Active fire protection (AFP)
Ultimately, it is the emotions, personal encounters and that feeling of common purpose that make INTERSCHUTZ so memorable. But it's also about the numbers, for INTERSCHUTZ is not just the industry's global networking hub; it is also the number one business platform for the world of protection and emergency services. It is the place where the latest innovations and product refinements are unveiled, where deals are done and where the groundwork is laid for new business. At the end of the day, a c...
Edesix, the pioneer in provision of Body Worn Cameras (BWC), wins the contract to supply BWCs to Tyne and Wear Fire Services. Edesix will supply 84 video badges to 23 sites across the county, with training and deployment beginning this month. The use of Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) for protecting staff, enhancing training and identifying best practice is fast becoming fundamental within fire services throughout the UK. Edesix already supplies West Midlands Fire Services, and Staffordshire Fire and...
Bosch’s video-based fire detection solution AVIOTEC IP starlight 8000 can now also be used in tunnels to ensure reliable and early detection of smoke and flames. Therefore, it is a quick and cost-effective addition to the linear heat detectors commonly used, which react only to noticeable increases in temperature and are unable to detect smoke either. In addition, the viewing of incidents also enables immediate verification of alarms and is a valuable aid for the emergency services. The n...
Among the tools of the fire service, some of the most powerful are hand-held devices. These technologies provide information to firefighters than can direct their approaches to emergency situations and safe lives. Today, more powerful devices are available in smaller, hand-held form, sometimes taking the place of much larger and more expensive devices. For example, previously the Los Angeles Fire Department carried just one large thermal imaging camera (TIC) that cost upwards of $10,000 on eac...
Bars, restaurants and businesses along Ipswich’s Waterfront have attended awareness training in the event of anyone falling into water. As part of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service prevention work, these waterside businesses have been supplied with a safety throw line to keep at their premises. This is a small bag containing a floating line which can be deployed very quickly and easily in the event of someone falling into the water around the marina. Helping To Reduce Risk Staff were give...
MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have awarded new turnout gear to two additional departments through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway. A total of 13 fire departments will each receive four new sets of state of the art turnouts in 2019 to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and safety personals. To be eligible to apply for MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway awards, fire departments had to fulfill the criteria of being all volunteer or mostly volunteer, serv...
Bullard, a pioneer in the personal protective equipment market, announces the acquisition of Switzerland-based Darix™, an award-winning spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne focusing on improving the situational awareness of professionals in critical environments. Darix, founded in 2017, is comprised of a team of specialists in image processing and software, user experience and design, micro-electronics and rapid prototyping, and is a frontrunner on smart-glasses for industrial and commercial safety and emergency responder applications. Safety-Related Challenges We are delighted to welcome the Darix team into the Bullard family to deliver new, innovative solutions" “Bullard is committed to bringing to market life-saving equipment that allow our customers to go home safely at the end of the day,” said Wells Bullard, Chief Executive Officer of Bullard. “We are delighted to welcome the Darix team into the Bullard family to deliver new, innovative solutions to advance human safety around the world.” Martijn Bosch, Chief Executive Officer of Darix, added, “Four years ago, we started with a simple mission to help firefighters save lives by allowing them to see through smoke. Today this dream has come a big step closer as we are joining a fantastic and like-minded team.” Darix, currently in Lausanne, Switzerland, will continue to reside there and become the Bullard Technology Center, focused on developing technology to enhance worker safety. Peter Lugo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Bullard, said, “We are excited to join forces with the amazing talent at Darix to leverage augmented technology that will power our core and new product solutions to continue to solve our customers’ most critical safety-related challenges.”
Global design and detection products manufacturer, FFE, announces the industry’s first one minute auto-aligning smoke beam detector, Fireray One, which promises to make advanced smoke detection more accessible and easier to install. FFE’s expert knowledge has been engineered to deliver an advanced detection system, ensuring total simplicity for the end-user. The new ground-breaking beam detector self-aligns in just one minute and offers a sophisticated solution to those wishing to protect large commercial and public spaces with a simple, one person installation process. Sufficient Fire Protection The detector overcomes common issues such as false alarms caused by building settlement To achieve such simplicity for the end-user, a lot of hard engineering work and knowledge has been put in to the detector itself. These features ensure that anyone can align a beam detector perfectly, because the experience and expert knowledge of beam detection has been engineered into the product! In addition, the detector overcomes common issues such as false alarms caused by building settlement that can compromise safety; and visible units that compromises aesthetics. FFE experts recognize that both spot detection and standard beam units couldn’t offer sufficient fire protection to a range of infrastructures including historic and listed buildings, buildings with high ceilings or areas of high condensation, as well as buildings with large skylights and glass atriums. Smoke Beam Detector The Fireray One combats these issues with FFE’s patented Light Cancellation Technology™, enabling installation in places that could be exposed to increased sunlight without the fear of a false alarm. The detector is also favored by architects due to its compact design, allowing it to discreetly fit into its surroundings and maintain the building’s aesthetics. Oliver Burstall, managing director of FFE, commented: “Our experience and understanding of the industry enabled us to develop a smoke beam detector that works for both the end-user and the buildings in which it operates. Its advanced, unique features offer a simple solution to a very complex problem faced by thousands of building fire officers and architects around the world. We look forward to introducing this new product at the show and encourage attendees to visit our stand, where the Fireray One will be demonstrated.”
Almost 100 delegates attended an important seminar organized by Wessex Electricals during electrical fire safety month. The event at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium heard from Tim Bollard of NICIEC and ELECSA, the certification body for electricians. He spoke about the new wiring regulations, which come into effect on January 1, 2019 and are an important subject in the industry. Stuart Fisher, managing director of the long-standing Dorset business that is based in Shaftesbury and is part of the family-owned Wessex Group, opened proceedings. He welcomed delegates from a number of businesses, local authorities and health services. Alert Interested Parties Stuart said afterwards: “Though we are based in Shaftesbury where we were founded more than 50 years ago we work right across the south. Bournemouth’s Vitality stadium was a great venue and geographically convenient for our delegates of whom we had a great number, which reflects the general interest in the subject.” “While the wiring regulations is perhaps of little interest to most people it is hugely important in keeping them safe. The seminar was designed to alert interested parties to the changes and explain what they mean in practical terms. It is one of those subjects that effects everyone although most are not aware of it. Safety in our industry is obviously of the utmost importance and it was reassuring to see so many professionals attend the seminar.”
