Florida Chief Develops Life Safety Program
Chief C. M. Deal, Lakeland, Fla., Fire Department, has developed a unique public service demonstration. It deals with the safety of individuals in fires involving multistory buildings and was designed especially to inform residents who travel away from the city.
Lakeland itself has few multiple-story buildings. However, many Lakeland folks travel to other cities and spend time in such buildings, especially hotels.
The idea for the demonstration was prompted by Chief Deal’s visiting the scene of the Roosevelt Hotel fire in Jacksonville, Fla., in December. Chief Deal arrived while the fire was still in progress and saw firsthand the deadly results. Although the fire never got above the main floor, all of the casualties were on the upper floors and resulted from smoke and gas.
He reasoned that many people are not aware of how fire reacts in multistory buildings and how they can protect themselves. So he set out to develop an educational program aimed at those people who may frequent multistory buildings.
The demonstration was initially presented to a group of local organization and civic dub representatives. They were invited to offer suggestions on how it could be polished and improved. It has also been shown to the Polk County Mutual Aid group and is now being booked by civic organizations.
Slides showing the Roosevelt Hotel fire, along with props, are used as visual aids in the program. Props include a door mounted in a partition, a window in a partition, and a lavatory on a partition. These are all portable. However, they are bulky and Chief Deal is trying to locate miniature items to make transportation easier.
Paper fires are lighted behind the partitions to show how smoke seeps in around openings. Then the props are used to demonstrate how material can be packed into openings to keep out the smoke.
One slide in the presentation illustrates the cross section of a multistory building and how smoke and gas from a fire can rise to the top floors through service wells, etc. It also illustrates how windows should be opened for best ventilation. This particular thing is also discussed so persons caught in upper-floor rooms can open windows properly to provide some source of fresh air.
In addition to the visual aids and discussion, a leaflet entitled “Survival in Multistory-Building Fires” is distributed to those attending the program. It lists 10 points with which a person should he acquainted.