In collaboration with AERPRO, we have compiled a small compendium for our readers on what fires on board are, what they mean for the owner and all the various aspects that characterize them, also depending on the type of vessel. It will be a serial section, in which we will deal with fire-fighting procedures and safety issues. In other words, the where’s, how’s and when’s of this extremely important subject. And everyone’s reaction time: what to expect and how to anticipate the most dreaded unexpected event on a boat. Together with all this we offer advice on the type of fire extinguisher to choose, from those we have had the opportunity to test and know in our constant and renewed nautical experience. At this point the watchwords for sailors are two: prevention and extinguishment.
Scenarios. Fires on board do not happen often, but when they do, they are lethal, certainly because of the extensive damage that can be caused to the boat. The materials used to build boats are highly flammable (e.g. wood and fibreglass), as are the interior fittings: upholstery, cushions and sails. Fighting a fire on board while sailing or moored often becomes more difficult due to a number of factors: the wind plays an important role, but also cramped spaces, panic among the crew, insufficient fire-fighting equipment and lack of specific experience are other concomitant factors that can lead to the worst.
Where does a fire start on board?
Three areas are most likely to be affected: the galley, engine compartment and electrical panels. Remember to carry out constant maintenance on the galley hood, the engine compartment and the bilge, which must be cleaned and degreased. The engine must not leak oil or fuel. The electrical system must be constantly serviced by certified technicians.
What if, despite all precautions, a boat fire breaks out?
Don’t panic. There is not much time to intervene and the right choice has to be made, so keeping calm and thinking about what to do in a suitable manner is essential.
On-board equipment must include, for example in the galley, but not only there, fireproof blankets that must be at hand to suffocate the start of a fire immediately.
The boat must also be equipped with at least one fire extinguisher: the rules are not particularly precise, but the common sense and experience of those who sell and maintain the devices should be heeded, because in the event of danger it can prove fundamental.
With little time to intervene, early detection of overheating, combustion, smoke or flames must take place as soon as possible: it is easier to extinguish a fire outbreak than to deal with the actual flames.
The solution is a fixed fire extinguishing system, automatic or manual, depending on the type of vessel, the class and the relevant regulations, such as AERPRO (registered trademark), the best solution for managing and controlling fires in technical compartments of all kinds.
Places to install the system. Cooker hoods, engine apparatus, electrical panels, rooms of any size and destination, can be protected with these particular types of systems, which operate even when there is no power supply to the boat, and can therefore be installed anywhere on the boat.
AERPRO reduces weight and space on board, the installation can be easily carried out when the boat is finished and does not require frequent maintenance. The system is not pressurised, does not lose weight and is not affected by humidity or temperatures.
AERPRO is the most certified system of all, it does not cause any damage to the boat’s materials, it is non-toxic and it is also indicated by the American EPA, the most important body for environmental protection, as totally “sprinkler equivalent”. What’s more, the system can be installed in environments where people are constantly present. AERPRO does not have any negative effects on the environment as it is Ozone Free, making it completely eco-friendly.
For more information on the AERPRO fire extinguishing system, please contact the company at www.polytechno-eng.com.
AERPRO at Mets
The company will also be exhibiting at the Mets Trade Show in Amsterdam, from November 16-18, booth No.07.235, where it will be exhibiting together with Tema Sistemi.