The emergency response team at the West Qurna-2 oilfield held its annual competition for best firefighter in the scorching desert of Southern Iraq. Oil Journal reports.
The emergency response team at Iraq’s West Qurna-2 project was created using the highest international standards in the oil and gas industry. Its training methods have been perfected over the years using international best practices and LUKOIL’s own acquired experience in firefighting and first aid. Hence regular drills have become commonplace, and an annual Best Firefighter and Rescuer of the Year competition has grown into tradition.
The first goal of the competition is to identify the best performing team members in terms of professional qualities and physical fitness. Secondly, the competition allows team leaders to assess the general level of readiness and ability to work under stress. Finally, the competition reveals any remaining gaps in the training process that require attention (specifically, in adjusting future training assignments and programs).
This year’s competition was held on May 6-28. Participants had to pass theoretical tests, physical fitness tests and practical exercises at the training ground under near-real conditions as the competition has grown more complicated over the years. This year organizers included classic physical exercises (racing, pull-ups, and weight lifting) in addition to endurance and stress resistance tests. The firefighters also faced the additional challenge of climate: May is white-hot in southern Iraq, and a firefighter is usually carrying up to 40 kilos of equipment – including protective clothing – at all times. All of this is took place under heavy smoke and minimum visibility. The temperature in heated training areas often hit up to 300 degrees.
Nonetheless all of LUKOIL’s firefighters passed through the entire range of emergency response exercises at the training grounds. These included working with emergency respiratory equipment, carrying the injured, lifting fire hose rolls, passing through a tactical labyrinth and rescuing people in confined space. Team leaders were pleased to note the firefighters’ overwhelming commitment, team spirit and solidarity [see quote boxes].
This year’s competition included both individual and team assessments. Mustaffa Al-Ameri took first place for the second year in a row. Sarmad Al-Hameed took second and Hussein Malik Al-Bahli came in third. The best duty shift was 2B, in which Sarmad Al-Hameed works as assistant to the deputy team leader. Company management presented souvenirs and certificates of merit to the champion, prize winners and the best team. Based on the results, it’s safe to say West Qurna-2’s emergency rescue service meets the highest professional standards in the industry and can serve as a model to other teams.
Working as a firefighter and rescuer requires being in good shape both physically and mentally, which can be attained through continuous and hard training. The annual Best Firefighter competition, which has become a tradition at West Qurna-2, is part of that training. Throughout my entire career in emergency response, I’ve never had the chance to work with such a professional and rapidly developing team as ours here in Iraq.
Evgeny Apalkov, Manager of Emergency Rescue Service
It so happened that I had to compete with my friends and colleagues from my shift. We have built a strong team; some of my team mates will soon be promoted to higher positions and will become leaders of other shifts. I am happy for them, but at the same time I feel sad as I will have to part with them. As far as the competition itself, I would say that it is not easy, but it is a good chance to prove to yourself that you are capable to overcome obstacles.
Al-Bahli Hussein Malik Hashim, Team Member, 3rd place
The competition is not about who is better and who is worse. The main goal is to improve the skills and capabilities of those operating in extreme situations and to search for new rescue methods. The second important goal is to train our young firemen. We've got an international team here and this is a unique opportunity to gather all the best resources from firefighting and rescue services across the globe and unite them in a one team in Iraq.
Al-Hameed Sarmad Nadhim Zbari, Deputy Team Leader, 2nd place
I am very proud I won the Best Firefighter competition this year. It gave us an opportunity to practice the different skills that we learned throughout the course of our daily classes. Although the competition gives us a chance to demonstrate our individual abilities, we certainly understand that the success of an emergency rescue service in any situation is primarily based on team work. I have already thanked my colleagues for their support and today, when the shift is over, I will be able to say the same words of gratitude to my family.
Al-Ameri Mustaffa Abdul Kadhum Ali, Team Member, 1st place
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