Electrical Fire Safety
Following a decision of its Board, Euralarm has welcomed its newest member Halma plc. The company will join the Fire Section of Euralarm. Halma will now benefit from Euralarm’s services in terms of representation towards European institutions and standardization organizations. This includes the monitoring of legislative and standardization issues relevant to the industry. Halma will have access to the extended network of national associations and major companies in the electro...
ADI Global Distribution (ADI) has announced the winner of its 2018 Customer Appreciation Car Giveaway Sweepstakes. Roddy Bieber, vice president special hazards, alarm, and detections, (SHAD) at American Fire Protection Group, Inc., was selected from more than 5,000 entries to win the sweepstakes and a new Jaguar F-PACE. For 16 years, ADI has been showing appreciation to its customers by presenting one lucky dealer each year with a new car. Entries for the Customer Appreciation Car Giveaway Swee...
Global provider of intelligent fire systems, Advanced, has announced the release of their upgraded addressable carbon monoxide (CO) detector and low frequency sounder base. Designed to meet NFPA / UL low-frequency signalling standards for sleeping areas such as hospitals, hotels and multi-occupancy residential applications, the sounder base generates a 520 Hz tone to alert occupants of a fire or CO / life safety emergency. Advanced CO / 520 Hz Sounder Base Advanced’s high-performance CO...
Dublin-based specialist electrical and security distributors, Richmond Electrical Wholesale (REW) has announced enhancing its product portfolio by introducing Comelit’s full range of third-party accredited high-specification solutions, including a full range of addressable and conventional systems. Fire Security And Detection Solutions The partnership ensures an all-encompassing service capability to present fire safety and security solutions that meet industry standards and present with...
Taking short lead times and convenient delivery to new heights, manufacturer and supplier of specialist passive fire protection products, Quelfire, has launched QuelQuick, a new same day delivery service to businesses and project sites across North West England. Fire Containment Systems Expert With over 40 years of experience and expertise in fire containment, Quelfire provides a wide range of high quality and certified products and services to specifiers, architects, engineers and contr...
Effective sprinkler systems are often the decisive criterion for immediately stopping the frequent fires from developing their destructive power. To ensure that these important technologies will always function safely in an emergency, experts all over the world rely on the practical VdS Guidelines CEA 4001en for planning and installation. Europe's largest institute for fire protection has now comprehensively updated this standard reference work. Importance Of Sprinkler Systems In Fire Safety Ev...
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 conference is open to all volunteer firefighters, EMS providers, department leadership, and other fire department personnel nationwide. Attendees will be able to select six out of 12 breakout sessions to attend, with sessions addressing critical issues in first responder health and safety, recruitment and retention, and fire prevention. Full registration with course descriptions will be available in February 2019. The NVFC Training Summit will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Portland The registration fee for the Summit is US$ 99, which includes two days of training from industry leaders, a networking reception with vendor expo, and most meals. To help more first responders attend, a travel stipend is available for select attendees. Stipends will be awarded on a monthly basis, with deadlines on the first of the month from February-April. The stipend will reimburse up to $600 for any combination of the following: hotel room nights, ground and air transportation, and the event registration fee. NVFC Membership Mandatory For Travel Stipend Full details and criteria are available on the application form. To be considered eligible for the travel stipend, the attendee or company must be a current member of the NVFC. Membership options and benefits can be found at www.nvfc.org/BeYourBest. Portland, OR, is located on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers on the border between Oregon and Washington, providing easy access to both urban and outdoor activities. The NVFC Training Summit will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Portland, which is on the light rail line providing quick transport from the airport and downtown. The Doubletree is also within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and other attractions.
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 growth ensures Mr Tobin is up-to-date with fire safety systems and legislation. Having been an active member of IFEDA for 6 years, it was a natural progression for him to be voted in as Chairman of IFEDA. Aim to bring change in IFEDA IFEDA has the clear aim of promoting quality standards within the fire protection industry"Mike Tobin said: “I am deeply honored by the vote of confidence to represent IFEDA as chairman. I am also profoundly grateful to my predecessor, Colin Payne, whom over the years has shown an overwhelming commitment to the industry and our association. I feel there is a need for a change not only in IFEDA but across the industry, and I hope that with the support of the members and the association as a whole, we can work together to have a huge and positive input into this change for the good of all. Rest assured that I will work tirelessly to represent IFEDA and will ensure that I keep the best interests of our association as the main focus.” Promoting quality standards Graham Ferris, General Manager at IFEDA commented: “We are pleased to welcome Mike to the role of Chairman. With his experienced background in the fire protection industry, Mike will help drive the association forward. “IFEDA has the clear aim of promoting quality standards within the fire protection industry, and with Mike as Chairman, we will continue to achieve this by offering industry approved training courses, and ensuring members work to achieve quality management systems.”
