© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Members of the Prince Albert Fire Department prepare to practise a headfirst bailout drill at Suzy Cues -- a liquor store, pub and billiards hall at 18 15th St. E. that recently closed.
Slated for demolition in November, the Prince Albert Fire Department has a month’s free reign of the Suzy Cues building for a month of on-site training.
“We don’t have access to these types of structures on a regular basis, so, we’re really happy we could make the most of it,” deputy chief Jason Everitt said.
“Each shift is going to be running through a series of drills. We want to maximize the use of this.”
Its location right nextdoor to the Prince Albert made matters even better, he said, noting that crews are scheduled to spend every weekday afternoon in October practising at Suzy Cues, with other training postponed so they can make the most out of the building.
On Monday, crews were seen practising headfirst ladder bailouts out of the top floor -- a drill that, as its name implies, has firefighters exit a window headfirst.
After bailing out the window headfirst, firefighters swing around so they’re able to slide down the ladder upright, getting from window frame to ground in a few seconds.
“If the heat is so intense where you have to stay low, you might not have that option of standing upright and putting your leg across and taking your time to come down,” Everitt explained.
“It’s a good technique to know, and we hope they’ll never need it.”
The balance of the month will have every department crew practise this and various other techniques, such as rapid intervention training, search and rescue and firefighter self-rescue.
We don’t have access to these types of structures on a regular basis, so, we’re really happy we could make the most of it. Deputy chief Jason Everitt
The self-rescue is one of the rarest they’re able to practise, since it consist of firefighters tearing through walls -- a technique that prepares them for cases where doorways are not accessible.
The building owner Tony Yannacoulias said that when the department approached him with a request to use the building for training, it only made sense to say yes.
“They don’t really get that many places to do that kind of stuff,” he said, noting that with the building slated for demolition in November he didn’t care what damage they did to it.
Yannacoulias plans on making a parking lot of the property for his Venice House restaurant, which is nextdoor, facing Central Avenue.
Their current parking lot is limited in size, with Yannacoulias renting a lot across the street from the city to meet their parking demand.
Suzy Cues was a liquor store, pub and billiards hall that recently closed – a change that’s been of benefit to the area, Yannacoulias said.
The Daily Herald will catch up with the Prince Albert Fire Department later this month for more on their training efforts at Suzy Cues.