Training exercise on Condor Rapide
FIREFIGHTERS rushed onto a ferry in St Peter Port Harbour yesterday, ready to tackle an engine fire and find two missing crew members.
However, it was just a drill, aiming to ensure local emergency services are ready to tackle a real crisis.
Guernsey Fire and Rescue Service conducted the joint-training exercise yesterday, with Condor Ferries, Harbour Authorities and the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre, which included ambulance and police services, on Condor’s Rapide vessel.
Fire station officer of operations and training Gary van der Linden said a debrief found the training had been positive.
‘There will always be learning points but we can use this to improve how we deal with responses to maritime incidents,’ he said.
‘Condor as a commercial ferry company have got robust policies and procedures in place for dealing with events such as these. Today was to see how our procedures complement theirs.’
The fire service used two appliances, nine personnel and a duty officer for the scenario, with a team also at the station base to deal with island-wide issues. Mr van der Linden said in a real incident more resources would be used.
‘Today was a small engine fire,’ he said.
‘In this situation, the boat had been evacuated. However two crew members were missing and a search and rescue was done with Condor staff, who were trained in breathing apparatus.’
Mr van der Linden said in any on-board fire scenario there would be a rapid build-up of heat and limited ventilation, with any added water causing limited stability.
There would also be factors such as tides and weather to consider.
Condor Ferries were able to give the service 90 minutes to perform the exercise during a lay-by period.
‘We are very grateful to Condor for the training opportunity and for putting the lay-by period on for us,’ said Mr van der Linden.
Condor Ferries CEO Paul Luxon was pleased with the exercise.
‘Today’s joint-training exercise, which was conducted with the Guernsey Fire and Rescue Service, went very well and demonstrated an excellent level of cooperation and understanding,’ he said.
‘Condor has in in place robust procedures and highly trained staff for dealing with all manner of maritime incidents.
‘These are tested regularly in conjunction with the emergency services in the five ports we serve and by our own teams across the fleet.’