When two TEEX instructors trained firefighters in Kazakhstan in July, it was just the first step in what could become a long-term association between TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute (ESTI) and Western Kazakhstan State University.
Robert Moore and David Tyner of ESTI spent two weeks in Aksai, Kazakhstan, training 112 industrial and municipal firefighters in hose handling and nozzle operation and reviewing personal protective equipment. Another 24 university and fire ministry officials attended a TEEX train-the-trainer class in fire extinguisher techniques.
The firefighters were local Kazakh fire service personnel who provide fire protection for the Karachaganak oil field installation, pipelines, wells and processing units, said Jim Sachtleben of ESTI.
The Karachaganak oil field in western Kazakhstan is the third largest in the country and contains an estimated 2 billion barrels of recoverable oil and condensate and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
“The huge oil reserves of Kazakhstan could provide the resources for the country to become a financial and political force in the region,” Sachtleben said.
Sachtleben and Rick Tye of TEEX visited Uralsk, Kazakhstan, in May to hold initial discussions with officials from Western Kazakhstan State University and from KIO (Karachaganak Integrated Organization), the consortium of oil companies developing the field. During the initial meetings, TEEX landed the contract for the July classes.
Moore and Tyner taught the classes with the help of translator Larisa Rukina of KIO. To overcome the language barrier, they also took many visual aids, including video of proper hose handling, spray patterns, foam and chemical fire extinguishers. The video was shot, digitized and burned on a CD-ROM by TEEX Media Production Services.
“They hadn’t had training like this before, and they appreciated it,” Tyner said. “We trained them on the Task Force Tip nozzles. The four fire stations around the oil field had the new nozzles, but hadn’t used them because the firefighters were not trained.”
Moore added: “If they had used the old type of nozzles on a refinery fire, someone could have been seriously hurt. The Task Force nozzles are adjustable for different spray patterns used to fight industrial fires.”
The discussions with ESTI center on a potential long-term arrangement with Western Kazakhstan State University to help establish a fire training field in Kazakhstan. “One concept is that we would provide the curriculum and certification in fire, rescue and hazmat,” Sachtleben said. “They would translate our curriculum, and we would train their instructors. The Kazakhstan government has verbally endorsed the project.”
“I think it’s going to be a great relationship,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of potential there, because they are building one of the largest refineries in the world. It’s going to be an interesting venture.”
The next step will be a visit to College Station in the fall by university and KIO officials, Sachtleben said. “The visitors will tour the Brayton Fire Training Field and Texas A&M University, and we will continue our discussion of a potential long-term arrangement.”