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BPCL demonstrates fire-fighting skills

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FOR SAFETY: Staff of the LPG bottling plant of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited at Solur near Bangalore demonstrating fire-fighting skills on Wednesday as part of the disaster management programme. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
FOR SAFETY: Staff of the LPG bottling plant of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited at Solur near Bangalore demonstrating fire-fighting skills on Wednesday as part of the disaster management programme. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Staff Reporter

It conducts mock drill every month to ensure preparedness of its staff during emergencies

BANGALORE: At 4.15 p.m. on Wednesday, a worker at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) LPG plant at Solur village noticed a defective LPG valve which resulted in the release of gas vapours. He could not arrest the leak immediately with the safety cap, and within minutes, thick clouds of vapour leak filled the shed. The threat of fire became imminent.

Soon, a worker with a red flag ran through the work area announcing an emergency situation. Water hydrants as well as sprinklers were activated to bring down the temperature and to prevent heat radiation. All lorries carrying LPG cylinders were moved out of the area. Within 20 minutes, the situation was brought under control. A worker wearing a fire protection suit entered the filling area and checked the gas leak with a meter to ensure that the situation was under control. The fire-fighting exercise was part of a mock drill conducted by BPCL. The organisation conducts such a drill every month to ensure preparedness of the staff during emergencies.

The BPCL station fills 6,000 cylinders every day and caters to the market in Bangalore as well as Tumkur, Mandya and Chitradurga. The plant can store up to 900 tonnes of LPG in its three units. S. Shanmugam, territory manager (LPG), said cylinders are passed through several rounds of quality checking before they reach the storage shed. Therefore, finding a leak at that stage is rare. "What we have demonstrated in the mock drill is an extremely rare situation. We want our workers to be prepared for all emergencies," he said. K.G. Krishnappa, Director of Factories and Boilers, who oversaw the disaster management programme, said that it had been carried out with all security measures in place.

In case of a pin leak in a domestic set up, officials of BPCL said there is no need to panic. The cylinder should not be placed inverted over a tub of water as liquid petroleum would flow out and could be more hazardous. In such a situation, they said, the safety cap should be placed on top of the cylinder and call the BPCL delivery person to pick up the cylinder. "The safety cap can withstand three times the pressure of the liquid in the cylinder," Mr. Shanmugam said.

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