Active Fire Protection (AFP)
Dräger has launched a range of solutions for cleaning breathing apparatus, respiratory masks and PPE equipment that reduce the risk of carcinogen contamination within emergency teams as part of its Health for the Firefighter campaign. Dräger have worked in partnership with Harstra instruments, a Dutch manufacturer of cleaning and drying equipment. The launch follows a study undertaken by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which demonstrated a self-contai...
Dräger has launched a range of solutions for cleaning breathing apparatus, respiratory masks and PPE equipment that reduce the risk of carcinogen contamination within emergency teams as part of its Health for the Firefighter campaign. Dräger have worked in partnership with Harstra instruments, a Dutch manufacturer of cleaning and drying equipment. The launch follows a study undertaken by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which demonstrated a self-contai...
It makes perfect sense that a horrific wildfire season would come in the year 2020 on the heels of a pandemic. Dozens of major fires burned across North America in September, including 85 large uncontained fires and six contained fires across 12 states. Active fires have burned more than 3 million acres already, and 41,417 fires have burned almost 5 million acres year-to-date. The severity of the wildfire season is on track to surpass the 10-year average. Better understanding wildfires Globa...
Should firefighters and other first responders be exempt from requirements that they wear face masks to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? The City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, seems to think so. They are proposing an amendment to exempt first responders from complying with the city’s face mask ordinance. Amendment to Exempt first responders from face mask rule Specifically, the proposed amendment states, “Exempted from the requirements of the ordinance r...
Eunomia has convened a consortium to explore the costs of, and potential measures to prevent, fires which are being started by Lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries in waste. Fires in waste electronics are estimated to be growing: the incidence of fires in waste company Veolia’s refuse trucks are up 37.5% since 2017, and these are thought to have been caused by Li-ion batteries. Major cause of waste fires Li-ion batteries are found in a variety of consumer IT and electronics products and are o...
The biggest risk of property damage and injury from wildfires comes at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is defined as areas where structures and the built environment begin to intermingle with wildland vegetation. More and more such areas are being created as humans move near wildland areas to take advantage of their natural beauty and privacy. As a result, fire departments are fighting more fires along the interface, and there is a greater need for citizens living in these areas to be...
With more than two dozen major wildfires as well as over 12,000 emergency incidents, and over 1.1 million acres burned, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a thick blanket of smoke continues to hang low in the skies in Northern California. NasalGuard® Airborne Particle Blocker responds to the devastating fires raging across Northern California with the launch of the ‘Breathe Easier Smoke Inhalation Donation’ program. NasalGuard® Airborne Particle Blocker is an ionic particle blocking topical nasal gel that prevents harmful airborne particles from entering the nose. Potential drug interactions The product is drug-free and safe for children, the elderly, pregnant or nursing women, and those concerned about potential drug interactions with other medications. NasalGuard is a unique product that can help people protect themselves from harmful smoke inhalation. To help support Firefighters and their Families in Northern California dealing with the danger of serious smoke inhalation problems, NasalGuard Airborne Particle Blocker ‘Breathe Easier Smoke Inhalation Donation’ program offers relief through donation of their patented airborne particle blocker. Inhalation of airborne particles With the current situation in Northern California and with the pandemic, our goal is to offer some relief" Through the program, NasalGuard is offering free donations to Firefighters and healthcare professionals in Northern California that would like to try NasalGuard gel for themselves, or place of work. "NasalGuard has been proven to reduce the inhalation of airborne particles, including smoke inhalation, virus-sized particles and contaminants, when applied outside the nasal passages prior to exposure," says Ashok Wahi, engineer and co-inventor of NasalGuard. "With the current situation in Northern California and with the pandemic, our goal is to offer some relief," adds Kanika Wahi, engineer and co-inventor of NasalGuard. Oppositely charged particles NasalGuard has donated thousands of units during the pandemic to hospitals, healthcare workers and charitable non-profit organizations. A pin-sized drop of the preventative product is applied around the nostrils and above the upper lip and lasts up to six hours. Patented NasalGuard gel uses a cationic (positively charged) polymer that creates a safe electrostatic field around the nasal passages that traps oppositely charged particles and repels similarly charged particles to reduce inhalation of most harmful airborne particles before they enter one's body. NasalGuard gel provides an electrostatic blocking effect that is effective against a wide spectrum of sub-microscopic indoor and outdoor contaminants including smoke, mold, pollen, pet dander, pollution, and virus-sized particles.
BAFE FireQual Ltd is pleased to announce that they have appointed Nic Preston as the FireQual Qualifications Manager from 1st September 2020. Nic has over 14 years of experience in the training and development sector with a proven ability in quality assurance demonstrated in several roles influencing training environments within the UK. His most recent roles have been developing and implementing growth strategies as Chief Executive of SFEDI Awards, the Awarding Organization for enterprise development. Alongside this he has also been responsible for their compliance with regulatory systems across the UK and was the Responsible Officer for their systems for learners and training centers. Nationally recognized qualifications Nic said “Introducing a range of high quality nationally recognized qualifications for the betterment of fire protection services and staff within the fire safety industry will be a rewarding task. FireQual has huge potential to make the industry safer and demonstrably more competent and I look forward to the challenge this offers.” Although FireQual is a new venture, it builds on the vast array of knowledge and expertise within the sector" “Although FireQual is a new venture, it builds on the vast array of knowledge and expertise within the sector both within BAFE and through our valued external partners who continue to support this new endeavor as we move forward. I welcome the opportunity to work with a range of excellent industry partners, training organizations and their candidates to build new relationships and opportunities as we move forward.” BAFE licensed Certification Bodies Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, added “We believe FireQual is being entrusted in very good hands with Nic. His experience will be invaluable in the development of this Awarding Organization. This is a big opportunity to develop individual skills to ensure that competence remains at the forefront of the fire safety industry. We are pursuing this because we know that it is the right thing to do in the interest of life safety.” The BAFE Fire Safety Register is delighted to announce that Chris Auger, currently the BAFE Head of Schemes, has been promoted to Director of Schemes, with responsibility for the organization and development of existing and new schemes, together with our quality assurance and complaints management. He will have the vital day to day support role with BAFE licensed Certification Bodies. Wide range of influencers Organizational competency and evidence of individual expertise remains the forefront of this discussion" Chris continues to do a first class job with his work on the Hackitt Working Groups and other stakeholders, especially to promote the value of Third Party Certification and competence, which is now gaining much stronger traction, with the support of UKAS. He has brought a much stronger profile for BAFE amongst a wide range of influencers across the construction sector. Chris commented: “The BAFE Competence schemes continue to grow and develop, with registrations rising even during the lockdown period. We are grateful to Companies and Certification Bodies for continuing to recognize the importance of Third-Party Certification and finding new methods to ensure compliance. We have a number of new initiatives to support the industry, specifiers and end users and I am delighted to be taking on this role.” “With the development of FireQual there will also be a genuine prospect to include accredited technician competence into more of our Company schemes, which will be considered by our dedicated Scheme Monitoring Groups. This will consider all appropriate training and qualifications available, not just FireQual. Organizational competency and evidence of individual expertise remains the forefront of this discussion.”