Security and fire systems specialist, Trigion Security Services, has bolstered its team with a new senior appointment, as the firm continues to strengthen its presence within the UK market. Richard Webster has joined Trigion as Head of Sales for the Security Services division – Trigion’s specialist manned security business. With over 30 years industry experience, Richard has held senior positions within a number of well known, and well respected regional and national security services providers. Manned security services In his new role, Richard will be responsible for developing Trigion’s core manned security services business, and will work with both new and existing clients to ensure that they receive the very highest standards of service and value. I am really looking forward to working with the Trigion team and to support our wider customer base" Richard said, “I am absolutely delighted to be joining the team at Trigion. Their approach to delivering tailored security solutions is completely aligned with my own, and we also share a combined passion for delivering first class customer service. I am really looking forward to working with the Trigion team, to support our wider customer base, as we continue our expansion throughout the UK.” Electronic fire and security systems Paul Grist, Director - UK for Trigion Security Services, said “Richard is a highly experienced professional who has an infectious, entrepreneurial style towards business development and that’s exactly what we’re looking for at Trigion. It’s an exciting time for the company, as we continue to expand, so we’re thrilled to have Richard on board to assist us in driving forward our ambitious growth plans as well as ensuring that a high-quality service continues to be delivered to our existing customers”. Trigion is one of Europe’s renowned fire and security companies, providing electronic fire and security systems, security officers, key-holding, alarm response and concierge services throughout much of continental Europe and the UK. The UK business is NSI Gold Accredited in all core disciplines and also holds full SIA accreditation. The UK business has also recently launched a new fire systems business, which offers the following extensive range of services: Fire alarm and emergency lighting installation and maintenance Active fire protection systems installation and maintenance, including sprinklers, water-mist and gaseous fire extinguishing systems Passive fire protection systems maintenance and remedial works, including fire doors, fire compartmentation and fire stopping Wet and dry riser maintenance Portable fire extinguisher installation and maintenance AOV (Automatic Opening Vent) maintenance Systems testing and commissioning Fire surveys, consultancy risk assessments and training
Kochek Company, LLC has posted on its website white papers detailing the latest independent flow test results of multiple brands of fire hose, strainers and elbows. Conducted by GBW Associates, LLC and Water Supply Innovations, LLC, test conditions were closely monitored for consistency and elimination of variables. Kochek lightweight suction hose was used as a constant in each testing category. Kochek's low level, ice, floating, box, and barrel strainers and 90° suction elbows performed at or near the top of all test subjects. Description of each test's flow speed, motor speed, and vacuum readings as well as official summaries of independent test findings may be found at Kochek’s website. Water Flow Products The latest flow testing data support fire professionals' observations of Kochek's rugged construction, reliable performance, and versatility in the field. Kochek strainers are compact and constructed of lightweight aluminum yet are durable to withstand harsh weather conditions while delivering maximum water flow. They come in sizes from 1.5” to 6” and are available in NH, Storz Camlock, connection styles. Kochek produces a full line of top performance water flow products manufactured from high quality materials engineered to exacting specifications. All Kochek products are covered by a five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
C-TEC launches a series of free CPD-certified seminar events entitled 'Fire Alarm Systems for Domestic Dwellings'. The events - to be hosted at six venues across the UK - are ideal for anyone working in the domestic fire sector including consultants, specifiers, housing associations, installers, facilities managers, building developers, landlords and more. Fire Alarm Systems The events will run from 9.45am to 2.30pm and are designed to:- Give a brief overview of how domestic and commercial fire alarm systems have developed over the years. Discuss the legislation and standards that apply to such systems and the impact they are having today. Summarise the key points of and changes to BS 5839-6 2019: The code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of domestic fire alarm systems. Explore if 'Stay Put' is still a safe policy to deploy for evacuating a building during a fire. Outline a new approach to fire alarm systems for purpose-built flats and apartments with multiple advantages that can help make strategies such as stay put/defend-in-place safer. Domestic fire detection Upon completion, attendees will receive a CPD certificate worth 3 hours of CPD points. Refreshments and a buffet lunch will be provided. Said Andy Green, C-TEC’s Marketing Manager: “Our new CPD events are suitable for anyone interested in the latest developments in domestic fire detection and alarm technology and the recent changes to BS 5839-6. Demand is expected to be high so we would advise anyone who is interested to register their interest quickly.” All of C-TEC’s CPD (Continuing Professional Development) seminars have been assessed by independent experts as being suitable for an intermediate audience meaning both novices and experienced participants are likely to benefit.
Water is key to any firefighting operation. Being able to secure an adequate water supply is critical a critical skill for all fire departments. One of the most challenging scenarios to secure a water supply in is when there is no municipal water supply, or it is lacking in volume and flow. When fires occur in these areas, the only alternative is to shuttle water from the nearest municipal supply or a static body of water. To get the highest flow possible, departments must train on shuttle setup and equipment to analyze where improvements can be made.Water supplies should be evaluated based on the largest fire hazard in the area using the source A smoothly operating high-flow water shuttle takes pre-planning and training. A goal of training is to find the bottlenecks (constraints) in the system limiting flow. The theory of constraints is an approach to process optimization use to identify bottlenecks, then eliminate the bottleneck or adjust the process to meet the speed of the bottleneck. The only way to improve the process output, in this case fireground flow rate, is by improving bottlenecks. Improving non-bottlenecks does not improve the process output. Training provides the opportunity to identify and correct bottlenecks. The following examines some common constraints of a water shuttle. Identifying A Water Source The time to identify a water source for a fill site is not when the alarm bell goes off. Water supplies identified for fill sites must be able to provide the target fill rate of 1000 gpm. Natural bodies of water must be evaluated during different times of the year This is based on the restrictions placed on ploy tanks of 100psig inlet pressure and 1000gpm inlet flow. It is possible to fill none poly tanks at faster rate if designed for it, but there are less chance for mistakes if the fill rate is standardized at 1000gpm. Along with flow, adequate volume must be available at the fill site. Water supplies should be evaluated based on the largest fire hazard in the area using the source. Another way to evaluate the minimum volume is the ISO standard. A shuttle must be able to maintain a flow of 250gpm for two hours. This requires a water source to have a minimum volume of 30,000 gallons. Natural bodies of water must be evaluated during different times of the year to make sure the minimum volume remains adequate. Data capture form to appear here! Know Your Flow Rates Normally, using a municipal hydrant system is a good choice for a fill site as it has significant water supply to support a fill site operation. A large or extended fire has the potential to deplete smaller water systems. Some hydrants easily flow over 1000gpm yet other hydrants in the same system may flows less than 1000gpm It is important to know the system capacity when using a municipal supply for tanker operations. Flow from the hydrant can be another constraint at the fill site. Some hydrants easily flow over 1000gpm yet other hydrants in the same system may flows less than 1000gpm. Knowing the flow rate of hydrants used for a fill site is a critical component of fill site pre-planning. Dry hydrants are the most efficient way to access static water supplies Static Sources And Dry Hydrants Static sources can provide a good water supply for filling tankers if the volume is adequate and there is access. Access to a static water supply can be done in several ways, pre-planning will allow the most effective and efficient means to be used when water is needed. The most efficient way to access static water supplies is by installing a dry hydrant from the water source to an area an engine can easily access.Dry hydrants minimize the equipment, time, and personnel needed to start drafting operations at the fill site Dry hydrants minimize the equipment, time, and personnel needed to start drafting operations at the fill site. If a dry hydrant is not installed, a strainer must be connected an adequate amount of suction hose to reach the water. Most engines carry two 10-foot sections of suction hose, this limits the distance between the engine and water source without collecting additional suction hose from other apparatus. The amount of suction carried on engines was tied to the limitation of motorized primers. These primers had the potential for the motor to burn out if operated for the extended period to prime more than 20 feet of 6” suction line. With the advent of air driven primers, it is possible to prime significantly more than 20 feet of 6” suction without equipment failure. If the volume is adequate, static sources can provide a good water supply for filling tankers Dump Tank And Pumps The fill rate must be reduced to allow the portable pumps to keep level of the dump tank during tanker filling Portable pumps can access water supplies that are out of reach of standard engines. Setting up a water supply with portable pumps requires a significant amount of equipment and personnel. To get the desired 1000gpm fill rate, an open relay to supply an engine is normally constructed. The dump tank(s) used for the open relay and the engine’s tank must have sufficient capacity to fill the largest tanker in the shuttle at 1000gpm. If this is not the case, the fill rate must be reduced to allow the portable pumps to keep level of the dump tank during tanker filling or add more pumps to increase the supply to the open relay. Moving The Fill Area If tanker traffic flow is smoother in an adjacent area, the fill area should be moved The physical layout of the fill site can become a bottleneck. It must be large enough to allow two tanker to be positioned for filling. Traffic cones are used to mark the spot where each tanker must stop for the fill lines to reach. If the area is overly congested with the engine and tankers, the area for filling the tankers must be moved. This is facilitated by using LDH to make the fill site remote from the fill engine. Even if the site is large enough to allow the tankers to be filled near the engine, the flow of traffic may be less than optimal. If tanker traffic flow is smoother in an adjacent area, the fill area should be moved. When designating the tanker filling areas traffic flow is a major consideration. The site should be such that no maneuvering is needed, but if it is required the tankers do so when empty. The physical layout of the fill site must be large enough to allow two tankers to be positioned for filling Tankers At The Fill Site Ideally tankers are filled with two 2 ½” or 3” lines. Some new tankers are equipped with LDH fill connection. If the plumbing downstream of the connection is large enough to support the fill rate neither of these connections will restrict fill rates.The plumbing between the hose connection and the tank is a potential for bottleneck of the goal of 1000gpm The plumbing between the hose connection and the tank is a potential for bottleneck of the goal of 1000gpm. Tankers with a single non-LDH fill connection will struggle to meet the target fill rate. This bottleneck may be difficult to overcome without major redesign of the tanker. Two Ways Lines There are two ways lines at the fill site are normally laid out: running 2 ½” or 3” lines from the individual discharges of the engine or running the 2 ½” or 3” lines from a water thief manifold fed by LDH from the engine. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Using individual discharges will require more hose to reach both fill stations. The location of the discharge may require the operator to be standing next to pressurized line. The opening and closing of the discharges will place added wear on the engine’s valves. Using two 2 ½” discharges will allow the desired fill rate of 1000gpm without overloading the capacity of each discharge. Two 2 ½” discharges will allow the desired fill rate of 1000gpm where individual discharges would require more hoses If the LDH is supplied from a 2 ½” discharge with an adapter, it is highly likely the goal of 1000gpm may not be met A water thief fed with LDH provides the option to place the fill lane and the water supply a distance apart. The water thief lets an LDH line be added to fill tankers equipped with LDH fills. The biggest disadvantage is the ability to achieve 1000gpm depending on how the LDH is fed. Engines with true LDH discharges will not have an issue supplying the LDH at 1000gpm. On the other hand, if the LDH is supplied from a 2 ½” discharge with an adapter, it is highly likely the goal of 1000gpm may not be met. This situation can be improved by using a siemese or trimese to feed the LDH for multiple 2 ½” discharges on the engine. Many factors go into selecting the best fill site configuration for a department, it is critical to train and test in order to determine what is most effective and efficient for your department. Manifold systems being set up and operated Choose The Right Place For A Dump Site The dump site is the equivalent to a fire hydrant, except it takes a larger footprint and can be placed where it will provide the best benefit to the fire ground. This might mean setting the dump site a distance from the fire ground and supplying the attack engine using LDH.Tankers must be able to maintain a steady flow through dump site without unneeded maneuvering It is more important placing the dump site where the best flow of tankers can be obtained. Tankers must be able to maintain a steady flow through dump site without unneeded maneuvering. Setting up a dump site in an intersection provides additional room to keep things moving at the dump site. Dump tanks impact the overall flow of the shuttle in several ways including footprint and capacity. Real estate is a precious commodity at a dumpsite. It may be necessary to place the dump site a distance from the fireground to have enough room to set up tanks and provide a smooth flow of traffic. The larger the tank capacity, the larger the footprint. Sometimes the tank can be wider than the road, for example a 3000-gallon tank is 14’x14’. This presents a problem when trying to setup on a narrow country road or a congested city street. A solution to this is using the single lane style tank that is 8’x14’ for 2100-gallons and fits nicely in front of or behind the supply engine. Larger tanks also leave more water in the bottom once the limits of the low-level strainer is reached. Tankers maintaining a steady flow through the dump site without unneeded maneuvering Single Or Multiple Dump Tanks? Using multiple dump tanks increases the flow at the fireground, but requires transferring the water from the secondary to the primary tank There must be enough space at the dump site to add dump tanks should additional capacity be needed. If there is no place for tankers to dump, tankers will back up waiting for room in the tank. The easiest way to maintain flow is adding an additional dump tank. Not only must the area have room to add additional tanks once available, the tanks must be spaced out to allow two tankers to dump at the same time. This will increase the flow of the shuttle by keeping tankers moving and putting more water at the dump site. The space also provides a safe area for fire fighter working at the dump site. Using multiple dump tanks is needed to increase the flow at the fireground, but it requires some method of transferring the water from the secondary tanks to the primary tank. This has the potential to create several bottlenecks. For efficiency, water should always be transferred from the secondary tank to the primary tank. Ladders can be used as a bridge over the middle tank to run the transfer hose over to the primary tank When there is another tank between the secondary and primary tank there is the temptation to flow water into the middle tank before going to the primary tank. This is extremely inefficient. A ladder can be used as a bridge over the middle tank to run the transfer hose over. This allow the secondary tanks to have roughly the same available capacity when tankers dump which is important when dumping more than one tanker at a time.A ladder can be used as a bridge over the middle tank to run the transfer hose over. Appropriate Use Of Jet Siphons Jet siphons are commonly used to transfer water into the primary tank from secondary tanks. Along with transferring water between tanks, it is possible to us multiple intakes form the pump going to secondary tanks. Multiple dump tanks require multiple jet-siphons to transfer water to the primary tanks. Each jet siphon requires water from the engine to drive it. Jet siphons can take up to 300gpm each to transfer water at rates over 750gpm. Jet siphons require water from the engine to drive it and can take up to 300gpm each to transfer water Dump sites are tight, while we may want to bring in a second engine to transfer water it just will not fit most of the time The water used to drive the jet-siphons takes away from the pump capacity available to supply the fire ground. With a 1250gpm engine at the dumpsite, using a single jet siphon has the potential to reduce the available capacity of the pump to 950gpm. One way to address this problem is by testing jet siphons to determine the most efficient ones in inventory. The other way is by using a secondary pump to transfer water. Dump sites are tight, while we may want to bring in a second engine to transfer water it just will not fit most of the time. This is when small grass trucks and portable pumps come into play. Both options take up much less room than a full-size engine. Most small pumps have the capacity to drive jet-siphon. It is important to train with this setup to insure the pump can adequately drive the jet-siphons. Use The Strainer Correctly One thing many people fail to recognize as a bottleneck is the low-level strainer. The strainer that has been on the truck for decades is viewed as being fine, it has always worked. In reality, old low-level strainers were designed and optimized at a time when 750 and 1000gpm pumps were the norm, not the 1250gpm and up pumps in use today. An old strainer with a front intake can restrict the pump capacity to less than 50% Couple an old strainer with a front intake as we had at a recent drill, and the pump was restricted to less than 50% capacity Couple an old strainer with a front intake as we had at a recent drill, and the pump was restricted to less than 50% capacity. Fortunately, there a new design strainer was available which allowed the pump to reach 80% capacity. While flow is important when evaluating a low-level strainer, how low the water can be pulled before taking in air is also a primary consideration. A strainer that flows over 1500gpm but leaves 12” of water in the bottom of the tank will eventually cause a bottleneck in the shuttle. There needs to be a balance between maximum flow and maximum extraction capability when evaluating strainers. Old low-level strainers were designed and optimized at a time when 750 and 1000gpm pumps were the norm Supply Engine At The Dump Site The engine with the largest pump must be the supply engine at the dump site Depending on the design, the engine can be the bottleneck to the flow available to fireground. The engine with the largest pump must be the supply engine at the dump site. Even though the largest pump is used, the available flow can be reduced depending on which intake is used. For mid-mount pumps, the side intake provides the highest flow as the water goes directly into the pump. It is common for engines with mid-mount pumps to have front and/or rear intakes. Using these inlets at the dump site allows the engine to be in line with the dump tanks to create a lower profile but this come at a cost. It is common for engines with mid-mount pumps to have front intakes Another solution is using a 90-degree elbow from the side intake to go to the front or rear of the engineThese inlets will provide less than the rated capacity of the pump due to additional losses in the plumbing. Front intakes can restrict the capacity around 50% while the rear intakes can cause a restriction of 25% or more. A solution to this is bending the suction hose from the side to the front or rear, but this will use an entire section of hose just for the bend. Another solution is using a 90-degree elbow from the side intake to go to the front or rear of the engine. Elbows with a large radius provide minimal impact to the capacity of the pump and does not waste a section of suction for the bend. Rear intakes can cause a restriction of 25% or more and a solution to this is bending the suction hose from the side Stationary Tankers Can Be A Problem A line of tankers waiting to dump points to the dumpsite as the bottleneckA stationary tanker is an indication of a bottleneck in the system. Where the tankers are standing still points to the location of the bottleneck. If they are waiting to get filled, the bottleneck is the fill site. A line of tankers waiting to dump points to the dumpsite as the bottleneck. This might mean establishing a second fill site or adding a tank at the dumpsite. Running out of water at the dump site means there is a bottleneck somewhere, if tankers are moving there are not enough for the length of the shuttle route. High-flow shuttles requires continuous evaluation to key water flowing smoothly and make adjustments when needed. As your tanker shuttle is examined in detail other bottlenecks may present themselves. The ones presented here are the more common ones departments have experienced. In order to identify and fix bottleneck, shuttle training on a regular basis is a must. Once a year is the minimum. The more you can train with all the departments that would be involved in your water shuttle the better. Tools to help plan and determine the flow rate of your water shuttle can be found at Ohio Fire Chiefs Water Supply Technical Advisory Committee.
