The recent fire accidents involving passenger buses that have claimed several lives is a cause for concern, bringing the need for fire safety measures in vehicles under sharp focus.

The air-conditioning system that runs on Freon gas in most buses as well as other four-wheelers is highly inflammable. So are the curtains and upholstery in the luxury buses, said (Retd.) Deputy Director (Technical), Department of Fire and Emergency Services, B K Hampagol.

Besides, whenever there is a mishap, the chances of a leakage in the fuel pipe are high.

Also, the electric wires run throughout the vehicle. “If there is an outbreak of fire, it need not be confined to one portion of the vehicle. In no time, the fire will spread and engulf the entire vehicle”, he cautioned.

Pointing out that the mishaps involving luxury buses had taken place in the dead of night, Mr Hampagol said most passengers would have been sleeping and would not be alert enough to react with the necessary presence of mind. “When they are suddenly confronted with a disaster, they would not be in a position to react quickly and appropriately”.

Not only should the buses display boards bearing the emergency contact numbers, Mr Hampagol emphasised the need for transport operators and their personnel to undergo training on precautionary measures that need to be in place in their buses.

“The transport operators and their personnel should seek the advice of the Fire and Emergency Services Department on the measures needed and undergo training”, he said adding that luxury buses would have several highly combustible and inflammable material onboard.

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