Where there's smoke

By Geoff Lee

May 18, 2017 12:00 AM

TRAINING DAY Brad Martin, middle, deputy chief of the Lloydminster Fire Department helps Donnie Bourque, right, from Terrapure complete a fire extinquisher training course at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre on May 1. The training took place using Astec Safety's live fire training trailer. Overseeing the operation is Astec CEO Chris Johnston on the left. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

It was feet to the fire time for a class of industry employees and individuals learning how to use fire extinguishers to snuff out flames.
The fire extinguisher training took place at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre on Friday, at the tail end of North American Occupational Safety and Health week, May 7-13.
The event is an annual exercise presented by the Lloydminster Fire Department in partnership with the Lakeland Regional Safety Committee.
“We teach a little inside the classroom, how fire works, how fire develops, and when it’s safe to use fire extinguishers, then we move outside and do real live fire training,” explained Fire Chief Jordan Newton.
“We are all learning to use extinguishers in different sizes on flammable and combustible liquids.”
The live fire extinguisher part of the course took place within the confines of Astec Safety’s new live fire training unit.
“We use it for oil and gas industry workers; we’ve had it on the road since September, and we’ve been using it quite a bit,” said Chris Johnston, Astec’s CEO.
“It’s a trailer that meets the requirements to put out live petroleum burns, while meeting environmental issues and not having powder on the ground.”
The trailer is also designed to keep the wind at your back, to help keep the fire within the three walls.
Deputy fire chief, Brad Martin, ran each of the trainees through the live fire drill on the deck of the trailer using the PASS acronym that he spelled out.
“We pull the pin, aim the nozzle, then after testing the extinguisher to make sure it’s going to work, we squeeze the trigger and sweep across the fire with 110 per cent coverage,” explained Martin.
“We always stop to assess to make sure that fire is fully extinguished, and we never turn our back on a fire.”
One of the trainees, Albert Rurka from Sveer Maintenance, explained what he learned after Martin escorted him to and from the flame zone on the trailer.
“To properly use it,  aim at the base of the flame and sweep and back away when it’s extinguished, and hopefully it doesn’t start up again,” he said, noting he was glad to take the training.
“It’s good to know for any fires or anything that happens.”
Newton said the training is held annually as part of NAOSH week for occupational safety, but the fire department also provides training to the community throughout the year.
“It’s important to know how to use them in case there is a fire,” he said.
Along with proper use of a fire extinguish is the need for a monthly inspection that’s especially important on the job.
“There’s a little sign-off on the tag to make sure you did your monthly inspection, then every year, they will get re certified,” said Newton.
The classroom training covered different types of fire extinguishers and their fire applications.
“There’s air pressurized water, dry chemical and C02; they all have different uses, that’s all part of the training,” said Newton.
Chad Stark from Heavy Crude Hauling took a moment to explain what he learned after taking a turn on the live fire unit.
“Just how to spray the fire extinguisher, where to point it, and the proper process to do it,” he said.
He said he’s never had to use an extinguish on a live fire except during training circumstances, but he knows it’s important to learn how.
“Absolutely, working in the shop or out in the field,” he said.

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