Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee
Initial Draft Consensus
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) Appears to be a consensus for visible alarms (or other appropriate visible method to communicate the emergency message) in public spaces.
- 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.
- 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.
- Appears to be consensus for visible alarms to notify awake passengers in cabins.
- Scoping for number of cabins?
- Epilepsy seizure concern?
- Appears to be consensus for tactile alarms to notify asleep passengers in cabins.
- Scoping for number of cabins?
- System (visible and tactile) that can be installed into a cabin will be integrated into the ship’s alarm system:
- 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).
- Technical standard for system to be developed (may use same or modified process in Statement #1).
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).
- Location of displays on vessel?
- Making message visible for persons who stay in their cars on ferries.
- 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.
- Ed Welch and Matt Bakke will talk and get back to the committee.
Statement #4 – Areas of additional research and recommendations
- Use of broader bands for audible general alarms, including 520 Hz square wave.
- Effectiveness of using strobes to waken those passengers who are deaf.
- Have assistive listening system at muster stations.
Statement #5 – Supplemental emergency communications by public address system or crew
- 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.
- Methods of providing effective communications, including personal display devices, portable ALS, printed material, and emerging technologies.
- What does effective communication mean in emergencies?
- Training of crew in regards to the needs of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.