Following significant requests from customers, Apollo Fire Detectors have expanded their portfolio of free webinars and virtual CPD’s. In order to continue providing its training service throughout the national lockdown, Apollo released a selection of over 15 virtual courses in May 2020. The courses have been a huge success with thousands of attendees from over 30 countries taken advantage of the weekly sessions. Due to this success, and COVID-19 restrictions being in place once again in...
With the UK continuing its battle against COVID-19, businesses everywhere are facing the unenviable task of ensuring virus-free workplaces for staff and customers alike. For this reason, HI-KLEEN from Hi-line Industries has been proving exceptionally popular since its introduction in the summer of 2020. To help even more companies benefit from this highly effective surface sanitizer for commercial premises, Hi-line has produced a short but highly informative video that demonstrates the product&...
As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations begins around the country, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) continues to offer support to the health sector during the pandemic. Having already seen staff from various parts of the Service helping with training new ambulance drivers, supporting the community hubs and working as ambulance drivers, CFRS is now offering its support with the vaccination program. Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland said: "The pandemic has been such a challenging t...
Fire and rescue service employers have unilaterally scrapped a ground-breaking agreement with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) which had enabled firefighters to assist the NHS and care sector response to COVID-19. Negotiations over health and safety measures for firefighters delivering high-risk COVID-19 duties were ongoing when the National Employers issued a communication ending the agreement on the evening of Wednesday 13 January. The decision appears to be supported by the National Fire Chiefs...
The final three recipients have been announced in the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), MSA Security Incorporated and DuPont’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. The White River (ON, Canada) Fire Department, New Baltimore Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company (Warrenton, VA), and the Central Hardin Fire Department (Elizabethtown, KY) will each receive four sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear and four helmets to increase the safety of their members. MSA Safety Incorporated, DuPont, and NVFC tea...
Translation in an emergency setting is a challenge that first responders face on a daily basis. For example, London Luton Airport’s Fire Service would previously have to find a member of staff or a passenger that could help them translate, which is not always possible. As a last resort, the service would carry around a large flipbook containing numerous medical questions in a multitude of languages, but this did not solve the problem of understanding any responses. AI-Powered Language Tr...
A fire in a utility room at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center was quickly extinguished, Baltimore County fire officials said. Fire officials said firefighters were called around 3:09 p.m. for a fire on the third floor of the hospital in Rossville. Hospital alarm system Fire officials said the hospital alarm system sounded and as firefighters were en route, the sprinkler system activated. Officials said firefighters found heavy smoke on the third floor and it took about 45 minutes to put out the fire. Patients at the hospital were sheltered in place as fire crews worked on ventilating the facility “They were able to make quick extinguishment of the fire, the sprinklers were activated. They were able to contact that very quickly. They were working to shelter patients in place,” Baltimore County fire Capt. Len Stewart said. Patients at the hospital were sheltered in place as fire crews worked on ventilating the facility. No injuries were reported, officials said. Fighting water damage “We had a fire in one of our inpatient units. It looks like it originated in one of our utility rooms, storage rooms. (I’m) delighted to say that the first responders did a magnificent job to put the fire out, patients were moved laterally as per our plans, no patients were hurt, no staff were injured, thank goodness. The fire’s out and we are cleaning up and looking to get back to full operations,” said Stuart Levine, president of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. Levine told 11 News that the floor affected by the fire was where some COVID-19 patients were being treated. They have been moved to other areas at the hospital. Firefighters said there was water damage on the second floor.
Firefighters are ready to assist the UK’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines after an agreement was reached between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the fire and rescue service National Employers. The agreement allows firefighters to assist other public sector organizations with the track, trace, and isolate measures, and to check that potential higher risk premises are COVID-secure. Firefighters will inspect workplaces where relevant authorities have raised concerns about COVID-security, notably identified in Leicester garment factories. The FBU is encouraging anyone concerned about workplace COVID-security to raise it with their local council in the first instance. Negative COVID-19 Test The FBU and National Employers said fire and rescue services are open to assisting with the vaccine rollout if requested by Local Resilience Forums. Firefighters will have to wait three days and receive a negative COVID-19 test before returning to fire and rescue service premises when returning from pandemic duties. Tripartite Agreement Firefighters’ work responding to the pandemic was previously permitted under a tripartite agreement involving the National Fire Chiefs Council, but the FBU and National Employers said in a joint circular the temporary agreement had become much longer-term than originally envisaged. The work will now come under the jurisdiction of the National Joint Council, where the FBU and National Employers negotiate pay and conditions, the normal body for national industrial agreements in the fire and rescue service. All 14 previously agreed activities are covered in the new agreement. Firefighter Volunteers Delivering essential items, PPE, driving ambulances at incidents, assisted with COVID-19 tests From March to October, firefighter volunteers helped the pandemic response delivering more than 111,000 essential items to vulnerable people, assisting paramedics, and driving ambulances at more than 87,000 incidents, and delivering 25,000 units of PPE. 68,000 single-use face masks have been assembled and 32,000 food parcels packaged. Firefighters have also assisted with 1,500 COVID-19 tests, delivered more than 1,000 infections, prevention, and control training sessions, and moved more than 2,000 bodies of the deceased. Safety Measures The latest agreement is initially in place until January, to ensure that brigades comply with all safety measures with a view to an extension beyond that. Firefighters Stepping-Up Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, said, “This year has been an extraordinary one for the fire and rescue service, with firefighters stepping up and doing more to tackle the pandemic than could previously have been imagined.” “We finally have a COVID-19 vaccine and, having already helped so many in their communities through this pandemic, firefighters will want to do their bit to help roll out mass vaccination.” Second Wave Of Pandemic Matt Wrack continued “We are still in the midst of the second wave of this pandemic and cannot be complacent about the serious risks posed by a coronavirus.” “That’s why we are expanding this crucial work, offering to assist with track and trace and to check that higher-risk premises are COVID-secure.” “It remains as crucial as ever to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in fire and rescue services– and that means taking proper precautionary measures, including testing and isolation, to make sure firefighters don’t get sick when protecting the public.”
