Page 30: of Marine News Magazine (February 2014)

Combat & Patrol Craft Annual

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One of the best Þ reÞ ghting tools, and maybe the only one, on your vessels are portable Þ re extinguishers (PFE). A PFE has the ability to control a wide range of Þ res, as most are rated for Class A-B-C Þ res if used properly. To learn the capabilities and limits of PFEÕs there is only one sure way to train and thatÕs live Þ re training. What comes out of the extinguisher nozzle and how it impacts the Þ re is best learned in hands-on training on the actual type of Þ res encountered onboard. FireÞ ghters are often chided for running in to burning buildings when others are running out. They do this because they also know the capabilities of the tools that are being brought to bear on the Þ re; the hos- es, ladders, axes etc. The knowledge and conÞ dence comes from experience but also from training and task repetition. The same training and task repetition can help mariners when they face the challenge of a Þ re onboard. SpeciÞ c Pre-Incident Planning Crews should discuss where Þ res can occur on the ves- sel and then plan how they will respond. Ashore, this is known as pre-incident planning and most Þ re departments perform them for potential responses. For example, a Þ re in the engine room will cause what to happen? Which way will the smoke go? What if a crewmember is trapped and needs to be rescued? If crewmembers need to enter the engineroom, how long will it take to get ready and what else can be done during that time. Pre-incident plan- ning should cover escape/rescue of any crewmembers in the space, isolating the Þ re, combating the Þ re by various means Ð PFEÕs, hoses, Þ xed extinguishing systems and what the consequences of those actions will be. If you dump the Þ xed extinguishing system, what happens next? Loss of propulsion can compound the incident and greatly magnify the consequences of the Þ re. Pre-incident planning should also include looking at the big picture of an event. If a Þ re occurs in any given space what will happen to liferafts and other survival gear? Will you be able to get your survival suits and liferafts in the event of a Þ re in the galley? Take care of Plan B in case you have to shift gears and abandon the vessel. When developing pre-incident plans, the next step is, of course, training. Live Þ re training gives mariners the hand- on knowledge and understanding of the tools they have available to them. Portable Þ re extinguishers are great tools, but if youÕve never used one on a real Þ re (and this means oil and wood, not propane) then you canÕt truly understand its capabilities and limitations Ð both of which are crucial pieces of knowledge. The use of personal protective equip- ment (PPE) or Þ remanÕs outÞ ts is a big Þ nancial decision for any company. The equipment is not Òone size Þ ts allÓ and itÕs expensive. If worn properly, by trained personnel, they can make the difference in the outcome of an onboard Þ re. The heat and toxic smoke produced by todayÕs construc- tion materials can quickly overcome non-protected mari- ners in even a small Þ re like a waste basket in the galley or a pile of rags in the engineroom. The combination of SCBA and PPE can protect mariners and give them valuable time and safety when combating a Þ re onboard. Once again, training is the key to success with this equipment. When a Þ re starts, thatÕs not a good time to discover that the crew- man designated to wear the equipment has claustrophobia when they canÕt see out of the face piece. Mariners should train on board with this equipment so they can learn the best way to use it but they should also be given the oppor- tunity to train in live Þ re conditions. The heat, limited vis- ibility and exertion found in live Þ re training will help im- prove a marinerÕs conÞ dence in the equipment they wear and use. It will also show them their own limits, which are more important than the limitations of the equipment. Operators Have Tough Choices As operators, vessel managers have tough choices. Train- ing is expensive and so is the equipment necessary for that training. The requirements of STCW and 46CFR part 27 FIRE & SAFETYFebruary 2014 30 MNMN FEB14 Layout 18-31.indd 30MN FEB14 Layout 18-31.indd 301/20/2014 10:04:32 AM1/20/2014 10:04:32 AM

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