3 thoughts on “Foam Fire Fighting Demonstration c1932

  1. Not many people would know that every man and woman working at ICI had to have fire and gas training for the front line workers those of us on live plant it was mandatory each year no matter what rank you held. We would arrive at the fire training area a mix of Office Staff and blue collar staff to be put through the drills. A series of metal boxes holding straw wood and paper would be lit and the Office staff put them out as per the instructors orders then came the big one. There was a ramp made of metal, the fireman would pour some inflammable substance on the top and light it, our job was to catch it on the ramp and chase it to source at the top putting the fire out as we went. Several of the lads would do this and then the firemen knowing who I was would say right Frank you now, the fun would start.
    I am sure they poured Methanol on the top mixed with petrol as it was always very hot and fast moving, I had to grab foam or powder and chase the flame and the fireman would sneak in while I was busy and relight the fire behind me, it got quite exciting at times as I grabbed fresh extinguishers and blasted the flames behind then chased up the ramp, usually to the cheers of the watching Office workers as covered with sweat, smelling the odd scorch of my clothes, the odd blister feeling sore it was out. Then followed the threats, none of you lot come into the Heavy Fab looking for government jobs to be done you are barred, all taken in good part. The day we did have a fire the lads responded as they had been trained it was out before the fire brigade got there.
    ICI was more dangerous than my time in the army but they did give good training and as much safety gear as you needed, plus of course the comfortable retirement I have had since leaving.

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    • When I was in the Police Force at Billingham we had to attend the ICI for the ‘gas training’. We were told not to shave that morning as the gases released whilst in a confined area irritated the skin.

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      • True Bob though being Staff it was a necessity to shave each morning. Some of us were handed Gas Masks in 1939 and carried them everywhere school pictures even scout camp weekend in Hawes woods so were used to practice with them.
        In the forces we practiced then in cold war years it was NBC suits which those of us in Armoured vehicles without filters often wore for hours on end, ICI was a doddle.
        When we reported to the green hut behind the fire station I spent more time checking out the office girls masks before they went into the hut, long hair got in the way of the seal as it did with the men who had beards, I saw many people run once the Ammonia gas was turned on, some made the mistake of tearing the mask off before they were out not a good thing to do.
        I was near one gas release at the Drikold Plant we all had masks on and out on to the outside platforms in quick time, there was a much more major leak some time after where men were injured, as I said ICI was a dangerous place.

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