The original fire suppression agent has always been, of course, water. In the age of sail, it was ideal. Not so with the advent of the combustion engine, however. When applied to burning petroleum, the fire spreads. It also simply destroys electronics. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Halon derivatives were the first widely used commercial fire suppression solutions, gaining popularity in the 1950s and '60s. Unlike water, they were highly effective, electrically non-conductive and didn't leave any residue. As compressed gases, storage wasn't a major issue. Unfortunately, Halon was found to be a high ozone depleting chemical; as a result, production was banned in 1990. Evolution Of Fire Suppression Systems Ideal for marine applications, HFC227 is fast, effective and clean With the sunsetting of Halon and the search for alternatives, CO2 gained prominence. However, it has three significant drawbacks: it's a greenhouse gas, requires a large number of cylinders and is potentially fatal if breathed at design concentrations. In the 1990s, HFCs rose to dominance as a fire suppression solution. Ideal for marine applications, HFC227 is fast, effective and clean. Like Halon and CO2, however, it's a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming. Discharging an average-sized cylinder of HFC227 has the same CO2 equivalent as driving a car 268,760 kilometers. This is why it is being eliminated as part of a phased-down mandate from the EU, and restricted or taxed by various countries such as Australia and Norway. It is expected that similar legislation will begin to affect Canada and US-flagged vessels. Environmental Profile Of HFCs In 2002, 3M introduced Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid. It offers a number of important advantages over other clean agents in marine fire suppression applications. It has low acute toxicity and high extinguishing efficiency. This gives it a wide margin of safety compared to other chemical clean agents such as HFC227. A fluid, it vaporizes rapidly during discharge, is non-corrosive, non-conductive and leaves no residue. It is, importantly, a long-term, sustainable solution with virtually zero global warming potential, e.g., it has an atmospheric life of about a week versus HFC227's 34 years. So confident is 3M of its product, it offers its BlueSkySM Warranty; if it is ever banned or restricted from use due to its environmental properties, the company will refund the cost of the fluid. Unlike CO2, a gas, Novec 1230 fluid can be flown to the vessel or platform allowing less downtime waiting for supplies to arrive by ground For the marine and offshore oil and gas industries, Novec 1230 fluid offers distinct advantages. Because it's a fluid, recharging is simple. Unlike CO2, a gas, it can be flown to the vessel or platform. This means less downtime waiting for supplies to arrive by ground. It also takes up significantly less space. Recently, Sea-Fire Europe ceased distribution of HFC227. The move was strategic and ethical, given the environmental profile of HFCs. Novec 1230 Fluid For Recreational Marine Market With the phase-down of HFCs, supplies are running out. This means in the immediate future there will be a serious inability to service systems. Also, with shortages beginning, costs are rising, making the switch to Novec 1230 fluid a smart move financially. While 3M will obviously benefit from this, the real winner here is our planet and the people we share it with" Sea-Fire recognizes that it may lose business in the short term as boat and shipbuilders continue to choose HFC-based fire systems strictly based on cost alone. But, ultimately, eliminating the use of hydrofluorocarbons is the right thing to do for the marine industry as a whole. As the first manufacturer to introduce Novec 1230 fluid into the recreational marine market in 2012, Sea-Fire is fully prepared for the phase-out of HFCs. Benefitting The Marine Industry "As a corporation, 3M is committed to improving every life," said David Olds, 3M account executive for fire suppression applications. "Sea-Fire Europe made a difficult decision when announcing it would cease distribution of HFC227. While 3M will obviously benefit from this, the real winner here is our planet and the people we share it with." Sea-Fire Marine has long held the belief that it is in the business of protecting people and property at sea. With its recent declaration that its master European distributor Sea-Fire Europe is ending distribution of HFC-based fire suppression fluids, it can add the environment to its list.
