At Campus Vesta, the Province of Antwerp in Belgium is the first to bring together all training for firefighters, police officers, emergency medical responders and disaster management specialists.
Originally, the terrain of Campus Vesta was an English military camp. With an area of more than 37 hectares this is one of the most diverse training facilities in Europe. Former barracks and hangars are now in use for challenging training scenarios. An apartment building with underground parking for evacuations and fire training, drug labs with booby traps, a training site for gas-suit wearers and hazmat advisers, a shooting range and a real training village can all be found at the facility. Over 700 instructors run more than 500 different courses every year.
Since the existing industrial training facility no longer meets the technical requirements, it was decided to renew it in 2019. In order not to interfere with the ongoing training operations, the team of VK Architects & Engineers and a team of firefighting experts within Campus Vesta designed a complete industrial facility with a four-storey industrial platform, three different training tanks, a loading area with track and road connection and a storage building especially for industrial firefighting for refineries, petrochemical plants, chemical plants, petroleum storage facilities and explosives storage facilities.
Due to the project volume, a public tender was carried out and after several rounds of negotiations, Stadsbader and Fireblast GmbH were able to convince the client of their unique concept and were awarded with the contract. The project is divided into two phases and Fireblast GmbH installed a total of 19 different fire scenarios in Phase 1. In Phase 2 a warehouse building and the loading station will be equipped with a total of five fires.
Training should be as realistic as possible but Health and Safety as well as more and more environmental issues need to be implemented in the very early stage of the project development. One of the most impacting details is the type of burns expected to be part of the training scenarios. Whether you are planning to have clean-burn gas fires with the use of only water as an extinguishing agent, or Class A burns or using hydrocarbon fuels and using foam will have an impact on the sewage and draining system and, last but not least, environment and cost. Due to environmental issues it is very rare in Europe to use liquid hydrocarbon fuels to create the most realistic training scenarios.
The new training ground is surrounded by a draining system that leads into a water reservoir with a capacity of approx. 6 million litres. This reservoir is connected to a chemical water treatment and recycling system that filters all residuals in the water and returns the water into the system.
For training facilities it is paramount to follow the existing safety standards. Depending on the continent or country the training facility will be built, different standards may apply. Some countries are following NFPA standards, some are following European or DIN standards.
Systems designed by Fireblast include 14 layers of safety and follow both standards to provide the safest installations in the industry. At Campus Vesta the installation was built in accordance with DIN 14097. Especially for the use of liquid fuels, Fireblast designed the system in accordance with DIN 14097 part 5 and equipped each scenario with a controlled pilot flame for ignition. All gas-fuelled fires are also equipped with a controlled pilot flame and additionally have E-Stop and safety valves.
The demands on firefighters to make critical decisions in tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving conditions require that individuals have heightened awareness and excelled performance levels. Fireblast’s full line of training products provides these types of training environments that assist in sharpening skill sets to meet this critical demand. Starting with proven systems and adding intelligent innovation and class-leading performance, our training products are steps above expectations.
The facility had to be designed to be as realistic as possible and needed to replicate industrial installations as found in the surrounding of Antwerp.
To create this impression, exciting objects were implemented into the structure and equipped with burner elements in areas that are mainly catching fire.
Fireblast team members understand that the route to impossible is the way to incredible. Utilizing two-dimensional and leading-edge three-dimensional modelling software used in the aviation industry and an open mind, our design team transformed a blank page into a functioning system that provides the firefighters at Campus Vesta with best training installations.
Due to the Covid-19 situation the completion was slightly delayed, but now the instructor team at Campus Vesta is starting to prepare the story book for challenging training scenarios to start official training in 2022.
For more information, go to www.fireblast.de