Preparedness to deal with an accident is the first step towards preventing and mitigating the effects of an untoward incident. The possibility of fire hazards are the same everywhere. It is important to note that even naval vessels are known to end up with fire accidents.
This effectively means that the risk of fire hazards are open to all. While most boats typically have the mandatory fire extinguisher, it is necessary to ensure that it is positioned at a place on the boat that permits easy access, without exposure to damage from routine movements.
You may have the most advanced fire extinguisher, but if you are unable to quickly gain access to it and use it, the whole purpose of choosing the best fire extinguisher stands defeated. It is also necessary to ensure that periodic maintenance is carried out on the fire extinguisher.
Where Is The Best Place To Store A Fire Extinguisher On A Boat
The rule of thumb for positioning fire extinguishers is pretty simple and practical. You should have easy access to the fire extinguisher, it should not be in the vicinity of storage tanks or substances that are highly inflammable, it should not be exposed to possible damage due to movement of men, material, or exposure to the elements.
For instance, if the fire extinguisher is in a location through which materials are moved or stored, the possibility of damage is high. Similarly, if the fire extinguisher is stored close to highly inflammable objects or substances, you will not be in a position to retrieve the fire extinguisher if the substance is on fire.
Remember, you should be in a position to quickly retrieve the fire extinguisher and also use it without having to navigate your way through narrow or congested spaces.
Fire extinguishers that are left out in the open or not secured properly are more likely to get damaged as a result of exposure to the elements or the rocking movements of the boat. The best approach would be to rule out certain locations and then choose the most ideal spot for the fire extinguisher.
How To Mount A Fire Extinguisher On A Boat?
Mounting the fire extinguisher is equally important, as improper mounting will result in possible damage when the boat hits a rough patch of weather in the waters. Mountings that come unhinged can cause damage to not only the fire extinguisher but also the boat. The first and foremost condition that needs to be fulfilled is the clearance area surrounding the fire extinguisher.
A minimum of two feet around the fire extinguisher will offer you the ease of access when you need to quickly use the fire extinguisher. Most individuals are aware of the fact that fire extinguishers should never be mounted straight. The substances in the fire extinguisher will slowly start settling at the bottom over a period of time.
This will make the contents less effective when combating fire. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the mounting is at an angle. This will prevent the contents from settling at the bottom of the fire extinguisher. However, this makes the job of mounting the fire extinguisher a bit more complex.
A platform or a wall that is sturdy and free from other objects will be the ideal location to mount the brackets for the fire extinguisher at the desired angle.
How To Use Your Boats Fire Extinguisher?
Before learning more about using the fire extinguisher, it would help to understand a bit more about the different types of fire extinguishers.
Class A fire extinguishers are intended for use in putting out fires in solid materials including wood and fabric.
Class B fire extinguishers are meant for combating liquid fires – grease and gasoline etc
Class C fire extinguishers are used to fight electrical fires
Class D fire extinguishers are typically used for putting out fires involving flammable metals
Class K fire extinguishers are meant to put out fires that originate from cooking material
It would help to brief all the members about your boat regarding the right usage of the fire extinguishers. Usage of the fire extinguisher involves four steps – the release of the security pin, aiming the outlet at the base of the fire, depressing the lever to release the contents of the extinguisher, and directing the substances at the fire by moving it from side to side.
It is essential to direct the substances only at the base of the fire. As far as possible it is important to direct the contents in such a way so as to prevent the fire from spreading.
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
Maintenance is a critical requirement. Fire extinguishers that are not maintained periodically will end up being of no use. This is also a matter of compliance as fire extinguishers come under the purview of the national fire code. This mandates that the fire extinguishers need to be inspected before the end of 30 days, in addition to annual testing.
The life of fire extinguishers is 10 years, this effectively means that the fire extinguishers need to be replaced once in 10 years. A clearly visible date stamp on the fire extinguisher will help replace it on time. Some of the more important aspects and parts that need to be checked during the routine inspection include leakages from hoses and seals, the functioning of pressure gauges and indicators, and checks for visible physical damage or rust.
Most boat owners spend a considerable amount of time and money in choosing equipment like switches, plugs, chargers and marine battery boxes etc. or looking at the specifications of the boat. However, it is equally important to ensure a higher level of boat safety and security for all occupants of the boat.
Every boat should have a plan in place for swift evacuation in addition to rapid fire fighting ability and response. It takes a few minutes for a fire to go out of control, and it is, therefore, essential to combat fires at the earliest in a manner that will not damage the boat or compromises the security of occupants in the boat.