Ankush Kumar

IFSEC Global India Correspondent, IFSEC Global

February 27, 2015

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US Government Commissions Nationwide Fire Safety Audit of its Transit Systems

Photo by: Ben Schumin

Photo by: Ben Schumin

The US is commissioning a nationwide audit of its transit system amid fears that it’s ill prepared for smoke or fire emergencies.

The National Transportation Safety Board will place the emphasis on trains that operate in enclosed tunnels.

The investigators of a 12 January train accident have found serious problems in safety measures, prompting calls for action on fire safety in rail transport.

Taking place near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in Washington the accident, which was attributed to an electrical malfunction inside the tunnel, caused the train cars to fill with smoke.

Passengers were trapped inside the carriage and struggled to breathe. One female passenger died.

Operated by a multi-state compact known as WMATA the Washington Metro system has ventilation fans at strategic locations designed to remove smoke and heat from the tunnels, but investigators found they were inadequate.

The investigation also revealed that Metro employees had no written procedures for providing ventilation during underground smoke and fire events.

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