Electrical Fire Safety
ISE 2019 proved to be a great success for ASL as they welcomed clients, old and new and distribution partners on the ASL stand at Amsterdam RAI for the duration of the exhibition over four days. ASL VIPEDIA-PRO router The new ASL VIPEDIA-PRO router with Dante, along with the all-in-one PAVA solution ASL INTEGRA and ASL V2000 were on display with a full complement of ASL technical, sales and marketing staff on hand for the duration of the show to discuss new and existing project opportunities....
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce that the next NVFC Training Summit will take place June 26-27, 2020, in Orlando, FL. Pre-register here to save your spot and get updates as event information becomes available. NVFC Training Summit 2020 Launched in 2014, the Training Summit provides an opportunity for first responders from across the country to participate in valuable classroom training as well as exchange ideas and best practices with their peers. The NVFC&rsq...
MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have awarded new turnout gear to two additional departments through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway. A total of 13 fire departments will each receive four new sets of state of the art turnouts in 2019 to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and safety personals. To be eligible to apply for MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway awards, fire departments had to fulfill the criteria of being all volunteer or mostly volunteer, serv...
FIREX 2019 was a great success for ASL as the company welcomed clients, distribution partners and media at ExCeL London, renowned international convention center in London, UK for the duration of the exhibition. FIREX 2019 Head of Business Development at ASL, Neil Voce comments, “ We got the opportunity to discuss a number of new projects with existing clients and new prospects over the course of the exhibition, with visitors from the UK and overseas, so for ASL it was a great exhibition...
UK manufacturer of security systems, ASL, located in Lewes, East Sussex has been recruiting apprentices since early 2012 via the UK Apprenticeship Service. Working with local training provider Sigta Training, ASL currently employs five apprentices, four in engineering and one in business and administration, at ASL’s head office in Lewes. An apprenticeship is a genuine job combining practical training while working with study. Apprenticeships can run for up to four years and include on the...
Almost 100 delegates attended an important seminar organized by Wessex Electricals during electrical fire safety month. The event at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium heard from Tim Bollard of NICIEC and ELECSA, the certification body for electricians. He spoke about the new wiring regulations, which come into effect on January 1, 2019 and are an important subject in the industry. Stuart Fisher, managing director of the long-standing Dorset business that is based in Shaftesbury and is pa...
During FDIC International 2019, TenCate Protective Fabrics is slated to showcase TurnOut Gear that has seen multiple exposures. TurnOut Gear for Firefighters Concern over higher rates of occupation cancer among firefighters prompts additional efforts in decontamination and cleaning of turnout gear to reduce particulate accumulation. But the question on everyone’s mind is whether the turnout gear is able to stand up to more washing and drying along with the daily wear-and-tear owing to firefighters’ rough use. Each went through grueling fire evolutions and multiple extraction cleaning TenCate Protective Fabrics wanted to find out and now firefighters at FDIC International 2019 will be able to see for themselves. Fire evolution and extraction cleaning The Georgia Fire Academy in Forsyth, GA, took three sets of turnouts featuring outer shells and thermal liners from TenCate Protective Fabrics. Each went through grueling fire evolutions and multiple extraction cleaning. TenCate sent sets of its three outer shell offerings, paired with a variety of thermal liners and moisture barriers, for a wear test at the academy. Enhanced comfort and protection “The instructors — and a few students — at the Georgia Fire Academy liked the comfort of the gear and the protection offered, “said Bart McCool, End User Marketing Manager for TenCate. “Most didn’t want to give up the gear, but we needed it for further evaluation.” The three that will be on display at booth #2109 in Hall D at the Indianapolis Convention Center, including these sets: * Kombat Flex, an outer shell powered by PBI fiber, which saw *500* fire evolutions and *51* wash/dry cycles. * Agility, an outer shell featuring DuPont Kevlar, which experienced *379* fire evolutions and *50* wash/dry cycles. * Pioneer, an outer shell featuring a DuPont Nomex blend, which went through *140* fire entries and 35 wash/dry cycles. “Firefighters at FDIC be seeing plenty brand-new, sparkling-clean gear,” McCool said. He adds, “We wanted to show them what it looks and feels like after it’s been around the block a few times. It makes it easier to see what they can expect from the gear.”
