Do fire poles really save time?

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Author's Note: Do fire poles really save time?

I grew up in the suburbs, where most fire stations were one story. But even then, the image of firefighters sliding down a pole had a hold on me. And, while digging into the research for this article, I learned that image lends itself to a fair amount of controversy. Traditionalists want to see firefighters sliding down a pole, and firefighters simply want to save time. On the other side, people who advocate for safer workplaces and some municipalities see fire poles as expensive and hazardous.

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  • Castro, Hector. "What's a Fire Station Without a Fire Pole? $150,000 Cheaper." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. April 24, 2008. (Nov. 27, 2012)
  • Hamill, Sean D. "Fire Poles Survive Thanks to Land Values, Tradition, Efficiency." The Associated Press. Sept. 20, 2005. (Nov. 27, 2012)
  • Karter, Michael J. and Joseph L. Molis. "U.S. Firefighter Injuries -- 2011." National Fire Protection Association. October 2012. (Nov. 27, 2012)
  • National Fire Protection Association. "Key Dates in Fire History." National Fire Protection Association. (Nov. 27, 2012)
  • Newcomb, Tim. "Sorry, Kids. Fire Stations are Ditching Fire Poles." TIME Magazine. Dec. 23, 2010. (Nov. 27, 2012),8599,2039352,00.html