Monday, 8 September 2008

Highly Trained and Professional...

Last Sunday evening (31st August) I was down in the Ward with a patient whose story I'm writing. Now for those of you who are curious, the Ward is located down on Deck 3. There is only one accommodation deck below, which only has about ten or so cabins. It is then primarily engine spaces and cold storage and the like. So you're pretty low down. Certainly quite a way from Deck 7.

So I was sitting with the patient and his mother when suddenly the Crew Alert Alarm went off, and all the fire doors around began to close. I dashed through a closing fire door and sprinted the four decks to my muster station, Fire Control, on the Bridge. I man the Fire Panel in the event of an emergency. I don't even remember how I got there. I don't remember my route. It was all adrenalin. I just found myself up on Deck 7 in no time at all. Whilst standing-by, the PA system came on and it was the Duty Officer:

“There was a fire on-board, but it is out. All Emergency Teams stand-down. Again, there was a fire on-board, but it is out. All Emergency Teams stand-down.”

The fire was in the Snack Bar where some boxes of potato chips were too close to the lights. The heat had ignited the box. A quick-thinking person had hit a manual-call point (which sets off the Crew Alert Alarm) while another equally quick-thinking person had doused the flames with water.

It was just great to see how well trained our Emergency Teams are. The way we responded by getting to our muster stations quickly was just so professional. One of my good friends here had already got to his muster station and was already kitted out in full fire-fighting gear by the time the call came to stand-down.

Another thing this situation showed me is just how unfit I am. I may have got to the Bridge in quick time, but I really felt the effects of my mad dash. As soon as the call to stand-down came, I realised how much I was puffing and panting. It is definitely time for a more stringent exercise routine!
The photos here are from January when I was helping my friend Marius check the safety equipment in the Fire Stations.

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