August 2009 in Train Operations
Incorrect fire extinguishers provided in the kitchen areas on the newly refurbished Voyagers and high speed trains (HSTs) are a concern for one reporter.
Since the refurbishments have taken place the reporter is aware
that the only fire extinguishers available in the new kitchen areas
are 2L AFFF water-based fire extinguishers. The kitchen areas on
the refurbished Voyagers and HSTs house a variety of electrical
appliances and the reporter feels that the water based fire
extinguishers would be inadequate to fight an electrical fire if
According to the reporter, first aid fire fighting training states that water based fire extinguishers are not suitable to use on electrical fires because of the risk of electrocution. The correct fire extinguisher to use in an electrical fire is a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher.
The reporter would like to see that appropriate fire extinguishers, such as carbon dioxide ones replace the AFFFs fire extinguishers in all the new kitchen areas of the Voyagers and HSTs undergoing refurbishment.
CrossCountry has recently reintroduced HSTs following a significant and substantial refurbishment programme. This was completed in record time by competent and committed sub-contractors who have sought to deliver high quality trains, safe for both customers and staff. The fire extinguishers that were fitted straight out of works are appropriate for the fire risk present in their respective locations. Where AFFF fire extinguishers have been fitted they contain a dielectric component that makes the water based foam extinguisher safe for use on fires where electricity is present at up to 25,000 Volts, these extinguisher units carry all of the appropriate markings as required by BS EN3 - we advise, train, instruct and inform traincrew that the local electrical isolation switch should be used to turn off the electrical supply in the event of an electrical fire and notices are posted to this effect. We are additionally fitting CO2 extinguishers to the HST catering homebases in advance of the voltage regulation equipment being fitted in this area in recognition of the enhanced (but still small) risk of fire.
The Voyager refurbishment programme is currently underway and we continue to fit the same extinguishers as previously installed, the fire risk has not changed materially and the risk assessments and maintenance arrangements in both cases remain appropriate.