Inside The Galaxie: Making Madison's Newest High Rise Safer For All
One week ago in a Galaxie not so far away, Fire Prevention Officer Doug Milks stood by, clipboard in hand, preparing to run the final tests on the standpipe system in Madison's newest high-rise building.
The focus of this particular test was the pressure reducing valves-- the gizmos that regulate water pressure so it's high enough to effectively push water through a firefighter's hose yet low enough to prevent safety hazards for the emergency responders who use them.
Along with Cory, a sprinkler fitter at Monona Plumbing and Fire Protection, Milks checks the pressure gauge as water flows through a test hose.
"205 and 110," Milks notes as he compares the meter output to his chart. "Beautiful!"
While most people will step foot into the mixed-use complex on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue for the first time, the Madison Fire Department has been part of the project since last fall, applying engineering principles to the science of fire prevention to guarantee the building is safe for all Madison residents and visitors to enjoy.
A sister of sorts to the Constellation just next door, The Galaxie houses fourteen floors of residential units and four stories of commercial space, which is slated to include a yoga studio and cycling fitness center.
Along with the project comes Festival Foods, a full-service grocery store with a kitchen containing cooking appliances and exhaust hoods protected by fire suppression systems.
Nestled high above the dozens of aisles peppered with recovered ash trees from Tenney Park is an automatic sprinkler system ready to protect life and property at a moment's notice. They're a feature throughout the building, including the four-story parking facility.
While the indoor sprinklers are filled with water at all times, the narrow pipes feeding the unheated parking ramp can't withstand Wisconsin's freezing temperatures during the winter (and some spring) months.
That's where the fire pump comes in.
If the fire protection system is triggered by heat or flames, the fire pump activates and pushes water through the ramp's sprinklers, filling each pipe and beginning fire suppression within one minute. The same pump boosts water pressure to the upper floors of The Galaxie, ensuring all areas of the building are protected if a fire occurs. It's a demanding job, and that's why the sound of an active fire pump can be deafening.
The Galaxie's alarm technologies take a step beyond typical strobe lights and the bark of alarm horns. This system also provides audible evacuation commands and even allows firefighters the ability to communicate specific instructions to occupants.
And this is more than just a door. When the alarm activates, it becomes an ally against fire.
Positive pressure fans inside the stairwells deploy as soon as the fire alarm is triggered. The pressurized stairwell is designed to keep the area smoke-free as occupants open doors to evacuate the building. The pressure also ensures the door closes behind them.
It's a delicate, almost "Goldilocks"-like balance: Too little pressure and smoke can enter the stairwell; too much pressure and it becomes difficult to open the doors.
That's why Madison Fire inspectors and their partners in building design and safety tested every door to ensure the air pressure was "juuust right."
If needed, an emergency generator supplies standby power for the elevators, fire pump, fire alarm system, stair pressurization, and illuminates the exit path.
Among the challenges for firefighters during high-rise operations is the ability to communicate via radio. A building's steel-frame architecture coupled with other sources of radio interference can have a detrimental effect on firefighters attempting to communicate with Incident Command, the Dane County Communications Center, and/or fellow firefighters and paramedics.
To combat this, The Galaxie installed a radio repeater that boosts signals so firefighters and paramedics can clearly communicate their activities or resource needs from inside the building.
Inspector Milks estimates he's been to the Galaxie over twenty times since the Fire Department began working with project designers and contractors last fall.
The entire MFD Fire Prevention Division, which includes the Fire Marshal, Lead Workers, Fire Prevention Officers, Elevator Inspectors, and the Community Education Division, paid a visit in September 2015 to get acquainted with the building's sprinkler system. In addition to serving as a hands-on learning opportunity for the team, it gave the Division a chance to re-affirm consistent code enforcement standards for all inspections as they take their work to other parts of the city.
There are more visits on the horizon as the MFD's elevator inspectors check The Galaxie's brand new hydraulic and traction elevators for code compliance and working safety features.