The dates for INTERSCHUTZ have been changed, with the event now taking place from June 20 to June 25, 2022. The decision to reschedule the world's renowned trade fair for the fire, rescue, civil protection and safety/security verticals was taken by Deutsche Messe, after a process of thorough deliberation and intensive discussion with key market players. INTERSCHUTZ In a context that has affected numerous other trade fairs and events taking place all over the world, the move was driven by the latest developments in the global status of the COVID 19 pandemic. Flagship trade fairs like INTERSCHUTZ have a long-range planning horizon and require a lead time of several months" "Flagship trade fairs like INTERSCHUTZ have a long-range planning horizon and require a lead time of several months. In addition, the industries that participate at INTERSCHUTZ, either as exhibitors or visitors, are among the people most heavily involved in dealing with the current pandemic across the globe," stated Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Deutsche Messe Managing Board. International trade event He adds, "INTERSCHUTZ takes place every five years. The community of people involved in fire and rescue services as well as civil protection has been eagerly awaiting the next edition of the event. Against this background, the decision to reschedule was a difficult one. But a series of intensive discussions with our partners and exhibitors as well as representatives of key visitor target groups made clear to us that this move was unavoidable.” Gruchow continues stating, “A staging of the event in the summer of 2022 has been welcomed by all stakeholders. This is the only way we can offer everyone the necessary planning security for their trade fair appearance. A flagship fair like this one thrives on a large number of international visitors and, in particular, face-to-face encounters. Based on the current international travel restrictions, our clients would not be able to adequately prepare for such a major, globally significant trade fair." Hybrid event The pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of the fire department, rescue services and civil protection" "The auspices for INTERSCHUTZ have been excellent for a long time," said Martin Folkerts, Global Director of INTERSCHUTZ at Deutsche Messe, adding "We had already signed up a record number of exhibitors for the originally planned edition of the event in June 2020. We are confident our exhibitors will now join us in organizing INTERSCHUTZ 2022, which will be staged for the first time as a hybrid event.” Martin further stated, “The pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of the fire department, rescue services and civil protection. In addition, we expect significant increases in investment in these sectors all over the world, which will present the ideal conditions for our marketplace. More than any other event, INTERSCHUTZ thrives on personal contact and direct networking. It is the platform for the worldwide community." Firefighting technology manufacturers welcome postponement "The manufacturers of firefighting technology within the VDMA expressly welcome the postponement of INTERSCHUTZ to 2022. For us, INTERSCHUTZ is the most important international trade fair for the industry. And our expectation is that it will seamlessly follow on from the great success of 2015. We are certain that the conditions will be in place in 2022,” said Dr. Bernd Scherer, Executive management member of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) and Managing Director VDMA Fire Fighting Equipment, commenting on the new date of INTERSCHUTZ in June 2022. Scherer adds, “Our highly innovative industry will have numerous exciting new products in its program by then. And the German and international visitors will make INTERSCHUTZ 2022 the big live event of the year as we know it," INTERSCHUTZ postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic Exhibitors also appreciate the direct contact with those who ultimately use their products and services" Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (VFDB), also welcomes the decision to postpone INTERSCHUTZ until 2022. He said, "Our emergency services are and will continue to be extremely busy in the coming months. As we know, INTERSCHUTZ is always a welcome opportunity for thousands of them to obtain information, exchange experiences and network. None of this would be possible at present in this tense situation.” Dirk adds, “However, without the many visitors, including those from the non-material world, INTERSCHUTZ would not be what it has always been. Exhibitors also appreciate the direct contact with those who ultimately use their products and services. The industry needs this exchange between suppliers and users." Ensuring safety and security of People Dieter Siegel, the Chief Executive Officer of Rosenbauer International AG, also welcomed the new date set for INTERSCHUTZ to take place in the summer of 2022. Dieter stated, "Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis still has a firm grip on all of us and does not yet allow us to hold trade fairs and major events safely at the present time. However, the safety and health of people is of course our top priority as a system provider in firefighting and disaster protection.” Dieter adds, “We are, therefore, in favor of postponing INTERSCHUTZ until 2022, because we all want nothing more than an INTERSCHUTZ as we know it, an unforgettable trade show experience and a meeting place for fire departments from all over the world, without compromising on the safety of our customers, visitors and guests." The next INTERSCHUTZ international trade event is scheduled to take place from June 20 to June 25, 2022, at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds, in Messegelände, Hannover, Germany.
A clear indication of both, the company’s improved relationship with Government, and the incredible effort of individuals, is the secondment of two specialists from FIA members to the Department of International Trade - UK Defence and Security Exports. Here is what the key people involved in this great partnership have to say. Ian Moore, CEO, FIA: "Working with Government for our members and the wider industry is, and has always been, a key priority. We are proud our relationship with Government has improved over the last few years which has allowed us to better address the three key issues of Brexit, COVID-19 and Grenfell. It has taken incredible effort from both sides to get this great working relationship to where it is today." products and services I am immensely grateful and proud of the individuals and their companies allowing them to give up their time" "From weekly meetings with UK Defence and Security Exports on the transition period to sharing live updates on Brexit and how to best support our members export. A clear indication of both our improved relationship with Government and the incredible effort of individuals is the secondment of two specialists from FIA members to the Department of International Trade - UK Defence and Security Exports." "Sarah and Michelle’s work is key to ensuring that the fire industry is able to continue exporting our world-leading products and services. I am immensely grateful and proud of the individuals and their companies allowing them to give up their time. Doing so will help everyone out in in this crucial area at this vital time in our history." first responder capability campaign Sarah Adamson, Sector Specialist - First Responder Capability: “I’m thrilled to have been appointed as a sector specialist for the first responder capability campaign for the UK Defence and Security Export team. For Angloco this is a chance to support the development of the UK export market for Fire and Rescue products, and to help the UK bounce back." "During the secondments of the sector specialists, our ambition is to pull together and showcase the very best of the UK Defence and Security sector to be shared with the world. The purpose is to grow the knowledge of our customers and DIT colleagues alike, to enable more British Products and Services to flow around the world. I strongly believe that working together with the Government, as UK businesses, is our best way to work together." positive move forward "It’s fantastic for our industry to be engaged directly and we should all be sharing the experiences that we have gained for the benefit of the whole sector.” I think it is a great initiative of the DIT to mix trade and Civil Servants together to obtain mixed views" Michelle Agius, Sector Specialist - Infrastructure: “I am delighted to be a part of this initiative from the DIT, as a UK based SME myself I totally understand the difficulties of SMEs’ exporting. I think it is a great initiative of the DIT to mix trade and Civil Servants together to obtain mixed views. Any initiative to push and assist the visibility of UK SMEs is a positive move forward and one I am proud to be associated with." training and products "Like most things in the business world, this is a complicated subject but our aim is to make it as simple as possible for the overseas posts to understand the great benefits of working with UK companies to obtain the best knowledge, experience, training and products.” Tracy Buckingham, Deputy Director, Security & Cyber Exports in UK Defence & Security Exports: “While recognizing the many challenges businesses are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, UK Defence and Security Exports is here to help. As we start the economic recovery, we’re thinking about what happens next and how you can stay one step ahead of your competitors." providing strategic leadership If you would like your company to be involved in this campaign, please get in touch with our sector specialists" "As part of our implementation of the Security Exports Strategy, we are drawing together a series of UK Security Offers for our international partners. These offers will demonstrate to overseas buyers the fantastic capabilities that UK companies have across a range of sectors." "This initiative is one way in which we are providing strategic leadership that contributes towards the key Government policy of encouraging more companies to trade internationally and to increase the value of UK goods and services that are exported. We are currently looking for companies who provide products and services in the first responder or infrastructure buyer categories to join the UK Security Offer and help us to showcase your capabilities to overseas buyers." work effectively together "This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the UK’s national security and prosperity. If you would like your company to be involved in this capability campaign, please get in touch with our sector specialists. We hope this represents a valuable opportunity for individuals from industry to engage directly with UK Defence and Security Exports to shape the way in which we support UK exporters and to create a legacy that can be built on to ensure that Government and industry work effectively together into the future.”
