The importance of automatic fire suppression systems

31 October 2012  •  Author(s): 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.

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