Electrical Fire Safety
Products for electrical systems that are installed into modern, complex buildings have to be fit-for-purpose for today’s challenging demands. With the background of numerous incidents still being felt by the fire performance industry, how is it to set the benchmarks for the future to make sure there is never another Lakanal House or another Grenfell? The long-term answer is for clearer guidance and legislation, if necessary, to enable the whole supply chain to make decisions which are com...
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce that the fifth NVFC Training Summit will take place June 14-15, 2019, in Portland, OR. Attendance is limited; pre-register today to secure your space. In addition, applications are now being accepted for a travel stipend. NVFC Training Summit 2019 This two-day seminar will provide an opportunity to participate in valuable classroom training as well as exchange ideas and best practices with attendees from across the country. The...
IFEDA, the Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association, welcomes Mike Tobin as the new Chairman of the association. Mr Tobin was voted in at the recent IFEDA AGM. Mr Tobin has worked in the fire protection industry for 27 years, and is Managing Director of Security and Fire Experts Ltd (SAFE). With a background in fire detection and alarm systems, he has evolved SAFE, which now provides fire extinguishers, security, and electrical installations to clients worldwide. This recent...
The continuity of power in the event of a real fire has never been more important as modern buildings become more complex and the need for the highest quality of products comes under the spotlight. With power for lighting and fire alarms, the fire and rescue services can use the intelligence gathered to evacuate people quickly, confident that they have found all the people in the building. Without power, they are literally scrambling in the dark without good information upon which to make thei...
The lead theme of AFAC18, ‘Changing lives in a changing world’, proved to be well chosen, with nearly 3,000 visitors from 25 countries attending AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ in early September. A keen audience of professionals seized the opportunity to discuss the current challenges facing emergency management and public safety, as well as to discover the latest products in this area. Deutsche Messe, working in partnership with the AFAC, has brought its extensive expertise in trades...
Just in time for National Fire Prevention Week, the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) is reminding people across the U.S. to take one simple action in their homes that could potentially save lives: Close Before You Doze. This vital public safety campaign encourages everyone to close all the doors in their homes each night before bed, following a study conducted by UL FSRI, showing that in a home fire, a closed door can be an effective barrier against deadly levels of carbon monoxid...
Ramtech Electronics, an industry innovator in wireless technology solutions, launches WES3 – a new enhanced fire alarm system that has new benefits beyond its current WES+ range. Fully compliant with EN-54 and developed in conjunction with construction companies, WES3 offers several new features that mean firms maximize site safety, helping to safeguard their employees as well as important assets. The new headline feature is the medical alert, allowing someone the ability to easily raise a medical emergency from any call point without having to cause a complete site evacuation. Pre-alarm function Also included is the new optional inspection delay, which allows site managers the time to establish if a false alarm has been raised. This feature can also be used to organise a staged evacuation process. Another positive feature for site managers is the pre-alarm function, allowing the ability to turn off the alarm sounder on other stations and enable a lower level alert without triggering a full evacuation. WES3’s wireless technology not only allows units to be moved as a project evolves, but the system features enhance the safety" A full isolation test mode is included, which means individual call points can be tested without the need for a full system alarm. Paul Henson, Sales and Marketing Director at Ramtech Electronics, comments: “High profile fires on construction and renovation sites have never been more talked about in the media, prompting more and more companies to really analyze their fire prevention equipment. WES3’s wireless technology not only allows units to be moved as a project evolves, but the system features enhance the safety of site staff, visitors and the property asset itself.” Key safety standards “With the addition of a stand-alone medical alert on each call point and various features to allow site managers the ability to truly manage activity associated with the system, it is much more than a wireless fire alarm. When used in conjunction with our cloud-based monitoring platform WES REACT, WES3 becomes a total fire safety solution”, Henson concludes. A range of units make up the system, including call points, interface, heat detector, dust resistant smoke detector, link and the all-important base station. The system is compliant with key safety standards, including HSG168, the Structural Timber Association Guidelines, and the Fire Protection Association Joint Code of Practice and it is installable to BS5839.
