>Controling the damage


The life of a damage controlman is anything but ordinary. What I do everyday is important, no matter how trivial it might seem. I take great pride in my work.

Today, I have a work list of maintenance and scheduled checks on various equipment and spaces. Although it may not sound very important or exciting, the smallest, most seemingly unimportant jobs are most vital to the safety and security of ship and crew.

I started out the day fabricating brackets for the installed firefighting system, the system of pipes used to channel water to various hose stations around the ship in order to combat fires that might break out on board.

After that, I performed routine maintenance on the portable exothermic cutting units (PECU) which is used to access a sealed space or compartment in an emergency. Burning at ten thousand degrees, the PECU can cut through one inch of steel in minutes.

I checked the batteries on the units to make sure they held a proper charge, the hose connections to make sure they were tight, and the hoses to make sure they were not torn, damaged, or frayed. Then, I tested both units by cutting through four pieces of scrap metal like a hot knife through butter.

Later on today, I will be performing repairs on the de-smoking fans, which are large mechanical fans used to blow smoke out of smoke-filled spaces after a fire.

I’m also scheduled to take a complete inventory of the damage control equipment in one of the damage control lockers to ensure that all the proper equipment is available to the repair locker teams in the event of an actual casualty.

Finally, I will take a look at the HALON firefighting system in the Engine Room, one of the ship’s first defenses in the event of a fire in that space.

I like my job because everything the other damage controlmen and I do is mission critical. Whether it’s sewage, welding, repairing doors, or fabricating brackets for all the pipe systems, we damage controlmen are involved in all the ship’s operations.

No matter how minute or unimportant a task may seem, our jobs are critical for the safety and security of the ship and her crew.