Maersk: New Cargo Guidelines After Containership Fire

  Maersk has implemented new guidelines on dangerous goods stowage that aim to improve safety practices across its fleet in the wake of the fire aboard container ship Maersk Honam that killed five crew members earlier this year.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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National Fire Heritage Center Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders induction ceremony set for Oct. 8th

  Emmitsburg, MD - On Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, the National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, will conduct a formal ceremony for this year’s inductees into the Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders Class of 2018 during the NFHC’s Annual Board of Directors Meeting.    All interested are welcome to attend the event which will also include lunch.  RSVP’s are requested to allow for food and beverage service.   The Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders provides individuals recognition of significant contributions and distinguished service to the fire and emergency services mission. It is one of the most important initiatives undertaken each year by the National Fire Heritage Center.   The Induction Ceremony at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time will be held in the second floor meeting room of the Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building (formerly Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company facility) at 17701 Creamery Road, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727.  Those arriving early...
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El Segundo Chevron ERT captain Robert Taylor dies from pancreatic cancer

  Robert Taylor, captain with the Chevron El Segundo (CA) ERT, died Sept. 1 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 29 at American Martyrs Catholic Church, 624 15th Street, Manhattan Beach, CA. Taylor's wife, Jill Brunkhardt-Taylor, posted the following on the internet. "It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the passing of the love of my life Robert William Taylor Sr. He passed away peacefully with me holding his hand and my other hand on his heart, and his beautiful daughter Alex also by his side. We are devastated and heartbroken, but know that he is at peace, no longer in pain and surrounded by conditional love." In 2010, Robert was diagnosed with colon cancer. After a year-long battle for his life, Robert remained in remission for five years and was declared officially cancer free in 2015. But in...
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W.Va. officials present final report on IEI fire

Parkersburg, WV - State officials offered a “final” report on last year’s fire at the Intercontinental Export-Import Plastics warehouse on Camden Avenue Thursday, but a big question remains unanswered after 10 months.     To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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Refinery explosion roils regional asphalt supply

  Dave Clement used to expect a daily delivery of two truckloads of asphalt binder from Superior's Husky Energy refinery to his worksite's mobile asphalt plants, where it would be mixed with gravel and placed on the road.   To read entire article, CLICK HERE.
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U.S. Chemical Safety Board teetering on brink of elimination

  On a warm morning in April, workers at a Wisconsin oil refinery were conducting a routine shutdown for maintenance. Suddenly, a gasoline cracking unit exploded, and the workers watched in horror as a huge fireball ripped through the plant. They ran for their lives, barely escaping the blast.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .  
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CSB releases update on probe into blowout and fire at Pryor Trust gas well in Pittsburg County, OK

    Oklahoma City, OK, August 16, 2018 - Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a factual update into its ongoing investigation of the January 22, 2018, blowout and fire at the Pryor Trust Gas Well located in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, that killed five workers.     The CSB has determined the incident occurred shortly after drilling crew members removed the drill pipe from the well in a process known as “tripping.” To date, the CSB’s investigation has determined the following timeline related to the blowout and fire:   •    January 21, 2018: Crew members from the Patterson-UTI Drilling Company had been drilling a gas well for over a week. Activities were being overseen by the operator of the well, Red Mountain Operating, LLC (or RMO) in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma. •    At 3:36 pm, the Patterson crew stopped drilling to remove the drill pipe from the well and change...
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German responder celebrates 26 years on Merck fire brigade in Darmstadt

  Bianca Just, 42, never knows what to expect on a working day, yet she is always ready to tackle the job. Her 24-hour on-call shift at the Merck plant fire brigade in Darmstadt usually starts at 7 o'clock in the morning. Light brown hair and an infectious laugh conceals her true age. "The shift work keeps you young," she jokes.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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Self-contained fixed foam system smothers tank fires with precision

