Fire drills and on-board training



1 The Organization has been informed that in a number of recent passenger ship fires, some of which have resulted in a high number of fatalities, the crew's performance during fire emergencies has been inadequate.

2 On-board personnel should receive periodic training and drills to become well versed in fire-fighting and fire safety measures. Resolution A.437 (XI) "Training of crews in fire-fighting" contains information on land-based fire-fighting training for marine personnel. Land training is essential, but by itself insufficient. The crew should know how to deal with fires on their ship because even the location of fire-fighting equipment on '1sister11 ships may vary from ship to ship. The common practice of transferring crew members from one ship to another at frequent intervals means that without on-board training and drills they may not become sufficiently familiar with the fire safety features of the ship on which they are serving.

3 Current regulations in chapter 11-2 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, as amended, do not require on-board training or drills for fire emergencies and although chapter III requires that fire drills be held at monthly intervals in cargo ships, at weekly intervals in passenger ships, and lays down various other requirements regarding the conduct and recording of fire drills (see regulations 18, 25, 51 and 52), its detailed requirements for fire drills are not considered sufficient.

4 The Maritime Safety Committee, at its fifty-eighth session, agreed that the SOLAS Convention, as amended, should be further amended to contain a new regulation covering on-board training and fire drills.

5 Further, the Maritime Safety Committee, recognizing the need to increase the state of awareness on board ships, instructed the Sub-Committee to prepare appropriate guidance for Governments and owners and operators in the conduct of on-board fire training and fire drills.

6 Annex I shows amendments to the Convention concerning fire drills and on-board training approved by the Committee, at its fifty-eighth session. Annex 2 provides guidance for incorporating these requirements into the crew's routine through minimum standards for on-board fire training and drills.

7 Member Governments are invited to give effect, as early as possible, to the draft new regulation to the 1974 SOLAS Convention, as amended, as contained in annex I, pending the adoption of an amendment to the Convention, and additionally to encourage ship owners, ships' crews and port fire brigades to co-operate in practicing fire drills in port locations to ensure more efficient fire-fighting arrangements at such locations.



Fire drills and on-board training

1 Fire drills

1.1 Each member of the crew shall participate in at least one fire drill every month. A drill shall take place within 24 h of the ship leaving port if more than 25% of the crew has not participated in a fire drill on board that particular ship during the previous month. The Administration may accept other arrangements that are at least equivalent for those classes of ships for which this is impracticable.

1.2 In passenger ships, a fire drill with the participation of the crew shall take place weekly.

1.3 Each fire drill shall include:

.1 reporting to stations and preparing for the duties described in the fire muster list required by regulation 11118;

.2 starting of a fire pump, using at least the two required jets of water to show that the system is in proper working order;

.3 checking fireman's outfit and other personal rescue equipment;

.4 checking the relevant communication equipment;

.5 checking the operation of watertight doors, fire doors and fire dampers;

.6 checking the necessary arrangements for subsequent abandoning of the ship.

1.4 Fire drills shall, as far as practicable, be conducted as if there were an actual emergency.

1.5 Fire drills should be planned in such a way that due consideration is given to regular practice in the various emergencies that may occur depending on the type of ships and the cargo.

2 On-board training and instructions

On-board training and instruction in the use of the ship's fire-extinguishing appliances shall be given at the same intervals as the drills. Individual instruction may cover different parts of the ship's fire-extinguishing appliances, but all the ship's fire-extinguishing appliances shall be covered within a period of two months. Each member of the crew shall be given the necessary instructions for their assigned duty.

3 Availability of fire-extinguishing appliances

3.1 Fire-extinguishing appliances shall be kept in good order and be available for immediate use at all times.

3.2 The equipment used during drills shall immediately be brought back to fully operational condition and any faults and defects discovered during the drills shall be remedied as soon as possible.

4 Records

The date and details of the fire drills shall be recorded as prescribed in regulation 111/18.5.



