Title: Fires in public service vehicles in the United Kingdom

Authors: W. Johnson, A.C. Walton

Addresses: Professor of Mechanics, University Engineering Department Cambridge, UK. ' Research Student, University Engineering Department Cambridge, UK

Abstract: Past records show that fires in public service vehicles (PSVs) in the United Kingdom result in few injuries per year. In apparent contradictions of this, there is evidence to suggest that the time it takes for fire to spread through a PSV can be short and can be considerably exceeded by occupant evacuation times via emergency exits. The characteristics of rapid flame spread and slow evacuation times are related to the possibility of a catastrophic collision between a PSV and a potentially high-risk vehicle such as a petrol tanker. Although fire-retarding materials are being used in PSVs, it is doubtful if these will ultimately prevent extensive injuries in an accident of this nature, and the solution seems to hinge on the design of such vehicles as tankers. The cost of a multi-vehicle garage fire is discussed and the importance of garage design in addition to vehicle design is considered.

Keywords: public service vehicles; PSVs; vehicle design; vahicle safety; fires; injuries; trends; ignition source; crash induced fire; fire location; flame spread rate; emergency exit; evacuation time; construction legislation; operator losses; garage design; petrol tankers; tanker design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.1981.061073

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 1981 Vol.2 No.3, pp.322 - 334

Published online: 25 May 2014 *

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