Preventing a fire in the first place is always better than fighting it. However, in the unfortunate event of a fire, the aim is to extinguish it while it is in its “local” state, i.e. it should not have spread to other compartments or machinery/equipment. At the same time it is a very important consideration that the fire fighters must not be exposed to an unacceptable degree of risk. Response time is therefore critical.
Consequences of a delayed response
Lack of operational readiness of fire-fighting equipment, a centralized chain of command, gaps in training and familiarization of crew are some of the matters that can contribute to delayed response times in actual fire incidents. The effect can be three-fold:
While the drills would ensure the readiness of the firefighting team, it is worth recognizing that the response during an actual emergency may be different. For this reason, we recommend that the master makes a calculated assessment of the situation before authorizing a man entry into a compartment on fire.
Gard publications on shipboard fires