This was the first FIVE-conference, a bi-annual conference held in collaboration between SP and its American counterparty. Delegates from 19 nations attended from a number of different functions – from vehicle manufacturer to legislators and co-ordinating agencies to suppliers of suppression systems and materials.
The two day conference dealt with a wide array of subjects: legislation and standards, testing methods, fire engineering, statistics on fire deaths in traffic and the impact on fire safety of alternative fuels.
Legislation and standards. The general opinion was that standards are not congruent with what is needed to increase the safety in vehicles. Existing materials have for too long dictated what is to be investigated and what not. We welcome the discussion on burning process and the new requirements on measuring smoke density and toxicity as well as drop of the material. It was confirmed that Paxymer is a substance of the future; we are well positioned to meet all the upcoming demands on flame retardancy.
Testing methods as hinted above, new testing methods are being developed. Instead of performing a simple horizontal burning test that almost every substance passes new standards are being developed. Important parameters are a holistic evaluation of the safety of the material. Both smoke toxicity, density but also the burning process in general and risk of fire spread and heat release rate are important parameters.
Fire engineering is a relatively new term; it is the total design of all the fire suppression possibilities. From material design to active measures such as water or chemical extinguishing substances.
Statistics showed grim results. Successful implementation of standards and legislation has limited fire problems in trains to a minimum. However busses and trucks are lagging in safety. Major crashes and their causes were reviewd, such as the Hannover accident in 2008 where 23 passengers were killed. Flash over times for a tourist bus is as low as 3-4 minutes and leave only a burnt out skeleton with no possibility of survival other than escape. A combination between earlier detection and better material selection is crucial to increase safety in professional traffic.
Alternative fuels and fire implications were also an interesting subject. In short one can say that fire fighters are facing a major challenge in vehicle fires due to new fuel alternatives.
Summary. The lectures were interesting and my understanding of the width of the problem of fire has deepened with the conference. It is however impressive to see how many of the problem areas presented we are able to solve. Paxymer is non-toxic, non-dripping, non-sooting and non-smoking. It greatly simplifies any active extinguishing measures, it lowers the heat release rate and increases safety through its burning process. Paxymer is a holistic solution that comprises the latest ideas in fire safety engineering into the material design.
/Amit Paul, MD Paxymer