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Valero Port Arthur employees learn rescue techniques, emergency response in course

Port Arthur's Valero Refinery workers attend safety course in Beaumont.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Dozens of refinery workers from Valero in Port Arthur spent Thursday attending a safety course at Foster LLC in Beaumont. 

Today's class was led by former Beaumont firefighter Jeff Philips, who spent more than 20 years with the department. 

Valero refinery employees spent the day in the classroom at Foster Safety LLC in Beaumont. 

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"We'll discuss chemicals, chemicals hazard, we'll talk about chemistry and toxicology then we will get into how you handle those situations," Philips said.

Occupational Safety and Health Organization requires plant workers and emergency personnel to go through annual training. After a few hours of learning, workers traded in their pencils for a pair of gloves. 

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"They don't just go to work and run operation, they also spend a significant amount every year going through the appropriate training so these plants are ensuring that they are keeping our community safe," Philips said.

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Along with completing multiple assignments employees learned how to safely rescue someone injured on the job, along with how to respond to emergency leaks. The techniques discussed in the session included those first responders used to put out the fire in Deer Park. 

"When we're dealing with petroleum products, we can't just use water on those in a lot of cases, we have to use foam and that is, in fact, the techniques and the tact they used over there, utilizing foam to put those fires out," Philips said.

Foster Safety LLC says the Deer Park incident reinforces the importance of safety and training in industry-based jobs found right here in Southeast Texas.

"We know that accidents do happen – we have equipment failures, we have things that go wrong at times, and incidents happen, but because of the training that these people have we have very few that impact the public," Philips said.