  Any diagram of the typical fixed fire protection system soon turns elaborate with pumps, proportioners and valves. By comparison, the Swiss Fire Protection Research & Development AG (SFPRD) Pi Foam Firefighting System for large volume flammable liquid storage tanks thrives on simplicity. The system is basic and effective, said Andras Peller, SFPRD’s director. He compared it to popping the top on an extremely agitated can of carbonated beverage. “Despite being less expensive than most traditional systems, Pi Foam offers a quality of performance that can exceed any standard,” he said. Essentially, the Pi (Pressurized Instant) Foam system consists of a single moving part – a remote controlled valve that caps a high pressure vessel. If the sensors on the tank detect flames, the valve pops open and ready-to-use foam is pushed through a pipe network traveling up the tank and around the rim. Within moments, a symmetrical coat of foam...
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Superior, WI fire chief presented Red Adair Award for April 2018 refinery fire response

    Industrial Fire World magazine honored Superior, WI Fire Chief Steve Panger with its 2018 Red Adair Award Friday (Aug. 10) in recognition of his department’s response to the April 26 fire and explosion that rocked the Husky Energy refinery in Superior.   For YouTube footage of the presentation, CLICK HERE or see below.     "Thank you to Industrial Fire World magazine for keeping the legacy of Red Adair alive," Panger said. "It's people like Red who have made advancements in the world of industrial fire fighting that definitely make our job safer today."   A preliminary report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board states that an initial explosion in a catalytic cracking unit at Husky Energy triggered a 15,000 barrel spill of hot asphalt that spread nearly two hours before ignition.   The award, presented during the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire-Rescue International Conference and Expo in Dallas, TX,...
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Buenos Aires refinery responders battle training fires in Texas

  Argentine emergency responders training in the United States expect to encounter language problems. What surprises Pablo Martin Fritz Oliver, fire chief at Shell’s 8,000-barrels-a-day refinery in Buenos Aires, is how easily firefighters overcome those stumbling blocks. “It’s not really anything debilitating,” the bilingual Oliver said. ”Firefighters all speak the same language, really. The objectives are the same, no matter what language you’re speaking.” Oliver and two other responders from the Buenos Aires ERT attended the Shell corporate fire school at Brayton Fire Training Field in April. The school is held three times a year in Texas to accommodate Shell emergency responders worldwide. Oliver’s ERT is essentially a volunteer organization supplemented by five fulltime professional firefighters, including himself. Per shift, the ERT typically has about 25 volunteer responders on site to draw from in an emergency. Parked at the refinery’s single fire station is an inventory of rolling stock that includes...
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Texas chemical plant, CEO indicted for 'reckless' release during Hurricane Harvey

  The North American subsidiary of a French chemical manufacturer and two senior staff members were indicted Friday (Aug. 3) in connection with last year's explosion at the Crosby, Texas, plant in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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Fire at Coca-Cola factory hits UK supply of popular drink Rose's Lime Cordial

Lime lovers around the UK have been left scouring supermarket shelves for their favorite cordial after the country's current supply sold out.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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CSB releases factual update on April explosion and fire at Wisconsin refinery

  Superior, Wisconsin, August 2, 2018: Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a factual update into its ongoing investigation of the April 26, 2018, explosion and subsequent fires at the Husky Superior Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. The initial explosion occurred in the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) at approximately 10:00 am while the refinery was shutting down the FCCU for periodic maintenance and inspection. To date the CSB has determined the following: The explosion took place during a planned maintenance shutdown of the refinery FCCU. The incident occurred during a scheduled break time and many workers previously in the unit before the explosion had moved either into blast resistant buildings or away from the process unit. One piece of debris from the explosion flew about 200 feet, and struck a large, nearby, aboveground storage tank containing about 50,000 barrels of asphalt. The side of the tank was punctured,...
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Refinery firefighter tackles any new challenge 'single handed'

  Industrial firefighter Cory Campbell says he wishes he had a good story about how he lost his left hand in the line of duty. The truth is he was missing that appendage long before his 12-year career in the fire service began.  “I was born without it,” Campbell said. “Nobody knows why it happened.” Some might claim that being born missing a hand and part of his forearm halfway to the elbow is an unfair adversity. Campbell is not one of them. “In my opinion it was good luck,” Campbell said. “It’s made me who I am today. I think it’s what gives me a positive outlook.” He was among 130 attendees at the annual Xtreme Industrial Fire and Hazard Training held in June at Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas. Campbell, 43, serves as a fire brigade battalion chief at a refinery in Blaine, WA. The 234,000 barrels-per-day refinery...
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Chevron firefighters greet the dawn battling a live-fire training prop

