Firemen get high-rise training

With the increase in number of floors in newer buildings such as the Ritz-Carlton and the Meridian, the Cayman Islands Fire Service is fortifying its training regime to respond effectively to the new challenges that this sign of progress signals.

This poses new demands for the Fire Department, explains Divisional Officer Doorly McLaughlin.

‘We must now take into account the need for more specific training in the complexity of dealing with high-rise fires. There are many differences that now must be considered, from the amount of personnel required, to using different tactics to combat the blaze, among the several elements which will direct the outcome of battling a high-rise fire.’

To further strengthen skills, five officers attended the Chicago Fire Department’s High-Rise Life Safety Conference: Transforming Policy, Leadership and Tactical Operations, in August. Those attending were Divisional Officer Doorly McLaughlin; Sr. Divisional Officer Carney Robson; Training Officer Joseph Thompson; Station Officer Mark Hydes; and Sub-Officer John Christian.

Mainly using lecture format, the three-day training programme focused on ‘the latest technologies and practices to protect building occupants, the development of affective rapid ascent teams, and clear and concise methods of reforming legislation and policy,’ according to conference details. Participants also participated in hands-on exercises in four of the US’s tallest buildings, states a GIS press release.

Incorporating high-rise training into the local Fire Service’s regimes translates into some new requirements for the training facilities used by the agency. Changes will be implemented in the near future to reflect the real-life circumstances of buildings five storeys and higher.

Changes to planning regulations in 2002 increased the number of floors allowed to seven, at 91 feet.

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