The Fire Control Plan is a mandatory requirement of SOLAS convention described in Regulation 15 of Chapter II. The fire control plan provides us information about fire station on each deck of the ship, on various bulkheads, and in spaces enclosed by “A” class division, “B” class divisions. It also explains us the type of fire detection system and fire fighting systems available on ship.
Important things about Fire Control Plan:
Fire alarms, appliances, escape route, Switches etc.
Fire control plan tells us about various fire alarm systems, sprinkler installation, extinguishing appliances, means of escape to different compartments and decks, and ventilation system including particulars of remote operation of dampers and fans. The position of various dampers, their marking, and which fan is for particular compartment or deck is also explained so that required damper and fans can be closed in case of fire.
The graphical symbols used in the fire control plan should be as per fighting equipment symbols set out in IMO Assembly Resolution A.654(16). It is duty of each and every member of ship’s crew to know the meaning of the symbols used in this plan.
The fire plan should be available in the working language of the crew on board and also in English.
Location and Availability
The general arrangement plan should be permanently exhibited for the guidance of ship officer in conspicuous locations such as navigating bridge, engine room and accommodation.
At least one copy of the fire control plan shall be available ashore at the offices of the Company.
Copies of the fire control plan must be provided to each of the members of the fire patrol team in a passenger ship and also posted at each continuously manned central control station.
A copy of Fire Control Plan should be permanently stored in prominently marked weathertight enclosures outside deckhouse for assistance of shore side fire fighting system in case the ship is in port or in dry-dock.
Also with the permission of Administration i.e classification society, the details can be set out in the form of booklet and a copy of it shall be supplied to each officer onboard. One copy of the same should be available on board and be easily accessible. These plans should be kept up-to-date and if alterations are made shall be recorded as soon as possible. The fire plan should be available in the working language of the crew on board and also in English language.
Renewal, update of Fire control plan:
It comes under the responsibility of the master, ship owner and ship management team at shore to ensure that the fire control plan is kept up to date and if alterations are made shall be recorded as soon as possible.
Following are the cases when renewal or update in the fire control plan is required:
- Change in the fire fighting system, alarm system, escape route design or anything related to current fire plan takes place. The new system or design must be included and approval should be taken from the classification society
- Modification In ship structure or ship particulars which effect the current fire plan must be added to the new plan with approval of the classification society
- In case of revision of statutes related to fire control plan under SOLAS done by IMO or similar authority, the new fire plan to be provided and the fire fighting system or equipment must be as per the new revised plan
- When change of flag in a ship happens, the assigned classification society must review the ship fire control plan
- During the change of classification society, the fire control plan must be reviewed
The Classification society surveyor must ensure that there shall are discrepancies between the content of the fire control and the record of approved cargo ship (or passenger ship) safety equipment carried on board. In addition, the various entries in the record should correspond to the particulars of the equipment carried on board and with the associated service and maintenance reports and records.
Following surveys are required:
Initial Survey: This is the survey to be done for issuing the approved fire control plan to the newly built ship.
Annual Survey: The fire control plan survey comes under the continuous ship safety equipment survey (CSSE) which is performed annually.
Renewal Survey: If the CSSE certificate is under renewal period requiring a survey, the fire control plan will require this survey.
The attending surveyor is required and expected to make a specific and explicit statement in the report of the relevant survey as to whether he has examined and has verified that the content of fire control plan found on board are in a readable state, updated, approved (or examined for compliance) and in accordance with the requirements of Regulations under SOLAS.
Importance of Fire control Plan:
- The Fire control plan is not just a paper requirement for the classification society or the port state control. It is a useful document to understand:
- Location of nearest and safest fire fighting equipment and escape route when fighting fire on ship
- The port fire fighting station team has no clue about the ship arrangement. The fire control plan is extremely useful and easy to read document to tackle major fire on ship by port Fire fighters
- Fire control plan is an important part of safety management plan of the ship and any discrepancy may lead to non conformities against the SMS
- Copy of Fire control plans kept the shore officer is also inspected while issuing/ re-issuing the document of compliance (DOC) and safety management certificate (SMC) to the company
It is advisable for the master or the ship management team to provide a Fire control plan to the Fire Fighting station of the port authority of that Port where the ship is regular for cargo exchange.