Prevention and Protection: Fire Safe Operations at the Shipyards

August 12, 2022

As part of Seaspan’s ongoing commitment to safety and emergency preparedness, we recently held a fire evacuation drill at Vancouver Shipyards to test our procedures and practice our emergency response. More than 20 people from Seaspan’s Initial Response Fire Brigade (SIRB) and District of North Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services (DNVFRS) participated in the exercise that included the full evacuation of all Vancouver Shipyards facilities.

Using Seaspan’s on-site equipment including Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs) and bunker gear, as well as ladder and pumper trucks from DNVFRS, the team responded to and extinguished a simulated fire on a vessel under construction and enacted a realistic first aid scenario including practicing the extrication of an injured worker. Most importantly, it allowed Seaspan and DNVFRS to build important working relationships that help ensure an efficient and coordinated response in the event of a real fire.

“Drills like these are important to building relationships with first responders in the communities Seaspan operates,” said Jim Favreau, Senior Vice President, Operations at Seaspan Shipyards. “Training, practicing and communicating about our operations and response plans before an incident is an important part of our commitment to protecting our employees and the community.”

This drill at Vancouver Shipyards is one of several held over the past 18 months and builds on a $1M investment in Seaspan’s emergency response, including the establishment of Seaspan’s SIRFB team in early 2021. The SIRB consists of 24 trained volunteers, equipped with Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs) and full firefighting Personal Protection Equipment.  The Justice Institute of BC (JIBC) held a five-day training program for the SIRB to give team members an overview of marine fire-fighting techniques, fire science, boundary cooling and fire attack procedures.  The result is a much more coordinated response with DNVFRS and a drastic reduction in the amount of time needed to get water onto a fire.

Seaspan is currently evaluating our fire response capabilities at Vancouver Drydock and Victoria Shipyards, including planning emergency scenario drills in cooperation with municipal fire departments.  All Seaspan’s shipyard locations have controls in place, including Emergency Response Plans (ERP), to mitigate the risk of a fire.   We strive for continuous improvement by periodically evaluating the effectiveness of our emergency response capabilities and regularly inspecting and auditing our fire detection, prevention and suppression systems.