FlamePro, a British manufacturing specialist of life-saving garments for firefighters, launches a national survey in a bid to uncover the key issues that firefighters are currently facing. The anonymous research will provide a rare opportunity to gain insight into the minds and experiences of frontline firefighters. It’s hoped the project will help shape the future of the industry and ensure the safety of firefighters across the country. Key industry professionals The survey is designed...
As Marmara Fair Organization, they will be making some arrangements for the health of the exhibitors and visitors within the scope of the return to the new normal after the COVID-19 outbreak. They are doing these arrangements to protect the health of the exhibitors and visitors. They will carry out the business meetings in peace and security by taking precautions and acting in measures, at the ISAF Exhibition and the technology exhibition IMEX, which is going to be the safest exhibition of all...
The Skills Network, the UK’s largest online learning provider, partners with the London Fire Brigade to launch Project Kestrel - offering frontline security staff the opportunity to gain a nationally recognized fire awareness certificate. Having previously partnered with the likes of the NHS, The Landmark London and BrewDog to provide online courses for staff, The Skills Network has developed a fire awareness course to enable security staff to; upskill, be able to confidently identify fir...
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service are celebrating the efforts of staff that has supported the national vaccination rollout. Around 150 service volunteers, including senior officers, firefighters, call handlers, and support staff has given more than 4,400 hours at sites around the county. This included helping to set up mass vaccination centers, assisting with patients, and marshaling in car parks. Some have also been trained to administer vaccines by The British Red Cross and St John&rsqu...
According to AAA, more than 9 in 10 Memorial Day travelers will drive to their destinations this year. The advocate for safe mobility predicts a 52 percent increase in vehicle travel this Memorial Day weekend over last year and reports that 34 million Americans are planning to take road trips now that COVID-19 restrictions are loosening up. In the interest of public and responder safety, leading fire service organizations are reminding firefighters, EMS providers, and roadside service provide...
With the COVID outbreak making business travel and exhibitions almost impossible over the last 15 months, it was great to see the productts on show at Fire Australia. Whilst scaled down from previous editions of the show, Fire Australia 2021 still featured a comprehensive conference programme which ran alongside the exhibition. The Australian partners, FlameStop, were among the 80 companies exhibiting and took the opportunity to promote products from the Solo and Testifire ranges. Rob Glover,...
My Honeywell Buildings University is now live. The single location for all ones training support. One can browse a global catalog of training modules once one is in the portal, access on-demand training and self-help videos, register for instructor-led sessions and review training history.My Honeywell Buildings University currently supports 20 Honeywell brands and offers more than 700 hours of on-demand content, includes more than 200 instructor-led courses, and is accessible for the partners on any device, in any location and at any time.
The Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association, a Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) held its 2021 annual meeting virtually on May 10, 2021. More than 85 Metro chiefs attended the meeting and elected the Association’s 2021-2022 officers and board members. The officers are: Chief Don Lombardi, President; West Metro Fire Protection District, Lakewood, Colo. Chief Robert Rocha, Vice President; Corpus Christi Fire Department, Corpus Christi, Tex. Chief Edward “Loy” Senter, Jr., Secretary; Chesterfield County Fire and EMS, Chesterfield County, Va. Chief Ernest Malone, Treasurer; Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis, Ind. The new board members are: Chief John Butler, Board Member; Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Fairfax County, Va. Chief (retired) Dr. Denis Onieal, re-elected as the Senior Board Member for a second year; Jersey City Fire Department, Jersey City, N.J. Chief Trisha Wolford, alternate board member; Anne Arundel County Fire Department, Anne Arundel County, Md. Chief John Lane, immediate past president; Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, Winnipeg, Man., Canada Outgoing Metro Board Member Chief Mike Duyck issued the oath of office to the new officers and board members. The Metro Chiefs bestowed the following 2021 Metro Awards and Honors: Chief Mary Cameli of the Mesa (Ariz.) Fire & Medical Department was named Fire Chief of the Year. Chief (retired) Mike Duyck, Tualatin Valley (Ore.) Fire & Rescue, received the Russell E. Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award. Motions of Interest 2023 and 2024 Metro Conferences will be hosted by the Columbus (Ohio) Division of Fire and the Tulsa (Okla.) Acting USFA Administrator Chief Tonya Hoover, NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley, Acting IAFC President and Chair of the Board Chief Ken Stuebing, and IAFC CEO and Executive Director Chief Rob Brown addressed the membership. Motions of interest include the endorsement of Chief John Butler for the position of 2nd Vice President of the IAFC, and donations to the Canadian Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and the National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation. Program Presentations A comprehensive education program is traditionally held in conjunction with the annual business meeting, but due to the pandemic, the 2021 Metro Education Program will be presented virtually. The education program will include six, one-hour presentations delivered by a distinguished group of international experts both from within and external to the fire service. The program, which will begin on June 10, 2012, and will conclude on July 15, 2021, will focus on three major themes: COVID-19, DEI, and Labor/Management Relations. The COVID-19 presentations will address Research – Scope and Intent, Best Practices/Lessons Learned, and Economics. The DEI presentation will address Intent vs. Perception, Unintended Bias, and Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). The final series of presentations will include updates from the Secretary of the DHS, the FEMA and USFA Administrators, and a live discussion with IAFF General President Ed Kelly and Metro President Chief Don Lombardi. This final presentation will include both chiefs and local union presidents and will include a variety of topics including Building Strong Labor/Management Relations at all Levels, the Long-Term Impact of COVID-19, Dwindling Revenues, and more. Thank you note A special thank you to Metro President Chief John Lane and the entire Metro Executive Board for providing outstanding leadership during a time of unprecedented challenges. The 2022 Metro conference will be hosted by Chief Gina Sweat and the Memphis Fire Department. The conference is scheduled for May 14-19. The 2023 and 2024 Metro Conferences will be hosted by the Columbus (Ohio) Division of Fire and the Tulsa (Okla.) Fire Departments respectively. The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs (Metro) Association brings together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share information and focus on major issues affecting policy changes in the U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid career firefighters.
