Reducing the spread of germs and bacteria has never been more essential in the current climate. Holding open internal doors provide an easy and effective method of infection control within the building, but it is important that this does not impact the user’s fire safety. A study by the New England Medical Journal, which researched the survival of coronavirus on a number of surfaces, identified that the virus was still detectable on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel 72 hours later.

While regular cleaning can help combat transmission, the inevitable use of door handles means that they can quickly become a hotspot for the spread of germs. While lock down restrictions remain uncertain, social distancing measures are expected to stay for some time. Holding open internal doors facilitates social distancing by allowing improved vision when entering or leaving a room, or when traveling through a corridor.

Improving general ventilation

Not to mention the post-COVID etiquette of whether or not a person should hold the door open for the person behind them. Workplace guidance identified ways employers and employees can work safely during the pandemic. One of the recommendations included the requirement for increased ventilation which can be achieved by opening windows and doors.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “Good ventilation can help to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus, so focus on improving general ventilation. Where possible, consider ways to increase the supply of fresh air, for example, by opening windows and doors.”

Wire-free fire door holder

Wedges or homemade devices should never be used to hold open a fire door and is illegal should a fire occur

Geofire’s Agrippa door holder allows a door to be hygienically held open in a fixed position, preventing the need to touch the door handle. The Agrippa door closer’s free-swing feature allows a door to be held open at any angle. Using ‘listen and learn’ technology, the Agrippa suite of products will automatically release the door on the sound of the building’s fire alarm. Wedges or homemade devices should never be used to hold open a fire door and is illegal should a fire occur.

Building operators have a legal responsibility to ensure fire doors are not illegally wedged open to ensure that they can prevent the spread of smoke and flames. The Agrippa wire-free fire door holder and closer are fully compliant to the requirements of BS 7273-4 for standard actuation of fire doors, and third party tested and approved to EN1154 and EN1155.

Legally compliant solutions

Andy Collinson, CEO at Geofire said: “Wedging open a fire door removes its ability to stop the spread of fire, putting lives at risk. There are legally compliant solutions readily available if ease of movement around a building or increased ventilation is required. From new builds to listed buildings, we have products to suit every installation; conventional hard wired, radio wire free and the Agrippa fire door holder and closer allow ‘dual mode’ installation, meaning you can install straight from the box and program our innovative ‘listen and learn’ patent technology at a more convenient time.”

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

In case you missed it

Strategic & Creative Firefighter Recruitment
Strategic & Creative Firefighter Recruitment

