Fire! Fire! Fire! CGC Mustang crew trains for flames
Posted by PA3 Meredith Manning, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Coast Guard crewmembers routinely train to respond to emergency situations they may encounter while underway. Fire aboard a cutter can cause mass casualties or total loss of the vessel, but proper training can help crewmembers to quickly and safely save lives and the ship.
Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang had the opportunity to take a firefighting drill to the next level at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center’s fire trainer in Seward, Alaska. During a typical firefighting drill aboard a cutter, crewmembers simulate the fire from the moment the alarm sounds until the drill facilitator determines the fire is extinguished. While the training drills are thorough, it cannot prepare crewmembers for the feeling of heat or the flash of flames as fire engulfs an area of the ship. The fire trainer allowed the crewmembers to experience fighting a fire first hand. This unique opportunity also allows the crew to train together, giving them an experience that is most like what they would experience if a fire occurred while underway.
“Ultimately the trainer provides crewmembers with real life experience in extinguishing a fire,” said Lt. Matthew Brinkley, the commanding officer of the Mustang.
As the first Coast Guard unit to utilize the school’s facility, the Mustang crew was the test subject for a new way of training for other Coast Guard units in Alaska. Typically crewmembers are sent to training schools in the lower 48 to participate in advanced fire fighting schools. Utilizing a trainer in Alaska allows an entire crew to be trained at approximately the same cost of sending one member to a firefighting school.
“The Mustang crew was the test platform for a program that could save the Coast Guard money and provide a great training experience for many units,” said Chief Warrant Officer Samuel Hoy, the engineering officer at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.