Challenge Testing and Emergency Preparedness Training
Is your crew capable of handling emergency situations and….
… if so do they handle them effectively?
For several years I’ve been involved in challenge testing commercial vessel crews for both fleet owners and individual vessel operators in regard to their ability to handle emergency situations and….
.. I have to say far too many either failed to handle them at all or at best handled them ineffectively!
While emergency situations are not common place nowadays they continue to present a major potential for serious injury, death, loss of vessel and damage to the environment.
Apart from the obvious impacts the legal ramifications can and often do cause major financial and personal impacts on not just vessel owners but also the Master and crew.
When an emergency situation develops it’s usually unexpected and often when the weather is unfavourable or you’re operating in difficult circumstances.
A fire can destroy a vessel but it can also destroy the lives of all the people involved including but not limited to owners, crew and other persons onboard.
A person overboard, even when rescued can and has resulted in a legal case being initiated against the owners, operators, crew or a combination of all.
Have you considered the potential scenarios that may occur on your vessel or vessels and the consequences of not handling them well?
That’s where we can help!
As an experienced maritime professional dedicated to the safety of your vessel and crew, I can develop scenarios based on your vessels type and operations. I deliver a scenario to the crew and they are required to respond efficiently and effectively.
Have you ever had to deal with an emergency situation such as a fire and been able to say that was easy to deal with? The only way to ensure you can deal with an emergency situation effectively is by onboard training and drills. Drills (Emergency Preparedness Training) are often regarded as a “pain in the butt” by many people who go to sea but…
…the less you undertake physical drills the less efficient you become at dealing with an emergency situation!
The less efficient you are the higher the chances of you, your crew and/or other persons become of not surviving the emergency.
Let’s take a look at a few cases…
Any fire onboard is a major threat to the vessel, its crew, passengers, cargo and the environment.
There are so many scenarios that need to be considered based on the type of vessel, mode of propulsion, fuel and operations.
Have many have you considered?
Whilst not a common event there is still too many deaths related to a person going overboard. Deaths that in many cases may have been prevented!
There is more involved than just locating the person and plucking them out of the water. Have you thought about what injuries they may have sustained, trauma or other critical factors?
Will this person be saved?
Any serious injury usually requires special medical treatment but do you know how to handle this type of situation?
The first actions taken by you may make the difference between life and death! How many situations have you considered?
Will someone die on your watch?
While a collision like this is unlikely is not impossible. Knowing what to do is vital for the safety of the vessel, all persons onboard and the environment.
There is a lot to deal with in a collision on the water: flooding, fire, injuries to crew and/or passengers and the other vessel!
Could you handle this type of collision?
Amusing as this looks it represent a serious problem for the crew. When a vessel runs aground you have to take into account many factors.
Consider the weather conditions, where you ran aground, the seabed or structure involved and any possible damage incurred are just a few.
Know how to handle this type of situation?
It’s unbelievable but it happens and…all too often! There are so many variations as to how flooding could occur.
No matter what the cause you have to deal with it quickly and effectively to protect the vessel and all onboard.
Failure to act effectively could result in the loss of the vessel and/or lives.
Any thoughts on how to handle this?
Most people don’t like adverse weather conditions but as mariners we accept it and deal with the conditions and situations as they develop.
Dealing with the weather usually represents little problem rather it’s the results of that weather that cause the problems!
Does your crew know what to do?
Control of people at assembly stations is usually quite difficult with many people panicking and injuries to deal with.
Having a defined role is vital but having to actually function in potentially high stress situations can cause major issues!
Where it can all go wrong!
Sounds simple enough but unfortunately many injuries and even deaths occur when undertaking what seems like a simple task.
Dealing with other crew and/or passengers in a time when people are traumatised is difficult enough but when it’s also life threatening things change.
The order came “abandon ship” and every one jumped over the side!
Is it really that simple?
The incapacity of a Master often cause a period of panic and confusion, where the crew are trying to deal with the injured as well as work out what to do next.
Planning and training for these events can reduce the stress at this time.
Any one of these events can dramatically change your life or…even take it!
The practical solution is to have your crew ready to deal with any of these emergencies that may occur but…
…remember often it’s not just a single issue that arises: its multiples stemming from one!
Consider the follow scenario…
1. A fire starts in a below deck compartment 2. A passenger is overcome by smoke 3. In fighting the fire the bilges are filling with water 4. Fire become uncontrollable and abandoning ship becomes necessary How many emergency procedures did you get in that scenario?
As an owner and/or manager you need to keep in mind the bottom line but what is the cost of a major emergency gone wrong?
You’ll have repair costs, other damages, down time, lost productivity not to mention potential legal fees in defending claims made against you and fines imposed by regularity agencies. The benefit of undertaking challenge testing is that it reveals the good points but more importantly it highlights the not so good areas. By identifying the not so good areas it allows your crew to concentrate on getting it right in the event of an actual emergency situation.
A small expense now could save you thousands in the future and…
…the life it saves may be that of you, a family member or friend!
Read on for Shorlink’s specialised Emergency Preparedness services…
We develop specific scenarios based on your vessel and its daily operations. Scenarios are real life situations and crews are required to physically deal with the scenarios presented. Once a scenario has been completed we take the crew through their actions and highlight the good and more importantly the not so good points. We normally run five challenges a session. At least two will be physical challenges and three scenarios that we talk through in detail. For more advanced crews we develop multiple scenarios which may include…
This combination of scenarios is more like it really happens and requires your crew to be able to deal with them automatically.
Does your crew follow the procedures in the vessels SMS Manual?
We can also provide a written report on the session including each crew member’s ability to deal with the scenarios presented. This allows you to concentrate on areas that require the most attention to bring them up to speed. Consider the minimal costs of challenge testing against the financial impacts of injuries and/or loss of life, vessel repairs, damage to the environment and legal challenges! Emergency Preparedness Training
It’s the simple training that makes the difference between a successful outcome and a disaster! You may have used Shorlink’s Challenge Testing where a series of problem areas were highlighted or you may just want to reinforce your crew’s knowledge. We can develop specialised training based on your vessel and its operations. Our aim is to not only to ensure your crew are able to handle emergencies but handle them efficiently and effectively. Contact Shorlink today to see how we can better prepare your crew!
Ensure your crew can handle emergencies when they present themselves by having them Challenge Tested. Have it undertaken before a situation presents itself which may severely impact on your business, finances and reputation!
For more information contact us as we’re here to help!
Australian Institute of Health & Safety
Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Our clients have 7 days direct access to us via mobile or email for advice or support in the event of an incident.
Shorlink Pty. Ltd. Phone: 07 3269 3236 Address: PO Box 3086 Bracken Ridge QLD 4017 Australia