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Training for natural gas fires

By Staff | Sep 26, 2016

Black Hills host event for area fireifghters

Black Hills Energy’s operations trainers Thursday conducted natural gas safety training for firefighters from Estherville and numerous mutual aid fire departments from the surrounding area.

Firefighters practiced techniques for effectively containing and extinguishing actual natural gas fires using portable fire extinguishers and hose streams under controlled circumstances.

“Safety is our top priority at Black Hills Energy, and we work in close partnership with fire and rescue teams to promote safety and coordinate our efforts,” said operations supervisor Heath Richter. “Natural gas is a safe, reliable energy source and natural gas incidents are highly unlikely, so our training provides a rare opportunity for hands-on experience and instruction. We hope they’ll never need it, but it will prove invaluable if they do.”

The Estherville session is one of many that Black Hills Energy has offered to fire departments throughout the utility’s 132 Iowa communities as a free public service for years.

Firefighters and rescue personnel learn the characteristics of natural gas and how to safely and effectively manage a natural gas incident.

In one exercise, firefighters use hose streams and chemical extinguishers to put out a controlled natural gas fire under a scrapped vehicle to simulate the potential result of a car striking a gas meter. In another scenario, personnel practice how to safely contain and extinguish a natural gas fire from pipeline puncture.