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The original fire suppression agent has always been, of course, water. In the age of sail, it was ideal. Not so with the advent of the combustion engine, however. When applied to burning petroleum, the fire spreads. It also simply destroys electronics. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Halon derivatives were the first widely used commercial fire suppression solutions, gaining popularity in the 1950s and '60s. Unlike water, they were highly effective, electrically non-conductive and didn't leave any residue. As compressed gases, storage wasn't a major issue. Unfortunately, Halon was found to be a high ozone depleting chemical; as a result, production was banned in 1990. Evolution Of Fire Suppression Systems Ideal for marine applications, HFC227 is fast, effective and clean With the sunsetting of Halon and the search for alternatives, CO2 gained prominence. However, it has three significant drawbacks: it's a greenhouse gas, requires a large number of cylinders and is potentially fatal if breathed at design concentrations. In the 1990s, HFCs rose to dominance as a fire suppression solution. Ideal for marine applications, HFC227 is fast, effective and clean. Like Halon and CO2, however, it's a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming. Discharging an average-sized cylinder of HFC227 has the same CO2 equivalent as driving a car 268,760 kilometers. This is why it is being eliminated as part of a phased-down mandate from the EU, and restricted or taxed by various countries such as Australia and Norway. It is expected that similar legislation will begin to affect Canada and US-flagged vessels. Environmental Profile Of HFCs In 2002, 3M introduced Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid. It offers a number of important advantages over other clean agents in marine fire suppression applications. It has low acute toxicity and high extinguishing efficiency. This gives it a wide margin of safety compared to other chemical clean agents such as HFC227. A fluid, it vaporizes rapidly during discharge, is non-corrosive, non-conductive and leaves no residue. It is, importantly, a long-term, sustainable solution with virtually zero global warming potential, e.g., it has an atmospheric life of about a week versus HFC227's 34 years. So confident is 3M of its product, it offers its BlueSkySM Warranty; if it is ever banned or restricted from use due to its environmental properties, the company will refund the cost of the fluid. Unlike CO2, a gas, Novec 1230 fluid can be flown to the vessel or platform allowing less downtime waiting for supplies to arrive by ground For the marine and offshore oil and gas industries, Novec 1230 fluid offers distinct advantages. Because it's a fluid, recharging is simple. Unlike CO2, a gas, it can be flown to the vessel or platform. This means less downtime waiting for supplies to arrive by ground. It also takes up significantly less space. Recently, Sea-Fire Europe ceased distribution of HFC227. The move was strategic and ethical, given the environmental profile of HFCs. Novec 1230 Fluid For Recreational Marine Market With the phase-down of HFCs, supplies are running out. This means in the immediate future there will be a serious inability to service systems. Also, with shortages beginning, costs are rising, making the switch to Novec 1230 fluid a smart move financially. While 3M will obviously benefit from this, the real winner here is our planet and the people we share it with" Sea-Fire recognizes that it may lose business in the short term as boat and shipbuilders continue to choose HFC-based fire systems strictly based on cost alone. But, ultimately, eliminating the use of hydrofluorocarbons is the right thing to do for the marine industry as a whole. As the first manufacturer to introduce Novec 1230 fluid into the recreational marine market in 2012, Sea-Fire is fully prepared for the phase-out of HFCs. Benefitting The Marine Industry "As a corporation, 3M is committed to improving every life," said David Olds, 3M account executive for fire suppression applications. "Sea-Fire Europe made a difficult decision when announcing it would cease distribution of HFC227. While 3M will obviously benefit from this, the real winner here is our planet and the people we share it with." Sea-Fire Marine has long held the belief that it is in the business of protecting people and property at sea. With its recent declaration that its master European distributor Sea-Fire Europe is ending distribution of HFC-based fire suppression fluids, it can add the environment to its list.
