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In the case of a fire emergency at any airport, every second counts. Aircraft Rescue Fire Firefighters (ARFF) always have to be effective in a short time, in order to save precious lives from a burning aircraft. The firefighting foam must be quickly efficient and should be able to contain the fire effectively.

fluorine-free foam (FFF)

The world of firefighting is quickly moving towards fluorine-free foam products, moving away from PFAS-containing products (such as AFFF and AR-AFFF foams). The industry’s main challenge was to provide efficient fluorine-free foams, with the same performance as that of fluorinated products.

Performing fluorine-free foams (FFF) that meet ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) specifications are available in the aviation market now. Some international airports are changing or have already changed to fluorine-free foam, on-board fire trucks or in aircraft hangar fire safety systems.

ECOPOL A+ fluorine-free foam for aircraft fires

BIOEX launched ECOPOL A+ fluorine-free foam, a high-performance FFF, dedicated to aircraft fire extinguishment

Thanks to its long experience in environmentally-friendly foams and aircraft fire safety, BIOEX launched ECOPOL A+ fluorine-free foam, a high-performance FFF, which is dedicated to aircraft fire extinguishment. This fluorine-free foam quickly extinguishes a wide range of hydrocarbon fuels triggered fires, which are common occurrences at airports, such as kerosene, jet A1, gasoline, and heptane.

ECOPOL A+ meets International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certification and European Standard EN1568 Part 3 v2018 certification. The foam forms a stable and thick foam blanket, which flows rapidly above burning fuel, to seal vapors and cut off the oxygen supply, in order to quickly extinguish the fire and prevent re-ignition.

Viable alternative to AFFF foams

ECOPOL A+ foam is a viable alternative to AFFF foams and offers equal or better performance than traditional AFFF foams. The ECOPOL A+ foam adheres to vertical surfaces, in order to cool aircraft parts, such as fuselage or body, providing long thermal insulation and allowing for quick passenger evacuation.

Formulated without PFAS-components, this fluorine-free foam is an environmentally friendly solution for airports’ fire protection. ECOPOL A+ foam meets environmental concerns, balanced with high fire safety performances. It is fully biodegradable, fluorine-free, and silicone-free foam.

ECOPOL A+ foam application

ECOPOL A+ foam can be used in low or medium expansion, depending on the fire scenario

ECOPOL A+ foam can be used in low or medium expansion, depending on the fire scenario (such as, landing gear, engine, or fuel line fires). Contained within the ARFF vehicle, the foam concentrate can be applied on direct application, by the airport fire truck monitor. For fires that cannot be reached by the aircraft fire vehicle, it can be put out with fixed or mobile foam proportioning, and foam discharge devices.

The foam concentrate is available in 3% and 6% versions. Firefighters can use it with fresh, brackish, and sea water. BIOEX aviation foam concentrates are tested and approved by many international airports, such as the Paris airport, Geneva airport, and Ottawa airport.

ECOPOL A+ compatible with ARFF equipment

In terms of viscosity, ECOPOL A+ is Newtonian, that is to say, it is liquid. It facilitates the replacement of existing AFFF foam, without any setting or replacement. This aviation foam concentrate is compatible with all fire trucks and fire suppression systems. ECOPOL A+ is non-corrosive and suitable to usual foam equipment materials.

BIOEX can help airports in their transition to FFF and for AFFF foam removal. The fluorine-free foam concentrate can be tested in ARFF-existing foam equipment proportioning and discharge equipment. BIOEX team of experts is available worldwide to support airports in their transition to fluorine-free foam (FFF).

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How Sustainable Is Fire Safety Equipment?
How Sustainable Is Fire Safety Equipment?

