SINGAPORE - MRT trains and tunnels are designed with safety features to protect passengers should there be a fire or smoke, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said in Parliament on Thursday.
Underground MRT stations and tunnels, for example, are equipped with smoke extraction and tunnel ventilation fans to expel smoke and to supply fresh air in the event of a fire.
The materials used for Singapore's trains also conform to strict fire safety requirements, so that smoke emission and the level of smoke toxicity are minimised during any fire outbreak, Mr Lui explained.
He was responding to a question from MP Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who asked if there were safeguards in place to deal with accidents such as the one in Washington DC in the United States earlier this month. Smoke from an unknown source began filling the cars of a subway train during the evening rush hour resulting in the death of one passenger and injuries to 80 others.
Mr Lui said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) requires rail operators to have plans to ensure passenger safety during emergencies and to ensure that their officers are trained to execute these plans.
In the event of a fire or smoke in an MRT tunnel, for instance, operators will have to alert the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) immediately and route affected trains to the nearest station, away from the source of the fire or smoke, he said
The operators' readiness to handle such emergencies is also tested regularly by the LTA and agencies such as the SCDF and Singapore Police Force through checks as well as table-top and simulated exercises.