Firefighters in Nanaimo scaled new heights while training to fight fires in the city’s concrete high-rise buildings.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue is spending much of the first two weeks of November training in the Beacon on Promenade Drive in downtown Nanaimo and at Bailey Manor on Dufferin Crescent, thanks to the properties which are allowing firefighters to use the structures as training facilities.
Concrete structures were chosen for the training to give the firefighters experience with new firefighting techniques that have evolved over the years specifically for fighting fires in tall concrete structures.
“With a concrete building there’s more time,” said Stu Kenning, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief of operations, while training scenarios were being carried out at the Beacon on Friday, Nov. 5.
Kenning explained that fires are less likely to spread in a concrete structure compared to other forms of construction. They can even burn themselves out and are more easily contained to the apartment they started in, although the smoke and heat they produce can cause damage throughout the building.
Firefighters can take advantage of that extra time. Instead of rushing in to instantly battle the blaze, it’s more efficient and advantageous to prioritize setting up evacuation routes for residents and getting the right manpower and equipment in place to fight the fire more efficiently.
The training is designed to familiarize firefighters with hose setups, methods for assessing a fire, and the equipment and manpower required to fight it most efficiently and safely.