Fire prevention and fire safety have clear positive effects on the environment. However, it’s important for fire safety equipment to become as sustainable as possible to support this. This can include optimizations in the materials that are used, the design of products, or battery life, all of which can help to make fire safety equipment more sustainable. The priority for manufacturers in developing fire safety equipment is largely focused on safety, but in many cases, optimizations can be made that improve safety while also contributing to improved sustainability efforts. How Sustainable are Fire Extinguishers? The fire extinguisher is the most widely recognized piece of equipment in fire safety. Continued engineering progression has led to more sustainable fire extinguishers being developed. Today, the efficiency, wastefulness, and sustainability of the extinguisher may be heavily scrutinized by eco-conscious companies, leading manufacturers to make sustainable advances in safety with every update. ‘Fluo-free’ fire extinguishers ‘Fluo-free’ fire extinguishers ensure the same efficiency and protection as those containing fluoride However, the chemical composition in many extinguishers has traditionally included fluorine, a compound that does not degrade over time. Fluorine has been found to accumulate and the toxicity of this compound leads to adverse effects throughout the food chain, causing health issues for humans and animals alike. To push sustainability in firefighting, ‘fluo-free’ fire extinguishers are the preferred choice for those considering the harmful effects their equipment might have on the environment. These fire extinguishers ensure the same efficiency and protection as those containing fluoride, without the damaging effects to the food chain. Flame-retardant chemical Designers and developers of fire safety equipment are working hard to improve sustainability by reducing the materials expended when dealing with a fire. With a particular focus on the expenditure of the flame-retardant chemical (is it water, foam, or another substance), engineering advances have produced more efficient nozzles, altering the pressure of the product to ensure more efficiency in the usage of the flame-retardant material. Developments in the pressurization of handheld fire safety equipment lead to a significant overall reduction of potentially harmful chemical compounds. As it is not always possible to use fire extinguishers without fluoride, the reduction of the chemical’s expenditure is vital for environmental efforts. The Sustainability of Wireless Fire Safety Equipment The prevalence of wireless fire safety systems on construction sites has delivered increased sustainability The prevalence of wireless fire safety systems on construction sites has also delivered increased sustainability, as well as improvements in deployment time and adaptability that lead to safer working conditions. Thanks to the modularity that wireless systems provide, they can scale to meet the needs of any site without concerns about trailing wires, or units failing because they have been unplugged. Battery technology Modern systems also benefit from improvements in battery technology, which ensures longer lifecycles. In newer wireless units, batteries can last for up to three years, a vast improvement over the six-month lifespans of earlier models. This significantly reduces the number of batteries being disposed of throughout a long-term project and adds greater efficiency to on-site fire safety efforts, as well as a decreased environmental impact. Fire safety equipment unit Wireless fire alarms and call points can deliver a sustainable and adaptable solution for the modern construction site The life of a fire safety equipment unit is vital, as the product needs to be fully functional and reliable throughout its lifespan. Units can signal to one another, and indicate when there is a fault in a single unit - or the connection between units - and register a low battery, all of which can help to easily identify problems with the system and ensure it remains consistently operational. By diagnosing faults in the system using this information, fire safety professionals can also avoid the problem of throwing away seemingly faulty units when, in fact, the unit is fully functional and the issue has arisen elsewhere. With longer battery life and modular design, wireless fire alarms and call points can deliver a sustainable and adaptable solution for the modern construction site. Easier transportation and installation As well as the equipment itself, it’s important to consider sustainability in how equipment is transported, and even the smallest enhancement can deliver a valuable impact. Fire extinguisher stands are generally a necessity that does not receive much consideration, but they can be bulky and require a lot of packaging due to their shape. However, new designs such as those by Modulex are modular for easier transportation and installation and present a more sustainable solution. Reducing Packaging Modular stands can be taken apart and packed flat, which means they take up far less space in transit. More than 400 units can fit inside a standard delivery van, which is more than double the number of traditional stands that can be transported in one vehicle. Alongside this, a design that packs flat means less packaging is necessary, reducing waste on each unit. Together, these advances decrease the emissions associated with distributing these products over time. Quick installation Modular designs are beneficial for any site where fire safety equipment needs to be installed quickly Modular designs are beneficial for any site where fire safety equipment needs to be installed quickly, or sites that regularly change in terms of scale, meaning that extinguishers must be moved around. They can also be fixed together to create stands for multiple extinguishers, while under normal circumstances, larger stands result in more wasted space inside their packaging. Emissions can be reduced even further by buying products that have been manufactured locally. For UK sites, there are many excellent manufacturers of fire safety equipment whose operations are based in the UK, and site managers aiming to reduce the carbon footprints of large-scale construction projects should consider this as a way to offset this impact. Positive, environmentally friendly choices The environmental effects of shipping a product internationally are significantly higher than those of shipping domestically and with high-quality British products available, it’s important to weigh your choices against their ecological impact and consider local alternatives. Ultimately, it’s good news that manufacturers are still making advances in both the sustainability and safety specifications of their products, but it remains the responsibility of those responsible for procuring fire safety equipment to make positive, environmentally friendly choices.

