I run with a volunteer fire company, on our training night we went to the training tower for our community. During our final evolution I was the pump operator and the guy who had been pumping moved to an interior position. While I was pumping over the radio came “We have a Man Down.” The simulation had a rescue scenario included as we have on many occasions, many including Mayday scenarios. So I started from the pump panel to bang a ladder to the second division. On this particular occasion the previous engine operator was having what we can only classify as a panic attack while he was on the second division of the training tower. Apparently he started to have breathing difficulties on the first division but did not inform his partner, a lieutenant, of the problems. Here when the man down was transmitted myself(the Sr. EMT on the rig), the command officer, and the other lieutenant all took the radio call as simulation and not as an actually emergency.
Always Specify a real emergency when a part of a training situation. Had it been initially transmitted as we have an “actual emergency” or “we have a man down this is not a drill” my response would have been different and my mindset would not have had such the hard shift from training bang the ladder to medic radio from the rig. We were able to calm him down and there was no need for EMS but because he had continued to go further into the incident and was 5 foot from the “fire” when he finally declared the emergency. Had this happened at a fire this individual would have had to be physically removed by his partner. What would have happened if he had done this in a fire with a partner not physically able to remove him? When you are having a problem declare it. Don’t push yourself to be an interior firefighter when you are unable to do so, this individual had previously bailed on someone at a training class. He gave n excuse that time and this time he had a panic attack, he should know his limitations as we all should and live within them.