Chubb, a foremost provider of security and fire safety solutions, is helping local pupils continue their education remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with its Laptops for Schools initiative. Chubb is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, the foremost global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions. When the COVID-19 crisis required schools across the country to close, children were sent home to continue their learning. Teachers took their classrooms online but the lack of access to suitable technology made remote learning extremely difficult, if not almost impossible, for some. This created a clear divide between the children with access to digital technology and those without. Seeing this gap, Chubb launched its Laptops for Schools initiative; to give those pupils without access to digital technology equal opportunity to continue their education. Opportunity To Help The response from headteachers was incredibly positive and the Laptops for Schools initiative began to develop “As many of our people are parents or caregivers themselves, they could see first hand how essential laptops are to pupils of all ages during this difficult time,” said Jeremy Williams, Digital Technology Director, Chubb. “As a business, we could see there was an opportunity for us to help.” Chubb contacted the charity Business2Schools which facilitated connections to local schools in need of support. The response from headteachers was incredibly positive and the Laptops for Schools initiative began to develop. Recurring Initiative “We looked around the business and identified many laptops that were ‘end-of-life’ for business purposes, yet to a school or an individual child or parent these devices could be a lifeline to enable home learning,” Williams added. To date, Chubb has delivered 20 laptops and plans to widen the project to become an established, recurring initiative. “So many of our children are lacking adequate access to devices, which have been crucial during these difficult past twelve months,” said Catherine Clayton-Young, Headteacher at Griffin Park Primary School. “Knowing that local businesses in our community such as Chubb can help to support us in ensuring that every child has access to a device, and therefore, will not be missing out on vital learning has been wonderful. This has been a real positive for us all and a massive help to the families of these children.”
In the fight against COVID-19, the Russian Government has ordered the fast-track construction of new hospitals to be built in 16 regions of the country. It is mandatory for these buildings to be equipped with reliable and proven fire detection systems. Argus Spectrum International has been chosen and is working together with the authorities to install advanced wireless fire detection throughout the hospitals and in record time. In this unprecedented period, the St Petersburg factory and engineers are operational and working around the clock in order to deliver and install the necessary equipment on time. CEO Mikhail Levchuk states that all non-production departments of the company are self-isolating and currently working from home. "With the modern cloud ERP system, we employ it was not difficult to organize home working for the sales, procurement, marketing, and financial departments. At the same time, necessary measures have been taken in order to minimize risks for the employees working in the production department." Day and night manufacturing 120 people work in two 8-hours shifts, a further night shift can be added if required Today our factory in St Petersburg is working day and night producing equipment for the new COVID-19 hospitals. 120 people work in two 8-hours shifts: from 7 am to 4 pm and from 4 pm to 12 am. A further night shift can be added if required. “Our productivity depends on two highly important things: our team and our organization process. The team is ready to work in shifts. All of them understand why it is necessary today," states Tatiana Shevtsova, Production Director, "Our factory operates within the lean manufacturing system. We manufacture products ‘just-in-time’ and this turned out to be crucial today.” “And, last but not the least, all of us have been brought up in the cities which have statues dedicated to the Heroes of Leningrad, Moscow, Tula, Murmansk… These cities never gave up. Together and each one! That’s why we will not give up too! Never did!” adds Mikhail. Risks are minimized With the rapid spreading of the COVID-19 virus, the company has taken all necessary measures to protect the employees, with working conditions radically re-organized. The production department has been divided into several isolated operating areas with separate entrances/exits and air ventilation systems. The flow of raw materials and products ready to be shipped has also been re-organized. All facilities, equipment, working surfaces are treated and disinfected several times a day. All employees are required to wear masks and gloves and check their body temperature on a regular basis. Hand sanitizer gels are freely available for everyone. Distances between workers is always a minimum of 1,5 - 2 meters. In order to minimize contact between people within the factory, additional common areas have been prepared. “We fully understand the risks and are doing everything to protect our employees from the spread of this infection. In adopting this culture of responsibility we ask everyone to take care of their own health and people around them," comments Dmitrii Koshelev, Deputy Production Director.
Argus Spectrum International, a foremost manufacturer of wireless fire detection technology, and Hochiki Europe, a renowned life safety manufacturer are pleased to announce their partnership and the launch of the ‘Ekho’ hybrid wireless fire detection and alarm system for COVID-hospitals. Ekho is a wireless-based family of products that can be seamlessly and fully integrated into Hochiki’s ESP protocol. Ekho is the next generation of hybrid wireless fire detection and outperforms competitive systems in a number of ways. Ekho is a highly practical solution for medical facilities, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Ekho provides a simple design and commissioning process, minimizing installation time, and reducing the number of visits to the project site. Advanced Technical Specifications Self-configuring mesh network: Automatically adapting to changing operating conditions: all devices automatically choose a parent expander depending on the quality of connection. Using the latest in radio networking technology, the Ekho hybrid wireless system provides a robust ‘always on’ network of devices which can automatically adapt to changing environmental conditions – offering installers an unparalleled level of reliability. Communication range – 1200 meters in open air Capacity: Up to 126 wireless expanders and devices per Translator module (with a maximum of 10 Translators per loop, dependent on local standards) Battery life: Up to 10 years Wide range of devices: Wireless sensor types, as well as I/O units, a sounder, a sensor/voice-sounder/VAD, and a manual call point Compliance with EN54 And RED Ekho system is the first wireless fire detection system to receive the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) The Ekho product range is certified to European EN54 standards by BRE Global and accredited with the LPCB mark. BRE Global certification confirms the highest levels of performance and reliability for Ekho wireless products! In record time – 1 year only - 13 Ekho products received approval to the mandatory standards required in the European fire detection sector. Moreover, the Ekho system is one of the first wireless fire detection systems to receive the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) certification. Solution for the healthcare Ekho’s sophisticated and versatile hybrid wireless technology provides a cost-effective and reliable fire detection solution to a range of challenging applications and problem sites. 1. Fast and easy design configuration Once you have conducted a site survey, you can design a hybrid wireless system from the comfort of your desk, without having to revisit the site. All you need is access to the floor plans and your laptop running the free Ekho Configurator software. All of the wireless devices can be easily activated and paired with the translators before installation, saving time on site. This is due to the self-configuring nature of the Ekho system’s mesh network of expanders. 2. Installation: 1,000 sq.m in 1 day by 2 workers! An Ekho hybrid wireless system requires minimal electrical skill or the installation of fire-resistant cables. Two unskilled workers can install a system covering 1000 sq.m in just one day. Reliability, Flexibility, & Performance When minimum time on site (hospitals) or minimum disruption (care homes) are key factors for the project, Ekho is the best solution. This statement is confirmed by 17 new hospitals built by the Russian Government in the fight against COVID-19 in 60 days. More than 40,000 wireless devices of Ekho system technology were installed and commissioned in the new medical centers with a total area of 200 thousand sq.m. Ekho takes hybrid wireless fire detection to new levels of reliability, flexibility, and performance. Ekho technology is proven in over 150,000 projects worldwide. Thanks to the close collaboration with the Hochiki team and Argus Spectrum International we are very proud to bring a new fire detection product to the global market.
