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Firefighting is hot, hazardous, and let's face it, grueling work. But believe it or not, the job today has become even more challenging as firefighters must deal with increased heat loads, toxic substances and other physical challenges that make structural firefighting one of the most demanding professions on the planet. So, needless to say, being well-trained, physically fit, and safely equipped can make all the difference in the world. Evolving Technology The fact is, as heat loads and toxicity exposure risks increase due to modern synthetic construction, the ways in which fires are fought are changing as well. These shifts, combined with the revolution that’s taking place in firefighter protection technology, have led to new and exciting designs in firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) offerings. Technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits Take the tried and true SCBA for instance. Since the invention of the first breathing apparatus in the late 1910s, their primary function has been air delivery. But today, technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits. Revolution Of Life-Changing Technology Consider this: the effects of technology today impact virtually every aspect of modern life. And the same is true for the fire service, as software, thermal imaging, and wireless communications capabilities become more mainstream on the fireground. In response to these new capabilities, the consensus organizations responsible for PPE performance standards (i.e. NFPA and EN) have increased standards by mandating certain electronic components for each firefighter. But performance of these components can be limited by the fact that only so many “parts” can be attached to an SCBA, or because some capabilities are simply out of reach from a budget perspective. Over time, these limitations create long-term implications when it comes to SCBA choice, because the breathing apparatus purchased today may have to be in use for the next 15 years or more. So, what are firefighters to do? Firefighters should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future It’s More Than Air Delivery Missed opportunities for more timely safety improvements – which keep up with the pace of technology – are rooted in a false assumption that all SCBA are comprised of separate, mechanical components – and that the SCBA function is only about respiratory protection. But air-delivery is not the issue because every SCBA meets the standards, and every SCBA delivers air well. Further, looking at the SCBA merely as a separate component for air diminishes its potential to serve as a revolutionary safety technology “platform.” Safety As A System Firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus To keep pace with the rapid improvements in firefighter safety, firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus. Instead, they should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future. I’m talking specifically about platform-type products that can be easily updated with the latest technology, as soon as it becomes available, to help protect them when their lives are on the line. Key Questions To Consider When Looking For An SCBA Include: Does the SCBA have features that allow you to see, hear, and react quickly to changing situations? Can the SCBA sizing be customized to best fit each firefighter? How many total batteries are needed for the SCBA, and how does that affect long-term costs? How well does it integrate with other systems, such as communication devices, portable instruments, etc.? Does the SCBA provide you, your team, and incident command with critical information to make effective, life-saving decisions? Can the SCBA be programmed to meet your standard operating procedures, such as audible and visual alarms at 50% remaining pressure? Is the facepiece reducing or adding to overall SCBA cost and complexity? How easily can the SCBA be updated to meet changing standards? How easily can integrated accessories or features, such as thermal imaging, be added as they are developed in the future? At MSA, we develop technologically-advanced safety equipment designed to help meet today's changing fireground dynamics. We’re committed to setting the pace for safety with continuous improvements and innovations in PPE. For today. For tomorrow. For the future.
