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38 IntroductIon Synthesis survey results provide an overview of transit agenciesâ evaluations of their planning for and management of fire and smoke incidents. Following a review of these results, six agencies were chosen as case example sites. Personnel directly involved with fire and smoke incidents were interviewed by telephone. The case examples provide additional details on evacuation procedures (which were not fully addressed in the survey), challenges, lessons learned, and keys. The selection process for case examples had several criteria: (1) transit agencies of various sizes in different parts of North America; (2) agencies that have taken innovative approaches or faced significant challenges; and (3) agencies that provided detailed survey responses and interesting observations. Two-thirds of responding agencies offered to serve as a case example. The six agen- cies chosen provide an overview of planning and design for fire and smoke incidents in underground passenger rail systems. Figure 2 (in chapter one) shows the location of the case example cities. The six case example cities and agencies are: â¢ Atlanta, Georgia: Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; â¢ Boston, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority; â¢ Cleveland, Ohio: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; â¢ Jersey City, New Jersey: Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation â¢ Seattle, Washington: Sound Transit; and â¢ Washington, D.C.: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, Metro). Table 30 provides a basic description of the transit agencies included in the case examples, including ridership, service area population, and peak bus requirements. Sources are the FY 2014 National Transit Database (NTD) reports and/or data provided by the agency. The case examples summarize survey responses and interview observations from each agency. The interviews explored issues raised by the survey responses in greater depth. MetropolItan atlanta rapId transIt authorIty, atlanta, GeorGIa The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) operates heavy rail throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. The service area population is 1.70 million. In the NTD 2014 profile, MARTA operated 210 heavy rail vehicles (HRVs) in maximum service. Annual ridership was 38.8 million on heavy rail. MARTA has 21.1 mi of rail trackway underground. process and Major themes MARTA is embarking on a rehabilitation of its tunnel ventilation system. The agency chose to issue a request for proposals because ventilation systems are so specialized. MARTA has awarded a contract chapter five case exaMples
39 for a design-build system after receiving several good proposals. MARTA has contracted separately with a technical expert on ventilation to have an independent subject matter expert at its disposal throughout the project. The project is under way, with visual inspection of legacy system components as a first step. The project will seek to maintain and rehabilitate the legacy system (based on air flow and standards dating to 1979) to the extent possible. The consultant will identify deficiencies in ventilation and other systems and develop strategies to address and correct these deficiencies. The consultant will also explore innovative ways to make heat calculations more appropriate for the MARTA environment and design suppression systems to bring the system to a state of good repair while seeking opportunities to modernize the system within limited capital funds. The project places responsibility on the consultant to: â¢ Evaluate the legacy system; â¢ Conduct extensive modeling; â¢ Develop an appropriate heat release factor (after gathering information on MARTA train vehicles, the consultant will run heat release tests); â¢ Identify optimal scenarios; and â¢ After concurrence by MARTA, build the rehabilitated system. MARTA recently upgraded its fire protection system, also through a design-build contract. This project encompassed a complete overhaul of 103 facilities (including stations, switch gear rooms, traction power substations, electric rooms, rail and bus maintenance facilities, train controller room, and the agencyâs headquarters) to upgrade all fire detection systems. MARTA worked with between 15 and 20 AHJs, generally matching the requirements of the most stringent code or standard among the AHJs, designing the fire protection system, obtaining approval from each AHJ, and implementing the design. Fire, smoke, and heat detectors and dry and wet suppression systems were included in the design. All components are tied to the head end system with features such as self-health monitoring and troubleshooting to the individual component level. Because the project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Federal oversight was required. FTA was a member of the project management oversight committee, along with at least one other rail transit agency. evacuation The tunnel ventilation systems are designed with automated scenarios providing tenable evacuation paths free of smoke. When a train operator in a tunnel notifies the Rail Service Control Center (RSCC), tunnel scenarios are enacted to move smoke away from the egress route. MARTA police conduct the evacuation and assist first responders from the local jurisdiction. The tunnel lighting project will improve the fixtures and signage to permit better visual evacuation routes for patrons in the event of an emergency. Agency Annual Ridership (million) Service Area Population (million) Number of Peak Vehicles MARTA 38.8 1.7 210 MBTA 286.3 4.2 902 GCRTA 9.0 1.4 34 PATH 83.1 18.4 299 Sound Transit 10.9 2.9 26 Metro 269.5 3.7 878 SOURCE: FY 2014 NTD reports and agency data. TABlE 30 CHARACTERISTICS OF CASE ExAMPlE AGENCIES
