Eugène van Geffen founded Blusco in 1995 whilst working as a fire chief. In 2006 he decided to wholly focus on the company - and it turned out to be a good choice. The firm now employs five permanent staff and 15 temporary employees working out of beautiful premises in Boxtel in the south of the Netherlands. The company recently took delivery of a new Rioned UrbanJet and we asked Eugène what a company that focuses on fire prevention and extinguishing planned to do with a sewer cleaning machine?
Grown big by staying small
Eugène explains the Blusco business model is unique, that they wanted to do it differently from the start rather than copy larger existing firms. “Large companies are happy to provide advice in which they primarily want to sell their own products, preferably in combination with a long-term contract for periodic inspection,” he says. “In the early years of Blusco, we mainly gave advice in the field of fire safety and supplied all kinds of common extinguishing agents. In addition, I was increasingly asked whether I also gave emergency response courses. That is why I started a training center in 2004. First in Den Bosch, but this location soon turned out to be too small. That is why we moved a larger building in Boxtel in 2010.”
"My ultimate dream was to buy a large new building in order to accommodate Blusco," Eugène continues. “In 2015 we were able to purchase land, and this dream became a reality. A new training center was built which was officially opened in 2017.”
Since its formation, Blusco has grown into an industry-leading company with a wide range of clients throughout the Netherlands both large and small. For example, the firm undertakes work at Eindhoven Airport, large breweries and cinemas, and also student houses, catering establishments, hospitals, mortuaries, farms, hotels and prisons.
“Showing the customer what you do and how you do it, makes you come across as reliable and that is very important to me,” says Eugène. “Of course, customers are also telling others that they are very satisfied which keeps the customer base expanding. Actually, by staying small we have become big.”
Dry fire pipes
In addition to providing emergency response training and advice on the sale and maintenance of fire extinguishers and fire hose reels, Blusco also regularly extrudes dry fire extinguishers/pipes. To carry out these jobs, they recently purchased a Rioned UrbanJet.
Eugène explains the role of a dry extinguishing pipe in a building: “Nowadays there are many high-rise buildings. Safety is of great importance here. Facilities therefore must be constructed in such a way that the fire brigade can intervene when a fire breaks out on a higher level. These facilities consist of empty pipes on each floor of the building that the fire brigade on the ground can connect their vehicle to. The fire brigade can then take loose hoses to the relevant floor and connect the hose to the extinguishing pipe for access to a water supply to extinguish the fire.”
Eugène continues: “It’s important that the fire brigade can rely on the pipes working properly; that they are under sufficient pressure and there are no leaks. That is why the dry extinguishing pipes must be checked and pressure tested once every five years.”
“We purchased the UrbanJet to carry out this job. The machine delivers more bars of pressure than we actually use, namely a maximum of 24 bars, but with a unit like this it works perfectly.”
“To carry out this work, we connect the UrbanJet to the water supply at the bottom of the building, as the fire brigade would do. We then enter the building and check all connections to vent them. When we are on the top floor, the pressure in the pipes is increased to the pressure it must have according to building standards.”
Heavy fire-fighting pump from 1963 makes way for compact UrbanJet
“We previously carried out this work with an old fire pump from 1963,” Eugène explains. “It was actually part of a pump that is standard on a firetruck. This one worked fine, but it wasn’t very convenient. It was a large and heavy pump, weighing about 2.5 tons, so you automatically had to go on the road with a large, heavy van. This was not convenient in busy city centers and parking garages.”
For that reason, he started looking for a more compact alternative: “We wanted to keep up with the times. Now we can also easily carry out jobs in a parking garage, when before we couldn't get there with the old set-up.”
“In the first place we wanted to go for a smaller pump, but in the end, we decided 'If we do it, then we will do it right', which is why we opted for the UrbanJet. Thanks to the RioMote remote control, I can now have the job done by one person, while previously this was always done by two people. One was downstairs, next to the pump and the other one checked all the pipes in the building. Now one person can enter the building to check all fire pipes and, using the remote control, operate the pump at the same time. We are currently testing how far the remote control can reach, but with our first job in a parking garage we had to deal with a 100-meter line and it managed without difficulty.”
A delicious cake
“Of course, I am a businessman and therefore compared different machines,” says Eugène. “In the end, I also chose Rioned because your operations are relatively close by. I had a good conversation with your representative Clément Thobie and I was invited to visit the factory. We were made to feel very welcome and received good cooperation.”
“The machine was eventually delivered, and we installed it in our van ourselves. The first job with the new machine was in Rotterdam, and we are very satisfied with the results. Clément also brought a delicious cake with him on delivery, which is always good, of course!”
Thanks for sharing this great story Eugène, and it’s always fascinating to hear how Rioned machines can also be used for completely different applications!
If you’re curious about what Rioned can do for you, we’d love to hear from you!