Nittan Europe - global manufacturer of conventional and addressable fire detection products – has announced a series of new Interface Modules to allow for improved connection of its high grade Evolution range to even more third-party equipment than ever before. Interface Modules The six new interface modules cover a variety of interface applications, ranging from door release, sounder control, communication with industrial plant & equipment and non-addressable detectors, along with a mini module for mounting within other equipment, such as Firebeam or Aspirating detectors. The main interface modules feature the same uniform, sleek design for enhanced aesthetic appeal. These interface modules are all EEPROM addressed (Programmer) and come complete with Short Circuit Isolator, while many also have mains rated relay. The new interface modules were officially launched at this year’s FIREX exhibition held at London’s ExCeL Arena The new interface modules were officially launched at this year’s FIREX exhibition held at London’s ExCeL Arena. They were on display, along with top of the line Evolution products, such as analogue addressable detectors (including patented, award winning Dual Optical technology), audio visual devices, bases, manual call points, isolators and existing modules, plus BS EN54 parts 2 and 4 compliant evo+ fire alarm control panels. Evolution fire detectors range A tried and tested solution, the Evolution range combines truly exceptional and reliable fire detection with a very high degree of protection against unwanted false alarms. Its highly flexible protocol is resistant to interference and allows for substantial amounts of information to be transmitted at high speed. The Nittan Group has been at the forefront of the international fire protection industry since 1954. It continuously innovates and strives for exceptional quality products of the highest standards to ensure effective fire detection, fire protection and fire safety.
Firefighters from all across the country converged on Raleigh, North Carolina this week to attend presentations given by F.I.E.R.O. (the Fire Industry Educational Resource Organization) at its 2019 F.I.E.R.O. Fire PPE Symposium. 2019 F.I.E.R.O. Fire PPE Symposium The biennial fire safety and security conference boasted a record attendance rate and offered informational sessions on a wide range of subjects of interest for firefighters globally. TenCate Protective Fabrics, along with other industry leaders, were on hand to help sponsor the event. F.I.E.R.O. operates as a not-for-profit organization that seeks to further the continuing education of firefighters on subjects that have a direct bearing on their safety, health and wellbeing. Topics from PPE (personal protective equipment) to heat stress and related physiological effects, as well as firefighting tactics were covered in great detail. Firefighters need to be kept abreast of what’s happening in the fire service and global fire industry at large New training techniques TenCate Protective Fabrics is a long-time sponsor of F.I.E.R.O. and will continue to support the efforts of the organization in the future. Firefighters need to be kept abreast of what’s happening in the fire service and global fire industry at large. Firefighters need to be made aware of new training techniques, policies and latest technologies that will have far-reaching effects on the way they go about doing their jobs on a regular basis. TenCate said it is proud to partner with F.I.E.R.O., as well as other industry thought leaders and influencers, to ensure that their good work and service will be available for years to come to firefighters and fire safety services. The safety and wellbeing of firefighters is of paramount concern for TenCate Protective Fabrics and they re-affirmed their drive to continue to do everything possible to make sure that firefighters have the tools and knowledge they need to stay safe and protected in emergency and dangerous scenarios.
Globally renowned manufacturer of digital voice alarm and safety electronic equipment, SigNET has been appointed the exclusive UK distributor of RCF’s innovative new range of EN54-16 and EN54-24 certified digital voice alarm systems. With the assistance of its sister company, C-TEC – the UK’s independent manufacturer of quality life safety electronic systems – SigNET will concentrate on promoting the products to companies operating within the fire and security sector. Intelligent wall mounting voice alarms The two solutions that are available in the market include, the DXT 3000 and the DXT 9000 intelligent ‘plug-and-play’ wall mounting voice alarm systems. The DXT 3000 is an intelligent ‘plug-and-play’ wall mounting voice alarm solution for small to medium sized projects Designed for wall mounting, the DXT 3000 is an intelligent ‘plug-and-play’ wall mounting voice alarm solution for small to medium sized projects where EN54-16 compliance is required. Ideal for supermarkets, schools, offices and more, it represents a practical solution for integrating an existing music and PA system with a voice-only emergency evacuation system. Versatile, scalable voice alarm solutions The DXT 9000 is a medium to large range of configurable EN54-16 compliant voice alarm solutions. Versatile and completely scalable, it is suitable for a host of applications, from small schools or hotels to large campuses with multiple buildings. Said Tremayne Crossley, SigNET’s Field Sales Manager, “We are delighted to be appointed the exclusive distributor of the new DXT range and are confident the deal will be very beneficial for SigNET, RCF and, most importantly, our customers.”
