When you’re out at sea, safety is paramount. And one crucial aspect of staying safe on a ship is having the right firefighting equipment.
Among these, fire hoses play a vital role and they need to meet specific requirements to ensure they can do their job effectively, and these requirements are outlined in SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Fire hose and its testing requirements as per SOLAS and why it matters.
What SOLAS Requires for Fire Hoses
SOLAS Regulation 10.2.3 spells out what fire hoses on ships should be like. These requirements are super important because they ensure that when a fire breaks out at sea, you’ve got the right tools to deal with it.
First off, these hoses need to be made from tough, long-lasting materials. Think about the challenging conditions at sea with all that saltwater, oil, and other corrosive stuff. Fire hoses need to withstand all of that without falling apart or losing their effectiveness.
SOLAS doesn’t specify an exact length, but it’s essential that these hoses are long enough to reach various parts of the ship. Fires can start anywhere, and you don’t want to waste precious time trying to get close enough to put them out.
The regulation also talks about the diameter of the hoses. This isn’t just about making sure they look right; it’s about ensuring they can deliver enough water or firefighting foam to put out different types of fires effectively.
Fire hoses need nozzles, and the right ones at that. These nozzles are critical because they help control the direction and flow of the water or foam, allowing you to fight the fire as efficiently as possible.
Fire Hose Requirements as Per SOLAS
The Information for the requirement of Fire Hose onboard vessel can be found in SOLAS, Chapter II-2: Construction – Fire protection, Fire Detection and Fire Extinction. Regulation 10: Fire Fighting, 2.3 Fire Hose and Nozzles.
Whenever we need to test the fire hoses on a ship, we often ask: “What are the rules for fire hoses in SOLAS?”
Read further to know more about the requirements of fire hose as per SOLAS.
SOLAS, Chapter II-2: Reg 10, 2.3 Fire Hoses and Nozzles provides you with the information as below.
- 3.1 – General Specifications
- 3.2 – Number and Diameter of Fire Hoses
- 3.3 – Size and Types of Nozzles
2.3.1 General Specifications
22.214.171.124 – Fire hoses shall be of non-perishable* material approved by the Administration and shall be sufficient in length to project a jet of water to any of the spaces in which they may be required to be used.
“Non-Perishable: The material of hose shall withstand prolonged storage and do not deteriorate rapidly.’’
Each hose shall be provided with a nozzle and the necessary couplings.
Hoses specified in this chapter as ‘‘fire hoses’’ shall, together with any necessary fittings and tools, be kept ready for use in conspicuous positions near the water service hydrants or connections.
Additionally, in interior locations in passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers, fire hoses shall be connected to the hydrants at all times.
Fire hoses shall have a length of at least 10 m, but not more than:
- 15 m in machinery spaces.
(example: Engine room, Pump Room, Bosun Store, Steering Gear room)
- 20 m in other spaces and open decks; and
- (example: inside Accommodation, open deck if your ships max breadth is less then 30m)
- 25 m for open decks on ships with a maximum breadth in excess of 30 m.
126.96.36.199 – Unless one hose and nozzle is provided for each hydrant in the ship, there shall be complete interchangeability of hose couplings and nozzles.
2.3.2 – Number and diameter of fire hoses
188.8.131.52 – Ships shall be provided with fire hoses, the number and diameter of which shall be to the satisfaction of the Administration.
184.108.40.206 – In passenger ships, there shall be at least one fire hose for each of the hydrants required by paragraph 2.1.5 and these hoses shall be used only for the purposes of extinguishing fires or testing the fire-extinguishing apparatus at fire drills and surveys
220.127.116.11 In cargo ships:
- of 1,000 gross tonnage and upwards, the number of fire hoses to be provided shall be one for each 30 m length of the ship and one spare, but in no case less than five in all. This number does not include any hoses required in any engine-room or boiler room. The Administration may increase the number of hoses required so as to ensure that hoses in sufficient number are available and accessible at all times, having regard to the type of ship and the nature of trade in which the ship is employed. Ships carrying dangerous goods in accordance with regulation 19 shall be provided with three hoses and nozzles, in addition to those required above; and
- of less than 1,000 gross tonnage, the number of fire hoses to be provided shall be calculated in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 18.104.22.168.1. However, the number of hoses shall in no case be less than three.
2.3.3 – Size and types of nozzles
22.214.171.124 For the purposes of this chapter, standard nozzle sizes shall be 12 mm, 16 mm and 19 mm or as near thereto as possible. Larger diameter nozzles may be permitted at the discretion of the Administration.
