Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Costa Explains Fire Prevention & Fighting at Sea

 Preparing for the Worst

The risk of fire is the one traditionally considered to be the most serious risk on board a ship or a boat and is therefore the subject of special preventive measures, training of personnel, and plans for active protection.

Prevention Starts from Ship Building

 All ships, from the design and building stages in the yard, are built using criteria and materials making them safe and reliable from the point of view of fire prevention. As provided for by the various international regulations and the Company’s procedures, all fire protection systems and equipment are subjected to regular tests, trials and inspections.

Detection & Containment

In the event of a fire, the ship’s structure itself is designed in order to isolate the fire, thus making it more manageable and less dangerous. To this end the ship is divided into main vertical areas, separated by special metal bulkheads of large thickness equipped with special fire doors with the same characteristics as the bulkheads, which, once closed, manually or from the navigating bridge, are fire-retarding divisions.

The ventilation, air extraction and conditioning ducts are equipped with special fire dampers which automatically close in the event of high temperature in order to stop the air flow, in order to avoid to feed the fire.

All ship spaces, including crew and passenger accommodation spaces, are equipped with fire detectors automatically signalling the presence of smoke or high temperature to the navigating bridge. Moreover, any person aboard can signal the outbreak of a fire by means of the numerous manually operated alarms located throughout the vessel. If the temperature reaches high levels, thousands of sprinkler heads (atomization plants/sprinklers), located on ceilings, are automatically activated.

Some particularly hazardous spaces are protected by fixed fire-extinguishing systems (i.e. carbon dioxide for machinery spaces, steam for the galley kitchenette hoods, nebulized water for the deep-fryer, etc.). Throughout the vessel and in all spaces there are also hundreds of portable fire extinguishers of different kinds (for use in different types of fires) and permanent stations equipped with fire hoses connected to a pressurized water plant.

Maintenance & Drills

The effectiveness of all fire-fighting equipment is ensured by regular maintenance and testing according to a precise schedule with set intervals. Fire-fighting teams, consisting of highly qualified trained experts are always aboard and take part in regular drills. In addition, all crew members participate in practical training sessions and theory courses during which they are taught how to react in case of fire or smoke, the use of fire-fighting equipment and procedures to be followed.

This Worked with Costa Allegra

These measures allowed the crew to promptly bring the fire, that broke out in the local generators on Costa Allegra, under control and extinguish it before impacting the safety of the passengers and crew.  The captain sounded the general alarm as a precaution and passengers and crew assembled at the muster stations.

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