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    Tripoli Successfully Completes Major Fire Drill

    USS Tripoli Passes Major Fire Drill

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Danian Douglas | 230614-N-XP477-2047 SAN DIEGO (June 14, 2023) – A Sailor assigned to amphibious...... read more read more

    CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

    06.14.2023

    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Malcolm Kelley 

    USS Tripoli (LHA 7)

    SAN DIEGO – Amphibious assault carrier USS Tripoli (LHA 7) met all objectives for a major fire drill assessment that evaluated fire and emergency response from ship’s force, local, regional and national emergency response teams including the Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC), Naval Surface Forces Pacific Command, Fire and Emergency Response Service (Fed Fire) and Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) June 14, 2023.

    The Navy requires all ships in major maintenance availabilities to complete a damage control industrial (DC-I) certification as well as successfully complete a major fire drill known as the 8010 Chapter 12 fire drill. Tripoli successfully completed their DC-I in April of this year and passed their Chapter 12 fire drill with a score of 97 percent. Periodic shipboard fire drills in ships undergoing availabilities are important to demonstrate proficiency and coordination among ship’s force, installation firefighters, and mutual aid support in responding to shipboard fires that may occur during industrial work. However, the drills were never required by NAVSEA to test or evaluate the full emergency response capabilities of the Ship Repair and/or Construction Activities (SRCA) that would be needed to combat a major fire. Thus, the criteria and requirements were developed to conduct a major shipboard fire drill at each SRCA annually and to have them formally evaluated.

    Tripoli was selected to support the 8010 Chapter 13 major fire drill this year for Naval Base San Diego. This drill tested Tripoli’s Flying Squad, in-port emergency teams and medical department on their firefighting and medical response capabilities to minimize casualties and damage to national assets. The drill also evaluated Naval Base San Diego and Southwest Regional Maintenance Center’s ability to support ships in the event of a major fire.

    “The goal of the command is to demonstrate that the crew is capable of fighting fires and meeting certain timelines to prevent the fires from spreading or becoming a major fire,” said Chief Damage Controlman Brandon Holst. “The requirement is to have fire teams manned and ready with agent on the fire in less than 12 minutes and fire zone boundaries set and maintained within 15 minutes and we met those objectives.”

    Tripoli prepared for the drill by conducting daily shipboard firefighting drills and training as part of their normal routine. A steady strain approach is the catalyst to create the muscle memory required for an actual event. Holst said one of the most challenging parts of the preparation was the drill package preparation and the coordination with all damage control training team members to ensure all drill impositions were timed to perfection.

    Tripoli was not told which of its six duty sections would be called for the drill until 48 hours prior to the event, therefore each section had to be equally prepared. The damage control training team illustrated the significance of the drill to Tripoli’s entire chain of command, said Damage Controlman 1st Class Javier Fernandez. “We aligned all training teams and entities to ensure everyone in every section understood the magnitude of this drill.” We literally had everyone’s support, Fernandez said.

    Tripoli’s Flying Squad inspected all the repair lockers daily and ensured each one was outfitted with the required firefighting gear, said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Juan Recinos.

    “All 10 lockers on the ship were kept up to standard,” said Recinos. “We made sure all the self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs) were up to 4000 PSI, all lockers were set, and all 10 naval firefighting thermal imagers (NFTIs) were functional.”

    The 8010 Chapter 13 drill began with a single simulated fire in Tripoli’s aviation ground support equipment room, which rapidly cascaded out of control into multiple fires and personnel casualties. To save the ship, the crew evacuated onto the pier, dressed out in firefighting ensembles, and tackled the fires in multiple teams. Attacking multiple casualties simultaneously required support from all hands as well as outside entities, said Cmdr. Jonathan Duenas, Tripoli’s damage control assistant.

    “Onboard Tripoli you see a culture of sincere teamwork,” Duenas said. “Sailors from all departments and all duty sections stepped up and worked as one with our shipmates across the waterfront. We ended up putting 14 attack-teams and half that many relief teams made up of Tripoli Sailors, Sailors from other ships and Fed Fire into play. At one point, we had more than 100 Sailors and firefighters dressed out and ready to fight the fire. When it was their time, they executed with precision.”

    Shipboard firefighting procedures require electrical power to be shut off in an affected area. Due to this electrical isolation, Sailors had to fight many of these simulated fires in total darkness, relying on flashlights to see and NFTIs to detect hot spots in the smoke-filled spaces. The Sailors also wore SCBAs, which further restricted their visibility and ability to communicate with the repair lockers.

    “All the helmets had LED lights and fresh batteries, but when we were in the compartments they weren’t enough because the smoke was so thick,” Recinos said. “I had to rely on the NFTI so we could report on where the fires and hotspots were, so I could guide my team.”

    Naval Base San Diego’s firefighters and Fed Fire and emergency response personnel supported Tripoli’s damage control efforts with SCBA recharging, and rehabilitation support for Tripoli’s medical personnel, while SWRMC assessors monitored the event.

    “Fed Fire is able to respond much faster than other ships on the pier,” Holst said. “They show up dressed out and ready to go.”

    Tripoli’s health services department responded to personnel casualties and ensured firefighting teams returning from a fire were fully recovered before returning to the drill. Every Navy evolution contains some level of risk, said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Christopher McCloskey.

    “When there’s an evolution this large with these many entities, there’s an increased possibility of personnel casualties,” McCloskey said. “We prepared in the months leading up to the drill to handle any kind of personnel casualty that might occur,”

    After approximately three hours of nonstop drilling, the drill concluded, and the assessors evaluated the crew’s performance. Sailors received news the next day that Tripoli, Fed Fire, SWRMC, and NBSG had met all objectives for the drill.

    Duenas expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Tripoli Sailors and all supporting entities.

    “I am grateful that not only did we exercise our playbook at such a high level, but also that we did so with no injuries or damage,” Duenas said. “Our team received incredible support from entities at all levels, especially Fed Fire, NBSD and SWRMC teams. The combined effort truly made us greater than the sum of our parts.”

    Navy leadership at the fleet level lauded the crew’s damage control efforts, as well as the excellent material condition of the ship, said Capt. John Kiefaber, Tripoli’s commanding officer.

    “All the hard work you are putting into preserving the ship is paying off,” Kiefaber said in an address to the crew. “U.S. 3rd Fleet Commander, Admiral Boyle recognized us for our efforts. Keep it up, you’re doing a great job!”

    Years before the USS Bonhomme Richard fire, the Navy implemented the doctrine that “every Sailor must be a firefighter” after an explosion on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal on July 29, 1967. The fire was so catastrophic that it killed most of the ship’s firefighters within minutes. If the Forrestal fire changed the way the Navy handled damage control, the Bonhomme Richard fire changed the way the Navy is implementing damage control training.

    Tripoli is an America-class amphibious assault carrier homeported in San Diego. The ship is currently in its selective restricted maintenance availability.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.14.2023
    Date Posted: 06.28.2023 18:37
    Story ID: 448244
    Location: CALIFORNIA, US

    Web Views: 333
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