As the United States rapidly increases oil drilling and the use of new extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, hundreds of new industrial oil wells have appeared all across the rural landscape. The situation has created a serious problem for the small, often volunteer, fire departments charged with protecting these remote areas.
“Regular firefighting and industrial firefighting are two different things, and they have really never intermingled—but now we’re forced to make that happen,” Neal Nanna, chief of the Harmony Volunteer Department in western Pennsylvania, says in the new March/April issue of NFPA Journal. “You can’t just run into these fires—you have to be trained. And there is not a lot of training available yet because it’s such a new thing.”
The article looks at what NFPA codes and standards have to say on the issue and what future documents and training materials might be created. Readers will also find out what fire chiefs across the country have to say about the challenges they face from industrial oil extraction, and about the new guidelines developed by the American Petroleum Institute on how drilling companies should interact with and inform communities and first responders.
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