Two elevators are already in service-- one located in the parking garage and another serving Festival shoppers who wish to be lifted up to its cafe on the second level.
As interior construction nears completion, the MFD's fire and elevator code enforcement officers will continue to work closely with contractors, property owners, building managers and other stakeholders on final check-ups and ongoing annual inspections.
Thanks to the time, care, and attention invested in The Galaxie by the Madison Fire Department's Fire Prevention Division, the city's residents and visitors can breathe easy knowing the building is a safe place to live, shop, and forward fold into downward-facing dog.
Subscribe to Email List
- Madison Launches 'PulsePoint Verified Responder' Pilot Program
- Mesothelioma Awareness Day a Time to Reflect on Cancer Risk, Prevention
- Meet Lieutenant Jeffery Vogen
- Meet Lieutenant Chris Hammes
- Meet Lieutenant Wes Ecker
- Meet Lieutenant Chris Carbon
- Meet Lieutenant Linnea Anderson
- Meet Lieutenant Dan Williams
- MFD Introduces Six New Lieutenants!
- Upcoming Community Events!
- ER Docs Dive Into Firefighting During 'Doc Ops Day'
- MFD Lends Helping Hand At Gilbert Brown Football Camp
- Special Delivery: “Beltline Jax” Makes A Grand Entrance
- New Lease On Life: Oregon Man Reconnects With Crew That Helped Save Him
- 235 New Smoke Alarms Move Into Sherman Terrace!
- Captain Todd Steyer Wraps Up A Fulfilling 30-Year Career With MFD
- Calling All Volunteers! CampHERO Kicks Off Its 6th Season
- EMS Q&A: Where can I learn CPR?
- EMS Q&A: Did you know MFD paramedics are also firefighters?
- EMS Q&A: What should I expect after calling for an ambulance?
- EMS Q&A: What’s the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic? How many paramedics are on duty?
- EMS Q&A: Why does a fire truck come when I call for an ambulance?
- Meet Firefighter Maj-Britt Williams
- Meet Firefighter Adam Thimmig
- Meet Firefighter Ruth Savard
- Meet Firefighter Mike Reisman
- Meet Firefighter Trent Meicher
- Meet Firefighter Jonathon McCray
- Meet Firefighter Adam Lesser
- Meet Firefighter Patrick Johnson
- Meet Firefighter Kyle Homan
- Meet Firefighter Joe Gangler
- Meet Firefighter Justin Fehrenbach
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Dykstra
- Meet Firefighter Brandon Douglas
- Meet Firefighter Tamara Dinkel
- Meet Firefighter Marta Darrow
- Meet Firefighter Davy Calkins
- Meet Firefighter Ryan Beckwith
- MFD Introduces 18 New Firefighters!
- A Greener Firehouse: How Fire Station 12 LEEDs the Way
- Meet AE Brad Vogen
- Meet AE Vince Soto
- Meet AE Chad Powell
- Meet AE Daniel Pazurek
- Meet AE Todd Mahoney
- Meet Apparatus Engineer Cole Christenson
- Meet AE Derek Brown
- New Apparatus Engineers Now Serving In Your Neighborhood!
- Dane County EMS Banquet Honors Survivors, Responders Involved In Cardiac Saves
- On This Day In History: The First 911 Call Is Placed In 1968
- PHOTOS: Getting Up Close With The Lake Rescue Team
- Sable Flames "Second Alarm" Benefit Enters Its 24th Year
- Madison's Iranian Community Comes Together To Honor Firefighters
- Building Connections, Inspiring Kids: Engine 12 At Olson Elementary School
- Welcome Home: Cooper's Hawk Returns To Willy Street
- The Results Are In: 91 Donations Collected During the “Never Forget” Blood Drive
- Meet AE Ethan Dade
- Meet AE Wade Raddatz
- Meet AE Lance Radock
- Meet AE Jacob Conner
- Meet AE Dan Smith
- Meet AE Kevin Hembrook
- National Preparedness Month: Special Needs Disaster Planning
- Meet AE Tom Winter
- Meet AE Lori Karst
- MFD Introduces Eight New Apparatus Engineers
- Generous Grant Brings New "Jaws Of Life" Equipment To Ladder 6
- National Preparedness Month: Creating Communication and Evacuation Plans
- National Preparedness Month: Don't Wait. Communicate.
