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FIRE PREVENTION AND FIRE FIGHTING

CHEMICAL TANKERS

THEORY OF FIRE
Fire requires a combination of three elements: fuel, oxygen and heat or a source of ignition, and chemicals need the same combination in order to burn. The principal means of controlling and extinguishing a fire is to remove one or more of the elements, either by removal of the fuel, by cooling, or by excluding a supply of oxygen (air).
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THEORY OF FIRE
But in chemical fires, the source of ignition may be heat from a reaction within the chemical itself or from a reaction after mixing chemicals. A supply of oxygen may be released from the chemical through heating by the fire. So fire fighting will be made more difficult. Without doubt, the best course is to prevent any fire occurring.
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THEORY OF FIRE
Some liquid chemicals have properties which necessitate fire fighting techniques that differ from those used on simple oil fires. The following list indicates some of these properties: some chemicals are soluble in water and at certain concentrations may be flammable;

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THEORY OF FIRE
chemicals which are soluble in water will generally destroy normal foam, so alcohol resistant or dual purpose foam is required; some chemicals are heavier than, and insoluble in, water: they can be smothered by a blanket of water, provided application is gentle;

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THEORY OF FIRE
some chemicals are heavier than, and insoluble in, water: they can be smothered by a blanket of water provided application is gentle; some chemicals react with water to produce heat and thus give off increased amounts of flammable (and in some cases toxic) gases;

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THEORY OF FIRE
some chemicals evolve large volumes of toxic vapours when heated; some chemicals form otherwise unexpected toxic vapours when burning; the comparatively low auto-ignition temperature of some chemicals increases the chance of re-ignition.

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THEORY OF FIRE
The cargo data sheet for a chemical will draw attention to these unusual properties and indicate the correct fire fighting medium and special precautions for fire fighters.

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FIRE FIGHTING MEDIA


Chemical tankers normally have two main fire fighting media available: water and either dry powder or an alcohol-resistant foam system. The minimum capacity and coverage of these systems is stipulated in SOLAS and the IMO Codes.

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FIRE FIGHTING MEDIA


In addition, some chemicals have properties that require special fire fighting equipment such as a water sprinkler system. The ability to deal with a fire in unusual chemicals is a criterion for gaining the Certificate of Fitness to carry those cargoes.

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FIRE FIGHTING MEDIA


The best way of dealing with a cargo fire in a tank is by means of a smothering agent, such as foam, carbon dioxide, or in some cases dry chemical powder, if possible coupled with sealing off the tank and cooling adjacent areas or spaces.

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WATER
Water is the most common cooling medium, but has limited effect on most chemical fires. If used, water should be applied as a spray or water fog, or in foam. Its use should primarily be for cooling down the chemical itself and surrounding structure, for cooling hot bulkheads and tank walls, and for reducing the concentration of vapours.
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WATER
Water should not be used in the form of a jet directly onto the fire Non-volatile chemical fires which have not been burning for long can be extinguished by water fog or water spray if the whole of the burning surface is accessible.

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WATER
Any liquid fire which has been burning for some time is more difficult to extinguish with water, since the liquid will have been heated to a progressively greater depth and cannot readily be cooled to a point where it ceases to give off gas.

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CARBON DIOXIDE
Carbon dioxide is an excellent smothering agent for extinguishing fires when used in conditions where it will not be widely diffused. However, it has poor cooling qualities and the possibility of re-ignition by hot surfaces should be borne in mind.

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CARBON DIOXIDE
Due to the possibility of static electricity generation, carbon dioxide should not be injected into any space containing a flammable atmosphere which is not already on fire. Carbon dioxide is asphyxiating and cannot be detected by sight or smell.

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DRY POWDER
Dry powder is an effective fire fighting medium, which works by decomposing under heat into non-flammable gas. It is important that the powder is not damp or compacted. Discharged from an extinguisher as a free-flowing cloud it can be effective in dealing initially with a fire resulting from a liquid spill on deck or in a confined space.
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DRY POWDER
It is especially effective on burning liquids such as liquefied gas, or liquids escaping from leaking lines and joints, and on vertical surfaces, for example diesel equipment fires. It is a non-conductor and thus suitable for use in dealing with electrical fires. It must be directed into the flames.

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DRY POWDER
Dry powder has a negligible cooling effect and so may not give protection against possible re-ignition from a hot surface. Certain types of dry powder can cause a breakdown of a foam blanket, and only those known to be compatible with foam should be used in conjunction with foam.

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FOAM
Chemical tankers built to the IBC Code have foam as the main fire fighting medium, and most use an alcoholresistant or multi-purpose foam. The correct type of foam concentrate will be important in determining the range of cargoes that can be carried under the Certificate of Fitness.

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FOAM
Foam forms a coherent smothering blanket over the burning liquid that cuts off the oxygen supply from air. Foam also has some cooling effect on the surface temperature of the liquid. Foam conducts electrical current and should not be used unless the electricity supply has been shut off.

