Duluth Fire Department trains to fight fires on ships

It’s not easy to train the fire department. Their first job is always protecting us from fires and lots of other mayhem. If you are Michael Lebsack, Commanding Officer Marine Safety Unit Duluth, you want to make sure the local fire departments, in this case Duluth’s and Superior’s, know how to fight a fire in a Great Lakes freighter. (There are 12 of them spending the winter in the Twin Ports.) He brought in Mike Romstadt, Supervisor of MARAD’s Great Lakes Fire Training Center in Swanton, Ohio. (MARAD: Maritime Administration, a part of the US Department of Transportation). It was a one day training program, one part in the classroom, by Romstadt, and one part by the Coast guard while touring two of the vessels in port for the winter.
There are 3 shifts of fire fighters, in two cities, one teacher, and 4 boats; the American Victory & St Clair at Fraser Shipyards in Superior and the Edwin H. Gott and John G. Munson in Duluth.Neither department likes to take their rigs over the bridge to the other side since that puts them further away from that mayhem I mentioned. So you have to do the training in both cities. It worked pretty good.
While one shift from the Duluth department was touring the Edwin H. Gott and John G. Munson in Duluth, Romstadt was in the class room in Superior teaching one shift of fire fighters from Superior. I arrived on the scene on Wednesday afternoon in Duluth for the Gott tour. That morning, Romstadt had been in the classroom at the Duluth fire department doing the classroom work while a shift of Superior fire fighters was at the shipyard in Superior touring the American Victory and the St. Clair with the Coast Guard. They did that same routine with another shift on Tuesday and they would take the 3rd shift of fire fighters on Thursday.
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From the deck of the Gott: I took this picture of the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. at top right, the John G. Munson at top left and a lot of wind turbines blades ready to be trucked to a variety of destinations.
I wanted to get a picture of their trucks with the Gott in the background but they kept driving around as if they were looking for a parking space. In a way they were – they wanted to make sure the rigs were pointed in the right direction if they received a fire call. That sounded like a good idea to me.

Fire department to the rescue

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The Sabrina, the third saltwater ship of the season, came into port to load grain on Monday. While waiting at the Port Terminal for their dock to clear, a crew member working in a cargo hold fell and broke his ankle. The call went out to the Duluth Fire Department. Fire equipment operator Steve Gibson wheeled Tower No. 1 to the Port Terminal. (He is seen above in Tower No. 1 while at the fire station Wednesday.) The tower platform (upper left of picture) carried on the truck is usually raised and used by firefighters to fight a fire but it can also be used to pick up people when there is no other way to move a person out of danger. In this case, the crew had moved the injured man to the deck and the tower on the fire truck was used to pick him up and lower him to the ground where Gold Cross took him to the hospital. Only a month ago, fire fighters had toured the Edwin H. Gott so they would know what situations they might encounter on a boat.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-16-2009

Fire Department visits the Mackinaw

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The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth on Friday morning, coming in the Superior entry and moving down to moorings at the DECC. On Friday afternoon, members of the Duluth Fire Department visited the ship. The two groups share many duties. Like all ships, the Mackinaw is its own fire department when under way. Both groups are trained to handle a variety of emergencies. And, when they are in Duluth, the Duluth fire department is the ship’s fire department. The fire fighters were down to check on the ship and its fire fighting capability in case of an incident.
Another thing they have in common; the fire fighters would love to take a ride on the Mackinaw and the crew on the Mac would love to get a trip on a fire truck. Crew members of the ship were offered a tour of the fire house. In the picture above, Electricians Mate First Class Robert Bytlewood, back to the camera, is talking to fire department members, Capt. Perry Ludwig, Lisa Consie and Ed Schumacher. Bytlewood was explaining his duties in the ECC, Engineering Control Center.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-04-2009