In 1962 Italian Author Natalia Ginzburg wrote in her collection of short essays named, The Little Virtues, “Today, as never before, the fates of men are so intimately linked to one another that a disaster for one is a disaster for everybody”. Penning those words, she did so with the intention of the statement withstanding the test of time, and they do. A disaster in our industry intimately links and impacts our communities, families, companies, and the environment.
Those words were never truer than on March 23, 2005, at 1:20 pm, when the BP Texas City Refinery disaster occurred. Explosions and fires killed 15 people and injured another 180. According to the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board REPORT NO. 2005-04-I-TX, “the impact was felt throughout the community and resulted in financial losses exceeding $1.5 billion. A shelter-in-place order was issued that required 43,000 people to remain indoors. Houses as far away as three-quarters of a mile from the refinery suffered damage.” On the 15th anniversary of the incident in 2020, the US CSB further noted that “The disaster at BP Texas City was the most serious refinery accident ever investigated by the CSB.”
Training, safety processes and new technologies are all paramount in preventing disasters of this magnitude. However, history has shown that there still exist the unforeseen in prevention. The unknowns of technology advancement, mechanical failures, and human error will occur.
The prevailing question is, how do we prepare for these incidents? Have we equipped our teams with the right training and equipment for success? Assurances for success are relied upon by in house Emergency Response teams, mutual aid agreements and or private emergency response contracts. Is that enough?
Are there incidents too great to overcome? What next then? I posed this question to Dwight, the legendary Industrial Firefighter. Dwight’s stories and quick hitting one-liners are also legendary as life lessons. I prepared myself for new revelation, but to my dismay Dwight relived a discussion he had with the late Chief Jerry Craft regarding the same topic. To summarize, Craft told Dwight that it is always of most important to “make your friends before you need them.”
US Fire Pump is your “friends before you need them.” Our primary mission is “Protecting the lives of the public and fire industry personnel while limiting property damage”.
To assist our industry family and friends, we have proudly amassed the largest fleet of standby emergency response equipment on the globe. Deployment from multiple locations in Texas and Louisiana ensures quick response with the ability to flow over 100,000 gallons per minute from our world class standby equipment. Strategically stored foam in 6 locations across the globe, allows deployment to the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Coupled with our already robust array of equipment, US Fire Pump employs over 60 Industrial firefighting specialists. Our specialists are experts who have a wide field of experience from flammable liquid bulk storage, flammable/combustible gas bulk storage to onboard ship firefighting. Experienced hazmat specialists prepared for hazardous material identification are equipped for mitigation assistance during emergencies and post extinguishment operations.
In recent events the US Fire Pump team has responded to and successfully extinguished the largest fire events the United States has seen in decades. In operations outside the US, companies call on our team to advise and respond for emergency assistance.
For more information, contact Jonny Carroll at [email protected] or call (504) 235-2938 For 24/7 emergency assistance contact(225) 209-6551.