Retention has long been a challenge for many volunteer and combination fire and EMS departments, yet little research has been done on the subject. volunteer fire service retention Thanks to support from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has conducted a study to identify institutional drivers that cause volunteers to leave, the differing perceptions between leadership, current volunteers and former volunteers and what can be done to positively impact retention. The research was conducted in three phases over the course of several months in 2019 and 2020 The research was conducted in three phases over the course of several months in 2019 and 2020. The first phase included interviews with current and former volunteers as well as department leadership. SAFER work group feedback This was followed by a synthesis session and feedback from the NVFC’s SAFER work group, which consists of representative from several national fire and emergency service organizations. The final phase was a quantitative survey of over 1,000 current and former volunteers as well as current department leadership. “We know that many volunteer fire departments struggle with retaining volunteers, but much of our knowledge about why volunteers leave is based on anecdotal evidence,” said NVFC Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Lee, who oversees the organization’s SAFER grant. Improving volunteer retention rate Sarah adds, “With this research, we now have data to back up the hypotheses. We also have a better idea of what areas to focus on to help departments overcome the challenges and improve their retention rates.” Some of the key findings from the quantitative research include the following: There is a disconnect between why former volunteers say they left a fire department versus what current leadership thinks are the reasons why volunteers leave. Current volunteers who have considered leaving but did not said their main reason for staying was their desire to give back to the community and help people. When asked what could have a positive impact on volunteer retention, both current and former volunteers cited mentorship programs, giving out awards/honors to members when they reach service milestones, conducting stay interviews with volunteers who have lapsed attendance and conducting exit interviews, when a volunteer leaves the department, as among their top choices. The majority of department leadership (74%) said their department either had a general sense of retention but no specific way of measuring it or no clear definition of retention at all. NVFC’s ‘Make Me A Firefighter’ campaign The NVFC will use the data from this research to develop tools and resources designed to help departments better understand and meet the retention challenges they face. The research was conducted as part of the NVFC’s ‘Make Me A Firefighter’ campaign, a SAFER-funded program that helps volunteer and combination fire departments recruit and retain volunteers. The campaign includes a department portal filled with free tools and resources to help departments increase their staffing and a public site where prospective volunteers can find a local fire service opportunity.
Modules, also known as interfaces, are powerful devices designed to connect fire detection systems with other fire safety devices and/ or third-party equipment. For example, if there is a fire in a factory, user may wish to release magnetic locks on fire doors, send signals to access controls and automatically shut down plant machinery, all of which can be done through the capabilities of a module. The problem is, with so many modules available, how to know which one is ideal for a particular set up? Each manufacturer offers slightly different interfaces/modules, however, below is a list of Hochiki modules for a wide range of applications. The list offers a basic guide to help understand when and where a user can use each of the modules, however, full technical information and accessories can be found on the official Hochiki website. Powered Output Module Typically, a CHQ-POM module can also be used to interface equipment such as Hochiki’s IFD-E flame detector Hochiki’s CHQ-POM module is designed to supply 24 VDC at various, user-selectable current levels, from 2 to 32 mA (in increments of 2mA). This means that, by using a CHQ-POM, users can not only interface with conventional equipment, but can also power it. Typically, a CHQ-POM module can also be used to interface equipment such as Hochiki’s IFD-E flame detector or even the LDM-519-LP linear heat controller. Single Input Module Hochiki’s CHQ-SIM module has been designed to allow a single monitored input to be connected to the ESP loop. For example, the module offers a cost-effective way of interfacing and monitoring a conventional fire alarm panel. Single Output Module Hochiki’s CHQ-SOM module allows a single relay output to be connected to the ESP loop. The unit incorporates a volt-free relay contact that can be configured as normally open or normally closed, therefore, allowing users to program outputs such as, breaking the DC supply to Maglocks or sending a signal to a lift controller. Dual Input Module The CHQ-DIM2 (SCI) module is similar to the single input module, but with 2 independent inputs for connecting volt free contacts. The CHQ-DIM2 module is, therefore, a cost-effective solution if the user wants to receive inputs from two pieces of third-party equipment, for example, receiving input from a sprinkler flow switch and a door contact in the same area. Dual Relay Module The CHQ-DRC2 (SCI) module is similar to the single output module, but with two general purpose outputs that can be controlled separately. As the product name suggests, it also has an integrated short circuit isolator. The CHQ-DRC2 (SCI) module is, therefore, ideal for interfacing the fire system with two pieces of third-party equipment, for example, breaking the DC supply to both a door magnet and an access control system. 4 Inputs and 4 Outputs The CHQ-PCM (SCI) module is that little bit more flexible, allowing users to sub address up to 4 inputs and 4 outputs The CHQ-PCM (SCI) module is that little bit more flexible, allowing users to sub address up to 4 inputs and 4 outputs. The 4 inputs are provided for local fire and fault monitoring, and these are fully monitored for open and short circuit, which if required, can be enabled or disabled in pairs, using a two-way DIL switch. Again, the outputs can be used to interface with any third-party equipment, including dampers, air-conditioning units, roller shutters or plant equipment, etc. Single Zone Monitor Hochiki’s CHQ-SZM2 (SCI) module is a single zone monitor, allowing users to interface up to 6 conventional devices with an addressable system. As the name suggests, it treats the 6 conventional devices as a single zone. This is ideal for shopping centers that require an addressable system throughout the main center, but also need to interface with conventional devices in each store. Each store would be seen as a separate zone, allowing the main center to identify which store had the fire or fault. Dual Zone Monitor The CHQ-DZM (SCI) module is a more powerful version of the CHQ-SZM2 (SCI) module. It has two zones and each can accommodate up to 30 devices (60 in total). As users may expect, a unit as powerful as this does will require an external PSU unit, however, it is really useful if they have an existing conventional system, and require more intelligent monitoring. This module is especially useful for users who don’t quite have the budget to upgrade to a full addressable system. Mains Relay Controller The CHQ-MRC2 (SCI) controller module has a single relay contact rated at 250Vdc at 5A or 48 Vdc at 2A The CHQ-MRC2 (SCI) controller module has a single relay contact rated at 250Vdc at 5A or 48 Vdc at 2A (resistive load only in both instances), which gives users the flexibility to interface directly with mains powered equipment, for example, to shut down plant equipment or to break the supply to a gas solenoid. Dual Sounder Controller Hochiki’s CHQ-DSC2 (SCI) controller module is designed specifically to provide two conventional sounder outputs rated at 1A. Furthermore, each can be controlled separately and has full fault monitoring. However, it is important to note that the CHQ-DSC2 (SCI) module does require a 24v power supply. Intrinsically Safe Compatible Sounder Module When installing intrinsically safe sounders in a hazardous location or difficult area, the CHQ-ISM module must sit between the CHQ-DSC2 (SCI) module and the barrier. The modules are designed to interface with the addressable ESP system, while the barrier is designed to reduce the current. It is important to remember for users that both the barrier and the modules must sit in the safe area, not the hazardous area.