Rosenbauer presents a new forest firefighting vehicle. It meets both category 3 of EN 1846-2 for all-terrain firefighting vehicles and specific requirements for the protection of the vehicle crew, as defined for example in the French standard NFS 61-517 or NFS 61-518. This includes a thermal self-protection system and a driver's cab equipped with a rollover cell. With its compact dimensions, low center of gravity, and single tires, the all-wheel-drive vehicle is ideally suited for use in rough terrain. The special firefighting equipment on board makes the extinguishing agents extremely cost-effective and efficient. Plus, the crew can fight the fire using a turret mounted on the bumper and controlled from the cab without having to exit the vehicle. Robust, Lightweight, Superstructure The new forest firefighting vehicle is built on a 2-axle chassis from Renault with a total permissible weight of 14 tons. The all-wheel-drive can be switched and the 6-cylinder diesel engine (Euro-6) has an output of 206 kW (280 hp). With a length of 6,900 mm and a wheelbase of 3,350 mm, the vehicle is extremely compact and maneuverable. The large under axle clearance and a tipping angle of 25° increase off-road capability. Flexible And High-Strength Body The firefighting body consists of two parts, a tank module made of polypropylene and a pump room module behind it made of a self-supporting aluminum sheet/profile construction. The flexible and also high-strength body provides optimum load distribution and lateral stability for operation under off-road conditions – the consistent use of lightweight materials ensures a high loading capacity. Water Tank And Additional Equipment Equipment can be housed in three spacious compartments with dust-tight roller shutter closures The vehicle water tank has a capacity of 3,500 l (500 l of which is for the self-protection systems); the separate foam tank holds 100 l. The additional equipment required for forest firefighting operations (fire swatters, firefighting backpacks, backpack sprayers, and more) is housed in three spacious equipment compartments with dust-tight roller shutter closures. Two are located on the sides of the vehicle; another is installed across the entire width in the rear. The built-in pump, foam proportioning system, and rapid intervention hose reel are also accessible through this compartment. Firefighting Equipment For Forest Firefighting The firefighting equipment of the new forest firefighting vehicle consists of the combined NH25 normal/high-pressure pump and the direct injection foam proportioning system RFC Admix Variomatic. The pump has a capacity of up to 2,500 l/min at 10 bar (FPN 10-2000) and up to 400 l/min at 40 bar (FPH 40-250). In high-pressure operation, the supply of extinguishing water on board can be used very sparingly because the fine atomization causes more water to evaporate than under normal pressure, thus achieving a high extinguishing effect. In addition, the kinetic energy of the firefighting water allows it to be driven deep into the forest floor, which means that even hot spots can be extinguished efficiently. RFC Admix Variomatic The RFC Admix Variomatic also produces wetting agents, light, medium, and heavy foam, and the proportioning ratio is infinitely variable between 0.1% and 6%. With the smallest proportioning quantity, the surface tension of the firefighting water is reduced to such an extent that it can penetrate deep into the flammable material and an excellent extinguishing effect can be achieved with minimal water consumption. Firefighting Foam The foam compound is injected directly into the pressure outlets and thus the water pump remains free The suffocating effect of firefighting foam is used at higher proportioning ratios. The foam compound is injected directly into the pressure outlets and thus the water pump remains free of foam compound and does not have to be flushed after each use. In addition, water and other mains water or foam can be discharged simultaneously at one outlet or several injection points can be operated with different proportioning ratios. Crew Safety A system of spray nozzles protects both the crew cab and the substructure of the vehicle. The water for this comes from a secured tank segment and is pumped by a separate, electrically driven pump. If the vehicle is trapped by fire during a forest fire, this system allows the crew to drive over a burning fire border and reach safety. Driver Warning System The Rosenbauer DWD Driver Warning System enhances off-road driving safety. This measures the vehicle inclination as well as the axial lateral and longitudinal forces and alerts the driver with visual and auditory signals if the vehicle is at risk of tipping over. A rollover cell made of high-strength steel is also integrated into the cab structure to protect the crew in all situations. High-Performance LEDs The vehicle is also equipped with a light package consisting of high-performance LEDs and a front cable winch with a tractive force of 5,400 kg. An optional fresh air system which creates an overpressure in the cabin to prevent the penetration of fire gases can also be installed. We also have our own protective devices for the battery and electrical equipment. Manufacturing Details The vehicle is being built at Rosenbauer's Linares Forest Fire Competence Center in Spain. It is built to meet, in particular, the technical and tactical requirements of French, Spanish, and Portuguese fire departments. It combines everything that is necessary for efficient and safe forest firefighting.
Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci has long been a vocal advocate of residential fire sprinkler legislation in Maryland. Throughout his career in the Maryland fire service, he has excelled in educating about the importance of fire sprinklers from the perspective of the fire service as a life-saving tool that is not only beneficial, but necessary. For all his contributions to the fire protection industry, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) is proud to honor Geraci with its 2020 Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year award. Geraci has served in the fire service in Maryland since 1973, with eyes set on being a fire investigator. Sprinkler system testing Throughout his fire service career, leading up to his current position as the Maryland State Fire Marshal, his training for positions he's held has aided in Geraci's knowledge of sprinkler systems, sprinkler system testing, and other aspects of fire protection systems. Maryland is currently one of two states in the United States that require residential fire sprinklers in new homes. Geraci was instrumental in getting this initial legislation passed in 2012 and defense of it in 2015, but he hasn't stopped there. Geraci still sees room for improvement in the existing legislation, and works to advocate for additional legislation to help with the enforcement side of the initial mandate. "We needed an enforcement arm to [the legislation]," says Geraci. Residential fire sprinklers Residential sprinklers are in place here in Maryland; they aren't going anywhere" The result of this call for a more defined system of enforcement and who should be doing the enforcing of the existing laws is the recent passing of Maryland House Bill 823 and Senate Bill 746 that will take effect on October 1, 2020. These laws will require the state fire marshal to enforce any requirements relating to the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in new one- and two-family dwellings. "Residential sprinklers are in place here in Maryland; they aren't going anywhere. We're saving lives and they're clearly making a difference," reinforces Geraci. With the new legislation in place, Geraci's office, now more than ever before, will be involved with fire sprinklers through enforcing and ensuring that each new home is outfitted with the life-saving technology of residential fire sprinklers. Fire protection industry His list of contributions to the fire protection industry, while already lengthy, will only continue to grow as the new legislation takes effect. AFSA created the Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year award to honor individuals not directly involved in the fire sprinkler industry whose efforts have significantly advanced the fire protection industry and automatic fire sprinklers. Nominees are recommended by AFSA's Legislative Committee and approved by the Board of Directors. Due to COVID-19, alternative plans were made to present the award to Geraci. The award is typically presented during the general session at the annual AFSA Convention, Exhibition & Apprentice Competition, which was postponed this year due to the global pandemic.
