City firefighters train for tall structure fires

By Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune – May 4, 2015

Pratt County's ladder truck lifts firefighters to the eighth floor of the Hotel Parrish during a training exercise Wednesday evening at the hotel that is currently under renovation. Photo by Gale Rose.

Pratt County’s ladder truck lifts firefighters to the eighth floor of the Hotel Parrish during a training exercise Wednesday evening at the hotel that is currently under renovation. Photo by Gale Rose.

Streams of water flowed from fire hoses Wednesday night as city and county firefighters took turns on the Pratt County ladder truck practicing their skills outside and inside the Hotel Parrish.
The city firefighters wanted to have an opportunity to learn the operation of the truck and have some hands-on use of the equipment, said County Chief Mark McManaman.
Several county firefighters are already trained in the operating the ladder truck and took part in the practice and learning session.
The primary goal for the drill was to establish the water pressure necessary to fight fire on every floor of the hotel that is currently being restored and transformed into apartments.
The water pressure needed to fight fire at street level is different than the pressure needed at each floor of the hotel. The higher the floor, the more pressure is needed, said David Kramer, Pratt fire fhief.
“We want to come up with a baseline pressure,” Kramer said. “We have to gauge the pressure for every floor.”
Learning the proper pressure for each floor is vital to successfully fighting a fire. Since the building is under renovation, a fire hose was used to simulate a three-inch standpipe. Firefighters ran the hose up the elevator shaft then took turns spraying water out the windows on the west side of the building to get used to the feel of the water pressure at each level, Kramer said.
Firefighters also familiarized themselves with the operation of the ladder truck and several went up to floors outside the building and handled the nozzle under pressure.
The truck has a safety feature the will not allow the ladder to operate until the truck is level, a critical element when the ladder is fully extended. The ladder can reach higher than the top of the hotel and provide a platform at 100 feet, McManaman said.
Having an occupied building this tall in Pratt is a unique situation. If a fire should occur, it would require many firefighters and everyone would have to be on the same page on how to attack the fire.
“We’ll need all the man power we can get,” Kramer said. “We have to make sure our tactical objectives are the same.”
To that end, the fire department has been doing a lot of high-rise training. With the hotel coming back to life, it’s important to be ready in the event of a fire.
Besides the Parrish, firefighters must be prepared to fight fires in other tall structures like grain elevators, the plant at Xtra Factors and the retirement high rise.
Fire officials worked with the Parrish Hotel project manager to get permission to use the building for practice.
Drywall was scheduled for delivery Thursday so the session Wednesday night fit in the schedule, Kramer said.



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