While whole room protection – sprinklers or gas systems – is a common choice, there is an argument for thinking smaller; taking fire detection and suppression down to the equipment, enclosures and even the components where a fire is most likely to start. Traditional Fire Suppression Methods A traditional water-based sprinkler system is the most common form of fire protection found in commercial and industrial buildings. They offer reasonable cost, large area protection for entire facilities, safeguarding the structure and personnel by limiting the spread and impact of a fire. Every square foot of the protected area is covered equally regardless of the contents of the space, whether it’s an empty floor or an object with an increased risk of fire. Sprinklers aren’t always the most appropriate choice. Not all fires are extinguished by water of course, and in some cases, water damage can be just as harmful or even more so than the fire. They are an impractical choice for instance for facilities housing anything electrical, such as data centres and server rooms. There is also the risk of accidental activation, with an estimated cost of up to $1,000 for every minute they are left running. Water damage can be just as harmful or even more so than any fire, so sprinklers may not be appropriate Targeted Supplementary Fire Suppression An alternative method to protect whole server rooms and data centres is gas fire suppression, which either suppresses the fire by displacing oxygen (inert) or by using a form of cooling mechanism (chemical/synthetic). These aren’t without risk; in the case of inert gas, oxygen is reduced to less than 15% to suffocate the fire, but must be kept above 12% to avoid endangering the lives of personnel. Similarly, clean agent gas can be toxic in high doses. There are smaller, focused systems that give the option of highly targeted supplementary fire suppression within fire risk areas. Installing a system directly into the areas most at risk, means that fires can be put out before they take hold and cause serious damage. Both sprinkler and gas systems can contain a fire, but micro-environment or closed space systems are completely automatic, detecting and suppressing the fire so rapidly that activating a sprinkler or gas total flooding system often isn’t necessary. The most popular enclosure fire suppression systems achieve this though the use of a flexible and durable polymer tubing that is routed easily through the tightest spaces. The tubing is extremely sensitive to heat and, because it can be placed so close to potential failure points, detects it and releases the fire suppression agent up to ten times faster than traditional systems. An airline was forced to cancel over 2,000 flights after a “small fire” in one of its data centers Cost-Effective Fire Protection Highly customizable, small enclosure fire suppression is specifically designed to protect business critical spaces and equipment. It is typically used inside machinery like CNC machines, mobile equipment like forklifts and inside server rooms and electrical cabinetry but is suitable for any hazard that’s considered to have an elevated fire risk. Some may question the need or cost-effectiveness of protecting micro-environments. However, examples abound of where fires that have started at component level have gone on to cause damage of the highest magnitude, and the cost of downtime can be crippling to many time-sensitive facilities and processes. An airline was forced to cancel over 2,000 flights in August 2016 when what was described as a “small fire” in one of its data centers ultimately led to a computer outage. The cost of that small fire, and the domino effect that quickly escalated from it, has since been announced as $150m. Admittedly that number is unusually high - the average cost of a data centre outage today is estimated at a more conservative $730,000 – but this is still an expense businesses can ill afford. Preventing Major Losses Staying with the transport industry, newer metros systems have redundant systems in place to prevent interruptions. However, older metro lines, such as the one in New York City, have experienced electrical fires that started small, but grew to such a magnitude that service was affected for months.Older metro lines, such as New York City's, have experience electrical fires that start small but grew exponentially A wind energy customer experienced a fire in a turbine converter cabinet. The loss of the cabinet was valued at over $200,000 and disabled the turbine for six weeks. Following investment in fire suppression systems inside the electrical cabinet, a subsequent fire was detected and suppressed before major damage could be caused. The cost on this occasion was therefore limited to a $25,000 component and downtime was less than two days.Equally - happily - there are also many instances where the installation of small enclosure fire suppression has prevented disaster. In the manufacturing world, CNC machines are valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars and need to be constantly operational to justify the investment. Oil coolant used in the machines can create a flash fire in an instant due to failed components or programming errors. The fact that many of these facilities are run ‘lights out’ with no personnel present further exacerbates the risk. If a fire is not dealt with immediately, the machine will be destroyed; sprinklers don’t react quickly enough for this scenario and would be ineffective. Ensuring Business Continuity One such flash fire occurred inside a protected CNC machine at a machine shop in Iowa. The polymer tubing ruptured within a fraction of a second, releasing the suppression agent and extinguishing the flames. The machine was undamaged and was operational again with a few hours. Contrast this to a previous fire at the same facility in an unprotected machine; it was out of operation for 4 days, costing the business thousands of dollars in downtime In short, fire protection is an essential element of our industrial and commercial environments to ensure both safety and business continuity. However, the nature of that protection is changing, as capacity increases to cost-effectively protect specific areas where fires are most likely to start. Risk mitigation analysis needs to look beyond what has been accepted in the past and find ways to further limit the impact of a small fire using this next level of protection. The benefits can really have a positive effect on the bottom line in the event of fire.
One lesson of Grenfell is how many fire system technicians operate without the appropriate qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications, and for industry to implement a system in which clients and end users can be assured that operatives are fully competent. Another lesson is that fire service audits of buildings are no longer fit for purpose. For instance, the current system does not require proof that a fire system was installed by a “competent person.” Fire safety in commercial buildings “The general public would be horrified to learn that someone can fit a fire safety system in a commercial building without any proper qualifications or licence,” says Tom Brookes, Managing Director of Lindum Fire Services Ltd., former Chairman of the British Fire Consortium (BFC), and current Chairman of the Fire and Security Association. When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game" “When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game,” says Brookes. “Some larger companies are upskilling their staff and moving towards formal qualifications. If small- and medium-sized enterprises do not follow suit, they will fall behind and may be excluded from the marketplace altogether.” Working Group 2 on installer competence Working Group 2 on installer competence was established after the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report last year, under the joint leadership of Build UK and the Fire Sector Federation. The group has discussed extensively the need for systems engineers to be suitably qualified and able to demonstrate their competence. “In my opinion, there is too much focus on rival competency schemes rather than overall industry outcomes, which somewhat muddies the waters,” says Brookes. “However, one thing that has become crystal clear is that all fire and emergency systems engineers will likely need to hold a Level 3 qualification in the future.” Training provided BFC, FIA and IFEDA Although quality training is provided through the British Fire Consortium (BFC), Fire Industry Association (FIA), Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association (IFEDA) and others, historically there have been no Ofqual-approved qualifications for the fire sector. (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation [Ofqual] is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests.) Changes are afoot, however. In England, the Fire, Emergency Systems and Security trailblazer apprenticeship attracted around 300 new starts last year. The FIA have replaced their 20-year-old training programmes with a new system that will enable technicians who complete the series to achieve their Level 3 qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification The awarding organization EAL are launching a BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification in August 2019. This will allow previously trained engineers to sit an exam and gain a Level 3 award demonstrating up-to-date knowledge. Practical skills testing for more experienced technicians, outside of an apprenticeship, is something FSA are currently working hard on with partners including ECA, NET and ECS. “Our aim is for a few options to become available for operatives to gain some sort of practical competence certification,” says Brookes. “More technological solutions are now being considered for competency evaluation, such as uploading video assessments of candidates to a portal for assessors. This is already used for some NVQ type assessments and widely used in the USA. It may be just what our sector needs at this moment in time.” 'Accountable Person' role Latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings The latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings called the “Accountable Person.” This person will have a legal responsibility to ensure people working on systems are competent. While only for high rise and high-risk buildings, like all developments, it will likely spread throughout the sector. “For as long as I have been in the fire industry trade bodies have called upon the fire authorities and Government to legislate to stop unskilled workers installing and maintaining fire safety equipment,” says Brookes. He notes that both independent third-party certification of businesses and CSCS partner card schemes like ECS for individuals are voluntary arrangements. To date, neither Government nor fire services insist either scheme is used by a fire protection company. “If, heaven forbid, we witnessed another tragedy like Grenfell tomorrow, sadly I suspect the outcome would be very much the same,” says Brookes. “However, looking further ahead, I am confident buildings will be safer once new legislation comes into force and effectively eliminates the threat of incompetent and unqualified fire and emergency system engineers.”