1 Owners and operators are urged to take measures to improve crew performance during shipboard emergencies. The human factor is very important. Each member of the crew should be instructed to recognize the importance of the emergency organization procedure and should take their role in this organization procedure seriously. Guidance should be given to each employee crewmember to highlight the importance of this philosophy.

Fire drills

2 An emergency organization procedure should be established to fight fires and deal with abandon ship emergencies, which should include all members of the crew and there should be one -organizational structure for both fire and abandon ship situations, since both may occur during the same incident. This procedure should include:

.1 conduct of fire drills as if an actual emergency existed, all hands reporting to their respective stations prepared to perform the duties specified in the station bill;

.2 starting the fire pumps using a sufficient number of outlets to show that the system is in proper working order;

.3 bringing all rescue and safety equipment from the emergency equipment lockers and designated crewmembers demonstrating their ability to use the equipment;

.4 operating all watertight doors and all fire doors; and

.5 making an entry into the log for each drill, including the date and hour, length of time of the drill, the number of lengths of hose used and a statement of the condition of all fire equipment, watertight door mechanisms and valves. If at any time the required fire drills are not held, or only partial drills are held, an entry should be made stating the circumstances and extent of the drills held.

On-board training

3 On-board training should include:

.1 instructions on:

.1.1 the purpose and meaning of the ship's station bill, fire control plans and muster stations;

.1.2 each individual's assigned duties and the equipment issued;

.1.3 the meaning of the ship1s many alarms;

.2 on-board refresher training) including lectures, training books and equipment demonstrations) including warnings on ways to prevent fires (good housekeeping, smoking, etc.), fire hazards from common shipboard supplies (paints, cooking oil, lubricants, etc.) and first aid techniques (burns, broken bones, cardiopulmonary resuscitation);

.3 learning to work within the emergency organization/procedure, including working with individual's superiors, his co-workers and his subordinates, as applicable, and for those in charge exercising leadership;

.4 instructions on the purpose of the ship1 5 passive fire protection design features and the purpose and requirements of the shipboard fire patrol;

.5 location and operation of shutdowns for ventilation fans, fuel and lubricants; the manual fire alarm boxes and the ship's fire-fighting equipment; and the fire doors and ventilation dampers;

.6 instruction and drills on extinguishing fires including:

.6.1 how a single crew member can extinguish small fires;

.6.2 special measures needed to combat fires involving dangerous goods, electrical installations and liquid hydrocarbons;

.6.3 use of the ship's fire-fighting equipment (e.g. fire hoses, fire nozzles, portable and semi-portable fire extinguishers and fire axes) including any post-drill clean-up and equipment stowage;

.6.4 dangers from fire-fighting systems, e.g. carbon dioxide system discharges;

.6.5 use of breathing apparatus, fireman's outfits and personal equipment, including lifeline and harness;

.7 instructions on:

.7.1 means of escape from any location in the ship, including all stairways, ladders and emergency exits;

.7.2 procedures covering the search and evacuation of passengers from all locations in the ship;

.7.3 the importance of closing doors after searching staterooms, not leaving fire hoses in doorways and not using elevators;

.8 locations of first-aid equipment and of medical facilities;

.9 How to transport injured individuals;

.10. First-aid techniques including treatment for burns, bleeding and broken bones and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Availability of fire-extinguishing appliances

4 The following equipment should be tested periodically:

.1 detection systems alarm Systems, walkie-talkies, public address and other communications systems;

.2 fixed fire-extinguishing connections (e.g. fire hydrants);

.3 watertight doors and self-closing fire doors;

.4 pressures of portable and semi-portable fire extinguishers and shutdowns for ventilation, fuel and lubrication systems;

.5 fire pumps, emergency fire pump, emergency generator and the pressurized water tank, as appropriate;

.6 international shore connections;

.7 fire main system, hoses and nozzles;

.8 inventory and condition of the contents of repair lockers.

However, only a portion of each type of fire-fighting and fire-detection equipment, e.g. some and not all of the fire hoses, need to be tested during each drill. A plan for periodically exercising each piece of equipment should be developed.


