Navy joins forces with civilian firefighters

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Kylie Jagiello (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Training

Members from the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services Trainee Fire Fighter School with instructors from the Royal Australian Navy School of Survivability and Ship Safety - West at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia. (photo: LSIS Kylie Jagiello)
Members from the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services Trainee Fire Fighter School with instructors from the Royal Australian Navy School of Survivability and Ship Safety - West at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia.

Navy further strengthened ties with State Government agencies in Western Australia recently when members of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) undertook maritime firefighting training at the RAN School of Survivability and Ship Safety – West (RANSSSS-W).

The training saw a group of DFES instructors and recruits travel to HMAS Stirling to participate in a number of real-time maritime firefighting scenarios to enhance the training they receive at the DFES fire-ground.

RANSSSS-W Training Facility Manager Warrant Officer Marine Technical Paul Phillips said the partnership between Navy and DFES was a win-win situation.

“This inter-service training gives both DFES and Navy members the opportunity to share and receive knowledge and experience that they may otherwise not have been exposed to,” WO Phillips said.

“From a DFES point of view, it allows their members to gain a complete understanding of firefighting onboard both Navy and merchant vessels, as well as giving them the opportunity to conduct training in a more realistic maritime training unit than is available at the DFES training facility.

“The reciprocal arrangement allows Navy to conduct training at the DFES facility which gives us the chance to deal with more intense exercise fires that can be achieved in an RAN facility.

“It also gives us the opportunity to experience and study ‘real smoke’ behaviour as opposed to training smoke, which is an extremely valuable component of firefighting training.”

Warrant Officer Phillips said both organisations could see the value in such an inter-service training arrangement, and he hoped the partnership between Navy and DFES would continue to grow into the future.