FOI request detail

Fire safety

Request ID: FOI-1002-1718
Date published: 24 August 2017

You asked

Hello, how many of your vehicles have fire safety equipment? If there is equipment does it have to meet any regulations? Is the equipment automatic? Is there a regulation that you work to to make sure it is working properly? Do you publish maintenance records?

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-1002-1718

Thank you for your e-mail received on 31 July 2017 clarifying your request for information about fire safety equipment on our vehicles.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require.

In the event of a fire on any bus in the fleet, our guidance is for the driver to make an announcement to passengers and evacuate the vehicle immediately. If it is safe to do so, they should report the incident as an emergency to our central command and control centre as control room staff will have the exact location of the vehicle and can summon assistance from the emergency services more quickly than a 999 call. The driver’s cab has permanent radio contact with the control room and drivers also carry mobile phones which can also be used to contact CentreComm.

All buses contracted to operate TfL services have engine bay fire suppression systems except classic Routemasters, this is a vehicle requirement for new and existing vehicles in the fleet. They deploy automatically in response to heat build up without intervention from the bus driver. There are different suppliers of fire suppression equipment and each will have recommended maintenance practices rather than a single regulatory practice. On traditional Routemasters, the open platform would speed evacuation in the event of a fire and the conductor could also assist. Modern buses in the fleet are fitted with fire suppression systems in the engine area and an emergency door and safety glass so that if the normal route out of the vehicle were blocked passengers could still escape fire by breaking the windows.

As vehicles are predominantly owned and operated by private bus companies, not by TfL, we do not hold maintenance records and we are not aware of any being published. We conduct independent quality monitoring of the fleet for assurance purposes and this includes the fire suppression systems.

If this is not the information you are looking for please feel free to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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