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Operating Marine 24
Updated On: Jul 15, 2010
 

NORWALK FIRE DEPARTMENT
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
 
SOP:      2.087   
TYPE:    Operations                                                                                                
TITLE:    Operating Marine 24   
DATE:    September 1, 2009 (replaces May 19, 2008 version)   
   
 

Purpose:
To provide a set of standard procedures that will allow the members of the Norwalk Fire Department to operate the department’s fire/rescue boat in a safe manner, consistent with the mission of the Norwalk Fire Department. Procedures for operating any of the Norwalk Fire department’s small boats, inflatables, or other small ice/water rescue craft will be covered in a separate SOP.
 
Procedure:
 
Marine 24 In-sevice/OOS Status
When Marine unit(s) are OOS or back in service, notify the Deputy Chief and dispatch by phone. This should be followed by an email to everyone in the FD Officers mail group, Mechanics, and all qualified Boat Captains.
Notification / Dispatch
Dispatcher shall send the closest company that has a qualified Boat Captain to respond. Dispatcher shall contact the on duty Deputy Chief to determine what unit/s to dispatch.
 
If notification of a call is received in any other manner, such as over the marine radio, the Deputy Chief shall be informed, and Dispatch shall be notified to send the closest company as in above.
 
Responding to Marine 24:
All apparatus shall respond to Veterans Park and crews shall board from the city dock at that location.
 
Staffing aboard Marine 24:
No less than 2 personnel (one of which must be a USCG licensed Captain) shall be aboard the vessel while conducting emergency operations or responding to an emergency incident. It is recommended that the second person aboard the vessel be capable of navigation while operating during limited visibility. Staffing prior to incident during events or holidays that pose a high risk for incident shall have (4) personnel aboard the vessel (one of which must be a USCG licensed Captain) consisting of (1) one officer and (3) three firefighters. 
 
Use of Personal Flotation Devices:
Personal floatation devices are required to be worn at all times. Float coats, work vests, or jumpsuits, etc. also known as flotation aid apparel may substitute for wearing a PFD. However, the proper amount of approved PFD’s still must be aboard the vessel for the amount of personnel on board. 
 
Prior to getting underway:
A determination by the Coxswain shall be made regarding staffing Marine 24 when responding to an incident that requires the vessel to be minimally staffed so that available deck space can be used for rescuing victims
The Coxswain shall follow the guidelines set forth in Appendix A.
 
Responsibilities while underway:
The Coxswain (and Fire Officer, if aboard) is responsible for the safety of the crew. It is the responsibility of the Coxswain to know and operate the vessel consistent with the Navigational Rules of the Road. All personnel on board shall conduct themselves professionally and consistent with the Norwalk Fire Departments SOP’s regarding ethics and conduct. The Coxswain shall be responsible for his/her own wake even when responding to and emergency with emergency lights displayed and an audible siren. The crew should always monitor VHF channel 16 and 13. If required to wear corrective lenses they should be worn while navigating any vessel. Fenders shall be used when approaching any dock or vessel.
 
Working with other responders:
The Norwalk Fire Departments should work in a cooperative manner with other agencies such as Marine Police from any jurisdiction, USCG, Salvage companies, and Good Samaritans.
 
Communications:
The proper marine etiquette and terminology shall be used when aboard the vessel as well as when communicating on the VHF marine radio. Prior to leaving the dock, hail any other responders that are already on scene to see if any special needs equipment should be brought to the scene. VHF channel 16 should be used for hailing and distress calls only. All traffic should be switched to a working channel. If the Coast Guard is or will be included in the radio traffic, switch the distress vessel to VHF channel 22a. For reasons of liability, do not ever provide navigational assistance via VHF radio to a vessel in which their location cannot be confirmed visually. This does not include an attempt to stop a vessel from entering an area that should not be transited. Tidal information may be given for Norwalk Harbor. When answering a distress call via VHF marine radio or by phone, follow the guidelines set forth in Appendix E.
 