From a 48-storey fire in the UAE, to a 200-firefighter-strong blaze at student accommodation in the UK, several high-profile, high-rise fires continue to keep the focus of utilities, regulators, developers, and public associations everywhere on actively seeking ways to reduce the risk of fire with innovative materials. Statistics show that the majority of fire related fatalities occur in a domestic setting between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Protecting high-rise residential buildings from fire, where occupancy rates are high but the reaction to danger is lower (while asleep), is a critical engineering challenge. Fire risk assessment While most recently built high rise buildings will be equipped with risk safety provisions such as wet or dry risers, protected staircases, sprinklers, and communications systems as standard, thousands of post-war, purpose-built flats require careful risk assessment and improvement. What was acceptable at the time of build may no longer meet today’s standards or may have been affected by changing environmental factors such as the encroachment of neighboring buildings. While the fire safety legislation adopted in 2006 has driven improvements that seek to address these types of issues While the fire safety legislation adopted in 2006 has driven improvements that seek to address these types of issues, its application has sometimes been problematic, with varied results from site to site. A fire risk assessment is the first step in evaluating the risks posed and identifying options to reduce the potential for a devastating event. Potential fire risk Electricity substations, which are often located in the basement or adjoining a high-rise building, will often be identified as a potential fire risk due to the proximity of a source of a fuel – mineral oil – to a source of heat and sparks. This concurs with the findings of the MIDEL Transformer Risk Report 2020, where respondents identified fire risk as the second most important consideration when assessing transformer risk overall. Mineral oil is widely accepted as the most flammable of the insulating fluids used within a substation’s transformers, but has persisted in its use due to its price point. A mineral oil fire will burn ferociously, producing thick, black smoke, impeding evacuation by reducing visibility and potentially jeopardizing ground floor and basement exits. Fire suppression systems At their worst, there are documented cases where transformer fires have caused loss of life and significant damage to the environment. They are certainly not a risk to be ignored. In newer buildings, the use of mineral oil in a transformer needs to account for the substation to be constructed to the latest fire safety standard – reinforced concrete or brickwork with a minimum four-hour fire containment rating. The fire risk can be mitigated in a completely different way once mineral oil is eliminated from the equation In addition to fire suppression systems involving significant civil engineering works, these measures do not eliminate the risk of fire by preventing it but are necessary to contain a fire once one starts. Additionally in older buildings, where the retrofitting of concrete reinforcements or a complete relocation of the substation would be expensive and technically challenging (if not impossible), the fire risk can be mitigated in a completely different way once mineral oil is eliminated from the equation. Enhancing fire safety One pioneering UK utility is leading the way in mitigating transformer-related fire risk. Following the fire at Grenfell in the UK, the utility considered that any element of risk was no longer acceptable and so undertook a sizeable and substantial review of its property portfolio. It subsequently identified over 100 residential sites where upgrades could be made to further enhance fire safety and the safety of residents. Many of these higher-risk units are located in embedded substations in the basements of the high-rise apartments that rely on them for electricity. The units range from 500kVa to 1000kVa. After exploring the options, the utility embarked on an extensive program of corrective upgrades at a scale never seen before in the UK. Minimizing fire risk One long-term and economic solution to reduce transformer fire risk stood out; replace the mineral oil in each transformer with a fire safe alternative. Synthetic ester fluids are a K-class rated fire-safe and biodegradable alternative to mineral oil, and it is increasingly being chosen by power utilities and end users to minimize fire risk. The significantly higher fire point makes it the ideal choice for improving the safety of transformers The contract for the utility’s schedule of upgrades was awarded to MIDEL Service Partner Grosvenor Oil Services who opted to use MIDEL 7131, a synthetic ester transformer fluid, that has a high fire point of 316°C, far exceeding that of mineral oil (180°C). The significantly higher fire point makes it the ideal choice for improving the safety of transformers located in residential and high-rise buildings. High-Rise buildings The retro filling technicians leveraged their experience of MIDEL’s ester liquids to the benefit of the project - and the safety of residents. For each site, the technicians inspected the condition of the transformer before draining it of the mineral oil and flushing it through. Once completed, the transformers were retro filled with the fire safe synthetic ester and tested. Replacing mineral oil has several benefits beyond the peace of mind it brings to residents in high-rise buildings. For one, it significantly enhances the sustainability of substations: ester fluids are biodegradable and non-toxic – in the event of a leak, it does not pose a threat to the environment or to people that come into contact with it. Unexpected power outages Ester fluids also keep the transformer in better condition for longer, by reducing the impact that water ingress has on components such as the insulating paper. Because of this benefit, ester-filled transformers require less frequent quality testing (once every five years, rather than once every 12 months). Sites are also better protected against unexpected power outages due to failure Subsequently, this reduces utilities’ maintenance burden as well as increase uptime. Sites are also better protected against unexpected power outages due to failure. Finally, it offers the ability to safely increase transformer load, a benefit that became particularly fortuitous when the COVID-19 lockdown significantly increased domestic property electricity demand. Fire-Safe materials While pioneering, this utility is not alone in its efforts. Utilities across the UK are turning to the benefits of fire-safe materials to reduce the potential for transformer fires in high-rise buildings and higher-risk locations such as hospitals, schools, and shopping centers. The benefits and the process of retro filling is well-established, and with many more people expected to work from home for the foreseeable future, there is not a moment to waste to ensure that the thousands of transformers that supply domestic power are fire safe, sustainable and reliable.
This time of year we remind communities to change their smoke detector batteries, advise them how to be safe while cooking during the holidays and, for those of us in wildland fire-prone communities, encourage them to follow the “Ready, Set, Go” model to properly prepare. But there’s another dangerous “season” out there we need to be aware of. In addition to Covid–19, flu season is among us and, as with fire, it’s important to take preventive measures and prepare your resources (you!). When it comes to being exposed to airborne and bloodborne pathogenic germs, firefighters are among the most at risk. And this is not just a little inconvenience that one or two sick days can cure. Emergency rooms become saturated this time of year with people suffering from the flu, which generally peaks between December and April. Harvard Medical School estimates that 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year in the U.S. due to flu. So, how’s your personal “Prevention Bureau” doing? Are you taking preventive measures to mitigate your risk for flu? Have you and your family received the flu vaccine? How about those you work with? Are you stocked up on over-the-counter medications? If you think about it, firefighting and “flu fighting” are very similar. Both start out small, but if not rapidly attacked, they develop into a much worse situation. Let’s look at this similarity a little more closely. Firefighting versus flu fighting: Incipient stage 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year in the U.S. due to flu Fire - This first stage begins when heat, oxygen and a fuel source combine and have a chemical reaction resulting in fire. This is also known as “ignition” and is usually represented by a very small fire that hopefully goes out on its own before severe stages are reached. Recognizing a fire in this stage provides your best chance at suppression or escape. Cold/Flu - The incipient stage is the incubation period, or the time it takes for a person who has been exposed to the virus to become infected (think of infection as ignition). The Merck Manual’s Online Medical Library section on influenza reports the incubation period may be from one to four days (first stage), averaging about 48 hours from exposure. Controlling the spread Fire - As the fire grows, the structure’s fire load and available oxygen are used as fuel for the fire. The fire starts rapidly spreading to other parts of the building, creating more damage. It is during this shortest of the four stages when a deadly “flashover” can occur, potentially trapping, injuring or killing firefighters. Cold/Flu - The U.S. Library of Medicine defines communicability as the time it takes an infectious agent to be transmitted from an infected person to another person (spreading rapidly). Once infected with influenza-type illnesses, the affected person may begin shedding the virus to others one day before signs and symptoms occur and continue to be contagious after symptoms begin. Prevention is all but impossible at this stage of the disease. Fully Developed When it comes to being exposed to airborne and bloodborne pathogenic germs, firefighters are among the most at risk Fire - When all combustible materials have been ignited, a fire is considered fully developed. This is the hottest phase of a fire and the most dangerous for anybody trapped within it. At this point our efforts are generally focused on protecting endangered structures. We surround the fire, apply massive amounts of water and let the contents burn themselves out. Cold/Flu - Fighting a fully developed flu virus is not much different. You position yourself in a safe place (usually your bed!) and “surround and drown” with fluids/rest. You generally cannot do much except protect exposures (others) by limiting your contact with them. The Firefighter Flu Prevention Bureau If fighting the flu has similarities with fighting fire, we can extend the metaphor a little further. In the fire service we rely on our Fire Prevention Bureau to educate the public as to the common causes of residential fires. We understand that a little education goes a long way in preventing fires. Well, the flu is no different, except this time we’re educating ourselves! So, following are a few tips from your friendly Flu Prevention Bureau: Wash your hands. The most important prevention measure for preventing colds and flu is frequent hand washing. Rub your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds to slough germs off the skin. Get a flu vaccine. Within two weeks of getting a flu vaccine, antibodies develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Children receiving the vaccine for the first time need two doses delivered one month apart. If you get exposed or get sick, take action. Give yourself time to recover, with plenty of fluids and lots of rest. Seek medical help if your symptoms don’t improve. Antiviral medicine may also help prevent flu if you have been exposed to someone with flu symptoms. In this flu season, take steps to protect your health and the health of those around you. Check with your NFPA—or Nearest Family Physician Available—for additional preventive measures on reducing this risk!
