Fire crews will be practising their response to a high-rise fire in Northfleet, Kent, next week.

Although six fire engines, 40 firefighters and a Command Support Unit (CSU) will be taking part in Exercise Gently, the simulated fire in a fifth floor flat taking place on the evening of 4 July, they say there is no cause for alarm.

Not only will they be testing the procedures for command and control they will also be passing water through piping to fight the fire internally, making use of all the resources available, including breathing apparatus and hose reels.

Watch Manager Rob Parkin, the Exercise co-ordinator, said: "Fires in high-rise buildings can throw up extra challenges. They can be one of the most difficult and dangerous scenarios faced by fire fighters. They are renowned for spreading rapidly and can be very difficult to tackle.

"It's important for us to train extensively and regularly in real life environments to make it as realistic as possible, so that we are ready when a real incident happens."

Crews will also take the opportunity to raise awareness with the residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms and practised escape plans so that they know what to do if a fire occurs.

Posted 28/06/2012 by Matilda Blackwell