Product Review

When Things Go Bad – 5 Disk DVD Training Set

This product review is in no way, shape, or form influenced or swayed towards one side or another.  It is strictly my perspective on what I believe in this product.

“When Things Go Bad, Inc. is a firefighter training company that has committed to deliver realistic training since 2005. WTGB teaches throughout the country at conferences and fire departments alike. All instructors share a level of energy that is motivating and contagious to the students. We here at When Things Go Bad are passionate about FIREFIGHTER RESCUE & SURVIVAL. The motivation for these Train-the-Trainer DVDs are to get this paramount information to as many firefighters as possible. Let us not allow our brothers and sisters to perish in vain. We do not rise to the occasion; we sink to the level of our training. Learn practical Firefighter Rescue & Survival tactics from experienced instructors on the When Things Go Bad training DVDs.”


I have known some of the instructors at When Things Go Bad for quite a while now, some of which are on the job in the same county as I am and are fellow F.O.O.L.S. brothers of mine.  I’ve known them for a few years, but only recently have they become involved with Paulie Capo and his company.  I personally called Paulie to ask for something unrelated to this when he mentioned he was looking for “the right website” to do a product review for his 5-disk DVD set based on Rescue & Survival.

After speaking to him a little about our site and what our mission is, he politely asked if Station-Pride would do it.

I told myself, “When you have someone like Paulie Capo asks for you to review his product, you had better say yes!”

wtgb1So there it was, a few weeks later, staring at me in my mailbox. The DVDs arrived in a manilla envelope with a personal letter from Paulie.

I opened it up and found the 5 DVDs, which were separated in their own individually photographed DVD sleeves and shrink-wrapped. Each topic/chapter was labeled on the back for ease of searching.

Each chapter skill was created by When Things Go Bad to remember and honor someone that was in a situation of needing its use.  Just to name a few, some of the included skills are window lifts & ladder carries, the Denver Drill, high anchor/hauling, flat & peaked roof removals, firefighter stuck in a roof, the Nance Drill, the Naked SCBA Drill, Calling the Mayday, Disentanglement & Low-Pro Maneuvers, Rope & Ladder Bail-outs, What’s In Your Pockets, and Drywall Ladder Climbing.

This DVD set is by far one of the best resources available for training at the firehouse.  We have all had our share of “Fire Porn,” but this feels like more than a training video.  From senior members to rookies, I have found that every person I had shown this to brought something valuable away from it.  When I got time to start the video in my firehouse, it took a few shifts to get through all five disks. Not because of length, but because of the lack of available time we had to sit down and watch them.

On the first shift, we got through the 3 Rescue DVDs. The rookie I had that day told me he was incredibly lucky to have learned some of the techniques in the academy, but he still just took away more than half the material for the first time. He was excited to get out to the engine room to practice putting some of the material to use.  He was able to quickly learn, retain, and repeat the hands-on skills he just saw on the DVD set. With excitement, he realized that he could move victims and firefighters quicker and with less effort than ever before in his short career.

The second shift we watched Survival. I had a different firefighter with me who has a couple of years under his belt. I got the initial feeling that he wasn’t too sure if this was his cup of tea. He didn’t give me the vibe like he was going to take anything away from it. After the first chapter, he got into it and started some conversation with me about some of the calls that the skills were created for. I told him about the importance of having an open mind when you train in these type of scenarios. Sometimes we get into the mind frame that we will never have to find our air pack in an IDLH atmosphere, reassemble it, and then don it. I get where he is coming from… We will usually not have to enter a burning structure and locate our air pack. But, we may have to locate a downed firefighter that just had a massive event occur, and they need help troubleshooting their SCBA due to a displaced bottle or a loose connection with an air leak. This is why we train. This is why we do this. Disentanglement props are only as good as we can imagine them to be. Yes, we can cut every wire and not have any entanglement hazards. But this video gives us four different ways to escape from this scenario. Open minds will win versus closed ones. Open minds about training will prevail and make you a better firefighter.

After seeing these two firefighters learn from these videos, I realized that I learned just as much.  What I knew already, I was able to reinforce in their minds by setting up the hands-on portion. The items that I learned, I take with me each time we roll out the door to the next emergency.

These five DVDs are an absolute asset to your training cache. It isn’t “just another training tape.” It is formatted and taped in a manner that makes it interesting and professional. When Things Go Bad has hit the nail on the head this time and I know they have much more to share. Their cadre of instructors are making a name for themselves and have taught at events such as Firehouse Expo, FDIC, Fire Rescue East, Wichita H.O.T., Fort Lauderdale Fire Expo, & Orlando Fire Conference.

