Fire and boat drills, what are they?
Remember when you were a kid and you used to have fire drills in school? Everyone would make for the exits and stand in a field while their teacher took attendance. I remember these drills because I would always panic and I think that I was in the wrong line, I’d be missed and get in trouble. In hindsight, the consequences were never dire because it wasn’t like I stayed inside to burn down in the flames of the fake fire.
The drills we do on ship are the same sort of idea (only there is no grassy field to stand in), but the consequences in the event of a real fire are a lot more hazardous. There is no calling a fire department, there is no running away and hoping someone else will take care of it. The crew on board the ship is the first and last means available to put out a fire on board.
Mandatory drills were created after the sinking of the Titanic, from SOLAS , the Convention for Safety of Life at Sea.
During a fire drill the general alarm is sounded. At this point every crew member is to report to their emergency duty station and don their fire gear if required.
Some will actually run a drill where there is a pretend fire in a space. Hoses are rolled out and teams attack a specified space.
Next the alarm is sounded to signal the boat drill is commencing. Crew members then proceed to their boat station with their lifejacket, survival suit, and warm clothes.
At the boat station there is a roll call for all crew members and then a statement of their duties at the station.
That wraps up the basics of what we do every month. By doing this every month, the actions in the event of an emergency become second nature. That way should something happen in the middle of the night you can react without even being fully awake.