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NSA Panama City Firefighters Receive Intensive Shipboard Training by Alabama Fire College
15 June 2023
From Michael Sparks
Panama City Beach, Fla. – Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City Fire and Emergency Services recently received a unique training opportunity to enhance their shipboard firefighting capabilities. Alabama Fire College provided a Marine Firefighter Course, which is the only ProBoard certified school with a mobile class that can teach Marine Firefighters on-site.
A total of 14 firefighters from NSA Panama City and three from Naval Station Mayport attended the 40-hour course. The training offered a comprehensive understanding of the priorities to focus on when dealing with a shipboard fire. Firefighters learned to be mindful of compartmentalizing fires and using fire protection systems in place to try and extinguish them or cool the area to ensure that it is safe enough for them to make entry.
Instructors accompanied the students to each of the different types of vessels onboard NSA Panama City. They talked specifically about how to preplan and implement best practices in a worst-case scenario. With shipboard fires being some of the most difficult fires to combat, the training covered the use of thermal image cameras to guide firefighters to and from the fire safely.
"Shipboard fires are confined space fires that are extremely hot, and the smoke makes it impossible to see," said Thad Mapledoram, Fire Chief, NSA Panama City. "This training was fantastic in providing us ways to use the thermal image cameras to guide us to and from the fire safely."
The course is only offered twice a year at Alabama Fire College, and the mobile training site has visited the installation only once before. However, all firefighters gave the course five-star reviews, with instructors known for teaching from their real-world experience of fighting shipboard fires.
"NSA Panama City Fire & Emergency Services is the FIRST installation in the South East Region to be 100% qualified and certified in accordance with our Scope of Service," said Chief Mapledoram. "We are now better prepared and have increased knowledge on how to combat a Shipboard fire if one occurs at our Wharf."
This highly specialized training provided by Alabama Fire College has increased the readiness and capability of NSA Panama City Fire & Emergency Services personnel to respond to shipboard fires and onboard emergencies successfully.
Director, Public Affairs
Naval Support Activity Panama City
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