Electrical Fire Safety
Popular with fire-fighters around the world, XFlex is Bristol Uniforms’ flagship range in structural fire fighting (Personal Protective Equipment) PPE. Its name came from the ‘X’ shape formed by the curved seams on the garment’s elbow and its flexibility. It enables excellent range of movement which helps fire-fighters carry out their physical roles more effectively. The creation and introduction of XFlex into the market marks a new direction in fire fighting PPE design a...
Nittan Europe, globally renowned manufacturer of conventional and addressable fire detection products, has announced that it is a proud sponsor of South Eastern Regional College’s (SERC) ‘Outstanding Apprentice Fire Alarm Engineer of the Year’. Nittan has supplied a prize and trophy, plus free of charge fire alarm products for students to train on. SERC, based in Northern Ireland, provides a wide range of courses, apprenticeships, professional development training, online lear...
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue is advising businesses to review fire risk assessments following the Prime Minister’s announcement to restrict movement and close businesses. "The fire safety measures within buildings are designed for their specific use and often do not include people sleeping. It may therefore not have the necessary fire safety measures installed to make this a safe practice," said Fire Safety Lead Matt White. Isolating electric items The advice comes af...
The Institute of Fire Safety Managers Incorporating Life Safety Managers (IFSM) has received a few queries asking if fire risk assessors and those linked with the fire industry are classed as ‘key workers.’ The Institute’s clear position is in supporting the Government and the main information and guidance for employees and employers is set out on the Governments website, including definitions of ‘key workers.’ Future of fire risk assessment The...
During the national emergency, many in the Fire Sector will be concerned regarding what work should or shouldn’t go ahead. The government advice is most importantly to all “Stay Home-Stay Safe-Protect the NHS”. This is for an initial three-week period as all play their part by limiting contact with others to reduce the virus’s opportunity to spread. There are exceptions which have raised multiple questions within the wider sector. Key worker status Th...
Hochiki Europe, a renowned manufacturer of life safety solutions, has partnered with the FIA (Fire Industry Association) to host a roundtable discussing best practice when it comes to life safety in Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). Panelists were made up of professionals involved throughout the life safety procurement chain, including representatives from the manufacturing, facilities management, consultancy/specification and installation sectors, as well as the FIA itself. selecting emerge...
Telguard, globally renowned company in the field of security and life safety communications, has announced that its cellular fire alarm communicators have been issued a Certificate of Approval, #6316. This means Fire & Life Safety dealers in New York City are now able to use Telguard’s premier cellular fire communicator, the TG-7FS LTE. Fire communicators New York City has strict regulations on fire communicators that can be used, and manufacturers must obtain a Certificate of Approval for fire systems dealers to be able to specify a brand like Telguard. The Certificate of Approval #6316 gives New York City fire integrators the ability to specify the TG-7FS LTE in their system designs. The TG-7FS is a universal cellular communicator, meaning it works with virtually every fire alarm control panel. Using LTE cellular networks, the TG-7FS transmits alarm signals from the fire panel to the designated monitoring station. The unit meets UL 864 requirements and is compliant with NFPA 72 for primary or backup communications for commercial fire alarm systems. By using the TG-7FS, accounts can go from two to one dedicated landline, which will save them money. Fire and life safety integrators Telguard collaborated with Carlos Santiago, owner of New York Protection Controls to obtain the Certificate of Approval. “Central stations need to know about this Certificate of Approval so they can work with fire and life safety integrators and specify cellular communicators like Telguard in their system designs,” said Carlos Santiago, adding. “Dealers and integrators can choose from either AT&T or Verizon models—whichever carrier works best for them in their locale.” “Telguard has been a go-to cellular communicator for authority having jurisdictions (AHJs) and fire marshals across the country for years,” said Telguard President, George Brody, further adding, “We’re thrilled to have New York City’s Certificate of Approval.”
Following the prime ministers recent address to the nation, Envirograf has taken the decision to temporarily close business from 5pm on the 25th March 2020. They have temporarily closed as the health of the customers and colleagues is the top priority and they are committed to playing a part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. current guidelines All enquiries and online orders that Envirograf will receive during this time will be processed as soon as they return to business. In the meantime, they have decided that they will top up employee salaries to ensure they get paid 100% of their wages up to 40 hours per week. Envirograf will continuously review this situation and keep up to date with the latest guidelines from the government.
Coronavirus COVID-19 is developing rapidly across the UK and the impact on customers and workforces is likely to be significant, and in some cases unavoidable, but as of currently, Coopers Fire is continuing to operate as business as usual. Coopers Fire are continuing to manufacture at full capacity and their main telephone number is working as usual with the majority of the Coopers Fire team still available to receive emails, talk on the phone or via Microsoft Teams and/or Skype for Business. Precautions to minimize risk The UK Government guidelines are being adhered to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and Coopers wishes to assure customers that all sections of the business are working as usual. They have put precautions in place to minimize the risk to colleagues and, where possible, staff members are working from home and are coming into the office on a rota system. Coopers has good IT systems and infrastructure to carry on working. These are challenging times for everyone, Coopers will be doing everything they can to ensure they continue to provide life-saving products to customers, whilst also keeping employees safe.