40 MARTA has its own 911 call center. The state fire marshal requires that when an alarm is activated, first responders are called immediately without investigating the incident. challenges One of the major challenges is determining the exact location of incidents. The operator and RSCC can identify the circuit, but some circuits are as long as 2,500 ft. If MARTA knows the exact location, it can make a better judgment call on what action to take. The tunnel lighting project addresses this challenge by providing proper signage for the operator to identify train location more accurately and to locate emergency exits. MARTA is a legacy system built in 1979. Many components are at the end of their useful life. The agency has dedicated capital funds to holistic improvements that produce more proactive data and can track and estimate when new components might fail. A full baseline assessment of legacy components takes time and energy but is necessary, as are a robust asset management program and accurate information on the expected end of life of components. All components are not prone to failure. The system has industrial-grade equipment (such as sheet metal in the ventilation system) that was built to last, as long as it is not corroding. Rebuilds are effective in bringing the system up to a state of good repair. The approach for the tunnel ventilation project is to first inspect and test, then identify options so MARTA can make an informed business decision given the capital funds available. New vent shafts and rebuilt tunnels are expensive and do not necessarily yield immediate benefits. Rehabilitation of ventilation and fire suppression systems is less visible and offers fewer ribbon- cutting ceremonies, but it is vital. The function of such systems is to perform as designed when the need arises. lessons learned The agency reported the following lessons learned. â¢ A stabilization program is the best start for a legacy system. Determine a baseline of the system to understand current conditions. Establishing what the gaps are is the first step toward subsequent business decisions. â¢ Get buy-in from all stakeholders, especially operations. MARTA has a lot of internal stakeholders. All the components for emergency response can fail for a thousand reasons. Know who âownsâ these reasons, and make sure they are involved. Are SOPs upgraded? Is the agency making full use of institutional knowledge? Having the right people at the table and executive committee support sets the foundation for achieving what needs to be done. â¢ Share knowledge and learn from other transit agencies. MARTA is discussing its tunnel ventilation with APTA in the context of current and potential new standards. â¢ If an agency is undertaking a major capital project, it needs subject matter experts on its side. MARTA contracted separately with a technical expert on ventilation to prevent expensive unnecessary work. â¢ MARTA compiled a detailed list of 32 lessons learned from the fire protection systems upgrade process. Most are associated with procedural issues related to the conduct and timing of individual tasks within the project. Keys to success In retrospect, the key to MARTAâs success is that the agency did not stick its head in the sand. It made a conscious decision 4 or 5 years ago to assess the state of its system and what needed to be done to bring it into a state of good repair.
41 Executive support is imperative. Having the top executives champion and understand the projects is critical to success. This paves the way to funding commitments and a commitment to âget it right.â MARTA is aware that it is creating the legacy system of the future and pays close attention to consistent availability of spare parts and robust training plans. If there is an internal gap in needed skills, the preferred option is to outsource the specific function until agency personnel are fully trained. A robust asset management plan is a necessity. Massachusetts Bay transportatIon authorIty, Boston, Massachusetts Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates heavy rail, light rail, and commuter rail throughout the Boston metropolitan area. The service area population is 4.18 million. In the NTD 2014 profile, MBTA directly operated 336 HRVs and 150 lRVs. Annual ridership was 178.5 million on heavy rail and 72.5 million on light rail. MBTA is one of the oldest rail systems in the United States. The underground portion of the system operates in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, Massachusetts. MBTA has 38 mi of heavy rail track way and 14 mi of light rail track way underground. process and Major themes MBTAâs operations control center (OCC), maintenance control center, and power dispatch are all linked. If OCC receives a report of a fire, the others are notified automatically, as is the local fire department and MBTAâs transit police department and safety department. MBTA will initiate ventilation when and as needed by means of its pushâpull ventilation system. evacuation MBTA is an old system with many different upgrades and changes over the years. A unique plan is needed for each location, depending on type of station and configurations of city streets. All responses to transit system fire reports are coordinated by OCC. Trains are evacuated at the nearest station if the train can safely advance to that station. Otherwise, power dispatch shuts off the power and MBTA employees and the local fire department or other emergency responders assist in evacuation. MBTA typically sets up bus bridges or directs passengers to alternate services when service is affected by a fire or report of fire; there are plenty of choices in downtown Boston. MBTAâs transit police assist in directing passengers. challenges The major challenge is that MBTA is a legacy system. Installing new facilities, such as additional ventilation shafts, is a challenge because there is not a lot of room in the densely developed corridors where the underground portions of the MBTA transit system are located. There are sections of the system that are not accessible, and evacuation of persons with disabilities is sometimes a challenge, which MBTA is working to correct. Compliance with all elements of NFPA is difficult owing to the age and configuration of the system. The agency works collaboratively with the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety, the AHJ of MBTA facilities, and local fire departments to request waivers and alternate solutions when compliance is physically impossible. Efforts are ongoing to improve the rail fleet and eliminate combustibles (trash cleanup). On warm, breezy days in the spring, dried leaves sometimes cause fires in the open air areas, and trash can catch on fire in the tunnels. Trash cleanup is an ever-present necessity. Vigilant maintenance is an absolute requirement. Maintenance of the catenary systems and third rails to prevent arcing receives special attention.
