Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
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Originally Posted by AdamLein
The fire blanket seems great, for when the fire happens to be right on top of the galley in such a way that covering it from above will close off the oxygen supply, like the pan fire in the YM video. But I don't see a blanket working when the fire is inside, behind, or below the stove.
Obviously. It is just one tool. The rules require minimum fire extinguisher capacities and we are suggesting no less.
The (proper) extinguisher works in all situations and therefore doesn't require me to make decisions about which tool is appropriate for the job in a situation where my decision-making ability might be impaired.
Maybe my fire drill should be, apply the blanket, then ready the extinguisher and inspect.
You MUST think clearly. That is at the heart of seamanship. If you have never put out a grease fire or a camp fire with a blanket or towel, you need to, in order to have skill and confidence. If you have never used a fire extinguisher, you need to, several times with several geometries, in order to have skill, confidence and a respect for the limitations of dry chemical; it is much less effective than you think it is and the fire can easily re-light from the heat since there is little cooling effect. For example, a bucket of water may work better on a big hunk of burning, melting fiberglass.
We are using the word "drill" in the wrong sense. Like an MOB "drill", it needs to be real. Someone in the water.
The other thing that bothered me was a response that an extinguisher gives you more "distance." If you have a fire at sea, you are in a real fight and you may be taking the boat apart to get to it, to find the source, and to eliminate the fuel. Each situation is different. We had a small electrical fire off-shore once (a fan melted) and it became very clear that we HAD to find the source and we HAD to get it out (not too surprisingly a fan is tough to figure out, since it blows the smoke everywhere).
Time can be very short. In a few minutes you need to get it out, while you are also doing other things:
* distress call
* organizing crew or guests
* launch raft or tender
* ditch bag, or
* what should have been in the ditch bag
Since a fire at sea means either getting it out or going for a swim (or dingy), the effort must be an aggressive battle waged without any panic... until the gas tank is in question, and then you better bolt, as I watched a gas powered boat go once at the dock (unattended--perhaps a bilge pump); it didn't "blow" but it did flare suddenly..
(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")
"Well, I just climb up to them."
by Joe Brown, English rock climber
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