Watch Out – Get Your Fire Hydrants’ Couplings Checked!


Fire hydrants fitted with incorrect coupling sizes impair the firefighting capabilities of the vessel.


The fire hydrant valves in the accommodation had been found leaking.  Replacement hydrants were ordered and fitted, but the couplings were found to be incompatible.  It was found that the coupling on the hydrant valve in the port side forward thruster room did not fit the adjacent fire hose coupling.  The hose coupling measured 65mm and the hydrant coupling measured 80mm.  This restricted the firefighting capabilities of the vessel.

Results of investigation:

  • The material (coupling) compatibility was not followed
  • Continuous Use of incompatible couplings for six days without observation
  • Observations revealed a total of thirty incompatible hydrant couplings (80mm couplings fitted instead of 65mm couplings).  If there had been a fire these thirty fire hydrants would be of no use
  • Firefighting capabilities were not entirely restricted as the outside accommodation fire hydrants on each deck were still pressurised and compatible with the fire hoses on board and the shipboard accommodation sprinkler fire suppression system was available.

Lesson learnt:

  • Vigilant inspections and compliance of compatibility should be checked.
  • A constant watch should be kept for examination for missing or improperly installed components:
    1. Lack of attention/due care/poor work practice
    2. Failure to identify incorrect fire hydrant valve couplings during installation of valves
    3. The thirty incompatible fire hydrant valve couplings were fitted in May 2014 and this had not been spotted for many months, despite maintenance, safety inspections and drills
  • Timely follow up on incidents, near misses, issues or concerns to be reported
  • The fire-fighting equipment should be carefully and thoroughly inspected
  • All equipment when first received should be checked and ensured during fire drills
  • Connectivity of the hoses to the fire hydrants, including those in the accommodation areas are to be checked

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Source: IMCA


  1. Al fire hoses are to be pressure tested and a proper test record is to be maintained. The rubber seal rings could get hardened and may not seal well and leak. Seal rings are to be checked for it’s elasticity during every inspection. Hardened seals are to be renewed.


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