Dräger, a pioneer in medical and safety technology, is launching its ‘Health for the Firefighter’ campaign to support fire services in driving the cultural changes that are required to protect firefighter health. Impact of exposure The launch follows a survey of UK firefighters that found considerable concern over the impact of exposure to contaminants on long-term health. Some 84% admitted they were concerned about the risk of cancer – a disease highlighted in some scientific reports to be the cause of death within the service. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) reports that nearly two out of three (61%) firefighter line-of-duty deaths between 2002 and 2017 were caused by cancer. Embedded carcinogens in any equipment can easily be absorbed by the men and women using it. Robust hygiene processes We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor" The survey by Dräger also found that more than two thirds (68%) of firefighters fear the impact of COVID-19 on their long-term health, a point picked up by Brian Hesler, Consultant and Specialist Advisor at Draeger Safety UK and former Chief Fire Officer for the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service: “The COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing fears over cancer, have highlighted the critical importance of hygiene, and a significant cultural change is required. We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor that proves their hard work and value, to understanding that clean and well-maintained kit supported by detailed and robust hygiene processes that mitigate every contact with contaminants are essential. One firefighter surveyed said ‘they had always been a bit blasé about invisible contaminants’. This has got to change.” Detailed hygiene processes The Health for the Firefighter campaign will support the fire services in helping to communicate and provide training on the importance of detailed hygiene processes; from the handling and storage of masks and breathing apparatus (BA) equipment through to the subsequent cleaning of the kit after an incident has occurred. It will also provide bespoke workshop solutions that guide the potentially contaminated kit from entering the station, to washing and drying processes through to leaving the station to be used again. In addition to providing detailed advice for manual washing processes including on detergent use and drying techniques, Dräger is the first company in the Emergency Services space to launch specialist BA and mask cleaning equipment and dedicated solutions, including mechanical washing systems that provide complete consistency in washing temperatures, the amount of detergent used, speed and temperature of drying – which can all work together to disinfect contaminants and to protect the longevity of the kit. Mechanical equipment washing However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment Support also encompasses logistical support for installation, the ongoing maintenance of equipment and the quantity of stock required. The survey revealed the most important factors in combating firefighter concerns over contaminants were the cleaning of masks with 97% rating this as very or extremely important, closely followed by the cleaning of BA equipment (95%) and cleaning of PPE (94%). While manual cleaning of equipment is still generally the norm within UK Fire Services, the survey revealed three quarters (75%) believed that mechanical equipment washing would improve their health, and 80% agreed that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic more emphasis should be placed on cleaning equipment and hygiene control. However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment. Responsibility to innovate solutions “There is obvious concern over cleaning of equipment following the pandemic,” adds Brian. “One surveyed firefighter said ‘they clean to the best of their ability’ – the point is that a person’s ability should not be a factor in the cleaning process.” “Consistency has to be key and manufacturers of medical and safety technology products have a responsibility to innovate solutions that support change. We are not here to tell brigades how to operate, rather to provide a range of solutions that support them and their firefighters’ health.”
CertaSite announced that Advanced Fire Company, Approved Fire Protection and Advanced Fire & Security have merged to form Advanced Fire, a CertaSite Company. CertaSite is a new commercial fire protection and life safety company that provides high levels of customer service, responsiveness, building safety and code compliance to customers across the country. The company goes beyond compliance, focusing on partnerships and professionalism while providing customers a simplified and dependable solution to managing all of the fire protection and life safety systems in commercial buildings. CertaSite in the fire protection industry CertaSite is led by CEO Jeff Wyatt, who has more than 30 years of experience in the fire protection and life safety industry. He most recently served as president of Koorsen Fire & Security, one of the privately-owned life safety companies in the industry. He started his career in the profession as an installation technician and is a veteran of the United States Navy. Wyatt was recruited to lead CertaSite by The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm that is CertaSite's primary investor. A three-generation family business that started with door-to-door fire extinguisher sales in 1957, the Advanced family of businesses has grown to three separate companies with a legacy of comprehensive offerings, strong customer service and a sustainable model for growth. Its solid reputation in the tri-state area, along with its community-driven approach, will allow the company to grow its customer base and expand into new markets under the CertaSite platform. Expansion under the Advanced brand One hundred five employees are joining the CertaSite family under the Advanced brand One hundred five employees are joining the CertaSite family under the Advanced brand, serving a network of more than 5,000 customers representing schools, government agencies and businesses of all sizes. Combining forces with Advanced marks CertaSite's a large expansion since it launched in 2018. "CertaSite and Riverside are the perfect partners to build on the foundation laid by our employees and customers," said Advanced owner Ronald Cruder. "As I set my sights on what is next for our company and how we could enrich our customers' experience, shared values and a code of ethics for saving lives and securing property were key considerations in this important decision. From the beginning, our company has had a laser focus on the customer, and this partnership with CertaSite will enable us to strengthen our investments in the community and the customer experience. We are excited to expand these capabilities, and establish an even deeper presence in our community." Advanced Fire operations The merger with Advanced Fire, a CertaSite company, continues CertaSite's expansion in western Pennsylvania The merger with Advanced Fire, a CertaSite company, continues CertaSite's expansion in western Pennsylvania. County Fire Protection joined the CertaSite family in 2018, and serves customers in Kent, Columbus, Toledo and Rimersburg, Pennsylvania. Bill Holmes, director of operations, will oversee the Advanced Fire operations. "We are grateful to Ronald Cruder and the Advanced family for their continued partnership throughout this process," said Jeff Wyatt, CEO of CertaSite. "We are committed to preserving the legacy that these dedicated professionals built, and we recognize and respect their strong local presence. Our team will provide our new employees with development and career advancement, and expanded services and support to customers. We are thrilled to be expanding our unique brand of customer service in this market." Acquisition of companies CertaSite already has acquired eight fire protection and life safety companies and is actively engaged in bringing new businesses under the CertaSite umbrella. To date, the CertaSite family includes: ABC Fire Extinguisher Co. (Youngstown, Ohio); Approved Protection Systems (Michigan); Approved Safety and Security (South Bend, Indiana); Company One Suppression (Illinois and Iowa); County Fire Protection (Ohio); Erlich Fire Protection (Michigan); Field's Fire Protection (Michigan); and Spears Fire & Safety (Michigan). Markets of focus for 2020 include Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
The majority of fires within the UK take place within the home; with that in mind, it is highly advisable to regularly update and practice exit strategies in the event of an emergency. In order to raise awareness of fire safety in our communities, it’s important to be clear on what the most common causes of household fires are. Electrical appliances Electrical items are a major culprit of home fires. This can easily be avoided by ensuring a PAT test is carried out each year. It’s crucial to replace damaged or frayed wiring around outlets and to dispose old or faulty appliances. Never overcrowd electrical outlets and only use extension cords when necessary. Overwhelming units by ‘daisy chaining’ extensions to fit more appliances leads to higher chances of an electrical fire. All electrical appliances should additionally be repaired or installed According to the London Fire Brigade, around 60 percent of fires in the home begin in the kitchenby a certified professional. It’s also worth keeping an eye on sockets and fuses that blow for no reason. Flickering lights and scorch marks on sockets or plugs are easy signs which can alert you to unsafe environments. A common habit is to leave electrical items unattended overnight on ‘standby’ mode, this should always be switched off when not in continual use to avoid overheating. Whilst personal home assistant devices are meant to be in constant operation, be sure to look out for hot plugs and turn off outlets when you will be out of the house for extended periods of time such as holidays or weekends away. Smoking materials, lighters and matches The festive season sees a 