Bus fires prompt code of practice

A fire that claimed a school bus on Tuesday is the latest of 12 recent fires prompting a code of practice

March 22, 2012

Bus fires
a hot topic after flames claimed an Albury school bus on Tuesday, but Bus Industry Confederation Executive Director Michael Apps
has played-down the issue,
and says
a code of practice is already underway.

Apps says while the occurrence of bus fires is uncommon - relative to the number of buses on the road - the industry is still taking steps to fix the problem.

"It’s a specular story, but the number of incidents
is so low," Apps says.

"A burning bus looks good on television, so therefore it is a big story, but the reality is the industry is trying to address the issue and is looking at how we will actually fix it."

Apps says a code of practice relating to bus fires is being developed for bus operators to manage fires.

"We need to actually address exactly what the issue is, so we are developing a code of practice to try to educate the industry about how they need to manage this particular issue."

"The code of practice will be based around maintenance and fire suppression types of options, based on the operators own risk assessment of the vehicle and whether or not it requires it."

The school bus that caught fire on the Hume Highway on Tuesday is the 12th bus in the past two years destroyed by fire in country Victoria and New South Wales.

About 40 year nine and year 10 students from Xavier High, Albury, escaped the flames.

One student was reported to have had had an asthma attack.

A tourist bus carrying 42 tourists caught fire in Kallista in the Dandenong Ranges in January.

In November a school bus carrying about 40 students caught fire in Olinda, also in the Dandenongs.

In July, 40 school children escaped a blaze that destroyed their bus in Fernwood.

"The real story with fires is as long as the passengers have time enough to get of the vehicle, then that is a good result," Apps says.

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