Lux Intelligent manufacturer Advanced has launched a new CPD training module focusing on emergency lighting testing compliance. Emergency lighting testing Created against a backdrop of changing emergency lighting standards, including the new category of 'stay put' lighting, the new training module is designed to bring end users, facilities managers and engineers fully up to date with current requirements and help them ensure compliance. On top of this, it will provide them with the tools they need to ensure their emergency lighting is more efficient, thus saving them money and time. 'Stay put' lighting is more formally known as Emergency Safety Lighting and was introduced into BS5266 last year 'Stay put' lighting is more formally known as Emergency Safety Lighting and was introduced into BS5266 last year, expanding the reach of the standard from purely escape and emergency lighting. The basis of the addition is that it is often unnecessary or inappropriate for everyone to evacuate during a power failure/non-emergency mains failure - for those that choose to remain/stay put, adequate lighting is required. Lux Intelligent emergency lighting system Typical examples are for the elderly and very young in care situations, where it is easier to ensure safety and continue care and comfort within the premises; and in other public areas, for example retail spaces, where it may be suitable to evacuate the public, but for staff to remain/stay put. When lights are tested manually, an engineer must physically walk the building and cut power to the emergency lights, forcing them to operate on their secondary supply. He or she then needs to reinstate the mains power and confirm that the batteries are charging properly. This is a time-consuming and tedious task that is not always completed accurately or reliably. Emergency Safety Lighting Advanced offers its own, automatic emergency lighting test system, Lux Intelligent Added to that, it is not practical to disable the power for whole areas of a building during normal operational hours, so the process must be staggered or done outside of office hours. Also, in case of a real emergency, no area of a building can be left without emergency lighting for the period after a test while the batteries are recharging. Advanced offers its own, automatic emergency lighting test system, Lux Intelligent, which simplifies the entire process and is incredibly cost-effective, especially when using cloud-based monitoring via mobile or web app, which completely does away with the need for compiling manual reports and simplifies maintenance management.
Advanced has added an Android app to its Lux Intelligent emergency lighting testing system. This is in addition to the existing iOS and desktop versions. "We've developed the app specifically for areas of the public sector who said they require Android," says Advanced's Marketing Manager Aston Bowles. "However, it was part of our plans anyway to grow the ecosystem of apps and services we offer in the cloud," he adds. Cloud monitoring Cloud monitoring via mobile and web apps makes emergency light testing via Lux Intelligent extremely easy and more cost effective, while demonstrating compliance. All test data is stored safely and securely in the Lux Intelligent cloud for as long as it is needed, with all test reports accessible at any time and automatically shared with relevant contractors or maintenance partners. Lux Intelligent is an addressable, automatic test system that shows all emergency lighting is compliant and functioning, with no engineer intervention required. It can be used with both newbuilds or retrofitted onto existing wiring and luminaires, keeping installation costs to a minimum. It offers a host of unique technical features and proves compliance with BS 5266-1 and BS EN 50172.