5 The date and details of the fire drills should be recorded, as prescribed in SOLAS regulation 111/18.5.

6 Records of crewmembers who participated in the training sessions and drills should be kept by date. An assessment of new crewmembers should be made prior to departure and the main office notified of their training status.

7 Records of the equipment tested at each drill should be kept by date.

Appendix A

Abandon ship procedure


This appendix presents procedures to successfully abandon ship safely.

Cutter crewmembers shall become thoroughly familiar with the information presented and be mentally and physically prepared to abandon ship if required.


For optimum survival, personnel leaving the ship shall be fully clothed.

Exiting the Ship

If possible, personnel should get away from the ship in a lifeboat or life raft.

Personnel should lower themselves into the water using a firmly attached line or hose. When a choice is available, personnel shall leave the ship from the windward side and from whichever end of the ship is lowest to the waterline.

Entering The


If it is necessary for personnel wearing a PFD to jump into the water, they must hold their legs together and keep their body erect. Personnel wearing a survival suit should cover their face with one hand, hold the crotch of the suit in place with the other and cross their legs when entering the water. Before lowering injured personnel into the water, always adjust the leg straps properly.

Jumping Into

The Water

Securely fasten inherently buoyant PFDs and keep them close to the body by folding the arms across the chest and gripping the jacket with the fingers. This procedure prevents buoyant PFDs from riding up and striking the chin or neck when the wearer hits the water. If an inflatable PFD is being worn, do not inflate it until the wearer is in the water. Use the same procedure for jumping with an inflated PFD as with the inherently buoyant PFD.


The wearer shall inflate the PFD as soon as they are in the water and clear of flames or debris.

Swim Away

When in the water, survivors shall swim away from the ship as rapidly as possible and, if available, climb into a lifeboat or liferaft.

Abandon Ship Procedures



If underwater explosions occur in the vicinity, survivors shall swim or float on their backs, keeping their heads and chests as far out of the water as possible. Underwater explosions are particularly threatening to lungs, abdomen, sinuses, and eardrums.


When the ship is entirely surrounded by burning oil and abandonment is essential, personnel shall jump feet first through the flames and swim windward under the surface of the water for as long as possible. When air in the lungs is exhausted, the swimmers should spring above the water in a vertical position, push the flames away with a circular motion of the hands, quickly take a deep breath with their backs to the wind, submerge feet first in a vertical position, and swim under the surface again.



Discard any buoyant articles of clothing or shoes. Whenever possible, personnel should wear only the inflatable PFD during this procedure for abandon ship, and should inflate the preserver only after the person is clear of the flames. Inherently buoyant PFDs will not permit the wearer to swim beneath the surface. Therefore, do not wear them before leaving a ship surrounded by flames.

International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974

Adoption: 1 November 1974
Entry into force: 25 May 1980

Convention description

Amendments year by year

Convention description

Introduction and history
Amendment procedure
Technical provisions
Chapter I - General Provisions
Chapter II-1 - Construction - Subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations
Chapter II-2 - Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction
Chapter III - Life-saving appliances and arrangements
Chapter IV - Radio communications
Chapter V - Safety of navigation
Chapter VI - Carriage of Cargoes
Chapter VII - Carriage of dangerous goods
Chapter VIII - Nuclear ships
Chapter IX - Management for the Safe Operation of Ships
Chapter X - Safety measures for high-speed craft
Chapter XI-1 - Special measures to enhance maritime safety
Chapter XI-2 - Special measures to enhance maritime security
Chapter XII - Additional safety measures for bulk carriers

Chapter II-2 - Fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction
Includes detailed fire safety provisions for all ships and specific measures for passenger ships, cargo ships and tankers.

They include the following principles: division of the ship into main and vertical zones by thermal and structural boundaries; separation of accommodation spaces from the remainder of the ship by thermal and structural boundaries; restricted use of combustible materials; detection of any fire in the zone of origin; containment and extinction of any fire in the space of origin; protection of the means of escape or of access for fire-fighting purposes; ready availability of fire-extinguishing appliances; minimization of the possibility of ignition of flammable cargo vapour.

