalion Chief to Supervise operations at the RAC Area. Pending the arrival of this RAC Chief, the IC can designate a unit at the scene or special call a unit to assist the RAC Firefighter in setting up and control of area until the arrival of RAC Chief.
3. RECUPERATION AND CARE OFFICER/CHIEF
3.1 The RAC Officer/Chief will report directly to the IC.
3.2 The RAC Officer/Chief will supervise operations in the RAC Area.
3.3 The RAC Officer/Chief shall act as liaison with the FD EMS, Salvation Army /American Red Cross Canteens, etc.
3.4 THE RAC PROCEDURES ESTABLISHED IN THIS CIRCULAR ARE INTENDED FOR THOSE MEMBERS WHO, AS A RESULT OF THE STRENUOUS NATURE OF FIREFIGHTING AND/OR EXPOSURE TO
EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS, REQUIRE A PERIOD OF ON-SCENE RECUPERATION AND CARE.
THESE RAC PROCEDURES ARE NOT INTENDED TO ADDRESS SITUATIONS INVOLVING ILL OR INJURED FIREFIGHTERS. CURRENT DEPARTMENT PROCEDURES ADDRESSING FIELD ILLNESS OR INJURY REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT.
4. ON SCENE PROCEDURES
4.1 Members fatigued from fire duty shall be evaluated by their Company Officer and if ambulatory directed to report to the RAC Unit in the RAC Area. Whenever possible, member shall be accompanied by another member. If necessary, the company officer shall immediately notify the IC of the need for medical assistance. If a RAC Area has not yet been established, member shall be directed to report to the Command Post.
4.2 Members requesting medical examination, provided they are ambulatory and not urgently in need of assistance, shall notify their immediate officer prior to leaving the scene of their assigned duties.
4.3 If it is evident that immediate medical treatment is necessary, the IC shall be notified of member's removal to a hospital, or other medical treatment center with equivalent facilities. A treatment center, other than a hospital, may be used if it is more accessible or has been established at a field location. The IC shall notify the medical officer on emergency duty to respond to such location. The IC shall cause notification of the H.E.L.P. team to respond to each facility receiving injured.
4.3.1. In all instances in which a member is incapacitated, suffers more than minor injuries, or suffers burns that require treatment at a burn center, a Battalion Chief must respond to the medical facility. The Battalion Chief, designated as Member-Tracking Chief, shall maintain control of the situation and ensure that the appropriate procedures are implemented.
4.3.2 At the hospital, the Member-Tracking Chief and FCL (if on-scene), under the direction of the Staff Chief, will team up and be responsible for the following:
· Evaluate the situation and either step-up or reduce response.
· Confirm identity(s) of injured/deceased member(s), and notify the Officer in Charge of FDOC (718-999-2094) and the Staff Chief on-duty to start the NOK notification process.
· Provide periodic updates to FDOC until the BHS Medical Officer on-duty assumes this responsibility.
· Secure a fax machine and number for transmission of NOK information from FDOC.
· The Member-Tracking Chief/FCL will complete Notification/Tracking Checklist (NTC-1).
· The on-duty FCL will make the notification to the NOK by phone if transportation of the NOK will be delayed.
4.4 If it is evident that the member should be examined by a qualified physician but immediate medical treatment is not necessary, the IC shall notify the medical officer on emergency duty to respond to the designated location or have member removed to Bureau of Health Services during clinic hours.
5. RESPONSIBILITIES OF INVOLVED MEMBERS
5.1 Incident Commanders, chief officers, medical officers, RAC Chief, FD EMS, shall manage requests for medical examinations in the following manner:
5.1.1 Upon evaluation when prevailing fire conditions permit, battalion chiefs may grant rest periods of up to two hours to units or members being relieved at fires. Similarly, deputy chiefs may grant up to three hours.
5.1.2 Medical officers, upon conclusion of an examination of a member, may grant medical leaves or rest periods. The IC shall be notified.
