Increasing incidents of fire hazards in buses have brought into light the poor emergency exit systems in many vehicles. Four engineering students decided to take matters in their own hands by setting up a security system with which every window will turn into an exit in case of an emergency.
There have been many instances of failed emergency exit systems in buses in case of a fire disaster. Two such grave disasters happened in 2013. One led to the death of 45 passengers on board a private bus which was headed towards Hyderabad from Bengaluru, when the bus caught fire near Mahabubnagar. And the other similar incident claimed seven lives in Haveri, within a month after the first.
These two instances got four mechanical engineering students, thinking. The dearth of a good emergency exit system on such buses is a major reason behind the number of casualties.
Hence the four students decided to take it upon themselves to change the situation and create safer exit systems.
Credit – Wikimedia
Therefore, they came up with an automatic emergency exit system which will allow all the windows in luxury AC buses to function as emergency exits in case of a hazard. Under the direction of their professor, Shiva Shankar, four students, Jagadish K, Bharath R, Jeevan S and Karthik MS from Gopalan College of Engineering, Bengaluru, came up with the fundamental construction of the system.
“Usually, luxury AC buses have an emergency exit window on the rear. One has to break the glass with a hammer in order to escape. Even the fire extinguishers installed in these buses can be operated only manually. They are equipped with rooftop emergency exit systems but often, panic-stricken passengers are unable to find the hammer,” said Jagadish K.
Picture only for representation. Credit – Flickr
Bharath added how having just one emergency exit leads to more danger.
“Imagine 60 people rushing towards a common exit: it can lead to a stampede. Under our model, each window glass has been modified and fitted with sensors, which will automatically get activated if a fire breaks out. The driver has a control system through which the window panels can be brought down at a click of a button.”– Bharath R
The students then approached the Joint Commissioner of Transport (Enforcement), Narendra Holkar, with the model. “The transport department’s technical team has instructed us to make a few changes and apply the technique to a BMTC bus,” said Jeevan S.
Dr C Prabhhakar, director, Gopalan College said, “Panel alteration and installation of the system in a luxury bus will cost an estimated Rs 5 lakh”.