College Station Firefighters train for high-rise fires with new training prop

Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 4:30 PM CST
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College Station Firefighters have a new tool to help them train for fires. A local company donated equipment that helps them practice fighting fires in high rises.

On Thursday, the fire department practiced hooking up hoses for a call they don't receive often; a fire in a high rise building. The equipment is called a standpipe system. Standpipes are found in high-rises and skyscrapers and allow firefighters to transport water up the numerous floors.

"Today the College Station Fire Department got to test out a brand new piece of equipment., it's a training prop. The department can practice using standpipes which go into high rise buildings," said Captain Stuart Marrs with the College Station Fire Department.

The standpipe fits on the back of their trucks and can be transported to all their stations for training. Normally they hook up to these inside the stairwell of a high-rise or skyscraper to fight a fire inside.

"It's one of those low frequency, high risk situation where we want to be able to get water up to the higher levels quickly so that we can put water on the fire as fast as possible. Because that's what makes the biggest difference when you're fighting a fire is putting water on the fire cooling the area and cooling that fire off," said Marrs.

A local company built and donated the tool to the department.

"Better Fire Protection built us a great piece of training equipment. We're really happy to have it. It's very unique. It's one of a kind," said Marrs.

Robert Irving with Better Fire Protection said they were happy to donate the item. The fire department asked if they could design one for them to practice with. While it's heavy it can be moved by several people.

As the city skyline and Texas A&M grows, firefighters have even tougher challenges responding to buildings that have lots of floors.

"We have more and more high rise buildings coming into the community so this allows us how to practice how to fight fire with those standpipe systems without going into the actual building and making a big mess with a lot of water," said Marrs. "We were able to practice out in front of our station this morning and get some experience."

"If we're going up to the third floor, fourth floor and above we need to get the water up there somehow. Taking it through a fire hose is not feasible because the weight of the hose is so much so we pump water up through a standpipe," said Marrs.

Previously, the fire department could only do this type of training running water in buildings that were being torn down since it can make a mess.

Those systems are also used in parking garages in the area.