COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- Firefighters are getting some help when it comes to responding to fires in tall buildings. The City Council passed an ordinance requiring developers to build and stock rooms full of firefighting equipment in new high-rise buildings.
The ordinance requires developers of any new high-rise building greater than ten stories to stock the rooms about halfway up the buildings.
Firefighters in Coeur d’Alene said they were happy with the new requirements. They said time is of the essence when fighting fires and now, if they were to respond to a fire in a new apartment building, they won’t have to worry about carrying essential gear up all those steps.
"We're putting on 35 pounds of bunker gear, 35 pounds of tank, and we're walking up five, 10, 15 stories worth of building," said Fire Inspector Craig Etherton.
At high-rise buildings, firefighters end up carrying even more equipment--around 100 pounds-worth--because of being farther away from fire trucks.
"We run the risk of them already being fatigued before they even start fighting fire,” said Etherton. “The act of fighting fire itself is fatiguing."
With the new ordinance, Etherton said firefighters will have more peace of mind.
"We just want our opportunity to make sure all our guys come home at night."
The City Council had passed an ordinance some years back requiring that such rooms be created, but not stocked.