Having the proper fire safety and chemical-protective equipment is imperative where risk of hazardous chemical exposure is great With businesses still facing the effects of the economic crisis with budget cuts, safety remains a key concern when it comes to finding cost-effective solutions without compromising public safety. One type of incident which many businesses are not properly equipped for is hazardous chemical exposure. Ian Hutcheson of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics highlights the importance of having the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for chemical protection and states that such preventative measures can be achieved, even with budget restrictions. While the full-scale media hype about the "Global Financial Crisis" may be behind us, the follow on effects, such as continued tight budgets and reductions in government spending, are here to stay for the foreseeable future. The UK Government recently announced a major spending review with the aim of saving £83 billion over four years. As part of this, 192 QUANGOs will be abolished including Firebuy, the professional buying organisation for the Fire and Rescue Services. This focus on decreased spending means that now, more than ever, departmental budgets are being stretched and every purchase highly scrutinised to ensure the best possible cost efficiencies are achieved. But it is essential that a reduction in spending does not negatively affect public safety. Challenges for Fire and Rescue Services in responding to hazardous chemical exposure Recently, the UK's Audit Commission released a report entitled Business Continuity in the Fire and Rescue Services which investigated the plans the Services currently have in place to ensure that public safety can be upheld during short- and long- term disruptions (such as those caused by transport problems or adverse weather). Overall, the report found that many fire and rescue services have good business continuity management plans, but they cannot cope with every situation indefinitely. Fortunately, chemical incidents are infrequent but it is paramount that public safety is given priority and maintaining a robust, compliant arsenal of chemical-resistant personal protective equipment is essential to being readily equipped for an emergency situation.One area of particular concern was that, during these periods of disruption, less than a third of all Fire and Rescue Services could guarantee the availability of the sophisticated fire safety equipment needed in cases of hazardous chemical exposure.Advances are being made in the development of chemical-protective equipment Chemical protective suits reflect advancements in PPE There is, however, some good news for both the concerned public and those with stretched departmental budgets: advances are being made in the development of chemical-protective equipment that both improve quality and decrease total costs. This means that more Fire and Rescue Services will be able to fit equipment essential to chemical protection into their tight budgets. One such advancement is the availability of limited-life chemical-protective suits. These suits meet safety standards and fit the same application areas as their reusable counterparts, but offer both a smaller upfront purchase price and reduced total cost of ownership. These lower costs are achieved through minimal recertification, inspection, maintenance and storage expenses. Hopefully, decision makers will embrace the advances in chemical-protective equipment to ensure our fire services are readily equipped for all emergency situations. Ian Hutcheson - Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics
Fire & Safety, concurrently held with Secutech Taiwan April 2020, will have international and local manufacturers showcasing products and solutions for best practices in fire safety for various verticals as well as effective disaster prevention and mitigation technologies. Countries from the APAC region is expected to see an increase in fire safety demands as increase in infrastructure developments requires both in pass and active fire safety equipment. Government regulation also plays a major role in the increase demands as strict laws and regulations will require many buildings to implement certain standards in fire safety technologies. Fire safety and disaster management technologies The smart factory sector will include instrument testing equipment, personal protective equipment and more The global value of disaster and emergency management is predicted to see an increase from USD 107 billion in 2019 to USD 148.5 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 6.8 percent. The increase will be due to unpredictable natural disasters from climate change as well as potential man-made incidents that could fuel the events. APAC region will be amongst the fastest growing market with governments demand to implement top of the line technologies for disaster managements. When Fire & Safety begins in April, it will have no shortage of products for enhancing fire safety. The smart factory sector will include instrument testing equipment, personal protective equipment, safety and management of plant / park intelligent perimeter protection and plant disaster prevention (earthquake / fire explosion). Visitors will expect to see companies including 3M, Draeger, DuPont, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, LHD, Moxa, Rotarex and UTC. Flood protection equipment Medical institutions will also be a highlight for fire safety protection. Visitors will see a range of products such as waterway sprinkler, fire alarm system, evacuation equipment, ventilation and smoke exhaust, fireproofing material, smoke prevention elevator, building door and window installation sensing system, intelligent bedside care system and personnel safety positioning. Exhibitors will consist of Ching Gu Electronics, HEX Safety, Horing, Red Bridge, RIHSI, SAFE, Sheng Yang and Wizmart. Secutech International will have several sections within the fair for showcasing products and solutions for safe and smart cities Lastly, a number of disaster prevention and mitigation equipment will be on display, including earthquake early warning system, flood protection equipment, disaster relief drone, fire rescue vehicle and fire extinguishing equipment. Onsite there will also be an earthquake simulation zone where visitors can see live demonstration of technologies being utilized for earthquake situations. Showcasing Technologies for a Safe and Smart City Secutech International will have several sections within the fair for showcasing products and solutions for safe and smart cities. The show will consists of Smart Building, Smart Factory, Safe City, Mobility, Fire Safety & Disaster Prevention and Information Security sections. The business matching programs will return to offer a unique and effective one-on-one service to introduce exhibitors to VIP buyers. In 2019, Secutech successfully arranged 319 business matching sessions, connecting exhibitors with key distributors, systems integrators, property developers and contractors in the APAC region.