On an unprecedented global scale, COVID-19 is significantly impacting the way of life. Today, responsibilities are very much on all to work together and mobilize in order to fight against this pandemic. The front-line medical specialists are eagerly supported by teams of dedicated workers operating in the field of engineering, construction, and many associated trades. Argus Spectrum International is proud to be part of this crucial network to fast-track the construction of new medical centers in the Russian Federation. New Hospitals In Moscow Two new hospitals for infectious diseases are being built in Moscow. One is a large medical center and the other a new additional building (for 500 people) for patients with severe pneumonia. Streletz-Pro wireless fire detection and security is being installed to provide the highest levels of protection to life and property. March 5th, 2020 the Russian Government confirmed the start of construction for a new contagious hospital in the Moscow region. March 12th preparation of the site began and by March 19th building work started. More than 11 thousand people are currently working on the project 24 hours a day. The 81,300 m2 facility is being constructed on a 40-hectare site. The hospital will have a capacity for 656 beds with the flexibility to re-organize sections into intensive care units. An exceptional completion date of 1 month was given to fully complete the project. "We are constructing this building some 10 times faster than is normal," commented Deputy Mayor of Moscow Andrei Bochkarev. The fire detection system Streletz-PRO is installed approximately 5 times faster than a traditional wired system More than 10 000 Streletz-Pro wireless fire detection devices are installed and commissioned in the new medical center and in a record time of 10 days. This is made possible due to the self-healing mesh of Streletz-PRO providing comprehensive building protection comprising: fire alarm and detection, evacuation, automatic signaling to fire brigades, and full system monitoring. The advanced wireless technology is economical and is installed approximately 5 times faster than a traditional wired system and does not require time-consuming on-site programming and commissioning. Day and Night Support Argus Spectrum International is providing the system installers with 24-hour comprehensive technical support. This support is available by telephone and by engineers visiting the site to provide direct technical assistance during the installation phase. For remote regions support is organized and provided through webinars. Despite the current lockdown, the partners are able to rely on the committed support and be assured that engineers are available online at all times, especially during the night. This is particularly important for the partners who are working through the many time zones in Russia. Authority Comments "We have been isolated and working from home since the beginning of March. However, we have been able to adjust our work practice so that the quality and quantity of our technical support does not suffer," commented Stepan Pavlov, Head of Fire Monitoring Division. "Our technical specialists are available at all times and always ready to help. The support of the critical hospital construction is our main concern today," states Andrei Lebedev, Technical Support Division Director. The medical specialists are the front line in the fight against COVID-19. Behind them are thousands of people working day and night in their support and in the construction of the Russian Federation’s new hospitals.
The front line fire and rescue teams have had their hands full during the pandemic, more so than one might think. In the UK, for instance, fire and rescue teams attended more than half a million incidents throughout 2020, with more than 150,000 of them regarded as serious fires. Across the Atlantic, the US Fire Administration has reported 42 firefighter fatalities so far this year, despite swathes of the country still being in lockdown as the vaccine rollout continues to pick up the pace. These figures are down on previous years, but only by a very slight margin. firefighters work Endlessly Despite much of society going into a form of hibernation to protect themselves and loved ones from the spread of COVID-19, firefighters are among the many frontline workers still putting their lives on the line to keep us safe, and their job hasn’t changed. If anything, they’ve been exposed to even more risk than usual in carrying out their frontline duty, from putting our fires at homes and businesses to maintaining a presence at protests. Put simply, the firefighters are putting themselves at risk every day. Attention has therefore turned to ways everyone can mitigate that risk and keep the front-line workers safe, such as hands-free critical communications equipment and protective gear. Those on the front line have been considering these technologies very carefully since the beginning of the pandemic, re-evaluating how they can best be used to facilitate social distancing and reduce contact without compromising on mission-critical activities. protective, wearable technology ‘Smart PPE’ is a new generation of protective, wearable technology that can keep front-line workers safe, connected They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that certainly holds in this instance. The rise of so-called ‘smart PPE’ represents a new generation of protective, wearable technology that can keep the front-line workers safe, connected, and mobile - all vital prerequisites to a team of fast-moving firefighters during a global pandemic. Seamless mission-critical communication All front-line workers need to be able to maintain contact with one another during busy shifts whilst also staying safe and keeping their distance from one another to limit the spread of the virus. That’s as true for nurses as it is for warehouse staff. However, mission-critical front-line workers such as paramedics, police officers, and firefighters frequently find themselves in noisy, hazardous environments that require fast movement and near-instant reaction times. Smart PPE Firefighters in particular can rarely afford the time to handle a hands-on radio unit or interface with buttons and switches to get a message across to their colleagues. They need to be able to speak to their colleagues on the other side of a burning building or across a crowd of people as if they were in the same room together, without the need to handle any additional equipment or touch surfaces unnecessarily. Doing so slows them down and could increase their chances of catching COVID-19. That’s where Smart PPE comes in. Smart PPE is a future-proof approach to mission-critical comms that combines protective gear like helmets, visors, and overalls with wearable technology Cardo Crew Pro-1 Smart PPE is a future-proof approach to mission-critical comms that combines protective gear like helmets, visors, and overalls with wearable technology. This technology can be manufactured into the PPE from the beginning, or retrofitted into existing equipment to gain the same effect. Take the Cardo Crew Pro-1 for instance. It’s a lightweight mesh communication module that fits inside equipment such as ear guards, helmets, and visors without compromising on comfort or safety. It’s designed specifically to allow PPE manufacturers themselves to integrate mission-critical comms technology into their equipment, massively increasing its value and usefulness to teams on the ground. Mesh communications technology It can be voice-activated, making it ideal for COVID-secure environments where contact should be minimum This kind of mission-critical, comms-enabled PPE is built on a technology known as ‘mesh communication’. While not a replacement for PMR or cellular communication altogether, a mesh-based intercom system is quickly becoming the technology of choice for small teams who need to exchange information quickly, reliably, and securely. One of the greatest advantages of wireless mesh communication is that it operates as a self-sufficient standalone network, with no need for a ‘base station’ and zero dependence on cellular reception. It can be voice-activated, making it perfect for COVID-secure work environments where contact should be kept to a minimum. It also enables two-way conversation at a range of up to 3,000 meters, making it ideal for busy front-line teams working in the field. Beyond emergency services Even with vaccine rollouts firmly underway, everyone is likely to be mindful of social distancing and reduced contact for some time yet, particularly as new variants of the virus emerge and people take their first tentative steps toward international travel. Therefore, there is a likeliness to see wireless mesh communication technology extend beyond frontline emergency services and into other environments such as hospitals, warehouses, factories, and anywhere that requires teams to communicate while maintaining social distancing and keeping contact to a minimum. Development of new technologies The surging popularity of wearable technology and mesh communications is likely to strengthen the relationship between PPE manufacturers and their customers, resulting in even more innovation in the PPE industry. Organizations such as fire and rescue teams will continue to push themselves to find new, forward-thinking ways of carrying out their duties safely - not only in a way that enables hands-free, COVID-safe working but in a way that allows them to stay in lockstep with their colleagues with minimal effort. The impact of COVID-19 on the fire industry has no doubt thrown up challenges, as it has with every frontline sector, but the response to those challenges has been overwhelmingly positive and the future of the industry will be better for it.