  Scheduling nighttime live-burns at Brayton Fire Training Field becomes a challenge during the summer. Texas twilight lingers long past 8 p.m., making it hard to get an early start the next day, said Tonnie R. Hopson, operations chief for Chevron’s three-times-a-year corporate fire school. Instead, the Chevron firefighters hit the field at 5:30 a.m. on the last day of the four-day school. “The responders look forward to getting up and getting it knocked out,” Hopson said. “It means an early finish for them at around 2 p.m. and the rest of the day to do what they want.” An hour before dawn nearly 80 responders took up positions on three live-fire projects at the southeast end of the fire field – the chemical complex, rail car loading rack and tank and dike project.  When all three are ignited, it provided the first serious light to break the darkness. Slowly, the...
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Fire system maintenance starts at tank

      Keeping fire protection tanks in tip-top shape is crucial to maintaining a functional fire protection system. Fire protection is needed year-round without any interruptions in service. Tanks must have an adequate water supply and be properly maintained so that they are working during emergencies.   Tanks can be made of steel, wood, fiberglass or concrete. Steel is the material of choice for most fire protection tanks. It can be used to erect elevated tanks that are fed by gravity or for ground storage tanks. Both elevated and ground storage require similar maintenance, though elevated tanks are more expensive to upkeep.They are also harder to heat, but they don’t require a pump system like ground storage tanks since they are pressured-based. Pump systems are necessary on ground storage tanks to boost water pressure.     TANK CLEANOUTS The National Fire Protection Association recommends that tanks be cleaned and disinfected...
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Simpliest solution often the best

  This column is based on a collapse I responded to back on February 27th. As a disclaimer I will state that this account of events is based on the operations conducted by myself and the other members of Squad 1 (SQ-1). There were numerous units operating at this collapse and any particular operation, such as the placement of a ladder for shoring, probably involved the actions of individual members of many of those units.   I was the officer on duty working the day tour in SQ-1 and we were conducting a collapse drill constructing collapse shoring. We were finishing up a second type of shoring when the alarm went off and we received a ticket to respond to 467 Rutland Road in Brooklyn, NY, for reports of a building collapse with a worker trapped in the basement. During our response we received confirmation that we had units on scene...
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Psychological trauma ending in suicide

Our driver engineer Jim was an accomplished Paramedic.  Recently he seemed agitated after an incident where we responded to an major vehicle accident involving a mother and infant. The infant daughter died in Jim’s arms just as we extricated her from the vehicle. Jim feverishly did CPR while riding in the ambulance to the hospital.  After the incident he seemed withdrawn but we had responded to many incidences that were critical and we all bounced back with a little time. The thoughts were that Jim would bounce back too.    Jim had always been the life of the party at the fire station and was a picture of health.  Over the last few months since this incident Jim seemed irritable and short tempered.  He complained of palpitations and didn’t pitch in with station work, whereas before, he led with a dynamic personality that made work fun for all of us. Today,...
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A systematic approach to rescue ops

Amid the chaos and excitement of any rescue operation, there are often important aspects of incident that can be overlooked. Sometimes, the sequencing of tasks becomes disjointed. Though the outcome we all seek is the same, the way we get there can vary between rescue teams. The key to success is to create a systematic approach to perform functions that ensures that they will occur in proper sequence and in a timely manner. For example, we use the acronym P.A.S.S. when we use portable fire extinguishers. It stands for Pull – Aim – Squeeze – Sweep. These four steps must be performed in a certain sequence to be successful. In EMS, we use a variety of acronyms from ABC [Airway – Breathing – Circulation] to the SAMPLE history [Signs/Symptoms – Allergies – Medications – Previous history – Last intake – Events preceding]. Search and rescue teams have used L.A.S.T. [Locate –...
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