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FOAM
During the application of any foam, water fog may be used to protect fire fighters from radiant heat to permit closer approach to the fire. Care should be taken to prevent water falling onto the foam and reducing its effectiveness.

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FOAM MONITORS
Foam monitors are dedicated devices for delivering very large volumes of foam quickly. Large capacity monitors would normally be on a fixed mounting or on a mobile unit. As a principal fire fighting tool in the event of a fire in the cargo area, the operational readiness of foam monitors is essential. Every opportunity should be taken to practise their use; this is especially so for remotely controlled monitors.
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FIRE FIGHTING CLOTHING


Fire extinguishing parties should be appropriately dressed. The most effective fire protective clothing currently available is made of lightweight fire-resistant fabric incorporating an aluminium covering, and is sometimes referred to as a fire proximity suit.

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FIRE FIGHTING CLOTHING


However, this type of suit is not suitable for direct entry into fire areas. Heavier weight suits, known as fire entry suits, permit personnel wearing breathing apparatus to enter the actual fire area. Fire suits made of asbestos are now not recommended.

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FIRE FIGHTING CLOTHING


Fire resistant clothing must be approved by the administration. All protective clothing should be kept serviceable and dry, and should be properly fastened while being worn. Protective clothing should be stowed near lockers that contain breathing apparatus.

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PROTECTION OF CARGO PUMP-ROOMS


11.2 Cargo pump-rooms 11.2.1. The cargo pump-room of any ship shall be provided with a fixed carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing system . A notice shall be exhibited at the controls stating that the system is only to be used for fire-extinguishing and not for inerting purposes, due to the electrostatic ignition hazard.
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PROTECTION OF CARGO PUMP-ROOMS


The alarms shall be safe for use in a flammable cargo vapour/air mixture. For the purpose of this requirement, an extinguishing system shall be provided which would be suitable for machinery spaces. However, the amount of gas carried shall be sufficient to provide a quantity of free gas equal to 45% of the gross volume of the cargo pump-room in all cases.
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PROTECTION OF CARGO PUMP-ROOMS


11.2.2. Cargo pump-rooms of ships which are dedicated to the carriage of a restricted number of cargoes shall be protected by an appropriate fireextinguishing system approved by the Administration.

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PROTECTION OF CARGO PUMP-ROOMS


11.2.3. If cargoes are to be carried which are not suited to extinguishment by carbon dioxide or equivalent media, the cargo pumproom shall be protected by a fire extinguishing system consisting of either a fixed pressure water spray or high expansion foam system. The International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk shall reflect this conditional requirement.
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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


11.3.1. Every ship shall be provided with a fixed deck foam system in accordance with the requirements of 11.3.2 to 11.3.12. 11.3.2. Only one type of foam concentrate
shall be supplied, and it shall be effective for the maximum possible number of cargoes intended to be carried. For other

cargoes for which foam is not effective or is incompatible, additional arrangements to the satisfaction of the Administration shall be provided. Regular protein foam shall not be
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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


11.3.3. The arrangements for providing foam shall be capable of delivering foam to the entire cargo tanks deck area as well as into any cargo tank, the deck of which is assumed to be ruptured. 11.3.4. The main control station for the system shall be suitably located outside of the cargo area, adjacent to the accommodation spaces and readily accessible and operable in the event of fires in the areas protected.
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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


The rate of supply of foam solution shall be not less than the greatest of the following: 2 l/min per square metre of the cargo tanks deck area, where cargo tanks deck area means the maximum breadth of the ship times the total longitudinal extent of the cargo tank spaces; 20 l/min per square metre of the horizontal sectional area of the single tank having the largest such area;

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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


10 l/min per square metre of the area protected by the largest monitor, such area being entirely forward of the monitor, but not less than 1,250 l/min. Sufficient foam concentrate shall be supplied to ensure at least 30 min of foam generation when using the highest of the solution rates stipulated above

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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


11.3.7. Foam from the fixed foam system shall be supplied by means of monitors and foam applicators. At least 50% of the foam rate required shall be delivered from each monitor. The capacity of any monitor shall be at least 10 l/min of foam solution per square metre of deck area protected by that monitor, such area being entirely forward of the monitor. Such capacity shall be not less than 1,250 l/min.
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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


The distance from the monitor to the farthest extremity of the protected area forward of that monitor shall be not more than 75% of the monitor throw in still air conditions. A monitor and hose connection for a foam applicator shall be situated both port and starboard at the poop front or accommodation spaces facing the cargo area.
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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


Applicators shall be provided for flexibility of action during fire- fighting operations and to cover areas screened from the monitors. The capacity of any applicator shall be not less than 400 l/min and the applicator throw in still air conditions shall be not less than 15 m. The number of foam applicators provided shall be not less than four. The number and disposition of foam main outlets shall be such that foam from at least two applicators can be directed to any part of the cargo tanks deck area.
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PROTECTION OF CARGO AREAS


Suitable portable fire-extinguishing equipment for the products to be carried shall be provided and kept in good operating order. Where flammable cargoes are to be carried, all sources of ignition shall be excluded from hazardous locations

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