As if I didn’t have a big enough work load already in my 17 hour shift! Stepping on board the ship on joining day and being met by the Captain with a little task to organise and carry out in two days time is not the usual way you are greeted when coming back to sea after three weeks off. A couple of months ago I was in this exact position. Don’t get me wrong I love my work and love the challenge of extra work but to organize a training session for 60 people in less than two days, you have to be joking! I had only been working on that ship for a month prior to being asked this so I had to learn a lot more about the ship and all its fire fighting equipment which it carried at the same time as preparing and writing up the training drill.
My task was to arrange a fire fighting circuit training drill for 60 crew members to be held one afternoon when the ship is alongside. I planned a circuit consisting of 6 stations with different fire fighting equipment, each with instructions of their use and a deck officer split between two stations. The training lasted 90 minutes and included hands on use of setting fire extinguishers off, fire hoses, foam and fog branches, donning fire suits and BA gear, the use of fire blankets and chemical suits and grab bags. The feedback was unbelievable. Cooks and stewards thanked me for giving their department a chance to set off fire extinguishers and hold a fire hoses when they were fully charged under pressure. The purpose of the training was to give all crew a chance to use the ship board fire fighting equipment and become familiar of its use in case they are needed to use it in an emergency.
Training is one thing that can never be overlooked at sea. It is an essential part of maintaining the safe running of a ship.