Electrical Fire Safety
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...
Products for electrical systems that are installed into modern, complex buildings have to be fit-for-purpose for today’s challenging demands. With the background of numerous incidents still being felt by the fire performance industry, how is it to set the benchmarks for the future to make sure there is never another Lakanal House or another Grenfell? The long-term answer is for clearer guidance and legislation, if necessary, to enable the whole supply chain to make decisions which are com...
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce that the fifth NVFC Training Summit will take place June 14-15, 2019, in Portland, OR. Attendance is limited; pre-register today to secure your space. In addition, applications are now being accepted for a travel stipend. NVFC Training Summit 2019 This two-day seminar will provide an opportunity to participate in valuable classroom training as well as exchange ideas and best practices with attendees from across the country. The...
IFEDA, the Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association, welcomes Mike Tobin as the new Chairman of the association. Mr Tobin was voted in at the recent IFEDA AGM. Mr Tobin has worked in the fire protection industry for 27 years, and is Managing Director of Security and Fire Experts Ltd (SAFE). With a background in fire detection and alarm systems, he has evolved SAFE, which now provides fire extinguishers, security, and electrical installations to clients worldwide. This recent...
The 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.
STRATA softshell jacket is ideal for outdoor work which can take place after sunset or in gloomy conditions Those responsible for overseeing PPE for businesses should already be looking ahead to the colder months and assessing whether they’re existing garments meet standards, according to leading PPE manufacturer Skanwear. Working with innovative protection brand STRATA, Skanwear has unveiled its latest jacket that comes with a lifetime guarantee against faulty workmanship. Angus Long, Managing Director of Skanwear, said, “It might still be summer but now is the time to start looking ahead at winter PPE. Businesses need to make sure that their autumn and winter PPE lives up to the minimum standards, doesn’t prevent employees from carrying out tasks, and is comfortable in a range of environments. Those firms that assess PPE now will be in a better position in just a few months. “In the winter months HSE and procurement managers should be considering ARC and fire-resistant waterproofs and thermals so productivity is not affected and workers can work on live or potentially live electricity comfortably and safely.” Protection against arc flash, heat and flame Skanwear manufactures and sells a range of garments and equipment that are provide a varied level of protection for people who work in substations, switch rooms, and control gear to name a few. It’s latest STRATA softshell jacket (SFX405) has been crafted with the end user in mind. It’s been tested and certified to rigorous standards, giving wearers peace of mind that they’re protected against the risk of arc flash, heat, and flame. In addition, it’s windproof and water repellent, ensuring it’s comfortable in a range of weather conditions. The softshell was designed with an easi-arm gusset that allows wearers to freely move their arms without exposing flesh. It’s a piece of PPE that’s practical and comfortable and truly fit for purpose. Ideal jacket when working in hazardous situations Coming in a range of sizes and with ample pockets, including a mobile phone pocket, the jacket is a piece of PPE that will suit a diverse range of teams and jobs. Featuring reflective piping details, it is ideal for outdoor work which can take place after sunset or in gloomy conditions. Laura Fish, STRATA Product Manager adds, “Our STRATA range is always designed with form, function, and comfort in mind and our latest addition doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect piece of PPE to invest in before with temperatures start to lower and can be paired with any of the STRATA trousers for a complete look and protection when working in potentially hazardous situations.”
Skanwear is a specialist provider of protective garments and equipment that are fire resistant and designed with arc flash in mind Arc Flash and Flame Resistant PPE experts, Skanwear, are on a mission to inform businesses about the risks of arc flash and how to minimise them. There are at least two arc flash incidents occurring every day, with an average of two of these proving fatal, according to OSHA. As a result, Skanwear made its first seminar in its webinar series dedicated to the subject. Headed by Skanwear’s Technical Director Anthony Long, the next webinar will explore where arc flash can happen, what type of job requires arc flash protection, and what working conditions require Arc and FR PPE. The in-depth, informative seminar will be perfect for business owners, heads of health and safety, and procurement managers that work within firms where employees may be exposed to live or potentially live electricity. Mitigating arc flash risks The live nature of the webinar means Skanwear’s experts will be taking questions too, ideal for businesses that want specific information and to discover how they can mitigate arc flash risks within their working environment. There are just 100 places available for the webinar, which will be confirmed later in the month of August. Delegates can subscribe to the Skanwear mailing list for a confirmation date. Long said, “Arc flash can cause significant injuries and even death in the worst case scenario, but there are ways to substantially reduce the risk, by assessing the working environment and wearing the correct Protective Clothing. Workers and managers must remember although arc flash and FR PPE is essential, it is your last line of defence and there are other contributing factors to consider, not just the clothing. Our webinar aims to inform, educate, and steer viewers in the right direction when it comes to arc flash and making sure those who work in an electrical environment stay safe.” Arc flash awareness training Skanwear is a specialist provider of protective garments and equipment that are fire resistant and designed with arc flash in mind. As well as delivering high quality PPE, the business also has an Innovation and Training Centre, that’s filled with useful content, and can deliver tailored arc flash awareness training directly to firms.
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.