The global debate on building cladding, which has soared up the international safety agenda in the wake of London’s Grenfell Tower disaster which claimed 74 lives and left another 70 injured, arrives in Doha this month. Building cladding is a key feature of the Safety Design in Buildings Conference (SDiB), which runs on 16 October at The Business Park of the Crowne Plaza, Doha. The conference will feature 11 regional and international experts as speakers. Insight On Improved Protection The spread of the June 2017 fire, which arose from a refrigerator electrical fault and ripped through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, was largely exacerbated by the building’s flammable exterior cladding. The annual SDiB campaign is a GCC-wide initiative to debate safety standards and practices “In a region dominated by high rise structures, it’s not surprising that the local industry is keen to learn lessons from Grenfell,” said Andreas Rex, show director for Intersec, the world’s pioneer trade fair for Security, Safety & Fire Protection which is SDiB’s Founding Sponsor. The annual SDiB campaign is a GCC-wide initiative to debate safety standards and practices in the built environment. “Like Intersec, SDiB is essential for sharing insight on improved protection of people and assets in the Gulf.” Examine Retrofitting For Fire Safety The SDiB Doha conference will bring leading fire safety consultants, architects, engineers and testing experts together with safety systems suppliers to explore industry standards updates and debate best practice solutions. The agenda will examine retrofitting for fire safety, how to best involve design teams to mitigate fire safety risks, façade fire compartmentation and how mega infrastructure projects can meet international safety standards. Achieving Safety Compliance On Existing Buildings Sreenivas Narayanan, General Manager – Middle East and Asia Pacific of the UK’s Siderise Insulation Limited will outline strategies for achieving safety compliance on existing buildings. His presentation will discuss the need for safety compliance on existing structures and buildings which have been in use for some time. Fire and life safety systems are commonly engineered and designed based on the operational effectiveness" “The issues surrounding the cladding on a project has been a key discussion globally,” he explained. “It's important for all stakeholders involved in a project to understand what the requirements are and how to overcome the challenges. The global façade industry is keen to incorporate the best practice and I would be sharing from my recent interactions to support the local market.” Abilities To Maintain And Commission Fire Cristina Perez Domper, Regional Operations Manager – Product Testing and Certification Building & Construction of Britain’s Intertek will further the debate abilities to maintain and commission fire and life safety systems in high rise tower clusters – capabilities which she asserts are all too often neglected. “Fire and life safety systems are commonly engineered and designed based on the operational effectiveness,” she explains. “What is equally important but often overlooked is the ease of maintenance, testing and even commissioning. A fire safety system that cannot be, or is difficult to maintain or to test, will result in it not being tested or maintained which in turn will lead to it not working properly.” Maintenance And Testing Domper says preventative action is key to a comprehensive fire safety strategy through a building’s lifespan. “According to the National Fire Protection Association statistics, nearly 30% of fires in non-sprinkled facilities spread beyond the room of origin. To minimize this, preventative action must be taken to reduce the effects of fire on a facility, business continuity and life safety,” she advises. Fire safety installation that can’t be maintained will eventually end up in non-working fire safety systems" But Peter Van Gorp, Director of Fire and Life Safety of the USA’s AESG says lessons have been learnt and are being incorporated into new builds, though more attention needs to be placed on maintenance and testing. Maintainability Aspect Of Fire Safety Systems “While I used to see blatant mistakes in fire safety system design related issues in the past, I don’t see those that often anymore in newly constructed buildings. What I do still see is mistakes with regard to ease of maintenance and ease of testing. “These aspects are not only overlooked but often completely ignored. Fire safety installation that can’t be tested or maintained or are difficult to test or maintain will eventually end up in non-working fire safety systems like any other installation or system,” he warns. “I hope that my presentation will move authorities, designers, contractors and anybody else involved to give the maintainability aspect of fire safety systems the attention it deserves.” Protecting Major Events Through Stadium Security The presentation will highlight the key requirements for delivering a safe, and secure stadia" Safety for mega projects and events is also on the Doha agenda, which is essential to Qatar as it gears up to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and has huge major event ambitions. Andrew Cooke, Director Security