Fire detection is reaching new, advanced levels, designed to help save more lives. Edwards, continuing in its legacy as the inventor of the alarm bell, is the first multi-criteria smoke detector manufacturer to receive certification to the UL standard for Fire Alarm Systems UL 268, 7th edition, set to take effect May 2020. The new Signature Optica smoke detectors utilise a next-generation sensor that better distinguishes the type of fire and the danger it creates, as well as reducing nuisance alarms. Edwards is part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. UL-certified Signature Optica smoke detectors The Edwards Signature Optica detectors will differentiate between truly threatening smoldering fires and nuisances such as burning food or steam The significantly revised standard incorporates three new tests, including a new cooking nuisance alarm test and two polyurethane foam tests for smoldering and flaming fires. These new tests better represent the smoke profiles and behavior of modern building fires to help ensure next-generation sensors are designed to give building occupants enough time to evacuate safely. All UL-certified smoke detectors are required to meet the enhanced requirements in 2020, representing a major change in the life-safety industry. The Edwards Signature Optica detectors will differentiate between truly threatening fast-flaming or smoldering fires and nuisances such as burning food or steam. The new detectors may also improve overall occupant safety, as commercial buildings typically contain furnishings comprised of synthetic materials such as polyurethane foam that are known to ignite and burn faster than traditional materials. This is a major advancement for commercial building operators, especially in hospitality, healthcare and other facilities that can be prone to nuisance alarms. Importance of multi-criteria smoke detectors “Through our research, we know that fire dynamics have changed over the last several decades,” said Chris Hasbrook, Vice President and GM for UL’s Building and Life Safety division. “We know manufacturers like Edwards have been actively working toward meeting the new smoke detector requirements and we are happy to see the first certification mark on a multi-criteria smoke detector. While expanding the smoke detector’s ability to respond to a range of types of smoke generated from various types of fires, today’s smoke alarm will be more technologically advanced and have the ability to help reduce cooking nuisance alarms, and that’s extremely important for fire safety.” The technology in Signature Optica represents a more sophisticated detection methodologyThe technology in Signature Optica represents a more sophisticated detection methodology. As particles enter the chamber, the size of the particles is analysed by a series of algorithms and consolidated into ratios to determine if the particles stem from a real fire or a nuisance source. This innovative approach was quickly matured using advanced design principles and the Edwards state-of-the-art fire test room. Signature Optica detectors can be retrofitted to existing Edwards systems without replacing control panels or software. Enhanced fire safety “Edwards is providing customers with the tools they need to alarm faster with greater accuracy, building on our 146-year legacy of fire and life-safety innovation,” said Edwards General Manager Angie Gomez. “The new Signature Optica smoke detectors will enhance protection of people and property while minimising false alarms that cause business interruption and unnecessary responses by fire departments.” In 2014 alone, according to the NFPA Journal, U.S. fire departments responded to 2.5 million false alarms. The Signature Optica detector line will become commercially available in the coming months.
STRATA softshell jacket is ideal for outdoor work which can take place after sunset or in gloomy conditions Those responsible for overseeing PPE for businesses should already be looking ahead to the colder months and assessing whether they’re existing garments meet standards, according to leading PPE manufacturer Skanwear. Working with innovative protection brand STRATA, Skanwear has unveiled its latest jacket that comes with a lifetime guarantee against faulty workmanship. Angus Long, Managing Director of Skanwear, said, “It might still be summer but now is the time to start looking ahead at winter PPE. Businesses need to make sure that their autumn and winter PPE lives up to the minimum standards, doesn’t prevent employees from carrying out tasks, and is comfortable in a range of environments. Those firms that assess PPE now will be in a better position in just a few months. “In the winter months HSE and procurement managers should be considering ARC and fire-resistant waterproofs and thermals so productivity is not affected and workers can work on live or potentially live electricity comfortably and safely.” Protection against arc flash, heat and flame Skanwear manufactures and sells a range of garments and equipment that are provide a varied level of protection for people who work in substations, switch rooms, and control gear to name a few. It’s latest STRATA softshell jacket (SFX405) has been crafted with the end user in mind. It’s been tested and certified to rigorous standards, giving wearers peace of mind that they’re protected against the risk of arc flash, heat, and flame. In addition, it’s windproof and water repellent, ensuring it’s comfortable in a range of weather conditions. The softshell was designed with an easi-arm gusset that allows wearers to freely move their arms without exposing flesh. It’s a piece of PPE that’s practical and comfortable and truly fit for purpose. Ideal jacket when working in hazardous situations Coming in a range of sizes and with ample pockets, including a mobile phone pocket, the jacket is a piece of PPE that will suit a diverse range of teams and jobs. Featuring reflective piping details, it is ideal for outdoor work which can take place after sunset or in gloomy conditions. Laura Fish, STRATA Product Manager adds, “Our STRATA range is always designed with form, function, and comfort in mind and our latest addition doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect piece of PPE to invest in before with temperatures start to lower and can be paired with any of the STRATA trousers for a complete look and protection when working in potentially hazardous situations.”
