Changing times, changing missions

The Port of Long Beach contains 10 piers, 80 berths and 22 shipping terminals equipped with 66 post-Panamax gantry cranes. It also includes several sizable marina complexes in Rainbow Harbor, Naples and Alamitos Bay.

The Long Beach Fire Department is responsible for protecting these installations with its fireboats, duty that traditionally involved firefighting, search and rescue, and oil spill containment and cleanup. That changed after Sept. 1, 2001, resulting in a new list of design parameters for Protector and Vigilance to handle a new range of missions: 

• Fighting fires on ships, boats and near-shore structures.

• Onshore support, including shoreside supply of water.

• Water rescue, including vessel dewatering, towing and dive support.

• Medevac services and EMS/paramedic support.

• Harbor security patrol, including detection of hazardous agents.

• Disaster response, including a command information center.

• Operation in contaminated (CBRN) areas, including vessel self-protection and decontamination facilities for personnel.

By Professional Mariner Staff