Thread: Change the law
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:35 AM
Ernst Galutschek Ernst Galutschek is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 12

Originally Posted by Franz Neumeier View Post

First of course there should be no fire at all, so all material that doesn't catch fire easily is a big help. But look at cruise ships: There is a lot of plastic chairs, etc.[...]

But then it's very important how long a structure withstands the fire until it collapses. [...] Metal doesn't burn, but it's melting! And it transfers heat quickly throughout the structure as it's a very good heat conductor. While wood is isolating the heat and keeps it local.[...]

That's because wooden structures are very stabil even when burning and it's easier to estimate when they collapse, while metal when melting are collapsing all the sudden (see WTC and other steel buildings).[...]
Whereas there was a problem with plastic chairs aboard a cruise ship recently fire regulations have been changed and have to be applied to the exterior too. Generally, only fire retardant materials (which do not produce toxic fumes) are allowed on contemporary passenger ships.

It is true that wood behaves nice in a fire. But a fire in a building is different than a fire aboard a ship. A structural failure is probably not the main problem in case of DQ - at this time she should be evacuated - it is more the toxic fumes - and the fact that most cabin doors are opening to the open deck is indeed THE big advantage of Delta Queen that compensated for some other problems. One certainly should put an emphasis on that when asking for an exepmtion (especially as this was a major concern of Mr. Oberstar) - regulations for ships are based on rather long evacuations times (20 - 30 minutes) compared to what one could do aboard DQ. (has there ever been an evacuation?)

As said above, many regulations certainly do indeed not make sense in case of DQ - but the people who supervise that are very confident about these regulations. I doubt that changing these regulations can be done in time to safe DQ.
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