Because of the very nature of petroleum products, there are many hazards involved in the handling and storing
of them. The greatest and most obvious is fire. However, we must not overlook the many health and safety
hazards in addition to fire that are also present in petroleum facility operations. As a senior NCO, you are
responsible for the fire prevention and safety program best suited to your petroleum facility. In addition you must
ensure through periodic training, drills, and inspections, that petroleum personnel in your area of responsibility
are knowledgeable of the fire and safety precautions and procedures discussed below.
PART A FIRE AND SAFETY TRAINING, INSPECTIONS, AND DRILLS
Your duties and responsibilities as a senior petroleum NCO often require you to ensure that procedures and
policies are being carried out. When dealing with petroleum, it is clear that fire and safety are probably the most
important considerations that you must make when developing general procedures and specific SOPs.
Fire and Safety Training.
Fire and safety training begins when the soldier receives initial MOS
training and continues all the way through the soldier's career. Given that the personnel in your unit will be in
almost constant contact with highly flammable products, fire and safety training will be an ongoing function.
Training should be incorporated into every function your unit performs. When developing an SOP, a periodic
training program should be incorporated into the procedures, ensuring that all personnel know and practice all
applicable fire and safety precautions and practices. Planned drills are an excellent way to enforce training
requirements and provide you as the senior NCO with an effective measurement tool that ensures personnel
training is sufficient.
Periodic planned and surprise inspections can also allow you to ensure that personnel are
following all applicable procedures related to fire prevention and safety. Most importantly , inspections can serve
to show you in what areas you may need to stress training, allowing you to develop a more complete training
program related to petroleum fire and safety. Some of the areas that you will need to establish inspection
procedures and intervals for are as follows:
Work area hazards.
Fire fighting and safety equipment.
Fire reporting and fighting procedures.
First-aid supplies and procedures.
Locations and availability of pertinent fire and safety information.
Fire and safety training records.
Fire and safety precautions and procedures during the performance of duties.
PART B NATURE AND CLASSES OF FIRES
Nature of fire.
Three elements are required to start and sustain a fire:
Heat (source of ignition) such as sparks, open flame, or static electricity.
Oxygen (air) which is always present.
Fuel (vapors) which in petroleum operations includes items such as MOGAS, diesel fuel, and JP4.
By ensuring that personnel know how to remove or prevent the presence of any one of these elements, a fire
can be easily prevented or extinguished.
Classes of Fires.
There are four main classes of fire that you must ensure your personnel are familiar with. They are based on the
combustion characteristics of the material that is ignited:
Class A fire - These fires occur in combustible materials such as bedding, mattresses, books, cloth,
wood, and paper. The remains of these fires are charred embers.
Class B fire - These fires occur in flammable liquids such as gasoline, jet fuels, kerosene, oils, paints,
turpentine, grease, and tar.
Class C fire - These are electrical fires, and they can occur in wiring, electrical switches, and generators.