Interview Questions with Paulie…
What made you start When Things Go Bad?
  • “I took firefighter survival/rescue classes and got a passion for the level of competence needed in that realm. After a lot of self studying about it, I had a local fire instructor ask me to come up with a presentation”.
  • It began with a couple guys without any official t-shirts teaching at someone else’s firehouse to starting a company.
  • “I didn’t intend to start a training company, the training company started itself. I just named it.”


Who are some of your biggest mentors?
  • Jim Carino 33 year Squad Driver in City of Clearwater
  • Jim Crawford – Assistant Chief of Operations (Retired) – Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire & Founder of (no longer in service)


What are some of the classes you provide?
  • Rescue & Survival classes – two entirely different entities. We have classes for each separately.
  • Tricks of the Truck – Truck Company Ops Class – Classroom & Hands-On (Forcible Entry, Search & Rescue, Ground Ladders, Vent…along with many, many, many tricks)
  • Engine Co. classes


Who are some of the most important people to help you get to where you are today?
  • “I’m a student of the job – learning so many things from so many people.”
  • my wife, Kristie
  • my two children
  • and my late father, Mike, who taught me the business side of life that I had no idea of as a fireman.


What conferences has your company attended? (Just to name a few…
  • FDIC Class & Hands-On instructor for the last 11 years
  • Keynote speaker at this year’s Orlando Fire Conference and “Nitty Gritty Engine and Truck Workshop” with Bill Gustin.
  • Wichita HOT
  • Colorado Chief’s Conference
  • Along with many, many more.

Discount code for anyone that purchases from our link

10% off use code: stationpride


Firefighter Removal: “You Have Options”

Why don’t we work an 8-5, sitting behind a desk? Easy- we as firefighters love the constant moving and changing of every call, training event, and research study. Fluidity is the essence of the modern firefighter. The constant need to adapt and overcome is a tool that only experience and training can build. The highest risk/highest reward job function we as a fire service can do is rescuing one our own. This, in turn, must be the most fluid time of all.  This article will cover the options available to rescuers to have the highest positive outcome. Certain facts have to be covered, in order to establish a basis for thinking. These come from the Phoenix Fire Department’s study after the death of FF Brett Tarver.

1. It will take on average 12 rescuers to save 1 downed firefighter

2. A 30 minute rated bottle will last 18 minutes during a rescue

3. It will take, on average, 22 minutes to get a downed firefighter out of a residential structure

4. 1 in 5 rescuers will become victims themselves

5. Total time in building for Rapid Intervention is 12 minutes

So, we know the first team must provide air and package, second and third team remove through closest point or the way they came in, while taking their own safety and air consumption into consideration.

Time in the IDLH, air for the victim, and safe removal is the keys for a successful outcome. There are many acronyms for Rapid Intervention- the article will give one, and discuss the options with each.





The RIC officer leads his team to the command post. The team does a RIC 360, and a quick plan is devised on entry points, exits, and primary/secondary plans. Another question to ask is “How long have the crews inside been working?” This gives a lot of information on a simple question. Information gathered includes each company’s LUNAR, based off of the Incident Command’s answer, strategy, and tactics.

A is for AIR.

As the RIC is activated, the primary function of at least 2 of the rescuers is ABCD. Air is the stand alone highest priority in Rapid Intervention. There are 2 cases I can immediately name that AIR was a contributing factor for the death of the firefighter- FF Brett Tarver (Phoenix FD) and FF Mark Langvardt (Denver FD).

  1. Is the victim on air?
  • Mask Integrity/ Seal intact

Firefighter Removal 1

  1. Level of consciousness
  • Alert, Voice, Painful Stimuli, Unconscious
  • With careful consideration, unconscious victims should be removed as soon as possible. Nothing inside of the structure can benefit an unconscious firefighter more than being outside the structure on the way to a medical facility.
  1. Update the LUNAR
  • With the “MAYDAY” being a last second, desperate cry for help, updating the MAYDAY can give the RIC Operations Officer/Incident Command an accurate portrait of what is going on inside. Consider it an “Internal Size-up”. This will allow command to determine the next appropriate flow for actions.
  1. Check for Breathing/Spontaneous Respirations
  • Purge the bypass. This will allow 2 things. First, it will show the integrity of the seal, and second, it will determine the progression of thought for how to secure AIR for the victim.

B is for Bottle.

  • Checking the bottle pressure can be done based on the physical orientation of the downed firefighter. Bottle gauge, remote gauge, digital gauge, and (if equipped) Heads up Display (HUD) can all be used to determine the bottle pressure remaining.

Firefighter Removal 2

Firefighter Removal 3

The MSA air pack in the photo has all 4. By pressing the green Data button, the HUD will display the air pressure in the lights of the victims mask. This will also illuminate the other two gauges- digital and pressure. This information will control the next few steps.

RIC bags can be equipped with Spare Masks, 2nd stage regulators, and Universal Transfer Connectors (UTC, Trans-Fill, etc.). A full mask replacement is the most difficult for a stressful, low visibility operation. With training and practice, it can be accomplished by controlling actions and pace.

