Basic firefighting

April 11, 2008   


The last two days of STCW95 training involved Basic Fire Fighting one day in the classroom which was a struggle and one day in the simulator. Today we were in the simulator and I just got out of a shower where I washed my hair twice as I smelt like I spent the day standing in a BBQ.

We did the following drills or evolutions at the simulator:

  • search and rescue in a pitch black smoke filled room with breathing apparatus you start by feeling for the heat on the outside of the door than standing to the opposite side to the hinges you relieve any pressure, assess the situation inside, go to air, open the door and check that the deck hasn’t burnt away, go inside and drop to the floor on your knees, your partner comes in behind and keep contact with the wall while they hold onto you then you both sweep all the surfaces in the room looking for the lost crew member.
  • demonstration of Co2 fire extinguisher in the engine compartment
  • hot box – this is where you go into a room that gets up to over 300F at the furthest point away from the fire. There is so much heat that the metal walls start making noises as they expand. You knee in the room with your breathing apparatus and full fire fighting gear and watch a fire (made from packing crates) and how it acts with indirect, direct and combination methods of fighting it. You see how it grows, creates smoke which very quickly within 6 minutes blacks out the room so that you can’t even see the roof with the instructors flashlight. The instructor sprays the walls creating a lot of steam and a large increase in the room temperature. Then the smoke is vented from the ceiling to get the fire to do rollovers which means the smoke at ceiling level catches fire and the flames are overhead. I got a chance on the hose to do a direct hit at the fire for a few seconds it was amazing to me how quickly the fire restarted despite the large dose of water.
  • egress – this is where you go into a smoke filled dark room and have to get out through a different door that you came into. They have created a labyrith in there so you are on your hands and knees keeping your hand on the wall feeling your way along. This shows how important it is to know your boat or house so that you can find your way out quickly in the event of a fire.
  • hose handling and putting out a pit fire – two teams of 5 move in unison towards a large fire in a pit on the deck of the simulator. Both teams have a mist spray which protects you from the heat of the fire while you advance towards it. Then one team keeps misting while the other goes to a 45 degree spray and does a direct hit in a sweeping manouvere to put out the fire. Then you back away from the fire. Our instructor said we were the best group he had had!
  • fire extinguisher handling – a galley and generator fire are simulated. You get to use the dry chemical and the Co2 extinguishers to put out each fire.

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  • laying down of foam out of a fire hose – this didn’t work that well as there was something wrong with the mixing mechanism however, there was some foam.

All in all it was a really fun day I particularly liked how you took 30 minutes break after 15 minutes of working!


One Response to “Basic firefighting”

  1. I had to google “STCW95” to figure out what the heck you are doing now!

    Everytime I stop by to see what you’re up to … all I can think of is “busy busy busy!”

    Hope all is well. Be safe out there!