Established in 1984 in South Africa to contract in the Fire Detection and Automatic Extinguishing Systems market, Specifire prides itself on providing a professional approach to each individual customer. Building on this success, the company expanded in 1995, opening a sprinkler division that is now the biggest installer of fire protection and detection systems in KwaZulu-Natal region, in South Africa.

Thanks to its excellent reputation, Specifire has steadily built up a large client base that includes some of South Africa’s biggest companies, including Sappi Fine Papers, Illovo Sugar, Hulamin, Toyota S.A., Unilever and numerous shopping centers.

Fire protection and detection systems installed

Specifire focuses almost exclusively on the KwaZulu-Natal region, including the city of Durban

Specifire focuses almost exclusively on the KwaZulu-Natal region, including the city of Durban – which accounts for approximately 95% of its business. Featuring 150 employees, the company sees annual revenue of up to £6 million – thanks largely in part to the installation of fire control technology in industrial sites such as sugar mills and warehouses.

For our customers, price is always a consideration, so we aim to be competitive, but at the same time we don’t want to compromise our high quality,” explained Martin Holmes, Managing Director, Specifire. “We do everything in-house, from design to fabrication to installation, and finish every project on time.

AutoCAD and Tyco sprinkler systems

In over thirty years of business, Specifire has seen exponential growth in the marketplace and constantly evolves its own operations to meet changing demands. The implementation of a new management structure is just one of its latest innovations, along with a renewed focus on services rather than simple installation.

Our mission is to provide the very best in design, installation and service; leveraging advanced technologies such as AutoCAD and Tyco sprinkler systems. By putting detailed planning at the heart of every project, we can ensure success,” added Holmes. “Furthermore, by focusing more on services, we can generate annuity income on a regular basis.

Tycoin-rack and roof sprinklers

One recent project that showcases Specifire’s attention to design and detail is the deployment of circa 20, 000 Tycoin-rack and roof sprinklers in a large clothing warehouse.

Founded in 1965, PEP Stores is a large multinational discount clothing company based in Cape Town. Operating in 11 countries, including Australia and Poland, the company employs approximately 44,000 people. Operating more than 4,600 retail outlets, the company wanted to build a new 90,000 m2 central hub warehouse that would house and protect its precious inventory from fire damage.

Tyco high velocity sprayers and guards

Specifire has installed 75% of the Tyco sprinklers and is on target to complete the project within the agreed schedule"Pepkor has consolidated all its warehousing facilities into one single distribution depot and needed a robust fire-protection solution. We put together a design concept with guaranteed compliance with regulations and won the business,” continued Holmes. “In the past five months, we have installed 75% of the Tyco sprinklers and we are on target to complete the project within the agreed tight schedule.

The Tyco in-rack and roof sprinklers, along with Tyco high velocity sprayers and guards and pre-trimmed wet Alarm Valve (AV-1) assemblies will ensure that millions of dollars’ worth of stock will be protected from fire. The Tyco TY-B Conventional Sprinkler automatically distributes water in a spherical pattern below the deflector.

The benefits of this conventional sprinkler include –

  • Quality products that give peace of mind
  • Competitive prices that don’t compromise on quality
  • Effective fire protection of valuable stock

We are the current holder of the ASIB “Best Installation Award” for our nearly £1 million installation at the new premises of Unilever in Durban and we wanted this ambitious project to be similarly well regarded,” said Holmes. “It is certainly a flagship example of how to properly integrate fire protection into a Greenfield development.

Enhanced fire safety and protection

For Pepkor, the clear benefits are having peace of mind when it comes to fire protection as well as security in terms of full regulatory compliance. For Specifire, its relationship with Tyco products delivers multiple advantages; from the quality of the sprinklers and valves to the support it receives.

Tyco not only supplies premium quality products at affordable prices, but also has a strong local presence so I know that if I have a question, it will get answered quickly,” commented Holmes. “There are support boffins in the region who will happily come talk about the equipment and respond to any technical enquiries.

Meticulous fire protection specialist

Tyco not only supplies premium quality produce at affordable prices but also has a strong local presence"

Tyco not only supplies premium quality produce at affordable prices but also has a strong local presence so I know that if I have a question, it will get answered quickly.” Martin Holmes, MD, Specifire

With the Pepkor project nearing completion, Specifire is looking to the future and hoping to build on its reputation as the region’s most professional and meticulous fire protection specialist. It fully expects Tyco products to continue to play a vital role in the company’s ongoing development.

Tyco fire safety equipment and solutions

Holmes concludes, “The supply, delivery and service we receive from Tyco is excellent; any concerns regarding pricing, availability and technical detail are answered within a day by the local Tyco team,” concluded Holmes. “I simply don’t get that level of support from anyone else.

TYCO Products are part of Johnson Controls, a global diversified technology and multi industrial solutions provider serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries globally.

