Technicians are practicing extinguishing fires using an electronic simulator, as part of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s (BGCAPP) ongoing commitment to safety.
“These people would be first on the scene if something, however unlikely, should happen,” said Chuck Mecham, training specialist, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “This activity gives the trainees the opportunity to practice their knowledge into a skill, so they will not only know what to do in a fire situation, but have the physical experience to be able to do it effectively.”
Personnel who work in the areas around munitions, such as the handlers who will unload them from their transport containers within the destruction facility, receive this training under the requirements of plant permits, said Mecham.
“The simulator system uses an electronic screen and a dummy fire extinguisher that shoots a laser beam,” said Mecham. “There’s no smoke, no emissions and no clean-up like there would be with traditional fire-response training. We can use this system indoors, in any weather, and can quickly train multiple people.”
The digital fire simulator used by BGCAPP can simulate Class A (common combustibles such as paper/wood), B (flammable liquids) and C (electrical) fires, including sounds, said Mecham. The laser extinguisher looks and weighs the same as a standard fire extinguisher, and the laser is timed to run out when a standard fire extinguisher would.
“This training saves the project time and money,” said Sunday Street, safety engineer, BGCAPP. “There is no recharging of extinguishers, no resetting and clean-up of materials and no waiting around of trainees while those activities are commencing. Plus, it helps our employees gain confidence should they ever encounter a fire situation.”