Just a little water, and burning deep-frying oil turns into a major fire. Just a little contact with the cleaning agent, and a chemical that it contains burns the skin. Using experiments like these, Kurt Friderich demonstrates the dangers that lurk in daily life to fourth-graders. To sensitize children and teenagers to handling fire, he and his 12-person team at the Chemiewehrschule (chemical defence academy) in Zofingen, which is run by Bilfinger Industrial Services Schweiz, regularly hold project days for schools. "We simulate the use of water cannons and foam tubes and go through practical exercises here, for example on caustic solutions and acids or on oil fires in the kitchen," Kurt Friderich explains.
Normally, specialists at the academy train customers or colleagues. Chemicals, tactics, fire, respiratory protection and safety are the five modules of their fire-fighting and safety training courses, which are also offered under the aegis of the Bilfinger Academy. “It is a major issue for us to highlight dangers in order to avoid accidents,” Friderich emphasizes. More than 5,000 participants from around the world attend the seminars every year.
Over the years, Kurt Friderich has welcomed firefighting crews from the Netherlands, Israel, Macau and Taipei to Zofingen in Switzerland. Each year, he provides trainingat the Chemical Defense and Firefighter Academy. Here, they learn more than how to extinguish fires - they learn to consider the consequential damage of their own intervention, as water for firefighting contaminated with chemicals can seep into the ground and wastewater treatment plants, causing considerable damage. “In many instances, fires can be simply encapsulated. We create a kind of curtain with a precisely measured volume of water behind which the fire can burn out without causing further damage,” Friderich explains.
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