Risk revealed

An average of one bus a month catches fire in Victoria, according to the latest statistics

Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) is reminding bus operators to ensure they are equipped to deal with the risk of fire, after recent statistics show an average of one bus catches fire every month across the state.

The latest TSV incident statistics show there were 24 instances of fires on buses across the state between July 1 2012 and June 30 2014.

In a recent incident in April 2014, the fire occurred in the engine compartment, caused by the main electrical cable that was connected to the air conditioner control panel.

TSV Director of Bus Safety Stephen Turner says taking simple preventive measures is the best way to reduce the risk of bus fires.

"Faulty or insecure electrical wiring is a common factor in bus fires. However, this is easily preventable," he says.

"It is important that operators have electrical wiring in their buses inspected. This includes ensuring wiring looms are routed and secured appropriately to prevent chafing on sharp edges."

Turner also says having an emergency plan, including access to a working fire extinguisher, will help bus drivers to deal with a fire situation should it arise.

"Every commercial bus operator should develop and maintain a First Response Emergency Plan which provides their drivers with relevant contact numbers and emergency instructions.

"Having access to a fire extinguisher which is in working order should be a critical part of the plan."

He says through TSV’s compliance operations, the regulator is seeing too many operators who don't test their fire extinguisher within the required timeframe.

"Fire extinguishers on buses must be inspected by a competent person or organisation every six months," he says.

"The rule is clear – if you haven't maintained your fire extinguisher, your bus should not be on the road."

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