Article Archive
Target On Training
International Training -- Malaysia
Vol. 20 No. 6

Industrial Firefighting techniques, procedures, and equipment vary as one travels the world. I had the opportunity to conduct a series of Incident Command Classes for Petronas in Malaysia and spent some time while I was there to evaluate the Centralized Emergency and Fire Services (CEFS) of Petronas.

CEFS is located on the East Coast of Malaysia, with the hub of petrochemical and refining located in Kertih, Terrengganu. Operations consist of 3 manned fire stations and a fire training ground. CEFS centralized response is a relatively new undertaking, previous to May 2004, it was part of the Petronas Fire Services Unit. The CEFS response district consists of 1 refinery, 10 petrochemical facilities, 2 gas processing plants, 1 crude oil terminal as well as tankerage and railway facilities.


CEFS response team members are currently trained in Industrial Firefighting response, Hazardous Materials, First Aid and CPR, and Incident Management. As is the case in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries I've visited, training is a combination of standards from the United Kingdom, United States and Australia.

Reviewing the credentials of the CEFS response team, I have been impressed to see that the department has received training from around the world such as Texas A&M, University of Nevada, Fire Science Academy and RISC in the Netherlands. While exposure to a variety of training methodologies is imperative to continuous readiness and improvement, it is also important to standardize and conduct training in conjunction with established accepted international guidelines such NFPA 1081 for Industrial Fire Brigades.

At time of press, the entire Petronas organization was undertaking training in the Incident Command System as developed and implemented in the US. CEFS under the leadership of Fire Chief Khairul is progressing towards standardized training and credentialing.

Current efforts are underway to upgrade and improve on the skills of responders in medical and high angle / confined space emergencies.

CEFS owns and maintains an impressive fire training facility. Operational members conduct training for the department on a routine basis. Member facilities with the response district are also trained in Incipient Fire Fighting, Hazmat, Basic First Aid, Rescue and Command.

During down time, CEFS personnel are engaged in Emergency Response Plan development and firefighting equipment maintenance at facilities within the CEFS response district. Offsite technical assistance consists of advice on mitigation methods, and provision of expertise at incident sites.

Operational Response Plan:

Great efforts have been taken at Petronas to harmonize all aspects of emergency response. Facilities within the CEFS response district are all trained to the same level/standard as CEFS personnel. PPE also remains consistent throughout the organization facilitating interaction and aiding a uniform response to emergencies. All of the facilities attend drills and exercises coordinated by CEFS. While CEFS is the operational entity to all types of emergencies, each facility maintains a capability and capacity to response to incipient stage fires. Each of the facilities that CEFS has the responsibility to protect has worked to standardize fittings throughout the response district and to ensure each site has the capability to deliver large volumes of water at predetermined locations, which has meant the modification of fire hydrants and fire water systems. Facilities within the CEFS response district work under a four alarm system.

Incipient Stage Fire:

For first response by in-plant personnel, CEFS is notified and responds to evaluate the incident and ensure that no additional threats for re-ignition are posed once the fire is extinguished.

1st Alarm: In-plant responders implement defensive measures, CEFS responds to contain and extinguish, Civilian Fire Department and Police are notified by CEFS.

2nd Alarm: CEFS determines what additional resources are needed and will activate pre-identified resources (20% of shift operators) plus additional CEFS resources (off duty firefighters). Civilian Fire Department and Police are also activated as part of the response.

3rd Alarm: Specialized third party emergency response contractors will be activated to provide assistance.


CEFS has procured an impressive array of first rate equipment. It currently has available the following:

2 - 3000 GPM Foam Tenders
1 - 2000 GPM Aerial Foam Tender
1 - 2000 GPM Foam Tender with Articulating Boom
1 - Dry Chemical Tender
2 - 2000 GPM Foam Tenders
2 - Mobile Command Posts
4 - Rapid Support Vehicles
3- Forward Command Vehicles
3 - Ambulances
1 - Hazmat Vehicle
4 - Trailer Mounted 3000 GPM Terminators


CEFS has made significant investments toward a state of the art dispatch center as well as an Industrial Fire Department the rival of many in the US. It is committed to purchasing state of the art equipment and has amassed a significant amount of training and expertise from a variety of training institutions throughout the world. The organization is committed to regular drills and continuous evaluation of its capabilities and responses. The integration of the Incident Command System and the ability to function under a unified command positions itself as an organization that is unique in the ability to respond to "all hazards". With that progress, challenges remain for CEFS when it comes to integration with other governmental emergency response agencies, that may not be trained in the use and implementation of the incident command system. It is encouraging to note that the emergency response system at Petronas functions quite smoothly. In the future, Petronas and CEFS would benefit from efficiencies gained from professionalizing the organization in terms of credentialing and adopting established international standards of certification and testing.

Until next time, remember work SMARTER not HARDER!!

Comments? Questions? Is there an Industrial Fire Training topic you would like to see covered in this column? Please email me at

Thanks to Chief Khairul for his assistance in preparing the column for this issue. o

Attila Hertelendy is an instructor with the University of Nevada, Reno - Fire Science Academy and president and CEO - Great White Emergency Medical Solutions, Inc.


P: (979) 690-7559
F: (979) 690-7562

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