Navy Memo to Shipbuilders, Maintainers on Fire Safety After USS Bonhomme Richard Blaze

July 27, 2020 5:27 PM

The following July 24, 2020 message from Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts to the shipbuilders and ship maintainers following the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) fire in San Diego.


SUBJECT: Fire Safety

I am calling each and every one of you who builds and maintains our Navy ships to action. We must all do our part to ensure the safety of our ships, especially fire safety. I ask you to take recent events as poignant reminders that each one of us must always keep a constant attention on safety.

Anyone who steps aboard our ships must be ever vigilant about ensuring fire safety. I urge you to use this as the impetus to ensure that our workspaces are clean, that unnecessary

clutter is removed, that all fire safety measures are being followed and that there is unrestricted access to firefighting and damage control equipment. We need to make sure that we and those around us have not only accomplished necessary fire safety training and are familiar with established safety procedures, but that we are also prepared to act in order to prevent any fires or mishaps. It is critical that we hold ourselves, our teammates and supervisors accountable for fire safety.

Preventing shipboard fires is a team sport, no matter where the ship is in its life cycle,

and no matter who is working on the ship. I am asking that we all “double down” on fire safety to ensure we are able to keep ourselves, our ships and our Sailors safe, and so that we can deliver and sustain a lethal force for our Navy. Success depends on us getting the small stuff right.

Details matter- we each have to do our job thoroughly to prevent the chain of events that could lead to fires and accidents.

There is no place in our Navy for complacency – the lives of our teammates and the accomplishment of our mission depends upon it.


James F. Geurts

Download the document here.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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