Durant FD goes to new heights to battle high rise fires

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DURANT, OK - New buildings are going up across Bryan County and Durant firefighters received high rise training today to protect the buildings and the people inside.

Durant Firefighters say high rise buildings like the casinos, apartment complexes, and college dorms are one of their greatest concerns. In an effort to be better prepared for a potential disaster, firefighters teamed up with the Oklahoma City fire instructors to receive special training.

Durant Fire Battalion Chief Steve Stafford says fighting a high rise fire is much different than battling your ordinary structure fire.

"Not only just the brute strength it takes to move these hoses, but dealing with the fatigue of the heat," said Chief Steve Stafford, "It drains you and you get heat exhaustion, dehydration."

Stafford says the hoses they use to fight a high rise fire are much heavier than the average hose.

"We're used to using an inch and three quarter line," said Chief Stafford, "And with the fire load and the types of winds we are dealing with on an elevated surface, such as a high rise, we need massive volumes of water."

Battalion Chief of the Oklahoma City Fire Department Mike Walker helped teach the Durant crews and says training for a high rise fire is much more difficult than any other type of blaze.

"It's not a bread and butter type of operation. With that you don't have, you know, normal structure fires, normal house fires we make those routinely, so it's easier to train on those because we respond to them often," said Chief Mike Walker, "Where with these it may be a once in a lifetime type of emergency."

Stafford says after learning two different types of hose stretches and forcible entry the guys might be exhausted, but feel much more prepared than before.

"Just the overall confidence level from where it has taken us at this point. They just feel more comfortable with okay, I think we can do this thing," said Chief Stafford.

Today's instructors were brought in with the help of the Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center.

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