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Last year saw a 14 per cent increase in fires in England, according to UK Home Office statistics. And while around three million fire doors are installed in the UK every year, a lack of understanding during operation, maintenance and management of fire doors is still apparent. In this article, David Hindle, Head of Door Closer Sales at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, will address this issue. Importance of fire doors Fire doors are often the first line of defense in a fire, yet even after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, fire door hardware remains a significant area of concern. In May 2018, an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by dame Judith Hackitt, have been published. The review highlighted a range of issues, but the message stood clear, the UK’s current approach to fire safety in buildings is not functioning as intended and a new, holistic approach to fire safety is required. Review of fire inspections In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors. However, there is no legal requirement for them to complete any recommended upgrades or repairs, or to prove that they have done so. This represents a major problem, as doors that do not perform to the required standard could compromise a building’s safety and put occupants at risk. Ultimately, this could lead to liability being assigned back to the building owner or facilities manager. Need to maintain fire safety standards Fire safety is only properly maintained if standards and checks are carried out throughout the lifecycle of the product and building. This is best addressed through regular inspection, maintenance and the replacement of products when required. A review by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme revealed the most common fire door faults, ranging from missing fire or smoke seals, to unsuitable hinges and damage to the door leaf itself. Any one of these issues can render a fire door useless and can seriously impede a door’s capability to protect people from harm. Door leaf and frame maintenance Fire door hardware is often not afforded the attention it requires and is left mismanaged throughout its service life. So what needs to be done to ensure fire door hardware is working as expected? Naturally, the door leaf should not be damaged, warped or twisted, and it is vital to ensure the fire door closes correctly around all parts of the frame, with no distortion between the stiles, top and frame. Gaps between the door and leaf must not be greater than those specified in the manufacturer’s installation instructions or fire certificate data sheet, typically around 3 to 4mm all the way round. Importance of door closers A door closer ensures a fire door returns to its fully closed position and the door seals correctly in the door frame A door closer ensures a fire door always returns to its fully closed position and makes sure that the door seals correctly in the door frame, when not in use. There are three steps to ensuring these components are working correctly. First, open the door fully and check that it closes without dragging across the floor. Next, open it to approximately 5-10 degrees and again check that it fully closes, engaging any latch or seal. Finally, check the door closing speed is approximately five seconds from a 90 degree angle, ensuring the door does not slam shut. Intumescent fire and smoke seals Fire and smoke seals should be in good condition, fit the full length of the door and be secure in the groove. If seals are badly fitted, damaged or painted, then they must be replaced with exactly the same size and intumescent material that was originally specified. If the smoke seals have to be replaced, then they should be fitted in one continuous length, if possible. To ensure hinges are in good condition, check for visible wear, dark marks or stains around the hinge knuckle that could indicate wear and impending failure. Hinges must be strong enough to carry the door mass, plus robust enough to work efficiently no matter the level of usage. The hinges should be firmly screwed into the door and frame, ensuring that the seals at the top and sides of the door are not damaged or missing at any time. Intumescent pads should also be used with hinges, as these are required for the door to get its appropriate fire rating. Locks and lever handles To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use Wiping any metal dust deposits off the handles will help ensure that the latch-bolt is engaging smoothly and completely into the keep during use. To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use. If it does not, the lever may, at best, need adjusting or lubricating. At worst, it may need replacing, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Again, ensure the lock case is protected by intumescent material. Maintaining record of fire door inspection No matter the component, a record of inspection and maintenance should be kept for all door hardware. Furthermore, those responsible for ensuring the fire safety of a site should encourage others to report any issues with any of the door components. Faults should be fixed as soon as possible, using the correct and fire-rated components. To check the compatibility of components, always consult the fire certificate data sheet or contact the manufacturer.