42 lessons learned The agency reported the following lessons learned. â¢ A primary lesson learned from MBTAâs experience is to do the basics every day. Everyone who works in tunnels picks up every piece of trash he or she sees. Workers collect more than 10 bags of trash underground every day. â¢ Close monitoring of the conditions related to the root causes of fire is necessary. The cause of the problem or fire must be identified; it is not enough to just remediate the issue at hand. Keys to success The pushâpull ventilation system enables an effective response. Cameras are also important. MBTA spent a lot of money installing cameras. The ability to understand the facts of the situation quickly is critical to a proper and early response. MBTA advises not to declare victory but to look closely for root causes. An after-action review is conducted for most incidents. MBTA has a training facility where the agency trains first responders from Boston and Cambridge annually and others on an ad hoc basis (such as when they have new employees or requests for refresher training). As noted, the rail system is subgrade only in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. Greater cleveland reGIonal transIt authorIty, cleveland, ohIo Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) operates multiple modes, including light rail and heavy rail in and around the city of Cleveland. According to the 2014 NTD data, its service area population is 1.41 million. GCRTA operates 40 HRVs and 34 lRVs. Annual ridership in 2014 was 6.2 million on heavy rail and 2.8 million on light rail. GCRTA has 0.6 mi of heavy rail trackway underground. process and Major themes GCRTAâs approach has been proactive, including the performance of hazard assessments and audits to reveal opportunities for improvement and develop corrective action plans to address findings. The transit agency had concerns about its 1,584-ft tunnel at the airport: track conditions were deteriorating as a result of airport drainage issues that affected the state of good repair, and the existing ventilation system needed improvements and upgrades. Supporting material for ventilation-related projects includes Fatal Effects of Fire, an NFPA report issued in March 2011; the report trended information on burns versus smoke inhalation as fatal effects of fire, including numbers and shares of fire deaths, with analysis of fire incident reporting versus death certificate reporting on the same topic (Hall 2011). Death certificates showed a 2:1 ratio of smoke inhalation to burns for fire deaths between 2003 and 2007, emphasizing the critical role of ventilation. A review of the National Transit Database revealed that heavy rail systems reported 41 major fires in the years 2011 through 2013. As a result, GCRTA commissioned an engineering study by a professional ventilation company that examined the specific characteristics of the subterranean area, conducted computer modeling
43 based on the types of fires expected to be encountered, and analyzed the temperatures and smoke that could be expected from such fires. The study recommended improved and faster detection of smoke and fire; an improved ventilation system, including additional fans that together prevent the back layering of smoke and excess temperatures in the egress paths; and quick notification of agency and airport fire department personnel. The Ohio Department of Transportation supported efforts to rehabilitate the tracks, ventilation, and drainage all in one project. A vital component included the installation of a new system called Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus. The system provides continuous monitoring of air quality in three segments (west zone, central zone, and east zone) of the tunnel. When smoke is detected, the system goes into emergency response and automatically triggers the ventilation system and notifies transit police dispatch and the airport fire department. An anomaly in any one of the three zones will trigger one of three scenarios for the ventilation system to supply air or operate in exhaust mode, moving smoke and heat away from the people. The response is automated and can be only overridden by responding GCRTA maintenance personnel or the fire department. This enables the GCRTA control center to focus on the evacuation of passengers and employees and facilitate communications inter- nally and with the fire department and any other responding mutual aid. evacuation Heavy rail cars require the use of wooden ladders that must be deployed by the operator for evacuation from the train to the track level. This procedure can take time, and operators are trained to communicate the plan of action to passengers. The message must be clear and concise to