High Priority of Fire Protection at PetersJune 7, 2023 | Peters
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
A good dozen employees have successfully completed their fire safety assistant training at Peters. "This training is not only important, but mandatory for every company - especially in the chemical industry," says plant manager Dr Thorsten Meyer. "Besides preventive fire protection, as a fire protection and evacuation helper, you take initial measures in an emergency, such as extinguishing fires, assigning escape routes and supporting the employer in fighting fires to the best of your ability," reports Helmut Schrangs, responsible trainer from the Krefeld-based company Hauser Sicherheitstechnik GmbH, at the beginning of the course. As a former fire-fighter, the technician who has undergone a vocational training for fire protection is a specialist in his field.
As a company of the chemical industry, Peters handles highly flammable substances, such as conformal coatings or solvents. Paper or plastic parts, too, can also quickly burst into flames. Tilman Sehlen, responsible for safety at work and environmen-tal protection, made sure in advance of the course that em-ployees from all departments such as warehouse, laboratory, production and administration, took part in the training. The one-day training that takes place on a voluntary basis, covers a theoretical and a practical part.
Outdoors in the Peters yard, the first practical topic is the hand-held fire extinguisher: What is in it? What are its functions? What is the weight of the steel bottle? How much does it extinguish in an emergency? How do I activate the nozzle in a flash? What about maintenance? "Some of us didn't realise beforehand that the common 6-kilo extinguisher is empty after only 12 seconds," says Jörg Staack after the fire-fighting exercise. "Of course, after 28 years of service, I know where most of the 120 fire extinguishers on the premises are located and how to activate them," says the lab employee.
The training course brought the technical employee and the team of helpers both knowledge and new insights. "When you see the pressure wave and heat that the explosion of a can of deodorant spray causes, you can well imagine what happens in an emergency and how important it is to intervene professionally," says Jörg Staack. The expert Helmut Schrangs from Hauser has staged such an explosion of a spray can for demonstration purposes. Evidently, the course to become a fire protection assistant is only an initiation that cannot be compared with the classical fire brigade vocational training. "But we have been made fit and feel prepared for emergencies," says Jörg Staack. Hans-Dieter Berger from the warehouse and Mustafa Tasdemirli from production see it the same way. They all have been trained now to be fire protection assistants at Peters.
Despite all precautions, it can quickly happen that a crate catches fire, for example," says Jörg Staack. In that case, courageous extinguishing from the red bottles with powder, foam, carbon dioxide or water is crucial to nip the source of the fire in the bud. "You also have to know that the use of extinguishing powder is completely harmless for the mucous membranes," the laboratory employee explains a finding from the course. All participants are proud to be operational fire protection assistants now. "This is an additional qualification that can also be useful in other areas of life," says production employee Mustafa Tasdemirli. The helpers’ team repeats the one-day training at intervals of three to five years.
According to the workplace directive ASR 2.2, it is mandatory that at least 5 % of the workforce has been trained as fire protection assistants. With a good dozen, we have twice as many in our ranks, which also takes into account the increased risk from inks and solvents," reports plant manager Dr. Meyer. Training is of high priority at Peters. There are always enough employees interested in the training who care about safety. After all, it is a matter of safety on the large factory site at Hooghe Weg 13 in the Kempen industrial estate "Am Selder", having an operating area of 40,000 square metres - that's eight football grounds. "The principle of responsibility applies here. Everyone is called upon to contribute to serving operational safety. Based on this responsibility, we have never had any problems recruiting sufficient fire protection assistants," emphasises Peters CEO Ralf Schwartz. The CEO expressly underlines the commitment of the interested staff members and thanks them for their readiness. "If something should actually happen, we can absolutely rely on these troops before the fire brigade arrives. That gives us all a good feeling.
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