On Saturday, December 5, the Salt River Fire Department held a special training activity for the firefighters on High-Rise Operations. The training is designed so that the SRFD can become familiar with fighting fires and mounting other emergency operations in high-rise buildings, which is something new for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
“We have wanted to do a lot of training because of the new casino resort coming up, and [so we’ll be prepared to handle an emergency in] any other future high-rise structure in the Community,” said SRFD Captain Randy Villa. “We are practicing because high-rise operations are different than handling emergencies in a single-story house or building.”
SRFD ’crews from stations 291 and 293 practiced high-rise training in the Two Waters building “A” stairwell that Saturday morning. Both crews role-played how to manage a pretend fire at the Two Waters building. After a brief meeting, both crews jumped into their fire engines and drove in with lights and sirens blaring, as if there were an actual fire. Both crews took their positions and prepared to gather their equipment. Once they had all their equipment, the first crew headed up the stairs as a team, helping one another. Two firefighters quickly attached hoses to the standpipes located in the stairwell, while another firefighter positioned the fire hose and others checked doors to see if they could make their way into the third floor. The second crew outside hooked up the hoses to fire hydrants, set up a perimeter outside the building, and prepared to fight the fire.
When asked why high-rise operations training was so important, Villa said, “It takes a lot more firefighters to work a fire in a [high-rise] building; due to the size, we need a lot more coordination. In cases like this we follow something called Standard Operating Guidelines (SOG); it’s something new to us in our department. We’ve never really drilled and practiced with it a whole lot, so we’re practicing so that we’re ready to use it if we need to.”
The SRFD is increasing its high-rise operations preparedness not only through firefighter training, but also with state-of-the-art equipment. The department now has a ladder truck that will reach as high as an eight-story building, to help reach people who may need to be rescued from a high-rise.