Those responsible for the specification of products which go into new modern buildings have been asking for safe, approved cabling, which play a critical part in electrical supply systems. The number of fires in high-rise buildings in Europe and the Middle East have brought the issue of quality of products for fire performance circuits into sharp focus, not least the Grenfell disaster. Meanwhile, new buildings become increasingly complex, with the use of new materials and the designs of many requiring complex electrical systems to support security and fire safety. New and refurbished buildings such as hospitals, schools, shopping malls or airports, may have complex addressable loop fire alarm systems which provide information on individual detectors. Conventional systems only provide information about specific circuits or zones. Indicating exact location of fire, fault For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about there can be no greater priority than safetyThe addressable systems feature a fire control panel which receives information and status reports from each device, indicating its exact location and if there may be a fire, a fault, heat or contamination. For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about – many of whom can be vulnerable – there can be no greater priority than safety. The cabling chosen for these systems is therefore critical. If the power to these alarm systems fails because the cabling does not meet the required performance, then the information available for fire and rescue services is directly affected and with it, the chance of finding people who may be in the building. To meet these design challenges, and with the inquiry into the Grenfell disaster still ongoing, it is the use of the very latest technology and science that is taking enhanced fire performance cabling onto a new level. Safe and compliant cable products Decision-makers in the supply chain want reassurance that the products they are specifying are safe and compliant, meeting all recognized specifications. Calls have been made by the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) for all cable being used in the UK to conform to relevant British, European or international standards amid increasing concerns about the volume of non-approved cables coming onto the market. Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling which ensures critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes. The standard and enhanced cables in the Total Fire Solutions range are tubed, making them a welcome product for contractors with ease of installation. They are all UV stable and they all come with a hard insulant to resist any fault generation over time. These cables meet all relevant industry standards including ISO 9001 and is approved by the leading industry organizations nationally and worldwide including BASEC and LPCB. Carrying out fire risk assessment For the fire and rescue services, the continuity of power means they can continue to read fire alarm system information which can direct them to the seat of the fire and help to locate people who may be in the building. Responsibility for choosing the right system lies with the ‘responsible person’ under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in business or any other non-domestic premises. This will be the owner, employer, landlord, or may be the facilities manager or building manager. As the responsible person, he or she must carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly and put in place and maintain appropriate fire safety measures. Ultimately, the responsible person faces a fines or jail if they fail to follow these measures and there is a fire. 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 Any items or products which go into these fire safety systems must be covered by standards set by national, European and international bodies such as British Standards. These will certify that when needed these products will perform their function and operate as expected in real life fire conditions. Ensuring cables meet fire safety standards In support of these standards, cable industry bodies provide testing regimes to ensure that different types of cable are fit for purpose and meet these standards when tested in fire conditions. 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. Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to lightFor 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. Counterfeit Flexible Cords campaign Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to light. Unsafe flexible cord, intended for use in domestic and industrial applications, has been found on sale in the UK recently, prompting the ACI to issue a fresh alert to the electrical supply chain. The latest find of sub-standard flexible cords is marked ‘Made in Turkey’ and ‘Ermaks’. Samples came to light following the initiative’s recent ‘Counterfeit Flexible Cords’ campaign which alerted the electrical supply chain to dangerous industrial flexible cords. We in the supply chain should all be vigilant to watch out and report these instances of non-compliant cabling wherever we see or suspect they have been installed, while developing only the safest products and systems of our own. We shouldn’t forget that we all have a duty and a responsibility where lives and property are at stake. Importance of MV cables to infrastructure Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliantThe demand for power has never been greater, with the explosion of development in towns and cities across the UK and the growth of industrial development and technology reliant on consistent supplies. Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliant as the pressure mounts on the installation of quality products in modern building developments. MV cables are crucial to our infrastructure. Electricity leaves the generating site and is routed via a step-up transformer to take it up to the National Grid distribution voltages of 400Kv, 275Kv and 132Kv. Once in the local area, the supply goes through step-down transformers that reduce the voltage to 415V with domestic supplies tapped off at 230V. To provide power to the sub-stations – very often located on the premises of the establishment that they supply – Medium Voltage (MV) cables are used. MV cables were only developed as the level of voltages increased and the need arose for a greater classification range. design and specification of the cables The technical design and specification of the cables is of paramount importance within the power distribution networkThe size of the market has developed to the point where the global MV cables market was valued at 39.31billion US dollars in 2016 and projected to grow at a rate of more than six percent until 2022. The technical design and specification of the cables themselves is of paramount importance within the power distribution network. There are a number of technical considerations to be taken into account including the size of the installation, the position of the installation in relation to the network and the presence of primary and secondary sub-stations. Prior to installation, a detailed route survey should also be carried out to plan where cables will be jointed and to identify any possible obstructions which may require special civil engineering works such as directional drilling. Underlying the critical nature of supplies to these types of services, the incidence of non-approved cables for these applications also plagues the industry.
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.
