"We're prepared with good equipment. It's a matter of getting out and practicing those tactics to make sure we are brushed up and ready to go." -Pat McJunkin, Casper Fire EMS
As Casper's population continues growing the odds of seeing taller buildings throughout the city go up, but are emergency responders ready for that? Casper Fire continues training for the occurrence of a hi-rise building fire and even though there are only a handful of buildings in Casper over four floors, firefighters are prepared.
The risk of residential fires isn't merely on the list of firefighters' priorities: It tops the list. And high density residences like apartment buildings, while not numerous in Casper now, are being considered.
Casper Fire EMS Public Information Officer Pat McJunkin said, "As the community grows and we have more of these structures around. It's certainly something that we have to be thinking of."
In fact Casper Firefighters have been planning and preparing for years and McJunkin isn't the only person who thinks Casper is going to see more tall buildings and hi-rises. Many contractors display interest in it.
Renee Penton-Jones, former CEO of the Downtown Development Authority said, "Some of them when i was with the downtown development authority did discuss adding floors to the existing structures."
So can Casper potentially see it's own empire state building so to speak? No!
Penton-Jones said, "There would be limitations as to how many floors there would be in a building."
Good news for the firefighters because just like with legos the taller you build, the more complicated things get.
McJunkin said, "When you're talking about getting water you know say anywhere from five to ten stories above the ground. There are some additional challenges that go with that."
So when these buildings do appear department spokesmen say they will be ready, but since hi-rises there are none in Casper now; do they even have the correct tools?
McJunkin said, "We're prepared with good equipment. It's a matter of getting out and practicing those tactics to make sure we are brushed up and ready to go."
For developers there is one less thing to worry about if the skies of Casper are where you're planning to build.
McJunkin acknowledges that a Casper hi-rise fire is a low probability, but high risk event today, but he says the purpose of these drills is to prepare for tomorrow.
If a structure, no matter how tall, has a good sprinkler system installed it not only helps the firefighters, but can save you life as well..