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Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery Fire Chief Ed Steele receives the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association 2019 Partner of the Year award with Commissioner John Harrington of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association has selected the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery as its 2019 Partner of the Year.

The award recognizes community partners which contribute to the development, implementation and delivery of fire and life safety programs, display an institutionalized value toward fire and life safety education, and provide financial or other noteworthy contributions to fire and life safety education.

“Flint Hills Resources is incredibly deserving of this prestigious award because it provides an invaluable service to Minnesota fire departments,” said Tom Pitschneider, city of Shakopee fire marshal and chair of the public education committee for the association. “By offering the free use of its live fire training grounds to area firefighters and support of community programs that educate kids about fire safety, Flint Hills is a true champion of the firefighting profession.”

The Dakota County Fire Chief’s Fire Safety Educators Committee nominated Flint Hills for this award. The Pine Bend refinery fire department has been providing fire departments from around the state free industrial fire training at the refinery’s fire training grounds since 1991. Pine Bend also grants scholarships for firefighters from neighboring municipalities to attend industrial firefighting programs in other locations.

“Flint Hills is an expert in industrial emergency response, which is a great benefit for the firefighters in our community that receive this specialized mutual aid training,” said Judy Thill, Inver Grove Heights fire chief. “Flint Hills is so deserving of this award, and we are thrilled that the company is being recognized for its decades of commitment to improving education and preparedness throughout the firefighting industry.”

Flint Hills Resources maintains a fully functioning, two-house fire department at the Pine Bend refinery. The fire department’s 132 crew members, including 87 refinery volunteers, receive ongoing training on all aspects of industrial emergency response and battle live, pressurized petroleum fires at an onsite training center.

In addition to providing regular mutual aid support and training to area fire departments, last year Flint Hills Resources donated Minnesota’s first-ever car fire training simulator to the Dakota County Fire Chiefs Association. The remote-control simulator uses propone to simulate a car fire and allows firefighters to practice putting out car fires in a way that is safe, controlled and environmentally responsible. In 2014, Flint Hills donated a kitchen fire prevention trailer to the Dakota County Fire Chiefs Association, which firefighters use to educate the public on the proper way to put out a kitchen fire.

“At Flint Hills, we recognize the tremendous service that firefighters provide to their communities,” said Ed Steele, fire chief at Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery. “We believe it is important to do everything we can to support firefighters and the critical service they provide to build safer communities.”

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