CONTINUOUS TRAINING PROGRAM KEEPS PLANT BRIGADE AT TOP
Anderson, Ind., Mill is Twice Winner of Fire Waste Council Contest
AMONG the most active members of the Anderson, Ind., “Small Industries Fire Prevention” group is the thirty-sixman Fire Brigade of Anaconda Wire and Cable Company’s Anderson Mill. These men realize full well how much fire prevention and fire-preparedness means to the security of their own jobs and families; hence they are more than willing to devote considerable time and energy to the extensive study and training which qualifies them not only for prevention and fire-fighting but for first aid and rescue work as well.
The brigade members are individually and carefully selected, on the basis of their interest in fire prevention and their willingness to become active members in all training courses. Selection is personally made by C. H. Bowlin, Anaconda’s Safety Director, who completed an intensive training course sponsored by the Anderson Chamber of Commerce and Delco Remy Co.
The training program is divided into three sections, namely, rescue, firefighting, and first aid. This is in accordance with American Red Cross Disaster plan. All men in the Fire Brigade are required to complete the regular Red Cross courses in standard and advanced first aid. Members must be thoroughly familiar with methods of combatting any kind of fire which might break out at the mill. This is accomplished by the regular courses conducted by Mr. Bowlin and by the simulated fire-fightingsessions held in the plant yard.
In addition, and because the Anderson Mill is a member of the Small Industries Fire Prevention Group, members are able to take advantage of cooperation offered by the Anderson Fire Department. City firemen visit the plant regularly to instruct them in the handling of hose under high pressure, in “runthroughs” with various types of hand extinguishers and other portable equipment, and in other phases of fire-fightingwork. Brigade members have a good operating knowledge of the mill’s own sprinkler system. Their handling of the mill’s three types of fire extinguishers— CO2, C.T.C. and dry chemical has become almost second nature, and the 1 1/2 and 2 1/2-inch hose lines are as familiar as their own names.
The local fire department and insurance carriers make frequent inspections of the mill, and make the necessary recommendations to the Safety Director. He in turn interprets them to brigade members at the following meeting, or, when necessary, has them mimeographed in the form of a memorandum.. In addition, the men are constantly studying fire prevention literature and material on new developments put out by prevention-equipment manufacturers.
During the winter months, regular training meetings are held once a month at the mill. During the summer, refresher courses suffice to keep the men up to the mark. Fire Brigade members must attend all meetings and refresher courses, to insure that fire-know-how is always at their finger-tips and foremost in their minds. While some classes arc “dry-runs”, many are real experiences in fire-fighting. Generally, one fire is set off in the back-yard, and students have the opportunity to observe the more experienced fire fighters among them. Only when they fully understand the problems involved are they permitted to take part themselves in such a demonstration.
Not content with training in the ordinary methods of fire-fighting and control. Fire Brigade members continually keep abreast of new techniques in industrial fire prevention. For example, after seeing films on some particular aspect of fire-fighting, the men discuss what they have seen and then go out to try to emulate it in actual practice. They next return to the classroom, diagnose what they have done and the degrees of success they have achieved, and, finally, re-run the same films, so that the lessons learned will stick with them.
Whenever a fire occurs in any department of the Anaconda mill, it is carefully studied in the fullest detail. The departmental supervisor fills out a form telling the kind of fire, types of extinguishers used and number, amount of damage and estimated cost, and remedies for future fires of similar type. The Fire Brigade studies this material, and decides what methods and equipment, if any, might have been used to get the fire under control more quickly. Research is made into the cause of the fire, and precautionary steps are planned for the prevention of fires of a similar nature. Records are kept on every fire, no matter how minor, for the mill knows that even the smallest outbreak can teach an important lesson, and can help to educate plant personnel on causes and prevention. The plant is zoned in that heaviest protection goes into the areas considered most hazardous. These locations are assigned more Brigade members.
The thirty-six members of the mill’s Fire Brigade have proved to be cooperative and resourceful students. They are faithful in attendance, are intensely interested in everything that goes on in their classes, and continually offer many useful suggestions on how the mill can improve its fire prevention system.
Each fall, during Anderson city’s observance of Fire Prevention Week, the Anaconda brigade has given a demonstration of some kind which dramatizes their own participation in the city’s unusual fire record. It is this extraordinary cooperation between mill and city which has been instrumental in achieving the high National Chamber of Commerce rating given Anderson’s small industry section, seventh and fourth place in the nation in the past two years.