12% surge in call-outs compared to the monthly average and over the last three years, fire crews dealt with 2,300 fires on Christmas Day alone. When celebrating the festivities try safer alternatives such as battery-operated or LED candles. Faux candles are a great substitute, particularly if you are living with young children. Always let hot matches cool in a metal or ceramic dish or run them under water for extra precaution. Keeping matches nearby lit candles or leaving lit candles unattended overnight are palpable dangers within the home. When celebrating festivities, try safer alternatives such as battery-operated or LED candles Space heaters Portable heaters are the cause of many UK home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Half of those fires occur because objects are kept within three feet of the heater getting far too hot and catching alight. Keeping flammable items at the recommended distance is essential warding off potential fires. Refrain from covering heaters or air vents with dry or damp washing, even if you have installed a fireguard. While some space heaters utilize a self-timer or sleep feature, be sure to manually switch off the heater when it’s not in use. By assuming the heater will automatically turn itself off, you leave yourself at risk as the heater may malfunction. Additionally, as self-timers only control the product itself and not the outlet, the plug still may be at risk of overheating. Cooking According to the London Fire Brigade, around 60 percent of fires in the home begin in the kitchen. It is crucial to be aware of your safety whilst cooking, with some points to always consider: Try not to leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill – if you leave the kitchen turn off the heat Do not cook whilst under the influence of alcohol or medication that can cause drowsiness Be aware of loose clothing that can easily catch fire, take care not to lean over a hob and always keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker In the event of loose clothing or a cloth catching fire; practice the stop, drop and roll rule – don’t run, lie down on the ground and roll in heavy fabric or a fire blanket to smother the flames Keep the oven, hob, extractor fan and grill as clean as possible – built up fat and grease can ignite and cause fires Use spark devices to light gas cookers, they are far safer than matches or lighters as they don’t have a naked flame. Ensure toasters are kept clean and not placed under kitchen cabinets Never place anything made of metal in a microwave When cooking on the stove-top, use the fan or open a window to disperse any smoke and avoid accidentally triggering any fire alarm If water or food spillages occur whilst the hobs are on and in use, turn off the heat, remove any pans, and let it cool before using any cleaning equipment Preventing spreading To prevent fires from spreading, it’s important to check hidden electrical outlets, particularly those behind large pieces of furniture such as television stands or couches – be sure to keep enough distance between the object and the outlet to prevent crowding. Check these out of sight outlets once a month to ensure there are no obvious signs of scorch marks. It is also a good idea to ensure you add an outlet inspection to any checklist before leaving on holiday. Good fire safety precautions can be practiced as part of your daily routine. Ensure you keep a torch and phone by your bed in case of a fire during the night. Install a dual alarm that uses long-life lithium batteries on every level of your home (including the basement). Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working properly and ensure you take the time to replace batteries every year for complete peace of mind. Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working properly and ensure you take the time to replace batteries An exit strategy If you find yourself trapped with no feasible exit to safety, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone and place bedding around the bottom of To prevent fires from spreading, it’s important to check hidden electrical outlets, particularly those behind large pieces of furniture the door to stifle smoke. Call 999 when possible and open the window to let your presence be known. If you’re on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through a window. Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully – don’t jump. If you can’t open the window break the glass in the bottom corner and make jagged edges safer by cushioning glass with a towel or thick blanket. Don’t make the mistake of investigating what’s happened in the event of a fire or rescuing valuables. If there’s smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. In the event of having to open a door, check if it’s warm. If it is, don’t open it – it is likely the fire is on the other side.
Last year saw a 14 per cent increase in fires in England, according to UK Home Office statistics. And while around three million fire doors are installed in the UK every year, a lack of understanding during operation, maintenance and management of fire doors is still apparent. In this article, David Hindle, Head of Door Closer Sales at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, will address this issue. Importance of fire doors Fire doors are often the first line of defense in a fire, yet even after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, fire door hardware remains a significant area of concern. In May 2018, an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by dame Judith Hackitt, have been published. The review highlighted a range of issues, but the message stood clear, the UK’s current approach to fire safety in buildings is not functioning as intended and a new, holistic approach to fire safety is required. Review of fire inspections In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors. However, there is no legal requirement for them to complete any recommended upgrades or repairs, or to prove that they have done so. This represents a major problem, as doors that do not perform to the required standard could compromise a building’s safety and put occupants at risk. Ultimately, this could lead to liability being assigned back to the building owner or facilities manager. Need to maintain fire safety standards Fire safety is only properly maintained if standards and checks are carried out throughout the lifecycle of the product and building. This is best addressed through regular inspection, maintenance and the replacement of products when required. A review by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme revealed the most common fire door faults, ranging from missing fire or smoke seals, to unsuitable hinges and damage to the door leaf itself. Any one of these issues can render a fire door useless and can seriously impede a door’s capability to protect people from harm. Door leaf and frame maintenance Fire door hardware is often not afforded the attention it requires and is left mismanaged throughout its service life. So what needs to be done to ensure fire door hardware is working as expected? Naturally, the door leaf should not be damaged, warped or twisted, and it is vital to ensure the fire door closes correctly around all parts of the frame, with no distortion between the stiles, top and frame. Gaps between the door and leaf must not be greater than those specified in the manufacturer’s installation instructions or fire certificate data sheet, typically around 3 to 4mm all the way round. Importance of door closers A door closer ensures a fire door returns to its fully closed position and the door seals correctly in the door frame A door closer ensures a fire door always returns to its fully closed position and makes sure that the door seals correctly in the door frame, when not in use. There are three steps to ensuring these components are working correctly. First, open the door fully and check that it closes without dragging across the floor. Next, open it to approximately 5-10 degrees and again check that it fully closes, engaging any latch or seal. Finally, check the door closing speed is approximately five seconds from a 90 degree angle, ensuring the door does not slam shut. Intumescent fire and smoke seals Fire and smoke seals should be in good condition, fit the full length of the door and be secure in the groove. If seals are badly fitted, damaged or painted, then they must be replaced with exactly the same size and intumescent material that was originally specified. If the smoke seals have to be replaced, then they should be fitted in one continuous length, if possible. To ensure hinges are in good condition, check for visible wear, dark marks or stains around the hinge knuckle that could indicate wear and impending failure. Hinges must be strong enough to carry the door mass, plus robust enough to work efficiently no matter the level of usage. The hinges should be firmly screwed into the door and frame, ensuring that the seals at the top and sides of the door are not damaged or missing at any time. Intumescent pads should also be used with hinges, as these are required for the door to get its appropriate fire rating. Locks and lever handles To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use Wiping any metal dust deposits off the handles will help ensure that the latch-bolt is engaging smoothly and completely into the keep during use. To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use. If it does not, the lever may, at best, need adjusting or lubricating. At worst, it may need replacing, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Again, ensure the lock case is protected by intumescent material. Maintaining record of fire door inspection No matter the component, a record of inspection and maintenance should be kept for all door hardware. Furthermore, those responsible for ensuring the fire safety of a site should encourage others to report any issues with any of the door components. Faults should be fixed as soon as possible, using the correct and fire-rated components. To check the compatibility of components, always consult the fire certificate data sheet or contact the manufacturer.
