Namely, MSC91 adopted the following amendment to SOLAS regulation:

For ships constructed on or after 1 July 2014, a minimum of two two-way portable radiotelephone apparatus for each fire party for fire-fighter's communication shall be carried on board. Those two two-way radiotelephone apparatus shall be of an explosion-proof type or intrinsically safe. Ships constructed before 1 July 2014 shall comply with the requirements of this paragraph not later than the first survey after 1 July 2018.

As such, July 1st of 2018 was the deadline for all ships to comply, therefore from now onwards all ships are required to carry a minimum of two these fire-fighter radios which meet the explosion proof or they are  intrinsically safe. With this amendment, the intrinsically safe two way radios (also called ATEX radios), which are part of the firefighter’s outfit, meet very strict manufacturing standards and in comparison with hand portable radios, they eliminate the risks of sparks and limit the heat produced by the device.

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The fire-fighter radio mainly consists of a portable UHF radio transceiver, a battery and an antenna. The radio has various buttons and controls for operating change of channels, adjustment of squelch and a PTT button. For read-out of battery charge status and other important information as well as channel selection and similar settings, a display may be part of the radio for the ease and safety of operation.

As the fire-fighter radio shall be of an explosion-proof type or intrinsically safe, the radio transceiver, the battery, the antenna, the belt clip and any other parts forming the complete the fire-fighter radio shall be tested and approved accordingly. The fire-fighter radio may have a coloured housing to distinguish the radio from other on board radios used for normal operation.

Explore more about the SOLAS amendments to fire fighting at MSC.338(91)