United States
September 8, 2020

Austal USA Teams up with Mobile Fire Rescue

The shrill alarm sounded just before break and as Austal USA’s employees quickly evacuated the module manufacturing facility (MMF) for a surprise fire drill last week, they were greeted by Mobile Fire Rescue.

Sixteen Austal employees teamed up with 30 of Mobile’s finest fire and rescue team members as part of Austal USA’s semi-annual fire drill to simulate an industrial accident, complete with two injured humans, inside one of the ship modules that’s being built in the MMF.  

Mobile Fire Rescue arrived in an impressive parade of emergency vehicles, including two engines, one ladder truck, one rescue truck, and one technical rescue truck. With precision and skill gained through many hours of training, Austal USA’s onsite fire brigade and safety team jumped into their safety gear and proceeded to the area designated..

Austal’s fire brigade are volunteers from other trades that come together when an emergency requires their assistance.  Lead by Randy Woodard and Blake Thomas, both full-time health, safety and environmental (HS&E) employees, the fire brigade consists of ship builders who do crane and rigging, electrical, fabrication, site services, and pipe welding full-time.  Several members of the brigade have been active with the team for over 10 years.

According to Randy Woodard, Damage Control Chief HS&E Operation Command, “Austal Fire Brigade trains once a month per OSHA and NFPA regulations, and conduct live fire training once a year for remediation.  All of our members are USCG Advanced Fire trained.”

When asked what made him volunteer to participate in the Fire Brigade, Anhkiet Rodriguez, full-time fabrication/pipe employee, responded, “I joined to fill a duty to Austal which blossomed into a journey of comradery, excitement and life learning.” Rodriguez continued, “I love working cohesively with people from different walks of life to achieve a common objective for the greater good.”

According to Woodard, during the drill, the Austal Fire brigade is graded on time efficiency, equipment staging, firefighter accountability, incident command and unified command abilities, and Mobile Fire and Rescue response. The drill was completed within less than 30 minutes and all employees were sent back to work building some of the Navy’s most advanced high-speed ships.

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