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Tall order Dublin firefighter says they are not equipped or trained to deal with fires in high-rise buildings

'We need proper guidelines for our firefighters and our officers to follow'

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A Dublin firefighter has warned that the city’s Fire Brigade is not equipped or trained to deal with fires in high-rise buildings. 

John Mahon, who is also a SIPTU committee member, said that as high rises “are not a new thing in Dublin”, proper guidelines are needed for firefighters and officers to follow.

The tallest building in Dublin is currently the Capital Dock, which stands at 22 floors.

However, according to Mr Mahon, a standard ladder would reach between seven to eight floors.

Mr Mahon told Newstalk Breakfast while different techniques have been floated, training has not happened.

"The firefighters in Dublin Fire Brigade, that I represent on the union, they're concerned that they don't have the proper training for high-rise firefighting,” he said.

"There are techniques out there, international techniques, that assist us with fighting fires on any floor over what the capacity of a normal ladder would be.

"There are different techniques which, unfortunately, we haven't been trained up on yet.

"The equipment is firefighting equipment but they're used in different ways, different hose deployment."

'We need that to be rolled out'

"The ladder doesn't determine the firefighting capabilities: you can have a building at 100 metres - you won't get a 100 metre ladder - so you have to learn the techniques of firefighting inside.

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"The ladder's for rescuing people or fighting externally, but you have to learn the techniques inside.

"And that goes from three, four, five floors - it doesn't necessarily have to be 25 floors in the air."

He says this training and equipment are "being researched at the moment, and they haven't come online yet.

"They have been training in certain stations on certain watches, we're trying to develop that... but it hasn't been rolled out yet to all personnel.

"And we need that to be rolled out".

And he adds that they need guidelines to follow.

"It's time to roll it out now - high rises are not a new thing in Dublin.

"I know they're increasing over the years: we need proper guidelines for our firefighters to follow and our officers to follow.

"We look forward for Dublin Fire Brigade management to roll out the standard operating guidelines that they're researched over the years."

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