Fire Adventure

Apparently, I am not the only one in the Snipe household that knows how to perform rapid response tasks during an emergency.  Mrs. Snipe and Pocket Monkey contained a brush fire until the pros arrived.  I was at work late that night so I missed it.

Mrs. Snipe noticed a growing fire out the back window.  She directed Pocket Monkey to call 911 and report it.  Meanwhile, she filled a bucket with water and started dousing the fire.  She kept going until the fire department arrived.  That is US Navy Rapid Response 101.  She explained that her goal was to keep the fire away from the cars in the adjacent parking lot.  I teased her when she told the story later that night when I got home.  She used a bucket of water, which is a lot better than nothing.  There is a fire extinguisher about 10 steps from our door, that is hard to see.

As always, a crowd gathered.  Nobody was helping.  Mrs. Snipe is not trained.  She has basic adult knowledge of how a fire works.  She has heard some of my stories.  Whether or not that helped her at the time, we will never know.  Mama Bear’s cub was in perceived danger and she acted.

I am very proud of Mrs. Snipe, the one woman bucket brigade.  I wish I would have been home to help.  I would have started barking orders and doing work, much like the Good Samaritan story from a while back.  Training is good.  Training is not always necessary.  Untrained people do extraordinary tasks all the time.  To all the looky-loos, next time grab a bucket.



Even professionals aren’t immune from brain farts.  I nearly caused a catastrophe at work the other day.  I forgot the rule about 6 feet from flammable material while doing hot work.  We almost had a massive fire.  Luckily, my shipmates were on hand to help fix that situation before it got out of control.  That is all for now.  Look for posts to pick up when I have a home computer and internet service.

Damage Control Training

“Every sailor is a firefighter.”

That quote is part of a sailor’s lexicon from the beginning.  Some, such as myself, have firefighting related tasks as part of their rate.  At this point in my career, I am expected to be able to boil down technicalities to bite size bits for the novice.  I have develped a few basic firefighting rules for newbies, some have been borrowed from my teachers.

  • Find it hot, leave it wet.  If it’s wet its not burning.
  • Make a big hole a small hole by jamming crap into it.
  • Take your time, but quickly.
  • Don’t be a hero.  John Wayne is dead.
  • Ship comes before mate for a reason.

These are the ones I remember off hand.

Damage control

As an HT, I am usually on a fire party for emergencies.  I am already not afraid of heat or smoke as witnessed by my choice to make a living using heat and fire to build stuff.  As a young HTFN, I got to experience my first real General Quarters(Battle Station) and mass conflag all at once.  At the time, mass conflag was not as exacly defined as today.  The Cole had not yet been bombed.  I was assigned to mess cranking duties on the cruiser, and the generator dropped the load.  We were already trying to evade a typhoon.  The Engineering Officer of the Watch(EOOW) came over the 1MC announcing system(a big PA) and informed us that we had lost power.  A second announcement very shortly after stated the reason- a Class Bravo(flammable liqud) fire in the forward engine room.  Off go the gongs.  Off go all hands to their assigned stations.  Mine was the aft repair locker.  We were the relief hoseteam for the engineering hose team.  Everybody is generally crapping bricks.  As things progress, one guy manages to slam his hand in a fitting closing it.  Our back up generator spikes, and causes an electrical fire in the associated switchboard.  Yes, two fires for the price of one!  Our newest electrical powered phones(IVCS), were now officially useless.  I had been told when I asked, “It is highly improbable that we will lose forward and aft electricity all at once.”  The brand new nugget of a Damage Control Assistant was on the ball.  “Loss of comms.  Reestablish via soundpowered circuit 2JZ.”  Sound powered phones require no electricity whatsoever.  Very much akin to two tin cans on a string.  Our nugget of a locker officer, wasn’t sure where it was, or how to use it.  We managed to unf*&%$ ourselves and get both fires out.  A lot of training later ensued on using basic communication equipment.  Apparently, our nugget wasn’t the only one confused.  As we were given the all clear, the bells started ringing for the Flying Squad, which is the rapid response emergency party.  We thought it was a mistake.  Not so.  This is a good place to reiterate that every single drainage valve and fitting is closed during General Quarters.  A chopper pilot decided that the lack of shower traffic during this emergency meant he could shower.  He opened the deck drain.  As he showered, the water hit the next closed valve, and came back up the way it went in.  This caused the “JO Jungle” set of staterooms, and the Warrant Officer staterooms, to be flooded to about one half inch deep.  By the way, DO NOT PISS OFF A WARRANT OFFICER is in the top five of things not to do in the Navy.  That poor pilot wished he would have paid more attention in Damage Control Familiarization training.  There you have it.  Two fires, one personnel injury, and a flooded space, all while evading a typhoon.  Adventure indeed.