Latitude: 57 02.701N Longitude: 170 03.531WThe term "Damage Control" on the Healy takes on many different meanings depending on who you are talking to or how you are feeling. For the past 24 hours as we have been bullied by the waves of the storm that Chief Rieg told me was coming, personal damage control has taken the form of a baggie of little pink pills. Meclizine, has been my ally in the battle against sea sickness. Even so (or maybe because of), every attempt to actually accomplish anything productive beyond my laundry has been completely pointless. Luckily, other people have been more successful. (More on that next journal when I can fight the haze long enough to write about science.)
"Damage Control" for the Coast Guard takes a lot more equipment than a Ziploc of medication. So much stuff, in fact, that there's a whole room dedicated to it.
Fighting fires, stopping floods and containing poisonous gases is the business of the supplies in the "damage locker". Behind this red door (another fun door) there is pipe lagging that stops a leak in progress by clamping the pipe like a tight collar.
There are wooden blocks of all shapes all sizes that can be used to plug a leak in the ship's hull while water is pumped out.
Pumps, battle lanterns and lights also abound...
The good stuff though is the firefighter gear! Most of the crew has some level of training in firefighting. Each Friday there are drills that involve about 25 people getting into a firefighting scenario mode. FN Brittney Coates, one of the women firefighters on board says, "I like the idea that I get to go places and help people on big ships. I guess I'm kind of a thrill seeker!"
To get dressed in this ensemble is pretty thrilling on its own! You have to step in and pull on the suit, boots first. The boots are attached to the outfit in one piece so that the wearer is totally sealed in. After zipping up, it's time to put on the head-sock (otherwise known as the fire-retardant Flash Food). The air mask goes over this piece, as does the helmet. Once you are totally dressed, it's time to put the tank on your back. At the end of this ordeal, you feel as though you have gained about 100 pounds. Good luck fighting a fire in this unless you are used to this get-up! The firefighters onboard drill often so that are prepared to jump into action in case of emergency. I'm not quite so ready for anything but at least I look the part... well, sort of.