help reduce panic by provid- ing a description of the steps that will be taken. Once at track level, passengers are directed either east or west toward the platform or the portal, depending on the location of the fire. The goal is to put passengers at ease as much as possible and enable the operator to maintain control of passenger egress movements. To aid operators, GCRTA stores a script (see Figure 9) in the operatorâs cab to be broadcast on the train public announcement system in the event of an emergency that requires evacuation. In addition, vital information must be conveyed by the operator to the control center through onboard or portable radio. To supplement such communications, GCRTA has six blue light communication stations within the tunnel that also denote directions and distances to exits. These communication stations are equipped with the following: â¢ An airport firefighter communication radio with direct communication to the incident commander; â¢ 911 call box to transit police dispatch; and â¢ House phoneâGCRTA operator or others can communicate with the control center, transit police dispatch, the safety department or the general managerâs emergency operations center as needed. challenges Reducing the amount of combustible material is important. The tunnel must be clean and free from litter. The only combustible contents in the tunnel are portions of the train itself. GCRTA installed a 15-in. structural slab made of epoxy-coated, rebar-reinforced concrete and hung a system of boots and blocks from a poured-in-place structure surrounded by 6 to 12 in. of plain concrete in creating the new low-vibration track, thus eliminating combustible wood ties throughout the tunnel. Most fires anticipated to occur are electrical in origin, and result from the overhead catenary. lessons learned The agency reported the following lessons learned. â¢ Every space will behave differently based on air flowâa thorough ventilation study has to be the starting point.
44 â¢ Authorities with jurisdiction do not necessarily have the expertise to understand more complex systems and may not perform adequate acceptance tests. When performing quality acceptance testing, ensure that the systems are tested together using various scenarios to ensure all com- ponents are communicating and functioning according to design, rather than independently testing all of the alarms, ventilation systems, and smoke detection systems. GCRTA received various reports and test data from individual contractors involved in the project and from the local fire department relative to changes to the fire alarm, but no one vendor or contractor tested the improvements as a system until the GCRTA Safety and Engineering Department did and discovered a fan control logic issue in the programming that needed correcting. â¢ During testing of the smoke detection apparatus and ventilation systems, it was discovered that all ventilation systems operated in exhaust mode regardless of where the smoke was detected in the tunnel. In an integrated system, testing has to address each component in the context of the system, not only individually. In this case, the fans activated, seemingly meeting the program requirements, but when the fan results were compared with design parameters, the fans were found to not be functioning per the standard. Trust but verify using a good quality assurance process. â¢ Ongoing testing is also critical. A comprehensive asset inspection was conducted, and all devices, including those related to communication, were placed into a maintenance management system with Office of Emergency Management manuals and other reference materials along with a schedule of preventive maintenance tasks and tests. The installation of visual aids on the control panels also is crucial so testing is can be performed easily and incorrect modes or settings on the equipment can be recognized quickly. Light Rail Evacuation Procedure 1. Initiate the âThree Emergency Broadcastâ 2. Assess The Situation 3. Lower Pantograph 4. Make announcement to passengers of intent to evacuate using the following script: Attention, Attention all passengers. We will be evacuating the train. Remain Calm. Proceed with caution. 5. Assist Passengers 6. Instruct Passengers to move 30 to 50 feet down the track in front of the train (if safe to do so) and remain in that location. 7. When all passengers have been evacuated, update Control Center Supervisor. 8. Return to passengers and assist passengers, distribute accident packs, Hand out and collect Customer Information Cards. (Form 71-43B) 9. Control the scene until Emergency Responders arrive to provide additional assistance. FIGURE 9 Operator script for emergency evacuation (Used with permission from GCRTA).