5.1.3 When a rest period finishes at the scene of the operation, the officer in command of such unit shall report the unit's or members availability to perform duty to the IC. When a rest period expires in quarters, the officer in command of the unit must notify the dispatcher and administrative battalion chief.
5.1.4 Chief officers present where multiple medical examinations have been requested
and members are assembled shall:
A. Provide an orderly atmosphere which will enable the medical officer to examine each member privately. This will usually be in the company office of quarters or at the RAC Area.
B. Maintain a record of the units and the number of officers and members affected, and act through the appropriate Battalion, Division or Command Chief to restore such units to service as soon as possible.
C. Be prepared to provide the medical officer with any necessary information regarding the conditions under which the members operated to assist the medical officer in making an evaluation.
6. RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEDICAL OFFICERS AND MEDICAL OFFICE FIREFIGHTERS
6.1 Whenever members are transported to and/or treated at a hospital facility, contact FDOC. Obtain and transmit the appropriate information about each member's condition and provide periodic updates to FDOC.
7. MEDICAL PROCEDURE PRIORITIES
7.1 Battalion chiefs shall, in the absence of the deputy chief at a fire location, promptly notify the medical officer on emergency duty of fires where medical leaves have been or may be requested.
7.2 Such notifications shall be followed by status reports from the IC giving the number of medical examinations requested and the location of members.
7.3 Where necessary, the citywide tour commander on duty shall establish priorities for the examination of members by medical officers. They shall take into account the number of members at each location, the on-going fire activity, and the degree of depletion of fire coverage. When practicable the citywide tour commander on duty shall order the assembly of members concentrated in as few locations as possible to facilitate efficient response and examinations by the medical officer.
7.4 Members requiring transportation to hospitals shall be transported via ambulance.
Non-ambulance vehicles may be used only under extenuating circumstances.
8. INDISCRIMINATE USE OF HOSPITALS HAS THE FOLLOWING DISADVANTAGES:
8.1 Overcrowding of emergency rooms can cause a negative impact on the quality of medical attention afforded to those who are seriously ill.
8.2 Delayed examinations and treatment of members.
8.3 Hospital personnel can develop a negative attitude if their work environment is unnecessarily disrupted. This can lead to a less responsive attitude toward firefighters who genuinely require hospital treatment.
9. RECORDS AND REPORT
9.1 Battalion and division firefighters shall keep a record of the time medical officers are notified to respond, when they arrive, and when they depart from locations to which they have been called.
9.2 Officers in command of units where a member or members have requested medical examinations shall record the time Medical Officer was notified to respond, time of arrival and results of examination. This information shall be transmitted to the deputy chief via chain of command.
9.3 Members who were in-patients due to a line of duty injury, upon discharge from the hospital, shall immediately notify the officer on duty of their assigned units. Officer shall immediately notify FDOC.
10 HYDRATION AND REHYDRATION
One effective way to delay the onset of the detrimental effects of dehydration is by increasing your total body water and blood plasma volume. Described below are four simple ways to significantly increase your capacity to carry water.
10.2 FREQUENT EXERCISE:
10.2.1 Recent studies show that by engaging in almost any type of physical exercise on a regular basis you will realize, in very short order, as much as a 10 - 12% increase in your circulating blood plasma volume. Current research also indicates that with continued training, especially aerobic type training, there results an increase in the efficiency, effectiveness and the working capacity of the body's cooling mechanisms, especially the sweat mechanism.
As a direct effect of training, physically fit firefighters will carry more water, sweat less while achieving greater cooling, and lose less salt via sweat, enabling them to rehydrate more quickly and completely.
NOTE: It is wise to consult your private physician before undertaking a fitness regimen.
10.3 A CARBOHYDRATE-RICH DIET:
10.3.1 The carbohydrate is the Performance Fuel for Firefighters. This Foodstuff Fuel provides firefighters with the energy to work, and the water to sweat.
By consuming a diet that is rich (60%) in carbohydrates; fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, grains, rice and pastas, you can increase your capacity to store carbohydrate by over 100%, and right along with it, significantly more water.
