Fire Drill Prepares Crews For Downtown Tampa’s Growing High-Rise Landscape
High-rise fire drill
Jordan Bowen reports.
TAMPA, Fla. – Sirens could be heard blaring in downtown Tampa on Saturday as firetrucks lined Water Street for a special high-rise fire drill.
“Some of the challenges that we incur, whenever we come to the high-rise, is lack of knowledge so this program that Massey has actually is a management system so when firefighters are on scene they are able to get as much information as they can as far as the occupancy in the building, the numbers of floors and determine where out water sources are,” Tampa Fire Chief Barbara Tripp said.
According to Tripp, as part of Saturday’s exercise, the department partnered with Massey Emergency Management, which specializes in developing life safety technology in the commercial real estate field for emergencies. Saturday’s scenario involved 20 victims trapped above the fire on the top floor of the Thousand & One building.
When firefighters arrived, their priority is to get the victims who are trapped to safety as soon as possible.
“It’s often very chaotic in a fire situation so having mobile technology you can share information in a visual format. It eliminates some of that noise and difficulty communicating in an emergency,” Massey Emergency Management Vice-President Phil Winch said.To make it seems as real as possible, the building’s fire alarms were activated and fog machines were used to simulate smoke. At least 50 firefighters participated in the exercise.
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All the communication between firefighters in the building and on the ground is run through the central command center which uses Massey’s mobile technology to get real-time updates on the situation inside.
“Assignments are given to individuals. The fire arriving chief is usually the shift commander. He oversees the whole operation so communication is going back and forth to him. He determines what additional resources are needed. He contacts our dispatch system and if we need more resources he asks for those resources,” Tripp said.