At high-rise fires, standpipe connections are your lifeline. They will give you the water you need for effective fire control. The firefighters at the connection in a fire tower will have their jobs, and the pump operator must be able to get them the water they need when ready. It’s not an easy task at times, and in the middle of the night can befuddle even the most seasoned veteran.
“The main focus of the class is to introduce students to the bread-and-butter basics of engine company operations while operating from the standpipe,” said Lieutenant Mathew Rush, Austin (TX) Fire Department, who instructed “Engine Company Operations at Standpipe-Equipped Buildings.” “The main point is to understand the myriad building systems that the engine company will have to rely upon in these situations. Once understood, the engine must match equipment choices to how the building is designed or it’s a losing battle.”
To that end, the session focused on merging fire attack with an understanding of high-rise building components, including standpipe types and appropriate code applications; FDC connections; fire pumps; and pressure-reducing valves.
Attendees learned how these building systems interconnect and must be used by responding engine companies; how the building systems work; the maintenance required by the current building code; and the equipment and tactics necessary to complement and use the systems to their fullest potential.
When asked how firefighters would benefit from attending the class, Rush replied, “Firefighters will walk away with a basic understanding of the building systems, code variations, and necessary equipment need to operate from the standpipe system.” More importantly, firefighters walked away understanding that fires in high-rise buildings are not routine events for the majority of the fire service. “Therefore, you must train frequently on these types of events simply because they are perishable skills,” he concluded.