Fighting fires in high rise buildings pose special challenges

Published: Apr 30 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: May 01 2013 06:41:16 AM EDT
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Fighting fires is already a tough task but high rise buildings present an even bigger challenge to firefighters.

"If we have something in a high rise we're just calling everyone...it's going to use everyone we have," said Captain John Christopher with the Allentown Fire Department.

According to Christopher, responding to a fire at a high rise building is a lot different than most other calls due to the number of firefighters needed.

The reason for all the man power is the need to carry the necessary gear up a usually smoke-filled stairwell as well as search for and evacuate all residents floor by floor.

"That's when you get into your man power issue because for every resident we're going to have to have at least give probably one to two fire fighters to assist them in egress," said Christopher.

Christopher added it really helps when residents know their exit routes as well as having a designated spot for everyone to meet outside to help firefighters save time and energy in searching unnecessarily for residents.

"If we know where everyone's at, that makes our life a lot easier," Christopher said.

Christopher also recommended routine fire drills and the importance to never ever ignore an alarm.

"When you hear that alarm, get out, call the fire department and we'll come in and tell you why that alarm is going off," he said.