Skanwear is a specialist provider of protective garments and equipment that are fire resistant and designed with arc flash in mind Arc Flash and Flame Resistant PPE experts, Skanwear, are on a mission to inform businesses about the risks of arc flash and how to minimise them. There are at least two arc flash incidents occurring every day, with an average of two of these proving fatal, according to OSHA. As a result, Skanwear made its first seminar in its webinar series dedicated to the subject. Headed by Skanwear’s Technical Director Anthony Long, the next webinar will explore where arc flash can happen, what type of job requires arc flash protection, and what working conditions require Arc and FR PPE. The in-depth, informative seminar will be perfect for business owners, heads of health and safety, and procurement managers that work within firms where employees may be exposed to live or potentially live electricity. Mitigating arc flash risks The live nature of the webinar means Skanwear’s experts will be taking questions too, ideal for businesses that want specific information and to discover how they can mitigate arc flash risks within their working environment. There are just 100 places available for the webinar, which will be confirmed later in the month of August. Delegates can subscribe to the Skanwear mailing list for a confirmation date. Long said, “Arc flash can cause significant injuries and even death in the worst case scenario, but there are ways to substantially reduce the risk, by assessing the working environment and wearing the correct Protective Clothing. Workers and managers must remember although arc flash and FR PPE is essential, it is your last line of defence and there are other contributing factors to consider, not just the clothing. Our webinar aims to inform, educate, and steer viewers in the right direction when it comes to arc flash and making sure those who work in an electrical environment stay safe.” Arc flash awareness training Skanwear is a specialist provider of protective garments and equipment that are fire resistant and designed with arc flash in mind. As well as delivering high quality PPE, the business also has an Innovation and Training Centre, that’s filled with useful content, and can deliver tailored arc flash awareness training directly to firms.
Advanced announces fire protection and safety guidelines for historic and heritage sites Global fire systems firm, Advanced, has launched a new guide to fire protection for historic and heritage sites. Historic and heritage sites present unique challenges to end users, specifiers and installers. The new brochure is designed to help key stakeholders understand some of the solutions available for the challenges they face. It addresses many common problems in ensuring adequate active fire protection, tackling the challenges of minimising aesthetic impact, quick, safe evacuation and eliminating unwanted alarms, among many more. Fire Safety guideless for Historical Sites Advanced has a global reputation for excellence in the sector and its system, across EN and UL approvals are protecting some of the most famous, valuable and most visited sites anywhere including: Hagia Sophia, Istanbul; Durham Cathedral; The Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle; Iona Abbey; the Natural History Museum and Trinity Episcopal Church, Rhode Island. Aston Bowles, Head of Marketing at Advanced, said: “Advanced systems are protecting some of the most famous and valuable heritage and cultural assets worldwide. Historic structures present unique challenges for the fire system industry, but innovation is delivering significant choice and performance gains for end users, specifiers and responsible people in the sector. The new brochure aims to offer insight into the sector and the solutions that can be used.” Global intelligent fire systems manufacturer Advanced is a globally-renowned firm in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The legendary performance, quality and ease of use of its products sees Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
The study focuses on false alarm data collection and analysis from fire detection and fire alarm systems in selected European countries Euralarm, the European association representing the electronic fire and security Industry, has carried out a European study on false alarms. It has been published as a paperback by the academic editor Eric Schmidt Verlag and is also available on Amazon. The study on false alarms has been conducted by a task group of Euralarm, the European association representing the fire safety and security industry. The group consists of experts in the field of fire safety technologies with Sebastian Festag from Hekatron acting as chairman of the task group. The study focuses on false alarm data collection and analysis from fire detection and fire alarm systems in selected European countries. Establishing true cost of false alarms The impact of budget cuts and a perceived high rate of false alarms have lead in some European countries to changes on the typical reaction of fire services. In some countries for example, verification is required before intervention forces are deployed, in order to avoid unjustified costs. This calculation is however limited to the impact of false alarms on fire services alone: it could lead to an increase of the risk to lives and inflict more cost in overall to society. The study seeks to establish the true cost of false alarms, from country to country. Recommendations and strategies to reduce false alarms Through its scientific approach, the study offers a clarification of false alarms as a phenomenon. It includes a description of the processes to initiate fire service intervention, formulas to calculate false alarm ratios, as well as a methodology of the overall analysis. This allows for a precise picture of the situation in selected European countries regarding false alarm: Germany, Great Britain/England, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria/Vorarlberg, are covered in the study. The study also contains recommendations and strategies to reduce false alarms, which are based on carefully examined statistics on fires and, in particular, the number of fire alarms due to detection of actual fires by fire alarm systems, as compared to the false alarm rate. The Euralarm task force argues that the topic of false alarms must be increasingly integrated into fire protection and fire alarm strategies: handling false alarms must become an active part of the management of a site. The Euralarm study gives recommendations to realise this.