One lesson of Grenfell is how many fire system technicians operate without the appropriate qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications, and for industry to implement a system in which clients and end users can be assured that operatives are fully competent. Another lesson is that fire service audits of buildings are no longer fit for purpose. For instance, the current system does not require proof that a fire system was installed by a “competent person.” Fire safety in commercial buildings “The general public would be horrified to learn that someone can fit a fire safety system in a commercial building without any proper qualifications or licence,” says Tom Brookes, Managing Director of Lindum Fire Services Ltd., former Chairman of the British Fire Consortium (BFC), and current Chairman of the Fire and Security Association. When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game" “When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game,” says Brookes. “Some larger companies are upskilling their staff and moving towards formal qualifications. If small- and medium-sized enterprises do not follow suit, they will fall behind and may be excluded from the marketplace altogether.” Working Group 2 on installer competence Working Group 2 on installer competence was established after the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report last year, under the joint leadership of Build UK and the Fire Sector Federation. The group has discussed extensively the need for systems engineers to be suitably qualified and able to demonstrate their competence. “In my opinion, there is too much focus on rival competency schemes rather than overall industry outcomes, which somewhat muddies the waters,” says Brookes. “However, one thing that has become crystal clear is that all fire and emergency systems engineers will likely need to hold a Level 3 qualification in the future.” Training provided BFC, FIA and IFEDA Although quality training is provided through the British Fire Consortium (BFC), Fire Industry Association (FIA), Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association (IFEDA) and others, historically there have been no Ofqual-approved qualifications for the fire sector. (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation [Ofqual] is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests.) Changes are afoot, however. In England, the Fire, Emergency Systems and Security trailblazer apprenticeship attracted around 300 new starts last year. The FIA have replaced their 20-year-old training programmes with a new system that will enable technicians who complete the series to achieve their Level 3 qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification The awarding organization EAL are launching a BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification in August 2019. This will allow previously trained engineers to sit an exam and gain a Level 3 award demonstrating up-to-date knowledge. Practical skills testing for more experienced technicians, outside of an apprenticeship, is something FSA are currently working hard on with partners including ECA, NET and ECS. “Our aim is for a few options to become available for operatives to gain some sort of practical competence certification,” says Brookes. “More technological solutions are now being considered for competency evaluation, such as uploading video assessments of candidates to a portal for assessors. This is already used for some NVQ type assessments and widely used in the USA. It may be just what our sector needs at this moment in time.” 'Accountable Person' role Latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings The latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings called the “Accountable Person.” This person will have a legal responsibility to ensure people working on systems are competent. While only for high rise and high-risk buildings, like all developments, it will likely spread throughout the sector. “For as long as I have been in the fire industry trade bodies have called upon the fire authorities and Government to legislate to stop unskilled workers installing and maintaining fire safety equipment,” says Brookes. He notes that both independent third-party certification of businesses and CSCS partner card schemes like ECS for individuals are voluntary arrangements. To date, neither Government nor fire services insist either scheme is used by a fire protection company. “If, heaven forbid, we witnessed another tragedy like Grenfell tomorrow, sadly I suspect the outcome would be very much the same,” says Brookes. “However, looking further ahead, I am confident buildings will be safer once new legislation comes into force and effectively eliminates the threat of incompetent and unqualified fire and emergency system engineers.”
Apollo Fire Detectors’ innovative SOTERIA range of detectors has been chosen to protect the prestigious Darrick Wood School in Orpington, Kent. The school is rated by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ and achieved the ‘World Class Schools Quality Mark in’ 2015. The fire detection system was upgraded as part of a wider program of works which saw the school invest in a new dining hall, a Movement & Performing Arts Building with specialist Drama and Music rooms and new PE changing rooms. Many of these new buildings encompass large open areas with high ceilings and interconnected spaces, which presented a challenge for the project’s fire detection system designer, Triple Star Fire & Security Ltd. Students and staff security Built in 1975, Darrick Wood School has been extended over the years and the existing fire detection system was in need of an upgrade. The installation of a brand new system to protect the pupils, staff and visitors using the most recently added school buildings provided an opportunity to upgrade some parts of the existing system. The existing and new fire systems will be fully integrated to ensure compatibility across the school. The existing and new fire systems will be fully integrated to ensure compatibility across the school To avoid any disruption to pupils and staff during term time, all installation and upgrade work on the systems took place during the school holidays. Advanced fire detection system The main building contractor, Ammcass Group, appointed local experts Triple Star Fire & Security Ltd to design and install the state-of-the-art fire detection system, which is based on Apollo’s award-winning SOTERIA range of detectors. Explaining the choices made at Darrick Wood School, Daren Pool, Managing Director of Triple Star, said “SOTERIA was the ideal product for this large school. With this advanced technology available, we were able to offer superior reliability of detection and reduction of false alarms – exactly the features required in this environment.” Apollo SOTERIA fire detectors Up to 100 Apollo SOTERIA devices, including manual call points and interfaces, were fitted at Darrick Wood, along with bells and strobes designed for the school environment. The system is managed by two Advanced MX5 control panels – one located in the main reception area and the other in the sports center reception. The system is programmed to operate a ‘one out, all out’ procedure in the event of a fire being detected. Graham Field, Premises Manager at Darrick Wood School, commented “The installation of the new fire protection system went smoothly during the holidays, so that we could proudly open the new buildings and provide the pupils with enhanced facilities. It was reassuring to have the latest SOTERIA technology installed. We’re very happy with the modern aesthetics of the devices and are confident that the school’s fire protection is future-proofed for the years ahead.”