On Wednesday 3rd March the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered the Spring 2021 budget to the House of Commons. In this, Sunak outlined how the Government would be rebuilding the economy and continuing to financially support its citizens as the country gradually returned to a sense of normal after COVID-19 restrictions. Highly anticipated announcements Despite several leaks to the press, the Chancellor’s announcement was highly anticipated by many industries, businesses, and individuals around the UK. Many were poised to find out what the spending plans would look like as we continue to tackle the Coronavirus, but also what long-term aid would be given to those who have been and will continue to be impacted by it in years to come. Not least on the list of eager listeners were the emergency services. The fire and rescue services in England have been slashed by £139.7m since 2016/17 Austerity measures and efforts to tighten the country’s purse strings in recent years left the emergency services in an especially vulnerable position when the pandemic hit the UK at the beginning of 2020. According to recent reports uncovered by England’s Fire Brigade Union (FBU), the fire and rescue services in England have been slashed by £139.7m since 2016/17. Fire safety engineering This analysis, which was released by the FBU at the beginning of this month, reveals a 13.8% reduction in government spending in the sector, despite an increase in demand for emergency fire and rescue-related services due to increased wildfires, flooding, and heightened emergency calls during national lockdowns. Basil Jackson, Managing Director of Vemco Consulting Ltd, a management consultancy specializing in the delivery of specialist fire safety engineering services, comments on the importance of the government knowing its limits when it comes to making these kinds of cuts. “The need to manage public spending has been the focus of successive Governments in recent times, and for good reason,” Jackson begins. Preliminary spending envelope For each public service there comes a point where there is no more fat to cut" “But, while cuts across the board may be necessary to some extent, for each public service there comes a point where there is no more fat to cut and core services start to be adversely affected. In the case of the Fire Services, this impacts the ability to save lives in an emergency,” he goes on to say. “Once lack of funding starts to have an adverse effect on the delivery of core services, the Government will have very little choice but to make more money available.” In his announcement at the beginning of this month, Sunak outlined a preliminary spending envelope. According to these plans, the Government has promised to increase day-to-day spending across public services by 2.1% in real terms each year, between 2021/22 and 2025/26. According to the Budget proposal, this does not include emergency spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivering core services The Chancellor failed to outline any specific plans in terms of actual cash value However, while this does come as positive news for the public sector as a whole, the Chancellor failed to outline any specific plans in terms of actual cash value. He also did not mention how this spending would be allocated to each sector; while the NHS and schools have since been named, the Spring budget has yet to address what the impact will be for emergency services like the Fire Service. In response to this announcement, Jackson suggests that this uncertainty needs to be addressed sooner rather than later if the UK’s Fire Service is to continue to deliver core services and prevent emergencies and risks to public health as we move into the Summer. “Extra spending arising from COVID 19 and costs associated with Brexit will, no doubt, put further pressure on the public purse going forward, so I expect more cuts [to emergency services] are to come,” he states. Funding for community projects While many elements were missing or not fully addressed in the Spring Budget, many have praised the Government for at least emphasizing the importance of giving autonomy to local councils and authorities going forward. According to Sunak’s statement and the White Paper that followed this, financial provisions will be granted and powers will be devolved to local councils to allow them to rebuild communities as national COVID-related restrictions ease. The Government is introducing several financial schemes and funds To do this, the Government is introducing several financial schemes and funds, including the Levelling Up Fund and the Community Renewal Fund, which are both competitive schemes which will allow councils to apply for and gain funding for community projects and development up until at least 2026. Releasing specific details While key bodies like the Local Government Association (LGA) welcome this, emphasizing that ‘councils know their local areas best and have delivered for their communities’ and that it is therefore ‘good that councils have been placed at the heart of the delivery of new funds,’ organizations like the LGA are concerned by several of the proposals outlined in the Spring Budget. “We are concerned by the prospect of competitive bidding as we want all our resources and energy to be used to support regeneration in our communities,” it states in its official response. The LGA goes on to put forward an official Budget submission which calls on the Government and Treasury to release more specific details on how much money will be available and how much each sector will have allocated to it. These calls have been echoed by those throughout the emergency services, from the NHS, to police forces, and are also reflected by those positioned within the Fire Service sector. Impacting public safety There comes a point when this impacts public safety; which isn’t acceptable" In response to the announcement, Jackson states: “I am under no illusion that all public services need to be scrutinized, and any inefficiencies drove out. Quite rightly, the taxpayer should expect to receive efficient services for the money it pays. However, when it comes to the emergency services, there comes a point when this impacts public safety; which isn’t acceptable.” “The key question for the Fire Service and the Government is: at what point has true efficiency been reached? I can't remember where I first heard the term, but this is what I like to refer to as a ‘wicked problem’. By that I mean there is probably no perfect or correct answer. Whatever the answer, it will involve innovative thinking from the Fire Service to find more efficient ways of delivering the same outcomes, and it will require a Government who is able to listen and be honest about the issues." Luna Williams is a content writer and commentator for Vemco Consulting, a UK-based consultancy firm that specializes in the delivery of specialist engineering services, including fire safety engineering.