The importance of firefighter health has received increased media attention in recent times, and rightly so. Following Covid-19 more emphasis is now being placed on hygiene and disinfection, which I believe will be one positive outcome of this pandemic. A significant cultural change has been a long time coming to take us away from firefighters wearing dirty kit as 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. Firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens Prior to Covid-19, the media were also reporting more regularly on the very real issue of firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens, an issue when embedded in equipment and absorbed. Cancer has been highlighted in some scientific reports to be the leading cause of death among firefighters, with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) reporting that cancer caused nearly two out of three (61%) firefighter line-of-duty deaths between 2002 and 2017. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) also found that in the US, firefighters had a 14 percent higher chance of dying of cancer compared to the general population. The results of these reports need to be underpinned by robust medical research to reflect the landscape, culture, current standards and operational practices for Fire Services in the UK. Cancer caused nearly two out of three (61%) firefighter line-of-duty deaths between 2002 and 2017 While these shocking statistics are relatively well known, not enough has been done to force a change. Manufacturers of medical and safety technology products have a responsibility to innovate solutions that support change. To this end, Dräger’s Health for the Firefighter campaign complements our training programmes and communicates the importance of detailed hygiene processes; from the handling and storage of masks and breathing apparatus equipment through to the subsequent cleaning of the kit after an incident has occurred. Training is the first and crucial step in guiding a cultural shift, and ultimately protecting the health and well-being of our firefighters. Using technology, research and innovation It’s important that training programmes reflect the fact that fire services are the experts – they have the experience and understand what solutions are practical. It is therefore our role to use technology, research and innovation to ensure we work together as partners with applied training helping to create a robust consistency in approach as well as providing a safe environment to train. Dräger’s training is typically split into three areas: Training systems - these encompass mobile or fixed training facilities that enable state-of-the-art training so firefighters can experience real fires or extrication scenarios in a safe environment including compartment fire behavior training (CFBT). At Dräger they include a vast portfolio of potential fire and rescue environments, including petrochemical plants, hospitals, schools, high-rise buildings, vehicles, aircraft and subway stations; Technical training - providing comprehensive know-how on the maintenance and repair of equipment – from mechanical and electronic components through to cleaning and disinfection; Fitness training – providing equipment to help ensure that firefighters are prepared for the physical challenges that come with the job and can be tested and monitored to improve their safety. The science and behavior of a fire and its contaminants Training has come a long way from when it centred simply around exposure to hot temperatures often referred to as ‘burn to learn’. It is now about much more than protecting a firefighter from becoming burnt, but rather teaching the science and behavior of a fire and its contaminants, not only to support fire and rescue operations, but also to protect the firefighter’s own health. While Covid-19 is driving improvements in this regard, what is more difficult is helping fire services to realize that technical training on the cleaning and hygiene processes related to kit is just as important to firefighter health. Consistent and robust hygiene processes are also about technology. While manual cleaning of equipment is still generally the norm, there are many fire services that are moving towards mechanical washing systems, which 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. Training and support around these systems encompasses the entire purchasing and use life cycle; from helping to build business cases for procurement and logistical installation support, to advice on the exact processes a firefighter should take when leaving a scene and returning to the station. Support also encompasses the ongoing maintenance of equipment and the quantity of stock required. An international look at hygiene and infection control Consistent and robust hygiene processes are also about technology Despite such advances, the UK is still behind other countries in terms of our hygiene and infection control practices. Netherlands and Sweden, for example, are two European countries leading the way in shifting the mindset and using mechanical washing equipment supported by improved logistics for managing and tracking PPE and RPE more widely. For these countries, stringent hygiene practices are commonplace and are not just about fighting cancer or the current pandemic, but also about protecting firefighters and support staff from more day-to-day illnesses such as flu, common colds, cold sores and other communicable illnesses. Within Dräger, my role includes advising on these best-practice examples and new equipment technologies – working with our UK-based manufacturing facility and R&D departments to ensure they are designed with the firefighter in mind, and working with Fire Services, Government and other key stakeholders to help drive improvements to further protect our crews. Having manufactured advanced technology solutions for the Fire Services for more than 115 years, Dräger has the experience and technological know-how to support this necessary change in how we think about equipment, its cleaning, and ultimately how to apply technology and training to make our firefighters safer.
COVID-19 dominated the headlines in 2020, and it had a profound impact on the fire industry. TheBigRedGuide.com published many articles about the pandemic and its impact, some of which were among the most-read articles of the year. This retrospective will highlight some of those pandemic-related articles, including links to the original content. The Fire Industry Association (FIA) in the United Kingdom published a survey report on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The survey, conducted by FIA, sought to gain a greater understanding of how organizations have been impacted by COVID-19 and of the impact on the wider fire industry now and in the future. Resilience is a recurring theme in the FIA report. At the time of the survey (when the United Kingdom was just past the coronavirus peak), a total of 81% of respondents expected they could continue operating under current circumstances for three months or more. rapidly-spreading virus Roughly a fourth expected their business could continue for six months (23.4%), and another quarter of respondents expected they could last a year (23.4%). First responders were on the front lines of the latest COVID-19 health crisis. Around the United States - and around the world - EMS departments faced the uncertainties of a rapidly-spreading virus. One early problem was a shortage of face masks. As cases surged, it was also harder for ambulance companies to get other needed supplies. Around the United States - and around the world - EMS departments faced the uncertainties of a rapidly-spreading virus In King County, Wash., an early epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the United States, Kirkland, Wash., firefighters and Kirkland police officers were placed under quarantine after an outbreak at a senior care facility. Firefighters were either quarantined at home or at a local fire station. Fire stations are unique environments with conditions that could be conducive to the spread of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19. municipal fire departments Firefighters live in close quarters for 24-hour shifts, and then return home to their families. Reports about “hot” firehouses have helped to emphasize the need to follow best practices to avoid the spread of the disease. The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) compiled a list of guidelines that departments can put into practice to reduce and/or avoid cross-contamination of on-duty staff. Among other impacts on the fire industry, the COVID-19 global pandemic played havoc with the industry’s trade show schedule, with major events canceled or delayed. County and municipal fire departments were impacted as local governments respond to the COVID-19-induced economic downturn with spending freezes, hiring freezes and spending cuts. Some local governments are hoping for help from the state and/or federal level. address economic downturns Although some governments have “rainy day funds” to address economic downturns, not all of them do. Furthermore, the extent of the current economic crisis may exceed our worst fears. Proposed budget cuts for some fire and EMS departments are in the 10% to 25% range. A consequence of the coronavirus shutdown was cancellation of hundreds of volunteer fire department fundraisers across the United States - from fish fries to bingo to hog roasts to chicken barbecues. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend toward working from home accelerated No more carnivals or spaghetti suppers or gun raffles. And departments lost thousands of dollars. Firefighters are used to wearing protective gear, but one U.S. locale exempted first responders from adhering to a mask mandate to address coronavirus risks. The City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, proposed an amendment to exempt first responders from complying with the city’s face mask ordinance. ensure social distancing Specifically, the proposed amendment states, “Exempted from the requirements of the ordinance requiring wearing of face coverings include law enforcement personnel, first responders or other workers, who are actively engaged in their tasks, if wearing a face covering may hinder their performance.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend toward working from home accelerated. New technologies made it possible for 911 dispatchers to work from home, 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. blocking firefighter access Adapting workspaces to operate safely during a pandemic presents complications, not least of which is making sure that the measures taken to protect employees from infection do not undermine fire safety. In the course of altering a building to prevent infection spread, there are risks of introducing new life safety hazards and compromising emergency preparedness. It is also important to avoid blocking firefighter access and facilities As buildings adapt to new occupancy standards and requirements, it is critical that any protective measures do not interfere with operation of life safety systems. Might temporary partitions or barriers block escape routes during a fire emergency? Social distancing measures might entail blocking emergency exists and disrupting the flow of occupants looking to vacate a building. It is also important to avoid blocking firefighter access and facilities. career options The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting every aspect of our business lives. But buried among the disruption was an opportunity. Newly idled workers could see this as an opportune time for training to expand their career options. Meanwhile, employees still on the job may find that a cancelled or postponed project means they have time on their hands. Training can enable them to make the most of that time. In-person training has come to a halt, of course, because of social distancing requirements. Filling the gap are new online learning opportunities.
