Installation and Use of Local Sounding Smoke Alarms

To increase this level of safety in the event of a fire onboard, CLIA’s members have adopted a policy that each cruise vessel operator install local sounding smoke alarms1 in all passenger and crew cabins that are intended to immediately alert occupants of the cabin to the presence of smoke in all ships that are not required to comply with Regulations 7.5.1 and 7.5.2 of Chapter II-2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). These local alarms, when operated in conjunction with the smoke detection and alarm system required by SOLAS, enhance smoke detection with minimal adverse operational impact.

Central to the presence of local sounding smoke alarms is the premise that these alarms should not interfere with internationally required fire detection systems or operational procedures necessary for passenger management in the event of an emergency. Local sounding smoke alarms should not render the public address system ineffective, prevent efficient communications between crew and passengers or within the fire team, or otherwise prevent the passing of information necessary in responding to an emergency.

CLIA’s policy recognizes that life safety onboard cruise ships in the event of a fire is enhanced by a system of safety that incorporates: structural fire resistant design; fire detection and extinguishing systems (including smoke detectors and alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire mains); emergency response teams that have received advanced training in shipboard firefighting; and shipboard operational response procedures formulated for specific emergency situations.

Under CLIA’s policy, local sounding smoke alarms are not to be relied on as the sole means of assuring that a passenger or crewmember is alerted to the possibility of danger from smoke or fire. When smoke detector activation causes an alarm to sound on the bridge or in the ships safety center, CLIA’s policy is that cruise operators also alert the compartment occupant and ascertain if there is indeed a fire, a practice that has existed previously. To this end, CLIA’s policy calls for the following actions:

  • Immediately direct one or more crew members to the location of the activated smoke detector to investigate.
  • Immediately place a telephone call from the ship’s safety center to the affected passenger cabin or crew cabin where equipped with a telephone.
  • In the event of the activation of multiple smoke detectors throughout a space or in more than one space, and in the absence of specific knowledge or additional information regarding the origin of these alarms, immediately assemble and, in the absence of confirmation that there is no fire, dispatch a fire response team.

Additionally, under CLIA’s policy members are to provide passenger instruction on what action to take in the event of the activation of a local sounding alarm. Such instruction may be provided via in-room written, electronic and/or video safety information. Such instructions should include, but are not limited to, the meaning of the alarm and the action the passenger is directed to take. Training for the crew regarding how to respond to local sounding alarms is to be given at appropriate intervals and included in the crew safety manuals required by SOLAS.