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Deutsche Messe Postpones INTERSCHUTZ By One Year Due To The Outbreak Of COVID-19
Deutsche Messe Postpones INTERSCHUTZ By One Year Due To The Outbreak Of COVID-19

INTERSCHUTZ, which was scheduled for June 2020, will be postponed by one year. This is the mutual decision of the organizers and partners of the trade fair for fire and rescue services, civil protection, safety and security. The reason is the coronavirus, which directly affects both exhibitors and visitors of INTERSCHUTZ and requires them to be available for duty at other locations. INTERSCHUTZ will now take place from 14 to 19 June 2021 in Hannover. About three months before the actual start of the event, it is now certain that the next INTERSCHUTZ will take place in summer 2021. Exhibiting Emergency Aid Organizations More than 150,000 visitors from all over the world attend INTERSCHUTZ "The people who under ordinary conditions would have come to INTERSCHUTZ in June this year are precisely those who are most needed due to the coronavirus crisis," says Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Managing Board, Deutsche Messe AG. "As INTERSCHUTZ, we are part of the industry. With our decision, we therefore take responsibility and provide security in planning". More than 150,000 visitors from all over the world attend INTERSCHUTZ. However, in times of pandemic, helpers and rescuers are needed to maintain supplies and security. The same applies to exhibiting emergency aid organizations or authorities with security tasks whose capacities are needed elsewhere. Digital Deployment Technology But also exhibitors from the industry are directly or indirectly involved in the crisis situation, such as manufacturers of protective equipment, suppliers of digital deployment technology or even vehicle manufacturers whose customers cannot or are not allowed to visit a trade fair in this situation. We therefore would like to wish all the players and the entire INTERSCHUTZ community" "We were on an excellent path – and we are aiming for a strong INTERSCHUTZ," says Gruchow. "Under the current conditions, however, this is not possible. We therefore would like to wish all the players and the entire INTERSCHUTZ community all the best and every strength for the tasks ahead. We will see each other in Hannover in June 2021, where we will have the opportunity to take a detailed and analytical look at the pandemic – and what we can learn from it". Enormous Number Of Organizational Consequences Postponing a trade fair on the scale of INTERSCHUTZ has an enormous number of organizational consequences. The 29th German Firefighters' Day will also be postponed until next year: "The synergy between the trade fair and the top firefighters' meeting is important to us - the postponement is a joint decision," explains Hermann Schreck, permanent representative of the President of the German Firefighters' Association (DFV). The most important questions arising from such a postponement for exhibitors and visitors of INTERSCHUTZ will be published in an FAQ on the INTERSCHUTZ homepage. Further questions will be clarified via the usual communication channels. INTERSCHUTZ has a network of strong partners who have also voted for a postponement and who will now work with Deutsche Messe to set the course for a successful event in June 2021. Facing Special Challenges Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb): "vfdb as a strong supporter of INTERSCHUTZ welcomes the decision. As a network of experts for protection, rescue and security, we spoke out without hesitation in favor of postponing INTERSCHUTZ after the latest developments.” The postponement of INTERSCHUTZ is both responsible and appropriate" “Especially as organizers of the non-commercial segment of INTERSCHUTZ, we know that thousands and thousands of members of the fire brigades, rescue services and disaster control have been waiting for the world's leading trade fair with enthusiasm. But we also know that they in particular are sympathetic. After all, they will be facing special challenges in their daily work over the coming weeks and months. Our greatest concern is the safety of the population. The postponement of INTERSCHUTZ is both responsible and appropriate in view of the current situation.” Operational Readiness Of The Fire Brigades “We are also aware that even if the situation eases, the numerous exhibitors from Germany and abroad will still need sufficient time for their INTERSCHUTZ preparations. As vfdb, we will use the remaining months to process and communicate this event, which is highly relevant for civil protection. As regrettable as the current, unprecedented situation is, we will learn from it. And INTERSCHUTZ 2021 will undoubtedly be supplemented by a further topic." Hermann Schreck, permanent representative of the president of the German Fire Brigade Association (DFV): "We were very much looking forward to the 29th German Firefighters' Day and INTERSCHUTZ. However, in view of the development of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, maintaining the operational readiness of the fire brigades and rescue services has top priority for us in all considerations. The planning for the DFV's large joint exhibition stand and the accompanying events will of course continue at national and international level." Manufacturers Of Firefighting Technology INTERSCHUTZ is the future forum for the firefighting technology industry" Dr. Bernd Scherer, Member of the VDMA Executive Board, and Managing Director, VDMA Fire Fighting Equipment: "INTERSCHUTZ is the future forum for the firefighting technology industry, an industry that produces safety for people. In the current situation, this applies even more – to emergency and rescue services, but also to industry.” “After all, manufacturing companies also face ambitious challenges in economic terms, for example when proven supply chains are interrupted or production sites are affected by quarantine measures. Fortunately, none of this has yet been the case for manufacturers of firefighting technology. On the contrary: We are still in a unique economic boom phase.” Innovative Technology And Committed People “Nevertheless, or perhaps precisely because of this, we would like to hold an INTERSCHUTZ trade fair in which all forces are concentrated on what makes this unique exhibition of our industry so special: innovative technology and committed people who are completely dedicated to fire protection and rescue services. We look forward to it – together with you in June 2021!" For Rosenbauer, the health of all our visitors and partners, has absolute priority" Michael Friedmann, Head of Group Strategy, Innovation and Marketing, Rosenbauer International AG: "As a system provider in fire and disaster control, we have been committed to the safety of people and the protection of society for 150 years. For Rosenbauer, the health of all our visitors and partners, as well as that of our employees, has absolute priority. This is why Rosenbauer stands fully behind the postponement of the fair. We are certain that the industry's leading fair will be a great success in 2021 as well!" Economic Interests And Actions Werner Heitmann, Head of Marketing Fire Brigades and Authorities, Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA: "Our INTERSCHUTZ motto 'We protect you. At all times.' also means that we are now acting prudently and protecting all those involved in INTERSCHUTZ considering the current situation. We therefore support the postponement of the fair. The majority of visitors at our exhibit have always been fire brigades and aid organizations.” “As part of the critical infrastructure in Germany, it is essential to protect the emergency services to the best of our ability and not to expose them to unnecessary risks. The rescue forces must be prepared for action. Furthermore, we had planned a very large trade fair team in Hannover – we also have to protect them. Health and life always take precedence over all economic interests and actions of Dräger. In other words, 'Technology for Life'."

