One of the worst things that can happen on board any vessel at sea is a main space Bravo fire. If you’re in charge of your Damage Control organization, you may have asked yourself if your organization have what it takes to combat such a casualty. Do they realize what coordinated efforts have to happen in order to give this story a happy ending, or is it simple irony that we end each scenario with an Abandon Ship exercise?
As a damage control leader, you should be constantly on the lookout for better ways to train your fire parties. This training should be as realistic as possible (in other words, just short of setting an actual fire). Your organization should be in constant critique and review, asking yourself a simple question: “Is it good enough, or can I make it better?” The best way to do this is called “Assets and Deficits.” Using this process, we’ll take a step-by-step look at a main space Bravo fire.
You have a fuel leak in the engine room. The leak increases, causing an atomized spray pattern onto an extremely hot engine manifold. The fuel smokes and becomes a combustible mixture in the atmosphere. The leak increases more. Excess fuel has pooled onto the deck and is running down into the bilge. Finally, the fire triangle has balanced enough to start sustained combustion. You now have a fire with an extremely large source feeding it.
Think how you would fight this fire aboard your ship. Think about your assets and deficits, then visit Part 2 of this story: “Discovery.”
This series was written by Timothy Ciciora, Command Master Chief USN, Retired, Atlantic Beach, Florida, author of short stories, including “The Homecoming,” the opening selection in the Marlo Thomas best selling collection, The Right Words at the Right Time – Volume 2.