Maritime health: Fire protocols


Aspects that the sick bay needs to be knowledgable about

  • Identifcation of the emergency alarm (seven or more short blasts followed by a long blast on the ship’s whistle, repeated on the ship’s alarm system. The appropriate action is for all personnel to don lifejackets and warm clothing and muster at the designated stations. Reserve Team must prepare lifesaving appliances for launching
  • Muster lists indicates the Control Team that must muster on the bridge, the First Emergency Team, the second Emergency Team, the Reserve Team. The medical staff must know what is expected of them
  • Personnel safety procedures; medical staff must know what is expected of them as described in the procedure manual
  • Periodic ship drills; medical staff must particpate in the ship’s drills
  • Medical staff must know the location of fire-fighting appliances and emergency escape routes out of the sick bay. There must be contingency plans on how to get sick or injured persons out of the sick bay during an emergency
  • Medical staff must be familiar with accomodation and workplace layouts because when the rooms are filled with smoke they may have to get out without sight
  • Medical staff must be vigilant and any smell of burning or smoke detected must be investigated immediately

When everyone is at the muster station during a fire, strategies are decided, resources and crews are assigned and the fire is described in terms of stage and location.

Fire fighting strategies can be offensive drill strategies, defensive delay strategies or abandon ship.

Strategic priorities

  • ┬áSearch and rescue
  • Eliminate exposures to heat, fumes, open fire if possible
  • Confine fire to a manageable area
  • Extinguish the fire
  • Prevent restart after fire is extinguished