On 2 December, 24 Year 12 Royal Navy students went to Portsmouth for a visit to the Damage Repair Instructional Unit (DRIU) and Fire Fighting School. We drove down the night before and stayed on HMS Bristol. It gave the students who hadn’t stayed on a ship before a real insight into what our careers will be like in a practical sense, and it was a great experience to stay in the mess and use the facilities on board. In the morning we woke up bright and early to begin our activities for the day.
Our first stop was the DRIU, unfortunately we weren't able to do a wet run for health and safety reasons. Instead of attempting the training, we were taught how damage is repaired on a ship with the limited materials they have, and we toured the DRIU facility to assess how we would tackle each problem. Whilst it was a shame we couldn’t have a wet run, we learnt a lot about how to problem solve and work under pressure as a team.
After lunch we moved on to the firefighting aspect of the training. Each of us got to use fire extinguishers on real fires, and we were taught how to use them and which to use. Before any of this though, we got suited up in overalls, boots, and a fire retardant suit. The suit was made of 100 layers of compressed wool, and it really brought to life the danger firefighters would be in without their protective clothing. We were told about the different water hoses they use on ships and how they use them: putting out the fire with the hose was really fun, especially when we used the more powerful one. It was good learning about the different settings - from forceful jet to protective water wall – and when to use which one.
After a long day we changed out of our fire gear, collected our bags from HMS Bristol, and drove back to College. The two days we had were really exciting, as I had the opportunity to learn new things and speak to people I hadn’t had the chance to before. I also learnt a lot and the trip was very valuable in that I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from it along with the enjoyment it gave us all. Thank you to the Adjutant and Ma’am Neep for co-ordinating everything and taking us there, it really was a trip to remember.