"Firefighters operating in high-rise buildings need two things- water and air. Standpipes provide water to every floor, and a RescueAir system brings the air. The taller the building, the more important this system can be to everyone involved in fighting a fire. It should be the standard used for all large buildings."

-ALAN BRUNACINI, Fire Chief, Phoenix Fire Department

What is a Firefighter Breathing Air Replenishment System?

A firefighter breathing air replenishment system (FBARS) is part of today's total systems approach to fire suppression in high-rise buildings. This total system includes a fire alarm to summon help and alert occupants, a sprinkler system for short-term suppression, then an air and water standpipe system to support the firefighters who arrive at the scene to extinguish the blaze.

The FBARS is a standpipe for air permanently installed within a high-rise building or a large horizontal structure. Just as water standpipes deliver water to firefighters during a fire, an FBARS delivers a constant, reliable supply of breathing air. During a fire, air is pumped into the system by the local fire department's mobile air truck on the ground, providing an immediate and continuous supply of breathing air to the emergency crew.

High-rise fires are fought from the inside of a building, and the need for breathing air is critical. The problem has always been supplying it.

 

Without an FBARS, only about half of the firefighters at the scene of a high-rise fire are actually engaged in fire suppression. The other half act as mules, shuttling air bottles up stairs to their colleagues and returning empties to the ground floor staging area.

With an FBARS, air bottles can be refilled in seconds at fill stations located throughout a high-rise building, close to the seat of the fire.

The FBARS provides an instantaneous solution to a fire department's need for staffing. Now more firefighters can be dedicated to doing what they do best: fire attack, search and rescue and emergency medical services. That means fires can be extinguished much faster and time-sensitive, life-saving activities can begin sooner.

This lowers the risk of significant injury to building occupants and emergency personnel and minimizes property damage for building owners.

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