Prior to training at the Royal Australian Navy School of Survivability and Ship’s Safety (RANSSSS) in Jervis Bay, the members of NUSHIP Canberra’s crew who were selected as Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party had only glimpsed each other around the workplace.
After training in the leak stop and repair facility and dousing fires on the fire ground together they now know each other much better.
The training conducted at the school in May aimed to enhance the skills of the Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party in the fire fighting and leak repair techniques specific to Canberra, and also to build cohesion within the team.
The Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party are the first onboard the ship to respond to any emergency and are the core of the damage control organisation at sea. Once the alarm is raised for a fire, flood or toxic hazard the team has a standard time in which they must arrive at the scene and begin to deal with the problem.
Able Seaman Kyle Dickerson said he is looking forward to representing both his ship and his department as a member of the ship’s Emergency Party.
“This is my first time as a member of a ship’s Standing Sea Party, though like most sailors I have participated in damage control in the past.
“I believe the training we received at the School of Survivability and Ship's Safety was invaluable in building team cohesion and skill development,” he said.
“I think bonds have begun to form between the members of Party and will continue to grow, aiding our ability to defend our ship in a damage control situation.”
Damage Control Instructor Chief Petty Officer Darren Harkins said that even though the team lacked real experience in the Landing Helicopter Dock environment at sea, they weren’t daunted by the task at hand.
“Under the guidance and leadership of the Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party In-Charge, Petty Officer Nathan Adamson, they become a close functioning team,” Chief Petty Officer Harkins said.
“More training will happen when the ship arrives, but to date, these members have the ability to handle most situations presented to them.
“They worked extremely well as a team, which was evident in the dynamic leak stop and repair unit.
“Most advanced classes have three days to get ready for the exercise, our crew had none and yet completed the exercise in the same time as the advanced class.
“I don't think I have seen bigger smiles on faces in a long time.”
The team also used the training to become familiar with new equipment, two new fire hose nozzles, the 38mm and the 64mm. The whole team used the nozzles and became familiar with them as they differ significantly from the Elkhart nozzle that is standard throughout the rest of the Fleet.
The Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party also worked with the new Mk IV OCCABA breathing apparatus to be used onboard Canberra.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141705.