During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to protect the supply chain of food, including supermarkets and convenience stores in cities around the world. On average 3,740 fires occur in food and groceries stores in the US annually, including supermarkets and convenience stores, according to a report published by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Structure fires in mercantile properties were responsible for the loss of 12 lives and more than $600 million indirect property damages, and this doesn’t account for the cost of business interruption and the effect on the reputation of the store. Many stores haven’t been able to recover after a fire. The report estimates that a single fire may cost $46,000 on average, which in hindsight is considerably higher than investing in a fire detection system. The most common causes of fire in supermarkets It’s important to look at the data from two different perspectives. The first is the number of fires by cause, and the other is to quantify the property loss by cause. The report estimates that a single fire may cost $46,000 on average Fires caused by cooking equipment , including stores with kitchens and warming and portable equipment, account for 21% of incidences, but only for just 7% of total property damage and four civilian deaths (firefighter and first responder deaths are registered on a different report). On the other hand, electrical distribution and lighting equipment malfunctions and defective wiring account for 15% of the total of fires in a given year, but caused $165 million in property loss, or 27% of the total recorded on the report. It is also important to mention that intentional fires are the third cause reported, accounting for 11% of the total fire incidences and 20% of the property loss highlighted in the report. Occupation, materials and risks The kind of store poses a significant variety of risks associated to the type of occupation, the number of occupants and the materials stored and available in the shopping areas. It’s possible to find combustible materials of diverse nature and propagation speed. Cardboard and paper wrapping can be found in all store areas, including book and magazine stands. Cleaning products, oils and fatty products might have a high propagation speed. All of this, surrounded by different kind of plastics, immensely increase the level of risk. Overall, combustible liquids caused 41% of the civilian deaths recorded during the report In my firefighting years I’ve responded to several fires in food supermarkets and distribution centers, and saw tuna cans (canned with oil) exploding and spreading flames to the surrounding areas. Regarding occupation, it is known that supermarkets and groceries stores are places with high levels of occupation, especially during working hours. But one interesting fact that the report found is that fires occurring between 9pm and 5am can cause, on average, $73,800 in property damage. The NFPA estimates that 21% of human life losses happened between 12am and 3am. This highlights the importance of installing and maintaining an automatic fire detection system. Installing fire detection And Protecting Your Store With the variety of materials and the risk level that can be found in this kind of environment, it’s necessary to take a holistic approach. Fire protection should be designed while considering several angles, from passive protection in all interior and exterior structures and cladding to active protection with sprinkler and clean agent systems, proper ventilation and smoke control and automatic fire detection and evacuation systems. On average 3,740 fires occur in food and groceries stores in the US annually Several detection technologies need to work in parallel, depending on the type of products stored, the environment and the expected level of occupation on the protected area. Store height and ventilation need to be taken into consideration and also the kind of lighting in some cases. Depending on the ceiling height, the shopping floor could be protected with beam smoke detectors. If the ceiling is below six meters, or the store shelves obstruct the beam, it’s possible to use spot type smoke detectors. The same approach can be taken for warehousing and storage areas, but here I would recommend multi-criteria detectors, with heat and smoke detection combined. localized protection As I’ve mentioned before, cooking areas have an increased level of risk, which calls for localized protection. Here, I would recommend multi-criteria (smoke/heat) detectors for areas where food is heated and served, and smoke/heat/Carbon monoxide detectors on cooking areas to avoid nuisance alarms caused by cooking smoke and steam. It’s important to mention that until this year it was possible to install heat detection in cooking areas, but the UL 268 7th edition that comes into effect in 2021 will require cooking areas to be protected with smoke detection, and smoke detectors have to be able to reject nuisance alarms caused by cooking smoke and steam. Smaller supermarkets and convenience stores usually have vertical freezers or horizontal open freezers. Here, electrical and mechanical failures can ignite fires, which is why it is important to protect the rear side of the freezers. I would recommend point-type smoke detectors, as photoelectric smoke detectors tend to perform better on smoldering fires. The report mentions that air conditioning equipment and electrical equipment can be sources of ignition as well. To protect A/C rooms and electrical rooms I would recommend combined smoke/heat detectors, or maybe even smoke/heat/CO to assure better detection and avoid unwanted alarms in these business critical areas. There is a type of photoelectric smoke detector that uses two different LED sources inside the smoke chamber. This technology, called Dual-Ray, allows the smoke detector to identify the particles inside the chamber by size. The detector knows if it is sensing dust or steam, and can even differentiate between cooking or cigarette smoke from actual smoke from a smoldering fire. Bosch Building Technologies first introduced dual Ray technology in 2015. protecting the food supply chain During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to protect the food supply chain and avoid the social and economic impact of fires in food stores, especially in impoverished areas. Supermarkets and convenience stores present a variety of challenges regarding fire protection, which calls for a holistic approach where passive and active protection are equally important. To achieve this target, one key element is automatic fire detection. Smoke and heat sensing technologies must be combined, and one size-fits-all approach is not enough. Detection and effective evacuation are critical to protect lives and minimize property loss.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), promoting safety comes from a joint effort of knowledge, preparation, oversight and vigilance. The ‘Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem’ includes eight elements, as listed by NFPA, and weakness in any of the eight creates conditions that foster risk. A recent NFPA report includes examples, drawn from current events, that illustrate the importance of each element of the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem. Government responsibilities Citizens expect their governments at all levels to create a regulatory environment in which laws, policies and spending priorities are dictated by public safety needs. Safety laws were unenforced and/or code violations slipped through the cracks in several recent incidents. Five children died August 11, 2019, when an overloaded extension cord running beneath a couch caught fire in an Erie, Pennsylvania, private home operating a daycare. In Washington, D.C., on August 18, 2019, a 40-year-old man and a 7-year old boy died in a fire. The single-family home was filled with code violations and was likely operating as an illegal rental. Development and Use of Current Codes The latest codes and standards establish minimum levels of safety to protect people and property The latest codes and standards establish minimum levels of safety to protect people and property, and they must evolve to reflect the changing world. Flames consumed Notre-Dame de Paris on April 15, 2019, and it appears the historic cathedral was not following current codes developed to ensure heritage sites can be enjoyed by future generations. There was no layered protection through alarms, sprinklers, and compartmentation, for instance. In another example, data analyzed from the 2018 Camp Fire wildfire, which destroyed much of Paradise, California, demonstrates the value of building codes. Among 350 single-family homes built after a stronger building code came into force, just over half were undamaged. In contrast, only 18% of the 12,100 homes built before the 2008 building code changes escaped damage, according to data analysis by publisher McClatchy. NFPA Referenced Standards Providing guidance to designers, installers, facility operators, and enforcers, referenced standards are a fundamental part of life safety. Fires are a regular occurrence in buildings under construction, renovation and demolition, despite standards aimed at preventing them. From 2013 to 2017, there was an estimated average of 3,840 fires per year in structures under construction. NFPA’s Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations requires site operators to mitigate fire risks. Noncompliance was also a major factor in the 2017 Grenfell fire in the United Kingdom. The aluminum cladding that wrapped the outside of the high-rise apartment building, which did not follow referenced standards, contributed to the disaster. Investment in Safety Money and resources must be allocated to reduce losses from fire and related hazards Money and resources must be allocated to reduce losses from fire and related hazards. A lack of fire sprinklers in a 25-story high-rise apartment building in Minneapolis contributed to deaths and injuries when a fire ripped through the building in November 2019. Five people died and three others were hospitalized. Investment in the form of fire sprinklers would have also made a difference in containing a massive fire in North Shore, Wisconsin, at the Bayside apartment complex in March 2019. One hundred people were left homeless. Skilled Workforce and Code Compliance Ongoing training and professional development maximize skills of people who work in the fire and life safety fields. Personnel lacked familiarity with the fire suppression system recently at a warehouse distribution center for a British online supermarket. Their decision to shut off the sprinkler system for five minutes enabled the fire to grow beyond containment capabilities, costing the company over $120 million and 400 jobs. