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The Girl who Played with Fire

One of the most chilling sounds you can even hear on a boat or ship is the fire alarm, when it's not an exercise or test.

I had a few fires on board my ships over the years (I stopped counting at 33), luckily all rather minor, since I'm still here to tell you about them.

My first fire training, 1989

Today our smoke alarms went off. I say alarms since all the detector heads are linked via WiFi to each other, so any detection rings all of them, with an additional voice indication as to where the smoke is.

We had just changed all their batteries, and done our normal bi-weekly test only a few days ago. This was not a test. The hallway alarm had triggered the whole boat: It got very loud.

One of Enfin's smoke and CO detector

As soon as the alarm rang, Di realized what she had done: She had burned something on the galley gas burners and had forgotten to use the extraction fan. The breeze flowing through the boat with open doors did the rest, blowing the smoke into the hallway's detector.

(There is no alarm over the kitchen to avoid false detection, but one close enough to activate when needed).

Heart attack prevented. Fan started. Smoke alarm reset. Does it count as another test?

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