Set to stand at 62-storeys high, 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London will, on completion, become the second-tallest building in Western Europe. The 278m office building will offer 1.275 million sq. ft of high specification office space, as well as eight community spaces, covering over 100,000 sq ft, including an innovation hub, curated gallery space, fresh food market, gym and wellbeing retreat. Once completed, Advanced will protect both of Western Europe’s tallest buildings, with 22 Bishopsgate being the latest in a long line of London’s most prestigious and iconic skyscrapers specifying Advanced, including the Shard, the Leadenhall Building, the Heron Tower and the HSBC Tower. Networked MxPro 5 panels At the centre of the active fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate are over 80 networked MxPro 5 panels with graphic display and BMS integration, alongside three special build panels for the building’s Fire Command Centre, that will form part of the intelligent fire detection network. Advanced’s panels are used alongside Apollo’s Soteria detectors and its networking is widely regarded as the most resilient and scalable solution on the market. It can be expanded up to 200 node networks covering huge areas with complicated cause-and-effect. Great emphasis and consideration has been placed on the fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate" As a UK-first, 22 Bishopsgate will utilize a specially developed lift-evacuation strategy in case of fire. The building is separated into four vertical areas by fire-hardened slabs with a two-hour fire rating separating a floor from the one above at levels 26, 42 and 58. Depending on which of the four vertical areas of the building a fire is detected, workers on that floor and the floors above egress via fire escape stairs to the area below and from there can evacuate via the lifts, safe in the knowledge that these are protected by the slabs above. Fire detection systems Responsible for every aspect of installation of the fire system from design to completion, PHF Fire, a division of PHF Electrical, used Advanced for its market-leading networking capabilities, best suited to managing a network of this size and complexity. Paul Falkner, Director at PHF Fire, said: “Great emphasis and consideration has been placed on the fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate – a building truly at the at the forefront of fire technology. From working with Advanced previously we knew its products could be relied upon to deliver powerful, flexible and dependable fire protection for the complex nature of a building of this size.” Fire protection Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager at Advanced, said: “Advanced is a leader in the market in terms of performance, quality and ease-of-use and being specified in arguably the UK’s most high-profile commercial development, since the Shard, reinforces this. We are thrilled to now not only protect Western Europe’s tallest building, but soon also the second tallest. It was a pleasure to work with the team at PHF Fire where we were able to meet their needs with a system capable of delivering the complicated cause and effect programming and flexible networking required.” With EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 approval, the MxPro is the fire industry’s leading multiprotocol fire solution, offering customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network that enjoys free training and support. Intelligent fire systems expert Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The 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 in some of the world’s most prestigious sites. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, extinguishing control panels, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Following their initial integration of a TETRA system across the four airports in 2012, MAHB has decided to upgrade their hand-portable devices to the latest in TETRA technology, to enable further efficiency gains from the use of data applications. Sepura SC2 series radios The SC2 series radios are built for noisy environments such as airports, providing MAHB with clear communications whatever the weather, or air traffic levels. The SC2 series hand-portable radios are resilient, intelligent and durable, providing intuitive operation and outstanding performance, even in the toughest conditions. Submersible, waterproof and dustproof, Sepura SC2 radios have IP67 environmental protection ratings, Water Porting technology and an easy-clean design, allowing them to be rinsed in running water. The TETRA hand-portable radios are used across the airport to enhance safety and operations The TETRA hand-portable radios are used across the airport to enhance safety and operations, with multiple teams accessing the TETRA network, from customer service representatives to baggage handlers and check-in clerks. The airport is continuing to see the value and flexibility of their TETRA system with the ability to increase the number of users and upgrade their fleet to provide enhanced functionalities. TETRA Hand Portable Radios Azhari Mohd. Taib, Senior Manager, Malaysia Airports says, "We are very pleased with the SC21 Hand Portable Tetra Radio which is currently being used by our Airport CARE Ambassadors. As you know the airport environment can be very noisy, so we require a device that can provide powerful audio. The SC21 is also a very robust device and this is important to us as the airport is in operation 24/7.” He says, "The SC21 is also very compact making it easy for our staff to carry it around all the time thereby making it convenient to attend to the needs of airport guests in a timely fashion. The SC21 has certainly helped contribute to the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) ‘Happy Guests, Caring Hosts’ service culture.", Azhari Mohammad Taib, Senior Manager, Malaysia Airports (Sepang) SDN BHD. TETRA technology "We are pleased to see MAHB continuing close cooperation with Sepura on managing their communications effectively, they can now begin to see the benefits of next generation TETRA technology with their upgrade to SC2 Series terminals and we are excited to see what the future holds for data applications in airports", says Terence Ledger, Sales and Marketing Director, Sepura LLC.