The era of “smart buildings” is here, bringing new opportunities for significant gains in efficiency, safety and environmental protection. In an interview, Rodger Reiswig, director of industry relations at Johnson Controls Global Fire Protection Products, offers his insights into the impact of smart buildings on fire detection and what it means for organisations planning new facilities. Q: How do you define smart buildings? The term “smart buildings” means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about the Green Initiative. Is the building able to sustain itself or reduce its carbon footprint? Can they reuse some of their water or generate electricity from onsite solar cells or wind turbines? Another definition of “smart buildings” is based on sensors. Is the building smart enough to know that, if I’m the first person there in the morning and I swipe my card, it should switch the HVAC system into occupied mode? Can it start to turn the lights on? Can it adjust the window shades to allow the sun to come in? Can it call the elevator down for me because it knows that I’m in the lobby and I’m going to the tenth floor? It’s all about how the systems integrate with one another, not just providing information to each other, but also interacting with one another, causing things to happen from one system to another. Q: How close are we to the vision of an integrated intelligent building where all the systems work together? We’ve already been doing some integration for a few years now with things like HVAC and lighting. Now we’re seeing tighter integration where, for example, we can use the position of the sun to get the best impact of sunlight to start to heat the building in the winter. One of the biggest challenges that we see in the smart building environment is protocols or topologies for how one system talks to another. The fire alarm system uses a certain protocol or language. The HVAC system uses another protocol or language, and so on. Creating an environment where systems can talk to one another and not just send, but also receive information – that’s the difficult part. Everybody can send information out. It’s easy for me to tell you what is happening in a system. But for you to tell me what’s happening in your system and then expect me to do something with that information, that’s when it gets a little bit harder. Q: What makes system-to-system communication challenging? Because of the critical role they play in protecting lives and property, life safety systems require a level of reliability and resilience far beyond that of other building systems or networks. Therefore, we have to be extremely careful about how we allow information from other systems to come into the life safety system, in case that information should affect the performance of the system. In addition, the design and specification of life safety systems is guided via three different means: building codes, standards and listings. Each of those means is controlled by different organisations. Any proposed changes to life safety networks have to pass muster with those entities, and that takes time, effort and consensus-building. When we’re talking specifically about system-to-system communication, the listing entities, organisations like UL and FM Global, regulate how much information can come into any life safety system. The listing documents require that there be some type of a barrier or gateway to prevent unauthorised or corrupted information from coming into a fire alarm system, causing harm or causing it to lock up. Life safety systems require a level of reliability and resilience far beyond that of other building systems or networks We will see all building technologies become more integrated over time as we work through the different entities and people begin to realise the benefits of improved safety, lower environmental impact, and reduced costs. Q: How will fire detection systems benefit from other sensor information available in a building? One of the things being explored is occupancy sensors that tell where people are located in a building. Some type of telemetry could be used to understand where people are concentrated in a facility and, based on that, make the fire alarm system more or less sensitive to smoke. If a lot of people are congregating in one area, there might be more activity and more dust being stirred up. You could use that information to set different alarm parameters compared to, for example, an empty building with no significant air movement. We see that type of operation happening. Knowing how many people are in a building and where they are located is also a critically valuable piece of information for first responders. Here’s another example: let’s say we have a big parking garage next to a mall. Cars come in, and perhaps some people leave their cars running, or the cars aren’t operating as efficiently as they should be. You could have carbon monoxide detectors and occupancy sensors in the garage, and when the garage becomes crowded and carbon monoxide levels start to rise a bit, you could tell the fire alarm system not to go into alarm, but instead to turn fans on to get some fresh air moving throughout the building. It’s performing a life safety function, but at a non-emergency level. Q: Are you involved in any cross-industry standard-setting organisations to enable better communication among building systems? On an industry level, Johnson Controls is very active in the development of codes and standards. We have people who sit on committees for things like healthcare occupancy standards. We have engineers that contribute to product listing documents. We have people who participate in committees that determine how products should be installed and maintained.Fire alarm systems could be used to detect and solve non-emergencies before they become threats We’re even involved with groups, like the National Disabilities Rights Network, that advocate for laws that promote equal access and notification of life safety events. The list goes on. It’s a common protocol that allows all types of systems to get on the same communication platform and be able to send and possibly receive information, depending on the product and the type of system it is.Just to give you an example, there’s a standard called BACnet, Building Automation Control Network, which was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. BACnet is based on entities, so within their system, they need to define what each entity is. What is a thermostat? What is a variable air box? What is a lighting controller? What is a fire alarm smoke detector? We work closely with this organisation to create entities that can reside on their infrastructure so that, for example, the lightning system recognises