126.96.36.199 For accommodation and service spaces, a nozzle size greater than 12 mm need not be used.
188.8.131.52 For machinery spaces and exterior locations, the nozzle size shall be such as to obtain the maximum discharge possible from two jets at the pressure mentioned in paragraph 2.1.6 from the smallest pump, provided that a nozzle size greater than 19 mm need not be used.
184.108.40.206 Nozzles shall be of an approved dual-purpose type (i.e. spray/jet type) incorporating a shutoff
Fire Hose Length Requirement as per SOLAS
Fire hoses shall have a length of at least 10 m, but not more than:
1. 15 m in machinery spaces;
2. 20 m in other spaces and open decks; and
3. 25 m for open deck on ships with maximum breadth in excess of 30 m.
Can we have Fire Hose of 30 meters on Main / Open Deck?
As per SOLAS you can’t have fire hose of 30m in length but being sailing on VLCC have never saw any vetting or PSC inspector raised concerns for this.
So, we do use fire hose of 30mts in length, but it’s always recommended that while ordering for fire hose, put remark for supplier to strictly supply 25m hose.
What all Equipment’s to be kept with Fire Hose.
- Fire Hose
- Nozzle Jet and spray type
- ‘C’ Spanner
- 2 Gaskets
- Don’t forget the IMO symbol as well.
Fire Hose Pressure Test as per SOLAS
In SOLAS you won’t find the exact details on fire hose testing, but SOLAS Ch II-2, Regulation 220.127.116.11 give you a brief description and complete details is provided in IMO MSC Circular MSC.1/Circ.1432 (31 May 2012).
Monthly & Quarterly:
- Check fire hose, nozzle, C spanner*, Imo Symbol* are in place and fire hose box in good condition.
* Not SOLAS requirement but as best practice we check on routine basis.
- Check conditions of fire hose and Nozzle.
- Pressure test fire hose from few locations at maximum fire mail pressure in such a way that all fire hoses are tested within five years.
- Check fire hose nozzles size and type are correct and in maintained condition and working.
What are the fire hose hydrostatic testing requirements?
SOLAS regulations do not require hydrostatic testing for fire hoses on ships.
Read: Lifeboat Equipment
Keeping fire hose in best condition and Shape
But here’s the thing: it’s not enough to just have these hoses on board. They need to be regularly checked, tested, and replaced if they’re damaged or too old.
Imagine relying on a hose that’s seen better days when you’re in the middle of a fire—it’s not a scenario anyone wants to be in.
That’s where ship operators and crew members come in. They need to conduct routine inspections and keep records of these checks.
It’s all about making sure that the hoses are in tip-top condition and ready to be your first line of defense in case of a fire.
Making Sure It All Adds Up
To be sure you’re on the right track, it’s crucial to work with certified manufacturers and suppliers.
When you’re buying new fire hoses or related equipment, look for products that meet SOLAS standards.
That certification from classification societies or maritime authorities serves as a stamp of approval, assuring you that everything on board is up to snuff.
Knowing How to Use Fire Hose onboard Ship
Besides having the right hoses, knowing how to use them is equally important.
Crew members should be trained in firefighting techniques and the proper use of firefighting equipment, including fire hoses.
Regular drills and exercises are essential to make sure everyone can respond effectively when a fire emergency strikes.
Why Fire Hoses Matter
Fire hoses aren’t just pieces of equipment; they’re a lifeline during emergencies.
Whether it’s a fire in the engine room, a mishap in the galley, or any other onboard blaze, having reliable, well-maintained fire hoses can mean the difference between a manageable incident and a catastrophe.
But they’re not just for putting out fires; they can also help create safe escape routes through smoke-filled areas, allowing crew members to evacuate to safety.
At sea, safety is non-negotiable. Adhering to SOLAS regulations regarding fire hoses is a crucial part of ensuring the safety and survival of everyone on board and protecting the vessel itself.
SOLAS Regulation 10.2.3 sets the standards for fire hoses’ construction, length, diameter, and nozzles. Regular maintenance and inspections are vital to meet these standards, and proper training and preparedness can make a significant difference in emergencies.
In a nutshell, fire hoses are not just hoses; they’re lifelines that must be cared for diligently.
By understanding and following SOLAS requirements for fire hoses, the maritime industry takes a significant step towards enhancing safety at sea and reducing the risks associated with onboard fires.