Challenge of Height

Kwok-chung Choi
Head of High Angle Rescue Team (HART)
Hong Kong Fire Services Department, Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, there are total of 76 buildings that exceed 180m. The tallest one, with a height of 484m, is the 134-story International Commercial Centre at West Kowloon. Rapid growth of these kinds of super high-rise buildings creates great challenges to rescuers. Architects, builders and the AHJ have been working hand-in-hand on safety building designs and evacuation plans for super high-rise buildings; yet, for daily maintenance work on the external walls of these skyscrapers, rescuers need to think about how evacuation could be done in these situations. Besides super high-rise buildings, new building designs with various types of architectural features can make a high angle rescue operation more challenging. To cope with these challenges, the Hong Kong Fire Services Department developed a High Angle Rescue Team in August 2011. The team is responsible for high angle rescue incidents including cable cars, industrial accidents, amusement facilities and super high-rise buildings. Operational efficiency for the High Angle Rescue Team is greatly enhanced through on-site trainings/exercises, which have been arranged with the clients regularly. To enhance the safety design of super high-rise buildings, it is strongly believed that preset safety installations for possible high angle rescue incidents during the design stage could greatly enhance overall building safety, hence, the safety of a metropolitan city.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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