Products for electrical systems that are installed into modern, complex buildings have to be fit-for-purpose for today’s challenging demands. With the background of numerous incidents still being felt by the fire performance industry, how is it to set the benchmarks for the future to make sure there is never another Lakanal House or another Grenfell? The long-term answer is for clearer guidance and legislation, if necessary, to enable the whole supply chain to make decisions which are compliant when choosing products. In the meantime, with the Grenfell inquiry projected to go on during 2019, what is the benchmark?The development of LSZH materials was accelerated following the King’s Cross Underground disaster in which 31 people died Cables With LSZH Materials We have standards through British Standards (BS) and testing regimes which cables should meet to validate that they meet these standards with approvals from various industry bodies including BASEC and LPCB. At AEI Cables, we have developed our Total Fire Solutions range of cables and accessories for all fire safety applications, incorporating Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) features. Traditional PVC cables which produce vast amounts of dense black smoke, toxic fumes and acid gas when exposed to fire, bring an added danger to people who may be caught in the fire. Cables which incorporate LSZH materials emit very little of these substances. In a real fire situation, the cables will enable the fire and rescue services to find and evacuate people and help to protect property Smoke And Noxious Gases Cause More Casualties The development of LSZH materials was accelerated following the King’s Cross Underground disaster in which 31 people died, many of them from toxic fumes. London Underground has banned the use of PVC cables as a result. The adoption of LSZH for cables and other materials is also endorsed by the Building Regulations themselves. According to Part B, referencing fire safety, it says clearly: “The primary danger associated with fire in its early stages is not flame but the smoke and noxious gases produced by the fire. They cause most of the casualties and may also obscure the way to escape routes and exits. Measures designed to provide safe means of escape must therefore provide appropriate arrangements to limit the rapid spread of smoke and fumes.” Helping Fire And Rescue Services The very latest in technology and science, including LSZH materials, offers enhanced fire performance cablingThe very latest in technology and science, including LSZH materials, offers enhanced fire performance cabling, accessories and technical support ensuring critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a real fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes. In a real fire situation, these cables will enable the fire and rescue services to find and evacuate people and help to protect property. At the same time, there is still evidence of non-approved cabling still coming onto the market, and we simply cannot compromise quality of these products being used in these applications. Applications include residential and commercial buildings, shopping malls, airports and protected buildings with a track-record ensuring that fire alarms, sprinkler systems, building monitoring and security systems can continue to operate in a fire.
While whole room protection – sprinklers or gas systems – is a common choice, there is an argument for thinking smaller; taking fire detection and suppression down to the equipment, enclosures and even the components where a fire is most likely to start. Traditional Fire Suppression Methods A traditional water-based sprinkler system is the most common form of fire protection found in commercial and industrial buildings. They offer reasonable cost, large area protection for entire facilities, safeguarding the structure and personnel by limiting the spread and impact of a fire. Every square foot of the protected area is covered equally regardless of the contents of the space, whether it’s an empty floor or an object with an increased risk of fire. Sprinklers aren’t always the most appropriate choice. Not all fires are extinguished by water of course, and in some cases, water damage can be just as harmful or even more so than the fire. They are an impractical choice for instance for facilities housing anything electrical, such as data centres and server rooms. There is also the risk of accidental activation, with an estimated cost of up to $1,000 for every minute they are left running. Water damage can be just as harmful or even more so than any fire, so sprinklers may not be appropriate Targeted Supplementary Fire Suppression An alternative method to protect whole server rooms and data centres is gas fire suppression, which either suppresses the fire by displacing oxygen (inert) or by using a form of cooling mechanism (chemical/synthetic). These aren’t without risk; in the case of inert gas, oxygen is reduced to less than 15% to suffocate the fire, but must be kept above 12% to avoid endangering the lives of personnel. Similarly, clean agent gas can be toxic in high doses. There are smaller, focused systems that give the option of highly targeted supplementary fire suppression within fire risk areas. Installing a system directly into the areas most at risk, means that fires can be put out before they take hold and cause serious damage. Both sprinkler and gas systems can contain a fire, but micro-environment or closed space systems are completely automatic, detecting and suppressing the fire so rapidly that activating a sprinkler or gas total flooding system often isn’t necessary. The most popular enclosure fire suppression systems achieve this though the use of a flexible and durable polymer tubing that is routed easily through the tightest spaces. The tubing is extremely sensitive to heat and, because it can be placed so close to potential failure points, detects it and releases the fire suppression agent up to ten times faster than traditional systems. An airline was forced to cancel over 2,000 flights after a “small fire” in one of its data centers Cost-Effective Fire Protection Highly customizable, small enclosure fire suppression is specifically designed to protect business critical