Live fire training is on top of every Chief Fire Officer’s list when it comes to ensuring that their responders are well prepared to engage with the risks posed by a serious incident. Petrochemical firefighting and other large-scale liquid or gas fires demand special attention to the risks and hazards involved. ‘Let them feel the heat and exposure’ is often muted when having conversations with clients setting up an annual training programme. There is no substitute for realism, but realism has a cost to the environment, particularly when training with hydrocarbon liquids.
Many jurisdictions have restricted the use of liquid fuels and foam concentrates in training. This now puts the responders at a disadvantage, having no awareness of the effects of a serious fire, subsequently compromising their safety. The best responders are those who have experienced the demands of an incident, in particular able to determine the most effective response and more importantly to determine when it is no longer safe for the personnel to remain there. With environmental restrictions and escalating fuel costs, live fire training may have to be reduced or simulated in other ways.
The last three years, RelyOn Nutec Fire Academy has designed a series of table simulations which help bridge the gap on understanding, without impacting the environment or breaking the budget. Scale models can demonstrate all the objectives of full-scale training simulators at a fraction of the cost and impact on the environment. These tables can demonstrate methodologies, firefighting effects, techniques, tactics and strategies.
In the petrochemical industries there are three main concerns requiring knowledge and skills to resolve incidents. They are the use of water, use of foam and the effects of uncontrolled releases of products, in particular gases. The traditional way to train these skills would be to use full-scale simulation using thousands of litres of hydrocarbon liquids or gases and emitting tons of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases to the atmosphere. Table simulators can enhance the learning experience.
The tables do not need expensive investment at a training facility to be used. No expensive pump installation, fuel systems or treatment plants. They are designed to be self-contained and can be set up everywhere even at a customer’s location, subject to their work permit.
Storage tank farm simulator
Our storage tank farm simulator can demonstrate all the techniques and tactics of storage tank and bund fires with only 20 litre of fuel. Theoretical knowledge can be imparted during very hands-on practical demonstrations on the 1:100 scale model. The table consists of bunded tanks with foam chambers, rim seal pourers, subsurface injection systems and a means to demonstrate over-the-top mobile application of foam. On this table, participants can see up close a foam chamber working, the effects of foam degradation on the hot tank shell and can learn how to position an over-the-top mobile foam attack.
Traditionally, a full life-size simulation of a full surface tank fire is witnessed from ground level and the foam is applied from a ground monitor. In this case it’s very difficult to see if the fire decreases in intensity and if the fire is extinguished. On the miniature table you get a bird’s-eye view showing how positioning is crucial and how the foam interacts with the surface of the burning fuel etc. This is a fantastic way to develop understanding of tank firefighting, reducing the need for full-scale simulations.
Firefighting foam is an important factor in storage tank firefighting, and therefore to complement the tank table simulator and to complete the understanding in this area, we have developed a mobile firefighting foam workshop, where we delve into the chemistry and mechanics of firefighting foam. The workshop laboratory gives an insight to the properties and characteristics of firefighting foam, in particular foams suitable for storage tank firefighting. The workshop can also bring your personnel up to date with new developments such as fluorine-free foam concentrates. As fluorinated foam compounds are being phased out and replaced with fluorine-free products, personnel need to realise that they can behave in different ways compared to the old-style foams. How can you adapt your approach to accommodate the changes and build confidence that they will work for your specific needs?
The foam laboratory can also be suitable for other disciplines where knowledge of firefighting is required.
Cooling table simulator
The cooling table is essential as a precursor to understanding how to use water to control heat impact of a fire. The cooling table shows best cooling techniques and other uses of water to mitigate the effects of an incident. Corrective, preventative, 360-degree cooling, effects of thermal shock and stop lines can be visualised. Creating a better awareness in determining when the cooling may be insufficient, could prevent a major catastrophe such as a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion), an event where the containment vessel holding liquefied gases ruptures resulting in a massive fireball and blast damage.
Gas table simulator
The gas behaviour table can provide a clear understanding of the powerful effect of gas releases, in the open, congested and confined settings. Basics regarding explosion limits will be explained but the workshop goes further into discussing how the reactivity of gases and the geometry of the gas cloud will influence flame speed and the pressure wave generated, and provide experience of deflagration of a gas cloud ignition and ultimately the transition into detonation events in a safe way. This will lead, more importantly, towards how to mitigate a gas release using techniques using water curtains and dispersion strategies.
Dust explosion simulator
The fourth table in the series is a dust explosion simulator, which will give delegates the insight as to the explosive nature of combustible dusts. Primary and secondary ignitions together with methods on how to mitigate the explosion risks through modifying attack techniques, using venting or suppression systems are thoroughly discussed during the workshop.
Hydrogen awareness simulator
Finally the last simulator in the series to date is a hydrogen awareness table, which compares hydrogen gas to hydrocarbon gases such as LPG. With the desire due to the global energy transition to move away from hydrocarbon fuels, clean hydrogen is becoming an important alternative but the risks that hydrogen poses are very different to LPG. The hydrogen table will compare the differences between the two gases and show the necessary changes in tactics and techniques to ensure a safe response.
These tables are the first generation of interactive table simulators and RelyOn Nutec Fire Academy is constantly innovating new ways to improve awareness and teaching skills in Emergency Response. Stay connected to us for future developments.
Whether you are a facility Fire Brigade, a municipality Fire Brigade or an operator who has these risks within your jurisdiction, contact RelyOn Nutec Fire Academy to enquire where you can profit from this special training format and prepare your personnel effectively.
For more information, go to www.relyonnutec-fireacademy.com