Naval Station Rota Fire and Emergency Services, along with guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), conducted a major integrated fire drill, August 29.
This was the second integrated fire drill evaluated by the Installation Training Team (ITT) since the arrival of the four forward-deployed naval force (FDNF) destroyers. The purpose of the drill was to ensure the ability of shipboard and installation firefighters to provide an integrated response to a ship undergoing maintenance while demonstrating, with appropriate communication, safety and equipment handling.
“We started out with a single compartment fire, the fire spread beyond the initial watch standers capabilities,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Cunningham, Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center training team leader. “That evolved the fire into multiple compartments and that point it was the cue for the ship to request support and mutual aid from Naval Station Rota Fire and Emergency Services.”
Lt. Joseph Suchan, Naval Station Rota ITT safety officer, said the overall objective of the exercise was safety.
“The exercises we execute typically involve some combination of military and first responder personnel, each of whom regularly operate in hazardous conditions,” said Suchan. “Consequently, the required training to enhance and maintain readiness carries risk with it as well. In order to reduce risk to an acceptable level we conduct Operation Risk Management (ORM) prior to each exercise. Without this ORM process there would undoubtedly be an increased amount of mishaps during these exercises.”
Each participating organization has their own criteria checklist that is evaluated and assessed after the drill and they discuss what areas went smoothly and what may need improvement.
“The drill was outstanding,” said Suchan. “The participants performed well and there is a high amount of confidence that should a real world fire occur on a ship in port, that both ship’s force and the installation fire department are prepared to respond effectively.”
According to Cunningham and Suchan, if they did not conduct these exercises, then it would significantly reduce the response effectiveness to an in-port shipboard fire. Furthermore, as an overseas base, it is imperative that they assume a “one team-one fight” mentality.
Naval Station Rota enables and supports operations of U.S. and allied forces and provides quality services in support of the fleet, fighter and family for Commander, Navy Installations Command in Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA).
Just as a ship performs lines of operation that provide a capability, Navy Region EURAFSWA bases perform the same eight lines of operation to provide capability to the fleet, joint and allied forces. These eight lines of operation are: air operations, port operations, safety, security, housing, MWR, Fleet and Fleet and Family Services and what is called the core: the fuels, water and power that keep the bases running. Through our lines of operation, our installations are force multipliers that maximize combat capability of operational units.