what a smoke detector is when they send that entity out to the network. It’s one of the most important methods we are using to communicate among dissimilar systems. Integrated systems mean elevators could be used to evacuate people in an emergency We’re working on two fronts: internally and industry-wide. We’re developing third-party interfaces that enable an outside entity to sign a non-disclosure form and get the keys to the kingdom, if you will, on our protocols for how our systems operate – the data stream that we can send out and receive back – allowing that third-party developer to create some of these interfaces themselves. That has been one of our challenges, because we have always said that this is a fire alarm system, and if you want that type of an interface, we need to write it and get it listed. We had to step back and say, what if we developed a barrier gateway and allowed somebody else to develop the protocol and, done properly, became able to receive and send information to the fire alarm system? It’s like what Apple does with apps. We are going down that road with this third-party interface gateway. Q: Have these developments changed how you’re planning for the future development of fire detection systems? Yes, they have. We are looking at how we can use these systems strategically to make life safety systems better. And life safety is becoming more nuanced, proactive and comprehensive. Can I communicate and use this information to unlock the door so people have a clear egress? Can I start to use the elevators to evacuate people during an emergency? We’ve been told traditionally to use the stairwell and not the elevator in the event of a fire. But it takes a person about a minute a floor to get out. That’s a problem if you’re in an 80-story building. You have elevators sitting there. Is there something we could do to allow these elevators to be used to evacuate people? The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has been working hard on developing the language and requirements to do that. It’s just one example of how having systems integrated and talking to each other allows us to create smarter solutions that can help make facilities safer. Q: What advice would you give to building owners, architects, designers or contractors to help them start planning today for the future of smart buildings? The most important thing is to build awareness. The average building owner doesn’t know that a lot of this technology even exists. We need to inform them that there are options they can ask about. One of my recommendations would be to ask your design engineer. As you discuss the kind of windows you want, the kind of flooring and lighting and so on, ask how these systems could integrate together and what the benefits of integration would be. The bigger your facility, the greater the benefits of integrating these systems. Another resource that people don’t use often enough is the AHJs, the authorities having jurisdiction. That’s the local fire marshal, the fire chief, the local first responders. Don’t be afraid to sit down with a fire marshal, tell them what kind of building you’re putting in, and ask them what would help them respond in the event of an emergency in that building. They’ll be glad you asked, because these people see a lot of different buildings and respond to emergencies every day.
The fire and security industry as we all understand it today is due for a much-needed paradigm shift. The solutions that security dealers and integrators are installing and deploying today have advanced considerably and for many, those systems do an excellent job safeguarding the homes and small businesses of their customers. However, all of those installed solutions have one inherent flaw: traditional fire alarms and security systems are only reactive in nature. By reactive, we mean that although today’s fire alarm and security systems are excellent at informing customers of a harmful or damaging event, such as a fire or perhaps a flood that is in progress, they are very poor at predicting when trouble is about to strike.Knowing that a flood is taking place within a small business or a home is an incredibly valuable piece of information Analytics Predict Damaging Or Fatal Events Knowledge that an event such as a flood is currently taking place within a small business or a home is an incredibly powerful and valuable piece of information. In the case of flooding, the ability to detect and shut off a water leak within the first 30 minutes is capable of reducing damage costs by up to 90 percent. However, imagine if, for example, you were alerted of a drop in a building’s temperature coupled with a low outdoor wind chill before a pipe burst and caused a flood? You would then be able to investigate the issue and take measures to stop the flood from occurring. Today’s technology advancements make this possible and are why the security industry should be shifting from reactive to preventative security solutions for their customers. Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical analysis, and machine learning techniques to identify the probability of future outcomes Systems that can predict damaging or fatal events — such as carbon monoxide build-up, mould damage or flooding and even fires — may sound like science fiction but they exist and they are possible today through the power of predictive analytics. Put simply, predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical analysis, and machine learning techniques to identify the probability of future outcomes based on historical data. To better understand the current state of the security industry and where it needs to evolve, we need to break down how predictive analytics play into that shift in layman security dealer and integrator terms. A system using predictive analytics can alert a building manager, property owner or other professional to the change in status that might indicate a future fire Dangers Of Binary Data Messengers Systems that can predict damaging or fatal events may sound like science fiction but they exist and they are possible today In their most basic form, many of the standard devices and solutions security dealers install every day are “binary” data messengers. A door/window sensor, for example, understands two data points — “open” and “closed” — and communicates that status to the overall system, which may ignore the message unless the system is armed. While a smoke/CO detector may appear to be a more complicated example, within fire alarm and security systems it behaves in the same way the door/window sensor example does by communicating “smoke/CO detected” or “no smoke/CO detected” back to the overall system. In our current industry state, systems monitor for dichotomies: open/closed, locked/unlocked, motion/stillness, smoke or CO detected/no smoke or CO detected, and water/no water detected. While the ability to detect these status changes is important, monitoring for a change in two data points is the current limitation of today’s fire alarm and security systems, and the reason why we need the additional layer of predictive analytics to move the industry forward. A single PIR motion sensor may also be capable of measuring sound, lux levels, temperature, and humidity Rather than relying on a system consisting of binary data messengers that only communicate two data points, a better solution is a system of data collectors and messengers that can constantly measure an environment, store that information and establish baselines and patterns. The ability for a system featuring predictive analytics to identify the likelihood of future outcome (i.e., potential flood or fire) relies on that system’s ability to supply historical data from multiple sources. As common sensors that security dealers install regularly continue to advance, standalone devices are getting better at measuring several data points. For example, a single PIR motion sensor may also be capable of measuring sound, lux levels, temperature, and humidity, making that single sensor a very data-rich device that can then process and provide more useful information. Many dealers are already familiar with the concept of predictive analytics and understand the benefit it can provide to an installation Anticipating Future Incidents With predictive analytics, the more data points the algorithm has access to, the more sophisticated the system becomes, and the better it is at predicting future outcomes. By learning what’s “normal” within an installed environment via the data provided by the wireless sensors that connect to the system, cloud-based predictive analytics engines can understand when critical environmental factors and patterns are out of their traditional threshold.Understanding predictive analytics can help security dealers and integrators prevent damage to their client’s businesses or homes The system can then alert a building manager, property owner or other professional to the change in status that might indicate a future fire, flood, or CO leak. For example, in UL research testing with smouldering fires, one such system accurately anticipated and warned users of a fire 18 minutes before any smoke alarms sounded. Understanding predictive analytics and familiarity with the in-market solutions that leverage that emerging technology can help security dealers and integrators prevent damage to their client’s businesses or homes via preventative alert notifications, while at the same time augmenting their own business and bottom line. Because these types of solutions rely on the same data and information collected by traditional devices and sensors within the security industry, integrators can choose to install a system with a predictive analytics engine as the base system, or choose to augment their existing installations with a predictive system to add early-warning capabilities. Educated Decisions For Preventative Security A sensor that utilises predictive analytics learns its normal environment and sends detailed alerts when there are any abnormal changes To a degree, many dealers are already familiar with the concept of predictive analytics and understand the benefit it can provide to an installation. We’ve already seen one-off devices — take the Nest thermostat for example — that learn what they can about their environment and then make simple decisions on their own to impact their surroundings. Similarly, a flood, smoke, or CO sensor that utilises predictive analytics learns its normal environment and sends detailed alerts when there are any abnormal changes in temperature, moisture, or air quality. What makes emerging technologies such as predictive analytics, deep learning, machine learning and artificial intelligence the future of many industries, including security, is the algorithms’ ability to constantly aggregate multiple data points and data types, understand patterns among them, and make more educated decisions and predictions. As the sensors and devices security dealers regularly install continue to get smaller, less expensive, and more integrated, we enter an era where we have more data available to us than ever before on our connected environments. With all the data points available today, why not take advantage of systems that provide powerful algorithms to process, learn and act on that information? Security dealers who recognise we’re on the cusp of a turning point within the industry and shift from offering reactive to preventative security solutions are the ones who will continue to thrive as the industry evolves. Article published courtesy SourceSecurity.com®, a division of Notting Hill Media Limited. View the original article here
The speed and efficiency of CBRN response are critical to its success Michael Peters and John Breedlove of Intelagard, Inc., industry leaders in CBRN decontamination and containment and fire suppression, explain how best to prepare for and respond to a CBRN incident. "CBRN responders, you must honestly assess your current capabilities to determine what is needed to strengthen the effective response to a CBRN incident. Your initial response will have a dramatic impact on the final outcome. Consider collateral and residual damage factors. Continue to develop or improve capabilities over time following a defined plan. Many of the technologies used in response to an incident may also be used as every day tools. The first signs of a CBRN event may be discovered via hindsight. Indications may be subtle or hard to separate from normal "background" levels. "Eyes on the street" such as doctors, businessmen, public transportation workers and teachers should be trained to look for and report signs of a possible incident. As soon as an incident is recognized, response time and effectiveness are critical. Initial actions for maximum response efficiency can lessen the need for remediation later. Recognize and plan for the impacts of an imprecise response - and remember to never assume that a situation is safe. Chemical weapons are simple to make and deploy. Typically, a limited area is affected, yet impacts may be devastating. Biological threats may be manmade, such as the 2001 anthrax mailings in the US, or naturally occurring, such as avian flu or tuberculosis. Dirty bombs (Radiological Dispersion Devices, or RDD) may not include an explosive device. There may be no bang or any other obvious clue that a release has even taken place. Discovery may be after-the-fact, when people exhibit symptoms or with remote detection monitors. The technology