For decades, most industrial facilities faced two options regarding fire protection –organize either an in-house fire brigade, mandatory or volunteer, or solely depend on whatever community resources their tax dollars bought.
Baton Rouge-based Industrial Emergency Services offers industry a third choice, said Tom Henning, IES’ vice president of West Coast and marine operations.
“IES is a full-service fire protection and emergency response company,” he said. “Our core business is providing plant response teams and pipeline services.”
At present, IES provides the emergency response team for a 235,000-barrels-a-day refinery in Convent, LA, and an automobile assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN, that began production in 2011. IES also protects six major pipeline companies in the U.S.
In a single seven-day period last June, IES responded to three major events for industrial customers in Louisiana. On June 7, IES responded to a plant specializing in petroleum coke. Lightning ignited a roof covering a large amount of that product.
IES brought a quick attack unit, foam, rescue and command trailer. Together with other responders, IES personnel fought the fire. The company then provided around-the-clock suppression at the scene for the next several weeks.
The next day IES responded to a sunken storage tank roof that left millions of gallons of crude exposed to lightning strikes. IES provided fire and rescue support while the roof was repaired.
On June 14, a storage tank rim seal fire ignited by lightning brought IES to another crude oil terminal.
“IES supplied the personnel and equipment to extinguish the fire in less than 90 minutes, before the tank suffered major damage or a full blown surface fire could ignite,” Henning said.
IES contracts with clients to provide a core of basic services, including emergency response support. Other services include facility fire protection and safety equipment maintenance and inspection, safety support services, emergency preparedness, training, environmental support and emergency medical support.
In December, IES moved to a new headquarters in Baton Rouge that combines IES’ executive and administrative office and its local operational facility, said Gracia Rosslow, president of IES.
The company has a large number of industrial clients in the Baton Rouge area, plus a cooperative fire brigade that provides multiple facilities with the same range of services provided to its in-house fire brigade customers, but on a shared cost basis.
“Our co-op staff previously served approximately 10 major petrochemical and chemical firms in the Baton Rouge area with training, inspection, rescue standby and emergency response services,” Rosslow said. “With the significant growth of our pipeline and terminal services group in the area and our overall national growth, it made sense to centralize people and equipment for greater efficiency as part of this expansion.”
Along with offices for executive and regional personnel, the facility has a room for training and instruction. The equipment yard serves as a staging area for IES’ Gulf of Mexico emergency response equipment and supplies, said Alan Hunsberger, vice president of domestic operations.
“Whether we are responding to a pipeline incident, tank fire or providing regular services for our industrial customers, our team and equipment have to be ready to go at all times,” he said.
The company also opened a regional office in Medford, OR, which coordinates IES activities for the West Coast, and opened a Los Angeles office in March 2013, which provides coverage from California to Washington and throughout the West.
“IES has made a commitment to provide the same level of excellence and responsive services to its customers’ West Coast facilities that it has in the Gulf of Mexico region,” Henning said.
IES announced in January that it has entered into an alliance with SVITZER Salvage Americas to provide marine fire fighting capability throughout North and South America.
The new contract is an effort by both companies to implement a dedicated plan to help companies meet the salvage and marine fire fighting requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90). The plan includes the ongoing development of marine fire fighting teams stationed across the US coastal regions with caches of marine fire fighting equipment and foam concentrate.
SVITZER, founded more than 175 years ago, provides harbor, terminal and offshore marine services as well as emergency response and salvage operations. The company maintains a fleet of 520 vessels spread across 40 countries.
“The alliance will provide SVITZER with trained personnel and equipment based in the US to support salvage operations anywhere they are needed,” Henning said.
IES also signed an alliance with Green Bay, WI-based Solberg Company to provide support with its ARCTIC ATC foam for IES fire fighting operations.
“They make a good 1x3 foam,” Henning said. “Our contract gives us their commitment to support us with resources on call during any emergency.”
Another important factor in choosing Solberg is that its ATC foam is C6 fluorochemical based, making it the first foam manufacturer in North or South America to offer commercially available foam concentrates that are compliant to the 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Stewardship Program.
Under the EPA 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program, fluorochemical manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to a 95 percent reduction of C8 and longer homologues by year end 2010, and eliminate all C8 and longer homologues by year end 2015.
“Solberg also has one of the most advanced non-fluorinated foam product lines available,” Henning said. “We know these requirements are coming. Solberg already has these products in use in Europe and Asia.”
Recently IES released their iPhone “Foam & Friction Loss Calculator” which can be obtained from the Apple App Store free of charge. It was developed to assist fire fighters in calculating foam requirements for storage tank fires and calculated friction loss in large diameter hose. The Android application will be available in April of 2013 and also offered at no cost.