Fighting Fire on Board (1)

Of all disasters that can happen to a vessel at sea, fire is one of the most devasting. Marine fire incidents are very destructive and have been responsible for the loss of many lives. Ship fires are second only to shipwrecks when calculating casualities and total loss.

It can often be a single careless act that edangers the lives of all the crew. that is why every member of the crew has a part to play in preventing fires. This aplies not only to fire-fighting methods. There are a number of precautions crew members can take on a day-to-day basis to make the ship a safer place and prevent the break-out of fires. The main danger spots are machinery, galleys, accomodation and cargo spaces.

- Careless smoking is a common cause of fire on ships. Always put out cigarettes completely. Smoking and non-smoking areas must be clearly defined. Comply with no-smoking signs. No one should be allowed to smoke in a ship's hold or the engine-room.

- Cleanliness is important in all parts of the ship. Do not allow flammable waste to pile up or accumulate. This is a special risk in the engine room, where heated parts of the engine may give off sparks ingniting surrounding materials and where dirt, grease, raqs and cotton waste mights easily self-ignite, if they come in contact with each other.

- Keep oil away from hot surfaces which might ignite it - check that all feed pipes and joints are in good condition. Be careful when pumping oil to ready-use tanks - avid spillage or overflow which could lead to fire.

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