For the last 200 years, firefighters have been using inefficient manual methods to track their crews’ movement. Incident commanders need to know the location and status of responders on site. Technology adds a new element to tracking crews’ movements. Firefighters on scene can now be electronically tracked to ensure they are rotated out of danger before their allotted time expires. The officer in charge – standing outside the scene with the rugged tablet in hand – can monitor how much air is left in each tank, determine if a firefighter is in trouble, and issue an order to evacuate an individual or entire team. Situational Awareness The public safety sector has been at the forefront of using real-time data to enhance productivity and shorten response times, says Alex Cooper, Director of Public Sector Strategy and Market Development, Zebra Technologies. The first – and perhaps most important – goal of using real-time data has been to keep law enforcement, EMS, and fire and rescue teams safe while simultaneously protecting the people and interests of the communities they serve. Intelligence is increasingly driving new capabilities among first responders and in business Better preparedness and situational awareness are contingent on the availability and proper utilization of real-time data. Real-life emergency response demands real-time data sharing, whether via dispatch communications or jurisdiction-wide records systems, Cooper says. Intelligence is increasingly driving new capabilities among first responders and in business. Complex Public Demands Enterprises today are focused on intelligently connecting their assets, data and people in collaborative mobile workflows, leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced networks, machine learning and the cloud. Innovation is exploding at ‘the edge,’ where employees make real-time decisions and interact directly with the people they serve. When organizations lack visibility into the movement of assets, they risk inefficient utilization of resources, growing safety concerns, and the inability to react to heightened customer demands, says Cooper. “Many of these risks apply directly to the public sector, as agencies deploy advanced technologies to meet increasingly complex public demands for results and behaviors, often in budget-constrained environments,” he adds. Today’s first responders are more reliant on mobile technologies to increase their situational awareness Fire And Rescue Agencies Successful first responder operations require the availability and proper utilization of real-time data during dispatch, incident response, restoration and investigations. Public safety employees can leverage intelligent devices that support an array of mobile workflows. “Today’s first responders – though highly skilled at their jobs – are more reliant on mobile technologies to increase their situational awareness and safety levels,” says Cooper. “Fire and rescue agencies just can’t afford to continue investing in multiple, ‘single-purpose’ technologies for each of their operating locations.” Technology investments must be vetted in the field to ensure there are tangible benefits which can be weighed against the total cost of ownership, adds Cooper. “It can be difficult to measure the benefit of safety in a traditional ROI model, but its value is unquestioned,” he says. “Ultimately, it’s up to agency leadership to determine which investments should be prioritized.” Lower-Cost Devices “Though there are multiple factors creating obstacles, I believe the biggest one currently is tied to a cost vs. value understanding,” says Cooper. “Many state and local government agencies still utilize a procurement model that favors ‘best price.’ The upfront sticker price does not accurately reflect the total cost of ownership (TCO).” Cooper says another obstacle is seamlessly integrating intelligence into public safety workflows, in a way that is actionable but not disruptive. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the capabilities and cost of purpose-built solutions “This requires the right combination of applications, analytics, connectivity and user equipment,” he says. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the capabilities and cost of purpose-built solutions. Many consumer device manufacturers are marketing their mobile devices as ‘rugged,’ so public sector organizations with tight budgets may presume these lower-cost devices will be sufficient. First Responder Actions But, being waterproof or dustproof does not by itself make a device suitable for public safety use. “You have to consider the overall performance, connectivity, security and manageability capabilities of the solution, as this will ultimately be used to capture the raw data that feeds back-end intelligence systems, which will guide first responder actions at the edge,” says Cooper. “Agencies need to be confident that the solutions they invest in will run critical software, interoperate with in-vehicle electronics and provide real-time information for immediate intelligence that enhances situational awareness while strengthening communication and collaboration within and between agencies during emergency response and management operations,” Cooper says. “The best way to accomplish this is to get input and buy-in from procurement and IT decision-makers, as well as end-users and agency leadership including chiefs and commanders. It’s important to take the time to field test solutions to ensure they will be scalable and compatible with future IT architectures.”
The dangers of firefighting make it unfriendly to the concept of the learning curve. Before they put their lives on the line, firefighters should have knowledge and experience. But gaining knowledge and experience in the firefighting environment presents its own dangers. Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging tool for training in the fire service. Recreating the firefighting experience realistically in a virtual world is a useful – and safer – alternative to on-the-job training. It is also less expensive than some other training options, such as recreation of realistic fire rescue scenarios. “For a situation when someone’s life would be in danger, a virtual reality experience can enable them to practice in the safety of their own environments,” says Michael Schreiner, Senior Director of Content for Target Solutions, which is developing VR training for firefighters. “In real life, the building would be on fire and they would have to make life-or-death decisions. With virtual reality, firefighters can make a mistake about how to attack a fire without putting themselves in danger.”With virtual reality, firefighters can make a mistake about how to attack a fire without putting themselves in danger.” Virtual Reality Firefighter Training Target Solutions, a brand of Vector Solutions, Tampa, Florida, has partnered with Pasco County (Fla.) Fire Rescue to develop a lifelike 360-degree VR “smoke reading” training course. Creating the course involved a 360-degree Virtual Reality video shoot using drone technology to film actual firefighters training in real-life simulations. The video was created with expert help from consultants and field insights from subject matter experts, fire service instructors, and paramedics. Learners using the course wear VR goggles and are immersed in a virtual environment where they will receive instruction on how to read smoke and to decide how to attack a fire based on what the smoke tells them. Reading smoke involves judging the color, volume, density and rate of rise. For example, the seat of a fire tends to produce smoke that is thick and dark and has a high rate of rise; in contrast, smoke elsewhere is a burning building might be light and wispy. Firefighters have to make split-second decisions based on the appearance of smoke, and deciding wrong can have dire consequences. Another benefit of virtual reality in firefighter training is lower costs Making Better Decisions The 12-minute-or-so smoke reading “micro-course” uses a story-based approach to emphasize the emotional elements of decision-making. Schreiner says people learn best when emotions are tied into the learning. Elements of the training scenario include exposition, rising action, a crisis and a resolution. Unrelenting “heartbeat” sounds promote a sense of urgency. The course then evaluates whether a learner made the right decision. The course can be practiced over and over. The idea is for firefighters to develop “muscle memory” to make better decisions under pressure in a real fire rescue situation. Vector Solutions chose shooting a video for a real-world effect over computer-generated graphics, which are more expensive but less realistic. For the video training, smoke graphic effects were added in post-production. Lower Training Costs The idea is for firefighters to develop “muscle memory” to make better decisions under pressure in a real situation Another benefit of virtual reality in firefighter training is lower costs. The training session used to shoot the 360-degree video cost around $20,000, which is typical of similar training exercises. Mobilizing a ladder truck, two fire trucks, a fire rescue truck and commander’s vehicles are all part of the costs, as are the costs (including overtime) of 13 firefighters taking part in the exercise. VR is a relatively new learning tool, and Schreiner says feedback from the market will make it clear how effective it is. “We can immerse a person in a situation and it’s a safe environment, but we have to let our learners tell us how effective it is,” he says. “We will get feedback from learners and training administration. It’s another tool in the toolbox, but it will not totally replace real-life training.” VR Training For Dangerous Professions Schreiner says VR is a huge training opportunity for any type of dangerous profession, whether construction workers operating on scaffolding, or educators in an active shooter situation. “Where safety is a risk, VR will really start taking off,” he says. Almost 6,000 clients across the United States use Target Solutions training products, including courses that are specific to the fire service, such as "Cancer Related Risks of Firefighting."
