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New "Bail-Out Tool" for Joplin Fire Department Offers Quicker Es - KOAM TV 7

New "Bail-Out Tool" for Joplin Fire Department Offers Quicker Escape From Fires

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Joplin, MO -

A new tool being used by the Joplin Fire Department will help firefighters escape a burning building on their own and do it safely.  The device was developed after a deadly incident in New York.

Imagine the firefighter, in the picture included with this story, trying to safely get out the window of a burning second or third story building.  There's a good chance that firefighter's life would be hanging in the balance.

"An arm and a leg hanging out the window to get as much heat off you as possible while you're waiting on someone getting a ladder to you," says Joplin Firefighter Daniel White.

That emergency retreat has become much safer because of a tool called a bail-out system.  It's a rappel device with technology that manufacturers have put a lot of time into perfecting.

Put it this way:  A firefighter's gear doesn't come from the hardware or sporting good store.

"One of the tests is that it has to withstand 400 degrees for five minutes with a 700 pound load on it.  And this is a seven and a half millimeter rope," says Joplin Fire Department Training Chief Mark Cannon.

All a firefighter has to do if they and another person are trapped in a room is hook a rope onto a windowsill and rappel down three or two stories.  A firefighter can do this all by themself.  Firefighters say if parts of a high-rise are on fire, the bail-out will still bring them to a safer area to wait for a ladder.

White says the most difficult part of the bail-out is "Just making sure you get the hook set and make sure you're ready to go before you start jumping out the window."

Firefighters say this simple tool is a proactive approach to a growing challenge:  Dangerous fires are getting more dangerous.

"Back 20, 30 years ago when flashovers would occur in a matter of 30 to 40 minutes, now we're seeing it happen within two minutes of our arrival," says Cannon.

Emergency responders say many fires double in size every 18 degrees because of today's building materials.  Firefighters say the rappel down with this tool is really a move up for this industry.

Federal grant money was used to get a bail-out device for every Joplin firefighter.

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