SAN DIEGO – The crew of USS Sampson (DDG 102) partnered with Continental Maritime of San Diego’s Technical Rescue Team (CMSD TRT) and the San Diego Fire Rescue Department in a unified response to a shipboard fire drill Aug. 26
The drill consisted of a grease fire in the galley and a simulated personnel casualty caused by a Sailor fleeing the scene and falling down an escape trunk.
The San Diego Fire Department provided two fire trucks, a Chief, and defensive firefighting positions to assist in establishing and maintaining fire boundaries. The goal of the drill – to identify and overcome communication and operational challenges so that all parties are better prepared in case of a real fire.
“The drill went very well despite some communication issues,” said Chief Damage Controlman Michael Penny, the ship's Fire Marshall. “We initially had difficulties communicating with the San Diego Fire Department because our radios operated on different frequencies than theirs. However, all parties involved quickly overcame this challenge and two fire department captains stationed themselves in the two main controlling stations in order to improve communications between the fire department and the crew.” Within minutes of the fire being called away, Sampson’s rapid response team rushed to the galley and the fire department arrived on Sampson’s quarterdeck. The fire department proceeded to set fire boundaries while the ship’s fire parties combated the fire using Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF).
"After working through the communication issues, the drill went smoothly, and we were able to fight the fire just as we have been trained to do," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Ian Moore, the ship's fire party team leader.
Meanwhile, the CMSD TRT accessed the trunk, erected a rescue tripod, and installed a winch rope backup system for safety. Two medic rescuers then descended the 30-plus feet to the fallen victim. The patient was then extricated vertically to a safe point.
“The entire drill was deemed a success due to patient extrication to a clear atmosphere in a matter of minutes without inducing additional harm, the Sampson damage control and city fire teams working in unison in tight quarters to assess, attack, contain, and suppress significant fire and, just as importantly, no injuries were sustained to the scores of individuals participating in the drill," said Trevor Jones, Health and Safety Supervisor for CMSD.
“Shipyard environments present unique challenges that require integrating off-ship entities for solutions to emergencies within the lifelines of the ship,” said Cmdr. Tim LaBenz, Sampson’s Executive Officer. “Normally, the crew handles emergencies internally through robust training and drills. However, we recognize the importance of establishing a strong foundation with our civilian counterparts in the event of a casualty in this industrial environment. Getting this right, early in the availability, better prepares everyone. We are very pleased with the outcome of our integrated drill, and we are grateful to CMSD TRT and SD Fire Department for joining us in our efforts to keep Sampson safe.”
Sampson is currently undergoing a selective restricted maintenance availably at CMSD.