Utilities Magazine Issue 11 November 2005

Recently, the National Assembly passed on first reading changes to the Health and Safety at Work Act that stipulate an obligation for the employers to insure against an employment accident all employees working in hazardous conditions.

The changes introduce new, stricter requirements for companies providing occupational healthcare services. The reasoning behind the changes is that according to current law the employer bears sole responsibility for the working conditions and is personally responsible for the lapses of the occupational healthcare service even when it's paid by a contract. Now the regional inspectorates for safeguarding and control of public health will control the degree to which the directors of occupational healthcare services assist employers, analyze the health risks to their employees, whether they offer measures to create a secure working environment and whether employees know how to protect themselves.

As a step forward in stride with these requirements the first private organization in Bulgaria, Industrial Fire and Emergency Systems (IFEMS), was established which, jointly with Healthcare Management Systems (HMS), incorporates fire fighting and emergency services, a medical center, health insurance and occupational healthcare services. This bundle of services will be available to every enterprise willing to provide a better level of safety, security and health to its staff. The connections with the needed state institutions is provided.

All three types of licensed activities are offered:

    • Fire-precautionary review - investigation of potential risks for ignition and spreading of fire, preparing an assessment of the fire precautions, development of internal rules and procedures in accordance with current legislation and control of the adherence to them, elimination of the causes and conditions for ignition of fires, providing for conditions for safe evacuation of people and valuables in case of fire and accidents, and providing for conditions for successful extinguishing.

Fire fighting - includes determining the methods and means for fire fighting, setting up plans for elimination of accidents, immediate dispatching of forces and resources in case of a fire, constraining and extinguishing of the fire, rescue of people and property, providing first pre-hospital aid to the victims and organizing the transportation of the victims to the hospitals.

  • Rescue and Emergency Response - determining the methods and resources for rescue and emergency response activities, immediate dispatching of forces and resources in case of calamities, disasters and catastrophies, rescuing of people and property, providing first medical aid and organizing the transportation of the victims to the hospitals.

IFEMS is a company specialized in the field of integrated fire safety and rescue systems in conjunctions with the best world practices (OSHA, LCC and Dupont systems). The company offers services in the fields of risk management, including training, work safety auditing, fire prevention, pre-hospital medical healthcare, rescue and emergency aid in working with hazardous materials. In addition, IFEMS provides technical services in planning and coordinating emergency situations; design, licensing and servicing alarm and fire-alarming systems; design and development of systems for safety management; design and development of integrated systems for management of fire and emergency safety, medical services and work safety; independent on-site auditing of security systems.

In terms of fire prevention, IFEMS controls the adherence to the fire prevention requirements on the site and keeps track of the condition and the correct usage of the fire fighting equipment and the resources for fire fighting and emergency rescue. IFEMS conducts fire prevention training of both the staff on the site as well as the employees of other companies temporarily performing repairs or other activities on the site; organizes training of fire fighting teams from staff working on the site; coordinates the relationship between the management of the site and the local fire brigade service which controls the fire prevention conditions and extinguishes fires; reviews the fire fighting preparedness of the site and the state of the equipment and composes a protocol on the fire fighting conditions as well as specific recommendations for their improvement. In addition, IFEMS offers much more services related to the fire fighting organization on the construction site and meeting the requirements of Regulation No. 2 for the construction and technical norms of fire prevention in building. All of these services are in unison with the requirements of the organization and its activities for fire fighting and emergency rescue regulated by normative documents, and IFEMS has all necessary licenses to perform this activity.

After all employees are evacuated the extinguishing of the fire begins.
There's an oil spill and a fire in the oil station of the crushing room. The "wounded" is taken out by IFEMS' emergency team.

There has been talk in our country for a long time about the need for new solutions upgrading the current state system. "Medic Assist" is a new combined health insurance product, cheap and accessible for every individual, family or business. It includes real services such as medical transportation, medical logistics, hospital treatment, healthcare information. "Medic Assist" is licensed by DZI and is offered by DZI's healthcare insurance company in partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross (BRC). The product is secured by DZI, AirBan, strategic partners from abroad and Bulgaria, leading Bulgarian medical centers in partnership with the national emergency medical aid service. The services are available in every corner of Bulgaria on a 24/7 basis, adding to the services secured by the state. The service can also be used at road accidents, industrial accidents as well as when transport from one hospital to another is required and in case additional information and coordination is needed. When the health insurance contract is signed the insured individuals receive personal subscription card with a unique number and the phone number of the health contact center. The card offers instructions on how to use Medic Assist and offers you the right to additional services. A health insurance contract is offered which describes the included services.

