Initial Draft Consensus Document, Nov. 29, 2007

Premise: Alarm practices and systems on ships are different than alarm practices and systems on land.

Statement #1 – Emergency general alarm (only one action) in public (passenger) spaces. Ships with designated muster stations (like a cruise ship).

  1. 1) Appears to be a consensus for visible alarms (or other appropriate visible method to communicate the emergency message) in public spaces.
  2. 2a) Need to develop technical standards for visible alarms on ships (daylight area problem). Technical standards should be approved/adopted by IMO for ships on international voyages and by USCG for US ships on domestic voyages.
  3. 2b) Establish working groups (which includes people with disabilities):
    • For ships on int’l voyages: ISO (International Standards Organizations) sponsored working group, approach local contact. At the same time, CLIA/USCG letter to IMO/MSC about starting ISO working group to get buy in from other countries.
    • For ships on domestic voyages: Create working group with an organization such as NFPA to develop standard which will be presented to USC

Statement #2 – Emergency general alarm and smoke detector alarms in cabins.

  1. Appears to be consensus for visible alarms to notify awake passengers in cabins.
    • Scoping for number of cabins?
    • Epilepsy seizure concern?
  2. Appears to be consensus for tactile alarms to notify asleep passengers in cabins.
    • Scoping for number of cabins?
  3. System (visible and tactile) that can be installed into a cabin will be integrated into the ship’s alarm system: Technical standard for system to be developed (may use same or modified process in Statement #1).
    • Permanent infrastructure to support use of the system.
    • Hardwired, wi-fi, etc.
    • Ship installed system with direct connection to bridge/safety center and alarm signal is sent to the room, but what is in the room may vary.
    • Effective visible signal (flashing/rotating beacon vs. strobe).

Statement #3 (no consensus on statement #3 and its content is still being discussed) – Where the emergency general alarm uses voice instructions over the fixed PA to direct passengers to a particular part of the vessel, provide permanently installed visible text displays (e.g., message/paging boards). Ships without designated muster stations (like a dinner vessel).

  1. Location of displays on vessel?
  2. Making message visible for persons who stay in their cars on ferries.
  3. Maybe use of signs which explain what actions should be taken when visible alarms are activated. Industry may need to look at its pre-boarding announcements and supplemental material to be handed out or posted.
  4. Ed Welch and Matt Bakke will talk and get back to the committee.

Statement #4 – Areas of additional research and recommendations

  1. Use of broader bands for audible general alarms, including 520 Hz square wave.
  2. Effectiveness of using strobes to waken those passengers who are deaf.
  3. Have assistive listening system at muster stations.

Statement #5 – Supplemental emergency communications by public address system or crew

  1. Industry and disability organizations want to dialog with DOT on effective emergency communications. DOT rule on effective communications covers all kinds of communications on ships, including emergency communications.
  2. Methods of providing effective communications, including personal display devices, portable ALS, printed material, and emerging technologies.
  3. What does effective communication mean in emergencies?
  4. Training of crew in regards to the needs of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.