"It makes no sense to have highly trained firefighters lugging SCBA cylinders up and down the stairs instead of fighting the fire. The RescueAir system allows the assigning of more firefighters to rescue and fire suppression. I am convinced this system will help incident commanders make better use of their personnel at the scene of a fire, which means greater safety for occupants and firefighters."
- RONNY COLEMAN, State Fire Marshal (Ret.)
For nearly 20 years, Rescue Air Systems has been known around the world as the inventor, the innovator and the leader in firefighter breathing air replenishment systems technology.
The RescueAir system was born out of the ashes of one of the worst high-rise fires in California history - the Los Angeles First Interstate Bank building fire of May 4, 1988. This 62-story structure was the tallest building west of Chicago when it opened in 1973, and was a landmark on the city's skyline. When a fire broke out on the 10th floor of the building, it took 383 firefighters from 64 companies to extinguish the blaze -- nearly half the force on duty for the entire city. They used more than 600 air cylinders, each one hand carried up and down 10 flights of stairs, to and from a mobile air truck located on the ground floor. The need for air was so acute that firefighters were breaking windows to get it - a dangerous and difficult act.
Within weeks of the event, fire service professionals from throughout California gathered in Los Angeles to gain insight into the causes of the fire and find ways to streamline future firefighting operations.
The group immediately identified the process of shuttling air bottles up and down the stairs as a major strain on manpower and a big impediment to efficiently fighting the fire. It was characterized as a misuse of highly trained, very capable firefighters.
These observations led to the concept of a standpipe for air that could be permanently installed inside a building, just as water standpipes are. Anthony Turiello, founder and CEO of Rescue Air Systems, Inc. made that concept a reality. Thus, the firefighter breathing air replenishment system was born. One of the first buildings to be equipped with the system was the headquarters for software giant Oracle, a 15-story office building in Redwood Shores, CA.
Since 1989, Turiello and his organization have pioneered and perfected the firefighter breathing air replenishment system and in the process created an industry. They have continually refined the technology and streamlined the installation process, developing a portfolio of patented air replenishment systems and products that optimize the benefits of an air system while minimizing its cost.
As word of the system spread across the country, jurisdiction after jurisdiction has amended its building code to require installation of the system in a wide array of buildings. In 2006, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) amended its Uniform Plumbing Code to include a requirement for a firefighter breathing air replenishment system in buildings over 75 feet in height. That action set Rescue Air Systems on a course of explosive growth, as 14 states and thousands of municipalities began requiring the system. To keep pace with demand, RescueAir built a network of certified installers and began licensing its technology.
To date, more than 300 RescueAir systems have been installed in structures throughout the United States. RescueAir has partnered with some of the country's top developers, architects and engineers on such high profile projects as the Infinity Towers project in San Francisco, the Oracle headquarters and the Electronic Arts headquarters, both in Redwood Shores, CA, the San Jose Civic Center in San Jose, CA, the Department of Justice building in Sacramento, CA, the PeaceHealth Medical Center in Oregon, the Arizona Public Service headquarters in Phoenix, AZ and the Promenade project in Boynton Beach, FL.
In addition, RescueAir systems have been integrated into the training facilities of a number of fire departments, including San Francisco and Phoenix.