One safety aspect rarely talked about when it comes to buses and coaches is fire safety regulations. Fredrik Rosen, Dafo's Business Manager for Europe, Middle East, North-, West- and Central Africa, recently did a presentation on the subject in Jakarta, Indonesia.
He gave some background on bus fires that took place in Sweden where before 2004, there were approximately six to seven complete bus burnouts each year in Sweden due to fires that started in the engine compartment. In 2004, Swedish insurance companies requested that all buses that would be insured should be equipped with an approved fire suppression system in the engine compartment. After 2004, there were no complete burnouts of insured buses due to such fires.
However, earlier regulations were not comprehensive for buses. As of 2010 there was no international standard for evaluating suppression systems in bus engine compartments and there are new approaches to improve fire suppression systems around the world with the objectives to create a safer environment for passengers and bus drivers worldwide; to reduce loss of property; develop an internationally accepted standard to evaluate the firefighting performance of different suppression systems in a well-defined, objective and comparable way; and take the trend away from prescriptive regulations to performance-based design. There are also various new approaches to test methods by combining repeatable test methods with realistic fire scenarios.
Some of the countries that are working on their own regulations include Australia, United States of America, India, South Africa, Chile and Taiwan. For more information on vehicle fire suppression, visit www.dafo.se.