45 â¢ Joint exercises, such as tabletop drills, with first responders (the airport fire department in this case) are essential, as is equipment familiarization. The airport fire department worked in conjunction with the GCRTA Safety and Training Departments to develop a PowerPoint pre- sentation for training all new staff members and refresher training. Equipment (heavy rail cars) familiarization training is also performed with the fire department. â¢ GCRTA has a sprinkler system to protect heated areas adjacent to the platform and tunnel (break room, communications room, and utility areas), but there is no dry sprinkler system or fire suppression system on the platform or in the tunnel. Detection is critical so that the airport fire department can respond quickly and begin manual firefighting operations. Keys to success GCRTA has identified two keys to success: â¢ Performing a thorough hazard assessment and sharing the results with the transit executive management team. â¢ Budgeting for safety and security recommendations and corrective action plans. GCRTA has an internal group that meets periodically to set priorities for projects that include those related to safety and security. All properties with a similar exposure could benefit from a comparison of their current mechanical emergency ventilation systems with the current NFPA 130 Standard to identify conditions that no longer meet current requirements and hazard controls to improve life-safety conditions should an incident occur. port authorIty trans-hudson corporatIon, Jersey cIty, new Jersey The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) was established in 1962 as a subsidiary of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The heavy rail rapid transit system serves as the primary transit link between Manhattan and neighboring New Jersey urban communities and suburban commuter railroads. PATH currently provides approximately 266,000 passenger trips each weekday. This volume is expected to continue to increase with the anticipated growth in regional residential, commercial, and business development. PATH has 16.9 mi of heavy rail track way underground. process and Major themes PATH conducts frequent drills with first responders from both states, which can and will help PATH in the event of an emergency situation. The responder organizations include, but are not limited to, the New York City Fire Department and the various townships and cities that surround PATH to assist in a unified emergency response. In addition, there is a mutual aid agreement with each first responder entity. The long-standing relationship between PATH and its first responders is professional, allowing all parties to work together to resolve disputes. At one time, the New York City Fire Department policy was that emergency ventilation systems should not be activated until fire department personnel arrived on scene. The concern was that the ventilation system would spread the fire, but fires in tunnels are somewhat different from those in high rise buildings, where the smoke and heat travel up in a stack effect. With a properly designed tunnel emergency ventilation system, the oxygen is actually removed from the event. PATH has demonstrated this using high-capacity smoke generators in its tunnels; with the ventilation system off for the first 2 to 3 min (simulating response time), the area in the vicinity of the smoke generator was engulfed in smoke. Then using the same smoke generators, the ventilation system began operation immediately after the smoke was noticed, and the area was
46 clear of smoke in seconds. This demonstration of the smoke generators led fire department personnel to decide that immediate activation is the correct option. Some incidental fires have occurred over the years, and by using the ventilation system properly, smoke has been cleared. PATH is a legacy system with 13.8 mi of track, approximately 60% of which is underground. PATH implemented a safety program in 1983 that installed standpipes, ventilation systems, and tunnel lighting. Ventilation sites were selected where structures existed so that new structures did not have to be cut into tunnels; fan capacities were based on these locations. There are six emergency ventilation sites, with two additional sites planned at the World Trade Center. Emergency egress shafts generally are located at these sites. Communication command posts are also set up at the surface and bottom of each egress location, with plug-ins for multi-type communications connections. evacuation PATH relies on fully tested scenarios to respond to incidents. The first option, standard to the industry as much as possible, is to bring the train to the nearest station to platform the train. If the train cannot move, the train operator deploys ladders, which weigh no more than 40 pounds and are stored in each vehicle, to bring passengers to the track and then walks them along the evacuation path; fans are on, and the direction is established based on the location of the fire. The key goal is to have fresh air in pas- sengersâ faces as they walk along the track to the nearest egress location and to bring passengers to the platforms from the tracks. Each platform for each station where permanent stairs do not exist is outfitted with track-to-platform stairs that are stored in all stations (locked in full view on the station platforms). Fortunately, there have been only a few incidents requiring evacuation over the years. In all cases, the train could be moved so that at least one car was platformed to better facilitate quick egress. challenges Getting people that are not aware of procedures and policies to understand what has to be followed is critical. As noted earlier, fire and smoke incidents in tunnels are different from incidents in high-rise buildings and should be treated differently. PATH and its first responders share their knowledge as they discuss a situation before deciding on a best course of action to implement. PATH has a strong safety and security group, and its members are capable of dealing with each issue. lessons learned The agency reported the following lessons learned. â¢ There is nothing more important than learning from your experience and that of others. The PATH safety program was approved in 1983. It arose from two incidents that led the agency to ask: what do we have to do to protect the railroad? The answer was to incorporate a new tunnel emergency ventilation system into the railroad, install a fire-standpipe system through- out, install emergency lighting in the tunnels, add train-to-track and track-to-platform ladders, add new fire-resistive egress stairs, add intercoms at each landing within the stairwell, and add communications command posts at the bottom and top of the stairs to ensure that first responders can talk with others who are on a different level. â¢ The relationship with first responders is critical. PATH helps them to understand the unique nature of fires in tunnels. Keys to success â¢ Maintain a clean environment, free of combustibles. Over the years, PATH has removed all garbage cans from its platforms. Newspapers and coffee cups are blown onto the tracks and
