Training Prepares Firefighters for Propane Emergencies
April 24, 2016
Written By Adam Buckallew
Last fall, the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri and the Missouri State Fair Fire Department hosted a statewide, two-day training conference at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Mo., on how to handle propane emergencies. Larry Eggen, an MFA Oil plant manager in the area, helped to plan the event. In addition to his job with MFA Oil, Eggen serves as a member of the State Fair Fire Department and as battalion chief of the Johnson County Fire Protection District.
“I was asked by fellow MFA Oil employees Tom Procter (director of service) and Floyd Ouderkirk (regional service manager) to use my connections with the Fire Fighters Association to put together a training program that would help educate Missouri firefighters about propane safety,” Eggen says. “I attended a similar event in Phoenix, Ariz., to see how the training course could be set up and how to best present this information to firefighters in our state. We collaborated with the Missouri Propane Education and Research Council (MOPERC) to fund the training at no cost to the participants.”
The conference provided 60 Missouri firefighters from 29 different departments with both classroom learning and hands-on firefighting instruction for dealing with propane fires and vehicles. A domestic propane tank and bobtail truck served as live fire props. Basic propane equipment and parts were also used to assist in building firefighter knowledge and awareness when arriving on scene, and several industry experts were on hand for questions and coaching during the training.
“This training gives the firefighters a good overview of the potential dangers they could face in a propane emergency,” says Dave Hedrick, director of University of Missouri’s Fire and Rescue Training Institute. “Propane is a very safe product, but just like any fuel, there are some potential hazards. If an emergency should occur, firefighters need to know how to mitigate that emergency and make sure the citizens they serve are safe and that they know how to keep themselves safe.”
The conference was conducted in cooperation with local fire protection and ambulatory districts, the national Propane Education and Research Council (PERC), MOPERC, the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute, the State of Missouri Fire Marshall’s office and several vendors.
The national PERC paid for the conference as part of its efforts to assist in propane safety training across the country. MFA Oil brought in a bobtail truck and provided the propane fuel used during the live training exercises, and expenses were reimbursed by MOPERC.