The risk of fire is thankfully not an immediate threat in most people’s everyday lives. But this has led to a nonchalant attitude where many fail to appreciate the true dangers posed by a fire situation. The pandemic has served to make matters even more complex, and has pushed fire safety on the back burner as facility managers (FMs) turn their attention to COVID-proofing the workplace. Safety at work is now more of a focus than it has ever been, but the race to ensure we can return to work safely has seen other important matters, like improving indoor air quality, take precedence. Fire detection systems As new rules and regulations regarding the pandemic are introduced, many FMs have been unable to focus on anything except the immediate issues at hand. But fire safety is always immediate. Fire detection systems and servicing and maintenance contracts have always been considered grudge purchases, but this doesn’t mean they should fall off the radar. As buildings have been left vacant, fire alarms have gone untested, have missed upgrades or have even failed to sound. Every business has faced unique challenges in their response to the pandemic But upholding fire safety measures in the workplace is both a moral and legal requirement to help ensure the protection of people and assets, and businesses must treat it with the attention it deserves. Every business has faced unique challenges in their response to the pandemic. We’ve seen some continue operating as usual, some pivot production to make face masks and hand sanitizer, while others have shut their doors for the foreseeable future. Fire risk assessments Those that remained open will likely have experienced considerable changes to workplace layouts, which may in turn have had adverse effects on fire safety – for example, fire doors being wedged open for ventilation, or because people don’t want to touch door handles; and new one-way systems that affect shared escape routes. What’s more, fluctuating staff occupancy levels mean there may not be enough fire wardens present should an alarm sound. All of these changes have an impact. In the event of a fire, your staff and assets might not be as safe as you think. But there is a simple solution: fire risk assessments. The vast majority of companies have undergone a change of occupancy during the pandemic and, as a result, must review their current fire safety measures through a risk assessment. Qualified third-Parties We often find that businesses lack staff with the appropriate training and skillsets in-house This involves looking at a building’s people, processes, procedures, contents and technologies, from fire alarms to sprinkler systems, with the aim of addressing any faults. With occupancy levels and more changed for the meantime – and possible for the long-term too – it’s vital to update your risk assessments. Failing to do so could have severe reputational and financial repercussions, particularly if livelihoods are affected. Should the worst happen, it could also lead to insurers refusing any pay-outs from failing to secure the premises, leading to even more difficulties down the line. We often find that businesses lack staff with the appropriate training and skillsets in-house to conduct a sufficient fire risk assessment. But even with the current restrictions, there’s no reason risk assessments can’t be easily carried out by qualified third-parties. Social distancing guidelines Many buildings lie vacant, meaning assessors simply need to show up in their PPE and conduct the assessment under social distancing guidelines. Technology can also play an important role, by ensuring a building’s safety systems are in order through remote diagnostic tools. Some assessors can even carry out a vast majority of the assessment virtually, examining floorplans, exit routes, and tech stacks from the comfort of their own homes. That said, many businesses won’t have the latest IoT sensors needed to notify FMs on the condition of a building’s physical aspects, such as occupancy levels, open fire doors or signage. Need for office space The impact of COVID-19 on the way we work will be felt for years to come The purpose of a fire risk assessment is to provide FMs with the knowledge they need to ensure their business and assets remain safe and secure, should the worst happen. COVID has not put a stop to this – distraction has. The onus is on FMs to put fire safety back on the priority list. The impact of COVID-19 on the way we work will be felt for years to come. For example, the success of the move to widespread remote work could see businesses revaluating the need for office space, and this will likely have knock-on effects to fire safety as regulations are taken into the home. Associated regulatory changes Elsewhere, the decline of the high street and closure of physical stores may see shops converted for other purposes - and these developments will be accompanied by the associated regulatory changes. It’s becoming clear that as the pandemic has changed the way we use buildings, it will also change the way we approach fire safety. People don’t like to think they may be impacted by fire, but we cannot let fire safety fall off the radar when livelihoods and lives are at risk. As FMs have worked hard to ensure our workplaces are COVID-proof once doors reopen, they must also approach the risk of fire with the same attentiveness. Awareness of the issue is now more important than ever – fire safety needs to be a top priority.
Fire and EMS departments are eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) of their costs, related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A streamlined project application process eases the burden of applying for the program, but support documentation is required. Tracking costs For COVID-19 recovery Many departments do not apply for the money because they perceive reporting requirements as too difficult, and record-keeping as too big a challenge. To help, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) provides simple Excel worksheets for tracking costs related to COVID-19 response and recovery. Customizable worksheets capture common reimbursable costs as they are spent. Departments seeking reimbursement should submit a project application online at the FEMA Public Assistance Grants Portal (no paper submissions are accepted). FEMA’s Public Assistance Program The mission of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is to provide assistance to State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal governments The mission of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is to provide assistance to State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal (SLTT) governments, and certain types of private nonprofit (PNP) organizations so that communities can respond quickly to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President. A submission request for public assistance must provide complete and accurate documentation of expenses and usage, including standardized Incident Command System (ICS) forms, Public Assistance Grant forms, verifiable receipts, personnel costs sheets and apparatus sheets. Applications submitted via jurisdiction serviced Applications are submitted through the jurisdiction serviced. Additional documents include supporting plans, assignments, activities and shift records (payroll), pay policy receipts for purchases and rental equipment, and a copy of the service agreement/contract with the jurisdiction. Some activities may be eligible for funding through both FEMA and other federal agency funding sources for COVID-19, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Public assistance cannot duplicate funding from another federal source. Public Assistance program Some activities may be completed through direct federal assistance. If an applicant does not have the capacity to directly complete the activity or oversee activity completion through contract or mutual aid, the Applicant may request that FEMA or another federal agency directly conduct the activity. The assistance FEMA provides through its Public Assistance program is subject to a cost share, with the federal share not less than 75% of eligible costs.
