Francisco, praised by Backus Managing Director Fernando Zavala for his actions, paid tribute to a Backus scheme that taught him firefighting skills. Being part of a trained emergency response team consisting of Backus employees enabled him to keep a cool head when it was most needed.
Three years ago the Backus corporate affairs team, led by Director of Security Augusto Cavero, set up a training centre at the Motupe plant, teaching firefighting techniques to volunteers like Francisco based on the NFPA 600 standard. Since then, similar facilities have been established in the capital, Lima, in the rainforest region at Pucallpa, and at Cusco and Arequipa airports.
“What does being a firefighter mean? To go in when others are running out,” says Ricardo Vasquez, a response team member who normally works in industrial hygiene safety. “We have learned to work together as a team. Likewise, I invite anyone [in Backus] who wants to be a part of the brigade to join us. It is a wonderful yet exhausting job, but after doing a good job you will definitely wear a smile on your face.”
There are now nearly 278 Backus employees in the response teams, operating as firefighters and paramedics. The training helps them to build a safe environment at Backus plants, teaches leadership skills and teamwork, and fosters a sense of community spirit at the company. However, team bonding and outreach is more than just a help to the community and the company – sometimes it leads to real heroics.