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 tradeshow management to the event. The AFAC thus also serves as an international offshoot of the global trade fair, INTERSCHUTZ staged in Hannover, Germany. AFAC18 Powered by INTERSCHUTZ A total of 170 companies used the opportunity to showcase their products and services to interested professionals Australia's renowned exhibition and conference for emergency management and public safety returned to Western Australia's capital city, Perth, for the first time in six years. A total of 170 companies used the opportunity to showcase their products and services to interested professionals. Several of the 44 exhibiting companies from outside the host nation were from Germany or Austria. For the first time ever, there was a German Pavilion at the AFAC, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and organised by the German Fire Prevention Association (vfdb). The companies that took part in the pavilion commented favorably on the joint display and reported numerous promising business talks. Participating companies were Alro Engineering, askö, the GFPA (German Fire Protection Association), Haix, Jakob Eschbach, protectismundi, Luitpold Schott, VTI Ventil Technik, the Wagner Group and Zapp Zimmermann. The German companies present with their own stands were Rosenbauer, Bauer Kompressoren, Dräger Safety, ESKA, the LHD Group and Mercedes Benz. Explosion-Proof Robots And Robot Technology AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ was positively received by the professional visitors The Perth event also featured a high-caliber conference program organized by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Forum. For the first time the AFAC Conference was staged together with the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference. In the parallel exhibition, participating companies not only showcased their latest solutions in emergency management, but also offered live demonstrations. Highlights included simulated accidents and emergency incidents as well as the use of robot technology – for example, explosion-proof robots for firefighting applications. AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ was positively received by the professional visitors. At the close of the event as many as 84 percent said they would recommend it to others. In fact, this response was even higher among conference participants, as 97 percent stated that they would recommend it to their colleagues. The exhibitors were also satisfied: 88 percent rated the whole event as ‘very good’. One factor that may have influenced the positive response of the exhibitors was the high proportion of decision-makers (70 percent among the visiting public). The next AFAC – AFAC19 powered by INTERSCHUTZ – will take place from 27 to 30 August 2019 in Melbourne.
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 monoxide, smoke and flames. However, a new consumer survey conducted by UL FSRI showed that many people keep their doors open at night and don't know that a closed door could potentially save their life in a home fire. Closing doors in home fire incidents A September 2018 report by the NFPA concluded that residents are more likely to die in a home fire today than in 1980 Today, closing your doors is more important than ever, as evolutions in home furnishings, layouts, and construction over the last 40 years have reduced the average time to escape a home fire from 17 minutes to three minutes or less. A September 2018 report by the National Fire Protection Agency concluded that residents are more likely to die in a home fire today than in 1980. In the recent UL FSRI consumer survey of 3,204 adults across the U.S., less than half of respondents believe that in the event of a fire, it's safer to have their bedroom door closed, and only 29 percent always sleep with their door closed. Only 17 percent of those who sleep with their door closed for safety do so because they think it's safer in a fire. Of those who sleep with the door open for safety, 52 percent do so because they mistakenly think it's safer in case of a fire. "As fire service researchers and professionals, we encourage people to take several precautions and have an evacuation plan but closing doors at night is one simple and quick routine that anyone can adopt right now," said Steve Kerber, director of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute. "It is a very simple behavior change that can help save your life and your loved ones." Effective fire escape plan UL FSRI gathered a group of unsuspecting everyday people to ask them about their safety concernsRelated specifically to families, additional key findings in UL FSRI's survey showed a low awareness of this potentially life-saving tip among parents, as 57 percent cite having a fire escape plan for their home, yet nearly as many are sleeping with their own door open. Among those families with senior citizens in their home, a third do not have a fire escape plan, and just 56 percent felt they could realistically evacuate their entire household in five minutes or less in the event of a fire. A closed door can not only serve as a protective barrier in a home fire but can help buy the time needed to safely escape or for emergency help to arrive. Understanding how important it is for people to see for themselves how significant of an impact a closed door can have in a house fire, UL FSRI gathered a group of unsuspecting everyday people to ask them about their safety concerns and what they perceive to be true about house fires. The group was introduced to Steve Kerber and his team, then witnessed a house burned with one-bedroom door open and one closed. Following the demonstration, the group was able to tour the house and see the real-life impact of a closed door compared to an open door. The demonstration and reactions were captured and can be viewed at CloseYourDoor.org.
