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January, 2008 - San Francisco Fire Department and RescueAir Partner On State's First Firefighter Air System Training Center
Rescue Air Systems of San Carlos, CA will partner with the San Francisco Fire Department on the design and installation of California's first high rise training facility for firefighter air systems.
The partnership comes in the wake of a recently passed ordinance in San Francisco requiring installation of firefighter air systems in new high-rises and underground tunnel systems. The SFFD will use the facility to train department personnel on the use of the system in any emergency situation where breathing air is compromised - most commonly fire, but also in chemical, biological, radiation or nuclear incidents.
Rescue Air Systems is donating a custom system to SFFD. The training system will give San Francisco firefighters an opportunity to run simulations in a safe and controlled environment, ensuring their ability to use the system in an emergency situation. RescueAir staff also will work with fire department personnel on the development of training materials and curriculum. The training facility will be housed at SFFD's Filmore Street training facility. SFFD plans to make the facility available to other fire departments for training non-SFFD personnel.
A firefighter air system is a standpipe for air that is permanently installed within a structure. It provides an endless source of breathing air to firefighters within close proximity of a fire or other emergency incident. The system eliminates the need for carrying air cylinders by hand from staging areas to a mobile air truck and back again. The personnel on the scene are able to refill empty air containers quickly and safely inside the structure at fill stations usually located in the building's stairwells. It is the first major improvement to high-rise fire fighting operations since hoses replaced hand buckets as a transportation system for water. Fires can be extinguished much faster, lowering the risk of injury or death and minimizing property damage.
San Francisco was one of the first major cities in the country to recognize the importance of this technology and add it to its building code. Other large cities that have required the system in large-scale buildings include Denver, Phoenix, Palm Beach, FL, and San Jose, CA.
RescueAir is the industry's leading design/build contractor of firefighter air systems. Because of their reputation for providing fail-safe, cost effective systems, they are the preferred partner of the nation's elite architects, contractors and builders. The team at RescueAir has designed, built and installed more than 250 systems in buildings from coast to coast, including the Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, CA, the Arizona Public Service headquarters in Phoenix, AZ, the San Jose Civic Center in San Jose, CA and the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno, NV.
"We're pleased to be in a position to donate one of our systems to the SFFD and partner with them on a program that will save lives and make San Francisco buildings among the safest in the world," said Anthony Turiello, president of Rescue Air Systems. "Saving lives is not just a business for us. It is a mission."
December, 2007 - Bovis Lend Lease Looks to RescueAir Systems for Firefighter Breathing Air Replenishment System in One Rincon Hill
Bovis Lend Lease, one of the world's leading project management and construction companies, has retained Rescue Air Systems of San Carlos, CA to design and build a firefighter breathing air replenishment system (FBARS) for the One Rincon Hill project in San Francisco.
An 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. Firefighters use system inside the building to refill their air canisters closer to the seat of the fire, eliminating the need to hand-carry replacement canisters up and down stairs, shortening the time it takes to extinguish a blaze, and saving lives and property. The City of San Francisco began requiring these systems in high-rise buildings over 75 feet in 2006.
At 65 stories, One Rincon Hill is a one of three major residential high-rise buildings under construction in San Francisco and will be the city's tallest residential tower. Bovis Lend Lease is the builder, with a design by Chicago's Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $270 million.
Construction began on One Rincon Hill just as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved amending the city's building code to require FBARS in high-rise buildings. RescueAir was able to retrofit its designs to work within the architect's plans. They also met an extremely accelerated schedule, designing, building and installing the system with no negative impact on the builder's timeline.
"While it has taken me two years to come to this opinion, I think it's a great safety feature and should be in every building in the country," said Dale Durret, mechanical, engineering and plumbing coordinator for Bovis. "... The products Rescue Air Systems uses are first class, buying very reliable stuff, from valves to high purity piping -- all first class equipment and fittings."
August, 2004 - RescueAir Provides New San Jose Civic Center With State-Of-The-Art Firefighter Air System
The new $350 million San Jose Civic Center project is the latest jewel in San Jose's redevelopment crown, boasting over a half a million square feet of downtown office and public space, an 18-story tower, a magnificent domed rotunda and an impressive public plaza. It also is equipped with something no other public building in the San Francisco Bay Area has: a firefighter air system that will make it one of the safest buildings in the world in the event of a fire or a biological emergency such as an Anthrax release.
The City of San Jose tapped Rescue Air Systems of San Carlos, CA to design, build and install a Firefighter Air System into the new Civic Center. The key component of the system is a standpipe for air that provides firefighters with an endless, safe and reliable source of breathing air inside the building.
Just as water standpipes throughout a building provide a source of water for hoses, the air system allows firefighters to refill their air tanks at air refilling stations located in just outside the building's stairwells. A typical refill takes 1 minute. The speed and efficiency of the air system is in sharp contrast to the old method of providing air to firefighters in buildings not equipped with an air system.
In a typical high rise emergency where no air system exists, as many as half of the firefighters at the scene of a fire may be relegated to the role of pack mule, shuttling bottles of air to other firefighters who actually battle the blaze. It is akin to passing buckets of water from hand to hand in the days before sprinkler systems and water standpipes became the norm. A typical air tank is rated for a 30-minute supply of air, but with stress and exertion, a firefighter may get as little as 10 minutes of work out of each bottle. It's a cumbersome, inefficient procedure that until recently had no alternative.
"San Jose is one of the most progressive cities in the country when it comes to public safety," said Anthony Turiello, president of Rescue Air Systems. "Our systems are in public and private buildings across the country, but the San Jose project is our first public project in the Bay Area, our own back yard. It's gratifying to see the largest city in the region embrace this technology."
The firefighter air system has been installed in more than 250 buildings around the country, including high rises and "big box" buildings -- sprawling retail stores, convention centers and transportation terminals.
San Jose officials were so impressed with the air system that the San Jose City Council passed an ordinance February 8, 2005 requiring installation of the system in new high rise construction. San Francisco adopted a similar ordinance in March of 2004.
The trend is continuing across the country. Last year, the Arizona Public Service Company building in downtown Phoenix was equipped with the system and the city of Phoenix is now requiring every new building that stands higher than 75 feet to have air refilling stations.
"This system gives life to the firefighters above ground without them having to carry every breath of air with them up to the highest floors of a building," Assistant Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan told the Arizona Republic.
Three years ago in Phoenix, Firefighter Bret Tarver died after he got disoriented and ran out of air while fighting a supermarket blaze. "A system like that could have saved his life," Khan said.