Monday, June 08, 2009

Spiritual Mayday

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phl 4:6)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6) (NIV)

There is no situation more anxious for a firefighter, than for problems to occur inside a fire building (burning structure). Potential problems that may occur include falls, collapse, becoming lost, trapped, or disoriented, becoming stuck, and loss of air, or malfunction of breathing apparatus.

When these situations occur, we are trained to call a Mayday!

The word “mayday” is French in origin. The original being, “m’aide”, which means “help me”. The root of this word being similar to our word “aid”, is “aider” meaning “to help”.

As a fire department, it is of utmost importance that we train for the mayday situation. One of the ways we do this is by constructing a training course made of props that simulate mayday situations. The ‘blacked out’ (blindfolded) firefighter starts at the beginning, following a hose line on his hands and knees. The first situation he comes to is to simulate a fall through the roof or floor (this is accomplished by using a ledge/lever arrangement that tips the firefighter into a safe area). After following the proper mayday procedures the firefighter then advances through the training course. Back on the hoseline the next situation is a building collapse (two personnel pin down the firefighter with pallets or a section of fence). The firefighter calls the mayday, then advances. An entanglement prop is the next hurdle to overcome. As the firefighter follows the hoseline, crawling through the maze his air pack/bottle becomes entangled on wire or rope. After trying to, unsuccessfully, free himself, the mayday is called. The final prop is to simulate being lost or disoriented. As the firefighter makes his way to the dead-end of the maze a door is closed behind him. Now, when he turns to go back the way he came, there is no opening he is boxed in. His only option is to call the mayday.

Through out the obstacle course the firefighter has encountered (and properly responded to) the four mayday parameters:

  • Fall - no matter what through
  • Collapse - having something collapse on the firefighter
  • Lost/Trapped - becoming disoriented, not knowing where to go
  • Stuck - becoming entangled

There is a proper way to call the mayday. This method is used over and over and over again throughout the training process, so that it becomes second nature. If the need arrises to call the mayday, the process can be accomplished more smoothly as a learned habit.

After the firefighter realizes that he is in a mayday situation, he must conduct the proper actions to ensure that his mayday is realized. The first step is to press the EIB button on his radio. The “emergency identifier button” sends out an emergency signal. When this button is pressed it cuts off all radio communications except for the downed firefighters. This gives radio silence on the fire scene allowing the endangered firefighter only, to transmit his message. After the EIB has been activated, the firefighter must broadcast his message, starting with , “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”. After the initial “mayday” call the firefighter must then provide information for his rescuers. The information needed is in the form of the acrostic LUNAR.

  • L - location (where you currently are in relation to where you started)
  • U - unit (truck/company/station that you are part of)
  • N - name (identification)
  • A - assignment (the task you were performing at the time of the incident)
  • R - resources needed (items/tools that may be necessary for your survival)

There are often times, in the life of a Christian, that we need to call a spiritual mayday. Throughout our lives we experience many anxious things, things that cause us to wring our hands in worry, and fret. We experience trials, tribulations, sadness, disappointments, death, embarrasments, dangers, economic losses, uncertainty of the future, our spiritual conditions may waver and wane. In all this, God’s Word says, “do not worry about anything”.

  • Fall- as Christians there will be times that we will stumble and fall. We will make mistakes.
  • Collapse - there will be times of burden in our Christian lives.
  • Lost/Trapped - we may become disoriented. We may lose our way, or lose track of the vision that God has for our lives.
  • Stuck- situations of life may entangle us, and drag us down.

It is in the midst of these situations that the spiritual mayday must be called! “…In everything through prayer and petition (supplication) with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

For the firefighter in the mayday situation to become anxious could mean certain death or destruction. If the firefighter was just to begin ringing his hands and “freaking” out; or to just begin running crazy, or to do nothing, he would have no chance of survival.

There are so many situations of life that can make us anxious, or worry. If we lose our heads, or continue down the road of letting this anxiety build, we will ultimately be destroyed. We see people, friends, family, neighbors, who experience this. They do not have the hope of God in their life. The worry and fret, but get nowhere. We see lives ruined, because in their anxiety, they try to do things in their own power, not “through prayer and petition”.

The first step in initiating the mayday call is to activate the EIB (emergency identifier button), which essentially closes the lines of communication to all but the endangered firefighter. The firefighter calling the mayday has an open line of communication. His call will not go unnoticed.

I am glad we have an open line of communication with our Father. When we are in these life situations we have a God, who loves and cares about us, who is always listening, who wants to come, be near us, and meet our deepest needs.

HEB. 13:5
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

ROM. 8: 35-39
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The LUNAR considerations for firefighters calling a mayday, can serve as a kind of guide, for our times of petition/supplication.

  • L - location, telling God where you are, what is going on.
  • U – unit/N - name, identifying ourselves, who we are in Christ.
  • A - assignment, telling God why you’re where you are.
  • R - resources needed, petitioning God, telling God our needs (as we see them).

Our rescue comes.

Fall- I COR. 10: 11-13
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Collapse - 1 PE. 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Lost/Trapped - PR. 29:18, JER 1:5
“Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.” Pr. 29: 18

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jer. 1: 5

Stuck- HEB. 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

1 comment:

Wayne Brooks said...

Good post, Bless you.