The recruitment of firefighters is not cheap. While metrics and budgetary line items vary among the size of fire departments, the recruitment of one firefighter from the viewing of your recruitment materials on Day One through academy graduation to one full year on the job is very expensive. For a check up from the neck up, let's begin with two quizzes: The Ultimate Firefighter Recruitment & Retention Quiz Part 1: Is your department having difficulty recruiting qualified firefighters, possibly reaching near-crisis proportions? Have qualified candidates whom you want to hire declined your offer? Is the competition for qualified firefighter candidates in your area overly intense? Have you pondered thoughts of having to pay outlandish salaries, signing bonuses, premium fees to recruitment agencies, or even curtail hiring or raiding your competition? Does your recruitment and human resources departments need to learn how to recruit more strategically and creatively to solve your recruitment problems?   Scoring: If you answered Yes to any of these questions, then your department may need to consider a paradigm shift of its recruitment efforts from the “same-old, same-old” to a comprehensive business model based on creative problem solving, aggressive marketing, and innovative thinking. Part 2: Is your recruitment and human resources staff… Armed with a dynamic interactive presentation that results in responses and interest by qualified applicants? Supported with a superior website, an online presence, and printed materials that actually get read? Regularly trained and exposed to new relationship and marketing strategies no matter how experienced they may be? Provided with one-on-one or small group marketing executive coaching? Mystery shopped or recorded as part of their performance appraisal?   Scoring: If you answered No to any of these questions, then this is your first step to strategically and creatively improve your recruitment metrics.This unique marketing model may be up to an 180 degree reversal from what your department has been doing for decades No matter how good your recruitment and retention efforts may be, they could always be better. There is good news and bad news: The bad news is this unique marketing model may be up to an 180 degree reversal from what your department has been doing for decades. Your recruiters and human resources personnel are going to be reluctant to change. Warning The first words out of their mouths will be, “What! Are you crazy?” How receptive will your recruitment staff be to the task of having to unlearn the old recruitment techniques and replace them with a variety of new creative recruitment strategies based on the principles of behavioral psychology? As for the good news, the change is not painful, though it will feel uncomfortable…at first. More importantly, a shift in strategy will produce the positive qualitative and quantitative results and metrics you are seeking. Firefighter recruitment cost Question: What does it cost your department to recruit one firefighter? Begin with the basic costs incurred reengineering of your recruitment website and printed materials, online presence and social media, educational presentations, advertisements, job fairs, and processing of paperwork of your application materials.The fees associated with tests: drug, polygraph, criminal background, and psychological Next line item: the fees associated with tests: drug, polygraph, criminal background, and psychological. Compute the costs once formal training has begun: education, salaries, uniforms, etc., all the way through graduation. Has your cost for each recruit reached $100,000 yet? What is your reaction when a candidate drops out midway through the training academy, or after one or two years feels being a firefighter is not the career for him or her? The Solution The firefighter recruiter as Marketeer. Fact: If the applicant doesn’t like you, he or she won’t consider your department. Why? We tend to do business with people we like; people who listen and convey they understand our needs, versus  people who “talk at” us with a robotic presentation. Few fire departments actually have a formal strategic marketing plan in writing for its recruitment efforts But, there is a major problem: In the corporate world, recruiters usually receive a base salary plus commission for its placements. As an employee of a city, county, or municipal fire department, your key recruitment employees fall under a different compensation structure. Your employees probably have not received the intensive training in sales and marketing. Few fire departments actually have a formal strategic marketing plan in writing for its recruitment efforts. Recruitment and marketing are among the many hats firefighter recruiters must wear…yet few wear it well. The approach to recruitment follows a “recruitment is marketing” training model based on the business concept of Omnichannelization. Your challenge is to market your department and sell yourself to create your position in the marketplace be it a department with 10 fire stations competing with the nearby department with 40 stations.  Recruitment auditing Consider that many applicants have read the same book as you, the one containing hundreds of interview questions and the answers to each. Somewhere within the interview process the applicant is going to be asked, “Why do you want to be a firefighter?” Follow up that question with ones which reveal deeper information, and questions the applicant has never been asked such as, “What are you most afraid of in becoming a firefighter, your biggest fear?” Your challenge is to develop at least 10-12 of these types of questions testing the critical thinking skills of the applicant.Somewhere within the interview process the applicant is going to be asked, “Why do you want to be a firefighter?” The Recruitment Audit: Identify what you are doing right, what needs improvement, and what you are not doing at all. Strategize to overcome weaknesses Analyze what your department has been doing thus far. Identify and justify your department’s top three strategies to overcome its six weaknesses, ones of which you may be totally unaware. What’s involved? Most of your printed materials are not read. Why? Whether it is your brochure, public relations materials, they “talk at” the reader rather than come across conversationally. Take a magnifying glass to color, font and font size, and voice. Well-written copy functions as one of the best screening tools during the personal interview. Most application forms are a major turn-off with the voice of a drill sergeant. Ask your human resources people how many applications are submitted incomplete, missing required information. Motivation There is a psychology of firefighter recruitment that identifies the “real” forces that motivates the candidate to accept one department over another.  Recruiters need to learn to develop several distinct strategies customized to its variety of vertical markets. One size does not fit all.  A few final words Are you ready to reengineer your department’s recruitment efforts? It all begins by obtaining a total buy-in, involvement, and training from your entire staff to achieve its desired recruitment results.

