Fire on Water: Part Two of Two
Last week DCFN Perkins – Damage Control Fireman – of the USS Boxer gave us some incisive facts about the types of classes the NAVY categorizes fires, what makes the classes unique from each other, and the kind of equipment the NAVY’s firefighters uses to fight each class. Check out Fire on Water: Part One of Two to refresh some of your NAVY lingo! Remember, a person on fire is called a “Screaming Alpha.” The damage control groups – known as a “Fire Party” – are made up of five to six people and are split into Team One and Team Two. Team One goes in to handle the fire first. If it is too much or the team starts to suffer from heat exhaustion Team Two fights when needed. On the USS Boxer there are eight repair lockers, in each locker there is a blueprint of the whole ship, a poster rack to display the blueprint, gear, spare equipment to fix damages, and patching tools. DCFN Perkins and others of the same station must learn the ship inside and out. They are responsible with keeping up with the lockers: making sure they are well supplied, the oxygen tanks are full, there is no malfunctioning equipment, and that everything is in a “nice, neat, orderly fashion” inside the lockers, as Perkins tells me with a hint of rebuttal to his tone.
Usually this is expected of them just after they have finished fighting a fire. A very important method DCFN use, something that Perkins stressed a great deal as he was answering my questions, was the “Repeat Backs.” Have you ever played the game Telephone? You say a phrase to the person next to you and they repeat what they heard to the person next to them and so on and so forth until by the time the game ends the phrase the last person got has absolutely nothing to do with what you said in the first place! To avoid that catastrophe, Perkins gives an order to his nozzleman (the man handling the nozzle of the hose) the nozzleman then repeats what Perkins just said to Perkins. If Perkins affirms what the nozzleman just said, then the nozzleman executes the order. Everyone uses Repeat Backs. The Investigator who goes out first to evaluate the fire, the chief, division officer, the boundary men who set up a perimeter in the areas to the side, below and above the fire, the Attack Team Leader – DCFN Perkins – the nozzleman, and the hosemen (there are four men who handle the hose). This is also used in the transmission. As Perkins is getting his orders from a device in his helmet he repeats what he hears before he follows through an order. Once the DCT – damage control team – finishes, after they have checked for hot spots, the De-smoking and De-flooding team move in to clear the smoke and water.