First Responders on the Front Lines as COVID-19 Continues to Spread
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First responders are on the front lines of the latest health crisis that involves spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Around the country – and around the world – EMS departments are facing the uncertainties of a rapidly-spreading virus. One problem is a shortage of face masks. As cases surge, it will also be harder for ambulance companies to get other needed supplies. In King County, Wash., an epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the United States, Kirkland, Wash., firefighters and Kirkland police officers were placed under quarantine after an outbreak at a senior care facility. Firefighters were either quarantined at home or at a local fire station. These first responders came in contact with the coronavirus at Life Care Center of Kirkland, where dozens of residents and staff were infected. Quarantine for IAFF members Some members of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) in Washington state were under quarantine for possible exposure to COVID-19.It is not the first time EMS has acted as the canary in the coal mine to protect the public" The heightened role of fire and EMS professionals is playing out everywhere. “It is not the first time EMS has acted as the canary in the coal mine to protect the public,” Oren Barzilay of the New York EMT union told the New York Daily News. “And it won’t be the last.” FDNY Not Sending Firefighters to COVID-19 Calls The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) has stopped sending firefighters to answer medical calls that describe symptoms associated with the coronavirus. Instead, calls for asthma attacks, fever, coughs and difficult breathing are being handled by the Emergency Medical Service. Fire companies with certified first responder (CFR) training, which would ordinarily accompany ambulances on such calls, are being asked to “stand down.” The order refers to “Segment 2” calls, although firefighters will continue to respond to higher priority “Segment 1” calls. Union complaint in Boston When coronavirus testing began taking place at Faulkner Hospital in Boston, Mass., the EMS union complained because paramedics working at the facility were not notified of the possible workplace contamination. The EMT substation at the hospital includes a bunk room and contains equipment and supplies. The union complained to the Boston Public Health Commission, which provided assurances they were doing “everything in [their] power to protect EMTs and paramedics.” East Pierce, Wash., Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Russ McCallion created a checklist for medics and fire crews to consider when responding to a potential coronavirus patient. He reminds crews to perform “doorway triage” of patients to decide when to wear protective equipment and when to use special entryways at the hospital reserved for people in isolation.Complicating the decision-making processes is the fact that flu symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms are similar Complicating the decision-making processes is the fact that flu symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms are similar. “We have to maintain the high index of suspicion on every call [if] the patient presents with fever, coughing and other flu-type symptoms,” McCallion told National Public Radio. Fire crews are now instructed to wait outside when responding to such calls. They wait while a few medics enter, suited up with personal protection equipment such as gowns, gloves and masks. Dedicated ambulance in San Antonio In San Antonio, a dedicated ambulance is used to transport patients suspected of COVID-19 infection. The interior walls of the dedicated ambulance are covered completely with plastic sheets. The vehicle will be dedicated to the COVID-19 mission “throughout” and will not be used on the streets of San Antonio. Congress has approved emergency funding for states. The money will be used for testing, to track those who are sick, and for awareness campaigns to slow the spread of the virus.  Public health emergency A public health emergency has been declared by the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as of Jan. 31. The declaration enables state, tribal and local health departments to request funding, supplies and resources from DHHS to respond to COVID-19.The declaration enables state, tribal and local health departments to request funding, supplies and resources China alerted the World Health Organization in December to several cases of an unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. In January, officials identified the new virus as belonging to the coronavirus family, which includes SARS and the common cold. It was named COVID-19 and has since spread to all of mainland China and later throughout the world.

U.S. Fire Administration Provides Support at State and Local Levels
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