Metro Fire tests parking structure fire procedures

Firefighters Jake Bartlett and Gabriel Gomez carry fire hoses down from the top level of the American River College parking structure on Sept. 17, 2019. Sacramento Metro Fire District engines 24 and 103 ran drills testing the structure’s standpipe water system, which they would use in the event of a fire within the parking garage. (Photo by Jennah Booth)

Sacramento Metro Fire District engines 24 and 103 visited American River College  morning to practice emergency procedures and test the standpipe water system in the ARC parking structure. 

Because fire engines are too large to drive into the garage, Captain Matt Owston said the parking structure uses a standpipe, which pumps water through the structure itself to multiple nozzle locations on every floor. In emergency situations, firefighters can carry up a 100-foot hose and attach it to one of the nozzles in order to put out a fire within the structure.

Firefighters Jake Bartlett and Gabriel Gomez test the water pressure on the top level of the American River College parking structure on Sept. 17, 2019. Sacramento Metro Fire District engines 24 and 103 ran drills testing the structure’s standpipe water system, which they would use in the event of a fire within the parking garage. (Photo by Jennah Booth)

“If there’s a fire in the parking garage and there’s a lot of smoke, a lot of hazards, a lot of stairs and the elevator won’t work,” Owston said. “The standpipe is the pipe that basically supplies water to all the different nozzles … so we bring our own hose and then we can put out a car fire.”

On the top floor of the garage, Tyler Smith guided firefighters Jake Bartlett and Gabriel Gomez in testing one of the nozzles and controlling the water pressure. The standpipe can pump out around 200 gallons of water per minute, according to Smith.

Firefighter Tyler Smith controls the water pressure of the standpipe on the top level of the American River College parking structure on Sept. 17, 2019. Sacramento Metro Fire District engines 24 and 103 ran drills testing the structure’s standpipe water system, which they would use in the event of a fire within the parking garage. (Photo by Jennah Booth)

“One hundred feet of hose can reach anywhere,” Smith said. “It’s all on one system. We just flow that one system and we can get water anywhere.”

Smith said they try to do a training drill every week. Owston said these types of drills help firefighters prepare for more unusual situations like car fires in the parking structure.

“We don’t get these types of scenarios all the time,” Owston said. “So we do these drills for [firefighters] to advance themselves and learn.”

According to ARC Public Information Officer Scott Crow, fire drills at ARC will continue next week on Tuesday and Friday. 

“During the drills the Los Rios Police Department and college officials will assist you with: exiting the building, assembling a safe distance away, waiting while the building is reviewed, and giving you the all clear to reenter the building,” Crow wrote in a faculty email yesterday. 

Crow said depending on their schedule, students may participate in multiple drills. The Los Rios Police Department lists emergency evacuation procedures on their website. 

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About the Author

Jennah Booth
Jennah Booth is a fourth semester student with the Current. This is her third semester serving as Editor-In-Chief. She has previously served as social media editor. Booth received her associate degree in journalism and mass communication the spring of 2018. She plans to transfer to California State University, Sacramento to work on her bachelor's degree.

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