47 always end up in places where they should not be. As a result, PATH track walkers walk through all tunnels every day picking up debris, and during terminal layovers crews remove trash from vehicles. As time permits, PATH is removing wood ties and replacing them with concrete ties and is beginning to install direct fixation where possible. â¢ Monitor tunnels constantly. PATH teams walk through the tunnels inspecting tracks, bolts, third rail power, and joints of continuous welded rail. Electrical staff check if cabling is exposed and its conditions. The operation of the signal system is checked daily by signal staff. â¢ To maintain the highest level of safety for the tunnel system, PATH staff continue to have crew and first responder familiarization sessions and frequently conduct drills with first responders. sound transIt, seattle, washInGton Sound Transit operates light rail between the SeaTac Airport through downtown Seattle to the University of Washington, commuter rail service in three counties (Pierce, King, and Snohomish) of Washington State, and commuter bus service. The service area population is 2.87 million. In the NTD 2014 profile, Sound Transit operated 26 lRVs in maximum service, and annual light rail rider- ship was 10.9 million. This case example addresses light rail service only. Sound Transit has 5.1 mi of light rail trackway underground. process and Major themes The light rail tunnels have a pushâpull ventilation system that moves smoke away from the train to allow passengers to evacuate safely in the event of a fire. The cross-section where the fire or smoke event occurs is isolated and pressurized to push fresh air into the tunnel. Sound Transit does extensive modeling and works closely with the city of Seattleâs knowledgeable fire department personnel in the design of its tunnels. The downtown Seattle tunnel (known as the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel or DSTT) has four stations and has been operational since 1990; the Beacon Hill tunnel opened in 2009; and a new 3-mi tunnel extension opened in March 2016. Sound Transit has a close working relationship with the fire department and invites the department to review models and observe scenario tests. Joint emergency drills are conducted every 6 months. Sound Transit has used âwetâ tunnel standpipes with fire hose valves located every 200 ft in tunnels. The agency plans to have dry systems in the future, with a 10-min charge time. One unique situation for Sound Transit is joint operation of hybrid bus and light rail in the DSTT. The fire growth rate with fully fueled diesel buses (testing the worst case scenario) is much greater than with lRVs. Eventually, only light rail will operate in the downtown tunnel. In addition to the DSTT, the operating segment includes the Beacon Hill Tunnel (approximately 1 mi in length), which has a deep midline station. The deep station includes reversible fans in com- bination with jet fans at both tunnel portals. The new University link Extension, which opened in March 2016, includes 3.15 mi of new twin tunnels with two subway stations 2 mi apart. Sound Transit, working with the fire department, was able to eliminate a planned ventilation structure in the middle of the zone in the segment between stations. The tunnel design allows for future modifications in terms of service frequency and the size of train consists. Sound Transit follows NFPA 130 plus a city of Seattle amendment that requires the agency to meet the capacity required to operate the pushâpull system even if it loses a whole ventilation fan. This requirement increases the speed of air moving through down tunnel to between 25 and 28 mph. Sound Transit has installed mechanical door assists on egress doors to overcome forces created by the emergency ventilation system and has taken other steps to mitigate stairwell pressurization buildup that has been observed in field tests.
48 evacuation The primary means of egress from the deep mine station at Beacon Hill (described in the next section) is elevators. The station design included isolation of the elevator shafts and ventilation in the shafts to pressurize as needed. challenges Most of the light rail stations were built using cut-and-cover techniques. The deep mine station at Beacon Hill, 167 ft below ground level, required different approaches in terms of fire safety. The agency learned a great deal about stairwell pressurization at this station, most notably the need for mechanical door assists on egress doors to counteract the pressure created by the ventilation system and allow people to open and close doors. The joint operation of hybrid bus and rail in the DSTT is a unique situation in North America. The fire safety system in the downtown tunnel was designed to address the faster fire growth rate under the worst-case scenario involving diesel buses, even though all buses currently operated in the DSTT are hybrid vehicles. In response to requests by control center personnel, Sound Transit reconfigured the control centerâs computer system so that the system showed three separate screens for each station: one for train control, one for fire life safety, and one for building management. This required a more robust computer network. As the light rail system expands, the current terminus station will be a terminus for only 5 years. This requires a separation between current operations in the tunnel and ongoing construction. It