Fire department releases video on mayday training

The intention of the video is to stress the importance of training and preventing future incidents

Berkeley Fire Department

FOLSOM, Calif. — The Berkeley Fire Department, Cahill Multimedia and EVALS Learning Management System released an After Actions Video that explains the Channing Way Mayday Event.

The term mayday was adopted by the fire service from the Maritime Industry and means "Help Me" after being translated from its French origin.

The three-alarm fire at a historic East Bay church was the result of a wind-driven fire that concluded with a partial collapse, a mayday and a near-catastrophic loss of a firefighter.

Following the ​mayday at the Channing Way fire last fall, the Berkeley Fire Department identified a number of factors that contributed to both the near-miss, but also factors that possibly saved a firefighter’s life once he was in a bad situation. The forward-thinking department partnered with EVALS and Cahill Multimedia in order to share their story with their own agency, as well as the entire fire service.

"The intention of the video is to provide first-hand accounts from the people involved in the mayday and to stress the importance of training in the outcome of the incident and in preventing future incidents. The video is not intended to critique or criticize tactics or individuals,” Deputy Chief Dave Brannigan said.

Incidents like these are thoroughly investigated by specially trained teams to find out what happened and what may have caused the incident to happen. The lessons learned are then disseminated in a report.

“The spirit of the After Actions Video is to augment the official reports, to make the story of the incident more accessible,” James Doyle, a co-founder of EVALS, said. “Not everyone will sit down and read a 200 page report, but they might watch a video. We believe that AAVs provide an engagement level far beyond the traditional method currently being used in post incident training. Watching AAVs can enhance learning by creating more interested and vested participants.”

Jason Cahill of Cahill Multimedia and a fire captain with 17 years on the job stated, “Sometimes you can do everything right and still die, for every other situation what you know will be the PPE that saves your ass.”

Chief Brannigan concluded that, “As a department, a positive result of a near-miss is to analyze and share what we learned, both negative and positive, and then plan training to address any identified issues.”


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