Today we held our weekly safety meeting on the boat. These meetings are mandated by the U.S. Coast Guard and our company. Each week brings a new surprise.
Some times we have a "abandon ship" drill. Sometimes we have a "damage control" drill and other weeks we have a good old fashioned "fire drill." These drill are a good idea and necessary.
What we usually do during the fire drill is drag out 2 or 3 fire hoses across the deck and run the fire pumps. Today was different. We had 2 of our guys dress out in full fire gear and we had a make believe scenario of a fire in the engine room.
We have 3 fire suits on our boat. ( I don't know why because I can guarantee you there isn't 3 guys on here that will go near those suits during a fire.) Let me explain.
My brother has been a Fireman for most of his adult life. I've heard way too many stories about him and his fire company and the fires they have fought. Each time he would be telling me some crazy story about a fire he just went to, I would pretend I was listening but the whole time I would be repeating the mantra, "your freekin nuts...your freekin nuts" in my head.
So, my point is, he is a trained professional fire fighter. I took a one week fire fighting class 25 years ago in New Jersey. Do you really want to put me in a fire suit and send me into a flaming inferno with air bottles strapped to my back? I think not.
We have portable fire extinguishers all over this boat. Over the years I've had to use them. A small grease fire, an electrical distribution panel fire...I can handle those. But if it gets to the point that the fire is so out of control that I have to put on an insulated gumby suit to protect myself, then that means we go to plan B.
The engine room has a CO2 fire fighting system piped into it. The idea is, close all the doors, shut off the ventilation and pull the switch, and the engine room gets flooded with CO2 and puts out the fire. While that is going on, I'll be launching our life rafts.
If I have 2 choices, one is water and one is fire....guess which one I'm choosing.
All we did today was play dress-up.
I wouldn't expect a fire man, to be able to run a tug in a 15 foot sea towing a steel box loaded with gasoline with one week of training. So why do people think I can be a fireman with the same amount of training?