The idea for joint initiative of the industry and the private sector for securing better protection for the people at their workplace was demonstrated on four stages at two different industrial sites and a state-owned hospital in the industrial cluster "Srednogorie Med". Srednogorie is the first region in which the system, combining the technical expertise and resources of DZI, the Bulgarian Red Cross, Industrial Fire and Emergency Systems and Healthcare Management Systems is already functioning. It was demonstrated how state-owned and private institutions could help each other for a better service in healthcare at a moment when the state lacks the necessary resources. During the demonstrations the first paramedics in Bulgaria were shown in action. The training was conducted by the Bulgarian Red Cross. Nadejda Todorovska, deputy general director of the BRC, commented upon the start of the program with the words that the training of the people and their help in case of an emergency provides the "golden" 10 minutes for reaction and stabilization of the wounded on site before they are transported or airlifted. Twenty people participated in the first paramedic training in Bulgaria which lasted 33 days with over 360 training hours.

Demonstrations of the attained skills were conducted on September 27, 2005. The open mine for extraction of copper and cupreous-molybdenum ores in Etropole owned by Elacite Med PLC was chosen for the first demonstration site. An accident was simulated in the engine running the rubber conveyor belt accompanied with a fire. Two people were "injured" - one with a broken arm, and the other - with a broken lower limb and a possible skull fracture.

IFEMS' fire station and medical center are alerted of the accident. The fire brigade and the ambulance are on site within 3-4 minutes. The firemen go in first. The victims are taken out of the accident site and everybody else is evacuated after which the extinguishing of the fire begins. The wounded go into the hands of the medical team, first aid is rendered and are then transported to the medical center. One of the victims has serious trauma and requires further medical help at another medical facility. The team uses the adapted helicopter of DZI, and the wounded employee is transferred to the closest hospital. The whole process takes place in merely 10-15 minutes.

The fire truck and the ambulance are on site within 3-4 minutes. The firemen go in first.
The wounded are taken out from the site of the accident and all employees are evacuated.

The second base for demonstrations was also owned by Elacite Med PLC, but in Mirkovo Village. The simulated accident included a malfunction in an air compressor and an oil spill. To monitor the situation a team with a fire emergency vehicle and an ambulance is available twenty-four hours a day. Constant radiocontact and phones for emergency calls are provided. When the emergency call is received two teams are dispatched on the scene consisting of a fire truck with 4 firemen and an ambulance with a doctor and two medical assistants. The rescue of the wounded, their transportation to the nearest hospital and the extinguishing of the fire occurs in good coordination between the different teams. The wounded is put on the helicopter and it takes off within 2 minutes of landing; transportation to the closest hospital, in this case in Pirdop, takes 4 minutes.

The closed mine of Chelopech Mining in Chelopech Village is the third base for demonstrations. The mine employs 800 people for whose safety the management takes precautions on a daily basis. The simulated situation involves the oil station of the crushing room and includes an oil spill and a fire. A victim has to be taken out of the site of the accident and inhaled oxygen with an oxygen apparatus. The medical teams from IFEMS and HMS are notified of the accident. They are on site within 5 to 7 minutes and join the rescue teams of Chelopech Mining PLC. Each of the rescue teams is equipped with personal protection gear specific to the production. The special suit used in the case of gas poisoning of the air takes 2 to 3 minutes to be put on. The protected rescue team enters the oil station. The actions take place in the same order as in the previous situations. Here too, speed and professionalism are a first priority. The whole operation takes no longer than 15 minutes.

The last, forth base is located in Pirdop, outside the center for first medical aid in the town. One of the more seriously wounded cannot receive the necessary medical help and needs to be transported to a specialized hospital in Sofia. He has to be transferred by a helicopter which had landed on the town standium. The medical team has prepared the victim and transports him to the helicopter by an ambulance.

The simulation exercise conducted by a number of several teams managed separately shows good coordination of the activities. In practice, this was the first demonstration in the country of the capabilities of the system for emergency response on the site of accidents with combined teams of IFEMS and Healthcare Management Systems, introducing in Bulgaria contemporary rescue and emergency response systems.

Because for us people are most important!





Lord, I ask for courage
Courage to face and conquer my own fears ...
Courage to take me where others will not go ...
I ask strength
Strength of body to protect others,
and strength of spirit to lead others ...
I ask for dedication
Dedication to my job, to do it well,
Dedication to my community, to keep it safe ...
Give me, Lord, concern for those who trust me,
and compassion for those who need me ...
And please, Lord, through it all,
be at my side ...