spaces and equipment. It is typically used inside machinery like CNC machines, mobile equipment like forklifts and inside server rooms and electrical cabinetry but is suitable for any hazard that’s considered to have an elevated fire risk. Some may question the need or cost-effectiveness of protecting micro-environments. However, examples abound of where fires that have started at component level have gone on to cause damage of the highest magnitude, and the cost of downtime can be crippling to many time-sensitive facilities and processes. An airline was forced to cancel over 2,000 flights in August 2016 when what was described as a “small fire” in one of its data centers ultimately led to a computer outage. The cost of that small fire, and the domino effect that quickly escalated from it, has since been announced as $150m. Admittedly that number is unusually high - the average cost of a data centre outage today is estimated at a more conservative $730,000 – but this is still an expense businesses can ill afford. Preventing Major Losses Staying with the transport industry, newer metros systems have redundant systems in place to prevent interruptions. However, older metro lines, such as the one in New York City, have experienced electrical fires that started small, but grew to such a magnitude that service was affected for months.Older metro lines, such as New York City's, have experience electrical fires that start small but grew exponentially A wind energy customer experienced a fire in a turbine converter cabinet. The loss of the cabinet was valued at over $200,000 and disabled the turbine for six weeks. Following investment in fire suppression systems inside the electrical cabinet, a subsequent fire was detected and suppressed before major damage could be caused. The cost on this occasion was therefore limited to a $25,000 component and downtime was less than two days.Equally - happily - there are also many instances where the installation of small enclosure fire suppression has prevented disaster. In the manufacturing world, CNC machines are valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars and need to be constantly operational to justify the investment. Oil coolant used in the machines can create a flash fire in an instant due to failed components or programming errors. The fact that many of these facilities are run ‘lights out’ with no personnel present further exacerbates the risk. If a fire is not dealt with immediately, the machine will be destroyed; sprinklers don’t react quickly enough for this scenario and would be ineffective. Ensuring Business Continuity One such flash fire occurred inside a protected CNC machine at a machine shop in Iowa. The polymer tubing ruptured within a fraction of a second, releasing the suppression agent and extinguishing the flames. The machine was undamaged and was operational again with a few hours. Contrast this to a previous fire at the same facility in an unprotected machine; it was out of operation for 4 days, costing the business thousands of dollars in downtime In short, fire protection is an essential element of our industrial and commercial environments to ensure both safety and business continuity. However, the nature of that protection is changing, as capacity increases to cost-effectively protect specific areas where fires are most likely to start. Risk mitigation analysis needs to look beyond what has been accepted in the past and find ways to further limit the impact of a small fire using this next level of protection. The benefits can really have a positive effect on the bottom line in the event of fire.
North America’s largest fire event, FDIC International, brings together more than 34,000 fire industry professionals this month (April 8-13) at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. First constructed in 1928, FDIC continues today in its original tradition of providing a forum for networking about the most vexing issues and sharing the most promising solutions to concerns that face the fire service. FDIC provides opportunities to learn new techniques, train alongside world-class leaders, and advance discussions among the most influential firefighters in the industry. FDIC allows practitioners and those who support the industry an opportunity to discuss frankly the latest developments in equipment and support and collaborate on how those new advancements can be best used. 27 Interactive H.O.T Sessions FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions“FDIC is steadfastly dedicated to its fundamental principle of providing a non-ideological, non-affiliated and openly inclusive environment for sharing and collaborating among all members interested in the mission of the fire service,” says Chief Bobby Halton, Editorial Director, Clarion Fire Rescue Group, and Educational Director, FDIC International. “Whether their interests lie in operations, medical or fire, in administration, in the production and distribution of equipment, or the advancement of codes and standards, all opinions and worldviews are accepted and debated with the utmost respect and dignity.” FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions, 78 pre-conference workshops and more than 200 conference sessions. FDIC’s immersive learning experience extends to the exhibit hall floor and outdoor demonstration area where attendees can see and try the latest products, equipment, services and technology from over 800 exhibiting companies. “FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters,” says Halton. Events Co-Located With FDIC New this year, iWomen is co-locating their event at FDIC, which includes 14 timely classroom sessions spread over two days, as well as networking events geared at sharing challenges and insights in a supportive environment. Also, the Institution of Fire Engineers United States of America Branch is co-locating their AGM annual meeting and educational update at FDIC. And the National Fire Heritage Center has partnered with FDIC to promote the center, conduct its annual meeting and introduce the annual inductees into the Hall of Legends. FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters FDIC’s new MATCH! Program is a customized meeting experience that connects attending decision makers, who have