Avoiding Electrical Fires Through Preventative Technology
Avoiding Electrical Fires Through Preventative Technology

There are many daily risks faced by buildings and their managers, with electrical fires being one of the most common and dangerous. Commercial fires impact occupant health, property and the business itself – with 25% of businesses who suffer a fire never reopening.  Given the often-unpredictable nature of electrical fires, businesses must invest in the latest technologies to prevent irreparable damage. It is the responsibility of the consultant engineer to show leadership and initiative in improving safety to protect the business, its employees and its most valuable assets. Engineers must look beyond simply tackling overloads and short circuits and examine a range of connected solutions that can stop a fire before it even has a chance to begin. This drastically reduces the cost of damages and repairs, while giving building operators unrivalled visibility. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit, from the switchboard to distribution. A centralized system for equipment monitoring and detection provides building managers with all the information they need to keep fire risk under control, and therefore protect staff, property and business. Electrical fire risk awareness During the design and implementation phase, the consultant engineer’s role is traditionally to respect and master the local standards. They should ensure all components and parts of the circuit comply with the latest wiring rules, electrical and building codes. Yet for enhanced safety they should also be willing to look beyond the standards of the day. Given the often-unpredictable nature of electrical fires, businesses must invest in the latest technologies to prevent irreparable damage Today’s regulations do a good job of protecting buildings from the dangers of short circuits and overloads, mostly by mandating the use of circuit breakers. However, consultant engineers should also be aware of the risks posed by circuit deterioration and mistakes made during the installation. Loose cabling and faulty insulation or connections – even something as small as an untightened screw – can significantly increase a circuit’s fire risk. It’s up to consultant engineers to know their market and provide solutions that go beyond the minimum to detect and prevent electrical fires. Why electrical engineers must go the extra mile A stitch in time saves nine. While tackling overloads and short circuits is crucial, engineers must go further, examining a range of connected solutions that can stop a fire before it even has a chance to begin. Acting pre-emptively can drastically reduce the cost of damages and repairs and provide building operators with unrivalled visibility of their facility. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit, from the switchboard to distribution. A centralized system for equipment monitoring and detection will provide the building manager with all the information they need to keep fire risk under control. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit For optimal protection, organisations should employ smart, connected solutions that detect fire and the risk of fire at every level. This means additional protection for the switchboard and the circuit at all levels of the electrical installation, underpinned by a centralised system for monitoring and pro-active action. Using Residual Current Devices (RCDs) against insulation faults triggered by earth leakage currents exceeding 300mA, is a familiar solution. Engineers now have access to more effective earth leakage protection solutions with the same footprint as a classical overload and short-circuit protection. Products can now also offer permanent earth leakage current measurement which, when connected to a monitoring system, allows pre-alarming and monitoring during the time of any drift in the insulation. Identify switchboard vulnerabilities Unprotected electrical switchboards are especially vulnerable to fire risk. The equipment is susceptible to rodent infestation and internal overheating, issues that can often go unnoticed until it is too late. The IEC 61439-2 Low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies – Part 2: Power switchgear and control gear assembly’s standard addresses these risks, making compliance a must. However, fulfilling these design and manufacturing rules for switchboards does not eliminate the risk of connection failure. A critical sequence of events can occur. First, increasing electrical contact resistance accelerates further deterioration. This increased resistance induces a rise in temperature – high temperatures deteriorate the connection surface even more. The more deteriorated surface leads to a further increase in contact resistance, and the resulting thermal runaway will cause complete connection failure. Fire, flash-over and explosions become a real risk. Enhanced electrical fire prevention Moreover, final circuits should be protected by an arc fault detection device (AFDD) for enhanced fire prevention. Final circuits should be protected by an arc fault detection device (AFDD) Circuits age unevenly and unpredictably, so persistent monitoring and predictive maintenance are key to limiting fire risk. Cloud analytics can help provide asset health analytics to interpret the status and history of your most critical assets, with preventive notifications and 24/7 support. Fire prevention must be a top priority when assessing all the safety and risk-management of a building. In the case of electrical fires, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, establishing the right approach before crisis strikes will be invaluable. Connected solutions across the entire circuit are an effective solution for consultant engineers to defend buildings from the often-underestimated dangers of faulty installation and ageing components. In short, smart electrical fire prevention provides peace of mind for engineers, facility owners and occupants alike.

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