Apr 17, 2014 Return to Headlines

Coquitlam Fire/Rescue Practices Highrise Response

by GS GS |

COQUITLAM, BC, Thursday, April 17, 2014 – In order to ensure that Coquitlam Fire/Rescue is able to respond to fires in highrises, firefighters from the department are taking part in an exercise in a vacant seven-storey building.

Each of the 16 companies in Coquitlam’s Fire Department will have the opportunity to run a highrise firefighting and rescue scenario at 1010 Alderson Avenue. Société du Foyer Maillard, the non-profit society that owns and operates the building, has made the tower available to the department before demolition of the building. 

Similar scenarios are regularly practiced in tabletop exercises, but conducting an exercise in an actual building is a rare opportunity for firefighters to experience the real physical challenge of a fire response, such as the noise of fire alarms, use of radios and P.A. systems, deploying hoses and building security challenges.

One of the key techniques being practiced by firefighters in this exercise is the initial use of the elevators to allow a quick and aggressive fire attack. Elevators are not typically used in a fire; however, modern buildings have more progressive technology which, if it is safe to do so, allows firefighters to use the elevator as a way to deliver equipment and personnel to upper floors rapidly.

As there are more, taller highrises being built in Coquitlam, navigating this environment is an essential and progressive skill for Coquitlam firefigters to develop and practice.

The exercise also highlights the importance of regular annual inspections of buildings by Coquitlam Fire/Rescue.  

As part of their pre-incident planning, Coquitlam Fire/Rescue maintains a visual catalogue of every highrise building in thecity with its pertinent details, for example, building features, location of water connections, the building entry points, etc. This information is kept current and is available on all fire trucks.

Ultimately, the best fire is the one that never happens and Coquitlam Fire/Rescue reminds all residents to make sure they practice fire safety at home every day, including checking smoke alarms regularly and ensuring you have a family exit plan.

For more information on fire prevention and Coquitlam Fire/Rescue, visit www.coquitlam.ca/firerescue.