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Fire Protection Fire Response

Fire truck/equipment response adjacent to warehouse.
Figure 1. Fire truck/equipment response adjacent to warehouse.
Response to fire in the shipyard may be conducted by an internal fire department, an outside (local) fire response organization, or a combination of both. Requirements vary depending on the employer's choice for response.

Fire Response
Fire extinguishing system specialist inspecting high pressure CO2 system on vessel.
Figure 2. Fire extinguishing system specialist inspecting high pressure CO2 system on vessel. Inspection of fire protection system alarms (shore-based) by fire department personnel.
Figure 3. Inspection of fire protection system alarms (shore-based) by fire department personnel. Fire response training by fire department personnel.
Figure 4. Fire response training by fire department personnel. Shore-based evacuation plan.
Figure 5. Shore-based evacuation plan. Local fire department responding to emergency.
Figure 6. Local fire department responding to emergency.

Potential Hazards:

  • Inadequate communication between responsible parties.
  • Lack of coordination when developing the program.
  • Alarms may not be heard in remote or high noise areas.
  • Lack of coordination during an event. 
  • Lack of accountability for workers after evacuation occurs.
  • Local fire department has not evaluated facility.
  • Incompatibility of local fire department equipment with facilities.
  • Failure to locate utility shutoffs.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • The following type of fire response must be decided upon and implemented by the employer: [1915.505(a)]
    • What type of response will be provided and who will provide it. [1915.505(a)(1)]
    • Create, maintain, and update a written policy that: [1915.505(a)(2)]
      • Describes the internal and outside fire response organizations that the employer will use. [1915.505(a)(2)(i)]
      • Defines what evacuation procedures employees must follow if the employer chooses to require a total or partial evacuation of the worksite at the time of a fire. [1915.505(a)(2)(ii)]
  • Internal fire response. If an internal fire response is to be used, the written policy must include: [1915.505(b)(1)]
    • Basic structure of the fire response organization. [1915.505(b)(1)(i)]
    • Number of trained fire response employees. [1915.505(b)(1)(ii)]
    • Fire response functions that may need to be carried out. [1915.505(b)(1)(iii)]
    • Minimum number of fire response employees necessary,  number and types of apparatuses, and a description of the fire suppression operations established by written standard operating procedures for each type of fire response at the employer's facility; [1915.505(b)(1)(iv)]
    • Type, amount, and frequency of training that must be given to fire response employees; and [1915.505(b)(1)(v)]
    • Procedures for using protective clothing and equipment. [1915.505(b)(1)(vi)]
  • Outside fire response. If an outside fire response organization is used, the written policy must include: [1915.505(b)(2)]
    • Types of fire suppression incidents to which the fire response organization is expected to respond at the employer's facility or worksite. [1915.505(b)(2)(i)]
    • Liaisons between the employer and the outside fire response organizations. [1915.505(b)(2)(ii)]
    • A plan for fire response functions that: [1915.505(b)(2)(iii)]
      • Addresses procedures for obtaining assistance from the outside fire response organization. [1915.505(b)(2)(iii)(A)]
      • Familiarizes the outside fire response organization with the layout of the employer's facility or worksite, including access routes to controlled areas, and site-specific operations, occupancies, vessels or vessel sections, and hazards. [1915.505(b)(2)(iii)(B)]
      • Explain how hose and coupling connection threads are to be made compatible and includes where the adapter couplings are kept. [1915.505(b)(2)(iii)(C)]
      • Includes a statement that the employer will not allow the use of incompatible hose connections. [1915.505(b)(2)(iii)(D)]
  • If a combination of internal and outside fire response is to be used, the written policy must include the following requirements in addition to those outlined for the internal fire response requirements: [1915.505(b)(3)]
    • Basic organizational structure of the combined fire response. [1915.505(b)(3)(i)]
    • Number of combined trained fire responders. [1915.505(b)(3)(ii)]
    • Fire response functions that may need to be carried out. [1915.505(b)(3)(iii)]
    • Minimum number of fire response employees necessary, number and types of apparatuses, and a description of the fire suppression operations established by written standard operating procedures for each particular type of fire response at the worksite. [1915.505(b)(3)(iv)]
    • Type, amount, and frequency of joint training with outside fire response organizations if given to fire response employees. [1915.505(b)(3)(v)]
  • Employee evacuation. The employer's written policy must include: [1915.505(b)(4)]
    • Emergency escape procedures. [1915.505(b)(4)(i)]
    • Procedures to be followed by employees who may remain longer at the worksite to perform critical operations during the evacuation. [1915.505(b)(4)(ii)]
    • Procedures to account for all employees after emergency evacuation is completed. [1915.505(b)(4)(iii)]
    • The preferred means of reporting fires and other emergencies. [1915.505(b)(4)(iv)]
    • Names or job titles of the employees or departments to be contacted for further information or explanation of duties. [1915.505(b)(4)(v)]
  • Rescue and emergency response. The employer's written policy must include: [1915.505(b)(5)]
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Maritime Labor/Industry Recommendations
Fire response team briefing on vessel.
Figure 7. Fire response team briefing on vessel.
  • Conduct joint drills with shipyard personnel and local fire department (Figure 7).
  • Invite local fire department to tour vessels.
  • Compile an emergency call list for quick contact in a fire event.
  • Discuss fire response plan with personnel living on board vessels. 
  • Designate subcontractor supervisors to be accountable for workers during evacuations.
  • Designate workers to visually verify that areas have been evacuated when alarm sounds for quick accountability.
  • Use visual alarms for high noise areas.
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Internal Fire Department
Internal fire department conducting annual fire drill.
Figure 8. Internal fire department conducting annual fire drill. Internal fire department workers extinguishing during training exercise.
Figure 9. Internal fire department workers extinguishing during training exercise.

Shipyard internal fire departments will encounter the same hazards as any outside fire department. These hazards include:

  • extreme heat
  • burns
  • smoke
  • falls
Requirements and Example Solutions:
  • Medical requirements for shipyard fire response workers must include: [1915.505(c)]
    • All fire response workers receive medical examinations to assure that they are physically and medically fit for the duties they are expected to perform. [1915.505(c)(1)]
    • Fire response workers, who are required to wear respirators in performing their duties, meet the medical requirements of  1915.154. [1915.505(c)(2)]
    • Each fire response employee has an annual medical examination. [1915.505(c)(3)]
    • The medical records of fire response employees are kept in accordance with 1915.1020. [1915.505(c)(4)]
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