Indian Railways has developed system for installing fire & smoke detection system on coaches. The system is capable for checking and giving alarm to passenger during initial stages of fire, thereby giving valuable time for shifting to safe areas and evacuation. The automatic fire and smoke detection system as tried out is based on Very Early Warning Smoke Detection System (VEWSD) strategy to detect smoke/fire at incipient stage of smoke, fire through continuous multipoint sampling and analysis of coach environment. The system is suitable for controlled environment i.e. for AC coaches only.
There are 4 alarm levels called as Alert, Action, Fire-1 and Fire-2. In order of severity of fire and taken by the staff, the passengers to be taken accordingly. The system has been subjected to trials on Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani. During trial period, two actual fire incidences were detected by the system in two coaches of Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani and timely warning saved loss of property and life. Rail Coach Factory has recently installed this system on one more rake of LHB Rajdhani dispatched to Northern Railway which will be used to run 12454/12453, New Delhi Ranchi Rajdhani train.
Based on the feedback from this trial, Research Design & Standards Organisation (RDSO), a research wing of the Ministry of Railways, has improved on the specification and also made provision of interfacing the system with the air brake system of the coaches so that in the event of Fire-2 alarm, train gets stopped before hooter is sounded. It will ensure that passenger can safely get down without panic. The arrangement has been tried on the Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani. The system is also planned to be fitted on more rakes in the current year.