The fire and security industry as we all understand it today is due for a much-needed paradigm shift. The solutions that security dealers and integrators are installing and deploying today have advanced considerably and for many, those systems do an excellent job safeguarding the homes and small businesses of their customers. However, all of those installed solutions have one inherent flaw: traditional fire alarms and security systems are only reactive in nature. By reactive, we mean that although today’s fire alarm and security systems are excellent at informing customers of a harmful or damaging event, such as a fire or perhaps a flood that is in progress, they are very poor at predicting when trouble is about to strike.Knowing that a flood is taking place within a small business or a home is an incredibly valuable piece of information Analytics Predict Damaging Or Fatal Events Knowledge that an event such as a flood is currently taking place within a small business or a home is an incredibly powerful and valuable piece of information. In the case of flooding, the ability to detect and shut off a water leak within the first 30 minutes is capable of reducing damage costs by up to 90 percent. However, imagine if, for example, you were alerted of a drop in a building’s temperature coupled with a low outdoor wind chill before a pipe burst and caused a flood? You would then be able to investigate the issue and take measures to stop the flood from occurring. Today’s technology advancements make this possible and are why the security industry should be shifting from reactive to preventative security solutions for their customers. Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical analysis, and machine learning techniques to identify the probability of future outcomes Systems that can predict damaging or fatal events — such as carbon monoxide build-up, mould damage or flooding and even fires — may sound like science fiction but they exist and they are possible today through the power of predictive analytics. Put simply, predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical analysis, and machine learning techniques to identify the probability of future outcomes based on historical data. To better understand the current state of the security industry and where it needs to evolve, we need to break down how predictive analytics play into that shift in layman security dealer and integrator terms. A system using predictive analytics can alert a building manager, property owner or other professional to the change in status that might indicate a future fire Dangers Of Binary Data Messengers Systems that can predict damaging or fatal events may sound like science fiction but they exist and they are possible today In their most basic form, many of the standard devices and solutions security dealers install every day are “binary” data messengers. A door/window sensor, for example, understands two data points — “open” and “closed” — and communicates that status to the overall system, which may ignore the message unless the system is armed. While a smoke/CO detector may appear to be a more complicated example, within fire alarm and security systems it behaves in the same way the door/window sensor example does by communicating “smoke/CO detected” or “no smoke/CO detected” back to the overall system. In our current industry state, systems monitor for dichotomies: open/closed, locked/unlocked, motion/stillness, smoke or CO detected/no smoke or CO detected, and water/no water detected. While the ability to detect these status changes is important, monitoring for a change in two data points is the current limitation of today’s fire alarm and security systems, and the reason why we need the additional layer of predictive analytics to move the industry forward. A single PIR motion sensor may also be capable of measuring sound, lux levels, temperature, and humidity Rather than relying on a system consisting of binary data messengers that only communicate two data points, a better solution is a system of data collectors and messengers that can constantly measure an environment, store that information and establish baselines and patterns. The ability for a system featuring predictive analytics to identify the likelihood of future outcome (i.e., potential flood or fire) relies on that system’s ability to supply historical data from multiple sources. As common sensors that security dealers install regularly continue to advance, standalone devices are getting better at measuring several data points. For example, a single PIR motion sensor may also be capable of measuring sound, lux levels, temperature, and humidity, making that single sensor a very data-rich device that can then process and provide more useful information. Many dealers are already familiar with the concept of predictive analytics and understand the benefit it can provide to an installation Anticipating Future Incidents With predictive analytics, the more data points the algorithm has access to, the more sophisticated the system becomes, and the better it is at predicting future outcomes. By learning what’s “normal” within an installed environment via the data provided by the wireless sensors that connect to the system, cloud-based predictive analytics engines can understand when critical environmental factors and patterns are out of their traditional threshold.Understanding predictive analytics can help security dealers and integrators prevent damage to their client’s businesses or homes The system can then alert a building manager, property owner or other professional to the change in status that might indicate a future fire, flood, or CO leak. For example, in UL research testing with smouldering fires, one such system accurately anticipated and warned users of a fire 18 minutes before any smoke alarms sounded. Understanding predictive analytics and familiarity with the in-market solutions that leverage that emerging technology can help security dealers and integrators prevent damage to their client’s businesses or homes via preventative alert notifications, while at the same time augmenting their own business and bottom line. Because these types of solutions rely on the same data and information collected by traditional devices and sensors within the security industry, integrators can choose to install a system with a predictive analytics engine as the base system, or choose to augment their existing installations with a predictive system to add early-warning capabilities. Educated Decisions For Preventative Security A sensor that utilises predictive analytics learns its normal environment and sends detailed alerts when there are any abnormal changes To a degree, many dealers are already familiar with the concept of predictive analytics and understand the benefit it can provide to an installation. We’ve already seen one-off devices — take the Nest thermostat for example — that learn what they can about their environment and then make simple decisions on their own to impact their surroundings. Similarly, a flood, smoke, or CO sensor that utilises predictive analytics learns its normal environment and sends detailed alerts when there are any abnormal changes in temperature, moisture, or air quality. What makes emerging technologies such as predictive analytics, deep learning, machine learning and artificial intelligence the future of many industries, including security, is the algorithms’ ability to constantly aggregate multiple data points and data types, understand patterns among them, and make more educated decisions and predictions. As the sensors and devices security dealers regularly install continue to get smaller, less expensive, and more integrated, we enter an era where we have more data available to us than ever before on our connected environments. With all the data points available today, why not take advantage of systems that provide powerful algorithms to process, learn and act on that information? Security dealers who recognise we’re on the cusp of a turning point within the industry and shift from offering reactive to preventative security solutions are the ones who will continue to thrive as the industry evolves. Article published courtesy SourceSecurity.com®, a division of Notting Hill Media Limited. View the original article here
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.