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The places where people live and work are only as safe as the code compliance in place before, during and after construction. Firefighters in Natick, Mass., had to battle a massive blaze in a strip mall from the outside. They could not douse the fire from inside the building because of ‘hidden void spaces,’ created through multiple non-compliant remodels of the 100-year-old structure. Preparedness and Emergency Response The alert system also lets people know the actions they should take to stay safe Prioritizing and investing money in preparedness and response capabilities before, during and after an emergency helps first responders meet community needs. Australia’s 2019 bushfire season benefited from lessons learned after the horrific Black Saturday fire in 2009, where 173 people were killed. A centralized wildfire alert system now communicates to the public the location of the fire and provides an estimate of when it might reach a new location. The alert system also lets people know the actions they should take to stay safe. The new warning system likely saved lives in the 2019 wildfire season. Informed Public Education People take extra safety measures if they have the information they need and understand the risks and consequences. The Honolulu Fire Department created a provocative ad campaign showing a young child, comfortably in his bed. The narrator explains that he is not sleeping but dying as smoke fills the home with no smoke alarms to wake the family. Such messages help to educate the public about the dangers of fire and needed prevention.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend toward working from home has accelerated. New technologies are now making it possible for 911 dispatchers to work from home, too, whether to ensure social distancing or to supplement operations during evolving emergencies. The computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems offer web-based interfaces and mobile capabilities that enable public-safety answering point (PSAP) operators to work from anywhere. Other technologies that are paving the way for dispatchers to work from home include the cloud, virtual private networks (VPNs), and faster data speeds. Remote emergency dispatchers An innovative implementation in Alexandria, Virginia, involves remote emergency dispatchers using equipment including a laptop, headset, smartphone, mobile hotspot, mobile router with computer-aided dispatch and other hardware. The city uses the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) network, provided in partnership with AT&T. A dedicated, secure and reliable connection ensures operation for public safety, everyday functions, and/or for emergency communications. In Alexandria, hotspots and smartphones powered by FirstNet enable 911 dispatchers to take calls In Alexandria, hotspots and smartphones powered by FirstNet enable 911 dispatchers to take calls and handle CAD operations from their homes and remote locations. The dependability of the FirstNet connection is critical; relying on a dispatcher’s home Internet service could be risky if it loses connectivity. Initially hesitant because of concerns about the unknown, Alexandria’s Director of Emergency and Customer Communications was spurred into action by the COVID-19 crisis. Emergency Communications Centers They had tested the system in January. During the first month of implementation, remote workers only answered non-emergency phone calls before beginning to handle 911 calls. The approach helped with social distancing in the midst the COVID -19 crisis, during which dispatchers could not work together as usual in close quarters. To ensure social distancing, dispatchers worked from two different Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) – one primary and one a backup location – in addition to some dispatchers working from home. There was also a fourth ‘isolation’ team, comprised of two fire dispatchers, two police dispatcher and one call telecommunicator – staying and working remotely in a nearby hotel for 10 days in a row. Deciding whether to allow dispatchers to work remotely depends on factors such as employee performance, operational effectiveness and available tools, according to experts. Careful evaluation of these factors ensures a successful implementation. Home-Based operators Technology requirements include a VPN and a dependable, high-speed internet connection In addition to providing flexibility during a global pandemic, remote dispatchers can help departments augment their regularly scheduled staff members more quickly. Dispatchers who can work immediately from home are not delayed by the practicalities of getting to work. Staffing can be augmented immediately rather than several hours from now – an essential consideration during a developing emergency. Technology requirements include a VPN and a dependable, high-speed internet connection. Connectivity might especially be a problem in rural areas, where operators are also more likely to need to travel a long distance to work. There might also be legal issues, such as access to confidential databases. There might also be concerns about discipline of home-based operators and challenges when it comes to working together cohesively as a team. In the end, though, such questions are about ‘how’ a home-bound dispatcher scenario might be managed rather than whether it is feasible. The changing situation during the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the technical hurdles have been overcome.
Federal grants are a critical financial component of fire departments and the fulfillment of their mission to protect their communities. The Firefighters Support Alliance is an initiative to help voters understand the local economic impact that fire departments have on their communities; it is part of the Firefighters & EMS Fund, a national political organization. Federal programs such as Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants are crucial to emergency preparedness. AFG grants seek to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards by providing direct financial assistance to fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations and State Fire Training Academies. The funding helps to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operations efficiencies, foster interoperability and support community resilience. Increasing the number of trained firefighters SAFER grants provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. Although often overlooked, the economics of firefighting – including what funding and resources are available to fire departments – is a significant aspect of making sure firefighters can effectively and safely do their jobs and protect their communities. Visitors to the web site can manipulate the map to show specific data by region or state, and the map itself is color-coded Part of the awareness initiative is an interactive map that tracks and breaks down data related to the economic impact of firefighters. Data includes the number of fire departments, firefighters and grant dollars in relation to each metric. For example, the state of New York's 2,297 departments received an average of $7512.10 per department, and $200.37 average grant dollars per firefighter. Map for the economic impact of firefighters Visitors to the web site can manipulate the map to show specific data by region or state, and the map itself is color-coded to provide easy understanding of the density of each state. “The data speaks for itself; the fire protection industry is a huge part of the American economy and disturbances to such a wide reaching and essential industry will be felt by all,” says Executive Director Nile Porter. “Rich or poor, we all rely on fire and EMS capabilities in one capacity or another.” The Firefighter’s Support Alliance is the direct grassroots public policy and political engagement arm of the Firefighters and EMS Fund. The project was formed to directly engage the public and voters about issues and solutions that impact America’s heroes. Improving the health and wellness of firefighters The alliance will accomplish this by supporting and sponsoring digital marketing and mass media campaigns using targeted messaging and shining a light on issues that provide grassroots-direct issue, political and public awareness. The Firefighter’s Support Alliance comes on the heels of the organization’s in-depth research from 2018-2019 that revealed a deepening health and wellness crisis among firefighters.
