The United States Coast Guard has published the following report regarding an engine room fire in a vessel. The safety alert addresses the location of fire suppression system pressure switches aboard vessels. These critical components sense the activation of the system and then electrically secure the ventilation systems operating in the protected space. Securing the ventilation is essential in extinguishing a fire onboard a vessel. It assists in isolating the fire within the space, minimizes the introduction of additional oxygen to fuel the fire and prevents the loss of fire suppression agents from the space.
Recently, a vessel with an installed fixed CO₂ fire suppression system suffered extensive damage due to a fire that started in the engine room. During the fire-fighting efforts the crew reported that the engine room ventilation could not be secured. A post incident damage survey of the vessel revealed that the pressure switch used to secure the ventilation was located within the engine room.
Members may wish to check the location of these switches onboard their vessels, and ensure that they are properly located.
The report can be downloaded from uscg.mil/hq/cg5/TVNCOE/Documents/SafetyAlerts/PressureSwitch.pdf