A small section of garden hose can give the bottom strap rigidity and grip
A small section of garden hose can give the bottom strap rigidity and grip.
Have large key rings for added grip.
Have large key rings for added grip.











The UTC/Trans-fill should, in my opinion, be a last option. While training with them, the MSA air pack has an intake “pop off valve” that limits the air coming into the cylinder through this UTC. They can be rated at many pressures. If a RIC pack has a 4500 psi bottle, and a Firefighter pack is a 3000 or 2216 psi bottle, there will be a free flow (waste of precious air) out of this valve. While some air will reach the bottle, at best, it will balance the pressures between the 2 systems. My argument is simple- why not just use the mask, 2nd stage regulator, and 4500 psi you brought in with you to secure the most air to the victim. If the study previously mentioned (Phoenix FD) shows that the first team to contact the victim will not be the one to remove the victim, why waste time and air using the UTC? In further discussion, if the firefighter is equipped with a harness, Drag Rescue Device (DRD), or is placed into a hasty harness- why not remove the SCBA altogether?

Pro’s– less weight, less resistance when turning/making corners, less height when having to remove from window sill (Denver Drill), and smaller profile for wall breach/ vertical removal (Nance Drill).

Cons– might be only harness system for the drag, not equipped with DRD or webbing/rope for hasty, PASS if team has to leave for next team (can be solved with manual PASS attached to RIC Bag).

C is for Convert.

This is where a lot of the fluidity comes into play. If you have a system that you have mastered, whether rope or webbing, stick with it. Have a secondary system for a back-up. There are many options, I will cover a few.



  1. Air pack conversion to harness
  • Once you grasp the buckle of the waist strap, DO NOT LET GO!

Firefighter Removal 6

  • Slide the victim side to side to loosen. Lift leg onto shoulder to reattach waist strap under leg. Keep the button depressed to allow easy reconnection in limited visibility.

Firefighter Removal 7Firefighter Removal 8











  • For larger victims, drive the victim’s leg into their chest to reattach waist strap.

Firefighter Removal 9

  1. Webbing

Webbing offers a wide variety for securing the victim and the RIC pack. The following are some examples:

  • Webbing through shoulder straps
Firefighter Removal 11
A staggered drag for long straight drags.

Firefighter Removal 10










  • Carabiners on handles- the handles on the sides of the MSA air pack are rated at 500 pounds and top hole rated at 750 pounds. This is a quick way to snatch and grab the downed firefighter.

Firefighter Removal 12

  • Chest wrap with webbing (also can be used when SCBA removed for ease of dragging, lifting, etc.)
Firefighter Removal 14
Place one handle through other for cinch strap when wrapped around body.

Firefighter Removal 13










  • Secure the RIC bag in the integrated or hasty harness, chest strap, the lapel microphone opening of the jacket, jacket snaps, etc. These options allow for the SCBA removal with consideration for ease of dragging and lifting also. The hose in most RIC bags is long enough to reach from most attachment points on the trunk of the body.
Firefighter Removal 17
Have a large “D” clip/carabiner on the bag for ease of use in limited visibility/dexterity.

Firefighter Removal 16


D is for Drag

The victim has air and removal device in place. Now comes the most physically demanding- the drag. A second means of egress, while ideal, may not be an option. The search rope placed on entry will lead to a guaranteed escape route. Options exist for removal through a team approach. Rotating rescuers and management of personnel becomes essential for the officer. Transition/trade out rescuers, after strenuous activities (up stairs, down stairs, through debris, through wall breach, etc.), to get the most work, strength, and efficiency of each rescuer. This takes discipline of the crew to switch, during long removals, to allow for work and recovery, instead of one rescuer doing all of the work and using all of their air. Efficiency is the key to safe and rapid removal.

  • A belt/harness attached to the webbing/DRD allows for power muscle use. Driving with the legs at a low angle allows for full strength of the legs through efficiency.

Firefighter Removal 18

Firefighter Removal 19










  • The integrated DRD can also be utilized for rapid removal. This can be checked after air is applied to the victim by the rescuer at the head.
Firefighter Removal 20
Pull straight up for DRD to “grab” inside the jacket.

Firefighter Removal 21










This is a one or two person drag.
This is a one or two person drag.

The options become endless when rescuing a down firefighter. Be fluid, adapt, and overcome. The ONLY way to become familiar and comfortable with any removal technique is to get out and train on them. Reading and seeing pictures adds no value in a true emergency. With the content of the article, remember, use what you have and have trained on. If none of these options are your first “go-to” in a down firefighter situation, make them your secondary or tertiary method.

I hope this has refreshed and sparked interest in your idea of victim removal. A lot of these techniques can be used a fire victim removal techniques also.


Joel Richardson