New Fire Fighter UHF meets coming SOLAS requirement

Written by Nick Blenkey
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JUNE 1, 2016 — Under a new SOLAS regulation about 65,000 vessels worldwide will be required to carry intrinsically safe portable radios within the regulated “fire fighter outfits,” prior to their first survey after July 2018.

Cobham SATCOM, Copenhagen, Denmark, has introduced an addition to its well known Sailor line — the Sailor 3965 UHF Fire Fighter —made specifically to fulfill the new SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulation 10.10.4 – “Fire Fighters Communication.”

To meet the requirement, says Cobham, the radios  must be: explosion-proof or intrinsically safe; ready for use at all times; capable of use by fire fighters (considering i.e. gloves, suits, poor visibility); made for the marine environment and carried in addition to existing on board portable work radios.

SOLAS Chapter II-2, Regulation 10 contains requirements for the fire fighter outfits (of which portable radios are considered a part), and how many outfits are required for a specific vessel. As a rule of thumb, says Cobham, any vessel covered by SOLAS must carry at least two fire fighter outfits, and for passenger ships the number of fire fighter outfits is increased and regulated both by the number of passengers and vertical fire zones.

The Sailor 3965 UHF Fire Fighter portable radio is a bright red color, signaling to crew members that it should not be used for daily operations and must stay as part of the fire fighter outfit.

It has an easy to read display for channel and battery information, and is compatible with a wide range of established third party accessories from Savox and Peltor.

Considering the potential for low or zero visibility due to smoke during a fire, the radio has large, tactile buttons, and audio confirmations of, for example, channel changes in the operator’s headset.

According to Cobham SATCOM, the Sailor 3965 UHF Fire Fighter portable radio is the only maritime radio system to accommodate spare emergency battery packs. As standard, it features an ATEX 1.800 mAh rechargeable Li-Ion Battery, IP67 battery pack; Cobham SATCOM also offers ATEX approved non-rechargeable emergency batteries, providing an extra level of security to ensure communication is available when a fire breaks out, or rechargeable batteries run-down.

“We estimate that some 300,000 new radios will be required for the remaining SOLAS vessels to fully conform to the new regulations that effectively come into force in a little over two years’ time,” said Claus Hornbech, Business Manager – Maritime Integration, Cobham SATCOM. “Because of the timescale, we have developed several packages based on the Sailor 3965 UHF Fire Fighter portable radio that make it easy for owners of different vessel types to meet the regs, with the confidence that crews will have immediate access to radios designed only for the job of fighting fires.”

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