In the EMERCOM Main Office for the Samara Region, 15 firefighters were awarded the medal "For courage in a fire." A large-scale fire, where the fire-fighters distinguished themselves, occurred on March 12 this year in the city of Tolyatti. At a large chemical enterprise "KuibyshevAzot" there was a fire of installation on processing of cyclohexane - a poisonous, self-igniting liquid used in the production of solvents. A threat of environmental disaster loomed over the city. A similar incident at the same hazardous industrial facility already occurred 20 years ago. Then the firemen fought the fire for two days. This time, it was possible to cope with the elements much faster - after 10 hours, the fire was completely eliminated. Oleg Boyko, head of the EMERCOM Main Office for the Samara Region, who supervised the fire extinguishing at "KuibyshevAzot", told MK about the fire fighting methods used today and equipping firefighters that can cope with such difficult situations.
- Oleg Vasilievich, it turns out that in twenty years it has been possible to achieve a four to five fold reduction of time taken to eliminate the fire? What contributed to this?
- I believe that this was facilitated by the serious development of equipment and fire-technical weapons, which are being created today on the basis of modern technologies, a clear understanding of how to work at hazardous chemical facilities, as well as properly built interaction - as in the fire-rescue units involved in the elimination of fires of this magnitude, as with the management of the enterprise where the incident occurred.
"How did it work in this case?"
- The fire started by the ignition of cyclohexane. The fire spread very quickly, and its area reached 500 square meters. A correct assessment of the situation helped to attract sufficient forces and means necessary to extinguish a fire of this magnitude and correctly arrange them. More than 230 people were involved in the elimination of the fire, more than 40 pieces of equipment of the territorial fire and rescue garrison of the Samara region were involved. The 4th fire brigade detachment worked as the main force in fire extinguishing. Departmental fire protection of the Kuibyshev railway was also involved: two fire trains were sent to the scene. A rescue unit of the enterprise worked with the fire fighters.
Four tanks were located in the ignition area, in which there were more than 100 tons of cyclohexane. In order to extinguish the fire quickly, it was urgent to reduce its amount. If all 100 tons had flared up, this would have required significantly more time and efforts to prevent the spread of fire to other objects. After an emergency meeting with the management of the enterprise, it was decided to carry out certain technological steps to free up the tanks. After that, the rescuers of the enterprise began to drain the liquid. Every effort was also made to prevent the spillage of cyclohexane around the oxidation plant. All this led to a decrease in the burnout time of the substance and contributed to a decrease in the time of the fire brigade.
- And what was the significance of the technology?
- Previously, there was no such equipment, and, of course, its presence allowed us to seriously reduce the time of fire extinguishing. It was produced by modern high-tech, fire-fighting systems capable of operating in harsh conditions, which are in service in the EMERCOM of Russia. For example, we used tools that allow the supply of fire-extinguishing agents in large quantities. The efficiency of our stationary fire trunks reaches 100 liters per second. But there is one very important point. For example, we set the installation, connected all our trunks. But in order for them to work, you need enough water.
- It happens that he is missing?
- While extinguishing in other territories, we were faced with situations when you start to use equipment, but there are no opportunities to provide us with the necessary volume of extinguishing mixture. Four years ago there was a case when we stood on the hydrants, but after 4 minutes there was no water – it wasn’t chosen, and the plants that stood there could not provide us with the necessary supply. After this incident, we held a meeting, outlined the problem and ways to solve it. And today we are already seeing another approach to supplying the resources to extinguish a fire.
- Did you have this problem at "KuibyshevAzot"?
- The necessary amount of water was provided here, thanks to the coordinated actions of the enterprise "Vodokanal" and the administration as well. It is also important that the enterprise itself showed a high level of equipment with modern fire and rescue equipment and weapons, which were kept in a good condition. No fire extinguishing and cooling plant built on this cycle of cyclohexane treatment failed, everything worked. That is, it is important not only the development of scientific and technological progress, but also the correct application of its achievements in safety and fire extinguishing equipment.
— What about the firefighters' equipment?" However, for 10 hours people poured water, and all this at sub-zero temperatures…
- Yes, indeed, a firefighter is under a stream of water, and at low temperatures his clothes become wet and freeze very quickly. But the modern security of the fire brigades allows us to, for example, change the combat clothing three times without problems on this fire. We have both protective shoes for firefighters and personal protective equipment for their hands. Firefighters are provided with breathing apparatus, individual flashlights, helmets, and heat-reflecting suits.
- Now the country is preparing for the football championship, six matches of which are planned in Samara. Security during the events will be provided by EMERCOM employees. Is there enough technology to complete the tasks?
- Over the past year, we have received 32 units of basic, special and auxiliary equipment ready for the prevention and elimination of emergencies. Including a first aid car, snow and swamp vehicle, highly maneuverable fire and rescue motorcycles designed for prompt arrival at the scene, tank trucks with the NATISK fire extinguishing system. With its help, you can effectively extinguish fires of any complexity. We also received a mobile information and analytical complex. It is possible to collect and process information about the situation in the emergency area, prepare alternative options for action in different conditions of the situation, provide operational management and coordination of forces and assets. A truck based on KamAZ, which is a mobile communications center, also came to us. With its help, for example, it is possible to organize video conference in the emergency zone using radio, space, wire and microwave relay equipment. And also - a car based on the Gazelle, equipped with the Strela-P hardware-software mobile diagnostic complex. It is necessary, in particular, for examining buildings and structures for vibrations and determining the safety of their operation.
We also received more than 5,000 units of fire-technical weapons and equipment, among which we can mention pulse-operated quenching installations, electric hydraulic emergency rescue tools, portable forensic laboratories, hand barrels, a gun barrel, fire extinguishing aerosol generators.
- And yet, no matter how modern and useful the technique may be, the main thing is people. How many people are now in the area on its protection from fires?
- The fire service of the Samara region includes 63 fire and rescue units, in which 2082 people serve. The territorial fire and rescue garrison of the region also includes 38 departments of departmental fire protection - this is another 715 people, 60 people from the municipal fire department, 1911 firefighters from private units, as well as almost 17 thousand volunteer firefighters. This also includes the search and rescue formation with a staff of 321 people.
All our forces and means are ready to protect the population and territories of the Samara region and to fulfill all assigned tasks.