Last Saturday, crews from Stations 1, 3, 4, and 24 had the opportunity to participate in a ventilation drill in a high rise building. Firefighters consider a high-rise to be any building over 75' tall. Firefighters were testing the effectiveness of fans carried on fire apparatus in providing ventilation to the upper floors of these tall buildings.
There is a large number of new high rises being built in Portland. It is important to make sure the current equipment is capable of performing the tasks required and that firefighters are aware of what needs to happen in case a fire does occur.
This drill took place at the Mirabella Building, a newly constructed 31 story apartment building at South Waterfront. The primary objective of this drill was to test new techniques of positively pressurizing (pushing air into) high-rise structures developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Positive pressure ventilation (PPV) uses high volume fans to force the air, smoke, or fire in a certain direction. This is important especially in high rises because most of the time, windows do not open and ventilation is a challenge. PPV helps to control fire as well as toxic smoke.
During this drill, firefighters were also able to check the compatibility of the high volume fans, cords, and generators to ensure all of the elements worked together.
Portland Fire and Rescue would like to thank Hoffman Construction for arranging access to the building for this important drill on a critical firefighting technique.
Blog post courtesy of Summer Intern Jessica Budge.
Portland Fire & Rescue We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
August 9, 2010