Inspecting Onboard Fire Protection Systems: When And How?

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All fire protection systems and appliances should at all times be in good order and available for immediate use while the ship is in service, a new Marine Notice by the Palau Ship Registry highlights and informs about the requirements of their inspection.

Weekly Inspections

Weekly inspections should be carried out to ensure that:

  1. All public address systems and general alarm systems are functioning properly;
    b. Breathing apparatus cylinders do not present leakages; and
    c. All fireman’s outfits and EEBDs are appropriately supplied, arranged, and in proper condition
    d. All fire detection, fire alarm, and fixed-extinguishing system control panel indicators are functional by operating the lamp/indicator test switch and verifying that all control/section valves are in the correct position.
    e. All fire door control panel indicators, if provided, are functional by operating the lamp/indicator switch.
    f. Verify that low-location lighting systems are functional by switching off normal lighting in selected locations.
    g. Verify water mist, water spray, and sprinkler systems control panel indicators and alarms are functional, visually inspecting the pump unit and its fitting, and checking the pump unit valve positions.

Monthly Examinations

Ships officers are responsible for performing monthly examinations of fire fighting system equipment and recording the examinations in the ship’s official logbook.

Monthly inspections should be carried out to ensure that:
a. All fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, hose and nozzles are in place, properly arranged, and are in proper condition;
b. Dry pipe sprinkler systems have appropriate pressures as indicated by gauges;
c. Sprinkler system pressure tanks have corrected levels of water as indicated by glass gauges;
d. All sprinkler system pumps automatically operate on reduction of pressure in the systems;
e. All fire pumps are operational
f. Emergency fire pump fuel supply is adequate and the heating system is in satisfactory condition.

Annual Testing And Inspection

As part of the annual statutory survey for Safety Equipment Certification, the following inspections and tests should be carried out to ensure that:

Fire mains, fire pumps, hydrants, hoses, and nozzles:

  • Are visually inspected ensuring their condition;
  • Flow test fire pumps for proper pressure and capacity;
  • Test hydrant valves for proper operation;
  • Verify all control/section valves are in the correct position;
  • Examine all flexible hoses by manufacturer’s recommendations;
  • Test all fuel shut-off controls connected to fire protection systems for proper operation.
  • Pressure test a sample of fire hoses at the maximum fire main pressure;
  • Verify all fire pump relief valves;
  • Examine and clean all filters/strainers

Fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems visually inspected for proper condition;

  • Externally examine all high-pressure cylinders for evidence of damage or corrosion.
  • Test all fixed system audible and visual alarms.

Foam fire extinguishing system.

  • Visually inspect all accessible components for proper operation.
  • Test all fixed system audible alarms.
  • Flow tests all water supply and foam pumps for proper pressure and capacity.
  • Verify all pump relief valves are properly set, as applicable.
  • Examine and clean all filters/strainers.
  • Take samples from all foam concentrates carried on board and subject them to the periodical control test for both low and high-expansion foam;
  • Test all fuel shut-off controls connected to the fire-protection system for proper operation.

Water mist, water spray, and sprinkler systems

  • Verify proper operation of all water mist, water spray and sprinkler systems using the test valves for each section.
  • Visually inspect all accessible components for proper condition.
  • Externally examine all high-pressure cylinders.
  • Check the hydrostatic test date of all high-pressure cylinders;
  • Test all fixed system audible and visual alarms;
  • Test all antifreeze systems for adequate freeze protection;
  • Verify all pump relief valves;
  • Examine and clean all filters and strainers;
  • Test emergency power supply switchover;
  • Test automatic sprinklers and automatic water mist nozzles by the manufacturer’s guidelines

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Source: Safety4sea

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