Training industrial employees in special-hazard extinguishment techniques
OPERATING 6,000 miles of pipe line in the Midwest and Plains states, the Great Lakes Pipe Line Company believes the best of fire extinguishing equipment is no better than a man’s ability to use it. Accordingly, Great Lakes Safety Director C. D. Ziekefoose last summer assembled 25 of his supervisors who are responsible for teaching fire training to company employees and took them up to Marinette, Wis., for a special three-day course in the latest techniques of fighting fires in pipe line and other hazards.
Site of the school, one of the largest of its kind in the country, was the fire test field of the Ansul Chemical Company. This was started about 10 years ago in response to requests by companies who wanted their employees to get the benefit of fire training by specialists in the art. Attendance at each class is limited to 25 men, and tuition is free. To date, more than 5,000 men have been graduated.
Great Lakes pumps every type of refined liquid petroleum, including jet fuels and gasoline. The trainees, from every state in which the company operates—Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, Kansas and Illinois—fought and extinguished every type of fire they might encounter on their jobs. All were supervisory people who then were expected to teach the men under them what they’ve learned.
After the school ended, Frank Hruska, director of the Ansul Fire School, said: “We’ve found in the last several years that our trainees at the fire school are coming to us with some background in fire fighting already acquired. In many cases we find that they have been instructed by a previous fire school trainee.
“We can see the training we give snowballing through various industries, since most of our trainees are supervisory personnel who pass on what they have learned when they get back to their jobs. I think industry as a whole should be commended for the time, money and effort it is putting into training employees in fire fighting.
“Recognizing that the human element is most important in fire prevention and fire fighting, these companies are really concentrating on the problems, and we can see the results. I’m continually impressed by the caliber of the men we get at the school. They’re eager, enthusiastic—and they know enough about the subject so we can dispense with the basics and put our time on special problems and advanced techniques in industrial fire control and extinguishment.”