June 2009 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter is concerned that the fire hydrants at Euston station have not been operational for some time. Euston station has 16 platforms and they normally have around four hydrants each - this means there are potentially around 64 hydrants that don't work.
No-one appears to know why these hydrants have been isolated. In the reporter's view, there is a big risk if a fire broke out. The fire brigade would have to tap into the water supply several streets away, delaying an effective emergency response and potentially putting lives in danger. The reporter would like to know: if Network Rail are aware of this issue at Euston Station; what are the contingency arrangements in the event of a fire; are the fire brigade aware? (If they are called out, it would speed up the emergency response if they knew they should draw their water supply from somewhere else); and most important of all, when will the fire hydrants be operational again?
Network Rail (NR) are aware of the redundant fire hydrants on the platforms at Euston station. They are not maintained for the following reasons: The Fire Authorities (FA) have a statutory duty to provide water for fire fighting purposes and following consultation with the FAs the Network Rail Fire Engineers determined the main fire hydrants on the platforms at Euston station are not required. If the FA felt that a hydrant was required then they would carry out consultation with NR to agree arrangements - this has not occurred with regards Euston Station. Lastly, many of the station hydrants in place were historically used for watering trains.
However, Network Rail would like to reassure station users, the potential risk of fire on stations has changed considerably over the last few years. The introduction of more modern rolling stock (constructed of fire resisting materials), improvements in housekeeping and handling of waste in secured containers, more modern fire alarm equipment, the banning of smoking and regular staff patrols all help reduce the risk considerably.