Naval Base Guam Fire and Emergency Services workers joined the crew of the Independence variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson for a harbor fire drill this week, according to a Navy press release.
The exercise simulated a fire aboard the USS Jackson which tested the ability of the emergency team in the ship’s harbor in conjunction with base firefighters and Joint Region Commander Marianas. This type of training provides base services and the ship’s force the opportunity to practice joint firefighting techniques and procedures to effectively extinguish a major fire while moored at a pier in Apra Port, according to the Navy.
“Ships assigned to Task Force 76 are required to conduct expeditionary maintenance throughout the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, making routine training to mitigate damage, including fires, to on board our assets a priority, ”Rear Admiral Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7 / Task Force 76, said in the press release.
In the event of a major fire, integration between the ship’s crew and the shore-based fire and emergency crews is crucial to saving the ship. Conducting joint exercises allows for the practice and rehearsal necessary to fill communication gaps and is an opportunity to combine the techniques necessary to assist on-board personnel during an accident.
“It is important to have these exercises as frequently as possible, especially in forward areas such as Guam,” said Mark S. Berry Jr., Naval Base Guam’s assistant fire chief for training. “This lets the ship know the level of support it will receive once in port. For firefighters, this gives us experience and training on different Navy vessels and allows us to offer assistance to any vessel that is in port.
“Sailors are the first responders to every casualty,” said damage control chief Daniel Solis. “By having sailors trained to their maximum capacity, we give the fire and emergency services time to arrive and integrate with the crew, thus increasing the chances of saving the ship. “
Knowing what services are available and using them effectively can make all the difference in an emergency, the Navy said.