Thursday, November 10

Fire Persons Reported

Today I took a call to Fire-Persons Reported. Its one type of call that makes you sit up straight and focus. This was somebody on the 6th floor of a tower block. Her elderly mother was disabled and her daughter was panicking in the background. The lifts had been out of order for days and this was her nightmare!

FC: Fire Service
Caller: oh my god, there's smoke everywhere
FC: Whats your address?
Caller: Sutcliffe Tower, Im on the 6th floor, number 56
FC: What road is that on?
Caller: Bishop Street, *cough*, the lifts are out, we're not going to be able to get out are we?
FC: We've got fire engines on the way to you now, is there smoke coming into your flat?
Caller: yes, its everywhere *starts to cry* we're on the 6th floor, the lifts don't work, Ive told the council everyday something like this would happen
FC: Ok I need you to get everyone into the same room.............

The call carried on for another 15mins whilst I passed instructions to her in order to keep as safe as possible until the fire crews got there. It really made me think though. 6 floors up. No lift. Nightmare is the understatement. How dare the council not treat this with the urgency it deserves!


Anonymous said...

Is "the advice" now to use a lift in a fire? I have always been told never to uses a lift in a fire.

Fistly due to various dangers, secondly as the fire crews use them to go up to the fire with all the kit. (I have recenlty noticed designated fire brigade lifts in modern UK hotels.)

Has the advice about using stairs changed?

(Yes I did note the fact that the elderly mother was disabled. I am t

M2KB said...

I suspect, "needs must" comes into play. You have two options.

1. Stay in your flat and potentially die from either smoke inhalation or other means.

2. Use the lift to travel the (relatively) short distance of 6 floors to safety, with potentially the lift cutting out mid way. Generally speaking I suspect, until the FRS starts filling the building with water, the electricity supply will remain good?

Personally, I'd take the stairs. But in this case, it wasn't an option.

Miranda Shuttleworth said...

The advice is the same as it always has been. I have re-read my post and I can understand your question as it is slightly mis-leading (mine, not yours!)

My 'dig' was more towards the fact that the lady had been worrying constantly about the lift not working to the point that she had contacted the council several times. It then became difficult for her focus on anything other than the fact the council hadn't fixed the lift.

In her situation, where she was unable to use the stairs, she should stay put and follow the advice given by Fire Control, which she did.

The use of lifts during a fire is a no-no to everyone except firefighters. There was an incident once where someone took the lift to the ground floor. When the doors opened the fire engulfed the lift and sadly that person died.

The stairs are designed to be as fire-proof as possible, no carpet, fire doors on all floors etc. However, we have had incidents where fires have been lit at the bottom of the stairs and then the stairway acts as chimney.

So as m2kb states - needs must. Its our role to get as much information as possible in order to give the best possible advice. Easier said than done sometimes. Sorry if my post was confusing.

Anonymous said...

In these cases someone has to die so that the council can see thats its cost effective.

Spikey said...

I've always said, if i lived in a tower block, to make sure i have the correct amount of rope, so i can absail down the outside !!

I guess it helps that i know these skills, and an fit enought to do so.

Anonymous said...

Spikey, I used to do just that. I lived 10 stories up, had a belaying rig clamped to one of the windows, a rope coiled and ready to go, and a set of harness next to it. It was checked once a week.

The reason? I once saw people jumping from a high-rise on fire and swore I wouldn't be caught like that.