Bringing emergency responders together for an annual corporate fire school is not enough for Chevron. In conjunction with the company’s April fire school, Chevron brought together all its industrial fire chiefs as well.
Robert Taylor, fire captain with Chevron’s El Segundo, CA, refinery, said the annual chiefs meeting is part of the effort to standardize emergency response company-wide and remain current with new equipment and technology. “The chiefs discuss issues such as standards for whether a firefighter is fit for duty to what type of turnout gear, equipment and foam to buy,” Taylor said. “That way we are comparing apples to apples when working in a group setting with representatives from our different fire brigades.”
Standardization is also an important factor in training.
“We brought in 15 instructors from all the various locations,” he said. “It can be really difficult to get instructors to be consistent with their messaging. The one way to lose your credibility as an instructor is to tell the student something contrary to what his previous instructor said.”
The reason other petroleum companies do not bring their chiefs together for discussion is simple, Taylor said.
“It costs money,” he said. “It costs time and resources just to get the chief here from their various locations and sit them all in one room.”
However, Chevron takes the view that it does pay dividends on the back end, Taylor said.
The biggest problem in organizing the chief’s meeting each year is scheduling.
“Typically, we would hold it in conjunction with the May school, not in April,” But this year we happen to have a large company-wide oil spill drill. Many of our chiefs will need to be in attendance for that exercise.”
Bruce Walker previously worked in aerospace and defense.