The completion of the site fire brigade’s “Clean Working” project was marked by the commissioning of a container for clean turnout gear. What made this last stage of the project special is that the fitting-out of the container was designed and built entirely in-house.
Focus on occupational hygiene
Our site fire brigade launched their “Clean Working” project in 2016, with the aim of improving occupational hygiene. The project was initiated following some incident evaluations, but the subject was also being keenly discussed at a national level. In addition to acquiring some new equipment, such as a second set of turnout gear, our fire brigade compiled procedures for making a clearer distinction between clean and contaminated zones. “We must take all possible measures to ensure contaminants do not spread from the site of the incident,” explains fire-fighter Paul Verjans. “From there, the turnout gear is taken to the Sitech Safety Shop in special washing bags, where it is thrown – bag and all – into the washing machine.”
Economizing by doing it ourselves
“In order to then have clean gear at the scene of an incident, we went looking for a container that we could set down using a hook-arm loader,” he continues. “We picked up a second-hand container from the state fire service at a very reasonable price, and decided to fit it out ourselves. After all, we have the knowledge and the skill to do so in-house, plus the available labor time – the first shift was able to carry out the works while they were in the station house. This approach meant we managed to save more than €20,000.”
Requirements for the fitting-out
What is actually in the container? “It has a clothing rack for clean turnout gear, boxes for tools, space for oxygen canisters and of course a refrigerator,” says fire-fighter Sven Manten. “It’s important to have enough to eat and drink available on a deployment, because it's hard work and within half an hour you sweat quite a lot. It’s important to replenish that lost fluid in good time – a 2% loss of fluid will cause a 20% reduction in performance.”
Proud of their professionalization
The fire brigade are proud of the result. “The container is a huge improvement. Previously, various members of the fire-fighting team had to ferry items to the scene of the incident – which meant they weren’t available for the actual deployment. Since the equipment is now all ready to go, we can set down an entire store room close to the incident very quickly.” The site fire brigade will be increasingly using containers for logistical purposes, and the Sitech Safety Shop intends to use containers for strategic storage during turnarounds.