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Marine response: what is it?
It’s the local understanding built up over the years. The knowledge and experience between the coast guard and the fire brigade provide an understanding of how to best work together.
With all the modern equipment available to us on the big red fire trucks, this was a timely reminder that the basic pump, hose and branch is the most flexible equipment used for across water response between Coast Guard and Fire Brigade.
Across the water, the skipper of the vessel moves the vessel into shallow water as shallow as can be found for the firefighters to land. The wind sometimes is in your favour (lightly blowing the vessel towards the shore, this assists in steadying the vessel before disembarking.
Yes ! You will get wet feet (surprised) the equipment will not make it ashore any other way, pressure pump, box of hose and small equipment. Enough for one line 60mt in length with an optional 30mt but the pressure drop is significant.
For others reading this consider a grass and scrub fire across water, without a static water source inland to use. Local knowledge would suggest that the hard suction line in the water plus 60mt of hose is an initial response to an area without a jetty or landing area. But predetermined points on the mainland can be used to reduce the shuttle time required to provide timely resource and equipment to the fire.
The scenario the fire is running under the influence of the sea breeze and is being pushed towards a structure. Your first team is now at the heel of the fire and need to redeploy to the flank and attempt to slow the growth while starting to protect the exposure (house). You have to load all equipment back onto the vessel (Yes your feet will still be wet) and move along the beach to the point where if you set up you gain the advantage of one point achieving two tasks.
As your sit-reps build a picture they also request further resources (structural firefighters) with equipment (breathing apparatus). You now have three teams, one on the grass and scrub, two defensibly working on and around the structure.
A person is found requiring medical attention, considering your and the coast guard resources whom can provide medical attention. To transport a patient the main coast guard vessel will need to leave your firefighters for a period of time removing the safety net, If you need to evacuate or leave quickly, how and where to?
As the morning goes on, a boat fire is reported at the Flag Staff Jetty. You now need to redeploy your teams to work from the jetty to minimise exposures while the coast guard initially look for people in the water before going to fight the fire. When firefighting or salvaging on water you ask yourself where the water is going is it contaminated and how do we contain it. Will spill booms be needed to put around the vessel or do we try and tow it away from the jetty into shallow water and can we get close enough to the vessel given the radiant heat.
Over the years the knowledge and experience between the coast guard and the fire brigade provide an understanding of how to best work together.
As always there is no definitive answer on how to tackle these scenarios, other people reading this account of our training may/will view things differently based on their understanding or experience. But we do hope this prompts a discussion or two.