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.
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 compliant when choosing products. In the meantime, with the Grenfell inquiry projected to go on during 2019, what is the benchmark?The development of LSZH materials was accelerated following the King’s Cross Underground disaster in which 31 people died Cables With LSZH Materials We have standards through British Standards (BS) and testing regimes which cables should meet to validate that they meet these standards with approvals from various industry bodies including BASEC and LPCB. At AEI Cables, we have developed our Total Fire Solutions range of cables and accessories for all fire safety applications, incorporating Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) features. Traditional PVC cables which produce vast amounts of dense black smoke, toxic fumes and acid gas when exposed to fire, bring an added danger to people who may be caught in the fire. Cables which incorporate LSZH materials emit very little of these substances. In a real fire situation, the cables will enable the fire and rescue services to find and evacuate people and help to protect property Smoke And Noxious Gases Cause More Casualties The development of LSZH materials was accelerated following the King’s Cross Underground disaster in which 31 people died, many of them from toxic fumes. London Underground has banned the use of PVC cables as a result. The adoption of LSZH for cables and other materials is also endorsed by the Building Regulations themselves. According to Part B, referencing fire safety, it says clearly: “The primary danger associated with fire in its early stages is not flame but the smoke and noxious gases produced by the fire. They cause most of the casualties and may also obscure the way to escape routes and exits. Measures designed to provide safe means of escape must therefore provide appropriate arrangements to limit the rapid spread of smoke and fumes.” Helping Fire And Rescue Services The very latest in technology and science, including LSZH materials, offers enhanced fire performance cablingThe very latest in technology and science, including LSZH materials, offers enhanced fire performance cabling, accessories and technical support ensuring critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a real fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes. In a real fire situation, these cables will enable the fire and rescue services to find and evacuate people and help to protect property. At the same time, there is still evidence of non-approved cabling still coming onto the market, and we simply cannot compromise quality of these products being used in these applications. Applications include residential and commercial buildings, shopping malls, airports and protected buildings with a track-record ensuring that fire alarms, sprinkler systems, building monitoring and security systems can continue to operate in a fire.
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 their rescue. The continuity of power will also ensure that sprinkler or water mist systems can continue to operate where they exist. In commercial buildings, there may also be smoke evacuation fans which help to enable safe evacuation. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services Appropriate Cabling At the start of a project, the most appropriate cabling should be specified as part of the electrical system rather than at the end of a project. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services across individual areas and floors. At the same time, there are new designs, materials and products continually coming on to the market for major projects, and with it an increasing need for the various parties involved to work closely together to make sure they get it right. There has been an increasing incidence of non-approved cables on the market and unfortunately it is not until cables have been installed, tested or used that issues become clear. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Should there be a problem, have it checked and seek good advice. Keep records of purchase, including reel flanges with batch markings and a sample of the cable markings. Send lengths for testing and then decide on the most appropriate course of action. Choice of cabling is crucial at the start of major projects as issues may occur later Meeting Rigorous Third-Party Tests For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. It is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests This Code of Practice specifies that the type of system selected during the design phase ‘should be derived from a detailed process of consultation with the relevant authorities’ and that ‘the design should be agreed at an early stage.’ The decision-making process for cable selection relevant for life safety and firefighting systems is clearly defined here. This covers three categories ranging from 30 minutes to 120 minutes fire survival time. Categories 1 and 2 cover means of escape for 30 minutes and then 60 minutes respectively, and these cables are tested in accordance with the relevant codes. Category 3 for firefighting to 120 minutes refers to power and control cables meeting the 120-minute test according to the relevant standards. It should be emphasised that only Mineral Insulated Cable (MIC) or a cable meeting the requirements of BS7846 F120 will meet this criteria. For clarity, BS 8519 does not take precedence over BS 5839 for alarm systems and BS 5266 for emergency lighting. In essence, choosing the most relevant cabling and electrical accessories which will continue to operate under fire conditions has become critical. Application Of Medium Voltage Cables As the incidence of non-approved cables continues then so the application of Medium Voltage (MV) cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, schools, care homes, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites also becomes critical. In the context off fire engineering, it is important to select the relevant MV Cables in these areas. Adhering to the latest regulations is no longer enough - there needs to be a risk assessment. In order to do this effectively, it is important to ask – are the fire safety procedures up to date? All AEI MV cables are third party tested and approved by BASEC. