HIGH-RISE FIRES

EuroFirefighter 2008

'When we are faced with a serious fire at ground level, our firefighters often encounter great difficulties and exposure to some element of risk. However, when they are faced with that same fire thirty storeys above ground, the physiological and logistical demands are far greater and the difficulties and risks are greatly magnified. 


 There may be long time delays between a fire commander's chosen strategies becoming viable tactical operations on the fire floors. There may be changing circumstances involving fire spread during this time lag that requires the strategy to be amended. There will be a great demand for adequate and effective staffing to accomplish even the most basic operation, and then, where firefighters are working hard, the need to support them in a sustained attack will treble the staffing requirement.  


The communication process at a high-rise fire will inevitably break down and the pre-plan must therefore ensure that critical tasks, such as searching stair-shafts, elevator lifts and roof, allow for well practised firefighters to adapt and function alone in small teams that are, on occasions, without overall fire command supervision'. 


Paul Grimwood 2008

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