Supplying Safety to the Marine Industry and Beyond w/ CaribSupply
- October 4th, 2016
- in Yachting
Photography courtesy of CaribSupply
CaribSupply is the pre-eminent supplier of safety equipment, fire extinguishing agents, installations, and expertise in the BVI’s burgeoning marine leisure industry. The risks of huge losses caused by fire are very real and are often attributed to short circuits in poorly maintained wiring and faulty electrical motors. This coupled with the presence of fuel, oil, or gas, can result in disastrous consequences.
CaribSupply plays an important role in devising systems and solutions when it comes to fire detection and suppression.
Yachts, ferries, and commercial crafts often have inflammable and explosive materials on board. Hydrogen can be generated from wet cell batteries, propane is used for cooking, methane is produced from holding tanks, and petroleum products are used for small engines.
The US Coast Guard requires yachts to have fire extinguishers able to fight A, B and C type fires; in other words, wood and paper products, inflammable liquids, and electrical fires. CaribSupply can fill all sizes of portable extinguishers with the appropriate dry chemical and issue the necessary tags. Maintenance and examination of fire protection systems and extinguishers are as critical as their initial installation, and CaribSupply offers this service. Inspections should be done at least yearly and in some cases hydro testing may be required.
Many larger vessels now opt for one of the automatic fire extinguishing systems in their engine rooms. Sea-fire is one, and Fireboy is another and these use the ‘clean agent’ fire suppression methods. These systems also require annual checks – CaribSupply is certified to carry out all the necessary inspections and will issue certificates for insurance and USCG requirements.
Now, there is new cutting edge technology in firefighting. It combines effectiveness, safety, and eco-friendly results. CaribSupply BVI Managing Director Felix Findlay, explained that although Carbon Dioxide is still used, it has been superseded by Inergen systems renowned for their ‘clean agent’ properties. Inergen is a mixture of 52% nitrogen, 40% argon, and 8% carbon dioxide; however, in the event of a fire, when Inergen is discharged, it mixes with the air present in the room to create a mixture that is composed of 67.3% nitrogen, 12.5% oxygen, 17% argon, and 3.2% carbon dioxide. No other inert gas has the unique ability to rapidly extinguish a fire and at the same time provide a safe environment for any person within the occupied area by decreasing the risk of cardiac distress, maintaining arterial blood oxygenation and mental performance in low oxygen levels.
“The system is ideal for pleasure and commercial craft as well as businesses with sensitive equipment like IT rooms, laboratories, and theatres. We have installed the Sapphire system in the Government Complex Building and the Inergen system at the Digicel offices in Road Town,” explained Findlay.
Then the director produced a bottle of the liquid called Sapphire Solution and demonstrated its use by pouring some of it on a printed document; no degradation or smudging occurred.
“This solution will extinguish a fire with the same results as the Inergen system with the added benefit that precious documents are fire proofed; perfect for archives and other valuable and irreplaceable papers.”
These advanced firefighting systems come with automatic alarms and triggering devices and can be professionally installed by CaribSupply; the managing director has been with the company for 35 years and has seen explosive growth in the Territory’s marine leisure industry. He is more than helpful with all enquiries.
CaribSupply’s Need-to-know Info
Propane is used island wide for cooking and although the petrol stations are largely responsible for supplying this product, associated copper pipes, fittings, tools, regulators, tanks, and portable bottles are all necessary components. Itinerant yachts sometimes request natural gas for their cooking needs but CaribSupply recommends a retrofit to propane, more readily available throughout the Caribbean. Modern barbecue grills on new yachts use portable bottles – clean, efficient, and easy to use, the company stocks this handy item.
The company supplies all mixed and integrated gases for medical use. Many yachts carry a cylinder of oxygen for medical emergencies. Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR) carries oxygen aboard its lifeboats and the BVI’s new hospital has a liquid oxygen supply system installed by CaribSupply. Nitrous oxide is also available in the hospital and is used in surgery and dentistry for its anaesthetic and analgesic effects, along with carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
Refrigerants are important components in air conditioning and refrigeration systems – the company supplies Freon for this purpose. Gases for welding are also available and an essential part of metal fabrication. Oxyacetylene, a mixture of oxygen and acetylene can be used for brazing, bronze welding, forging/shaping, and cutting. Specialised welding may use gases like argon, carbon dioxide and helium – all available at CaribSupply.
The company also includes a well-stocked hardware store and may well have ‘hard-to-find’ items like protective clothing, specialist tools, and fixtures and fittings. Their retail outlet is just off the dual carriageway between Pasea and Port Purcell.