Chapter XI-1 - Special measures to enhance maritime safety
The Chapter clarifies requirements relating to authorization of recognized organizations (responsible for carrying out surveys and inspections on Administrations' behalves); enhanced surveys; ship identification number scheme; and port State control on operational requirements.

Fire-Aid International Training have developed a specialized Marine Division to provide a unique onboard fire prevention and fire-fighting programmed to meet and surpass mandatory emergency preparedness requirements for merchant vessels.
We are to our knowledge, the only Company to be able to provide this comprehensive service onboard a ship at a moments notice at any international location.
Onboard training can fully utilise the time spent in port or at sea and is an essential element in the event of a port state inspection due to the potential failure of a simulated ship fire drill.
FAI realises the duties of each and every crewmember and therefore our marine fire fighting procedures are adapted to provide the necessary experience without the qualifications required of dedicated professional marine fire fighters.
Our marine fire fighting and fire safety protocols encompass fundamental principles coupled with bespoke solutions for individual clients.
This benefits the ship’s crew by providing the mandatory amount of knowledge and application without compromising their existing roles.
Shipboard Assessment
Our initial onboard analysis is paramount in identifying key areas, which require restructuring, and/or special emphasis;

· A full inspection of the vessel’s fire fighting equipment and procedures

· In depth analysis of emergency procedures

· Command & control; compliance, performance and decision making

· Crew evaluation through emergency drill simulation

Fire Control Assessment
Specific emphasis on safety awareness and the prevention of fire onboard a ship whether at sea or at port;

· Emergency crew list team organization

· Locating a fire and communication procedures

· Classes of fire and containment techniques

· Specific marine fire fighting protocols

· Use of ship’s fire prevention equipment

· Communications, Alarms and GMDSS

Equipment & Technique Training
Maximising the crew’s effectiveness in identifying an emergency situation and following the appropriate course of action;

· Emergency crew list team organization

· Tactical instruction in BA, fire fighting procedures and casualty rescue

· Support instruction including hose handling, boundary cooling and hydrants

· Basic instruction in first aid application and casualty handling

· Use of fire pump and emergency back up equipment

· Shipboard damage control

· Abandon ship procedures and lifeboat drills

Theoretical Training
Simulated emergency scenarios require cool and calculated decision making by the ship’s Officers who act as team leaders of a self-contained marine fire brigade.

· Pre-fire planning

· Operation of GMDSS and emergency distress communication

· Release of ship’s fixed fire suppression systems including Co2

· Public safety including course diversion

· Stability including dewatering, ballast and cargo

· Contingency planning

These procedures are inherent regardless of whether a ship has been detained or as part of the statutory fire safety training.
Port State Control
The international conventions like SOLAS, STCW, MCA and MARPOL form the framework of the safety, security, training and pollution prevention regulations with which ships should comply.
The primary task of enforcing compliance and the issuing of certificates falls on the Flag State. Under control provisions that date back to the 1929 SOLAS convention, port States also have certain rights to exercise authority over foreign ships that enter its ports.
Investigating that a ship complies with convention standards is one of those rights. A ship found to have deficiencies and considered unsafe to proceed to sea is likely to be detained. This includes but is not limited to fire safety emergency preparedness which is where Fire-Aid International will upon request, action an emergency response.
FAI has adopted a “prevention is better than cure” policy and firmly believes that measures put into place prior to an incident can reduce the risks to a minimum. In addition to providing an extensive range of safety and skills training, we can also supply and manage a complete range of extra consultancy services. This would encompass strategic areas of marine fire fighting including;

· Complete ship fire safety audit

· Fire fighting equipment supply, maintenance and allocation

· Contractual supply of equipment and or services

· Risk assessment and fire safety recommendations


1 comment:

Post a Comment

Site Search