Drill keeps firefighters' skills sharp in Reading

Posted: 10:36 PM EDT Oct 09, 2013   Updated: 10:19 AM EDT Oct 10, 2013

When the alarm sounds, there is no time to plan. Firefighters need to act quickly. That is why every year, in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, Reading firefighters go through fire simulations to get extra training.

Fighting fires is what Reading firefighters do best. So this training exercise is no different. Crews got a call of a fire in a elderly highrise building on North Front Street.

"What they need to do and how quickly they need to act in that case is really important," said Lt. Larry Moyer, Reading Fire Dept.

So, firefighters went into the smoke-filled hallway looking for victims. Then crews searched for the source of the fire and tried to determine the intensity.

"We use this to scan and to primarily search for victims," said Lt. Jim Stoudt, Reading Fire Dept.

Firefighters said what makes fighting a fire in a highrise building difficult, compared to a single family home, is it takes a lot of planning. On a night where it is windy, weather can be a huge factor.

"In a highrise like this, if you open the door and it's a wind-driven fire, the fire could attack you. It could come out in the hallway and you're not going to be ready for something like that. So you have to take all those aspects into consideration when you're fighting a fire in a highrise," said Moyer.

This year's fire prevention theme is kitchen fires. Moyer said about 80 percent of the fires they respond to are accidental cooking fires. So crews are hoping to educate the residents of this hazard and show them what it is like to experience a fire.

"For them to go through something like this may be eye opening," said Moyer.

Firefighters said it is always important to have a plan in case you find yourself victim of a blaze.