and materials for dirty bombs and improvised nuclear devices are not hard to acquire. While a radiological attack may be primarily economic, contamination of historic or symbolic targets can generate significant psychological impacts along with related terror and panic. A plan of recovery is critical for symbolic, historic, governmental or financial targets where demolition and abandonment are not viable options. Take action now. Demystify the process. Make event drills as common as fire drills, to eliminate terror as a factor. Focus on an effective response to maximize recovery while minimizing long term damage (including economic and psychological). Employ tools for CBRN recovery that may be used for additional applications while waiting for that day. The more frequent the use, the better trained personnel will be for effective response. Consider your resources - do you have enough CRBN-trained responders? Emergency responders should consider a number of alternate routes to any locale in case critical infrastructure is damaged. Local responders trained on pre-positioned equipment may provide the most effective and timely response. Consider the resources that you have that are functional and available during planning exercises. There may be abandoned vehicles, broken gas and water mains, uncontrolled fires, downed power lines, impassable roads, frantic parents trying to find children, scared children looking for parents and more at the scene of an incident. Do you have an adequate number of trained responders with resources to deal with these factors? Civilian responders should know how to shut off air intake systems in the buildings where they work and live, where their children go to school, and possibly where they shop to keep from drawing contaminated air into the building, and making the situation much worse. What plans are in place in case water systems fail or become contaminated? Contaminated water can't be used to fight fire without spreading contamination. How will you know if the water is safe? What's the plan if water can't be used? Who knows the flow pattern of storm water drain systems? If the water is contaminated, what impact may it have? What's the plan to stop or divert the flow of contaminated water? How are you going to handle contaminated waste, and where are you going to dispose of it? Who is responsible for the waste stream and impacts? More citizens than just traditional first responders should be trained. Consider including teachers, transportation workers, civic leaders, and others. Equip responders in advance, which may include personal protective equipment in high-risk areas. Responders must be able to immediately respond to the initial incident with pre-positioned equipment and supplies, and be well trained. Have secondary response capabilities available to recover impacted areas to limit economic damage. Establish personnel to deal with human impacts (injured and dead), other personnel to deal with impacted physical locations to minimize economic impact, and another group to minimize psychological impacts (to deal with panic, help connect parents with children, know where the injured have been transported, and effect rumor control). Advanced familiarity with response tools is critical. Make them every day tools so when emotions are intensified, rather than paralysis, people will take action. Prepare for panic, which may exacerbate the problem and make contamination control more difficult. Take charge and have a viable, effective plan. Have means ready to identify contaminant(s), including levels and extent. Identify the contaminated area, control the spread, and keep responders safe. Transport the injured and dead. Pre-identify hospitals and morgues, and consider transportation options if the infrastructure is down or if individuals, alive and dead, are contaminated. Don't make the situation worse. For example, an RDD spreads radiological contaminants. While tacking the contaminants in place is required, using available materials such as paint or oil to tack contaminants in place will make recovery more difficult. Not only is the area still contaminated, now you have to remove the paint or oil as well. Consider a combined solution for immediate deployment. A well chosen decontaminant may be used for both chemical and biological agents and is benign to equipment, PPE and the environment. Use the same solution for industrial accidents, natural biological events (H5N1, TB, staph infections etc.), and other domestic applications. That makes the solution more broad spectrum, and provides opportunities for hands on training. Keep up with evolving CBRN weapons. Decontaminants must be designed to remediate sophisticated weaponized agents as well as common materials, such as mold and bacteria, to make the solution more cost effective. It also allows for cross training and increased familiarity with technology, equipment and procedures. Utilize the same deployment systems for CBRN events, fire suppression, mold remediation, vapor suppression and HAZMAT response. Deployment systems such as those offered by Intelagard are scaleable and economical, and can be used for all of these applications and more. The more applications for the deployment system, the more economical it becomes and the more training opportunities present themselves. Choose scalable deployment systems to stretch between large- and small-scale hazmat and CBRN applications What resources do you already have? What could be pressed into service in an emergency? Recovery of radiologically contaminated extraction solutions can be completed by using modified everyday equipment. It can be truck mounted, using manifolds for large recovery operations, or smaller systems for localized recovery. Commercial evaporation units are available for radiological waste concentration. Grouting concentrated radiological waste is an economical approach for disposal. Commercially available waste treatment equipment may be utilized in emergency situations for waste handling. This is an identifiable, existing resource which may be repurposed in an emergency. A cement mixer might also be used. You may have more resources than you realize. All of these items must be integrated into a cohesive plan prior to an actual event. While it is tempting to save the budget, chances are good that your responsibility is to save lives and property. Using multi-functional deployment systems and decontamination solutions appropriate for multiple purposes is economical AND will provide you with the tools you need to save lives and property. Being caught unprepared will cost much more in terms of lives and property than preparation ever will. The choice is yours. Choose wisely. Michael Peters & John Breedlove - Intelagard, Inc.