Set on the iconic shores of Italy’s Lake Garda, Campeggio del Garda is a popular campsite that attracts tourists from around the globe to its picturesque location. Hochiki Italia’s Totem solution was specified to protect the idyllic campsite and provide occupants with an ideal level of outdoor protection. Campeggio del Garda is located on the water’s edge of Lake Garda, one of Italy’s most picturesque lakes and holiday hotspots. The scenic location offers a range of bungalows and mobile homes, as well as camping and mobile home pitching areas, for visitors. Looking at the spot, it’s clear why this campsite has become a must-visit attraction for tourists. With on-site facilities such as a swimming pool, restaurant and sports courts, the 3,000 guests the site can accommodate are able to enjoy complete luxury during their stay. Updated emergency evacuation system Italian-based designers, Studio Albertini, were brought on board to specify a suitable range of life safety devices In need of an updated emergency evacuation system, Italian-based designers, Studio Albertini, were brought on board to specify a suitable range of life safety devices to protect the site’s guests and employees. Owner and lead contact for the project, Paolo Albertini said, “It was essential for Campeggio del Garda that the solution would be complex enough to deal with the scale of their facilities, but also waterproof to accommodate for outdoor protection. Understanding the high-level of expertise that would be required for such a project, we worked alongside life safety manufacturer, Hochiki Italia, to supply the best and safest solution possible. In this case, their unique Totem system was specified.” Studio Albertini and Hochiki Italia collaboration Studio Albertini and Hochiki Italia collaborated closely on the project to specify a life safety system that could be installed across the expansive accommodation facility. Mirko Corsini, Project Manager at Hochiki Italia, said “Due to the sheer size of the camping area, we decided to manage the system through two networked panels by using the master/slave function of the device.” Mirko Corsini adds, “Combining this intelligent system with the 31 Totem call points that were installed throughout the campsite, we were able to provide a fully integrated and accessible network that covered the entirety of the park. Each Totem is fully waterproof to allow for operation all year around and contains a CHQ -WSB2 sounder beacon, warning signs, multilingual fire safety instructions as well as a UNI ISO 7010 signal call point, as requested by the Ministerial Decree.” Hochiki’s Totem system installed Hochiki Italia’s Totem system is ideal for large scale projects, as was the case and requirement at Campeggio del Garda. Being able to work from multiple networked panels, the system can be divided into zones, in order to make the connection and detection more secure and reliable. This basically means that the system can be operated and monitored from a singular control panel that includes a digital display screen for complete visibility of the status of the various call points. From this panel, duty holders can test, activate and identify any incidents for around the clock safety while reducing operational costs for large premises. The Totem’s call points are placed evenly across the facility to make sure they are accessible for all guests and are within a reachable distance at all times. The call points can be activated by guests or members of staff and can act as a beacon to communicate with guests. Fully compliant solution Totem is fully compliant with Italy’s Ministerial Decree 28.02 2014 and Circ. Prot.n. 0011002 - 12/9/2014 Totem is fully compliant with Italy’s Ministerial Decree 28.02 2014 and Circ. Prot.n. 0011002 - 12/9/2014, in relation to the safety of guests in open air, tourist accommodation. The decree states that all existing accommodation facilities must adopt the appropriate method of fire detection and fighting in spaces of more than 400 people. A clear part of the guidance is that call points should be distributed within 80 meters of each other and well-lit, with multi-lingual fire instructions. At the same time, the alarm signal coming from any of the detectors or call points must determine the optical and acoustic fire alarm signal at a manned place during the hours of activity. Signal and call point functionalities The signal and call point functionalities of Hochiki Italia’s Totem system work perfectly in line these requirements, making them suitable for a range of outdoor environments. Commenting on the end result, Paolo Albertini said “We are elated with the installation and the level of life safety that we can now offer to the campsite’s guests. It was a seamless process and we were able to adapt the system to our exact needs and ensure that fire detection was not only present, but accessible to staff across the whole site. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Hochiki Italia products to customers.”
C-TEC’s revolutionary CAST and Hush Pro fire alarm systems are safeguarding a charming cluster of commercial and residential properties in Llangollen, Wales. As a ‘mixed-use’ building housing both business units and domestic dwellings, a combination of commercial and residential fire systems was required. Allied Fire Alarms & Escapes Co. Ltd., a renowned Wrexham-based fire specialist company, installed one of C-TEC’s powerful CAST XFP addressable fire systems to protect the ground floor retail units and interfaced it to three of C-TEC’s new Hush Pro domestic fire systems to safeguard the residential dwellings on the first floor. Hush Pro domestic fire systems John Westerman, Director at Allied Fire Alarms & Escapes Co. Ltd. said, “Linking C-TEC’s CAST system to Hush Pro proved the ideal solution for this mixed-use building. Each domestic dwelling is fitted with a Hush Pro controller connected to a series of Hush Pro smoke detectors, base sounders and heat detectors, all interfaced via Hush Pro’s CAST Landlord Interfaces - to the CAST XFP communal/landlord system.” Specifically designed for flats, apartments and high-rise residential buildings, Hush Pro provides residents with easy-to-use detection, alarm, silencing and test facilities so they can test their own devices, be alerted to system faults and hush any false alarms at the Hush Button which is positioned at light-switch level for easy access. Fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C system As a fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults and operation faults" John stated, “We specified Hush Pro as it offers higher levels of fire protection over the Grade D unmonitored battery alarm systems typically used in domestic installations.” He adds, “As a fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults and operation faults back to the CAST fire panel and even allows management and maintenance companies to remotely monitor the system. In the event of an emergency, Hush Pro relays information to the CAST panel to effectively notify building management.” Integration with CAST fire system John further said, “As an intelligent domestic detection system, Hush Pro certainly ticks all the boxes. We were very impressed by its operation and ease of integration with the CAST fire system, which was also simple and straightforward to set up. With regards to customer support, C-TEC is always very responsive and happy to help with any enquiries we have.” He adds, “We look forward to installing C-TEC’s products into our future contracts as they provide high-quality, intuitive and easy-to-install fire detection solutions that can be adapted to meet the specific requirements of any building.”
A huge new Amazon fulfillment center on the outskirts of Bristol has installed Vimpex Smart+Guard tough polycarbonate hinged protective covers to protect the building’s alarm call points from accidental or malicious activation, which could trigger costly building evacuations resulting in lost production and missed logistical connections. Life and fire protection system Amazon’s new 500,000 sq. feet fulfillment center at Severn Beach is designed to ensure that more people in the Bristol region receive next-day deliveries. When it is fully operational in September the center will employ around 1,000 people and will be equipped with advanced robotics technology to help lift and move products around the plant. Fire detection specialists AFS (AFS Holdings), engaged to engineer and install a whole life protection system at the fulfillment center site, fitted Vimpex Smart+Guard covers to all the relevant manual call points across the site to protect the system from malicious activation. Smart+Guard protective cover Smart+Guard, manufactured in the UK by Vimpex, is a tough hinged protective cover Smart+Guard, manufactured in the UK by Vimpex, is a tough hinged protective cover that can be easily installed over a range of emergency switches and other devices to provide protection from vandalism, accidental damage or misuse that can cause unwanted alarms. Misuse of manual call points or pull stations resulting in false or nuisance alarms is a costly and troublesome interruption to business continuity. BS 5839 – The British Standard for Fire Alarm Installations recommends the use of manual call point covers in vulnerable areas to mitigate against false alarms. Vimpex Limited’s Managing Director, James Jones, commented, “When we acquired the SmartGuard range of products and merged production of the range into our operations, we knew there was massive scope for developing the business. This is evidenced by the growing list of high-profile end users now specifying the product for use in their facilities.” Fire alarm and detection systems specialist James adds, “The recent news that Amazon has installed the product into their newest fulfillment center in Bristol is testament to our great levels of customer service and our willingness to go that extra mile for our customers.” Vimpex is Europe’s renowned independent manufacturer and distributor of high quality fire evacuation and alarm system products for installers, distributors and OEM manufacturers. The company is also a specialist in the supply of technical rescue and PPE equipment for UK fire, rescue, police, military and emergency services teams.