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards The whole supply chain needs to take consideration of these areas where vulnerable people often move about such as children or elderly people in hospitals or care homes. The fire and rescue services may need a little more time than a conventional building including reading complex fire alarm information to ensure a safe rescue in the event of a real fire. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards. This is due to ageing structures, high volume of combustible materials, and changing use in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programmes where more combustible and flammable liquids are being used. Concerns have been raised by architects and and designers about fire protection regimes Sufficient Fire Risk Assessment Recent research by the Fire Brigades Union, for example, showed that a key focus for all educational institutions must be ensuring that there is an effective fire risk management process in place, delivered by suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by an expert in the field. The best practice under Business Information Modelling (BIM) and all best practice of fire safety engineering methods should be observed in conjunction with project partners. There have been concerns over a number of years around the fire protection regime for new buildings expressed by the architects and designers themselves. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) points to the delays to Approved Document B with regard to the relationship of Building Regulations to changing design and construction. AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service RIBA says the virtual disappearance of the role of the clerk of works or site architect and the loss of independent oversight of construction and workmanship on behalf of the client is a further issue for concern. In essence, RIBA believes that future proposals for the fire safety regulatory regime should be informed by the specialist fire safety expertise of relevant professional organisations and groups, and also take full account of this wider set of construction industry AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service with the support of its parent company Ducab based in Dubai, with the design, manufacture and supply of MIC, Firetec Enhanced or Firetec Power depending on specific needs. The choice of cabling and accessories should not be underestimated at the earliest opportunity to ensure the fire and rescue services are given every chance of success in rescuing people and saving property.
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.
Tamworth-based trade association, DHF (Door & Hardware Federation) is emphasizing the importance of making fire safety an ‘absolute priority’ in new-build homes, following an investigation into potentially dangerous fire safety issues in houses developed by Persimmon Homes and Bellway Homes. Fire Safety In New-Build Homes The BBC’s Watchdog discovered serious breaches that had gone undetected during the construction process" The findings, by BBC Watchdog Live, highlighted that a number of new builds constructed by the firms were sold with missing or incorrectly installed fire barriers, which are used to form a complete seal between different areas of a home, and prevent the spread of fire. Without them, experts say, fire and smoke can spread five-to-ten times faster. “The BBC’s Watchdog discovered serious breaches that had gone undetected during the construction process, leaving homes and lives potentially at risk in the event of a fire,” explains DHF’s Commercial Manager, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens. “In many new builds, particularly timber-framed buildings, fire barriers are a vital part of fire protection and we would urge house builders to ‘get it right’ at the construction stage and to have a workforce that is trained in, and understands, the importance of installing the fire barriers required to prevent potential problems down the line. Ultimately, responsibility for ensuring that buildings are compliant with Building Regulations lies with the house builder.” Importance Of Fire Safety Following the investigation, Bellway Homes stated that it was ‘committed to improvement’ with regards to potentially flawed fire safety issues in developments in Kent and West Lothian, and that mandatory training on, amongst other subjects, fire stopping, has been introduced for all relevant construction staff.Following the Grenfell disaster in June 2017, DHF’s voice has been one of the loudest and most passionate in its call for third-party certification by a UKAS-accredited body of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors, in order to offer complete assurance on their performance. With a history and heritage dating back to 1897, the federation is undoubtedly one of the most revered organizations, widely respected as the industry’s independent authoritative voice. Fire Door Training Courses DHF works assiduously with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses Fierce advocates for appropriate levels of training across all the sectors that it serves, DHF continues to place the importance of training firmly ‘up-front-and-center’. The organization works assiduously with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses; this has been central to its on-going fire safety campaign. Additionally, in March 2019, DHF announced a high-profile collaboration with Secured by Design (SBD) and Fire Industry Association (FIA) to publish a guidance document on fire safety. Named A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets; A publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England, the publication accentuates the key issues of fire safety for those selecting fire doorsets, recommending all fire doorsets are factory-prepared (as opposed to prepared on-site), that all work be completed under factory production control, and in addition, audited by a third-party. Fire Doors “Since Grenfell, the wider issue of fire safety has been thrust into the spotlight and we are delighted that progress is being made in this regard,” said Patricia. “We continue to stress that the use of fire doors, correctly installed and with robust fire door maintenance procedures, are an essential part of fire safety and urge those in positions of responsibility (such as house builders) to ensure that they are not only fulfilling regulations, as well as legal and moral obligations, but insisting upon appropriate levels of training with regards to installation and maintenance.”