Technology and innovation are shaping the future of the fire industry. During 2020, TheBigRedGuide.com published many articles touching on research, development, and new technologies. This roundup will review some of the most popular articles, including links to the original content. Thermal Imaging & Augmented Reality (AR) Combining thermal imaging and augmented reality (AR) enables firefighters to see through smoke, in effect enhancing their vision in the life-threatening environment of a fire. AR capabilities can be deployed in a visor attached to a helmet, and an affixed thermal camera captures the images. The most recent prototype of such a product is a robust helmet design that withstands rough treatment. The system also includes software processing that augments thermal images to enable firefighters to see the outline of objects more clearly, thus enabling their detection in the field. Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) The fire research program at the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) in Missoula, Mont., enhanced firefighter safety by improving metrics for determining firefighter safety zones and escape routes, improving and modernizing determination of fire danger, and developing systems and applications such as the Wildfire Safety Evaluator (WiSE) and WildfireSAFE to facilitate the use of these metrics by wildland firefighters. The program has also pioneered the development of metrics for scenario planning and assessing wildfire risk to communities. Internet of Things (IoT) The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding the variety of technical capabilities deployed in the interest of public safety, and smart cities are leveraging IoT data to provide insights and improve operations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is promoting technology development through its Science and Technology Directorate’s SCITI (pronounced “city”) solutions lab. SCITI stands for Smart City and Internet of Things Innovation. Crowd Management & Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has developed a computerized tool to provide data Crowd management can be critical in a fire emergency – or in almost any other emergency situation. The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has undertaken a project to develop a computerized tool to provide data and situational awareness about crowds based on computer vision analysis of the video. Crowds have become an unusual occurrence during the COVID-19 pandemic, but sooner or later, life will be returning to normal. When it does, the safety consequences of poor crowd management will again become top-of-mind for many in the emergency response fields. Complexity Of GPS Coordinates A solution to address the complexity of GPS coordinates in an emergency situation, “what3words” is an easy way to identify precise locations using a unique combination of three words. The benefits of what3words for fire and emergency services agencies are already being realized. what3words addresses are shorter, easier to understand over the phone, and built-in error prevention technology allows emergency services to immediately verify the location and correct mistakes. Drones For Firefighting And Fire Prevention Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are expanding their usefulness in the arenas of firefighting and fire prevention, whether in a downtown business district or in fire-prone wildlands. Among other benefits, drones can provide situational awareness, guide emergency response, and perform dangerous duties while keeping fire personnel safe. Drones provide a new solution for extinguishing fires in high-rise buildings, which can occur beyond the reach of fire nozzles and rescue ladders. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Students and faculty at Hongik University are developing AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms The fire service worldwide collects a lot of data, and a university in Seoul, South Korea, is researching how to crunch the numbers using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the probability of fires more accurately and to direct fire departments’ assets where they will do the most good. Students and faculty at Hongik University are developing AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms into a model that can predict the probability of fires and enable authorities to take action to make the city safer. The project has used the Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, a Web portal for data scientist developers. The researchers ran various ML modules until they were able to predict fires with 90% accuracy. Firefighters Health Wellness, mental toughness, and psychological self-care for firefighters are available in the palms of their hands; in a smart phone app. Fire and police agencies can provide their officers access to these and other self-help tools in an app that reflects each agency’s identity and design choices. Employees can be assured that the use of the app is totally confidential. Tracking Exposure Tracking firefighters’ exposure to smoke and cancer-causing materials is important when it comes to assessing liability claims, worker's compensation, and coverage for occupational health claims. Tracking and documenting exposure data for firefighters is easier than ever using the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) Exposure Tracker App, developed by the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) as part of the NFORS Analytics Data System.
Wildfires represent extreme instances of the deadly destructiveness of fire. There seem to be more wildfires every year, and there are certainly larger and more deadly wildfires all over the world than ever before. Wildfires dominate the public perception of the most extreme consequences of fire. This look back at 2020 will highlight some of the articles about wildfires published by TheBigRedGuide.com, with links to the full-length original articles. The wildfire season in 11 Western U.S. states started out slower than last year. In the first half of the season, wildfires in the Arctic reached new levels, especially in Alaska and Siberia. Larger fires burning Wildfires in the West killed 160 people and caused $40 billion in damage in the past two years, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The trend is toward larger fires burning more acres – especially in years that are warm. Early in 2020, Australia was the epicenter of a wildfire disaster. Persistent heat and drought exacerbated the wildfires, and there have been fires in every Australian state, although New South Wales has been hardest hit. Strong winds have spread smoke and fire rapidly and led to fatalities. Big cities like Melbourne and Sydney have been affected; large fires have damaged homes in the outer suburbs and smoke has destroyed air quality in urban areas. Whole towns have been engulfed in flames. Active wildfire season Another cause of recent wildfires was lightning with more than 10,000 lightning strikes sparking 376 fires In the context of wildfires, even seemingly minor events can have a very large impact. For example, an explosion of blue-colored smoke on Sept. 5, 2020, in Yucalpa, California, was the beginning of a large wildfire in El Dorado Ranch Park. The pyrotechnic device was essentially a smoke bomb designed to send plumes of pink or blue smoke rising into the air, designating the gender of an expected baby. Another cause of recent wildfires was lightning with more than 10,000 lightning strikes sparking 376 fires on Aug 16 and 17, 2020. The global pandemic presented complications for firefighters during what will the active wildfire season. Firefighting manpower could be diminished by the pandemic; training sessions have been canceled, postponed, or conducted remotely. And travel risks undermine the traditional approach of calling on firefighters from throughout the country or around the world to help fight the wildfires. Addressing forest management Social distancing is at odds with the teamwork and camaraderie that characterize firefighting units. Communal basecamps where everyone eats and sleeps together are unworkable during the pandemic. Instead, smaller camps are the rule, and packaged meals are delivered to each camp. Smaller teams reduce the need for widespread quarantine if someone tests positive for the novel coronavirus. Drones are a tool to address forest management and wildfire prevention. Drones are finding multiple uses when it comes to fighting and preventing wildfires. One application is to drop self-igniting ‘dragon eggs’ that spark smaller fires to trim back overgrown forests and help prevent more destructive megafires. The dragon egg system is made up of self-igniting plastic spheres – about the size of a ping-pong ball. Dragon eggs have been an industry standard for years, usually dropped from planes or helicopters. Burnable plant material Researchers are looking to apply new approaches in address the risk of wildfires The spheres are filled with potassium permanganate powder and injected with glycol as an igniter just as they are being dropped. The reaction sets the balls ablaze after about 30 seconds, which is enough time for them to bounce to the ground through a forest canopy. Researchers are looking to apply new approaches in address the risk of wildfires. They include tools such as deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand wildfires and to control their intensity. The model could be used to reveal areas of greatest risk for wildfires. A new deep learning model uses remote sensing and satellite data to trace fuel moisture levels across 12 Western states, in effect tracking the amount of easily burnable plant material and how dry it is. Damaging impacts of wildfires Science shows clearly that the way to reduce the damaging impacts of wildfires and threats to life and property is to proactively manage ecosystems that evolved with fire. This means reintroducing fire in the right ways and places combined with mimicking the effects of fire on forest structure through mechanical treatments. “Rocky Mountain Research Station's Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program (RMRS) focuses on the science of risk management from ways that they can treat fuels and mitigate risks to helping communities assess and mitigate risk and be more resilient,” says Thomas C. Dzomba, Deputy Program Manager and Director of the Fire Modeling Institute. Understanding the underlying causes of wildfires enables us to control them better over the long haul. Enhancing fire science With a primary goal of enhancing fire science, the lab also impacts operational fire response One element is climate change, which has created conditions prone to wildfires by increasing heat, changing rain and snow patterns, and shifting plant communities. But there are also other contributing factors in the growing scale and intensity of wildfires. One is the condition of the forests in Australia, California, and other areas where the incidence of wildfires has increased. In California, for example, it is well known that the forests are unhealthy and in need of more prescribed burns and other thinning efforts. On the front line of turning data into useful information to advance fire science is the WIFIRE Lab at the University of California San Diego. The WIFIRE lab grew out of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). With a primary goal of enhancing fire science, the lab also impacts operational fire response, increasingly in real time. Wildfire risk monitoring The tragic Camp Fire in November 2018, which burned for 17 days in Butte County, near the city of Paradise, Calif., has prompted research to improve risk management and monitoring of wildfires in the future. The vision of the research is ‘a computational platform for multi-level wildfire risk assessment.’ The researchers seek to redefine wildfire risk monitoring and management to provide a platform that can be used by wildfire managers, emergency responders and utility companies to plan for, respond to, and mitigate the risk of wildfires. In Australia, new resources are addressing the growth of wildfires. Preventing and controlling wildfires Andrew and Nicola Forrest have committed 50 million Australian dollars (US$35 million) to the Fire and Flood Resilience initiative through Minderoo Foundation, with a goal of raising an additional 450 million (US$320 million) in direct or in-kind support over the life of the program. The goal of the ambitious investment is to make Australia the pioneer in fire and flood resistance by the year 2025 The goal of the ambitious investment is to make Australia the pioneer in fire and flood resistance by the year 2025. It is an audacious vision that requires an innovative approach, and the organization takes inspiration from the U.S. Apollo mission of the 1960s. In effect, it will be a ‘moonshot’ to advance the cause of preventing and controlling wildfires. Specifically, the first mission, Fire Shield, seeks to ensure no dangerous bushfire in Australia will burn longer than an hour by 2025. Local fire departments 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. The ‘Ready, Set, Go! (RSG!)’ Program works to increase engagement by local fire departments with residents that live in areas at risk of wildland fires. A program of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ offers the tools and resources for fire departments to provide more understanding of the risk of wildland fires and the actions residents should take to reduce the risk.
Vimpex has supplied Agrippa wireless acoustic fire door holders to hold open fire doors at the HQ of one of England’s largest housing associations to provide an easy and effective method of infection control, while not impacting on fire safety. A COVID-secure risk assessment identified the need to reduce the touching of fire door locks and door handles at the organization’s administration offices by staff and visitors. “Reducing the spread of germs and bacteria has never been more critical. We identified self closing fire doors that need constant handling to open them as having the potential to spread the virus. The Agrippa door holder provides an excellent, hygienic and legally compliant solution to holding open internal fire doors, supporting infection control without compromising fire safety." ensure social distancing While preventing door handle contact, the Agrippa door holder also increases room ventilation Vimpex’s Agrippa wireless acoustic fire door holders offer the perfect wire-free solution to legally hold fire doors open, using digital wire-free technology to uniquely ‘listen and learn’ the sound of a specific fire alarm. This ensures the holder’s releasing trigger reacts only to the precise sound of the fire alarm rather than extraneous loud noises, so false activations are virtually eliminated. While preventing door handle contact, the Agrippa door holder also increases room and building ventilation while improving visibility and accessibility to ensure social distancing is maintained. fire door holders The Agrippa fire door holder is the perfect solution to legally hold open fire doors in schools, care homes, hotels and office buildings, as well as many others. It is recognized by UK Fire and Rescue Services and the London Fire Brigade, suitable for installation to BS 7273-4 Standard Actuation (Category B) and conforms to EN1155, and is CE marked.
As Australia takes careful steps to re-open its borders and economy, public safety personnel have continued to serve on the frontline throughout the nation’s lockdown owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic spread. This year has delivered extraordinary challenges for Australia’s public safety agencies, from managing safety and physical distancing in the field, to maintaining interoperable communication across state borders, during the intense pressure of natural disasters, as well as cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure. APX NEXT mission-critical P25 public safety radio Motorola Solutions has announced the launch of its next-gen APX NEXT mission-critical P25 public safety radio in Australia Motorola Solutions has announced the launch of its APX NEXT in Australia, a next-generation, mission-critical Project 25 (P25) public safety radio with LTE for enhanced communications and secure, data-centric applications. The smart radios feature ViQi, a first of its kind, public safety virtual assistant that enables users to quickly manage radio controls through simple and intuitive voice commands. The highly rugged smart radio is also built to military standards, is fully submersible and has a touchscreen that can be operated in any weather and while wearing gloves. Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communication Con Balaskas, Motorola Solutions Vice President and Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, said the purpose-built smart radio from Motorola Solutions is designed to combat the unique challenges posed by Australia’s tough public safety environment. Balaskas said, “Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communication has always been a first responder’s lifeline. That’s never more apparent than when disaster strikes and teams depend on instant, reliable voice communication to safely manage emergency response.” Interoperable access to voice communication “APX NEXT increases both the value and reach of reliable, mission critical communication, providing interoperable access to voice communication as well as essential application services to pinpoint the location of officers in the field, collaborate via multimedia services and help to keep people and communities safe,” Balaskas adds. He further stated, “With first responders facing new challenges including the need to maintain safety and social distancing in the field, ViQi enables them to control the radio hands-free using voice commands. This helps to ensure they can protect their focus on what’s happening around them at all times.” Embedded LTE connectivity The smart radios are one of the newest mission-critical P25 radio offerings in Motorola Solutions’ APX portfolio The smart radios are one of the newest mission-critical P25 radio offerings in Motorola Solutions’ purpose-built APX portfolio. With embedded LTE connectivity, the radio provides a range of application services to increase safety and productivity, with rich data capabilities and extended voice coverage to improve users’ situational awareness in the field. “APX NEXT was created after more than 2,000 hours of extensive field research and testing with numerous law enforcement agencies,” said Scott Mottonen, Motorola Solutions Senior Vice President of Products, adding “In today’s highly challenging public safety environment, we know that first responders need their technology to deliver reliable communication at all times as well as allow them to work with their eyes up and hands free in any situation.” Purpose-built smart radios The purpose-built smart radio designed for emergency services recently won two Good Design Australia Awards, one for the radio’s design and features and another for the APX NEXT Ownership Experience, which provides seamless management and support for the entire fleet of radios deployed into the field. APX NEXT was also named in Fast Company’s Top 10 Product Innovations of 2019. APX NEXT Application Services The new smart radio uses LMR for mission-critical voice communications and LTE broadband to power new application services including: ViQi: With ViQi, first responders can control key features of the radio via voice command. ViQi Virtual Partner, available from 2021, will enable radio users to retrieve information from remote databases. For example, ViQi, run a number plate to retrieve information from back end systems using the smart device’s artificial intelligence capabilities. SmartConnect: APX NEXT detects when it is leaving P25 coverage and automatically switches to LTE broadband, ensuring continuity of PTT voice communications. It then switches back to LMR when the signal returns without the need for user intervention. SmartLocate: An officer’s location data is automatically sent over broadband to a dispatcher’s mapping console, providing dispatchers with up-to-date location information as fast as every 3 seconds. Leveraging broadband to send frequent location updates frees up valuable LMR system resources. SmartMapping: Built on the same platform as CommandCentral Aware, this application service provides precise location information in a map view on the radio’s display. For example, a police officer can see the location of other officers as icons on a map, quickly locate officers in distress and tap on the icons to send alerts or communicate with colleagues via the radio. SmartMessaging: A multimedia communication tool allows users to securely share videos, pictures, texts and voice notes across extended teams. A dispatcher, for example, can send pictures of a suspect to a group of officers in a specific location, or videos can be shared with a group of officers before they arrive at the scene of an incident. SmartProgramming: The radio’s software and configuration data can be rapidly updated over broadband, even when a police officer is using it. This means APX NEXT users spend less time at the station and more time in the field.
