SCI Develops Premiere Fire Training Dedicated to Inland Mariners

Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Inland mariners are suppressing staged fires on a towboat superstructure in a new "hands-on" safety course developed by Seamen's Church Institute's Center for Maritime Education Paducah, Ky. SCI's creative initiative brought together the City of Paducah, a local college, and the maritime industry to create the first-ever fire safety course designed specifically for those who work the rivers.

Developed in response to updated U.S. Coast Guard regulations, this fire safety course, (recently approved by the USCG), is available to licensed and non-licensed mariners who work on inland rivers. The two-day course includes classroom instruction and controlled burns on local fire department's fire field equipped with a superstructure (the top portion) of towboat and a tank barge.

Engineers from American Commercial Barge Lines (ACBL) were the first mariners to attend the inaugural two-day course in June.

"I've seen several fires on boats," said Jim Gilkison, a Special Projects Engineer who has worked for 19 years at ACBL. "Learning in a towboat-specific environment makes this more practical." Gilkinson had taken a maritime fire safety course in New Orleans in 1997.

"In New Orleans we watched a film about the burning of the USS Saratoga off Vietnam. Here in Paducah we saw a film about a towboat on the upper Mississippi that burned for three days," he said. The film, part of the one day of classroom instruction shows mariners how to identify towboat specific danger points for fire fighters and agencies involved in fire control.

"We need to be able to tell fire fighters where fuel tanks are stored, which pumps are full of gasoline, and the location of paint lockers," Gilkison said. "This could mean the difference between ending a fire and losing a boat."

The second day of instruction begins with training in a confined, smoke-filled building. "I would have thought that you just stand up and run," said Larry Thatcher, a Chief Engineer for ACBL, and 25-year veteran of the company. "But this course taught me that you need to travel close to the ground."

"Fire is a real possibility on a boat," he continued. "You have engines running all the time and on my vessel we carry 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel. It could all go quickly and I've seen it happen."

The trainees wear fire fighter "full turn-out gear" that includes self-contained breathing apparatuses when they head for the fire field.

Their first lesson on the towboat superstructure is to control a flange fire where one blank flange comes loose and catches fire. The scenario requires one man to turn off the gas valve. Another simulated fire involves fire breaking out on a high-pressure fuel line on the side of the engine. The trainees must cool it down and turn off the source of the gas.

"It was pretty realistic when we had to smother a pan fire," said Gilkison referring to a 5 x 5 ft. fire similar to one found in a bilge. Experienced fire fighting veterans teach the SCI-developed course that included input from The Four Rivers Training Consortium, consisting primarily of towing companies including Ingram Barge Company, American Commercial Barge Lines, Crounse Corporation, and Bluegrass Marine; the City of Paducah; and West Kentucky Vocational College.

Maritime Reporter October 2013 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

DP World Mulls Senegal Free Zone

DP World  is looking to develop a free zone in Senegal, Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said on Wednesday. Sulayem was speaking at an African investment event in Dubai.

MOL Merges Group Companies; Upgrades Bridge Simulator

MOL adds DPS and enhances safe operation by integrating expertise through merger Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) announced the merger of MOL Marine Consulting, Ltd.

Swissco Doubles Rig Fleet

SGX Mainboard-listed Swissco Holdings Limited an integrated, international marine services provider, today announced having completed the acquisition of four additional mobile offshore drilling units,

Education/Training

BCG Upgrades Virtual GMDSS Simulator

Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG) Inc. released an updated version of its Virtual Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (VGMDSS) Simulation software. BCG’s VGMDSS

Gazprom Constructs Sports Complex in Stavropol

Stavropol hosted today a groundbreaking ceremony of a versatile sports & recreation complex of Gazprom. The sports & recreation complex will include a 50 meter Olympic swimming pool,

New Simulation Tool for Collision Reconstruction

BMT ARGOSS and BMT Surveys, subsidiaries of BMT Group Ltd, the international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, announced an innovative new service

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3186 sec (3 req/sec)