Lake Assault Boats, a manufacturer of purpose-built and mission-specific fire and rescue boats, delivers its third fire and rescue boat to the San Bernardino County Fire District (SBCFD) in California. The 28-foot long vessel is serving on California’s Big Bear Lake, and is similar to one stationed in Needles, California on the Colorado River. “We’re thrilled to deliver and place into service a third fire and rescue craft to the San Bernardino County Fire District,” said Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats vice president of operations. “Like our other Lake Assault Boats units in service with SBCFD, this new craft is equipped to handle a wide range of emergency scenarios, and is outfitted with particular features for a high altitude lake.” Skyhook digital anchor This new craft has all of the capabilities of our other Lake Assault Boats vessels" Big Bear Lake is situated at over 6,700 feet above sea level. “Because of Big Bear’s elevation, we’ve added a fully-enclosed pilothouse and a reinforced hull that will enable us to push through ice in emergency situations,” explained Brian Wells, a SBCFD Engineer. “This new craft has all of the capabilities of our other Lake Assault Boats vessels that are performing at a very high level.” The fireboat is outfitted with twin 350 hp Mercury Verado outboard engines controlled through the one-touch Skyhook Digital Anchor and Joystick Piloting systems. A 1500 gpm Darley pump (powered by a dedicated V-8 engine) along with a TFT monitor and three discharge ports comprise the heart of its firefighting capabilities. Hydraulically operated bow door A 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door (with an integrated ladder), dual dive doors, a davit crane with twin socket locations, and a fully enclosed pilothouse provide protection from the elements. The onboard electronics include dual 12-inch touchscreens mounted on the dash, Garmin radar and sonar with SideVu and DownVu, chart plotting, and a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system. Lake Assault Boats provided three days of on-the-water orientation ahead of the boats being put into service. “Lake Assault Boats is our vendor of choice and we’re very pleased with the design, build quality, and support we receive from their entire team,” added Wells. “We continue to refine the specs to meet the growing needs of our department’s on-the-water response capabilities in San Bernardino County.”
A network of fault-tolerant MxPro 5 fire panels from Advanced, have been installed at the UK headquarters of Computacenter. As an independent provider of IT infrastructure services, having robust fire protection measures in place at Computacenter’s UK logistics and distribution center is crucial to ensuring smooth operations. As part of a fire system upgrade and move towards a more open-style protocol, Advanced was selected as the preferred solution at Hertfordshire-based Computacenter’s headquarters which, at over 220,000 square feet, are some of Europe’s largest and most sophisticated purpose-built warehousing and operations facilities. Effective and reliable solution Advanced partner, Controlled Ltd., was responsible for the complete replacement of the fire system, including installation, configuration and commissioning of one 8-loop, one 5-loop and two 1-loop MxPro 5 panels that form the core of the site’s active fire protection. Controlled Ltd. integrated the new Advanced control panels alongside several third-party systems in the warehouse and operations building, including auto conveyors, sprinklers, gas suppression, aspirator systems and fire doors and shutters. Advanced panels are easy to use for both installers and operators" Neil Bain, Director at Controlled Ltd., said: “In selecting new fire protection equipment for the upgrade to Computacenter’s headquarters, we chose Advanced because we were confident that it would offer the most flexible, effective and reliable solution for the job. Advanced panels are easy to use for both installers and operators and their technical support team is always efficient and informative.” Temporary wireless solution In order to introduce the open protocol Advanced fire system, Controlled Ltd. had to install a temporary wireless solution until they were ready to conduct a phased changeover of loops, wiring and installation of new devices. With the control and indicating equipment now in place, Computacenter have the option to install graphical mapping and front-end monitoring software to improve visibility of the status of the fire system across the site. Jim Brown, Building Services Supervisor at Computacenter, said: “As part of an extensive overhaul of the fire alarm system in our operations center, Controlled Ltd. installed a temporary fire alarm system to work alongside the existing alarm system which was being upgraded to Advanced. This has worked very well with little disruption as progressively each loop has come online. The fact that they have successfully undertaken this work in what is essentially a manned site twenty-four hours a day is impressive, as is their ability to offer workable solutions to problems encountered, on time and on budget.” Open installer network Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager, said: “Our panels are installed within commercial premises across the world, protecting people, prestigious properties and strategic assets. For Controlled Ltd, our MxPro 5 fire panels offered the versatility and ease of use required to ensure a painless upgrade to Computacenter’s fire system – this is an area where our products excel so it’s great to have been able to support them with the equipment required for this project.” Panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed The MxPro 5 is the unbeatable multiprotocol fire system. Approved to EN54-2, 4 & 13, it offers four protocols, Apollo, Argus, Hochiki and Nittan and a completely open installer network that benefits from free training and technical support. Panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed, 200-panel networks covering huge areas. MxPro 5 panels are backwardly compatible with existing MxPro 4 networks and include a host of features including AlarmCalm for complete false alarm management and reduction. Single-Panel installations Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile commercial and manufacturing sites across the globe – from eyewear manufacturer Luxottica in Milan, to Hitachi Rail Europe’s facility in County Durham and the £134million Condor House in London. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, after Berlin, and home to approximately 1.8 million inhabitants, with its metropolitan region home to over five million. More than one million incoming calls must be handled by the control centers of fire services and police. The control room renewal project (in German Projekt ERneuerung LEitstellen - PERLE) will provide the two emergency services with a modern technical control room solution, in order to meet the organizations current and future requirements, as well as increase safety for citizens of and visitors to Hamburg. Increasing operator efficiency “We were impressed with the innovative solution concept that Frequentis had demonstrated to us, especially the multimedia functionality that will prepare us for the future needs of the emergency services, increasing the efficiency and operator convenience as well as public emergency contact,” said Eiko Hinrichs group leader of PERLE - firefighter and engineer for communication technology. “It gave us a great pleasure, to gain Frequentis as a very experienced and reliable partner for the implementation of our new communication system.“ 3020 LifeX™ is a future-oriented public safety communication and collaboration software designed to fulfill the demands of a next-generation control room (on-premises or hosted) that requires multimedia contact handling for telephony as well as radio for future cross-coupling of these technologies. Its sophisticated, modular architecture integrates a variety of systems with various protocols and can flexibly exchange or upgrade them without compromising ongoing operations. Efficient call handling and resource allocation The technology for Hamburg Fire and Police will be located in two central data centers and in two control centers, accommodating more than 220 workstations. The Frequentis communication system will integrate with the customer’s computer aided dispatch solution and the geographical information system, enabling geolocation and thus assisting operators with efficient call handling and resource allocation. “Receiving this contract during the COVID-19 lockdown period in Germany shows customers trust in Frequentis. We also commend customers who have future-orientated outlooks, considering not only the current needs of their service but also future changes and required functionality,” says Robert Nitsch, Frequentis Vice President Public Safety. “3020 LifeX™ focusses on increasing operator performance and harmonizing communication and collaboration without being bound to a physical location. We are pleased to be supporting the City of Hamburg’s police and fire services with this task and their future development strategy.”
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