Monday, November 29, 1999

New fire-fighter system to prevent tunnel fire

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London, May 16 (ANI): Experts are set to test a system that picks out cars and trucks at risk of catching fire before they enter a tunnel.Engineers at Siemens in Germany will install their experimental system at Aubinger road tunnel near Munich this month.Tunnel fires, in most cases, start when defects in a vehicle's brakes or engine cause them to run dangerously hot, reports New Scientist.The new system will look for hotspots on each vehicle by pointing infrared cameras at them 1 kilometre before the tunnel's entrance.The resulting images will be automatically compared with reference images for each vehicle type to identify signs of overheating in the brakes, tyres, engine or other components. Warned by an audible alarm, staff closer to the tunnel will then be able to pull over suspect vehicles for inspection.Some of the loads carried by commercial vehicles can feed a fire once it starts.A truck fire in the Mont Blanc road tunnel in the French Alps that killed 39 people in 1999 was made worse by the vehicle's cargo of margarine also catching fire.To deal with such situation in the future, Siemens is developing long-range battery-powered radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that transmit details of what trucks are carrying to readers at the tunnel entrance.It will help firefighters know precisely what hazards they are faced with, when fire breaks out. (ANI)

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