Additionally, most fruits, and vegetables contain large amounts of water (up to 96%), and therefore, represent an excellent source of both fuel, and water to enhance performance, and facilitate recovery.
10.4 DECREASED BODY FAT:
10.4.1 Muscle tissue contains about 75% water, and fat cells contain less than 25% water. Consequently, the less lard, and more lean mean muscle tissue that you feature, the greater your percentage or, volume of water. Fat also acts as a tremendous insulator, and excess fat imposes an absolutely useless additional burden upon your body. The consequences of an increased percentage of body fat are a less efficient cooling mechanism, and an increased absolute work load. The results are an increased risk of injury, and an elevated rate of fatigue.
10.5.1 The adage that has been applied to athletics for generations is that, "if you want to perform in the heat, then you better train in the heat." The physiological basis for this old coaching tip is that by subjecting your body to an increased heat load, especially by working, or exercising in a heated, or hot and humid environment, that your body will adapt; increasing blood plasma volume, and improving the efficiency of your cooling mechanisms, especially the sweat mechanism.
The benefits to be reaped from acclimatizing to heat are very similar to those obtained through training. In fact, the most dramatic improvements are realized in those humans that combine the two; exercising in the heat. However, before you begin exercising in the heat, you should first consult the F.D.N.Y. Health and Fitness Unit (1-212-860-9252), for guidelines on training safely, and intelligently in heated environments.
10.6. RAPID REHYDRATION
10.6.1 `The constant replacement of bodily water lost via sweat, and respiration is absolutely essential for the maintenance of circulating blood plasma volume, physiologic function, health, and performance. Generally, this is an easy task for the hydration-conscious firefighter, however, while in the performance of duty there are frequently times when continued, or immediate rehydration is impossible. While operating at fires, emergencies, extended operations, or even when confined within an apparatus while responding to a series of alarms, firefighters are not afforded the opportunity to rehydrate themselves, yet, current research shows that they can lose bodily water at rates that exceed 2.5. quarts per hour! Marked dehydration can result, and for reasons of personal health, and safety must be remedied as soon as physically possible. Listed, and described below are the "DO's" and "DON'T's" of Rapid Rehydration designed to enable you to replace lost fluids as quickly, and safely as possible.
A. DRINK COLD FLUIDS
The colder the better down to about 40 degrees F.
B. DRINK DILUTE BEVERAGES
Most common beverages, and some so-called "replacement fluids" contain much too high a concentration of sugar or some other nutrient to move swiftly from your stomach to the primary site of absorption in the small intestine. You can facilitate the process by diluting your chosen beverage with water. Ideally, your replacement fluid should contain less than about 8% glucose, sucrose, or glucose polymer, and a small measure of salt, (about 1/3 teaspoon of table salt; sodium chloride, per quart of fluid).
C. DRINK UNTIL NEARLY FULL
At your first opportunity, you should fill your stomach to about 75-80% of capacity by drinking approximately 20-or-so ounces of your chosen replacement fluid.
D. CONTINUE DRINKING
After initially filling your stomach to the point of being nearly full, you should supplement your initial intake by consuming an additional 6-8 ounces every 10-15 minutes. All totaled, during periods of exposure to heat stress, and while in recovery, you should ingest at least between 1-2 quarts of fluid per hour.
E. MOVE ABOUT
The mechanics of moving about casually while in the period of recovery may actually facilitate the movement of fluid, and enhance the rate of rehydration.
A. DO NOT DRINK HOT BEVERAGES
B. DO NOT DRINK CONCENTRATED BEVERAGES
Fluids that contain relatively high concentrations of either sugar, starch, protein, or fat tend to sit in your stomach, and retard the process of rehydration.
C. DO NOT CONSUME SOLID FOOD
Especially hot, solid food.
D. DO NOT CONTINUE WORKING AT A HIGH RELATIVE INTENSITY
Working at intensities that exceed 75% of your maximum aerobic ability will retard the passage, and absorption of ingested fluids, slowing the rehydration process.
BY ORDERS OF THE FIRE COMMISSIONER AND CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT