STCW - Day 4 & 5
Day 4: Proficiency Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
Meeting our instructors for the next two days there was a buzz in the atmosphere from excitement, everyone couldn’t wait to get kitted up and start battling giant fires. We travelled through the airfield over to our classroom, it was quite a sight seeing aeroplanes taking off and landing. When we arrived to our classroom we recapped types of fires and their suitable extinguisher, how to enter a room properly with a fire, procedures of opening doors and how to travel through a burning building, the excitement was too much!
We finally were onto the stage of getting kitted up, trying on firefighting gear and instantly feeling like a hero. We walked outside the classroom to the firefighting training ground which the Southampton Fire Department use on a daily basis. We started off with using the fire extinguishers, behind a metal stand stood various items such as wood, a metal computer and a small tray filled with some sort of liquid. In rows of four stood, four types of fire extinguishers, water, foam, co2 and dry powder. Each item was set alight and we would have to work out which extinguisher was best to fit its purpose and then use it to extinguish the flames. The most difficult part I found was trying to take the pin out of the extinguisher, it is very fiddly especially when you have gloves on, with a lot of elbow grease and help from the instructor I heroically walked towards blaze, dousing the fire.
We were then shown what was inside the three large containers. I joined OMT as they were in the middle of setting up the STCW course so I last saw the containers just as they were being made, this was the second time I had seen them and it was amazing the progress there was. It actually felt like you were inside a vessel with the narrow doorways. Walking through and up in the containers we had an idea of how it was laid out which prepared us for the next task, which was walking through the containers in complete darkness. We were put into groups and blind folded with our breathing apparatus, making our way around the container with the stamp and sweep procedure to identify any obstacles blocking us and also to check for stability of the ground below our feet before we let our full body weight touch it, this was to make sure that if the floor did break we wouldn’t fall down with it. Finally finishing our way around the container we entered sunlight outside and discussed our experience of what it was like.
After feeling accomplished we returned back to the classroom to finish off the lectures and prepare ourselves for the next day which was a whole day of practical and battling fires.
Day 5: Proficiency in Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention
The last and final day we arrived at our classroom through the airfield again all prepared for a smoke filled day ahead, we kitted ourselves up and headed outside to where there was a fire engine awaiting our arrival, just a few yards in front of it was a fire which was set alight, our task was to use the water from the engine to put out the fire. Working in twos, one person took charge of the hose and the other person was a support from the back, we starting defeating the fire from its power, eventually putting it to rest. Using the hose was really exciting, I didn’t realise how much power there is that comes out of it, and was a good thing I had someone behind me supporting me otherwise I would of most likely ended up being blasted backwards! After trying different types of power on each fire we then came inside for lunch before we headed back outside to rescue someone.
Like great fire films, the firefighters are always heroically heading inside a burning building to rescue a damsel in distress, and today we were going to try to do the same, accept the only difference was that the damsel was only a rescue manikin but it gave us a chance to see what it felt like to rescue an injured party. But before we could rescue anyone we had to complete the task of smoking out the containers and working in the conditions of it being dark from smoke.
We then moved onto the rescuing section, entering the container full of smoke and had to search for the party in the building, going through every room until we found them. After finding the party we brought them outside feeling proud of ourselves and almost feeling like proper firefighters.utting on our kit we headed outside, and welcomed to the sight of thick grey smoke seeping from the container. In our groups we all took turns in travelling through the containers in the mist with a rope, lining the edge of the container for us to follow, still using the stamp and sweep technique and of course remembering to check our oxygen levels!
Last came the final part of the course, putting out a fire in the container. Our instructors lit a fire in the corner of the container, we went in twos opening the door and using the hose from the fire engine to put out the fire, successfully completing this job we were then trained well enough to best handle certain situations in the future.
I really enjoyed the course, meeting people who have a range of skills and knowledge. I have learnt many skills over the 5 days such as keeping safe if ever lost at sea, how to protect yourself you’re your crew around you if your boat ever gets boarded and also how to keep safe from a fire outbreak. I recommend this course for everyone to take, as the knowledge and training that’s provided is exceptional and professional.