CARLYSS, LA (KPLC) - The Carlyss Fire Department conducted their first ever simulated barge fire drill with various response agencies on Wednesday morning at Global Industries.
Law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness participated in the barge fire drill.
The exercise presented the agencies with the task of putting out a simulated fire on a docked barge as well as attempting to rescue two victims on the vessel.
Response officials said responding to emergencies on vessels is quite challenging for responders.
"Ship fires are totally different from regular house fires," said Rob Daughdril, an emergency medical specialist for OSHEP. "You can build a house and fight a fire at a house but you can't build a ship on land and be able to fight a fire on it."
But Wednesday morning's mock fire gave responders the opportunity to practice different strategies and learn new techniques for tackling vessel emergencies.
One of the major issues the responders said they hope to improve on is better communication between the different agencies.
"We've had some calls down here where communication was really a challenge for us," said Tammy Ballard with the Sulphur Fire Department. "Some things we struggle with is the frequency not being able to work whenever they go into the vessels."
The different agencies practiced different strategies with the OEP command center's tower to work through some of their communication kinks.
Responders said reinforcing the region's strategy for responding to a maritime firefighting incident is very important with the high capacity of ships that are in the area.
"It allows them to get some practice, learn some things, and work out a few bugs to make it a lot safer and a lot more efficient next time," said Daughdril.
External agencies participating in the exercise include law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services departments from Carlyss Fire Department, Sulphur Fire Department, Westlake Fire Department, Lake Charles Fire Department, Hackberry Fire Department, Houston River Fire Department, Acadian Ambulance, Rural Metro, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, United States Coast Guard and Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
The different agencies plan to take the techniques they learned at Wednesday morning's drill to improve on their strategies in the future.