Firefighters train to fight fires in high-rise buildings - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Firefighters train to fight fires in high-rise buildings


Every type of fire presents challenges to fire departments trying to put it out, but fires in high-rise buildings bring unique circumstances. That's why the Cedar Rapids Fire Department spent Saturday morning training to fight high-rise fires at The Roosevelt apartment building in downtown Cedar Rapids.

"It's going to increase our knowledge of where we can reach, where we can't, what we can do, what we can't, and what we need to work on in the future," said Brent Smith, Captain.

The crews tested how high the ladder reached and practiced safely rescuing people from higher levels.

"Unlike house fires or small, commercial fires we've got to get equipment up to the floors where the, where the fire is and we've got to get people out," said David Brown, Battalion Chief. "It's definitely, definitely more challenging."

A building is considered a high-rise if it stands 60 feet or taller, and there's 60 buildings in Cedar Rapids that fit that description, including businesses, residences, and hotels.

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department does walk through's of buildings to prepare plans should a fire happen. Firefighters say you should also be prepared. If you live or work in a high rise, make sure you know how to get out safely.

"Know where those evacuation stairwells are," said Smith. "Know what to do if the fire alarms go off."

The same goes if you're staying at a hotel.

"You're in a strange city, you don't know the building," said Greg Buelow, Public Information Officer. "You better know how many doors it takes to get to your exit area."

Saturday's training was only a drill but the firefighters believe practice makes perfect. That's why the department is planning several high rise trainings throughout the year.

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