The Secaucus Fire Department, located in Hudson County, New Jersey, placed a 28-foot Lake Assault Boats firefighting and rescue craft into service earlier this summer. The department’s firefighting and emergency response area includes a large portion of the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers (and their 28 bridges) that empty into Newark Bay and the Hudson River. Firefighting and recue craft “We’re located in a somewhat landlocked part of the river system, so our new fireboat has to be versatile and self-sustaining in case of a major incident,” said Fire Chief Carl Leppin, a 22-year veteran of the department and chief since 2014. “With help from Lake Assault Boats, we were able to customize the design to meet our needs. And their response to requests, and overall excellent customer service, are very important to us.” The Secaucus Fire Department is a member of the New York and New Jersey Regional Fireboat Taskforce The Secaucus Fire Department is a member of the New York and New Jersey Regional Fireboat Taskforce, comprised of 12 fire departments, including FDNY and the U.S. Coast Guard. This is the first fireboat taskforce of its kind in the country, and its combined team protects over 50 miles of New Jersey shoreline containing transportation hubs, transfer facilities, manufacturing plants, and other critical infrastructure. Critical emergency response “We’re thrilled to have one of our craft serving with the Secaucus Fire Department on such a critically important waterway,” said Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats vice president of operations. “This custom engineered vessel features fast response combined with capabilities to address a wide range of emergency scenarios.” The boat’s landing craft style hull sports a 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door (with an integrated ladder for diver re-entry) and flat tread areas for ATV deployment. The boat also features a clear opening dive door, swimmer’s grab rails, a davit crane, and a floating stokes basket for faster patient retrieval from the water. It is powered by twin 350 hp outboards that enable the boat to reach 50 miles per hour in open water conditions. infrared FLIR video camera The full-width, fully enclosed pilothouse is located mid-ship with deck space both on the fore and shaft. The vessel is equipped with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRNE) positive pressure defense capabilities. The helm station carries controls for both fire pump and monitor controls, as well as two 12-inch touchscreens with GPS, Sonar with SideVu and DownVu, chart plotting, and a roof-mounted forward looking infrared (FLIR) video camera. The new craft has greatly improved our response capabilities in our protection area" The boat’s draft is just 28 inches when the motor is trimmed up and 32 inches when trimmed down, an important consideration for the department. “The department’s previous boat needed a full five feet of draft to safely maneuver, so our new boat can reach much closer to shore in low tide situations – and that’s a huge benefit. Our team loves the new craft,” Chief Leppin added. warning lights and fire pump For its firefighting operations, the boat is outfitted with a 1500 gpm fire pump powered by a dedicated 350 hp marinized V-8 engine. The craft features deck and bow mounted monitors, a foam system, and a five-inch large diameter hose discharge to support ground based firefighting operations. Other notable features include a full complement of LED floodlights, warning lights, scene lights, and remote-controlled spotlights. “We applied for a Federal FEMA Port Security Grant three years in a row, and this year we were approved,” added Chief Leppin. “We received help from the Mayor Gonnelli, the Town Council, Congressman Pascrel, and the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the grant process, and are grateful for their support. The new craft has greatly improved our response capabilities in our protection area.”
A new addition to the Red Funnel Ferries fleet of passenger catamarans that criss-cross the Solent between Southampton and the Isle of Wight entered service in summer 2018. With a speed of 38 knots, Red Jet 7 is 41 meters long and holds 277 passengers and four crew. As a new-build vessel, the advanced design for the fire protection had to undergo a stringent approval process to comply with the Marine Equipment Directive (MED) prior to installation by SEC Marine from Southampton. Fire Detection System More than 30 multisensor detectors from the Apollo Discovery Marine range were supplied for Red Jet 7 The modern catamaran received a state-of-the-art fire detection system from Apollo, designed and commissioned by Fireboy-Xintex UK Operations Ltd. The ideal solution for medium and large nautical installations, Discovery Marine has the flexibility to manage different operating environments via interchangeable devices and modes. More than 30 multisensor detectors from the Apollo Discovery Marine range were supplied for Red Jet 7, supported by a Kentec panel. Similar to an optical detector, the Discovery multisensor detector accommodates an optical smoke sensor and a thermistor temperature sensor whose outputs are combined to give the final analog value. Robert Aldous, Managing Director of Fireboy said: “Apollo has worked with us on the specific challenges of nautical fire protection for many years. In our opinion, Discovery Marine is the ONLY choice for new-build fire protection systems. The different devices, all manufactured to the highest standard, give our clients peace of mind on reliability and performance.”
Correctional facilities in California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania are implementing aspirating smoke-detection technology for fire protection. This advanced technology not only provides faster, more sophisticated smoke detection, but eliminates several costly and troublesome operational issues associated with traditional induct smoke detectors. In-duct smoke detectors are prone to accumulate dirt and dust, particularly in inmate housing areas. Because these particles can be mistakenly interpreted as smoke, it can trigger recurring false alarms. To resolve this, costly ongoing maintenance is required to access and clean each detector, a process that must be repeated when the build-up occurs again. Fire Alarm System A large number of false alarms can be triggered when accumulated dust and dirt cover the sensors" In some facilities, the dust and dirt may be so severe that nuisance alarms are ignored, even disconnected. In others, maintenance can become backlogged. “Among traditional in-duct smoke-detection systems, a large number of false alarms can be triggered when accumulated dust and dirt cover the sensors,” says Queen Gonzalez, whose Southern California-based fire and life safety solutions company won the bid to install an aspirating smoke-detection system in the Kern Valley State Prison. Gonzalez said the project at the facility in Delano, California, involved replacing cell exhaust, duct-mounted smoke detectors with an advanced aspirating smoke-detection system in an inmate housing unit. This involved approximately 16 pods, with 64 cells per pod— nearly 1,024 cells. The aspirating smoke detection equipment chosen for the project was the VESDA-E VEA fire alarm system manufactured by Xtralis. Smoke-Detection Systems Aspirating smoke-detection systems draw in air through small flexible tubing secured in air ducts. The air is analyzed continuously for the presence of minute smoke particles, using sophisticated laser-based technology at a central unit located within 300 feet. A single system supports up to 40 sample points, and can be extended to 120 if needed. As a multi-channel, addressable system, the central unit can pinpoint the exact location of the alarm. This enhances safety by speeding detection, investigation, fire suppression, security management, and evacuation— if necessary. Furthermore, the system offers earlier detection than photoelectric technology detectors, and has the ability to detect minor particles in the air much faster, even before a fire begins to flame and burn. For the project, 32 of the central units were used in a secure mechanical space behind the cells. In-Duct Smoke Detectors Inmates can even block ducts so in-duct smoke detectors will not work" According to Gonzalez, the installation is relatively simple. After each existing smoke detector is removed, tubing connected to air sampling points takes its place. This involves running tubing in the return air chase above the cells. The tubing, suspended on hooks, drops off into each individual duct. Another benefit of the system is that it can effectively deter inmate tampering. “If there is a way for inmates to tamper with smoke detectors, they will,” Gonzalez says. “Inmates can even block ducts so in-duct smoke detectors will not work. Any system installed must be as tamperproof as possible.” To deter vandalism, the system will send a fault signal indicating the air flow is blocked in the event an inmate is able to cover a duct or sampling point. “Even if (inmates) could see the air sampling point, they would have no clue what it is because it is so small and looks nothing like a standard smoke detector,” Gonzalez said. Reducing Nuisance Alarms Correction industry leaders also appreciate the very low maintenance required for aspirating smoke detection systems. The aspirating tubes are self-cleaning and detect any blockages or breaks in the tubing. Even if dirt, dust, or lint enters the tubing system, the filters for all sampling points are at the central unit in a restricted area. The aspirating tubes are self-cleaning and detect any blockages or breaks in the tubing Cleaning the filters takes only about a minute, so there is no need for maintenance personnel to crawl into ducts to clean the detectors. The system not only stops false alarms due to dust or dirt contamination of sensors, but can distinguish between smoke, fire, and other airborne contaminants, which further reduces nuisance alarms. Minimizing False Alarms Annual inspections by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are also simplified. Unlike traditional smoke alarms, these systems do not require testing of each sample point annually at its location in the duct. Instead, the tests can be conducted at the central unit. Whether correctional facilities aim to minimize false alarms and maintenance or to improve safety and security, aspirating smoke-detection systems are gaining favor over traditional systems. “There is increasing interest in this technology, and it will only grow as more correctional facilities, engineers, and architects become aware of its benefits,” Gonzalez says.
