AFD Firefighters map all commercial buildings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

AFD Firefighters map all commercial buildings

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February 18, 2008

Albany -- The Albany Fire Department is mapping every commercial building in Dougherty County to make firefighting in those buildings safer and more efficient. The information will be filed on computer copies.

 Engine One Albany Firefighters inspect the Pine Avenue Car Wash, mapping and measuring the entire building for a layout report. Firefighters for the next couple of months will map all of the about 48-hundred commercial building in Dougherty County.

The last time this was done was about 15 years ago. Chief James Carswell said "A lot of those records are old pen and pencil, paper type records. We are trying to automate that by putting it in a computer program that we can access more readily."  

As these reports come back in, they are downloaded into computer records. The firefighters are measuring the distance to the two nearest fire hydrants, and where all the utilities shut off devices are located in the building, and making a physical map of each building.

Carswell said "how it's laid out. Front door. Where the business is conducted. Where the storage is. The things that help us in the event there was a fire, we can do our job better."

For now the firefighters will have books for the buildings in their territories that they can access.  But soon they hope to be able to do it on computers in the trucks, because the more information the safer for the firefighters entering that building.

 This is all part of the Albany Fire Department's drive to improve their Insurance Service's Office ratings, which would mean lower insurance rates. So Firefighters wants businesses owners to understand what they are doing, and help them.

Carswell said "we'll try to do everything we can to worth with their schedule, with the understanding we still need this information, and whatever they can do to help, helps our progress along."

 Firefighters hope to have the entire county computer mapped in two months.

Right now the city of Albany has a level three I.S.O. Rating, and the Albany Fire Department hopes to improve that to a level two, which would mean lower commercial building insurance rates.  

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