The Thermite RS3, manufactured by Howe & Howe Technologies, is a wide-chassis, industrial firefighting robot that is remotely operated using a belly-pack controller to provide high-definition video feedback for easy maneuverability, even in difficult conditions. The Los Angeles City Fire Department was the first to buy the bright yellow firefighting vehicle, as announced last fall. Thermite RS3 robot Decon7 Systems has teamed with Howe & Howe Technologies to pioneer the delivery of D7 disinfecting formula The robot is also being used in a new way during the COVID-19 pandemic. Decon7 Systems has teamed with Howe & Howe Technologies to pioneer the delivery of D7 disinfecting formula, using the RS3 to spray the disinfectant as foam, in order to ensure large areas are free of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The configuration is another way that a variety of items are being repurposed for new uses in the time of the pandemic, ranging from scarves used as face masks to kitchen tables that double as desks in a virtual schoolroom. In this case, a robot, which costs upwards of US$ 300,000, is providing a new way to carry out large-scale disinfecting operations of public places. Combination of D7 disinfectant and Thermite RS3 As COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease and more public events are contemplated, the combination of D7 and the Thermite RS3 to disinfect and clean large areas will be relevant to communities and facilities across the country. “The combination of Thermite RS3 technology and D7 foam opens the door to new methods of quickly and safely deactivating the COVID-19 virus in public spaces,” said Decon7 Systems’ Senior Vice President, William Joe Hill. Thermite and D7 provided a demonstration of the new capabilities. “We hope to show the significance of this capability to facility maintenance operators and first responders, including firefighters, law enforcement and emergency services teams, all across the country,” adds William Joe Hill. Positive pressure ventilation (PPV) ventilator The RS3’s modular design and wider stance allow additional equipment to be incorporated, including positive pressure ventilation (PPV) ventilator. In the disinfectant use case, two nozzles spray the disinfectant from the robot. One is controllable and can spray a sidewalk as the robot travels down the road, for example. The second nozzle feeds into the airstream of a PPV ventilator fan system, where it is jetted at 20 gallons per minute to get the right foaming action of the solution. A tow-behind trailer includes a pump to provide pressure without connecting to an outside water source. Large-scale disinfection operations When used in firefighting, the Thermite RS3 avoids having to deploy firefighters into extreme conditions When used in firefighting, the Thermite RS3 avoids having to deploy firefighters into extreme conditions. The RS3 enables firefighters to respond at a safer distance from danger, while using the robot as an extension of their own senses. The same advantages also drive new usage arenas such as COVID-19 disinfection, toxic chemical remediation, and biohazard disinfection. Large-scale disinfecting operations can be achieved without putting personnel in harm’s way. The RS3’s hose attachment enables users to spray large areas with disinfectant efficiently. D7 broad-spectrum antimicrobial disinfectant D7 is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial disinfectant that is versatile for a host of applications. It capitalizes on the power of hydrogen peroxide, penetrating and disarming toxins at the molecular level. The D7 formulation is made up of mild ingredients, which gives it low toxicity and corrosion properties. Fabricated using industrial-grade steel and reinforced rubber tracks, RS3 can navigate rugged terrain and withstand exposure to the extreme elements. Its 36.8 hp diesel engine can run 20 hours without refueling. The control device, strapped around the waist of the operator, has a range of a quarter mile away.
Prisoners have played a role in firefighting since 1915 when the first “Conservation Camps” trained incarcerated firefighters with the backing of the Department of Forestry. Especially in the realm of fighting wildfires, incarcerated individuals have in recent years provided low-cost labor amid the dangerous environment of a spreading wildfire. The numbers of incarcerated persons in the United States expanded threefold during the “War on Crime,” which increased the pool of available prisoners and their role in firefighting. Incarcerated firefighters work at least 3 million hours per year to protect homes and cities. So-called “inmate crews” are trained and available to respond to wildfires and other emergencies, such as floods and search-and-rescue. In the case of wildfires, prisoners clear brush, cut out roots, conduct controlled burns and perform any other duties of wildland firefighters. Concerns of incarcerated firefighters The use of incarcerated firefighters has been disrupted recently by several factors. In the wake of COVID-19, many prisoners were released to slow the spread of the virus, thus providing a smaller pool from which to recruit firefighters. Early release of prisoners decreased – by about a third – the laborers the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL-FIRE) could use to tackle the wildfire season.The use of incarcerated firefighters has been disrupted recently by several factors Concerns have also been expressed about the fairness, from a human rights perspective, of prisoners putting their lives on the line for low pay, which ranges from $2.90 to $5.12 per day. Finally, former prisoners who have firefighting experience are finding it difficult to re-enter the outside workforce because their previous criminal conviction makes them less likely to get a callback from a potential employer. It is hard for former prisoners to get a job, even in a time of labor shortages that threaten the supply of adequate personnel to respond to the current wildfire season in California. Fire and Forestry Recruitment Program FFRP builds bridges between formerly incarcerated wildland firefighters and California’s forestry fire labor forceThe Fire and Forestry Recruitment Program (FFRP) was founded by Brandon Smith and Royal Ramey, both formerly incarcerated firefighters, to help train firefighters and find them employment. The organization works with trained firefighters inside and outside the criminal justice system who have the skills and experience to help address California’s wildfires. FFRP builds bridges between formerly incarcerated wildland firefighters and California’s forestry fire labor force, supporting individuals’ transition into professional fire and fuel reduction work. Finally, FFRP works with the State of California and local community partners to provide support and additional services to individuals currently and formerly experiencing incarceration and participating in Fire Camps. Laws to help incarcerated firefighters Participation in firefighting has given more than one incarcerated person a renewed sense of purpose. Firefighting has provided a “pivot” to recenter lives, offering a new outlook for people who were previously discounted and disregarded.Additional help for formerly incarcerated firefighters is available from California legislative initiative AB-2147 Additional help for formerly incarcerated firefighters is available from California legislative initiative AB-2147, which enables the expunging of prison records and a pathway to a new life. The law creates a new Penal Code section 1203.4b, designed to make it easier for inmates trained in firefighting in the Conservation Camp Program or on a county hand crew to gain employment as professional firefighters after release. In partnership with CAL-FIRE, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation operates 44 minimum security Conservation Camps, where inmates who volunteer for the program receive the same entry-level training as CAL-FIRE’s seasonal firefighters and ongoing training during their time in the program. Inmate firefighters in the Conservation Camp program have assisted in fighting the Pocket, Tubbs, Atlas, Camp, and Kincade fires. Penal Code section 1203.4b, which took effect January 1, 2021, allows certain persons with criminal convictions who have been released from custody to file a petition for relief in court. If the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or the appropriate county authority certifies the defendant has successfully completed the firefighting program, the court may, at its discretion and in the interests of justice, issue an order expunging the conviction, with certain restrictions.