IoT’s Role In Fire Suppression
IoT’s Role In Fire Suppression

Technological advances in recent decades have considerably improved fire alert systems. Fire sprinkler systems are now installed at a rate of 40 million units per year and now, 96% of buildings covered by sprinkler systems are potentially able to control fires without additional aid. The next step is predictive fire alarm maintenance, better fire detection, and more effective fire fighting. These capabilities rely on assessing massive amounts of data in realtime to enable predictive maintenance of fire safety equipment, faster fire detection, better operational decisions and better risk assessments. The Internet of Things will be critical for these capabilities. Designing smart buildings The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), sometimes called edge-computing, describes the connection of physical objects to the internet. It also describes the communication between regular, everyday objects online. Advances in cloud technology, data storage and transmission speed have made it viable to link up devices embedded with sensors to track how and when physical assets are used, and how the environment around these objects is interacting with them.   5G will make IoT even more commonplace as we design smart buildings and upgrade infrastructure IoT applications are becoming more widespread, spanning our roads, hospitals, car parks, high rise office buildings and residential flats. 5G will make IoT even more commonplace as we design smart buildings and upgrade existing infrastructure.   Aggravating environmental factors The clearest application of this technology is in maintenance. Currently, building owners and engineers estimate how often their buildings or devices need servicing based on rudimentary predetermined schedules, random checks, or when breakages occur. By contrast, IoT driven data analysis enables predictive maintenance, in which individual devices can be measured on a case by case basis, based on their real time usage, condition and aggravating environmental factors. This can form part of an end-to-end solution connecting engineers, building owners and ultimately, firefighting teams with sophisticated data analytics for more effective fire suppression. IoT can be used for a range of purposes, from fire safety equipment monitoring and repair to fire detection and firefighting itself. IoT sensors can continuously monitor electrical systems and identify smokeless, invisible heat sources. IoT temperature sensors Sensors can also integrate with devices such as alarms, personal safety devices and fire suits Once an increase in temperature is detected, safety and inspection teams can be alerted immediately. IoT temperature sensors can be an important addition to traditional smoke detectors by detecting fires faster. IoT sensors and devices can not only monitor buildings to detect fires, they can also provide fire stations with enhanced computer-aided dispatch and improved situational awareness for firefighters and activate sprinklers. Sensors can also integrate with devices such as alarms, personal safety devices and fire suits. They can be used to track firefighters and help incident commanders coordinate individual firefighters in the field. Radio-frequency identification trackers, potentially embedded into firefighting suits, could reveal firefighters’ locations in real time. Wirelessly connected sensors can also provide information to emergency command centers and incident commanders, for better information sharing during a crisis. Offering preventative solutions IoT can also offer preventative solutions, delivering systems that record when a fire extinguisher is spent or missing, or a system that records when a fire door is left open. Updated in real time, these solutions have the power to warn of inadequate safety measures as they emerge. Fire suppression relies on quality, tracked maintenance. Enhanced, automated information sharing will be critical in dynamic or unpredictable situations Firefighting relies on responding quickly to changing circumstances. Enhanced, automated information sharing will be critical in dynamic or unpredictable situations, and this is what IoT ultimately enables. Yet the interpretation of data is as important as the sensors collecting it, as is the ability to translate complex information from different sources, to give engineers and firefighters the right information when they need it. Working the other way, a properly integrated system that allows building, maintenance and fire brigades to communicate, will help flag issues as they come up and get them resolved quickly. System installation costs Where we have implemented IoT solutions for elevators and escalators, engineers have cut the number of emergency repairs by a factor of three within a six month period, making maintenance less costly. Intelligent fire systems are expected to save their owners 30% of costs on maintenance, remedying false alarm call outs argued to cost in the region of £1bn. Furthermore, IoT installation need not be too expensive, certainly in the case of fire safety. Reduced system installation costs, with Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, network cables capable of carrying electrical power and data within a single line, can make installation easier. And remote monitoring through the Internet and the ability to transmit diagnostic information over the same lines can ensure that when service is needed, the technician will arrive with all the necessary equipment and data so that the repair can be completed more efficiently. Early warning systems Fire prevention must improve, and we must utilize the latest technology to do it The case for more affordable firefighting is overwhelming, particularly given the likelihood of more heatwaves. According to the National Fire Protection Association, local fire departments in the US responded to 1,338,500 fires last year. These fires resulted in $21.9 billion in property damage. Fire prevention must improve, and we must utilize the latest technology to do it. Already, IoT solutions are used in sewers to predict floods. They are also used in early warning systems to predict earthquakes, and they are used in climatology to predict storms. Better information has allowed a degree of mastery over the elements. As we take our next step, the role of IoT technology in preventing and suppressing fires is inevitable.

