Thursday, October 10, 2013

Alternative to LUNAR for Mayday

Here is a very good article on the LUNAR concept for Mayday and consideration for an alternative that is more fireground friendly and effective.
Scott is a fellow instructor with Engine House Training, LLC and a Lieutenant with the Metro West Fire Protection District.

LUNAR....Is There an Alternative?
As a Fire Service, we have done a good job looking out for each other. We need to do a better job now and tomorrow due to the dangers that are increasing before us. We have no idea what lies ahead of
us with the next alarm that we are responding to. We need to be ahead of the game, plan for the worst and hope for the best.
The days of having “bread and butter” or “routine” fires are long gone. With the construction of buildings now and in the future, we need to be aware of possible catastrophic events happening sooner in the time line of our on-scene operations. In the Fire Service as a whole, we are
always looking for ways to “work smarter, not harder”. We have started with resources available to us, the training that we do as a crew, as a battalion, FDIC and the vast knowledge of firefighters that have
come before us.

After a MAYDAY is called, what is the information that the IC wants to hear? Do we want the firefighter calling the MAYDAY to be lengthy and use their air giving a report? Or do we want a message short, sweet and to the point so our firefighter can concentrate on conserving their air and/or getting out of their current situation?

I have been teaching Firefighter safety and survival for the past twelve years and the acronym LUNAR has been drilled into our heads. This acronym provides the Incident Commander and the RIC the information needed to get a firefighter who called a MAYDAY out to safety. LUNAR has saved countless lives on the fire ground and will continue to do so, however, think back when you were in a MAYDAY training and if you stumbled giving a LUNAR report. I know I have and many firefighters
have no matter if they are a probie or a 25 year veteran.
With that, I started to think, there has to be an easier way to give information after calling a MAYDAY. After doing research and reading NIOSH reports, the simplest form of giving information is
This provides the same information as LUNAR, and is easier to remember. Let's now break down WWW and how it compares to LUNAR.
In giving a LUNAR report we give the following information:
L – Location
U – Unit
N – Name
A – Air/Actions
R – Resources needed

All this information is pertinent and needed for Incident Command to send in RIC. As much as we train on LUNAR, we still stumble when giving this information or give the information out of order. It does not matter as long as the information gets out. But why not have a simpler way of getting that out after calling a MAYDAY. That is where WWW comes into play.

With WWW we give the following information:
W – Who are you, same as UNIT AND NAME IN LUNAR
W – Where are you, same as LOCATION IN LUNAR
W – What do you need/What happened, same as AIR AND RESOURCES IN LUNAR

The of utilizing WWW is that it is easy to remember, all you have to remember is one letter and it is very effective and efficient. When we use LUNAR, we are providing redundant information. The “U-Unit and N-Name” are the same information. “A-Air”, we shouldn't have to give an Air Report because RIC is bringing air (RIT Pack) with them when they are activated every time. You provide a more effective and efficient report to the Incident Commander when calling a MAYDAY. With all the
information that we have discussed, there is one is simple to use.

As you can see, with the three (3) little letters of W, the same information as LUNAR can be transmitted in a quicker time. I am not saying that LUNAR is broken; all I am suggesting is that WWW Will get the same information out in a quicker time. What is our #1 goal when a MAYDAY is called: to get help into the structure to elevate the situation.

I am not trying to say that the Fire Service needs to throw LUNAR out the window. All I am trying to say is that using WWW is another tool that we can put in our toolbox. Try using WWW, if you like it, consider using it, if you don't, then stay with what has worked. LUNAR has worked for us and will continue to work for us now and the future. In using WWW, it simplifies the information after calling a MAYDAY. While teaching at the St. Louis County Fire Academy as the Lead Instructor for Firefighter Survival and MAYDAY, I have started a trial of during practical evolutions, splitting the class in half. One half calls a MAYDAY using LUNAR and the other half calls a MAYDAY using WWW. I realize that that most of the recruits have no fire experience, approx. 10% have prior fire
experience. The half of the class that uses LUNAR stumbles thru providing the information. The other half that uses WWW provides the information and it seems to flow freely and faster. Also the recruits
are in a controlled environment with no heat and smoke. This is a small sample size, but it is a start.

During the class, I tell the recruits that LUNAR is the primary acronym used when calling a MAYDAY. No matter ho much training we do on RIT, MAYDAY and LUNAR, (we all know that we do not train enough on it), there will always be pauses when a LUNAR report is given. When you give a LUNAR report, you will pause to think about what letter to give next. Try this in your next training and see which one works best for you and your department. Do not get caught up in the “150 years of
tradition, unimpeded by progress”. Always try something new, see if it works and it is a fit for your department. If you like it and it works, go with it and forge ahead. If you do not like it, no harm, no foul
and stay the course.
Let me end by saying....”OMNES CEDO DOMUS”.... EVERYONE GOES HOME.
Everyone stay safe out there and I look forward to the conversation and comments, good and bad from everyone.

Let me know your thoughts.

Scott Hulsey
Lieutenant – Paramedic
Metro West Fire Protection District

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