FlamePro, a renowned British manufacturing specialist of life safety garments and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for firefighters, has been awarded a £4 million contract by Capita, to provide its firefighting PPE for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), across the next decade. Firefighting PPE tender The competitive tender, part of Capita’s contract with the MOD, saw four different PPE providers bid for the contract, with FlamePro being appointed to provide its full ensemble of Personal Protective Equipment, alongside a total garment care package. FlamePro was awarded the Ministry Of Defence’s PPE contract, due to its high-quality products FlamePro was awarded the Ministry Of Defence’s PPE contract, due to its high-quality products and the company’s dedication to providing support and expertise on Personal Protective Equipment care, use and maintenance. The contract includes a multi-million pounds initial roll out, with a total value of £4 million over 10 years duration. New fabric technologies and designs Nathan Bricknell, the General Manager at FlamePro, said “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this contract with Capita. It marks a key milestone for the company. Over recent months, we’ve worked with our partners to develop brand new fabric technologies and designs, including a 3D woven structure and new moisture barrier membrane, to ensure our PPE is the most advanced on the market.” Nathan Bricknell adds, “Our brand new structural fire suit has set a new benchmark across the whole industry. This, teamed with our shorter-than-average lead times, stands us in great stead to deliver top-quality products and service on this contract.”
A fault-tolerant network of fire alarm control panels from Advanced has been selected to protect the 3Ts Redevelopment program at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. 36 four-loop MxPro 5 fire panels, 46 repeater panels, and two custom-built AdSpecials panels from UK-manufacturer, Advanced, are to be installed at Brighton’s 3Ts hospital redevelopment as part of phase one of the program. Phase one involves the construction of a 13-storey building with two basement levels, located on the main Royal Sussex County Hospital site. Incorporating all the functions of a modern hospital, the building will include a three-storey atrium reception, outpatient departments, operating theatres, wards, a teaching facility, and administration facilities. MxPro 5 fire panels The three-phase building works will deliver improved accommodation for more than 40 wards and departments, supporting the Trust’s role as a regional center for teaching, trauma, and tertiary care at Royal Sussex County Hospital. The new facilities meet the highest clinical standards and offering patients a modern, spacious care environment. The Essex-based firm will install Advanced’s pioneering MxPro 5 fire panels alongside bespoke sprinkler indication Taking a lead role in the cabling, first and second fix for the fire system throughout phase one of the project are EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd. The Essex-based firm will install Advanced’s pioneering MxPro 5 fire panels alongside bespoke sprinkler indication and ventilation override panels, all linked to approximately 5,000 Hochiki devices. High-performing protection Chris Goddard, Project Manager at EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd, said: “The 3Ts redevelopment project represents a massive healthcare investment for Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and, once completed, will offer an improved experience for thousands of hospital patients each year.” “Configuring protection across a site of this size can often appear daunting, however, the MxPro 5’s ease of installation and scalability will help to make the challenge of implementing protection effortless. As long-term users of Advanced, we’re confident that its solutions will be capable of delivering high-performing protection across the hospital’s large number of zones, many with their own complex cause and effect requirements.” BMS integration Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager at Advanced, said: “We’re proud to be supplying our partners, EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd, with the equipment required to ensure that the valued healthcare staff, patients, and these state-of-the-art facilities will be protected by a cutting-edge fire system for years to come. “The fire system will include BMS integration and a custom graphics package to provide visual representation of the fire system to end-users. The custom-built sprinkler indication and ventilation override panels will be a showcase for the fantastic design and manufacturing work done by our in-house AdSpecials department.” “ As work progresses on the redevelopment of Royal Sussex County Hospital, Advanced’s high-speed, fault tolerant networks, that are renowned for their resilience, will come into their own, with the expansion of the fire detection system across phases two and three of the project.” Multiprotocol fire system solution Once complete, the two new clinical buildings of phase one and two will cover the front half of the hospital site Phase two of the development is a seven-storey building extending the functions of the first building, with stage three being a smaller delivery and service area to improve site management. Once complete, the two new clinical buildings of phase one and two will cover the front half of the hospital site. MxPro 5 is the fire industry’s pioneering multiprotocol fire system solution and was recently certified by FM Approvals to the EN 54 standard. It offers customers a choice of four detector protocols and a completely open installer network, backed up by free training and support. MxPro 5 panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format, or easily configured into high-speed networks of up to 200 panels covering huge areas. Ease of installation and configuration, as well as its wide peripheral range, make MxPro 5 customizable to almost any application. Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile sites across the globe, from London’s Shard and Lloyds building to Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Hagia Sophia historic site in Turkey.
Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), the critical communication and collaboration platform that customers count on when it matters the most has announced Morris County, in New Jersey and Blair County, in Pennsylvania, are among the latest counties to leverage the company’s Vaccine Distribution Solution to identify and communicate with vulnerable populations, deliver tailored guidance and logistical information, and conduct ongoing check-ins to ensure the success of vaccine rollout. Vaccine Distribution Solution As vaccination efforts continue, public agencies need efficient communication systems that help them understand who is most at risk and target updates and clear instructions to groups of residents. For those communications to be effective, it is critical that public health safety personnel tasked with vaccine distribution can effectively reach residents via different modes of communication that they rely on the most, whether that’s text, phone, or email. Morris County has utilized its Rave notification system for various communications Morris County has utilized its Rave notification system for various communications, since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This information included communications to the county’s first responders, leadership, and other partners with critical COVID-19 related notifications, weather notifications, and vaccination appointment availability notifications provided. Smart911 Safety Profiles Additionally, Morris County is urging residents to create Smart911 Safety Profiles, where they can sign up for alerts and notifications through Morris County’s alert system, ‘AlertMorris’. By creating a Smart911 profile, residents can provide critical information, including pre-existing medical conditions, which can, in turn, be provided to first responders, in the event of an emergency. Signing up for this alert system allows the Morris County Office of Emergency Management to proactively identify and communicate with individuals, who become eligible for the vaccine based on pre-existing conditions and individuals can then be notified by their partner, Atlantic Health System, when vaccination appointments are available. Partnership with Atlantic Health System “We are working on a joint plan with Atlantic Health System to communicate with all of our Morris County residents and get them signed up for alerts to schedule vaccine appointments,” said Jeffrey Paul, Director, Office of Emergency Management, Morris County Dept. of Law & Public Safety. Jeffrey Paul adds, “In addition, the significant benefit of registering with Smart911 goes way beyond vaccine scheduling. A Smart911 profile can make the difference between life and death, when you dial 9-1-1 and your safety profile becomes visible to our Morris County 9-1-1 Communications Center and ultimately to the first responders who are responding to your aid.” Catering to public health and safety issues This system has already saved lives, and we highly encourage Morris County residents to sign up for Smart911" “This system has already saved lives, and we highly encourage Morris County residents to sign up for Smart911, which can be done easily and at no cost,” said Morris County Commissioner, Doug Cabana, a liaison to public health and safety issues. Doug Cabana adds, “We know this system can make a difference in the lives of everyone in Morris County. Please join us by signing up.” Blair County has also urged residents to create Smart911 Safety Profiles to aid in vaccination distribution efforts. Effective vaccination drive “Our priority is to get as many of our residents vaccinated as quickly as possible. To accomplish that, we need to understand how our population fits into the phases of rollout and be able to contact them about vaccine appointment opportunities,” said Mark Taylor, Director of Public Safety at Blair County Department of Emergency Services. Mark Taylor adds, “With Rave, we’ve experienced great results not only getting residents scheduled for vaccine appointments, but also providing first responders with health information, like conditions that make individuals vulnerable to COVID-19, that enable them to better help individuals in emergency situations.” Rave Mobile Safety platform Hospitals have also turned to Rave to ensure doses of the vaccine are administered as soon as possible. Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio is using Rave to notify and remind staff of their second dose appointments, which are critical to ensuring the efficacy of the vaccine. Rave’s Vaccine Distribution Solution aids health and public service agencies that are overseeing vaccine distribution by: Surfacing vulnerable and at-risk populations based on demographics including age, all high-risk medical conditions as outlined by the CDC (The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), functional and access needs, disabilities, employment status, geographic location, and more throughout all phases of vaccine distribution, with the ability for that data to be leveraged by several key stakeholders, including public health and emergency management officials. Delivering mass notifications and targeted communications to reach the right people with the right message, share tailored guidance and logistical information to inform the community, and build confidence and trust through ongoing community engagement, outreach, and education. Continuously monitoring and querying the community to track symptoms, receive updates on any side effects, follow up to schedule second doses, and poll residents for community feedback. Critical data sharing and emergency response coordination From major disasters and crisis events to everyday emergencies and operational incidents, the Rave platform enables critical data sharing, mass notification, and emergency response coordination for a wide range of rescue and emergency agencies. Over 8,000 first responder, emergency management, 911 dispatch, along with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private and joint corporations, healthcare organizations, universities, and schools, rely on the Rave platform to prepare better, respond faster, recover quicker and effectively mitigate anticipated critical incidents.
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.
Swedish Sea Rescue Society (SSRS) in Sweden have enhanced their existing Sepura critical communications solution by upgrading to include Over the Air Programming, saving the team time and reducing costs while improving their programming capability. Sepura SC Series radio terminals Supported by Sepura’s Swedish partner, Northcomm Technologies (Northcomm), the rescue organization has been able to implement powerful changes to its programming capability by programming radios wirelessly, with no requirement to bring all radios into a programming station. The upgrade means that the organization’s fleet of Sepura SC Series terminals can be reprogrammed or updated whenever they are connected to a secure Wi-Fi connection, and without needing each individual radio to be physically connected to a programming device. With radios based in multiple locations and different shifts having an effect on when they can be made available for upgrades, this significantly eases the process of performing fleet wide updates. The functionality is significant as it makes the reprogramming and radio update much simpler, more efficient and more flexible around operational needs. Radio Manager programming tool Using Sepura’s established Radio Manager tool, administrators can upgrade all SC Series radios across a fleet Using Sepura’s established Radio Manager programming tool, administrators can upgrade all SC Series radios across a fleet, whether they are used in vehicles, based in control rooms or hand-held models. Over the Air Programming enables administrators to change many aspects of a radio’s setup. Options include amends to a radio’s configuration, phonebook or talkgroup updates, enabling feature licenses, installation of AppSPACE applications or the upload of crucial data. Over the Air Programming A Sea Rescue Society spokesperson said, “We often need to react quickly and decisively to an emergency. Over the Air Programming means that as our ships are being prepared for rescue, the radios can immediately be prepared to support this mission. It is easy now to make dynamic changes to radio configurations, to support our operations.” The spokesperson adds, “Similarly, the radio fleet can be updated around shift times, but without the radios needing to be brought into the programming suite. This has removed a large administrative burden on our control team and allowed us to focus more time on our missions.” Wireless programming reduces radio downtime risk Wireless programming vastly reduces the risk of radio downtime and rather than requiring every fleet radio to be in one central location for the process, the fleet administrator can program multiple radios, at a set time. Upgrading to Over the Air Programming is a simple process as the programming environment already exists Downloading data to the radio does not interrupt any communication and does not require user intervention. Users can continue with their duties while downloads run as a background task. Once downloaded, the user is still in control and triggers the installation process at the next radio switch off. Connection to secure Wi-Fi devices Upgrading to Over the Air Programming is a simple process as the programming environment already exists. Users simply connect radios to the site’s secure Wi-Fi connection and can move to the more dynamic wireless option. Sepura’s Business Development Manager for the Nordics, Sergei Yarushin said “OTAP is a great step forward for Sepura’s users who can make use of the advanced connectivity available through SC Series radios to connect to secure Wi-Fi devices, making the programming of radios easier, quicker and less of a resource burden to fleet administrators.” Sergei Yarushin adds, “As the world struggles to come to terms with the impact of Covid-19, it also reduces the requirement for radios to be handled by multiple personnel, reducing the risk of transmission of the virus.”
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.
Round table discussion
The COVID-19 pandemic has had ramifications for almost every industry, some more than others. With the pandemic stretching well into a second year, the non-medical consequences continue, and many are wondering about which of the required changes might become permanent. As regards the fire sector, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact has COVID-19 had on the fire industry?
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?