Safeguarding History: Fire Protection For Heritage Buildings
Safeguarding History: Fire Protection For Heritage Buildings

Losing any building to a fire is always a tragedy - but when there is a wealth of history or significance also at stake, the loss is irreplaceable. John Harrison, Sales and Marketing Director at Ramtech, discusses the fire protection challenges associated with heritage projects and how they can be safeguarded from the risk of fire thanks to innovative wireless fire safety technology. The world watched in great sadness and shock as flames engulfed Paris’ Notre Dame - one of the most famous and culturally significant buildings of our time. The twelfth-century Catholic treasure had been undergoing renovations at the time, although after a lengthy investigation, the cause of the fire was still fairly inconclusive. The blaze was a stark reminder that hundreds of years' worth of legacy can be turned to ashes and destroyed in mere minutes. World Heritage Sites Historic England describes the fire as ‘probably the most devastating of disasters’ for protected buildings. While heat and smoke are obviously detrimental, the water used to fight the fire can cause problems too, along with the impact of having a building exposed to the elements. Historic England’s research in 2019 indicates that there were over 1,000 incidents requiring Fire & Rescue attendance including: Listed buildings: Grade I listed buildings x 15, Grade II listed buildings x 47, Grade II listed buildings x 343. World Heritage Sites x 16. Conservation Areas and locally listed buildings x 554. Fire safety professionals If a fire did occur, being able to identify the source would limit devastating The problem is, heritage often comes hand-in-hand with ongoing refurbishment to keep the often aged structures in good condition so they do not fall into disrepair, and those extensive projects will always be wrought with challenges, particularly protecting against fire. In fact, the latest figures from the Home Office show that between April 2018 and March 2019, fire and rescue services attended 365 fires on construction sites in England – increasing from 333 in 2014/15.  For site owners, their contractors, and fire safety professionals, preserving the safety of the site and those on it from fire risk during construction is extremely important. If a fire did occur, being able to identify the source would limit devastating, irreplaceable damage and ensure that those present on the site could be quickly located and evacuated. Fire alarm systems This is why fire alarm systems need to remain active day and night, so whether a site is occupied or not, there can be real-time insights given to enable sites to quickly react to potential disasters and mitigate risk by alerting the local fire brigade and other responsible building personnel immediately. Heritage projects have the added concern of protecting the building fabric from any unnecessary alterations On top of the practical fire safety concerns, heritage projects have the added concern of protecting the building fabric from any unnecessary alterations to maintain its historical value. So, choosing a fire protection system that does not rely on an external power source and will not impact the building fabric is another consideration. Dust proof detectors To monitor and locate fire risk during the construction phase, while the permanent solution is waiting to be installed, a temporary fire alarm system is essential. To support heritage buildings, Ramtech has wireless solutions that can be deployed no matter the size, location or timeframe that the temporary fire safety system is required for, For instance, when Great Scotland Yard and London contractor Galliard Homes needed to protect a Grade II-listed former metropolitan police headquarters undergoing a transformation into a luxury five-star hotel, it was important to have a system that could span across the vast Edwardian building, which was being extended (boasting 92,000 sq. ft. over seven stories). To protect the iconic structure Ramtech deployed a system of over 30 WES alarm call points and dust proof detectors. A GSM base station with text message alerts was also used to monitor the building for fire out-of-hours. Extensive internal alternations More than 60 WES alarm units were deployed across the site, to move with the flow of the project Similarly, the restoration of Bolton Albert Hall completed by contractor Willmott Dixon required extensive internal alternations while the building was still occupied by Bolton City Council, so a system of more than five WES alarm call points and heat detectors were deployed in the refurbishment areas. For projects that span long periods of time, such as the £30m renovation at Nottingham Castle by G.F Tomlinson – which lasted three years – or the six-year conversion project at Donaldson’s – a Grade A listed former school in the center of Edinburgh – by City & Country, having a system that can be scaled up or down quickly without the need for time-consuming wired installation is a must. Needing immediate notifications In Edinburgh, more than 60 WES alarm units were deployed across the site, to move with the flow of the project. Over at Nottingham Castle, protecting close to 1,000 years of history from the risk of fire during a significant refurbishment was an incredible undertaking. The castle trusted Ramtech’s WES alarm system and solution in place was strengthened by combining with Ramtech’s REACT platform. The fire protection industry can do its part to raise standards by promoting the innovations available to it A cloud-based solution that can raise alerts in real time, sent straight to mobiles via a handy app, REACT ensures those that need immediate notifications and detailed insights can receive them in the most efficient way. Other heritage projects that have featured WES systems include St George’s Hall in Bradford, Norwich Castle and The Fry Building at the University of Bristol. Wireless safety systems The possibilities for wireless safety systems are endless and ensure no heritage site ever needs to go without adequate protection. Heritage buildings are irreplaceable, like the lives of those working on site. To safeguard the future of heritage sites, fire safety must remain a priority. The fire protection industry can do its part to raise standards by promoting the innovations available to it. At Ramtech, we are dedicated and passionate about providing the best solution to protect them and our technology is designed to accomplish this. We believe that by harnessing wireless technology, the construction industry benefits - these systems can be completely tailored to meet the modern challenges of individual sites, while protecting their history for future generations to enjoy.

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