In the primary data collected, 27 per cent of the buses are missing fire extinguishers.
Bangalore, October 6: Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses lack fire extinguishers, even though the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Act mandates that every public service vehicle contain one or more fire extinguishers.
In a primary survey of 75 buses, 27 per cent of the buses were missing fire extinguishers. Section 167 of the Karnataka motor act states that every public transport should carry safety aids inside the vehicle.
The absence of fire extinguishers in BMTC buses is a serious threat to the safety of commuters, says Rajini Gandhi, founder and secretary of TRAX road safety NGO. She says this because we had seen accidents that could have been prevented if there had been fire extinguishers in the buses. Like in February 2019, two people lost their lives when one of the public buses in Bangalore caught fire. However, in April 2022, a BMTC bus caught fire, but fire extinguishers ensured a fire scenario’s speedy containment.
Aarthi, a daily commuter, said, “I have travelled in BMTC buses, but I have not seen fire extinguishers.” Another commuter, A. Upender, said, “I have been travelling in BMTC buses for a very long time, and I have never seen fire extinguishers.” He also added that BMTC should keep fire extinguishers because it is hazardous to travel without them.
According to National Fire Protection Association, every 12 months, the fire extinguishers should be serviced, and the conductors and drivers should be given training for the same. These rules are written on the fire extinguisher. A BMTC official said the installed fire extinguishers are checked twice in 12 months, but the training is given to only the drivers on how to use the fire extinguishers.
Rajini Gandhi, Founder and secretary of TRAX (Traffic Reforms and Advocacy Experts) road safety NGO says, “Awareness drive regarding the use of fire extinguishers should be run simultaneously for the citizens because if the driver could not use the instrument, the public can.” In situations where the driver and the conductor cannot reach for help, the citizens will be able to help reduce the accident’s impact. She added that the driver’s psychology also played a crucial role. Driver situational awareness can also make a big difference in the outcome of such incidents.