also means that, for the first 5 years, fan operations will be different. The agency needed to build capacity into the ventilation system, but not too much with a hard block at north end. Achieving the correct balance was challenging. lessons learned The agency reported the following lessons learned. â¢ Develop a strong positive relationship with the local fire department. The Seattle Fire Department has been part of the fire rescue team starting with initial construction. â¢ Work closely with the operating group in developing SOPs and maintenance procedures. Sound Transitâs fire life safety engineer works closely with the operations department in training and developing procedures. â¢ Install dry standpipes instead of wet. The heat trace is not reliable for more than 5 years. The geometry of the tunnels requires higher pressure over long periods and pressure-reducing valves need to be more closely spaced. Moving away from wet standpipes allows quicker restoration of service. Water can be as damaging to electrical equipment as heat. In future tunnels, Sound Transit will install dry standpipes instead of wet ones. â¢ Fire command centers provide the ability to fight fires along the light rail line. These mirror the link Control Center (the local name for the operations command and control center). Following NFPA 130 and 72 standards creates complete redundancy in the control panels and the ability to identify remotely the location of each panel. This in turn provides the agency with greater control over the decision to call the fire department. Sound Transit removed most smoke detectors from stations because of vandalism and replaced them with emergency phones that activate a camera so that the link Control Center can see the person and scan the area to determine if there is a fire. â¢ Test all scenarios for the emergency ventilation system to make sure that individual components (including communication and the public address system) work. Conduct individual component and systemwide tests. How emergencies are addressed must be clearly communicated to staff and contractors. The doors, public address system, elevators, and fans are all synchronized and need to be tested together. It takes time to ensure that everything works as expected in the process of commissioning a subway station.
49 Keys to success â¢ Talent, experience, and chemistry are all important, but chemistry is especially important between the safety department and two groups: the jurisdiction having authority and its personnel who inspect and commission the tunnels and stations and the agencyâs operations department. â¢ Training is paramount to get the operations department to understand what equipment they have, how valuable it is, and how to use it. Drill consistently so operations personnel know what to do. The goal is that they know the procedures well enough to train the fire department. â¢ There is usually a âbestâ direction for ventilation, but making sure smoke blows away from passengers is more important than picking the best direction. â¢ A full-time, in-house, fire life safety person makes a big difference. washInGton MetropolItan area transIt authorIty (wMata, Metro), washInGton, d.c. Metro is the regional transit provider in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which has a service area population of 3.72 million. In the FTAâs NTD 2014 profile, Metro operated 878 heavy rail cars in maximum service. Annual ridership was 269.5 million on heavy rail. Metro has 111.2 mi of rail trackway underground. process and Major themes Metro maintains smoke and heat sensors in stations throughout the system and receives alarms in a couple of different ways. All fire alarms are transmitted to the station kiosk, Metro Rail Opera- tions Control Center (ROCC), the Metro Maintenance Operations Center, and Metro Transit Police Communications simultaneously. When the ROCC receives notification, personnel initiate calls to the fire department in the appropriate jurisdiction, dispatch maintenance personnel, and notify the Metro Transit Police. Each rail station is equipped with an emergency voice/alarm public address communication system so that appropriate announcements can be made from the station kiosk or from the ROCC regarding fire alarms, including provisions for giving necessary evacuation information and directions to the public upon receipt of any manual or automatic fire alarm signal. A delay is factored in to the activation of the affected station fire alarm systemâs audible and visual fire signals. This is intended to minimize potential mass panic of customers (perhaps as many as 1,000) in the rail station in the event of a fire alarm activation and the automatic audible public address announcement message announcing a mandatory emergency evacuation in the station. Delaying the audible and visual alarms in the station allows time for the station manager to investi- gate, verify, and confirm that an actual fire condition is present that requires evacuation of the station. The agency is updating its SOPs to address smoke in tunnels and enhanced training for the con- trollers in the ROCC. These were recommendations made by a peer group review immediately after a major incident. evacuation There are SOPs for evacuation of stations and trains. For example, if the fire is on a train in a tunnel, the train operator first attempts to move passengers between cars to remove them from the immediate area of danger, with the rationale being that passengers generally are safer in a rail car than in a tunnel with high voltage equipment and other hazards. If the train is disabled or unable to move to the next safe station, a rescue train is brought to the scene to push or pull the disabled train or transfer passengers and
