My Tractor Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,407 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I couldn't believe it when a 1st resonder said a bomb went off at the plant. Any place that has any substantial amount of fertilizer in it IS a bomb waiting to go off. Firefighters and EMS should learn what is in the areas they respond to and know what to do and not to do. I don't think anyone should have been within a 1/2 mile of the plant if not farther away. All you can do if you're dead is get someone else killed trying to rescue you.

At a training many years ago we set up at a safe distance from a possible explosive situation. Out of 4 VFD and 2 EMS departments, I was the only one that had the pumper facing away from the scene for a quick as possible exit. Every other vehicle there was facing the scene. They showed (after the training) tapes of some fires and explosions where something as simple as how you park could save your life.

Think about what might be stored in a farmer's barn or shop. There might be fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, propane, paint and much more. If you can get training, do it.

If you think know all you need to without any training, quit before you or someone else gets hurt. I was a VFD/EMS volunteer for 8 years. I got all of the training I could.
 

·
Shop = My Therapy
Joined
·
3,157 Posts
Well put!


Sent from the MTF Free App
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,815 Posts
agree!

i am not nor have ever been an emergency responder but looking around my garage i can see how someone could get into trouble if it ever caught fire!

Imagine what could have been inside the factory!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
OK, OK, first things first.

1. There was only 270 tons of ammonia nitrate stored there, which really isn't all that much by agricultural standards.
2. There was anhydrous ammonia stored in close proximity to the "dry storage" building.
3. The only people that know for sure what they were thinking when they barged into the fire scene aren't ever going to be able to tell us.
4. Has anyone actually confirmed that it was a fertilizer production plant or rather just another storage and distribution facility which are rather common?

For those that don't understand the properties of AN fertilizer or Anhydrous Ammonia I suggest you read this.
Ammonium nitrate fertilizer isn't really a dangerous explosive (most of the time)
http://boingboing.net/2013/04/18/ammonium-nitrate-fertilizer-is.html

And YES! The stuff stored in sheds, garages, barns, and small home shops can be dangerous. I once did some work for a Kansas City FD captain. When he came by to pick up the work, I gave him a tour of my little shop (60'x100' free span metal hangar). He was impressed with all the equipment and we talked for quite some time about it. At the end of the conversation he told me what he did in real life and asked me if I would consider posting the DOT safety placards on the property even though it is not required by law for a private shop. He went on to say the only reason he was asking was the KCFD loss of life from a construction site fire where premixed ANFO was stored with no warning signs.

"We would really appreciate knowing what we were getting into" was his request. I posted the placards the next day (Compressed gas, Oxidizers, Flammable liquids, Hazardous materials).

Now, that is where the current situation gets dicey. In a conversation with a few of the local "boy scout wannabe firefighter", I was horrified to learn that none of them knew how to read the warning placards or where to look up the information. Lack of training! Nor, could a single one of them give a clear cut definition as to what constitutes hazardous materials.

When we asked them just exactly why they wanted to be volunteer firemen to a person they all gave the old "I want to serve my community" story.

Serving one's community does not mean being ignorant of the risks involved or the procedures to minimize the risk to the community. Serving one's community means more than riding a big red truck in the parades and wearing your "Hometown Hero" t-shirts while driving your personal pick-up truck 90 MPH with red lights and sirens that are actually illegal on private vehicles (in this state only blue lights are authorized and then all traffic laws and road conditions must be observed).

Now, with all that said I actually appreciate the few volunteers that take the time to actually serve. I just wish that the politically motivated hacks that have positioned themselves as "management" would see that they are properly trained. I have done firefighting training for off shore work and have a thorough understanding of the challenges presented. We got recurrent training constantly. No one on the crews complained because it was all that was standing in the way to save our butts if the rig went "FLAME ON". Being 150 miles offshore meant the "cavalry" was at least 2 hours out and only then if the weather permitted the helicopters to fly. We were our own "First Responders"! No hero status attached, just SYA!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,683 Posts
IMHO Roger, I guess you are not a Volunteer. I have been for 40 plus years. I've had 100's of hour of training. And I believe I read somewhere that the guys from West were in a defensive operation trying to hold the thing off while they evacuated the surrounding area. Question is WHY did anyone allow them to build a school and a senior residence so close. If they were clearing 1/2 mile plus around the plant, no buildings should have been built there. And to SERVE our Community is a good reason. Some places cannot afford to pay for fireman. And all the volunteers don't have to KNOW IT ALL. That is what their officers are for. They should know how to do what is need when they need to. They will learn the rest as they continue to serve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,407 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I guess I was too rough on the other volunteers when I was fire chief. No one wanted to come to training, but they had time to jump in the trucks and tear them up because they didn't know how to operate them. It took some time and I could have hired a locksmith but I took all of the door knob assemblies and deadbolts to the local hardware and got them re keyed for $2 each. Yeah it was about 25 years ago. The only keys I handed out went to people with some training and common sense.

After 4 years of being chief I had to quit to get out of it. I remember the guy I handed my key to. He said no one other than me knew how to operate the pumper. I mentioned about the training nights I had twice a month. He said people didn't have time to show up. I said I didn't either and left.

One thing I still remember trying to explain to people about putting a pto in gear on a pumper is to stop, put the truck in low gear and ease out on the clutch while pulling the pto cable. This way it will go in without grinding. It was like talking to a wall. They would just grind away on the gears.

Volunteers are great with at least some training. Those that just want to turn the lights and siren on can be dangerous and I don't want them around.

I'll mention that I joined the VFD after I quit the farm and had time to give back for the time 2 departments helped out when our shop burned. I did 8 years on the VFD and the EMS. Since I work at home many times there were only 2 of us around during the day. Somtimes I was the only one. I remember one day I went to 3 grass fires and 2 ambulance runs. I didn't get much done here, but still felt good about the day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Some people complain about government regulations but it seems like these are two places there should have been more regulation: West, TX, so there would have been space around the plant AND the community would have known what was stored there; and required training for volunteers. I am glad for our local volunteer FD; I hope they get the training needed to keep them safe, both for themselves and their families.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top