SINGAPORE: Trains on Singapore’s rail network are designed with fire safety in mind, with features to prevent the spread of fire and ensure commuter safety, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Saturday (Feb 11).
This was in response to queries on fire safety measures following a train fire at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station on Friday that injured 17 people, with two in critical condition.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, an LTA spokesperson said fire safety features included a “fire-retardant” train car body made with materials that delay the combustion of fuels.
Train floorings are also fire-resistant, and each train is equipped with fire and smoke detection systems as well as two fire extinguishers, LTA said, adding that the features were in line with international railway standards.
There are also ventilation fans in underground MRT stations and tunnels to extract smoke and supply fresh air in the event of a fire, the spokesperson added.
According to the LTA’s incident management code of practice, rail operators SBS Transit and SMRT are required to train their staff to ensure passenger safety during emergencies and prepare plans for such incidents.
“The operators’ readiness to handle such emergencies is tested regularly by LTA and relevant agencies, such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force, through checks as well as tabletop and simulated exercises,” said LTA.
Singapore’s rail system has seen fires before: In 2013, an electric cable in a tunnel near Newton station short-circuited, setting off a fire that disrupted trains on the North-South Line for over two hours, affecting about 15,000 commuters. More recently in 2015, a fire broke out at Ang Mo Kio MRT station. No injuries were reported in both cases.
LTA advised passengers to immediately alert the train driver via the train intercom system if there is a fire on the train so that the driver can inform the Operation Control Centre. The OCC is notified automatically when incidents occur on driverless trains, such as those used on the Circle Line.
Passengers should follow instructions given by the operator and exit the train in an orderly manner, LTA said, adding that if fire or smoke was found in the train tunnel, the operators would alert the SCDF immediately and route affected trains to the nearest station.