Every Employee a Fireman
The Basic Refinery of Cities Service at Lake Charles, Louisiana, believes in fire protection. All its 1,654 employees, everybody but office workers, are trained fire fighters. Every one of them has attended lectures and fire fighting drills. They have learned how to recognize types of fires and the best methods of combating them.
From May 1 to September 30, each year, the training goes on, with groups of from 15 to 20 in each class. Every new employee learns what to do and every veteran is kept abreast of fife fighting methods with refresher courses. A minimum of eight hours’ training in actual fire fighting technique is required.
The heart of the fire fighting system arc the fire department regulars who man the fire truck and lead the attack if a real blaze should start. At fires and at demonstrations their white safety hats set them off from the other aluminum hatted refinery workers.
The refinery’s fire chief is D. H. McManus, who learned his business as a member of municipal fire departments. While a civil service employee stationed in Army Air Bases and Camps, he acquired a broad knowledge of oil fires. The department was organized in 1945 by J. B. DeLaune, head of the Plant Protection Department.
As part of the course, the trainees use hose and extinguishers on a test fire. In a remote area of the Refinery there is a fire pit, 30 feet long by 40 feet wide. To charge it for a fire fighting demonstration 2,000 gallons of slop oil and 200 gallons of gasoline are needed. When this highly inflammable mixture is lit, no one has any doubt about how hot a typical oil fire can get. Small fires in pans, drums and other small containers are set also. They are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of hand extinguishers.
The extinguishing agents used in the large units are chemical foam, mechanical foam and water fog. In the smaller set fires carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride and chemical foam are used.
The chemical foam in its original form is a dual powder. One powder, “A,” consists of an aluminum sulphate solution. The other, “B,” is made of sodium bi-carbonate combined with a stabilizer. By mixing the two powders with water, the final liquid foam is obtained.
Mechanical foam, sometimes referred to as air foam, or as the U. S. Navy terms it, “bean soup,” is a protein base liquid and is discharged through special type nozzles, the foam being generated by mechanical action when combined with air and water. Foam powder used in the small extinguishers is the same as that used in the larger units.
The photographs reproduced herewith show a refinery training group learning how to fight oil fires. The Cities Service fire training program has been so effective, that in December (1950) My. DcLaune, assisted by the members of his staff, will conduct a huge fire fighting demonstration in New Orleans at the specific request of the Louisiana Safety Association.
Photos Courtesy Cities Service Co.