Three feature articles in this issue of Industrial Fire World detail how firefighters faced with overwhelming reality quickly adapted to make the best of a worsening situation. In Dubai, firefighters confronted with a blazing residential skyscraper refused to panic, instead conducted a thorough size-up that revealed the fire to be almost completely external and quickly resolved.
In West Virginia, firefighters realized it was folly to directly assault a burning crude oil train with the limited tools at their disposal. Instead, they focused on the efficient and complete evacuation of residents threatened not only by the fire but by the inclement winter weather.
In Torrance, CA, firefighters responding to an explosion at an oil refinery established a safety zone around a 12-story fluid catalytic cracker unit out of concern that the unit might be structurally compromised. The firefighters remained on standby while operators safely shut down the undamaged portion of the refinery.
Like these firefighters, Industrial Fire World listens to feedback that says take a second look at your plan of action. We were well on our way to finalizing speakers and had growing exhibitor interest in our 30th Anniversary Industrial Fire World Conference planned for Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2015 in Beaumont, Texas. Then the calls came telling us that lowering oil prices and pending strikes in major companies were already impacting budgets for personnel and training for emergency responders. We were encouraged to pull back and wait for a better market, and we listened.
I reminded myself how many times I’ve taught tank fire fighting classes stressing not to waste foam, water and manpower until you have an adequate volume of all three on hand, plus the right tools to tackle the fire. We will be waiting for your messages and calls to let us know when will be ready for the next IFW Conference, perhaps in 2016 or 2017.
I was also reminded of the challenge to be open to new options and resources as we were working on the conference program. We will continue to build some exciting new workshops that integrate training technology with classic best practices. As you read this issue, I encourage you to be open to change. How are you approaching rescue training? Are you considering potential issues that products you use or makes could resolve in today’s political and environmental conditions? Are you engaging the most efficient and effective data gathering resources for EMS and other emergency response incidents?
What has been changing in your facility and the community where your facility is located? Are you involving community responders in training to be aware of how they can be most valuable if a major incident occurs?Are you taking them to training with your emergency response team? If not, share stories in this issue with decision makers?
I’m reminded of the saying, “Nothing is constant except change.” When did you last change your SOGs and ERP to accommodate the changes in personnel, products in your facility, policy changes, contact numbers and names for agencies and support services to be notified and activated in an emergency? If you are thinking, I wish someone would tell me how to X or where to get Y, send me your questions. We will be on your team with information in future IFW articles and web stories.
One last question about changes in management. When did you last look at the name and address on the mailing label for your issue of IFW? If a change is needed, send the corrections to [email protected] fireworld.com. If you want to change to receiving the magazine electronically, let Cyndie know. We encourage you to let your ERT members know when and how to access the magazine online, and discuss the articles. Remember this CHANGE acronym -- Change Hastens Access to Needed Group Effectiveness. Change for the sake of change can be just as dangerous as staying in the same rut. Take the right risk to make needed changes.