Some of the most physically demanding fires to which firefighters respond are high-rise fires. Depending on our physical condition, we can expend as much energy reaching the fire floor as we normally would fighting the fire. Not every department has a high rise in its first due, but many departments will respond to other jurisdictions to a high-rise fire. The next serious high-rise fire to which you respond could be tomorrow or it could be in three months. The key is to train and drill for one beforehand.
Knowledge of the structures to which you respond is key. If the structure is not in your first due, you should expect the companies which are on the initial response to know the building well. Length of hallways, number of fire escapes, number of fire escapes, bulkhead doors on the roof, layout of the fire compartments, locations of trash chutes, as well as what type of standpipe and sprinkler systems exist in the building are all things firefighters should consider as they respond to a report of fire in a high-rise building.
This week’s drill reviews the Denver Fire Department’s hands-on program which introduces recruit firefighters to the unusual physical and mental demands of high-rise and standpipe operations. Author David McGrail discusses the drill and all its components, as well as the importance of establishing relationships with the high-rise owners in your first due in order to secure access to buildings for training purposes. More than just an exercise for drill night, this training module includes classroom as well as hands-on sessions.
Although McGrail’s article focuses on the Denver Fire Department’s program, you can use any or all components to build a high-rise drill program for your own department.
View this week’s drill by clicking HERE.