Passenger rail systems are found in countless countries around the world. They remain one of the most efficient and affordable methods for transporting large communities of people. Since 1983, rail systems have been the subject to NFPA 130, an international fire safety standard for fixed guideway and transit systems.
NFPA 130 lays out a number of rules and guidelines in order to ensure the greatest level of fire safety. First and foremost, NFPA 130 standards attempt to both prevent fires from starting and manage the impact that potential fires would have on passenger vehicles. The standards have set specific limits for heat energy sources, electrical components, and wiring throughout passenger rail systems.
An Alternative to Electrical Egress
Of course, most electrical systems in railway vehicles are necessary, but some can be limited or avoided completely. For example, electric emergency signs and lights can be entirely replaced with nonelectric photoluminescent materials. These energy efficient emergency signs absorb energy from a passenger train’s overhead lights. When those lights go out, photoluminescent emergency signs begin to glow, both leading passengers to safety and reducing the amount of potential fuel for fires.
NFPA 130 also lays out requirements regarding ventilation, particularly in underground railway systems. In accordance with NFPA 130 standards, tunnel trainways use an emergency ventilation system that draws exhaust smoke in one direction along the tunnel while allowing breathable air to flow in the opposite or upstream direction.
In the event that a fire requires passengers to exit their vehicles, current ventilation requirements should give those passengers at least one hour to safely navigate train tunnels and find their way to the surface. Under NFPA 130, passengers waiting on platforms must be able to exit the station within four minutes and be able to reach a place of safety within six minutes. They must also be able to reach at least one enclosed exit stairway or exit passageway at all times from any platform.
In order to achieve quick and safe egress conditions, emergency signs should be illuminated along exit pathways and stairs. Appropriate energy efficient emergency signs can help keep passengers calm and provide them with important safety information in the event that the lights go out.
For more information on NFPA 130 requirements, please read Fire Protection Engineering’s detailed article. If you’d like to speak with a sales team member about GloBrite’s energy efficient emergency signs and egress systems, please contact Jessup Manufacturing Company.