Higher, more dangerous?

PAZIM Office Centre
PAZIM Office Centre
A terrifying Supreme Audit Office report on the subject of fire brigade's being prepared for conducting rescue operations in tall buildings.

Supreme Audit Office report concerning fire brigade's being prepared for conducting rescue operations in tall buildings is terrifying. However, majority of the flaws does not concern firefighters, but wrong skyscraper and surrounding areas administration. Impassable fire escapes, aerials on the roofs or blocked corridors are just a few examples of the lack of thought.

For over 2 years, between 2008 and mid-2010, Supreme Audit Office  was checking how well the Country Rescue and Firefighting System is prepared to conduct rescue operations at high altitude. The results have shown, that fire brigades are prepared to conduct such demanding actions as skyscraper evacuation or extinguishing it in the case of fire. A shortage of specialised gear and the need for constantly improving firefighters' skills both have been noticed. It is especially important because the buildings' parametres are constantly changing. Currently available but old gear, the lack of helicopters and a shortage of jumping sheets make conducting an instant actions more difficult. In the case of danger, fire brigade can borrow helicopters from the Police or the Border Guard, but that requires a lot of time.

But it is not the lack of equipment that is the biggest danger. According to Supreme Audit Office  report, most of the tall buildings have aerials and transmitters placed on roof, which renders helicoter's landing impossible. In the case of skyscrapers, that difficulty may not only cause a delay in action. It may make coming to the rescue of people, trapped in the highest storeys impossible. Too small number of parking spaces often causes blocking of fire escape, and the systems which secure passages between particular storeys may in the case of fire block the way to injured people. In residential buildings, the problems are grating in the corridors and blocking the way with furniture and rubbish, taken from the apartment. In the case of corridor filling with smoke, an escape would be nearly impossible. The firefighters wpuld also have serious problems with coming to the rescue, especially because they do not know architectural details of each building.

There have also been objections to putting grating in the windows - because of them, you cannot jump on a jumping sheet and the firefighters cannot enter the building and conduct a rescue. In the report, Supreme Audit Office underlined that firefighters' skills are on a high level, and the problem is lack of money for equipment. Also the wish to receive supplementary training was noticed, both in the case of Country Fire Brigade and Voluntary Fire Brigade. Even now the firefighters are aided by 24 groups of height rescue. As a result, in the rescues there are climbing techniques, height rescue helicopters and gear used.

A puzzling fact is that everyday we do not consider fire a serious danger. Lack of imagination and ignoring the law can lead to tragedy. Unfortunately, it seems that Polish people prefer to be sadder and wiser. We hope that in this case the conclusion will be drawn before possible tragedy.


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