Commanding the Mayday–Part 1

Nothing can be so chaotic as a firefighter in trouble that calls a Mayday.  The fire service spends a lot of time and resources in training firefighters and task level officers in techniques and methods for calling a Mayday and surviving those situations—as it should be!  However, there has been little developed and created in the way of real, meaningful training for incident commanders to hone their skills in handling a Mayday.

This podcast will discuss, generally, about commanding a Mayday.  It is part 1 of a multi-part series that will focus on the IC and his/her role in handling the Mayday for a successful outcome.

Our special guest for this series is Assistant Chief Joe Pronesti of the Elyria, OH Fire Department.  He speaks from experiences and his in-depth training.

Chief Pronesti will be speaking at FDIC International 2017 on

Size-Up and Command for the Small Department: How to Avoid Being Lost in the Fog of the Fireground

on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 08:00-12:00 in Rooms 132-133.

Below are some examples of what Chief Pronesti is doing and offering.


  • Jerry Hughes says:

    Good scenario. I have it that Mayday is a relatively new concept to the fire service as a whole and there are pieces of it that require leveling across all departments. Fore example, why is the fire service so concerned with knowing the unit ID of the Mayday and less concerned with the Maydays location? I though LIP started with “Location” not “Identification.”
    Why not focus instead on the Mayday members Location from the start. By simply assigning the radio signature “Mayday” we can skip the fact finding mission and go directly to the location piece. Instead of answering a Mayday call for help with “Who just called for a Mayday?” We could get right to the nuts and bolts and reply by saying, “Command to Mayday, what is your location?” By getting the Mayday members location we can get at his unit Id and problem a lot faster than starting with unit ID first, and possibly avoid causing unnecessary confusion on the fireground during a life and death situation.

    • dc802 says:

      I couldn’t agree with your more. We, and many others, have moved to a more simple approach for the downed firefighter. Asking them to provide who they are, where they are, or think they are, and what happened to them is becoming more the norm. The rest will be asked by the IC or officer handling the Mayday.

      Thanks for your comment.


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