Damage control

Damage control at 9:25AM December 7, 1941: The USS Nevada is shown temporarily beached and burning after being hit by Japanese bombs and torpedoes. A harbor tugboat is alongside, helping to fight fires.
A United States Navy Damage Controlman practices pipe-patching techniques

Damage control is a term used in the Merchant Marine, maritime industry and navies for the emergency control of situations that may hazard the sinking of a ship. It is also used in other contexts as explained below.

Examples are:

  • rupture of a pipe or hull especially below the waterline and
  • damage from grounding (running aground) or hard berthing against a wharf.
  • temporary fixing of bomb or explosive damage.

The term is also used in project management and other contexts to describe the actions needed to deal with any problem that may jeopardize an endeavor. As well, it has been adopted for use in politics and media to describe a need to suppress information or employ spin doctors to represent a response to a situation.


Measures used

Simple measures may stop flooding, such as:

  • locking off the damaged area from other ship's compartments;
  • blocking the damaged area by wedging a box around a tear in the ship's hull,
  • putting a band of thin sheet steel around a tear in a pipe, bound on by clamps.

More complicated measures may be needed if a repair must take the pressure of the ship moving through the water. For example:

Damage control training is undertaken by most seafarers, but the engineering staff are most experienced in making lasting repairs.

Damage control is distinct from firefighting. Damage control methods of fighting fire are based on the class of ship and cater to ship specific equipment on board.

Maintenance and drills

In damage control there is more than just the knowledge of the equipment used in a casualty. First you must know how to maintain the equipment used, this is important because the equipment must be in working condition in case of an emergency. For example you must ensure the PHARS (Portable Hydraulic Access Rescue System) is able to do the job you need it to when it needs to be done. You do this by checking the hydraulic fluid and all the connections. Also every month you must ensure the equipment you are performing maintenance on is working. If there were any discrepancies in the equipment you would have to report it and fix it using the proper materials and documents.

Another major part of damage control is drills. On most ships there are four major drills ran depending on the design of the ship. The first type of drill is fire. This is broken down into Alpha fire or anything that would leave an ash, Bravo or any flammable liquid fires, Charlie or electrical fires, and Delta or flammable metals. The second type is flooding drills. These consist of pipe ruptures, hull breaches, or drainage system backups. The third type is toxic gas. This is a big problem on ships as there are many toxic gases on ships and some are more deadly than others. Several examples include H2S hydrogen Sulfide and Chlorofluorocarbon. The fourth type of drill is potentially the most dangerous: a main space fire. This would be a scenario where one of the engines or any auxiliary space for the engine would catch on fire.

Common damage control access equipment includes PHARS (Portable Hydraulic Access Rescue System), PECU (Portable Exothermic Cutting Unit), and hand tools such as axes and mauls.

Notable contemporary examples

Damage to USS Cole

Particular examples:

See also

Yacht foresail.svg Nautical portal

External links

Media related to Damage control at Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • damage control — damage control, adj. 1. a department or group, as aboard a naval vessel, responsible for taking action to control damage caused by fire, collision, etc. 2. any efforts, as by a company, to curtail losses, counteract unfavorable publicity, etc. *… …   Universalium

  • damage control — UK / US or damage limitation UK / US noun [uncountable] the process of trying to limit the negative effects of something …   English dictionary

  • damage control — noun an effort to minimize or curtail damage or loss • Hypernyms: ↑control * * * damage control (or Brit damage limitation) : things that are done or said to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse or to limit the bad effect of something The… …   Useful english dictionary

  • damage control — /ˈdæmɪdʒ kəntroʊl/ (say damij kuhntrohl) noun 1. measures to limit damage, as during or after a disaster: *a number of cars had been damaged by falling trees, with 10 emergency crews called in from Dubbo and Warren to assist in the damage control …   Australian English dictionary

  • damage control — In naval usage, measures necessary aboard ship to preserve and reestablish watertight integrity, stability, maneuverability, and offensive power; to control list and trim; to effect rapid repairs of materiel; to limit the spread of and provide… …   Military dictionary

  • damage control — kova už laivo gyvybingumą statusas T sritis Gynyba apibrėžtis Laivyno terminijoje – veiksmai, kurių būtina imtis, kad būtų išlaikomas ir atkuriamas laivo stabilumas, manevringumas ir puolamoji galia, kontroliuojama laivo pusiausvyra, greitai… …   NATO terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • damage control — damage con trol or ,damage limi tation noun uncount the process of trying to limit the negative effects of something …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • damage control — noun a) A department or group, as aboard a naval vessel, responsible for taking action to control damage caused by fire, collision, etc. b) Any efforts, as by a company, to curtail losses, counteract unfavorable publicity, etc …   Wiktionary

  • damage control — noun Date: 1943 measures taken to offset or minimize damage to reputation, credibility, or public image caused by a controverisal act, remark, or revelation …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • damage control — dam′age control n. cvb any efforts, as by a politician or a company, to counteract unfavorable publicity, curtail losses, or the like • Etymology: 1985–90 dam′age con•trol , adj …   From formal English to slang

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.