Miami Beach

Bal Harbour

Bal Harbour cops to learn to navigate high-rises during fires


Special to the Miami Herald

To prevent tragedies, Bal Harbour isn’t waiting until the last minute to prepare police officers to safely navigate in a high-rise fire situation.

At the April 9 council meeting, Chief Mark Overton said the Police Department will be training all of its officers for such circumstances. Miami-Dade County fire fighters will train officers to safely navigate through high rises during a fire.

The training comes on the heels of the death of a New York police officer who died of smoke inhalation during a fire in a high-rise. The officer rushed to the 13th floor and was overcome by smoke when the doors opened. Another officer was sent to a nearby hospital’s burn unit.

“Miami-Dade Fire Chief Dave Downey initiated the idea after learning of the incident, we discussed the incident and agreed that there is a gap in the level of officer training on the type of tactics police officers should use on these type of high-rise fire calls,” Overton said. “I believe in being proactive and not waiting for something to happen, to then address it.”

Overton said the training is vital.

“I believe that enhanced training across all areas of police work is the single most important factor that impacts the quality of service our first responders provide to our citizens and maximizes the officer's safety,” Overton said. “There is no substitute for training.”

Overton said the goal is to extend the training to officers in Surfside and Bay Harbour.

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