Marine 24 is equipped with a PTT cell phone to aid in communications. However any communication to Dispatch of an important nature (asking for DEP, or additional units, etc.) shall be made over the FD radio. The reason for this to ensure that the call and time of such call is documented
 
Navigating in shallow areas:
Marine 24 should not be navigated in an area that does not provide enough water based on tide unless an incident and conditions warrant such a position. It should first be determined whether Marine 24 has to navigate a shallow area. If responding to a “vessel aground” and there are no injuries, environmental hazards, and the vessel is stable, there is no need to approach the vessel aground. Communicate to the Captain of the vessel to ensure all persons on board are in good health and set up a communication schedule. If it is necessary to navigate a shallow area, both engines should be trimmed as high as possible without uncovering the intakes on the engines and without losing your steerage. One engine should always be in neutral to avoid damage to both engines/lower units. It may be practical to turn off one engine. Do not power through mud, rocks, and shellfish beds if aground. Use the oar to move the vessel to an area if it is so shallow. The Coxswain should have the crew positioned on board that is optimal for the least possible draft. The Coxswain shall post a “look out” whenever navigating in a shallow area as well as when navigating during limited visibility. Salvers typically have a lot of experience in these situations and should be viewed as professionals and used to our advantage. If it does not require more than one responding vessel to commit to the distress vessel, than remain in safe water. A safety perimeter zone may need to be maintained and enforce a “No Wake speed” through the safety perimeter zone.
 
Personal Protective Equipment:
The Fire Officer (if none present the Coxswain) on board shall determine whether personnel need to bring turnout gear and/or SCBA aboard Marine 24. Considerations should include thermal protection, Haz-Mat exposure, and protection from bodily fluid. Personnel should not be required to bring turnout gear aboard Marine 24 for routine patrols, training that does not require turnout gear or for emergency responses that do not require the protection offered by turnout gear. Two (2) sets of turnout gear are kept aboard for the purpose of handling small incidents as well as incidents in which Marine 24 is staffed prior to incident and it is not necessary or practical to respond to the dock to pick up an Engine Company. Personnel should only use this gear to attack a fire that is small, in its incipient stage, or can be extinguished with a portable extinguisher. This turnout gear should not be used to position personnel in an IDLH environment unless a rescue is imminent. If SCBA is brought aboard the vessel much care should be placed to avoid the SCBA from exposure to salt water. 


Firefighting:
Any persons in the water should be recovered prior to attempting to extinguish a fire aboard any vessel. The Fire Officer (if none present the Coxswain) on board shall be in charge of firefighting operations. Do not approach a vessel on fire through a sheen of gasoline that may ignite around your vessel. If possible approach the vessel on fire from the windward side. If there are immediate exposures and the vessel on fire cannot be extinguished with a quick knock down by an extinguisher, the vessel on fire may be moved to an area free from exposures. This should be done in a controlled manner such as using the grapple hook to tow the vessel to an area more suitable for fire. The vessel on fire should not be cut free from a dock if it is possible that it will drift into another dock with more exposures.
 
SCUBA Diving Operations:
If practical the vessel should be anchored. A Security call shall be made on VHF channel 16 and 13 advising mariners transiting the area of diving operations every 15 minutes. A dive flag must be displayed above the vessel. It is recommended that a dive line (with flag) of 150 – 300 feet be deployed while conducting dive operations. The engines must not be running while divers are in the water. Advise dispatch that Marine 24 will have a delayed response to any emergency calls. Marine 24 must not respond to incidents until all divers are back on board. A member must be assigned as Dive Master and remain on deck separate from the Coxswain. The Dive Master will be responsible for maintaining a log of all divers in the water, the entry and exit times, air pressures in/out of each diver, and maintain a constant watch of the divers’ location by monitoring bubbles. The Coxswain will be responsible to maintain a constant watch (visual & radar) of vessel traffic and be ready to take actions necessary to divert a vessel on a course or passing too close to the divers’ safety zone. 
 
Securing Marine 24:
Personnel shall document in the ships log the incident number (if applicable), date, time, and nature of the work performed.
The Coxswain shall follow the guidelines set forth in Appendix B.
 
Apparatus check:
The Engine Company assigned to the Marine Station shall perform an apparatus style check following the guidelines set forth in Appendix C. The Deputy Chief in charge of the Platoon may designate another Company to perform the apparatus check.
 
 
 
 
 
G:\SOP's\2.0 Operations\SOP 2.087_Marine 24.doc
 
Appendix A
 
Pre-Deployment Checklist:
  • Advise Norwalk Dispatch that you will be on board Marine 24 and that your Company apparatus is out of service. It will be assumed that your Company is extremely delayed and available for major incidents only. The dispatcher will notify the Deputy Chief.
  • If responding to an incident, notify the dispatcher to have the Norwalk Marine Police respond if not already en-route.
  • Switch the shore power circuit breaker to the “off” position and disconnect the shore power cord from the boat.
  • Turn the battery switch to the “on” position.
  • Both engines shall be started so that they may begin to warm up. (may need to be primed).
  • All radios shall be turned on and monitored. (VHF marine & NFD)
  • The Radar shall be powered on and may be left in Standby mode
  • Unless documented prior, a note of the current tides should be written on the pad of paper next to the helm.
  • Fuel level and weather forecast shall be considered prior to getting underway.
  • Scupper plugs may be installed prior to leaving the dock or once underway to free any standing water on the deck.
 