Operations of Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security will outline ways of protecting major events through stadium security design, which he says, has significant bottom-line implications. “By integrating security right from the beginning of the design phase for venues, organizers can make significant savings by identifying potential threats at an early stage in the process and thus preventing expensive rework, delays, penalties and incorrect use of resources and materials later. The presentation will highlight the key requirements for delivering a safe, and secure stadia.” Testing All Components Of A Fire Strategy Having gained extensive experience within the fire sector and witnessing devastating effects of fire first-hand, Peter Stephenson, Business Development Manager at Warringtonfire emphasizes the importance of sharing lessons learnt to mitigate fire hazards. Validating and testing all components of a fire strategy is vital to ensure the safety of all persons" As building assurance is extremely important, Stephenson highlighted Warringtonfire’s involvement in Doha Metro, one of the key infrastructure projects linked to the FIFA World Cup 2022 hosted in Qatar “Validating and testing all components of a fire strategy is vital to ensure the safety of all persons using or working on the infrastructure.” Tests, Inspections, Certifications “SDiB provides a platform to bring industry professionals together to learn and share experiences which ultimately enhance fire safety within the region. At Warringtonfire, we value the safety and wellbeing of our employees and consider it a top priority. This belief is reflected in our tests, inspections, certifications and consultancy services,” added Stephenson. “The key take-away at SDiB is the importance of building assurance, emphasizing that Warringtonfire, with its depth of experience and industry experts, is the first choice as a trusted partner for all fire and life safety requirements.” Digital ‘Passive’ Fire Protection Delegates will also hear how digital tools can now automate fire safety. David Black, Director, Middle East Operations of the GCC’s Joule Group says despite laws and regulations, human error remains a daily risk because ‘passive assets’ - non-digital fire systems - are not prioritized. The emergence of passive protection is one factor behind the expansion of the show’s Fire and Rescue section" “We need to have more transparency on how passive fire assets are managed and checked building to building. This can be achieved through the use of digital platforms,” he said. Digital ‘passive’ fire protection is also high on the agenda for Intersec, which will run at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 19-21 January. Intersec’s Growing Sections “The emergence of passive protection is one factor behind the expansion of the show’s Fire and Rescue section, which is now one of Intersec’s fastest growing sections with more than 450 exhibitors and includes industry leaders such as NAFFCO, Honeywell, Komtes, Hochiki, Draeger, ATEIS, and Thomas Bell-Wright International,” explained Rex. “Additionally, the show will feature a Safety Design in Buildings Pavilion dedicated to Fire Safety in the building materials industry.” The next SDiB conference will run in Abu Dhabi on December 12th.
A team of West Midlands Fire Service firefighters have been crowned national champs in the use of breathing apparatus. Top honors went to Hay Mills Blue Watch at the 2018 National BA Challenge at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire. Colleagues from Highgate Blue Watch also achieved fourth place overall, in a total field of 28. The event attracted teams of five firefighters from across the UK. Each was faced with the scenario of a property fire in which people were believed trapped. They had 30 minutes to tackle the fire and rescue any casualties. Phil Loach, West Midlands Fire Service Chief Fire Officer, said: “I‘d like to congratulate all involved on such a fantastic achievement. Through regular training and simulations, our crews ensure they are fully prepared to respond to any scenario to keep their communities safe. These results highlight their ongoing commitment to operational excellence.” fire and rescue services Highgate Community Fire Station came second in the BA Team category, represented by Ian Wroe and Mark Cope Councillor John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, added: “Many congratulations to our Hay Mills firefighter team who scooped this award. These are the skills that keep our West Midlands communities safe around the clock, every day of the year.” The event, sponsored by Draeger UK and The Fire Fighters Charity, promotes best practice and firefighter safety in the disciplines of incident command, procedures at the scene of a fire, entry control and the wearing of BA. Teams were scrutinized by specialist national assessors from the UK fire and rescue services, with Hay Mills Blue Watch achieving: Best BA team: Terry Falaschi and Steve Gibson Best Entry Control Officer: Sue Clarke Best Fire Ground Officer: Jason Plant Officer in charge, 3rd place: James Davis Firefighters from Highgate Community Fire Station in Birmingham also came second in the BA Team category, represented by Ian Wroe and Mark Cope.