Fire Fighting Procedures Onboard Ship.

Fighting fire onboard a ship may cause harm to the crew as well as the vessel. So we should take some procedures and should prepare before we entering to such situations. Basically, there are some procedures to follow before we fighting the fire. There is four mandatory procedure that we should follow. These four points are locating, informing, containing and the last one is extinguishing the fire. By following these four points we can easily win the fire. The fire that occurs on board the ship can find out with the detection system that already on the various parts of the vessel. Also, we can detect the fire by smelling and seeing the smoke come out.


If we find the occurrence of fire, first we should inform the other crew members and the superior officers on board the ship. It is the duty of every crew member to conscious every time about the dangers and after-effects of the fire. Some are of the ship is very sensitive to fire to occur easily. These types of places should check regularly to ensure safety. If you find any occurrence or presence of fire, they should inform other crew members as quickly as possible. Then it is mandatory to inform the bridge about the hazard and the area of occurrence. Shouting ‘fire’ also, banging the bulkhead will create attention to the crew members. However, if anyone finds the presence of fire he should think about how to deal with the fire. Whether he should fight the fire or should inform the crew members.

And to limit the spreading of the fire, the appropriate bulkhead is fitted to resist the fire at an appropriate distance. And the fire fighting members should make sure that these bulkheads are secure at the time of fighting the fires. In case any fire present on the board the ship, then all doors should close immediately and all the ventilation and the exhaust fans should stop. The place where the fire occurs should free from any kind of flammable materials. And take big care even in the case of small fires. Because the small fires can spread and cause a big explosion. So that takes the extinguishing operation as quickly as possible if you see any presence of fire. The fire fighting procedure will vary according to the place where the fire is formed.

Related Article: Various Parts in ship

Fire Fighting procedure at Accommodation Space:

The accommodation space is built with an exclusive type of class A material. Because of that, we need water or soda acid extinguishers to put off the fire that occurs in the accommodation region. And while we using the water or the soda acid extinguishers the electrical connections in that area should be removed. Also, all the ventilation and the exhaust fans should close at the time the fire occurs. It is better to use the hose to spray the water in order to achieve the maximum space to cool.

And the galley area is fitted with class B material. Because in the galley region there is a presence of cooking oil, fat, and grease. Because of that, we should use foam, dry powder, and carbon dioxide extinguishers. Also, the fire blankets will use to put off the small fires.

Fire Fighting Procedures at Machinery Spaces:

The machinery spaces will provide with class B materials. So the extinguishers that need to put off the fire is the form type extinguishers. Even we can extinguish some small fires with portable extinguishers. If any fire occurs, then it should inform the bridge. As we said earlier the ventilation and the exhaust fans should close. And if any oil tanks or fuel tanks present near to the fire occurred, then it should close properly and cool the surroundings of the tanks to avoid the heat transferring.

We should not use the water jet in the machinery space while fire fighting on ship, because the force exerts by the water jet will move fuel to the fire and it will cause an explosion. If we cannot control the fire, we should evacuate the space. If an evacuation is implemented, then all the crew members should aware of it. Also, seal the space to avoid entry to space. After this make the space flood with gas. If the fire has been extinguished, then the crew membrane with wearing breathing apparatus can enter the area.

Also, carry the water spray to cool the hot surface and remove the heat. Cooling is the first thing we should do after the fire has been extinguished. After that, we can restore the machinery. If any fire occurs in the machinery space by the electrical equipment, then we should use dry powder extinguishers to put off the fire.

Fire Fighting Procedures at Cargo Space:

The cargo space will fit with smoke detectors and also a carbon dioxide flooding system. So the procedures of extinguishing the fire are easy. Before admitting the flooding all the openings should close. The case of an oil tanker filled with a full or empty tank will probably get fire hazards. If any fire occurs in the tank will lead to a huge explosion.

If any fire takes place like that, they should use the foam-making equipment and cool the surroundings. And also isolate the fire. The main thing we should consider in the case of tankers is the prevention and taking precautions to avoid the occurrence of the fire. By setting the tank outside of the flammable limit will reduce the chances of fire taking place and explosions.

Related Article: Types of Merchant navy ships:

Training the crew to Fight the Fire:

There is training and fire drills will conduct usually to the ship crew members. The training is to know the fire fighting on ship techniques, fire extinguishers’ positions, types, and working. And the main aim of this kind of training is that all the ship crew members should know how to operate different types of extinguishers just by looking at it. These practices are useful and should take it seriously. In the practice section, the equipment should be tried and test to make sure that all the equipment is in working condition. Also, give regular maintenance to the extinguishers, fire pump, hydrants, and hoses. And all the crew engineers should aware of how to recharge and repair the extinguishers.

Breathing Apparatus:

Fire fighting on ship. Self contained breathing apparatus.
Self contained breathing apparatus. Image credits: Joshua Sherurcij at en.wikipedia

At the time of the fire fighting ship, all the members who fighting the fire should wear the breathing apparatus. It is using to ensure that the person fighting the fire will get the required amount of oxygen to breathe. And also help the person to fight the fire without any suffocation. Two types of breathing apparatus are there for fire fighting ship. One is a smoke helmet and the other is self-contained apparatus.

In the case of the smoke helmet, there will be a helmet that covers the wearer’s head also connected with an air hose. A hand operating pump is also there. There will be a signal communication between the supplier and the user for safe operation.

The self-contained apparatus is the apparatus which have two compressed air cylinder in the harness of the wearer. And the air is supplied through the reducing valves at high pressure. A demand valve is there in the wearer’s mask that will supply the air to the wearer according to the requirement. Also, there is an arrangement of a nonreturn valve that helps to breathe out. If the air pressure of the cylinder becomes low, then the wearer will get a signal. The maximum time for the cylinder to supply the air in 30 minutes.

Safe Working Procedures:

The accident that occurs in the onboard ship is mainly because of carelessness. While we working in the engine room or anywhere we should take care of our safety. While we working, the working clothes should fit closely to the body. And should not use any loose flaps, straps, and strap pocket clothes. And the clothes should cover all your body. Also, we should wear good shoes to protect our feet. since we are working in the engine room with a lot of machinery. The belongings like chains, rings, and watches are prohibited especially working in the area with rotating machinery. Should use goggles, ear muffs when you working at workshops or fighting the fires. While you overhauling the machinery, it should be isolated from the power source.

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Conclusion: Hope you got the ideas about the fire fighting procedures at different spaces onboard ship. Comment your thoughts below.


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