The Yamaha motorcycle factory in Chennai, India, is protecting its employees with a low maintenance, high performance fire alarm system, provided by Hochiki Europe. With a population of 6,000 workers in eight large buildings spread across a vast 147,450m2 site, Yamaha’s building designers faced a challenge when developing a centralised fire safety and emergency lighting network. The distance between the buildings and the number of devices needed made it impossible to use a single control panel for the entire plant. At the same time, installing a separate control panel in each structure would be expensive and make it more difficult to look after long term. The company had no doubt that a system from Hochiki Europe was the ideal solution. Remote Monitoring And Centralized Control “With such a large site and so many workers, we needed a life safety solution that could be easily monitored from a remote location to help us pinpoint and correct potential performance issues as quickly and efficiently as possible,” explained a spokesperson, at Yamaha Chennai. “The final system had to help us centralise control, while also minimising disruption due to false alarms.” Technical experts from Hochiki Europe worked closely with life safety installers, Bell Automation, and Yamaha’s designers to develop an effective solution that could be easily integrated into their computer aided design (CAD) models. Hochiki Europe recommended dividing the site’s buildings into four separate groups, each connected to a centralised control panel – provided by the manufacturer. This would overcome the challenge presented by the site’s complexity, while simplifying maintenance and monitoring procedures. Minimizing False Alarm Risk Photoelectric Smoke Sensors from Hochiki Europe were selected for use in all buildings across the site. Offering high-precision chamber technology, rather than standard ionisation sensors, the solution has a greater particle sensor threshold than traditional products, minimising the risk of false alarms. Hochiki Europe’s Intrinsically Safe Photoelectric Smoke Detectors were selected for the site’s paint store area. These detectors have been specially designed to operate on a reduced current and have been third-party approved for use in hazardous areas. They are installed in conjunction with a barrier, which reduces the energy entering the hazardous zone and their components are encapsulated in a non-conductive material, negating the chance of sparking and igniting a flammable atmosphere. Water-Proof Heat Detectors In the canteen kitchen, Hochiki Europe recommended the installation of its Water-Proof Heat Detectors. Featuring a variable Fixed Temperature heat element, these sensors are able to overcome the issue of excessive smoke from cooking food. Their water-proof casing means that they are able to withstand the humidity of the kitchen, increasing durability and cutting maintenance needs. Weather-Proof Sounders and Weather-Proof Manual Call Points were chosen for external assembly areas. The safety products installed in each building were linked to the relevant network each controlled by one of four centralised control panels provided by Hochiki Europe, meeting the requirement for streamlined monitoring. Alok Chaturvedi, Director of Bell Automation, added: “Thanks to Hochiki Europe’s innovative open Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP), all of the equipment was compatible with thenetwork loop modelled by Yamaha’s designers. This really simplified the installation process and enabled us to complete the work in just four months, well within the company’s strict deadline.” Compatibility With Wider Safety Network Rohit Harjani, country manager for India at Hochiki Europe, concluded: “The Yamaha Chennai site is complex. It has many buildings, each housing hundreds of workers every day. With this in mind, it is vital that the final life safety system was both reliable and effective with minimal maintenance needs to reduce disruption to the business of the plant. “The technologies recommended offered the high performance required combined with compatibility to a wider safety network. These streamlined maintenance and monitoring needs for the company, saving it time and money, while enabling workers to do their jobs in a safe environment.”
The college occupies 76,000 sq ft of teaching and workshop space, with specialist training installations, including 150 metres of external track and catenary A key driver in the successful delivery of the UK’s £42.6 billion HS2 project, the new National College for High Speed Rail, is now protected by industry-leading fire panels from Advanced. Located in Doncaster, a town historically known for its prominent role in rail engineering and maintenance, the college occupies 76,000 sq ft of teaching and workshop space, with specialist training installations, including 150 metres of external track and catenary. It will train thousands of engineers to meet HS2’s future needs, as well as those of the wider rail sector. With 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities set to be created by HS2, and 25,000 people employed during construction, there has been, and continues to be high demand for appropriately skilled workers. Need of a high-quality fire system The Advanced MxPro panels were specified by the team at GBE Fire and Security, who were appointed by main contractor Briggs and Forrester to specify, install and commission the fire system at the site. GBE’s Business Development Manager, Andy Westgarth, commented: “We’re thrilled to have been involved in this project. The college will create many opportunities for young people and make a major contribution to the Northern Powerhouse. With sensitive installations, including electrical catenary, a high-quality fire system is essential and, as a longstanding Advanced partner, we feel that MxPro panels are the ideal solution.” Multiprotocol fire system solution MxPro is the fire industry’s leading multiprotocol fire system solution. It offers customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network, backed up by free training and support. MxPro panels can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into high speed, multi-loop panels in 200 node networks covering huge areas. MxPro’s legendary ease of installation and configuration and wide peripheral range make it customisable to almost any application. Reliable and easy to use Neil Parkin, Advanced Sales Manager for the North, commented: “This is the latest in a series of high-profile rail sector installations for Advanced panels. We have worked with GBE on many projects and it’s great to be working with them on such a positive project. MxPro ticks all the boxes for the National College for High Speed Rail, combining proven reliability with innovation and ease-of-use.” Advanced are members of the Rail Industry Fire Association (RIFA) and have panels installed in a number of other rail-related buildings, including the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station, almost 100 London Underground stations, the Hitachi Rail Europe factory in Newton Aycliffe and the Tyne & Wear Metro.