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12° Nicosia,
20 June, 2024
 
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Urgent measures taken after a series of fires on buses

An administrative investigation has also commenced, aiming to determine responsibility for licensing the 570 buses without the required fire safety system

Pavlos Neophytos

According to the commitment of the Ministry of Transport and the owners of the 570 immobilized buses, a return to normality is expected early this week. Both sides said that by the weekend, the automatic fire-fighting systems for engines ordered from abroad were expected to arrive by air to meet the ministry's condition for all companies with public contracts. This condition was set in response to the bus fire on December 1 in Nicosia. An administrative investigation has also commenced, aiming to determine responsibility for licensing the 570 buses without the required fire safety system. The urgency is to quickly resolve the issue for the public, especially the 6,000 affected students, and address public discontent as this incident marks the fourth of its kind in a four-year period.

Amidst these developments, fire safety experts in Cyprus raise questions about the type of firefighting systems arriving from abroad and their efficacy. They emphasize adherence to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's R 107 standard for automatic fire extinguishing systems in buses. The Fire Safety Association of Cyprus highlights two types of systems: active, compliant with the R 107 directive, and passive, less efficient and uncertified. The association advises replacing non-certified systems with R 107 types for enhanced safety.

In response to these concerns, the Transport Committee of the House of Representatives suggested evaluating and replacing non-certified systems. Minister of Transport, Yiannis Vafeadis, informed that a three-member committee of experts has been appointed to assess the products recommended by companies. This evaluation aligns with contractual requirements, and the issue is also part of the ongoing administrative investigation.

Fire safety experts stress that certified active systems provide immediate detection and notification to drivers, complying with R 107 standards. On the contrary, passive systems lack real-time feedback and are simpler. The major bus manufacturers include R 107 systems during the manufacturing stage. Certification guarantees extinguishing effectiveness up to a certified level, ensuring proper system performance when needed. The cost difference between active and passive systems often influences the choice, with certified products in the fire safety sector governed by stringent standards, ensuring human life protection.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and summarized for coherency]

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Cyprus  |  economy

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