At insulation manufacturer Glava, they manage high risk and high production volumes. Hence, they are dependent on an efficient fire detection system. Here, they tell us why they chose Autronica. 60 tons of melted glass, and temperatures up to 1300 degrees Celsius: At the Glava manufacturing plant in the Norwegian town of Stjørdal, the production runs non-stop. The temperature is high when shattered glass is molten and spun into insulation, and the consequences of an incident in the smelting plant are enormous. In the afternoon, evening and night, staffing is limited to a minimum. Only four people keep the 3500 square meters of factory under surveillance. Thanks to solid fire detection, they all know they are safe regardless. However, not long ago they experienced a completely different situation altogether. Catastrophic fire at Glava manufacturing plant "In the 90s, the Glava manufacturing plant and headquarters in Askim suffered a major cable fire, where a grand total of 600 kilometers of cable was destroyed by fire. Production was halted for weeks, and 60-70 electricians were hired to fix the problem. If we had had early warning in case of overheating, we could have saved several millions Norwegian Kroner," said Helge Bakken, an electrical engineer working in the Glava manufacturing plant since 1996. He talks about vast amounts of inflammable materials on the premises. "Glava is a large manufacturing plant with lots of machinery, and we are bordering on the limit of what we can keep our eyes on." Efficient fire detection system With Autronica’s solution we have a complete overview form the screens in the control room" Helge added, "When we rebuilt the Stjørdal factory in 2014, we wanted to install a proper fire detection system. We asked for tenders from a wide range of suppliers, and I feared that Autronica would be too expensive. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out they weren’t the most expensive supplier by far. Additionally, the quality and service were far superior to any of the others. And of course, it was a bonus that they are a Norwegian company, and that most of the equipment is manufactured at their headquarters in Trondheim." Fire alarms and emergency lighting "With Autronica’s solution we have a complete overview form the screens in the control room. Graphical sectionalizations show where the alarm is triggered, and we get an early indication of heat generation. With the help of statistics, we quickly see what the normal temperature is. If there is a real emergency, the emergency light system will multiply the chance of evacuating the employees. There are few fault messages, and everyone here takes any alarm seriously," says fire safety manager, Håvard Sesseng.
