Saturday, 15 July 2017

(The Star) Fire safety a key feature

PETALING JAYA: When it comes to fire safety, commuters using the seven underground stations of Phase 2 of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line can rest assured that the design, material and safety features incorporated are truly world-class.

Project director at the project’s turnkey contractor MMC Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd, Satpal Bhogal, said the top priority when it comes to the project was fire safety.

“The top safety concern is fire, especially a flashover which can destroy the tunnel itself,” said Satpal.

A flashover is the sudden spread of fire in an area causing flames between the floor and ceiling due to thermal radiation feedback.

Satpal said the safety features in the underground part of the line complies with the internationally accepted NFPA 130: Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems. The underground portion of the line also complies with international tunnelling codes.

“If you don’t comply with the codes, no insurance company will insure your project,” said Satpal.

He said all materials used for the seven underground stations – Muzium Negara, Pasar Seni, Merdeka, Bukit Bintang, Tun Razak Exchange, Cochrane and Maluri – are non-flammable.

“The MRT is world class in terms of fire safety and even all the materials used, from the flooring, ceiling and cladding are non-flammable,” said Satpal.

The underground tunnels have specialised ventilation fans that have the capacity to force air in enormous quantities quickly from the tunnels to above ground or channel air from above into the tunnel.

They are useful to quickly clear smoke from an underground fire, said Satpal, adding that the system is automated and runs from the same control centre where the trains are run.

“Any fire incident will trigger the ventilation system automatically,” said Satpal.

Other key fire safety features included in the service are evacuation facilities to quickly move passengers from the trains or tunnels, comprising among others, walking platforms and escape shafts located in between stations.

The evacuation routes can accommodate stretchers and wheelchairs while the Fire and Rescue Department will also be able to access the tunnels in specialised elevators.

Each of the underground stations has two sets of the specialised ventilation systems.

Intervention shafts that can be used to evacuate passengers are located in between the underground stations.

Satpal said fire safety training for the MRT project has been going on for the past five years, where staff are trained and drilled continuously on evacuations and assisting passengers in a fire.

The company has also trained Fire and Rescue Department personnel.

“We set up a temporary facility on our site which has a container that we light on fire to simulate a flashover,” said Satpal.