Tottenham based Lancasterian Primary School is focused on the delivery of a safe and welcoming learning environment, ‘where everyone is included and creativity is valued.’ The school is persistently seeking new ways to enhance and improve its offer to the children and the local community. The school had an established high-profile intruder alarm system on site and consulted with Amthal to create a maintenance program that could operate with no disruption to learning timetables. Safe Learning And Working Environment Proactively worked with us to create a maintenance schedule for our intruder alarm" Says Sam Judge, Lancasterian Primary School’s Assistant Site Manager: “The security of our school is naturally a top priority, to ensure staff and pupils can work and learn in a safe environment. We see a careful balance to ensure our focus on creation of a welcoming and nurturing school for pupils and the local community is not overwhelmed.” “It’s something we are consistently reviewing and when we approached Amthal, we were instantly impressed with their understanding of our objectives. They proactively worked with us to create a maintenance schedule for our intruder alarms, to ensure they continue to operate to maximum capacity for the ultimate protection of all who learn with us, and provide total peace of mind and assurance to the site management team.” Well-Maintained Security System An effective school building security alarm system for which users are fully trained" Mark Golding, Amthal Account Manager added: “Ensuring that pupils, buildings and equipment are protected requires an effective school building security alarm system for which users are fully trained, alarm systems that are regularly maintained and service inspections that are logged and documented.” A well-maintained system will ensure compliance with building safety regulations and also help to ensure the school passes OFSTED with flying colours. Amthal is thrilled to be working with schools such as Lancasterian Primary to ensure its security for the benefit of staff, pupils and visitors.” Satisfying User Needs Independently owned, Amthal Fire & Security is dedicated to satisfying end user needs for security safety and convenience offering design, installation, service and remote monitoring of advanced electronic fire & security solutions, including intruder, Fire, Access and CCTV systems. Amthal Fire & Security is accredited by the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) and British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE.)
The headquarters of Bulgaria’s Communications Regulation Commission will be protected by high-tech fire systems from Advanced System, as part of a major refurbishment project and drive to reduce cases of false alarms. Located in Sofia, the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) was established in 2002 as an independent state authority entrusted with the management and regulation of all electronic communications in Bulgaria. Axis EN System A recent upgrade of the fire system in the Communications Regulation Commission office was undertaken by Advanced partner, FireTech Engineering Ltd A recent upgrade of the fire system in the Communications Regulation Commission office was undertaken by Advanced partner, FireTech Engineering Ltd. The project saw Advanced’s Axis EN system installed in the building supported by smoke detectors, and Advanced’s AlarmCalm false alarm management solution. Rossen Kolev, Managing Director for FireTech Engineering Ltd, said: “We specified Axis EN as the brains and backbone of the system for the CRC building as we know it offers the highest levels of quality and reliability. The client specified a system that would avoid false alarms and offer the option to expand or upgrade in the future, which is something we can guarantee with Axis EN and AlarmCalm.” AlarmCalm Fire Alarm Management AlarmCalm is a free upgrade to Advanced software and firmware that takes advantage of the high-speed robust panels and networks to offer the best-in-class solution for managing verification and investigation delays to outputs. It allows the false alarm management strategy for a site to be refined right down to points and to take account for resident needs and area usage. It includes the AlarmCalm loop device that allows residents or trained staff to indicate whether they believe a signal in their area is due to a false alarm. Axis EN is EN54 2,4&13 approved and its 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. Advanced’s legendary ease of installation and configuration and wide peripheral range make it customizable to almost any application. TouchControl And Dynamic Reporting Axis EN also supports TouchControl, Advanced’s 10” HD touchscreen repeater and remote-control terminal that offers dynamic reporting and control Axis EN also supports TouchControl, Advanced’s 10” HD touchscreen repeater and remote-control terminal that offers dynamic reporting and control via a unique interface that includes Active Maps and zone plans. Etienne Ricoux, Advanced’s Head of Sales, commented: “The Communications Regulation Commission building in Sofia is the latest high-profile building in Bulgaria to be protected by Advanced panels. Our Axis EN panels lead the market and offer the performance, reliability and flexibility needed in a building such as this.” Intelligent Fire Systems Expert Advanced is a globally renowned developer and manufacturer of intelligent fire systems. The legendary performance, quality and ease-of-use of its products sees Advanced specified 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 and fire paging systems.
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.