It makes no sense to have highly trained firefighters lugging SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) cylinders up and down the stairs instead of fighting the fire. The RescueAir system allows the assignment of more firefighters to rescue and fire suppression. I am convinced this system will help incident commanders make better use of their personnel at the scene of a fire, which means greater safety for occupants and firefighters.”
For nearly 20 years, RescueAir has been known around the world as the inventor of, innovator, and the leader in firefighter air replenishment systems technology.
The RescueAir system was born out of the ashes of one of the worst high-rise fires in California history – the Los Angeles First Interstate Bank building fire of May 4, 1988. This 62-story landmark structure was the tallest building west of Chicago when it opened in 1973. When a fire broke out on the 10th floor of the building, it took 383 firefighters from 64 companies to extinguish the blaze – nearly half of the city’s on-duty force. They used more than 600 air cylinders, each one hand carried up and down 10 flights of stairs, from and to a mobile air truck located outside the building. The need for air was so acute that firefighters were breaking windows to get it – a dangerous and difficult act.
Within weeks of the fire, California fire service professionals gathered in Los Angeles to gain insight into the cause of the fire, and find ways to streamline future firefighting operations.
The group immediately identified the process of shuttling air bottles up and down the stairs as a major strain on manpower and a big impediment to efficiently fighting the fire. It was characterized as a misuse of highly trained, very capable firefighters.
These observations led to the concept of a standpipe for air that could be permanently installed inside a building, just like water standpipes. Anthony Turiello, founder and CEO of Rescue Air Systems, Inc., made that concept a reality. Thus, the firefighter air replenishment system was born – a breakthrough in firefighting technology, and high-rise fire safety.
One of the first buildings to be equipped with the system was the headquarters for software giant Oracle, a 15-story office building in Redwood Shores, CA.
Since 1989, Turiello and RescueAir have pioneered and perfected the firefighter air replenishment system, and in the process, created an industry. RescueAir has continually refined emergency breathing air technology and streamlined the installation process, developing a portfolio of firefighter air replenishment systems and products that optimize the benefits of an air system while minimizing its cost.
As word of the system spread across the country, numerous jurisdictions have amended their building codes to require installation of FARS. In 2006, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) amended its Uniform Plumbing Code to include a requirement for a firefighter air replenishment system in buildings over 75 feet tall. That action set Rescue Air Systems, Inc. on a course of explosive growth, as 14 states and thousands of municipalities began requiring the system. To keep pace with demand, RescueAir built a network of certified installers and began licensing its FARS technology.
More than 500 structures across the United States are equipped with FARS, spanning more than 80 jurisdictions and 10 states. RescueAir has partnered with some of the country’s top developers, architects and engineers. High profile projects include Infinity Towers in San Francisco, Electronic Arts headquarters in Redwood Shores, CA, the San Jose Civic Center in San Jose, CA, the Department of Justice building in Sacramento, CA, the PeaceHealth Medical Center in Oregon, the Arizona Public Service headquarters in Phoenix, AZ, and the Promenade Condominium project in Boynton Beach, FL. Please see case studies here for more detail.
Additionally, RescueAir systems have been integrated into the training facilities of a number of fire departments and fire service academies, including the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MIFRI) at the University of Maryland, the Glendale (AZ) Regional Training Facility, and the training facility of the Phoenix Fire Department.