The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee has approved the Guidelines for the Selection of Life Safety Performance Criteria for use in Alternative Design and Arrangements for Fire Safety (SOLAS Regulation II-2/17).

As explained, these guidelines are an important development in fire protection performance-based design.

They provide engineers and regulators with a framework by which to develop and evaluate alternative designs using an international consensus-based standard for occupant safety.

Correspondingly, the US Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Center (MSC) will now refer to these life safety criteria when assessing vessels that propose alternative designs with respect to fire protection – e.g. cruise ships – to help ensure occupant tenability during a fire event.

These criteria encompass four primary hazards that occupants may be exposed to in a fire: radiant heat flux, reduced visibility, convective heat, and carbon monoxide gas.

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