On the 3rd of April 2023, Merseyside Fire & Rescue attended the marina to conduct a mock fire drill. It was designed for them to acquaint themselves with the layout of the marina and to assess what risks could present themselves in the event of a fire.
What transpired underlined that it would be a very dangerous and scary experience, particularly if it was to occur at night…
What you read next is not designed to scare you, but is designed to make you think.
In 2019, in Scottosboro Marina, Alabama, a huge fire broke out killing eight people and destroying 35 boats. The toxic smoke quickly began to bellow and rage out of control as the wind pushed the flames onto the neighbouring vessels, cutting off escape routes. The fire began just after midnight and quickly consumed the dock as people slept. Most of the boats that were destroyed had people living on them permanently. As one survivor said
“...the worst thing was that you could hear people screaming for help and the only way out was in the water.”
In the event a fire should break out either on a vessel or on the pontoons at our marina, there are number of actions you should take to keep yourself safe.
If you see a fire, call 999 immediately telling the operator in which basin the fire is located. Then call Chloe on 07711959222 in order for her to instigate the fire procedures we have in place
If you hear the fire alarms, make sure your life jacket and safety pack* are to hand
Try to keep a clear head and don’t panic
Disconnect the electricity to your boat, pulling the cable out of the socket as you leave
Don’t delay, proceed immediately towards the assembly point, looking out for our fire marshals along the way. The assembly point is on the righthand side of the inner car park outside of the yacht club bar signage as shown below.
Wait at the assembly point for further instructions
Having a life jacket with you is absolutely essential. A life jacket could save your life when trying to navigate your way to safety through smoke, rain and no lighting at 2am for example.
You should also consider having an emergency pack (think draw string bag) near to your door which you can grab easily in the event you need to evacuate. Remember that even when you have reached the assembly point, you may have to wait there for several hours until the emergency services have completed their tasks. You should consider packing the following as ideas:
Make sure you also have a pair of sturdy shoes readily available to you too! You do not want to be standing outside in the minus temperatures in your socks for hours.
There are a number of ways you can prevent a fire breaking out.
Have you had your small appliances PAT tested recently? Small appliances accounted for 15% of accidental fires between 2019 - 2020.
How much clutter do you have aboard? Hoarders can be at increased risk of fire. The number of possessions can also mean exit routes are blocked, making safe evacuation more difficult, and fire spread much faster. Especially if doors can't be closed and where flammable items such as paper and newspapers are blocking the exit.
Never have an open flame inside your vessel - this includes candles and matches or lighters for cookers or cigarettes for example.
Make sure you have a fire alarm fitted. Merseyside Fire & Rescue will fit one for you for free if you let us know you need one.
Don’t smoke inside the boat. Smoke outdoors and put cigarettes right out – this is safer than smoking in the boat.
This is not an exhaustive list. Please take the time to read the governments Fire Safety on Boats guide below.