Austin fire crews have plans for high-rise fires

A house fire on Brodick Drive in the Avery Ranch subdivision of north Austin on May 9, 2017. (Austin Fire Department Photo)
A house fire on Brodick Drive in the Avery Ranch subdivision of north Austin on May 9, 2017. (Austin Fire Department Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the world watches the high-rise apartment complex in London burn – Austin fire crews have plans in place if one of the city’s apartment buildings were to catch fire.

By code, all high-rise buildings are required to have fire detection mechanisms in place which tells crews what floor the fire is on. Because hoses and ladders are not long enough to reach some of the top floors – buildings must have interior water sources. When it comes to getting residents out, according to AFD’s evacuation plan, a fire warden is assigned to each floor to make sure residents are out and using the stairwell, not the elevator.

Residents who might have mobility problems are required to notify the building’s managers when they move in so they can be added it to the emergency plan – that way when fire fighters arrive they know there are certain units that might require extra help evacuating.

Each year firefighters must undergo a wellness test to determine if they can meet the physical requirements of the job. If they fail, they are pulled off the truck until they can pass.

In March, Austin firefighters had to battle a two-alarm blaze that destroyed a three story northwest Austin apartment complex. A total of 43 people were displaced and total damages were estimated at more than $1.5 million.

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