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Fire fighting equipment for machinery spaces - types of Portable extinguishers
Fire protection on ships is provided by detection and fire-fighting equipment together with structural features which are intended to contain an outbreak of fire and the employment when required of non-combustible materials to prevent its spread.
Carbon dioxide extinguisher
A very strong container is used to store liquid carbon dioxide under
pressure (Figure below). A central tube provides the outlet passage for the
carbon dioxide which is released either by a plunger bursting a disc or a
valve operated by a trigger. The liquid changes to a gas as it leaves the
extinguisher and passes through a swivel pipe or hose to a discharge
Carbon dioxide extinguishers are mainly used on Class B and C fires
and will be found in the machinery space, particularly near electrical
equipment. The carbon dioxide extinguisher is not permitted in the
accommodation since, in a confined space, it could be lethal.
Maintenance and testing
All portable extinguishers are pressure vessels and must therefore be
The dry powder
extinguisher is tested to 35 bar once every four years.
Most extinguishers should be tested by discharge over a period of one
to five years, depending on the extinguisher type,
Where practicable the operating mechanisms of portable extinguishers
should be examined every three months.
Fig: CO2 portable fire extinguisher
Any plunger should be checked for free movement, vent holes should
be clear and cap threads lightly greased. Most extinguishers with
screw-on caps have a number of holes in the threaded region. These are
provided to release pressure before the cap is taken off: they should be
checked to be clear.
The type, number and locations of portable and semi-portable extinguishers are supplied to cargo vessels according to SOLAS, Flag and Classification requirements. All fire fighting equipment must be in a constant state of readiness and be regularly and properly maintained. Any valves in these systems are to be operated and proved free every month.
Any defects with the equipment are to be reported to the Company immediately and rectified on an urgent basis.
It is essential that when fire-fighting equipment is landed ashore for service or maintenance, sufficient quantities remain onboard to cope with an emergency situation. If required, equipment may be hired as a temporary replacement for the ship’s own equipment.
Types of portable fire extinguisher
There are four principal types of portable extinguisher usually found on
board ship. These are the soda-acid, foam, dry powder and carbon dioxide
extinguishers. Details as below :
- Soda acid portable fire extinguisher
- Foam type portable fire extinguisher
- Dry powder fire extinguishers
- CO2 portable fire extinguisher
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