SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden - Articles and news items
Issue 6 2012 / 22 January 2013 / Jonas Brandt, Project Manager, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
This is the second and final part of an article to provide a background look at bus fires and to underline the importance of automatic fire suppression systems for buses and coaches. Bus and coach1 fires are a common issue in society. Given the fact that most fires start in the engine compartment, adequate active fire protection systems for engine compartments are advantageous both in terms of passenger safety, carrier and insurance company economy, and general public resource management. However, there is still no legislative demand for this course of action, nor an international standard for testing bus engine compartment fire suppression systems. For this reason, SP has recently developed a new standard named SP Method 4912.
SP Method 4912 describes a new method to test and validate the fire suppression performance of different suppression systems in a repeatable and reproducible way. A broad reference group including more than 80 companies such as bus manufacturers and operators, transport auth – orities, insurance companies, fire investigators and suppression system manufacturers have given valuable feedback to the development of the method. More than 450 pre-tests have been performed involving 10 fire suppression system manufacturers and with several different types of suppression agents, such as ABC- and BC-dry chemical, water mist, water spray and foam systems, aerosol and clean agent. (more…)
Industry news, News / 7 December 2012 / Anders Lönnermark, SP
Congested roads and railways render underground transport systems more popular. But more tunnels lead to greater risks of serious accidents where it can be difficult to evacuate travellers in a short time. Now the results of the three-year research project METRO are to be presented.
Issue 5 2012 / 31 October 2012 / Jonas Brandt, Project Manager, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
This is the first of two articles to provide a background look at bus fires and to underline the importance of automatic fire suppression systems for buses and coaches. About 1% of all buses suffer some form of fire incident each year. Most of these fires occur in the vehicle’s engine compartment located at the rear of the bus or coach, making it difficult for the driver to discover the fire. Experience from Sweden – where the installation of detection and fire suppression systems is actively encouraged by the insurance industry – shows that the installation of an automatic fire suppression system is an important fire safety measure. The second part of this article will be published in Eurotransport Issue 6 2012.
High number of bus fires
Bus fires are an increasing worldwide problem. Even though accidents that cause injuries are fortunately quite uncommon, the potential risk of a disastrous event is still high, with several examples in recent years highlighting this. In the evening of 8 September 2009, the Atac bus depot in Rome, Italy, was enveloped in flames with 24 gas-fuelled buses destroyed. Only five months earlier, another Atac depot had burnt down, destroying 30 mini-buses. On 4 November 2008, on the motorway near Garbsen in Germany, a coach carrying a group of pensioners and children caught fire. (more…)
Industry news, News / 9 October 2012 / SP
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden has developed a new standard for fire suppression systems in engine compartments of buses and coaches. This work has been carried out in part on behalf of the National Road Authority in Sweden. The objective has been to construct a model of an engine compartment where stakeholders can evaluate the firefighting performance of different suppression systems in a well-defined and objective way. Edition 3 of the new standard SP method 4912 has just been published.
Issue 6 2011 / 3 January 2012 / Haukur Ingason, Professor of Fire Protection Engineering at the Department of Fire Technology at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and Anders Lönnermark, Senior Research Scientist at the Department of Fire Technology at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
In September 2011, the Swedish METRO project finalised a large scale test programme in an abandoned railway tunnel. The objective of the METRO project is to improve safety in underground metro systems and to explore differences in the fire behaviour of the carriage using different types of interior materials. Further, the role of passenger luggage in the fire development was investigated. The test programme included both fire and explosion tests. The results are still undergoing analysis, but the test programme has already generated lots of new interesting information to report on. One thing that has become clear is the importance of the choice of lining material and the effects of passenger luggage on the fire spread.
About the large scale tests
A total of four tests were carried out in the 276m-long Brunsberg tunnel outside Arvika, Sweden. The abandoned tunnel was taken out of service when a new tunnel was constructed to reduce the sharpness of a bend in the route. Three fire tests using liquefied fuel as the ignition source were carried out first. The first test was a small pan with diesel oil mounted under the carriage while tests two and three were simulated arson attacks inside the carriage using petrol poured on a seat. A total of two carriages were used for the three fire tests. (more…)
Issue 1 2008, Past issues / 15 February 2008 / Dr. Haukur Ingason, Fire Protection Researcher, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
Fire incidents in trains can be divided into two main groups: those we can manage and those we cannot. For example, if a burning train comes to a stop inside a tunnel, the situation may become very difficult to manage, both for the tunnel operators and fire services. Such scenarios are fortunately rare. Statistics show that the risk of a large fire incident in a train is low. The risk is even lower of such an incident in a tunnel. This is a fact that many involved in the safety issues of trains and underground subway systems are very well aware of.
Despite the risk of fire incidents in tunnels being very low, there have been occasions when fires have developed into catastrophic events and these few disastrous fires have placed a focus on fire safety in rail and subway tunnels. When such incidents occur, the media focus becomes extremely high and the work of safety authorities and tunnel operators comes under close scrutiny. The agenda is set by these incidents but it does not necessarily mean that the safety standards are ruled by them.