Part III

Fire in the Galley!

Suddenly the peace is disturbed, it is the XO* again; “fire, fire, fire, fire in the galley!” - this is a drill. Everybody rushes out of bed, puts on their clothes and shoes and hurries to their designated station for this role. Two members of the on duty crew are already in the galley ready to extinguish the fire with fire extinguishers. 

The XO, who acts as the referee, makes them leave the galley again as there is too much smoke. The chief of the boat has already got two crew members dressed in anti-flash gear and emergency breathing apparatus. 

With fresh fire extinguishers they enter the galley again and attack the fire. In a couple of seconds their fire extinguishers are empty but the fire is still not extinguished. The XO wants to see a second crew dressed in anti-flash and emergency breathing apparatus. 

They enter the galley again, keeping low, so as not to be hurt by the fire. They extinguish the fire but the XO wants to see a third crew in protective gear with the thermal imaging camera to see if the fire is really out. 

All the while during this exercise the rest of the crew is in the escape compartment. They refill empty air bottles, have a body count so they know where every crew member is and that nobody is missing. 

During the exercise the COB** is in a safe place as close to the fire as he can get. One of his assistants takes samples of CO, CO2 and O2 so they know that it is safe to breathe. 

The fire is now extinguished but the galley is still full of smoke which has to be ventilated outside the boat. The diesel engines are started up, the doors to the engine room are opened and the smoke is sucked out of the galley. 

All the while, a fourth crew dressed in protective gear is in the galley to warn if the fire might ignite again. The XO is happy with the exercise and all equipment is stowed again and made ready for the next time; whether that is for real or another exercise. 

Although this seems like a long exercise this all has to be done in the span of 10 minutes to keep the fire under control. After 10 minutes, the fire is so hot that it is not possible to extinguish it, any more and the boat could be lost!

The off duty crew goes back to bed for a couple of hours. This exercise was meant for the on duty crew but they know that the XO wants to test them as well. 

The submarine is still on the surface and ploughing through the rough seas. It will take another day before they are allowed to dive and the boat sinks into the routine of 6 hours on 6 hours off, with tasks including completing maintenance, operating the machinery, steering the boat or on duty on the bridge.

At 20:00 it is getting dark outside and the officer of the watch orders Red Light conditions in the boat. All lights are dimmed as much as possible and white light is changed to red light. This is done to protect the night vision of the crew who are located on the bridge.

*Executive Officer

**chiefs of the boat

If you missed part II, check it out below:

Jos blog part II

 To see the next instalment, have a look here:
jos part 4