Critical fire safety

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Jonas Brandt, head of technical projects at SP Fire Research, gives an overview of the new regulation for testing fire suppression systems in engine compartments of buses and coaches

On July 11, 2016, the document Addendum 106 – Regulation No. 107 – Revision 6 – Amendment 3 (supplement 4 to the 06 Series of Amendments) was published. This document includes a fire testing procedure for fire suppression systems for engine compartments of buses and coaches and includes four tests extracted from SP Method 4912. Figure 2 shows a fire test being conducted according to the test method. The requirements of fire suppression systems apply to single-deck, double-deck, rigid or articulated vehicles of category M2 or M3, and specifically vehicles with a capacity exceeding 22 passengers in addition to the driver (Class III). Class III vehicles are constructed exclusively for the carriage of seated passengers (coaches).

It is now possible to start issuing vehicle and component type approval certificates, i.e. UNECE type-approval, with regard to fire suppression systems. SP is a technical service for UNECE Regulation No. 107.

Through the UNECE 1958 agreement, there is a mutual recognition of vehicle type approvals of the contracting parties. Contracting parties are able to choose which regulations to adopt. In Europe, the new updated UNECE Regulation No. 107 will be legislated.

The fire suppression system manufacturer’s UNECE approval will be used as a part of the bus manufacturer’s vehicle approval for UNECE Regulation No. 107 concerning fire suppression systems.

Within the EU, bus manufacturers normally have a European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) in order to sell their bus/coach. The ECWVTA is a voluntary system and a way of ensuring that vehicles meet relevant environmental, safety and security standards. Once all of the system and component approvals are in place, the vehicle will be considered as a whole by a designated type approval body. This certification will be accepted throughout the EU. Once a vehicle is approved, the manufacturer should have processes in place to produce a Certificate of Conformity for each vehicle manufactured.

It is not yet defined how the fire suppression system manufacturer’s UNECE approval will fit into this process. This will be regulated through Regulation (EC) No 661/2009/EU.

The data of entry was October 8, 2016, for the document covering the following vehicles: single-deck, double-deck, rigid or articulated vehicles of category M2 or M3, and specifically vehicles with a capacity exceeding 22 passengers in addition to the driver (Class I and Class II). Class I vehicles are constructed with areas for standing passengers, to allow frequent passenger movement and Class II vehicles are constructed principally for the carriage of seated passengers, and designed to allow the carriage of standing passengers in the gangway and/or in an area that does not exceed the space provided for two double seats (city buses).

The requirement of installation of fire suppression systems applies to the vehicle. In order to approve a system, this can be done in two ways in accordance with UNECE Regulation No. 107:

Annex 13 – Part 1: “Fire suppression system approved as a component.” The system is tested in a well-defined test rig (see Figure 2).

Annex 13 – Part 2: “Fire suppression system installed in a specific engine compartment.” The system is tested in a specific engine compartment.

There will not be a requirement of a European vehicle component type approval certificate – E-mark approval – for the actual fire suppression system as the bus/coach manufacturer can choose to make a vehicle approval based on testing in accordance with Annex 13 – Part 2.

Figure 1: It is now possible to start issuing vehicle and component type approval certificates, i.e. UNECE type-approval, with regard to fire suppression systems

Figure 2: Fire suppression testing according to the described method. Note the fan to the left

Jonas Brandt has been a fire protection engineer at SP Fire Research since 2011 and heads up R&D at the organization. This work, related to vehicle fire safety, also include the development of regulations for fire suppression systems in buses in Europe through UNECE. He has been the Swedish fire expert on several UNECE meetings and is a member of the Truck and Bus Safety Committee at the American Transportation Research Board.

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About Author

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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