In the fire industry, standards across the world are constantly updated and changed. It is Apollo’s duty, as leading fire detection manufacturers, to adapt to these revised standards and develop smart devices that keep people safe from fire, every second of every day.

Soteria UL range of detectors

In response to the UL 268 7th edition update, Apollo has developed the new Soteria UL range of detectors, culminating in over 30,000 hours in research and development, 186 hours in UL fire labs, 201 UL test fires and 49 ULC test fires.

Intersec will host the introduction of the Soteria UL range, where Apollo is exhibiting in Hall 4 on stand F10

The mandatory compliance date has been pushed back to June 30th 2021, however this doesn’t mean Apollo is slowing down. Quite on the contrary, Apollo is moving full steam ahead and fully dedicated to providing an innovative solution with the new Soteria UL family of products. Obsolescence of the XP95A, Discovery UL and Series 65A ranges has also been delayed, meaning these ranges will still be available until June 29th 2021. Intersec will host the introduction of the Soteria UL range, where Apollo is exhibiting in Hall 4 on stand F10.

What is UL 268 7th edition?

  • This is the most significant change for smoke detectors in the last 20 years
  • The new standard comes into force on 30th June 2021
  • It is designed to reduce false alarms in cooking environments
  • And to better detect smoke from polyurethane foam – including smoldering and flaming fires

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a developer of safety standards, and on 30th June 2021, significant new smoke alarm and detector standards come into force. The new UL 268 7th edition standards have been designed to reduce false alarms (or nuisance alarms) and detect different smoke characteristics.

Photoelectric and multi-criteria smoke detectors

The new UL smoke detector standard for photoelectric and multi-criteria smoke detectors updates the 6th edition of UL 268, which has been in effect for the last decade. There are more than 250 updates to the standard as part of the 7th edition, culminating in the addition of three new tests, including two new test fires. The new tests are:

  • UL 268 Clause 41.1.5: Cooking Nuisance Smoke Test
  • UL 268 41.1.5: Smoldering Polyurethane Foam Test
  • UL 268 41.1.5: Flaming Polyurethane Foam Test

The updates to the standard and the resulting new detectors are perhaps the most significant technological change the industry has seen in recent times.

Why has the UL standard changed?

Flaming and smoldering polyurethane tests were added to ensure the smoke detectors perform quickly

The new flaming and smoldering polyurethane tests were added to ensure that newly-manufactured smoke detectors perform quickly when installed in environments where modern, synthetic materials, such as polyurethane foam are used, for example in sofas, pillows and beds. The tests address the concern that modern materials generally burn much hotter and faster and create more toxic fumes than the natural materials that they have replaced.

Smoke detectors achieving the 7th edition of UL 268 will be required to demonstrate greater sensitivity to the smoke produced by polyurethane fires, so that they respond more quickly and provide people with as much time as possible to evacuate a home or building in the event of a fire.

Countering nuisance and false alarms

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cites that nuisance alarms are the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms. When cooking, people tend to get frustrated with false alarms, (the excessive smoke triggering the sensors) and unfortunately, disable the smoke alarm, rendering it useless in the event of a real fire; these actions have caused a high number of fire-related deaths.

To a sensor, cooking smoke and fire smoke look incredibly similar. Advanced sensors or multiple sensors are needed to distinguish between a smoldering fire and cooking smoke. This evolution of technology is paramount in being able to detect variations in smoke color, particle size, concentration and quantity. These attributes are essential in identifying what type of smoke is present.

Smoldering and flaming polyurethane tests

The UL research team reviewed the work done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and developed new test requirements for cooking environments. Exhaustive trials were undertaken to establish the new smoldering and flaming polyurethane tests. Residential evacuation studies reported by the National Fire Protection Research Foundation (NFPRF) and NIST were the bases around the pass/fail conditions for the tests.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

In A Busy Wildfire Season, Researchers Seek New Approaches
In A Busy Wildfire Season, Researchers Seek New Approaches