Sepura partner in Australia, Radlink Communications, secured a contract with Aurizon, Australia's largest rail freight operator to deliver one of the largest radio networks in Australia. Aurizon moves coal, iron ore, agricultural freight and more across Australia daily and needed to improve the communications across their vast rail network. Their new radio network is due to be operational this year and will use TETRA technology, encompassing 79 sites and covering 2,670 kilometers of rail network, linking 50 coal mines and four major ports throughout central Queensland. Aurizon have purchased 1,200 Sepura SC20 hand portable radios and 1,800 SRG3900 mobile terminals to be used across the network. The SRGs will be installed across the train fleet to keep communications along the rail network. TETRA network, remote diagnostics Aurizon’s current analog radio system was more than 20 years old. Keeping this in mind, an overhaul of the radio system was long overdue and needed to ensure reliable and secure communications, in order to meet their operational requirements into the future. The new TETRA radio system will consolidate four analog systems across train control, shunting, maintenance and wayside operations into a singular cohesive TETRA network, providing the highest level of reliability and availability with no single point of failure. The new network will also deliver improved monitoring, remote diagnostics, overlapping radio coverage, GPS tracking and distress signal capabilities. Aurizon selected Sepura’s new SC20 handheld radio due to their robustness and improved radio performance Radlink Communications are a globally renowned systems integrator with vast knowledge and practical experience in the wide range deployment of Sepura mobile terminals. Aurizon selected Sepura’s new SC20 handheld radio due to their robustness, improved radio performance and enhanced coverage with 3W radio frequency and improved receiver sensitivity. The addition of Sepura’s Short Data Application (SDA) capability is also enabling the use of applications developed by Radlink for Aurizon which include; Geofenced auto channel change, weather alerts, heat maps of radios showing identity and location, speed alerts, signal strength tracking, and a mobile phone client providing two-way radio access and functionality on smartphones. SC2 series TETRA radios Aurizon staff have visited Sepura’s offices in Cambridge, UK and were very impressed with the design process and level of testing that Sepura applies to all products, including the latest SC2 series TETRA radios. Radlink Communication’s project director, Scott Manson, says “The system we are implementing for Aurizon is truly ground-breaking in terms of its sheer scale, functionality and capability. The new TETRA network will be fully integrated to operate over the Aurizon Central Queensland MPLS network and will provide greater radio coverage, increased reliability and advanced monitoring for what will be a critical communications network”. TETRA base stations Radlink successfully designed and installed 79 Tetra base stations in 14 months across a remote Central Queensland landscape The project is progressing well with construction currently ahead of schedule and initial tests providing outstanding results. Radlink successfully designed and installed 79 Tetra base stations (including 2 control rooms, disaster recovery trailers & 15 new tower structures) in 14 months across a remote Central Queensland landscape close to the size of Germany. Sepura have now delivered all 3,000 terminals to the project with the next phase of programming and vehicle installation now well underway. Doug Bowden, Business Development Manager for Sepura in Australia said “The success of Sepura terminals in supporting this project further proves Sepura’s reputation as a trusted solution provider for the transportation, mining, oil and gas industries in Australia. Through the experience and expertise of our partners such as Radlink, we continue to provide secure, reliable critical voice and data communication solutions for some of the harshest environments”.
The city of Nagpur in India has celebrated the first services on its new metro line, on a city –wide network that will eventually cover over 40 kms. In March 2019 the first train line was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and went fully operational utilising a TETRA communications network using Sepura mobile and hand-portable terminals on a DAMM TetraFlex TETRA system. TETRA communications network Once completed the project will consist of two routes servicing 40 stations and encompassing two service depots for the metro vehicles. A TETRA system was chosen to offer the robust, secure communication solution, already proven in rail systems around the world to support and enhance metro operations. Over 100 Sepura SRG3900 mobile TETRA terminals will eventually be deployed on the network Over 100 Sepura SRG3900 mobile TETRA terminals will eventually be deployed on the network, either integrated into the vehicles or positioned at stations within control facilities. In addition, 400 Sepura hand-portable TETRA radios have been delivered to the customer for use across the entire operation including within control rooms, metro stations and metro vehicles. Sepura SRG3900 mobile TETRA terminals Sepura along with its partner Consort Digital has delivered radios that deliver excellent audio quality, ruggedness and ease of operation including enhanced coverage. Sepura has a proven track record of delivering future ready, feature rich radios for various transportation customers worldwide. The solution provides the potential to expand in the future in both size and functionality with upgrades to Sepura’s next generation SC Series hand-portable radios and AppSPACE, which will allow the user to add additional data applications onto their TETRA devices. The metro operators are now focussing on having the second line constructed and in operation as soon as possible. Critical Communications solution Koh Cheng Soi, Business Development Manager for Sepura in India said “Nagpur Metro is a great project for Sepura to be involved in, delivering critical communications for the first rapid transit system in Nagpur, India. TETRA perfectly matches the users’ requirements for secure, robust, proven devices with exceptional audio capability. Working with our partners Consort Digital, we have implemented an outstanding network for the first part of the project and look forward to expanding the network to encompass the second line.”