Maintaining adequate staffing is a key challenge facing many volunteer fire departments. While not a new issue, increasing population and call volumes along with the expanded services many volunteer departments now provide have made recruiting and retaining volunteers a top priority in the fire service. The federal government supports volunteer recruitment and retention through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). SAFER has provided more than $300 million in grants to help fire departments recruit and retain volunteers from FY 2010-2017 and will distribute approximately $42 million in the FY 2018 grant cycle, expected to open in the near future. Annual Contribution Cap Give volunteer emergency responders increased access to mortgage and other housing assistance programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture The National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) legislative agenda for 2019 is heavily focused on recruitment and retention. In addition to advocating for funding for SAFER, we will be asking Congress to: pass legislation exempting nominal benefits that volunteers receive as a reward for their service from federal income and withholding taxes clarify the tax status of length of service award program (LOSAP) to make plans easier to administer (the NVFC was successful last year in doubling the annual contribution cap on LOSAP from $3,000 to $6,000) make volunteer emergency responders eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program through the U.S. Department of Education, which forgives the student loan debt of public servants who have served for at least 10 years give volunteer emergency responders increased access to mortgage and other housing assistance programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Free Department Portal In addition, the NVFC recently received a SAFER grant to continue its work with the Make Me A Firefighter campaign. Launched in 2014, this is the first national volunteer recruitment campaign of its kind. Fire and emergency service agencies can use the free department portal to find resources and tools to help them with recruitment as well as post their volunteer opportunities in a national database. Department composition should reflect the community’s demographics, and yet many groups, such as millennials, women, and minorities The campaign also works to raise public awareness of the need for volunteers and connects potential recruits with their local fire department through the web site. With the new grant, additional focus will be given to retention of volunteers. Department composition should reflect the community’s demographics, and yet many groups, such as millennials, women, and minorities, are drastically underrepresented in the fire service. Diversify Their Ranks These target groups present significant areas of opportunity for fire department recruiters. As part of the Make Me A Firefighter campaign, the NVFC is working to help departments diversify their ranks and reach these key audiences. Volunteers make up 70% of the U.S. fire service, and most small, rural communities depend entirely on volunteers to respond to emergencies of all kinds. Recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters, EMS providers, and support members is critical to ensure adequate protection of our residents. The NVFC will continue to provide advocacy and resources to help local departments in their efforts.
Pye-Barker Fire & Safety ("Pye-Barker") is proud to announce the acquisitions of Florida Fire Safety Inc. ("Florida Fire") in Doral, Florida, and American Fire and Safety, Inc ("American Fire") in Laurel, Mississippi. With the acquisition of these companies, Pye-Barker adds density to its South Florida market and strengthens its national presence. Financial details have not been disclosed. With the acquisition of Florida Fire, Pye-Barker acquired an industry-renowned fire protection company in the Doral/Miami market. Co-owner Mirta Morales shared, "This acquisition is a huge opportunity for our employees to continue their career growth in this industry." vehicle suppression systems American Fire's extensive knowledge of vehicle suppression systems is a unique asset in a small business" The acquisition of American Fire was a strategic option for Pye-Barker to enter a new territory poised for success. The company has grown steadily over its 26 years in the industry and increases Pye-Barker's national footprint. "American Fire's extensive knowledge of vehicle suppression systems is a unique asset in a small business. To earn access to their expertise while also acquiring a customer base that spans the entire state were two key advantages as we considered this acquisition," said Chuck Reimel, VP of Business Development for Pye-Barker. fire protection service Pye-Barker's objective is to acquire market-leading businesses with a solid financial performance to join its expanding footprint. Pye-Barker values its culture and promotes an entrepreneurial environment where individual performance is recognized. The Company works with sellers to develop a post-close plan that aims to minimize business disruptions while offering professional employee development into the future. Once they join the Pye-Barker team, acquired branches can offer products and services from all of the industry's major manufacturers, including Ansul, Amerex, Pyro-Chem, Badger, Buckeye, and BuildingReports. This significantly widens their growth ability while increasing the income potential for their staff. Pye-Barker has 61 locations across 16 states at the time of this announcement and hopes to continue its expansion until it is the premier fire protection service provider in the United States.
