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Friday, August 12, 2022

Rigorous Testing Means Better Fire Suppression

By Scott Starr

Bus fires happen, and they often do, as can be confirmed by a quick internet search. These fires are life-threatening, often disrupt traffic in key locations and times, and have a negative impact on the operator’s reputation.

But what’s interesting is the fact that even protected buses are on fire – but these fires do not make the news. With the protection of an extinguishing system on board, the fire is dealt with quickly and efficiently – and from the outside, the appearance of the incident is reduced to more mechanical failure (which few pay attention to) compared to a fire that carries with all the negative effects mentioned.

Fire systems are more than just a check box in a specification sheet. The presence of the system can have a real impact on the safety of the operator and rider, as well as costs and financial impacts.


SPCR 4912 and test standards

SPCR 4912 was the first test specifically designed to evaluate fire systems on buses – testing them against a variety of different fire scenarios common on buses – from small fires and small airflow, to large hot fires with high airflow, and even hidden fire. , When the fire is located where it is segmented away from the larger engine compartment, is largely protected from the fire nozzles.

System testing is performed by licensed independent testing bodies that certify that the system is installed within the parameters set in 4912. The test report can then be used to apply for P Mark 183 approval, which was the more stringent initial standard, or the subsequent UNECE R107, which is Now a demand for buses in Europe.

Tests for buses have not changed since the program was developed, however 4912 has served as a basis for other standards, such as the P Mark 199 standard for heavy equipment.

What has changed, or rather what has been added to the P Mark 183 certificate, is a grading scale.

Initially, a system was seen to pass if it received a score of 6 or higher on specific test components of 4912. Essentially, this means that four scenarios may be a failure. For systems that have passed all the tests, it seems a bit unrepresentative of the performance. Subsequently, a grading system was applied, as it had been used in schools for years on an A to F basis.

Reacton is an automatic extinguishing system that buses typically use dry chemical powder (while Reacton has access to a variety of agents, the results of 4912 tests – across several manufacturers and types of agents – have shown us that the powder is the overall result. Most efficient in bus engine environment). At the heart of our system is a pneumatic pressure detection hose that is tolerant of engine heat as well as dirt and engine cleaning, but responds quickly and accurately to a small but growing fire. While pipes are commonly used in bus engines, our system valve is uniquely designed so that if there is a small leak, it will not cause the system to operate incorrectly. While new to the US market, Reacton is by no means a new system, with a 30-year pedigree in the protection of heavy equipment and mobile assets across Europe. It also has a variety of system add-ons to alert the driver or allow the system to run.

We are proud that our systems have achieved an A + rating with all the tests passed, but also humbly suggest that scoring and performance be a key part of the system selection process. Many of the systems available today received a much lower score.

And most importantly I would suggest following Europe, that safety should not just be an option. Beyond that, take the time to learn the options, performance and cost of long-term ownership of the system … The initial price tag should not be the only choice factor.


Scott Star He is the Vice President of America for the Reacton Fire Department. visit www.reactonfire.com Learn more.

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