Nittan Europe, UK manufacturer of conventional and addressable fire detection products and systems, has had its Evolution analog addressable fire detection system installed into St. Nicholas Church in Bristol. The system was supplied and commissioned by Coomber Fire and Security Systems who are a Nittan Elite Partner and BAFE SP203-1 & SP101 accredited. Grade II listed, St Nicholas Church was built in 1769, although the crypt dates back to medieval times. St. Nicholas has always played an important role in Bristol, whether it be for worship, providing shelter during WWII or, more recently, home to Bristol City Council tourist office and archive. The church was reopened in 2018 as a center for worship, mission and social engagement continuing this legacy of being a church ‘in the city, for the city’. Fire Detection System To protect this much-loved building, a Nittan Evolution analog addressable fire detection system has been installed throughout, featuring 51 devices including detectors and beam detectors, call points and high output sounder beacons. Coomber Fire and Security Systems is the independent fire and security installer in Somerset Coomber Fire and Security Systems is the largest independent fire and security installer in Somerset. It has extensive experience in fire detection systems for churches and chose Nittan for this project based on the reliability and quality of its Evolution range combined with the increased loop voltage which allows for longer cable runs; ‘ideal in an old church of this size’ states Adam Pitman, Senior Fire Systems Engineer, Coomber Fire and Security Systems. Adam also has praise for Nittan’s service: “Exceptional service as always!” Unwanted False Alarms Evolution is Nittan’s advanced, premium fire system. Evolution uses ASIC technology in the sensors and sophisticated detection algorithms, combining extremely reliable fire detection together with a very high degree of protection against unwanted false alarms. Its advanced, highly flexible protocol allows for substantial amounts of information to be transmitted at high speed and is not affected by the number of devices on the loop. Coomber Security is an expert in fire protection for commercial and industrial applications. They supply, install, commission and maintain, analog and conventional fire alarm systems as well as extinguishers and emergency lighting. Coomber Security has a dedicated team of BAFE accredited engineers to install our whole range of fire prevention systems.
Apollo Fire Detectors’ innovative SOTERIA range of detectors has been chosen to protect the prestigious Darrick Wood School in Orpington, Kent. The school is rated by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ and achieved the ‘World Class Schools Quality Mark in’ 2015. The fire detection system was upgraded as part of a wider program of works which saw the school invest in a new dining hall, a Movement & Performing Arts Building with specialist Drama and Music rooms and new PE changing rooms. Many of these new buildings encompass large open areas with high ceilings and interconnected spaces, which presented a challenge for the project’s fire detection system designer, Triple Star Fire & Security Ltd. Students and staff security Built in 1975, Darrick Wood School has been extended over the years and the existing fire detection system was in need of an upgrade. The installation of a brand new system to protect the pupils, staff and visitors using the most recently added school buildings provided an opportunity to upgrade some parts of the existing system. The existing and new fire systems will be fully integrated to ensure compatibility across the school. The existing and new fire systems will be fully integrated to ensure compatibility across the school To avoid any disruption to pupils and staff during term time, all installation and upgrade work on the systems took place during the school holidays. Advanced fire detection system The main building contractor, Ammcass Group, appointed local experts Triple Star Fire & Security Ltd to design and install the state-of-the-art fire detection system, which is based on Apollo’s award-winning SOTERIA range of detectors. Explaining the choices made at Darrick Wood School, Daren Pool, Managing Director of Triple Star, said “SOTERIA was the ideal product for this large school. With this advanced technology available, we were able to offer superior reliability of detection and reduction of false alarms – exactly the features required in this environment.” Apollo SOTERIA fire detectors Up to 100 Apollo SOTERIA devices, including manual call points and interfaces, were fitted at Darrick Wood, along with bells and strobes designed for the school environment. The system is managed by two Advanced MX5 control panels – one located in the main reception area and the other in the sports center reception. The system is programmed to operate a ‘one out, all out’ procedure in the event of a fire being detected. Graham Field, Premises Manager at Darrick Wood School, commented “The installation of the new fire protection system went smoothly during the holidays, so that we could proudly open the new buildings and provide the pupils with enhanced facilities. It was reassuring to have the latest SOTERIA technology installed. We’re very happy with the modern aesthetics of the devices and are confident that the school’s fire protection is future-proofed for the years ahead.”
Set to stand at 62-storeys high, 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London will, on completion, become the second-tallest building in Western Europe. The 278m office building will offer 1.275 million sq. ft of high specification office space, as well as eight community spaces, covering over 100,000 sq ft, including an innovation hub, curated gallery space, fresh food market, gym and wellbeing retreat. Once completed, Advanced will protect both of Western Europe’s tallest buildings, with 22 Bishopsgate being the latest in a long line of London’s most prestigious and iconic skyscrapers specifying Advanced, including the Shard, the Leadenhall Building, the Heron Tower and the HSBC Tower. Networked MxPro 5 panels At the centre of the active fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate are over 80 networked MxPro 5 panels with graphic display and BMS integration, alongside three special build panels for the building’s Fire Command Centre, that will form part of the intelligent fire detection network. Advanced’s panels are used alongside Apollo’s Soteria detectors and its networking is widely regarded as the most resilient and scalable solution on the market. It can be expanded up to 200 node networks covering huge areas with complicated cause-and-effect. Great emphasis and consideration has been placed on the fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate" As a UK-first, 22 Bishopsgate will utilize a specially developed lift-evacuation strategy in case of fire. The building is separated into four vertical areas by fire-hardened slabs with a two-hour fire rating separating a floor from the one above at levels 26, 42 and 58. Depending on which of the four vertical areas of the building a fire is detected, workers on that floor and the floors above egress via fire escape stairs to the area below and from there can evacuate via the lifts, safe in the knowledge that these are protected by the slabs above. Fire detection systems Responsible for every aspect of installation of the fire system from design to completion, PHF Fire, a division of PHF Electrical, used Advanced for its market-leading networking capabilities, best suited to managing a network of this size and complexity. Paul Falkner, Director at PHF Fire, said: “Great emphasis and consideration has been placed on the fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate – a building truly at the at the forefront of fire technology. From working with Advanced previously we knew its products could be relied upon to deliver powerful, flexible and dependable fire protection for the complex nature of a building of this size.” Fire protection Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager at Advanced, said: “Advanced is a leader in the market in terms of performance, quality and ease-of-use and being specified in arguably the UK’s most high-profile commercial development, since the Shard, reinforces this. We are thrilled to now not only protect Western Europe’s tallest building, but soon also the second tallest. It was a pleasure to work with the team at PHF Fire where we were able to meet their needs with a system capable of delivering the complicated cause and effect programming and flexible networking required.” With EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 approval, the MxPro is the fire industry’s leading multiprotocol fire solution, offering customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network that enjoys free training and support. Intelligent fire systems expert Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The performance, quality and ease of use of its products sees Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large, multi-site networks in some of the world’s most prestigious sites. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, extinguishing control panels, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
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- Pavlis a Hartmann s.r.o. Active fire protection (AFP)
- Potter Roemer Active fire protection (AFP)
- Holmatro Active fire protection (AFP)
- Badger Active fire protection (AFP)
- NOHA Active fire protection (AFP)
- SFFECO Active fire protection (AFP)
- Coxreels Active fire protection (AFP)
- Hannay Reels Active fire protection (AFP)
- North American Fire Hose Active fire protection (AFP)
- Lingjack Engineering Active fire protection (AFP)
- HighWater Hose Active fire protection (AFP)
- Suzhou Houlichun Plastics Inductry Co.,Ltd. Active fire protection (AFP)
- Ningbo Yunfeng Fire Safety Equipment Co.,Ltd. Active fire protection (AFP)
- Amerex Active fire protection (AFP)
- Ningbo Shuangshun Active fire protection (AFP)
- Ansul Active fire protection (AFP)