- “Doc Ops Day” Gives ER Docs A Taste Of Firefighter Life
- Two Years After Accident, Family And First Responders Celebrate 'A Miracle'
- Madison Fire Aims To Keep Injuries Well Under Par At PGA Championships
- “It’s Been A Great Ride," Says Retiring Driver John Lucille
- A Thank-You Gift For All To Enjoy
- “Friday Nights At the Y” Returns In 2016
- Meet Lt. Lisa Becher
- Meet Lt. Derek Teff
- Meet Lt. Casey Preimesberger
- Resources For Candidates Preparing For the Physical Ability Test
- Meet Lt. Sue Juedes
- Meet Lt. Ted Higgins
- Meet Lt. Matthew Mialik
- Meet Lt. Michael McCartney
- MFD Introduces Seven New Lieutenants
- Inside The Galaxie: Making Madison's Newest High Rise Safer For All
- Edgewood Students Donate Stuffed Animals For Kids Experiencing Trauma
- Apparatus Engineer "Recon Bob" Says Goodbye After 25 Years Of Service
- New Boat Enhances MFD Lake Rescue Capabilities
- With Gratitude, Division Chief Ron Schwenn Bids Farewell To the MFD
- New Training Technology Aims to Offer Full Immersion, Minus the Risks
- In the Midst Of Transitions, Our Crews Don't Miss A Beat
- Finance Manager Rita Johnson Retires After 44 Years With the City
- Farewell to West District Captain Tom Reiter
- Meet Firefighter Caluster Buie
- Meet Firefighter Steven Foulks
- Meet Firefighter Richard Miyagawa
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Balli
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Boyle
- Meet Firefighter Oscar Castillo
- Meet Firefighter David Bartkowiak
- Meet Firefighter Christopher Staveness
- Meet Firefighter Michael Guerten
- Meet Firefighter Marcus Bobholz
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Ramsey
- Meet Firefighter Michael Olson
- Meet Firefighter Eric Popovich
- Meet Firefighter Paul Schecklman
- Meet Firefighter Brian Tremain
- Meet Firefighter Cameron Gasaway
- Meet Firefighter Vaughn Brockel
- Why We Do What We Do: Remembering the Our Lady of the Angels Fire
- Meet Firefighter Brian Bieganski
- The Madison Fire Department Prepares For Inaugural "Shake the Lake" Event
- The Heavy Urban Rescue Team Practices Life-Saving Skills
- Safety Saturday 2015: A Day In Photos
- Firefighter Fun Day 2015 is Saturday, August 8
- Retired Firefighter Tim Healy Inducted Into Madison Sports Hall Of Fame
- Firefighter Ty Stebbins Sworn In
- A Day In The Life Of A Madison Firefighter
- Alix Olson Award
- Awards & Recognition
- Battle Of the Badges
- Black History Month
- Cancer Prevention
- Community Outreach
- Dane County Public Safety Communications
- Fire Academy
- Fire Prevention Division
- fire prevention month
- Fire Prevention Week
- Fire Safety School Tours
- Fire Stations
- Firefighter Fun Day
- Friday Nights at the Y
- Hazmat Team
- Heavy Urban Rescue Team
- Hiring & Promotions
- Join the Team
- Lake Rescue Team
- Madison Fire EMS
- Meet the MFD
- Mesothelioma Awareness Day
- MFD Behind the Scenes
- MFD Mailbag
- MFD Prevention Division
- National Preparedness Month
- Our Lady Of the Angels
- public health
- Public Safety
- Sable Flames
- Safety Town
- Shake the Lake
- The American Center
- Training & Professional Development
- UW Health
- Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program
- Winter Safety