50 take them to the next safe station for evacuation. Conversely, if the train operator decides remaining on a train and sheltering in place is not a safer alternative, the last resort is to evacuate passengers to the tunnel/track bed after the operator obtains permission from the ROCC. The train operator then executes the evacuation SOP and directs passengers to exit the side of the train where lights exist in the tunnel. This is generally the side of the tunnel where a safe walkway exists and is opposite the side of the third rail. From this point, the operator leads passengers to the nearest station, safe area, or emergency exit. Emergency train evacuation carts are also available at each station to allow first responders to manually evacuate passengers from the tunnel (the carts are used for injured or disabled patrons who are unable to walk to a point of safety). If the fire is in a station, an alarm-activated audible public address alerts patrons to evacuate the station, while the station manager assists with evacuation and directs passengers to a point of safety. Evacuation of passengers to the track level is a last resort and is done only if the ROCC delivers such direction. In such cases, there generally would be an emergency exit beyond the platform end gates that leads to a point of safety (either exit to ground level or area of rescue assistance). Other evacuation options include having patrons shelter in place while first responders assist with evacuation and bringing to the scene a rescue train that evacuates the passengers to the nearest safe station. Public address announcements to keep passengers informed regarding the reason for the delay and the action to be taken if necessary are an important component of the process. challenges Training is a major challenge. Training may not have occurred recently or been appropriate for the environment of the incident. In addition, station familiarization can be a challenge. Station Managers often serve stations not typically assigned to them (i.e., filling in for staff on leave). These staff generally are not familiar with the specific configurations and emergency evacuation requirements of the stations they are temporarily serving. It is difficult to train staff on the nuances of each station they may serve. Metro is a legacy system predating the current Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems (NFPA 130). The system was built to applicable codes 40 years ago, but many loca- tions are not in compliance with modern safety requirements. The physical design constraints and infrastructure often are a major limiting factor to what can be accomplished to bring areas closer to modern safety standards. In addition, in many locations, fire and smoke detection and alarm and suppression systems are antiquated and in a state of poor repair. Turnover of staff who are knowledgeable about the configu- rations and years of modifications and changes makes troubleshooting difficult. Improvements are required to ensure reliable fire protection systems are in place that have been tested and maintained according to code. Testing fire alarms is not always done on an end-to-end system basis because different depart- ments are responsible for various systems components. For example, fire alarm activation is also supposed to trigger response by certain means of egress systems, such as escalators stopping in the inbound direction, elevators assuming emergency mode, and fare gates opening. One department is responsible for elevators and escalators, another department is responsible for the alarm systems, and another department is responsible for the suppression systems. The different departments do not always communicate with each other to make sure all components respond accordingly. Certified and knowledgeable testing and maintenance personnel, whether directly employed or contracted, are a critical need for proper maintenance. System maintenance may require limited hours of service. This is a difficult trade-off, keeping in mind that many customers rely on Metro daily. Metro generally stays open late at night and opens early in the morning. This leaves few hours of available maintenance time to access track and other critical systems. Gaining the trust of customers is important: once lost, it is hard to recoup.
51 lessons learned â¢ Follow applicable codes and standards and go through proper permitting processes in each jurisdiction in which the agency operates. This affords maximum protection for the agency and its customers. â¢ If they are not currently established, develop and incorporate agency-based design criteria that incorporate all applicable local and national level codes and standards. In addition, special or unique fire life safety requirements can be accounted for in the agency-based design criteria, especially if a local code or standard does not adequately address this type of condition. â¢ Work closely with jurisdictions and learn from them. The agencyâs designers may not have the best methods. â¢ All parties involved need to be realistic in their expectations. â¢ Take steps to bring together all departments that have an impact on critical safety systems (i.e., fire detection, alarm, suppression, and egress) for system end-to-end testing and maintenance. â¢ Reinforce the importance of safety at every opportunity. Being too busy is not an excuse to skip training exercises. â¢ Create a tracking system for first responders to know how much and what types of training each first responder has received. Fire departments that train frequently work well with Metro staff at incidents. At Metro, the Office of Emergency Management tracks and publishes monthly a list of fire departments and law enforcement agencies that have been trained at Metroâs designated emergency management training facility. Keys to success â¢ learn from experience. Critical incident debriefing sessions and after-action reviews conducted after an incident are proven ways the agency can learn from these types of events. These sessions are to be proctored by the appropriate knowledgeable staff with a primary purpose of assigning corrective actions to responsible departments and following through to ensure that such actions are appropriately implemented. â¢ Applicable familiarization and recurrent and specialized training are needed for all emergency response personnel internal and external to the agency. â¢ In the future, the ability to call up a three-dimensional profile of the station at the station kiosk to learn where the fire alarm originated will save time. The profile also will familiarize first responders and agency personnel with the station layout. The ability to see the fan controls and location from the station kiosk and tell at a glance whether they are in operation and in what mode can ensure that the proper scenario is in operation.