Firefighters check out security arrangements during a firefighting drill aboard the Celebrity Millennium while it was docked in Juneau.
Photo courtesy of Gayland Bravik.

A late season firefighting drill aboard the Celebrity Millennium met all its objectives and was judged “very helpful,” according to a consultant who coordinated the learning exercise.

The drill was part of the 2008 conference of the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association and the Alaska State Firefighters Association. The meeting drew more than 200 firefighters, officers and response personnel from around the state, including St. Paul, Kodiak, Sitka, Fairbanks, Seward and Anchorage.

The eight-hour drill followed five days of training to deal with marine fire incidents, and involved a scenario in which a helicopter that was hoisting an ailing passenger from the ship suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed on the ship. Five decks experienced damage and causalities mounted to 208 as the drill progressed. The accident occurred three hours south of Juneau. The ship’s crew and fire suppression systems successfully brought most of the ensuing fire under control, but the ship’s crew was beginning to become fatigued and needed help to evacuate all the injured.

Millennium Capt. Zisis Taramas radioed for assistance and six teams responded.

Gaylen Brevik, a fire training specialist with Castle Rock Firefighting Consulting, monitored the drill for the fire chiefs and fire fighters and issued the final report. He had nothing but praise for the Millennium’s crew and its safety features. “This ship is a modern build and we should have confidence in the fixed systems, fire pumps and detection systems,” Brevik wrote.

“I am extremely grateful that we were allowed to do this important shipboard firefighting training,” he said. “Using the cruise ship Millennium was an outstanding opportunity and very much appreciated by participants that live and work throughout Alaska.”

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