Saturday, May 16th, 2009 at 10:03 | by Alistair Baillie

So last week had me doing the first of my final short courses, Advanced Fire Fighting. For those who don’t know what’s involved it is a 4 day course which extends the content of the STCW Basic Fire Fighting course.

The first day is a theory day and pretty much recovers the content of the basic course – only in a lot less time, at the end of the day there is a brief lecture on the correct wearing of the BA equipment and the correct way to perform various types of searches and open doors.

Day two starts nice and early at 0830 using different types of fire extinguishers to put out class A and B fires. This is followed by using hoses to extinguish a class A fire. You are then taken a walk round the fire unit which is designed to model a ships accommodation and engine room.

After a short break you put on BA and are split into your teams, we then walked through the unit carrying out search and door opening procedures with zero visibility moving from level 2 up to 3 and then out again.

By now its lunch time and after lunch you put BA back on and re enter the unit. This time they have set a large class A fire in the bottom of the unit. In our case we entered on level 4 and proceeded down a stairwell, performed a casualty search, then opened a hatch and descended to level 2. We carried out another casualty search before descending down onto level 1 into the room where the fire was. After spraying it with water a few times we made our exit via the nearest door and the next team proceeded through.

Day 3 is another theory day this time covering fixed installations and in groups you discuss failings during previous incidents onboard ship.

Day 4 again starts nice and early at 0830 using foam to extinguish class B fires. This is then followed by the first major exercise of the day where 3 BA teams are to enter the unit where there have been various class A and one large class B fire as well as a few casualties reported. I was in BA team 4 so not required to enter on the first exercise, I spent the exercise rigging the hoses and inline inductor for the BA teams and then helping with the BA control board.

The afternoon had major exercise 2 which was similar to the morning exercise, except rather than entering via level 2, we were to enter via a shaft tunnel directly into the engine room where the large class B fire was located. I was in the first team to enter, after extinguishing the class B fire we located a casualty, evacuated them and proceeded to extinguish a class A fire. We then made an entry through to the aft of the engine room where there was another large class A fire and a casualty, in this case we couldn’t get to the casualty and due to running low on air we retreated and the the second team entered.

To sum it up it was a lot of fun. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I have EDH (where you have to tie knots and rig stages / bosuns chairs) and then I have a week and a half off before the 4 day first aid course.

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