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API storage tank project upgraded for more realistic training at Brayton Fire Field

2/7/2012 12:00 AM

COLLEGE STATION - The API Storage Tank Fires project #45 at Brayton Fire Training Field has been upgraded to enhance the training for firefighters who respond to incidents involving fires at flammable liquid storage facilities. Brayton Fire Training Field is operated by the Texas Engineering Extension Service.

Previously, the closed tank design made it impossible for class participants to observe any of the foam application, fire chemistry and flammable liquid surface responses discussed during classroom sessions, said Gordon Lohmeyer, Associate Director of TEEX's Emergency Services Training Institute. The upgraded project now includes two open tanks, which will lend itself well to the NFPA 472, Annex E - Flammable Liquid Bulk Storage Specialist class, he added.

"We split our API tank to create a more realistic tank farm," Lohmeyer said. "An observation deck was added so students can see what happens when foam is applied. This allows us to have a seal fire and a fully involved tank fire at the same time, which could happen in a real tank farm."

The three-stage upgrade included adding a spill area consisting of pumps and piping, a new fueling station and an observation platform. In December, the final phase was begun, which involved cutting the existing tank in half. One tank is set up for a seal-only fire and the second tank is set up for a full-surface fire.

"This will greatly enhance our ability to provide both potential tank fire scenarios while lowering the overall sidewall height of the tanks for an enhanced learning environment," Lohmeyer said. "It is also more economical for customers to burn only the seal area under this design, while still providing the option of a full-surface-involved fire scenario. Customer feedback has been positive to both of these modifications."

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Kathy Fraser

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