Two firefighters from Plymouth Fire and Rescue and one Beatrice firefighter were among a group attending a recent industrial emergency response training program near St. Paul, Minn.
Sixteen firefighters from nine fire departments in Nebraska and Iowa received funding to attend the training. Flint Hills Resources and Koch Fertilizer sponsor training for local fire departments.
Firefighters Jeremy Seggerman, of Beatrice, Brian Schwisow and Brad Eisenhauer, both of Plymouth, attended the two-day industrial fire training program at the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery.
This is the first year Flint Hills Resources and Koch Fertilizer has offered funding for training to fire departments in Nebraska.
“We appreciate the services and support the local fire departments provide,” said Darrell Birck, director of operations at Flint Hills Resources Biofuels and Ingredients, in a press release.
Each fire department received $1,000 to send up to two people to the training.
“With any type of training we aren’t familiar with, we take all the information we can receive,” Beatrice Fire Chief Brian Daake said.
Beatrice Fire and Rescue are more structural firefighters, Daake explained.
“Industrial firefighters are their own caveat," he said. "It’s the same principles with fire chemistry -- it’s just a whole different animal.”
Beatrice Fire and Rescue sent Captain Jeremy Seggerman to the training.
“I saw this as a good learning opportunity and interesting training,” Seggerman said.
Each session during the two days included techniques that can be applied during real-life emergencies in rural and farming areas.
Participants received hands-on instruction in battling live ethanol and petroleum fires, hose handling and teamwork, offensive attacks on pressure fires, defensive cooling and fire extinguisher training.
“A lot of this was a refresher from school, but we all walked away with new tips and tricks from people who fight fires like this every day,” Seggerman said.
The techniques learned helped to get better and faster with the different scenarios, he said.
“Simulation and advanced preparation are critical steps in learning to properly handle emergency situations,” Plymouth Fire Chief Brian Schwisow said.
Schwisow also attended the training.
Flint Hills Resources, which owns the Duonix Beatrice biodiesel plant through a joint venture, and Koch Fertilizer, which is affiliated with the local nitrogen plant, sponsored the training program to help enhance the local departments' emergency response capabilities.
“It’s pretty rare we fight these types of live fires, so getting the extra experience is always good,” Seggerman said.
As Duonix looks to open the biodiesel plant anytime between September and November, the Beatrice Fire and Rescue team wants to stay prepared for potential fires.
Daake said he has been working with the fire chief at Duonix and they have provided information packets along with lessons, videos, plans and PowerPoints to assist in any additional training.
“Before they open we plan to do a hands-on simulated response with Duonix,” Daake said. “I have been really impressed with them as they have been great to work with and keep us informed.”