In light of a recent fire on another vessel in boston we decided tonight to run some fire drills onboard Odyssey. This included not only a group meeting on what to do in the case of a fire, and using a training water extinguisher, but also running a full drill simulating an A class fire in the forward galley. The full crew first practiced getting into turn out gear including scba’s, as well as going over duty stations for a fire.
We then packed all of the gear away and made like we were just going about our normal cruise duties, the captain then called out a fire in galley over the house radios. Accordingly we sprang to action, myself and Thayer started putting on the turn out gear, Burgess responded directly to the fire, determined we needed more than an extinguisher, and ran out the hose. Mollica stood by the engine room door for the command to energize the pump. After running out the hose Burgess helped Thayer and myself finish suiting up and we proceeded to the hose while Mollica energized the pump. For our drill we ran hose out of the cargo door, and as we stood by the best part of the drill happened. As Mollica energized the pump the motor started to smoke and the pump never started turning. (or so he told us, this was a secret that the capt threw in) So on the fly he and Burgess had to switch the lines over to the Bilge pump which is designed to be a back up to the Fire pump. Even with this snag we got water flowing on our hypothetical fire fairly quickly.
Drilling like this is in my mind an essential shipboard activity. This is of course for the standard reasons of keeping the crew familiar with the gear, discovering equipment problems, and building teamwork. However on nights with a small cruise like we had, it also really breaks up the boredom! Also with paying passengers on board you are still making money while getting a real underway drill done.
There is also the photo shoots that happen after drills……….