Fire protection has a high priority at Peters
A good dozen employees at Peters Lackwerke have successfully completed their fire protection assistant training. As a company in the chemical industry, Peters handles highly flammable substances such as protective coatings and solvents.
"This training is not only important, but mandatory for every company - especially in the chemical industry," says plant manager Dr. Thorsten Meyer. "In addition to preventive fire protection, as a fire protection and evacuation helper you take initial measures in an emergency, such as extinguishing, assigning escape routes and supporting the employer in firefighting to the best of your ability," reports Helmut Schrangs, the responsible instructor from the Krefeld-based company Hauser Sicherheitstechnik GmbH, at the start of the course. As a former firefighter, the technician with fire protection training comes from the field. At Peters, easily flammable substances are handled, such as protective coatings or solvents. But paper or plastic parts can also quickly burst into flames. Tilman Sehlen, who is responsible for occupational safety and environmental protection, made sure in advance of the course that employees from all departments, such as the warehouse, laboratory, production and administration, took part in the training. The one-day training, which takes place on a voluntary basis, is divided into a theoretical and a practical part.
In the open air on the Peters farm, the practical part first deals with the hand-held fire extinguisher: What's in it? What functions does it have? How much does the steel bottle weigh? How much can I extinguish with it in an emergency? How do I activate the nozzle in a flash? What about maintenance? "Some of us were not even aware beforehand that the usual 6-kilo extinguisher is empty after just 12 seconds," reports Jörg Staack following the fire extinguishing exercise. "Of course, after 28 years of service, I know where most of the 120 or so fire extinguishers on the company premises are located and how to activate them," says the laboratory employee. The training course provided the technical employee and the team of helpers with knowledge and also brought new insights. "When you see the pressure wave and heat that even the explosion of a can of deodorant spray triggers, you can well imagine what goes on in an emergency and how important professional intervention is," says Jörg Staack. Hauser expert Helmut Schrangs staged such an explosion of a spray can for demonstration purposes. Of course, the course to become a fire protection helper is only an instruction and not comparable to the classic fire department technical training, he said. "But we have been made fit and feel equipped for emergencies," says Jörg Staack. "According to workplace guideline ASR 2.2, it is mandatory that at least 5% of the workforce is trained as fire protection assistants. With a good dozen, we have twice as many in our ranks, which also takes account of the increased risk posed by paints and solvents," reports plant manager Dr. Meyer. Training is a high priority at Peters. There are always enough employees who care about safety. After all, it's all about safety on a large factory site with an operating area of 40,000 square meters - that's eight soccer fields.