Appendix B
 
Returning to service check list:
·        All fuel and oil reservoir levels shall be checked and filled as needed. This includes the fire pump. If fuel is needed after the fuel dock has closed, a note shall be left for the following day shifts Company Officer assigned to the Marine Station to fuel the vessel.
·        Fenders should be set and the vessel secured properly in its berth.
·        The ships Log should be logged describing the nature of the work and persons on board. Note who the Coxswain was, as well as if there were any groundings.
·        Report any damage to the running gear and/or equipment to the officer(s) assigned in charge of the Marine Unit.
·        The scupper plugs must be removed from the scuppers.
·        If the boat left the “No Wake” zone it should washed with the curtains in the lowered position with special attention to the glass.
·        Wash down any salty equipment with fresh water.
·        If the Fire Pump was used it must be flushed and run using fresh water. Fuel tank shall be topped off after any use of pump.
·        All electronics and lights shall be turned off.
·        The curtains shall be left in the lowered position.
·        Turn the battery switch to the “off” position.
·        Plug the shore power cord back into the boat and switch the shore power circuit breaker back to the “on” position.
·        Notify Norwalk Dispatch that Marine 24 is secured at the dock and that your Company is back in service. The dispatcher will notify the Deputy Chief.


Appendix C
Apparatus Check
 
April through October
 
Marine 24 shall have an apparatus style check every second day on. The check shall consist of:
·        Fuel level (including fire pump)
·        Both oil reservoir levels
·        Check the bilge for excessive water
·        Clean the glass (rain-ex when necessary)
·        A written note shall be made of the tides for the day and the day to follow. These should be written on the pad of paper next to the helm.
·        Either take Marine 24 for a trip or run both engines for five minutes while monitoring gauges.
·        Ensure that scupper plugs are removed and battery switch is turned off prior to securing the vessel.
Monthly
·        Check fluid levels and momentarily start fire pump to ensure operation. Shut down immediately to avoid pump over heat.
·        Check the equipment on board against the inventory listed in Appendix D.
   
Personnel shall document in the maintenance log the date the check was performed, engine hours, and if any corrective action was necessary.
 
November through March
 
Marine 24 shall have an apparatus style check every Monday, Friday, and the day following any snowfall. The check shall consist of:
·        Shoveling the deck to keep the scuppers free of snow and ice.
·        Make sure the deck gun is capped
·        Fuel level (including fire pump)
·        Both oil reservoir levels
·        Check the bilge for excessive water
·        Clean the glass (rain-ex when necessary)
·        Either take Marine 24 for a trip or run both engines for ten minutes while monitoring gauges.
·        Add anti-freeze where necessary.
·        Ensure that scupper plugs are removed and battery switch is turned off prior to securing the vessel.
Monthly
·        Check fluid levels and momentarily start fire pump to ensure operation. Shut down immediately to avoid pump over heat.
·        Check the equipment on board against the inventory listed in Appendix D.
  
Personnel shall document in the maintenance log the date the check was performed, engine hours, and if any corrective action was necessary.


Appendix E
 
Questions to ask a vessel in distress in order:
 
Upon receiving a distress call document time and name of vessel.
If it is reported that the vessel has no name it shall be referred to as the length and manufacturer of the vessel ex. 22’ Sea ray
 
1. Location
1.       Lat & Long
2.       Geographical position
                  Can you see any Buoys?
                  What color / markings
                  Smoke stacks
                  Islands
                  Color of boats in the area primarily sail colors
2. Nature of Distress
2a. Fire on board
Instruct to don life preservers
How many persons on board
Any children?
Small fire - use Extinguisher
2b. Sinking
Instruct to don life preservers
How many persons on board
Any children?
If appropriate switch 22a (not necessary for calls received via cell phone)
Instruct them to stuff pillows/cushions in the holes
Stay aboard until they are forced to abandon the vessel
 
2c. Aground
How many persons on board
Any children?
If appropriate switch 22a (not necessary for calls received via cell phone)
Instruct them to check bilge to see if they are taking on water by lifting all hatch covers fore / aft
Instruct to don life preservers
Set an anchor if possible
2d. Disabled
How many persons on board
Any children?
Are all persons on board in good health?
If appropriate switch 14 (not necessary for calls received via cell phone)
Instruct to don life preservers
Set an anchor if possible.
 
3. Vessel description
·         Length
·         Hull color
·         Bimini color
·         Power or Sail
·         Sail color
Request a cell phone number if onboard
 
 
 
 

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