Historically, in the UK bus and coaches were not required to have fire suppression systems fitted. It was at the discretion of the coach operators whether such systems were installed on their vehicles. This changed in July when an amendment of the European UNECE Regulation 107 became mandatory.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), of which the UK is a member, sets the standards and conventions relating to the safety of public transport. It is now mandatory on certain classes of buses and coaches to install a fire suppression system; however, this requirement will be applied to other classes in the near future.
Approved fire suppression system
The new UNECE regulations affect M2 and M3 vehicles, specifically those which carry 22 or more passengers explicitly class I, II and III vehicles. All engine compartments of new vehicles will require an R107 approved fire suppression system to be fitted and regularly tested. This requirement will be rolled out to all existing types from July 2019 and 2020 it will become mandatory for other classes of buses (eg those allowing standing passengers to be fitted with an R107 approved fire suppression system.
RISE has been at the vanguard of establishing the approval test for the new regime
Firetrace Ltd has introduced a high throughput dry powder ranged which has been designed and developed to pass the R107 RISE (The Research Institute of Sweden) bus test. RISE has been at the vanguard of establishing the approval test for the new regime. The new test was designed to vigorously test automatic fire suppression systems using a pre-engineered test rig and pre-determined test load.
Protecting small environments
The Firetrace bi-directional high through-put system was tested and successfully passed the test by suppressing the fire completely. The approved R107 Automatic Fire Suppression System incorporates a larger valve throughput than the standard ILP system to enable quick and powerful discharge of the dry powder extinguishant into the risk area.
The bi-directional aspect of the system ensures the dry powder is discharged through the burst hole in the tube, very useful for protecting small environments within the engine compartment for instance battery boxes, while still maintaining the discharge via the pre-engineered discharge nozzles. A range of fittings and components has been developed to suit this system and the higher throughput allows flexible discharge hoses to be used which is a useful feature when applied to buses and coaches.