Cadiz Fire Brigade in Spain has recently taken delivery of new, state-of-the-art fire kit supplied by Bristol Uniforms, a globally renowned designer and manufacturer of protective clothing for emergency services across the globe. The contract was secured through Bristol’s international distributor, El Corte Ingles, who fought off stiff competition to secure the four-year contract. Ergonomic XFlex design Cadiz has ordered 780 sets of Bristol’s lightweight, ergonomic XFlex design (called FireFlex in Spain), with integrated safety harnesses incorporated into the jacket and trouser. The kit has a Hainsworth TITAN1250 outer, a highly breathable fabric featuring Nomex and a high percentage of Kevlar, which gives the fabric outstanding tensile and tear strength. In addition, it has a GORE-TEX FIREBLOCKER moisture barrier, which is made from a micro-porous breathable fabric that stops water passing through to the firefighter’s personal clothing, whilst allowing sweat to escape and reducing heat stress. Four-year care and maintenance contract To ensure health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract To further protect the health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract, so as to ensure that the kit is kept in good condition and free from contamination. Total Safety manages all Bristol’s garment care and maintenance in Spain and has worked with Bristol for more than 25 years. It collects soiled garments from customers and returns them clean and repaired within 72 hours. Featuring integrated safety harness Paco Griso, Bristol Uniform’s agent in Spain, said “The new kit has now been rolled out to firefighters in the Province of Cadiz and we are already getting positive feedback from them. They are really pleased with how flexible the kit is and how easy it to maneuver in tight spaces. The integrated harnesses, certified to EN 361, are an additional safety feature which will help prevent serious falls in fire and recuse situations.” Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms, said “This is a large contract for us in Spain, which was delivered on time, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the risks of wearing contaminated PPE have become ever more apparent, more and more fire and rescue services across the globe are opting for ongoing care and maintenance packages, so as to ensure their PPE is free of carcinogens and the health of their crew is prioritized.”
Bryx, a globally renowned provider of first responder technology products, will be installing its Bryx Station alerting system just 25 miles west of Orlando, Florida, at Groveland Fire Department. Fire Alert device installation Bryx’s installation will follow Groveland Fire Department’s move into its new headquarters in the brand new public safety building in early 2021. The Bryx Station system is also being installed at the nearby Station 94, with an anticipated third installation later next year. The three installations further expand the company’s mobile and station alerting presence in Florida, complementing their recently awarded contract in North Port. Bryx Station alerting system Bryx Station is a full-featured alerting system that connects fire departments and EMS agencies around the globe Bryx Station is a full-featured alerting system that connects fire departments and EMS agencies around the globe, providing immediate alerts, full station automation, and improves response times. When a call comes in, the Bryx Station control unit alerts the house with heart-smart ramping tones, color-changing lights, and text-to-speech readouts. The system can perform tasks such as turning off stoves, opening and closing bay doors, and securing the building, thereby automating the tasks that first responders have little time to complete. Works in coordination with Bryx 911 mobile app The Bryx Station alerting system works hand-in-hand with the company’s free mobile alerting and messaging application, Bryx 911. Brynx’s data-driven team develops innovative technology that helps firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders work faster, smoother, and smarter. The company’s free Bryx 911 mobile app and robust Bryx Station alerting system offer unrivaled alerting, messaging, and communications tools for first responders. Both simple and powerful, Bryx’s patented and innovative solutions are proven to save time where time matters most.
APE Fire & Security prides themselves on keeping up to date with current trends in the industry and innovative technology. Most recently COVID-19 has completely turned everyone’s lives upside down. This really motivated them to want to contribute to helping keep people safe and feel confident about going out again. Working with Hikvision, provided them with advanced thermal CCTV systems, they can now install systems to accurately detect elevated body temperatures, even in crowds with an incredible accuracy of 0.5 degrees. Efficient temperature measurement Here they installed a Contactless Doorway Access panel with a thermographic camera built-in. This contactless access control system delivers efficient temperature measurement alongside robust door entry. It also includes facemask detection, multiple customizable prompts as well as authentication modes. This thermal camera is super quick and easy for us to install to ensure the smallest disruption possible to the business. It has a quick and easy set up with customizable prompts and alerts that will sound and show on screen if a high temperature is detected. Mask alerts can also be added to prompt users to wear a face-covering if not already. (This device still works incredibly accurately with the use of face coverings).
Animal disease outbreaks namely African Swine Fever (Virus from pigs), Ebola Virus Disease (Virus from fruit bats, chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas), Avian Influenza (Virus from ducks, geese and swans), and H1N1 Influenza (a combination of viruses from pigs, birds and humans) brought devastated pandemic threats and became global challenges recently. The prevention, control, and eradication of diseases are agricultural concerns for biosafety and biosecurity to safeguard primary public-health problems throughout the world. During an animal disease outbreak, official measures namely slaughter and safe disposal of the carcasses in affected farms, cleaning and disinfection of sheds will be implemented. Thus, appropriate PPE must be selected to: Protect frontline operators who carry out cleaning and disinfection processes Limit the disease spreading into uninfected areas Appropriate PPE during pandemics WHO suggested standard contact and droplet precautions and appropriate PPE (Include gloves, eye protection, face shield, gowns etc.) should be used during these epidemics. Animal disease sometimes can cause international emergency, thus ULTITEC suggested the government should select PPE according to WHO recommendation on Ebola Virus Disease if there are no specific epidemic handbook. Animal disease outbreaks are public safety lessons worldwide which caused serious health, social and economic consequences to affected countries. Additional cases may continue to occur at any time and from anywhere. Moreover, every frontline operators are valuable assets for the country, ULTITEC encouraged the government to select appropriate PPE to make sure they can go home safely after every heroic mission.
Round table discussion
Equipment is an important element in fighting fires, and in keeping firefighters safe. But what new needs are driving the development of equipment? How can equipment expand its role in fighting fires, or in managing building occupancy and traffic flow for that matter? We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the new trends and opportunities in firefighting equipment?