Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fire Drill!

Part of the regularly scheduled week that comes with living on a ship includes safety drills.  Because we have lots of maritime regulations that we have to adhere to, we have fire drills often while we are at the dock, and while out at sea we will have evacuation drills.


I wish I could express how loud, shrill, and annoying these beeps are.  First is the one, LONG beep that tells you there is a situation.  At this time the team trained to help (the Emergency Team) reports to their stations, and the rest of us return to our cabins to await further direction.

From our cabin you can look out the window onto the dock, and we see the Muster Station leaders.  The dock is where we Muster (gather) to take role and make sure everyone is accounted for.  I like the Mustard colored hats on the Muster leaders.  Don’t know if this is required by law, or just a chance to be punny.
Thursday Fire Drill (4)

Beep – Beep – Beep – Beep – Beep – Beep – Beep.

The seven short beeps tell us it is time to evacuate. 
Thursday Fire Drill (6)
Everyone files out (calmly), to the gangway,
Thursday Fire Drill (7)
Down the forty very shallow steps,
Thursday Fire Drill (8)
To find their appropriate Muster Leader on the dock – as determined by your last name.
Thursday Fire Drill (10)
Nap times get interrupted, school teachers bring their classes,
Thursday Fire Drill (1)
jobs are abandoned mid project. 

Well, some jobs are abandoned.

All the medical crew are separated and are put on standby to assist in evacuating the hospital if a true emergency is occurring. For the majority of the drills, though, the patients, caretakers, on duty nurses, doctors, and surgeons remain in the hospital area to continue providing care.

The rest of us are gathered out on the dock under the African sun.  Those that have been here for long enough to know better come prepared.  Lawn chairs, sun umbrellas, books, blankets, backpacks of coloring books and markers accompany most moms out the door.  Our Muster Leaders take role and report any names of people who aren’t found on their attendance list (which is maintained and updated daily because of our constantly changing crew), and also any absentee members. 

Sometimes there are people who have signed off the ship so this list has to be double checked with that, and if still the person isn’t accounted for, then there is an overhead page to help locate the missing crew.  Cabin Checkers are also going through the ship to inspect the cabins and make sure there are no unaware sleepy crewmembers, frightened children, or obstinate rebels.  Family cabins are an exceptionally frequent target for the Cabin Checkers, as in real fires children often will hide out of fear. 

Also onboard during this time is the Fire Team, and they “locate” and “put out” the “fire” (a new hypothetical situation is presented each time).  After everyone’s location has been verified, we are given the all clear to return to the ship.

Back to your regularly scheduled business.

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