Health, Safety, Security, Environment Seminar: Fire Fighting
September 24, 2010
Our scheduled Health, Safety, Security and Environment Seminar started at around 9am in our sister company’s plant site. Being one of the participants of the seminar, I was very excited to get to visit a different plant within the region and to meet up with our other plant counterparts. It felt like going on a field trip since it was a good 20 km ride from our plant to the seminar venue. With 2 of our managers, participants as well, offered a ride for the employees who had no cars. We went on convoy (me hitching a ride with our PM), didn’t have to worry much about jeepney fares and getting there in time but more so in keeping the conversation light and active on the way to the venue.
Anyway, on to the seminar. As I’ve mentioned, the topic was about Health, Safety, Security and Environment. Our facilitator was from our Corporate office who invited speakers from Pilipinas Shell and one other speaker from the local Bureau of Fire Protection. The key points revolved around gasoline and lubricants, and – the star of the show – FIRE.
What is FIRE?
As one of the personnel who occasionally conduct safety orientation in our plant, I’ve asked this question to newly deployed contractual workers as well as contractors and I’ve read the definition to them as well. But for the life of me, I couldn’t whack my brain enough to remember the exact words. I knew it had the words “rapid” “oxidation” and “process” but I couldn’t string it all along. What I did? I googled it (Thanks to my Opera Mini powered Nokia 5800). But by the time I was able to search it, our SFO4 speaker already presented the description and definition of FIRE.
Fire is defined as a rapid oxidation process of a certain material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. In the diagram he showed (the old one, he says), fire is composed of three elements: fuel, heat, and oxygen. So without any of these three elements, fire wouldn’t ignite. In the presentation of the final speaker, he again asked what ignites fire. I answered it using the new tetrahedron (and got a t-shirt for it. YEY!). The new diagram of fire is composed of: fuel, heat, oxygen, and chemical chain reaction.
Aside from the overview of fire, and the responsibilities of firemen, responsibilities of local industrial personnel (like us), various presentations were about fuel safe handling, bulk receiving and transferring, and proper storage of fuels. Though it wasn’t too applicable in our plant since we don’t have fuel bunks or direct deliveries of large quantity fuels, it was very insightful to find out how transfers are done and what needs to be considered in terms of health, safety, security, and the environment. Safety has always been an interesting field for me, and learning new things that enables me to piece together the knowledge I’ve gained so far helps in improving my self-studies. I also enjoyed listening to the speakers who really knew their craft well.
The best part of the seminar, (aside from the free am and pm snacks and lunch, the free snacks we got to take home, and the goodies from the speakers) was being able to make use of a fire extinguisher. In theory I already knew how. It’s easy as P-A-S-S. P – Pull the pin; A – Aim the nozzle; S – Squeeze the lever; and S – Sweep the base of the fire. However, former Fire Chief of Global City Taguig, mentioned that instead of PASS, an additional letter. T. It stands for: Test. Test the fire extinguisher if it still can “expel” the respective extinguishing agent depending on the type of fire. So it should be P-T-A-S-S.
There are 4 classes of Fire which I knew about. I’ve listed them down for your guide:
Class A Fire – paper, rubber, cloth, coal, or what would generally turn into Ash.
Class B Fire – Flammable liquids and gases, or those that Boil.
Class C Fire – electrical wirings, electrical cables, control panels, or those that have Current
Class D Fire – self-igniting chemicals such as magnesium, sodium, uranium, or fires with combustible metals.
And the newest one which I just learned is:
Class K Fire – cooking oil and fats, or what’s commonly considered as Kitchen fire.
After the inputs, we headed off to the plant’s open court wherein two drums were set in place and surrounding fire extinguishers were strategically placed for us to use. One by one we got the chance to put out the fire a couple of times until we fully exhausted all 6 fire extinguishers. It was SO much fun to put into practice what I just learned.
In a nutshell, I’ve listed down just a couple of things that I was reminded off plus a few new interesting and important bits and pieces I learned from the seminar.
1. When fuel is transferred, it causes static electricity. Though pipes may be negatively charged, fuel being transferred is of positive charge thus causing friction and creating static electricity. A dangerous combination for fire.
2. Metal is a good conduit of static electricity.
3. When fuel tanks unload, grounding should be established prior to unloading.
4. When creating bungwalls (the walls surrounding fuel storage tanks), bungwalls should be 110% of the biggest storage tank (I think this is in terms of the volume/capacity of the fuel tank).
5. There is no such thing as “faulty electrical wiring”, only “faulty electrical engineers”.
6. Fire is fuel, heat, oxygen, and chemical chain reaction.
7. There is a new class of fire. Class K or what’s commonly remembered as: KITCHEN FIRE.
8. Never turn your back on the fire you’ve just put out. You’ll never know. It may ignite again.
9. The rollover or the licking flames/dancing flames in a fiery inferno is the biggest sign that the area is about to explode
10. Fire extinguishers have no expiration date. The purpose of the expiration date given by those that provide FE’s is for the purpose of checking whether the unit itself is still functioning properly. There is no need to replace an unused FE even when if it has reached it’s tagged expiry date.
11. Only fire extinguishers that have been used will be refilled with the respective extinguishing agents for optimum use.
12. If the pin of the FE has already been removed, it should already be replaced. Though unused, chances are, the extinguishing agents have already been seeping out of the container.
13. The shelf life of fuel is only up to 3 years. After that, you need to replace your stored unused fuel.
14. ALWAYS wear Personal Protective Equipment (most especially when handling or doing dangerous works. Always be safe.
15. Always have a copy of all emergency numbers. Fire Department, Police Department, Hospitals, etc.
16. Stay calm. Don’t panic.
17. For kitchen fires, don’t throw water over the fire. Blanket the fire with a damp cloth for 30 minutes or take a large lid big enough to cover the fire.
18. Fire drills must be conducted at least once a year.
19. Only Fire fighters are allowed to play with fire.
20. Prevention is always better than cure.
There were still a lot of key points which the speakers and facilitators have mentioned. Mostly were too technical for me already. But I believe I can say I’ve learned a lot, most especially things and information which is highly applicable for my position.
Thank God I was able to join this seminar. even if i had to fight tooth and nail to be in Davao before Friday. Hope to get to join more.
Posted on September 25, 2010, in Health, Work and more Work, [Life] Lessons Remembered and tagged classes of fire, environment, fire, Fire extinguisher, fuel storage, health, how to use a fire extinguisher, Opera Mini, Personal protective equipment, pilipinas shell, safety, security, seminar, what is fire. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.