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Fire fighting equipment for cargo ships when carrying dangerous goods

All fire fighting equipment must be in a constant state of readiness and be regularly and properly maintained. Any valves in these systems are to be operated and proved free monthly. Any defects with the equipment are to be reported to the Company immediately and rectified on an urgent basis.



It is essential that when fire-fighting equipment is landed ashore for service or maintenance, sufficient quantities remain onboard to cope with an emergency situation. If required, equipment may be hired as a temporary replacement for the shipís own equipment.

Portable and semi-portable extinguishers

The type, number and locations of portable and semi-portable extinguishers are supplied to be according to SOLAS, Flag and Classification requirements. The following table lists the various types of extinguishers to be found on board.

The area colour coded is to be large enough to be readily apparent. Where the colour does not cover the whole of the extinguisher, the remaining area is to be coloured red. Note however that some flag states require the entire body of the extinguisher, regardless of type, to be painted red only. Operating instructions are to be clearly displayed and be in a language understood by the shipís crew as well as taking the form of pictures/diagrams.

Spare charges: Vessels will carry spare charges for extinguishers required by the Flag State or classification society for the vessel.

Maintenance: All extinguishers and locations are to be numbered and listed in the Fire Training Manual. Each extinguisher is to have attached a ship maintenance card showing the dates of inspections and recharging. Maintenance records are to be maintained in the Shipís Safety & Training Record Book.

Manufacturerís instructions regarding maintenance and recharging procedures are to be available on board and understood by those carrying out such maintenance.


HOSES, NOZZLES AND HYDRANTS

Fire hoses and nozzles must be treated with care, maintained well and tested regularly. A record of testing and maintenance is to be made in the vesselís Ship Safety Record Book.

Avoid dragging charged hoses over rough surfaces especially when kinked. Hoses may chafe and kink when they first touch the deck after leaving the hydrant and therefore arrangements are to be made to help avoid this. Do not subject a hose to sudden shock or strain by opening hydrants slowly.

After use hoses are to be properly drained, wiped down and correctly stowed in the correct hose box or locker. Hoses are to be stowed in a manner which will enable them to be easily and quickly run out. Fire hoses and nozzles are to be used only for fighting fire and exercising during fire drills. They must not be used for any other purpose.


Foam systems

Foam monitors are to be worked and greased monthly. The foam pumps are to be started for 5 seconds against a closed valve monthly.

At three monthly intervals a test sample is to be taken and mixed with water to check foam production. Sufficient spare foam is to be carried to allow for topping up the tank after such testing. The quantity and type of foam is to be stencilled on the side of the storage tank. The system pipe work must be flushed with water after such a test.

All control valves in the system are to be numbered and listed in written operating instructions, which must be posted in the foam room. A description of the system is to be included within the ship-specific Fire Training Manual.

A foam sample is to be landed annually for analysis. This should be done just prior to the Safety Equipment Certificate (S.E.C.) annual surveys.


Fixed CO2 / HALON installations

The use of fixed installations must be carefully considered at an early stage especially in the case of an engine room fire. In particular Carbon Dioxide/Halons are to be used before there is a build up of temperature causing severe convection. In the case of a serious fire, to effectively use CO2/Halons, the time factor is probably in the order of 10-12 minutes from the time that the fire situation is deemed to be beyond the capability of first aid fire fighting equipment.

Proper closing down of the space is essential before the system is operated, and therefore the Chief Engineer Officer must make the necessary preparations during the first aid fire fighting stage in accordance with the vesselís Ventilation Shut-down Plan.


Fireman's outfits

For tackling serious fires, firemanís outfits are supplied which consist of special heat resistant suit, gloves, boots and helmet, as well as additional equipment such as safety lamps, fire axes and breathing apparatus. It is essential that the fire suit is cared for and stowed neatly without creasing, ready for immediate use.

All firemenís outfits are to be checked weekly to ensure all equipment is present. Safety lamps are to be tested monthly to ensure correct operation. Rechargeable batteries are to be discharged and then recharged to prolong their life expectancy.


Fire detection systems

The fire detection system is to be classed approved and must be maintained in good working order. Any defects with this equipment must be notified to the management office without delay so that technicians can be arranged and Class notified as appropriate.

It is imperative the crew is familiar with the operation of the system and operating instructions must be posted in the working language of the vessel, adjacent to each control panel. A description of the system and operating procedures must be included within the ship-specific Fire Training Manual.

The procedure for isolating zones must include notification of both the Deck OOW and Duty Engineer and log book entries made as appropriate. Machinery spaces not left in UMS condition with zones isolated.

Spaces not covered by a fire detection system should be covered by regular fire patrols, weather permitting. Such patrols should not utilise the bridge lookout during the hours of darkness.

The Electrical Officer is responsible for maintaining a test schedule for all detector heads onboard and this should include the periodical cleaning and maintenance required by the manufacturerís instructions. Sufficient stock of testing equipment is to be kept onboard along with at least one spare detector head of each type fitted onboard.



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