One hundred and fifty participants from nine countries representing 63 different companies attended the 25th annual Xtreme Fire and Hazard Training in June at Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, Texas.
Chauncey Naylor, director of training and emergency response for Johnson Control’s Williams Fire & Hazard Control, celebrating a quarter century as one of the premier events on the industrial fire training calendar deserves recognition.
“Just about everything that has gone into that 25-year history is something you’re going to witness today,” Naylor told the audience for the opening day general session.
“Along with our sales and response team, sixteen guest instructors representing all aspects of industrial emergency response conducted the combination of classroom and live-fire training that makes the Xtreme event unique,” said Naylor.
“We had a star studded group of guest instructors from industry,” he said. “We need to acknowledge with deep graditude that industry really supports this school by allowing their fire chiefs and fire professionals to serve as instructors.”
New topics addressed by classroom instructors included exposure management by Paul Nony, director of toxicology and occupational health with the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, and tank emergency pre-planning by Tony Cole of Jensen Hughes.
“These instructors are your peers,” Naylor told the general session. “There are no chiefs here. Everyone is the same. What we want is to do a lot of sharing because we learn just as much from your experience.”
One example of learning from the participants was during a presentation by Naylor on storage tank seal fires. A member of one visiting ERT has experience in extinguishing a seal fire before it could expand 360 degrees around the tank circumference.
Chief causes for seal fires are either weather or mechanical, he said. However, sometimes the human factor is the cause. In one case handled by Williams several years ago, workers installing a weather shield to protect the seal were using an electric drill.
The contractor stated “The drill bit got dull,” Naylor said. “It got so hot that when it penetrated the metal the heat lit off the vapor in the seal area.”
“We never have a home game,” Naylor said. “By the time we can respond its gone full seal.” On Aug. 28, 2018, the Williams Emergency Response Team was called to extinguish a 125-foot crude oil full surface seal fire near Wichita Falls, Texas.
Lee Hall, WILLIAMS senior technical trainer, gave a presentation on hydraulics that included downloading the Williams Fire & Hazard Control app onto a mobile device; the app calculates foam application rates and hose friction loss.
“When I got in the fire business we were still using 3-inch hose for supply line,” Hall said. “Our chief told us ‘If any of you guys put that 5-inch on the ground you’re picking it up yourself.”
Application rates remains king in storage tank firefighting, he said. Increased application rates mean finding more efficient ways to move water through the system.
“Those old rules of thumb that we grew up with are not always sound practices when we start pushing more water through the straw,” Hall said. When high volume water is needed, hose size and distance must be considered to ensure the necessary flow rate will be achieved.
Williams territory manager Troy Johnson lectured on challenges that make crude oil firefighting different from refined petroleum products. The presence of water in the unrefined crude or the reckless introduction of water during firefighting can create the condition for a cataclysmic event known as a boil-over.
“All crude contains varying volumes of water,” Johnson said. “Bakken crude from North Dakota resembles green Mountain Dew. The heavy sour crude out of Canada is going to be on the darker side.”
Dewey Morrison from the Johnson Control Marinette facility lectured on foam chemistry, describing the differences between the various generations of product used in industrial firefighting.
Protein foam is mainly derived from a combination of bone and feather meal, he said. The result was a foam product that produced good, heat resistant bubbles. Unfortunately, those bubbles had a rigid stability that did not allow the foam to move very fast, he said.
“They just kind of sit there where you put them,” Morrison said. “We call it ‘iceberging,’ where the bubbles just stack on top of each other. Nothing prevents the hydrocarbon fuel from mixing with the foam.”
Traditionally, the comprehensive Xtreme training varies little in format from year to year. But the move from Beaumont to College Station in 2017 has meant a great deal more hands-on experience for the participants, Hall said.
“We’re able to break those attending down into smaller, more manageable groups, meaning a lot more participation,” Hall said.
Naylor said each participant spends three days out of the total four on the fire field, rotating from one live-fire project to the next, the result being “a lot more one-on-one with the Williams guys.”
While the priority is always on education, the Xtreme training also provides an opportunity for Williams Fire and Hazard Control to demonstrate the latest additions to its extensive product catalog. This years’ product demonstrations included the Ranger 3+ remote controlled monitor nozzle complete with a skid assembly package for use from the rear of a heavy duty pickup truck.
“The Ranger series of nozzles is a long standing product line that the industry is already familiar with,” Naylor said. “The Ranger 3+ is not new at all. What’s new is the capability to mount this remote controlled nozzle for use in a quick attack vehicle.”
Capable of moving 4,000 gallons per minute of water or firefighting foam, the Hydro-foam Ranger 3+ can function as either an automatic pressure or fixed flow nozzle. In automatic operation, the nozzle will respond automatically to varying flow rates to maintain a tip pressure of approximately 100 psi, maximizing its effective reach for a given discharge flow.
Giving the Ranger 3+ additional flexibility is a skid assembly package that makes the nozzle more readily available for early response operations such as fire suppression, vapor mitigation and personnel protection in flammable liquids and gas related events. Designed as a “drop-in” mount, the assembly package can quickly convert smaller, duty-approved vehicles into platforms for the large volume monitor.
“Being mounted in a pickup gives us extreme mobility,” Hall said. “It can be driven to a spot that is hard to back a trailer or a large industrial fire truck into. Now you can drive right up to the fire and be part of the event from the bed of a pickup truck.”
A wireless remote control with an effective range of 800 feet makes it possible to direct the nozzle from a safe distance.
A demonstration of the Ranger 3+ skid assembly was incorporated into a large-volume flow project conducted on Lake ESTI, a large pond used for pump operations training. Various WILLIAMS nozzles were fed from a 6,000 gpm pump that received water via a Williams submersible pump, Hall said.
“It has the ability to lift water 50 feet at greater than 8,000 gpm,” he said. “In effect, the 6,000 gpm pump becomes a booster for the submersible, increasing its capability to over 8,000 gpm.”
A typical fire pump averages a lift of about 10 feet, Hall said.
“A lot of difficult-to-reach water sources suddenly become useful,” he said.
Sponsors for the 2018 training included Siddons-Martin, Pierce, Delta Industrial Service and Supply, Jensen Hughes and the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Williamms team continues to build on 25 years of Xtreme Fire & Hazard Training events with the addition of fresh content and topics relevant to today’s firefighter. Based on the resurgence of crude oil, natural gas, and finished products transported via rail, the June 2019 Williams Xtreme training event will include a module in cooperation with Specialized Response Solutions that will cover rail response and hazard mitigation along with hands on rail car firefighting. As Naylor concluded, “Our mission is to continue to support generations of firefighters with a premier Xtreme training experience for decades to come.”