an immediacy to purchase, with exhibitors whose products or services match their sourcing needs and interests. These VIP attendees can make the most efficient use of their time by accessing innovative matchmaking technology and a personal program manager to assist them with meeting scheduling and recommendations. Exhibitors At The Event FDIC’s Mobile App is a visitor’s guide to searching the exhibitor list, navigating the exhibit hall and seeing a full schedule of sessions and events. FDIC’s new parking partner, Gate Ten Events and Parking, allows visitors to reserve their parking space ahead of time. Large exhibitors headlining the Exhibit Hall include Pierce; Rev Fire Group, E-ONE, KME, Ferrara and REV Ambulance; 3M Scott Fire and Safety; and HME Ahrens-Fox. Other large exhibitors include Honeywell First Responder Products, Drager, Globe by MSA, Rosenbauer and Spartan Motors. Here are some of the timely themes covered at this year’s conference: Current updates on the development and implementation of science-based strategy and tactics Information and practices on mental health and wellness Leading advances in firefighting technology and managing an integration of technology into the decision-making process during operations Review of recent sentinel events in the fire service from actual participants Analysis of accident investigation from members of NIOSH and the CDC Updates on current research into toxicity in the environment and equipment Current thoughts on decontamination procedures presented by researchers and practitioners The value of belongingness as a tool for health and wellness, suicide prevention, a detailed examination of the sociotechnical interface and firefighting’s role going forward The complex political and operational dilemmas faced in the wildland urban interface Recruitment and retention for the volunteer fire service Networking Opportunities Abound The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turnAt FDIC, networking starts the moment attendees arrive in town. The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turn. Formal networking events are also organized, including the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, Courage and Valor 5K Fun Run, Comedy vs. Cancer, IFD Open House and Pumper Pull, Stop Drop Rock ‘n’ Roll and more. “We want individuals to walk away feeling inspired by new ideas, tools or techniques they’ve learned in sessions or new products or services they’ve sourced on the show floor that ultimately keep them and their communities safe,” says Halton.
The Middle East’s US$1.9 billion fire safety systems and equipment market will see solid growth over the next six years, with new government regulations around life safety and fire protection along with large-scale infrastructure investment among the key market drivers. A November 2018 report by analysts 6Wresearch estimates the Middle East market for firefighting systems, fire detection & alarm systems, and emergency exit & lighting, will be worth US$3 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of nearly eight percent. The report stated the regional market witnessed a slight decline during 2014-2016, however from 2017 demand has picked up, aided by recovering oil prices and government economic diversification initiatives aimed at reviving the construction sector. Passive fire-rated products Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event Additionally, revised fire and life safety codes, such as those rolled out by the UAE Civil Defence in 2016, has helped growth in passive fire-rated products in new buildings and infrastructure, while adding further impetus to the retrofitting segment, where newer systems in line with current regulations are replacing older systems. 6Wresearch’s report was published ahead of the Intersec exhibition, the world’s leading trade fair for security, safety, and fire protection, taking place from 20-22 January 2019 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Fire & Rescue exhibitors Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event, where more than 1,300 exhibitors from 59 countries are set to take part in the show’s 21st edition early next year. More than 350 of those will be in the Fire & Rescue section, including the biggest names in the global fire and life safety business such as UAE-based powerhouses NAFFCO and Concorde Corodex Group, Honeywell from the USA, Japanese-headquartered Hochiki, Drager from Germany, and Turkish fire truck manufacturer, Volkan. Future fire safety trends All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out" Eaton Corporation is another headline exhibitor in the Fire & Rescue section and is one of many companies at Intersec 2019 positive about the current and future fire safety trends in the regional market. Frank Ackland, Eaton’s Middle East Managing Director said the regulations set out by the UAE Civil Defence for example, offer a much higher standard of regulation than has ever been seen before: “Eaton provides emergency lighting and fire detection systems for buildings and we’ve noted an increase in the levels of regulation that are being adhered to – not only to the set standard but also above in many cases." "All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done, and this is where we see a significant investment in retrofitting also taking place in the UAE, in order to make older buildings safer and in line with current regulations.” Fire and emergency lighting Eaton will showcase a wide range of products from its fire and emergency lighting divisions at Intersec 2019, including its adaptive evacuation exit luminaires which provide commercial buildings with the potential to redirect occupants to safety by adjusting the directions displayed according to the threat. Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), provide vital peace of mind to buildings such as hospitals and military bases" Ackland said all Eaton’s solutions are designed with safety at the core, adding, “This is not limited to our life safety division products, and we’ve have noticed there’s a much greater emphasis placed on how power solutions can keep a building safe and mitigate risks caused by power fault or failure." "Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), for example, provide vital peace of mind to buildings, specifically those where critical power is a necessity such as in hospitals and military bases. They also to ensure the continual safety of data and information that can be lost to public cyberspace within a split second of a power failure.” Emergency mobile solutions Concorde Corodex Group is another regular Intersec exhibitor and will showcase in 2019 its UAE-made emergency mobile solutions, such as fire trucks, ambulances, special vehicles, and hydraulic platforms, along with its static fire equipment, including pumps, cabinet extinguishers and fixed suppression equipment. Starting out as a two-man show with big ideas and a lot of hard work in 1974, the company now has two factories in the UAE with 1,500 people and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most trusted exporters of life safety and fire protection solutions. Intersec Future Security Summit will be raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more Life safety and fire protection Mohanned Awad, Concorde Corodex’s Regional Director for Business Development, said much of this is thanks to its UAE roots, “In the UAE, the natural status of our customers and partners is to be early adopters,” said Awad. “Our partners always request to think ahead of the curve; they don’t want to just solve the problem but to be able to prevent the problem and be two or three steps ahead of the problem." "We’re very fortunate to have such demanding requirements locally, because we’ve been able to take that know-how and expand it through other markets that we serve, such as Asia, MENA and the CIS. It’s forced us to think out of the box and put considerable investment in research and development capabilities and to bring on board many key people who have experience.” Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE Awad said Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE – if it arrives on time: “It’s a new technology that may have been seen in other places but not in the UAE, and will take up a big footprint outside the fairgrounds,” he said. “It will definitely be an eyebrow raiser.” Commercial and hospitality sectors Intersec 2019 is organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East and returns with key government supporters such as Dubai Police, Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Municipality, and the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA). Andreas Rex, Intersec’s show director, said the commercial and hospitality sectors are other key verticals driving demand for fire safety systems and equipment, adding, “The big growth, particularly in the UAE will come over the next two years as delivery of the Dubai Expo 2020 looms, while throughout the Gulf region, large scale infrastructure investment will steer the market toward solid growth." Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets" "Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets and beyond, where thousands of engineers, system integrators, contractors, industry professionals and decision makers will seek solutions for their various projects.” Fire Safety and Protection Conference Intersec’s other show sections comprise Commercial Security, Safety & Health, Homeland Security & Policing, Physical & Perimeter Security, Information Security, and Smart Home & Building Automation. The annual showpiece returns next year with a revamped conference line-up, including a three-day Intersec Future Security Summit raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more. Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals Returning is the SIRA (Security Industry Regulatory Agency) Forum, with the latest updates in security law and industry regulations in Dubai, while a one-day Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals. Popular event features Returning popular features in 2019 include the Drone Zone, an Outdoor Demo Area, a Smart Home Pavilion and the Safety Design in Buildings Pavilion. More than 150 exhibitors will be participating for the first time, while Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, and the USA comprise the 15 country pavilions. Intersec 2019 is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and supported by the Dubai Police, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Civil Defence, SIRA, and the Dubai Municipality.
Standards are being set with fire and rescue services in the UK adopting escape hoods to protect trapped and injured people from toxic smoke during evacuation at fires. Latest figures show in the year 2017/2018 firefighters attended 717,890 incidents in the UK, with 213,464 being fires. Fire related fatalities totalled 401 and there were 5113 non-fatal fire related casualties requiring hospital treatment. The London Fire Brigade is the first in the UK to carry the PARAT 5550 to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires. The fire service will be rolling out approximately 600 fire escape hoods across 102 fire stations in London over the next few months. Fire Escape Hoods Assistant Commissioner Richard Mills from the London Fire Brigade said: “Smoke from fires is extremely toxic and can render people unconscious within a few breaths. These hoods filter out four of the most dangerous gases, including what we call the ‘toxic twins’ of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.” Fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities “Rather than having to carry out every rescue as fast as possible, fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities and plan the safest exit route. We’ve worked closely with the Fire Brigades Union to introduce these fire escape hoods as part of fire fighting kit.” Fire-Related Gases With standards being set in the London region, Dräger is committed to assisting fire brigades around the UK and Ireland with adoption of fire escape hoods. The PARAT 5550 from Dräger is a fire escape hood packaged in a flame-retardant holster that has been specially designed to be carried without restricting freedom of movement of the firefighter and ready to be used whenever it is needed. The fire escape hood offers people who are trapped in fires protection from toxic fire-related gases as well as particles and vapours for a minimum of 15 minutes.