TEEX first to certify industrial firefighters to meet national standard

4/25/2003 12:00 AM

The Emergency Services Training Institute takes safety training very seriously, so when the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) introduced a new training requirement for industrial firefighters, TEEX became the first to offer certification courses to meet the new Standard 1081.

Industrial firefighters who complete the 40-hour class in industrial exterior or industrial interior firefighting, which includes a written test, three team skills and three individual skills, will receive ProBoard Certification along with their TEEX certificate.

The Standard 1081 certification class for industrial exterior firefighting was introduced last year after about a year of development, says instructor Lee Hall. “Carla Fisher helped to build the course from scratch because there was no prescribed manual available,” he says.

Flexibility is a key element of the course. “We make all of our processes as customer-friendly as we can,” Hall says. “For the exterior firefighting, we wanted to give industrial emergency response teams more options to get the certification.”

Teams can come to the Brayton Fire Training Field for a full week of training, or they can complete the classroom portion by studying at home and taking a pre-test via computer and then come to the fire field for two days of skills evaluation. Or, Hall says an instructor can go to the plant to hold the classroom portion, and if appropriate facilities are available, TEEX instructors can do the skills evaluation at the industry’s location.

Interior firefighting is a more complicated and dangerous situation than exterior firefighting, instructors agree. Instructor Donny Boggs says developing a curriculum for teaching industrial interior firefighting in a week was a daunting task.

“We read the new standard carefully and then went through the texts we were currently using for interior firefighting to see what components of those classes would meet the 1081 standard,” Boggs said. “We added some things to the 1081 class, such as firefighter safety and building construction--important things they need to know.”

The third pilot class for Standard 1081 certification for industrial interior firefighting was completed in April. More than 40 industrial firefighters have attended the three pilot classes, including emergency responder teams from Conoco Phillips in Lake Charles, La., and ExxonMobil in Beaumont.

The class includes 12 hours of hands-on training, eight hours of hands-on skills testing and a one-hour written exam. Individual skills that must be mastered include donning personal protective equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) in as few as four minutes.

Instructor Mark Jackson says the development of Standard 1081 was driven by the NFPA efforts to meet OSHA regulations. NFPA had called for training of industrial emergency response teams, but hadn’t prescribed specific training standards. “The new Standard 1081 spells out a requisite knowledge base and job performance requirements,” Jackson said.

The Standard 1081 includes four components for industrial firefighters: incipient, exterior, interior and leadership. TEEX has incorporated the incipient training into its exterior and interior certification courses, and a leadership certification course is currently in development.

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