Salt Lake Trains on Building
Condemned building serves as training ground for firefighters
SALT LAKE CITY — Wearing 60 pounds of gear, a Salt Lake County firefighter slides head first out of a third-story window, grabs the sides of a ladder about four rungs below and spins before sliding to the ground feet first.
"We don't do this everyday," said fireman Dan Reilly, as he watched other firefighters practice maneuvers on the ladder. "You default to your most consistent training (during a real fire)."
Firefighters use the bailout technique if something goes sour in the building.
Reilly and about 15 other firefighters wrapped up three days of training at an office building on the Northeast corner of 500 South and 300 East that's being demolished Monday to make way for a public safety building scheduled to open in 2013.
"We're practicing to keep the public safe but to keep us safe also." -Dan Reilly
"We're practicing to keep the public safe but to keep us safe also," Reilly said.
The firefighters also practiced entry techniques they would employ if passageways to a victim were impassible during a fire. The firefighters started by repeatedly swinging a ladder into a third story window until it shattered, then climbed the ladder and knocked away any remaining glass with the butt of an ax, a pike poll or a rubbish hook.
"That's what makes this job dangerous, is we don't know what we're going to find," said fireman Derek Rapier, explaining why they carry one of the available tools to the top of the ladder.
After a firefighter is in a building, they use the tools to breach walls and move debris as they search for people.
Once a team of two firefighters has found a person, the person is lowered into the arms of a firefighter who slowly descends the ladder to safety.
The public safety faculty will house Salt Lake City fire and police after it opens.
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