Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

High-Rise Firefighting Perils: Veterans’ Perspectives

Issue 10 and Volume 161.

BY JEFF CROW A high-rise fire can be a most challenging event for a firefighter or fire department: Thousands of people could be in an enclosed structure from which there are very limited means of egress and in which the fire load is extremely heavy. And, even though high-rise fires can be the most challenging and dangerous, they are among the least frequent types of fires to which we respond. This is as true for firefighters who work in high-rise districts as for those who don’t. Firefighters who work in suburban or rural areas may think, “There’s not a high-rise building anywhere in my response area.” Are you sure of that? What exactly is a high-rise building? Departments and building codes define high-rise buildings differently. In general, a high-rise is any building tall enough so that its top cannot be reached by your department’s tallest aerial apparatus. That can be…

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