In the News

Posted on January 26, 2024

This article was originally published by Keloland News.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The four Cherapa buildings have changed the Sioux Falls skyline. They are among the most modern in the city. But even new buildings can catch fire.

On Wednesday, construction workers inside Cherapa 4 left their tools behind and evacuated the building. They weren’t told what was going on but eventually realized it was a training exercise.

“We are simulating two people getting stuck in a fire, they are workers, they have no way of seeing to get out and they can’t figure out how to get out and so that how we are going to try and figure out is everyone accounted for, a couple of people are not accounted for and how we respond to that with the fire department,” said Dave Van Nieuwenhuyzen the Vice President of Business Development for Journey Group.

Nieuwenhuyzen says they conduct these quarterly crisis drills to increase preparedness, uncover potential problems, and to make sure the response is fast and coordinated in an emergency.

A drill like this is not only beneficial for the construction workers but for the fire department as well.

“When you start getting into those multiple levels, multiple floors, we have to start looking at what it’s going to take to stretch a line from the ground floor up or like this one under construction, more likely the standpipe systems aren’t in place, so there’s more things to think about, said Steve Fessler with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

The whole idea is to expect the unexpected and give workers a plan that could potentially save lives. Today’s simulation was based on a recent construction accident in another state.

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