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Firefighters face changes following Sept. 11

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TWC News: Firefighters face changes following Sept. 11
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The terrorist attacks of 9/11 forever changed the way local fire departments operate.

In Austin, first responders say they’re still applying the lessons learned, especially as the city continues to grow.

"We need to be sure that we are going to be effective fighting a fire on the ground floor, but fighting that same fire 60 floors up, is a whole new animal," Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Palmer Buck said.

As the skyline continues to evolve, 9/11 codes have been enhanced and so has the communication between building managers and fire crews.

Before 9/11, fire alarms only went off on floors above and below the fire, and now all floors are alerted.

In the last decade, Senior Property Manager Pam Moon said she and other property managers have implemented new training techniques, disaster drills and keep current emergency contact information for all of their tenants.

“We make sure we don't just have records on site at the property, we keep them in our cars and we keep them in our homes. The minute a tenant moves in, we make sure we have all of their contact information in case there is an emergency,” she said.

Buck said on the anniversary of that fateful day, they’re reminded their jobs can easily go from fighting fire to fighting for their lives.

"As first responders, we’re the first people going to go into any type of event including a terrorist event. So, as first responders, how do we make sure that we effectively manage that incident while keeping our first responders safe?" he said.

In order to familiarize themselves with complicated buildings, many firefighters spend time simply walking the grounds.

Austin fire officials say the 9/11 attacks also led to changes in building codes. For example, now there's a call for elevators that can quickly evacuate people during fires.

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