Johnson Controls recently received Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Verification for its ANSUL® Acoustic Nozzle, making it the first fire protection product to earn a marketing claim verification for performance. This independent, science-based assessment confirms the accuracy of a manufacturer's marketing claims, allowing customers to be confident in their product selection. The acoustic nozzle earned the verification for this claim: "1/3 octave sound power is less than 110 dB for regulated flow and less than 113 dB for orifice flow." UL will present the verification certificate to Johnson Controls at the National Fire Protection Association Expo, June 11-14 in Las Vegas. Sound power calculation software "We are pleased to award Johnson Controls the first industry UL Verification for acoustic nozzle performance," said Ghanem Zureikat, UL global business development manager. "This objective, third-party validation allows companies to stand out from those with self-declared or unsubstantiated claims." The ANSUL Acoustic Nozzle passed all UL testing standards to perform as acoustically intended The ANSUL Acoustic Nozzle, in combination with the INERGEN Fire Suppression System, is particularly useful for suppressing fires in hazards where sound levels may affect sensitive electronic equipment. The ANSUL Acoustic Nozzle passed all UL testing standards to perform as acoustically intended using exclusive sound power calculation software. Engineered fire suppression systems "It's exciting to have the first UL Verified claim in the fire protection industry," said Derek Sandahl, global product manager, engineered fire suppression systems at Johnson Controls. "The UL Verification Mark provides confidence to our customers in the stated acoustic performance of our Suppression System Acoustic Nozzle." The ANSUL Acoustic Nozzle directs agent into the hazard area and reduces the sound level compared with standard nozzles. Flow calculations are used to specify the nozzle orifice size for the correct quantity and distribution of agent. This game-changing product is UL Listed with INERGEN 150, 200 and 300-bar fire suppression systems and replaces the standard INERGEN nozzle without major pipe rework or hydraulic adjustments, making it an affordable solution for retrofits.
Tyco's integrated offering is morefocused on the environment Tyco Fire Suppression & Building Products [TFS&BP], a business unit of Tyco International Ltd., showcased its latest innovations at Interschutz in a greatly expanded offering that enables the business to provide unrivalled integrated fire safety and building mechanical solutions globally across commerce and industry. While several key new products were spotlighted for the first time in Europe, TFS&BP also used Interschutz to announce that its SKUM brand, which in the past 75 years has become a world leader in foam systems hardware, is to add the full range of Towalex foam concentrates to its portfolio to transform the brand into a truly end-to-end solutions provider for commercial and industrial markets. It also unveiled plans to launch a number of new SKUM concentrates later in the year that will make significant changes to the global foam concentrate landscape. These new leading-edge SKUM foam concentrates will include the SKUM Towalex 3x3AP that has been described as a truly viable alternative to fluorine-based and fluorine-free based foam concentrates. It is a non-fluorine product based on novel performance chemicals providing high performance at minimal environmental impact and low toxicity. Other new SKUM foam concentrates are the SKUM Towalex ARC 1x1 concentrate that can be used with any type of discharge equipment without having to resort to any modifications, and the new detergent-based, UL-listed Meteor P+ high-expansion foam concentrate. Both are suitable to fight Class A and Class B [Class B and Class C in Europe, Australia and Asia] fires. The new products on show at Interschutz also included the Tyco Fire Products Ultra Low Flow [ULF] Aquamist watermist system, the innovative G-Press Piping System – the latest enhancement to the extensive Grinnell grooved piping products offering – and the Ansul JET-X High-Expansion Foam Generator. They were on show alongside a broad cross-section of other Tyco top-performing water-based, foam and chemical fire suppression solutions, including the market leading Hygood Sapphire environmentally acceptable and sustainable fire suppression system. The Tyco stand also featured the latest SKUM foam hardware and proportioning systems. The new Tyco ULF Aquamist suppression system is being heralded as a complete fire protection solution, with several significant installer and end user benefits. Compared with other watermist systems, it uses less water more effectively, reduces pipe sizes, cuts installation costs and minimises clean-up and water damage. The system offers the ease, simplicity, dependability and high-performance fire suppression of conventional sprinkler systems with the added benefit of using nearly 70 percent less water. Tyco ULF Aquamist utilises small-droplet water technology without the high water pressures and exotic components required by some watermist systems. Grinnell G-Press Piping System brings a number of innovative features that, until now, have not been available for sprinkler fire protection installations and satisfies the market's growing demand for quicker, more precise sprinkler pipe installation and the increasing expectation of improved site safety and security. The system requires only a press tool to complete the installation, and takes up far less space than traditional threaded, welded or flanged systems. Another bonus is that it is up to 50 percent lighter when compared with traditional threaded piping systems. The Ansul Jet-X High-Expansion Foam Generator requires only a small amount of water to generate large quantities of expanded foam. In addition to minimising the damage to the structure or its contents, this extremely low water content means that high-expansion foams can be used in and around many types of electrical equipment. The potential for hazardous run-off is also significantly reduced. It is water motor powered and does not require electrical power.