Forty Sailors from USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) participated in aircraft firefighting training at the Naval Engineering Learning Site here March 1.
Students learn about the chemistry of fire, how it behaves, how it moves, and how to extinguish it. Fighting an aircraft fire is different than fighting a shipboard fire. Different techniques are used, due to the uniqueness of the fire.
“With a shipboard fire, say, a berthing fire for example, you can classify it and contain it,” said Chief Damage Controlman David D. Jefferson
, senior instructor. “With aircraft fires, you have man-made items such as composite fibers, and it reacts differently to fire. Having those skills would be more effective to have, especially if a fire breaks out onboard a ship, specifically on the flight deck or in a hangar bay, so Sailors can take care of the casualty.”
Students receive hands-on training in realistic settings to closely simulate the sequence of events in case of a real fire.
“We use JP-8 (a fossil fuel) to ignite our fires, which gives us heat and black smoke, and it makes training more hands-on,” said Jefferson. “Stateside facilities use propane. Fossil fuel makes the fires more realistic. Fire is always real, but you get a better effect with the heat and black smoke.”
To help teach the students valuable skills needed to combat a fire, the instructors share their personal firefighting knowledge with the students. Students learn through classroom instruction as well as from what their instructors have learned in the past.
“The instructors bring their experiences into the classroom,” said Jefferson. “Some fought fires on big decks and some on small decks. There are about 30 years of experience at this school – personal experience as well as what is taught in class. I always talk about my experience with aircraft fires, as well as shipboard ones. Fire is fire, but there is something unique about that aircraft fire – it makes fighting it challenging.”
Students take back valuable skills that will help them perform their duties effectively.
“I learned the importance of working as a team and how to put out a fire,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Blake Ryan Covic, a Kitty Hawk Sailor
. “I can take back team cohesiveness, how to work as a team, and to get the job done the right way.”
Master Chief Damage Controlman David Singer
, enlisted officer-in-charge of the Center for Naval Engineering Learning Site, Yokosuka said 2,500 Sailors from Yokosuka participate in firefighting training annually. Combating aircraft fires is among the many skills learned at the Naval Engineering Learning Site.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chantel M. Clayton, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Japan