It makes perfect sense that a horrific wildfire season would come in the year 2020 on the heels of a pandemic. Dozens of major fires burned across North America in September, including 85 large uncontained fires and six contained fires across 12 states. Active fires have burned more than 3 million acres already, and 41,417 fires have burned almost 5 million acres year-to-date. The severity of the wildfire season is on track to surpass the 10-year average. Better understanding wildfires Global warming is often mentioned as a contributor to the wildfires, but there are other factors, too. Increasingly, researchers are looking to apply new approaches in address the risk of wildfires. They include tools such as deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand wildfires and to control their intensity. The model could be used to reveal areas of greatest risk for wildfires A new deep learning model uses remote sensing and satellite data to trace fuel moisture levels across 12 Western states, in effect tracking the amount of easily burnable plant material and how dry it is. After additional testing is complete, the model could be used to reveal areas of greatest risk for wildfires and to plan the best areas for prescribed burns. Led by a Stanford University ecohydrologist, the research was published in the journal Remote Sensing of Environment. Recurrent neural network The model uses data from the U.S. Forest Service’s National Fuel Moisture Database, which amasses plant water content information from thousands of samples. Using a ‘recurrent neural network,’ the system leverages the fuel moisture data to corroborate measurements of visible light and microwave radar signals from spaceborne sensors that are tasked with estimating fuel moisture measurements. Newer satellites with longer wavelengths allow sensitive observations about moisture content deeper into the forest canopy. Estimates from the model are used to generate interactive maps that fire agencies may one day use to identify patterns and prioritize wildfire control estimates. Researchers are also working to analyze the impact of better and more efficient firefighting on the size and frequency of wildfires. The theory goes: When firefighters extinguish smaller vegetation fires, a consequence is the creation of an environment where wildfires are larger and/or more frequent. Natural cycle of regeneration Older woods will naturally catch fire from the sun’s heat to make way for fresh growth The theory is based on the premise that wildfires play an essential role in the periodic regeneration of forests. Older woods will naturally catch fire from the sun’s heat to make way for fresh growth. However, more efficient firefighting can disrupt the natural cycle and, along with global warming, aggravate the broader likelihood of larger and more frequent fires. Researchers at the WiFire Lab in California and the University of Alberta in Canada are using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the environment and provide recommendations for prescribed burns that can save some parts of the forest without interfering with the natural cycle of regeneration. Providing early warning of wildfires Equipment operated by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) caused 2018’s Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California history. Because of the threat of sparking a wildfire, PG&E this year shut off power to 172,000 customers in Northern California on Labor Day weekend, for example. A concern is the threat of winds tearing down power line or hurling debris into them. Southern California Edison (SCE), another utility, warned that about 55,000 customer accounts could lose power. California utilities SCE, PG&E and San Diego Gas and Electric are helping to fund a network of ALERTWildfire video cameras in California that will help to provide early warning of wildfires. Video cameras keep watch throughout five Western United States to provide early warning, and the number of cameras is growing fast.

Should Firefighters And First Responders Use Face Masks?
Should Firefighters And First Responders Use Face Masks?

Should firefighters and other first responders be exempt from requirements that they wear face masks to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? The City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, seems to think so. They are proposing an amendment to exempt first responders from complying with the city’s face mask ordinance. Amendment to Exempt first responders from face mask rule Specifically, the proposed amendment states, “Exempted from the requirements of the ordinance requiring wearing of face coverings include law enforcement personnel, first responders or other workers, who are actively engaged in their tasks, if wearing a face covering may hinder their performance.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone wear masks in public settings The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone wear masks in public settings, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained. The CDC does not specify a need to exempt first responders. However, there is a possibility that a mask could interfere with the work of firefighters or first responders, especially when they are performing tasks that require physical exertion. Face masks can inhibit communication among first responders Face masks, covering the mouth and nose, could also inhibit communication by muffling sound and obstructing facial expressions. Obviously, communication is of paramount importance for firemen working as a team in an emergency, or when a first responder is seeking to give clear directions to the public. The issue of face masks has been inexorably entwined with the well-being of first responders, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on during the infection spread, health officials dismissed face masks as a tool to avoid spread of the disease. They said that the masks were ineffective at preventing community spread and that, supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to be conserved for health professionals and first responders. Importance of face masks in controlling spread of COVID-19 However, the early advice was completely reversed in late March 2020 and masks have been advocated ever since. A mask, worn by an infected individual, reduces the dispersion of virus-laden droplets that spread the disease. Now, experts contend that any type of mask, including cloth or paper, can help to reduce spread of the COVID-19 virus. Expanding the use of masks to include those that are not conformant with the N-95 classification effectively eliminated any concerns about supply and helped to make the widespread use of masks the norm. To some extent, however, mask usage in the United States has been politicized and some see the requirements as an affront to liberty. Need for wearing face masks in public Masks are a useful preventative measure for firefighters working together in a communal area Fire and emergency departments face the same challenges as other businesses and institutions, as they seek to remain safe in a communal workspace. Masks are a useful preventative measure for firefighters working together in a communal area or when training or resting. Wearing masks in public also allows departments to model best practices and promote a positive perception of the department to the public. Disciplined use of face masks demonstrates unselfishness and respect for others. It communicates professionalism and concern for the greater good. Masks go a long way in saving lives of first responders Perception may also be an issue when it comes to the choice of masks, which become a de facto part of a uniform. Masks with political statements should be avoided, for example. Considering that dozens of American fire and EMS members have died of COVID-19 infection, since March 2020, the use of masks is another way that firefighters can work to save lives. However, sufficient flexibility is needed so that the use of masks does not interfere with other lifesaving duties.

What Are the New Trends in Firefighting Equipment?
What Are the New Trends in Firefighting Equipment?

Equipment is an important element in fighting fires, and in keeping firefighters safe. But what new needs are driving the development of equipment? How can equipment expand its role in fighting fires, or in managing building occupancy and traffic flow for that matter? We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the new trends and opportunities in firefighting equipment?

vfd