DuPont announced close monitoring of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as it continues to spread across the world, and taking key steps to ensure the safety of their employees, customers and communities in which they operate to keep them informed as the health crisis unfolds. Effective COVID-19 response The company said that the health and safety of their employees is of the highest priority. They have corporate, regional and local crisis management teams in place that are actively monitoring, preparing and managing the COVID-19 response around the clock. They are also implementing effective safety plans and protocols based on World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and recommendations to help prevent the spread of the virus. The company said that the health and safety of their employees is of the highest priority As cases expand globally, DuPont updated travel restrictions, and are providing new guidance to ensure they continue to serve customers’ needs while practicing safe and healthy measures to contain and mitigate the spread of infection at the company’s sites and offices. In that regard, DuPont have taken several strong actions, including: Suspending international travel and restricting all other travel to business critical only. Mandatory self-quarantine measures for employees at risk of exposure. Limiting access to sites. Conducting enhanced and more frequent cleaning services at all facilities. Encouraging employees to practice social distancing, proper hand washing and hygiene practices. Cancelling participation at all large meetings, both internally and externally. Requiring employees to work from home where possible. DuPont Safety business operation DuPont Safety business is working tirelessly to help those directly impacted by the virus Additionally, the company stated that they are proud that the DuPont Safety business is working tirelessly to help those directly impacted by the virus, including first responders on the front line fighting the pandemic. Thousands of DuPont employees are working around the clock in all parts of the world to increase capacity of protective garments during this time of high demand. The Tyvek manufacturing operations run 24 hours a day and the nine global manufacturing facilities that produce garments are also working overtime to increase capacity. They have an experienced global manufacturing network that is fully activated and prioritizing the needs of frontline response personnel in the most impacted regions combatting the Coronavirus. DuPont Core Values in-practise The company’s focused and capable teams continue to address this global health crisis and are prepared to navigate through these challenging circumstances with the DuPont Core Values (Safety & Health, Respect for People, Protecting the Planet, Highest Ethical Behavior) at the forefront of everything they do.
AEI Cables highlights the need for the highest quality of cabling for use in sprinkler systems being fitted as part of new fire safety initiatives for high-rise buildings. New blocks of flats of six storeys or higher could require sprinkler systems under new Government plans being considered in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. Meeting relevant stands Graham Turner, of AEI Cables said, “While the approach to sprinkler systems is positive news, the need for reliable continuous power to sprinkler systems using the highest quality cabling meeting all relevant standards is a key component of this approach.” “Many buildings such as tower blocks, hospitals, schools, shopping malls, airports and those areas with large numbers of people moving about need cabling which will continue to operate in a fire and provide power for the highest fire protection of 120 minutes.” Sprinklers to become mandatory in all residential buildings, hotels, hospitals etc. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has outlined plans to improve safety regulations after the fire at Grenfell Tower high-rise block in June 2017, which resulted in the deaths of 72 people. Mandatory sprinkler installation Under current guidelines, sprinkler systems are required for buildings of 30 meters, approximately 10 floors, or higher, but ministers are proposing to decrease this to 18 meters, approximately six floors. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) have made a call for the installation of sprinklers to become mandatory in all residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, schools and care homes taller than 11 meters. The same organizations have also called for sprinklers to be retrofitted where possible. Latest national research carried out by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council and the National Fire Sprinkler Network reveals that the danger to life, injuries and damage to buildings is “significantly reduced” when sprinkler systems are fitted. Firetec Total Fire Solutions The Firetec Total Fire Solutions range offers enhanced fire performance cabling AEI Cables’ fire performance cabling is said to ensure critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes and often support systems which provide intelligence for the fire and rescue services. The Firetec Total Fire Solutions range offers enhanced fire performance cabling, accessories and technical support from one source, says the company. The cabling is independently approved and certified by LPCB to BS8519 (Annex B) Category 3 Control for firefighting systems including sprinkler pumps, fire suppression water mist systems, water spray systems, wet riser pumps, wet riser valve and equipment monitoring under the Code of Practice.
Recently, James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Security at the Home Office stated, “Security and fire safety personnel can play a vital role at this time of national challenge. People working in these sectors who are essential to national infrastructure are ‘key workers’ for the purposes of the Government’s guidance on COVID-19.” While the Fire Industry Association is continually seeking further clarification from the Government on the issue, Ian Moore, CEO, has commented, “We have received hundreds of calls requesting clarification on what is meant by the Home Office statements." "My first response is to be pragmatic about what you deem to be important under the title of ‘key worker’.” Need for clarity “Your health and the health of others is key and the Government’s advice to cease travel as far as possible is the priority, this is why it is being discussed. Just because you work in the fire safety industry does not mean you are designated a key worker. It is also important to state that the FIA are not making any statements here and it is for you to interpret what the Government statement means when applied to you.” “I do however, fully understand the need for clarity given the Prime Minister’s latest address on Monday 23rd at 20:30 and the restrictions it implies.” Fire risk assessment “I have sought further clarification and asked the question “Can we get the Home Office to confirm that fire risk assessment, fire alarm testing, maintenance and repair is classed as “essential” work and that the requirements of the Fire Safety Order still apply?” and expressed the importance so employers can make informed decisions on manpower allocation.” “Michael Gove MP has just stated that “construction in the open air” is to continue, as long as the two-meter rule is observed, which undoubtedly needs to have fire safety input at all stages. We will provide an update on this soon as we receive a response from the Home Office.”
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.
Refrigerants used in cooling systems for homes and businesses are being replaced with alternatives that have less potential for global warming. But the transition comes at a risk: Some of the new refrigerants are flammable. Although less flammable than gases such as propane, for example, new refrigerants can still ignite and burn with a high intensity under ideal circumstances. The new materials have low-flame velocity and are less easily ignited; however, one byproduct of combustion is toxic hydrogen fluoride. Flammability risks of non-toxic refrigerants Non-toxic refrigerants are categorized by flammability risks. A1 designates no flame propagation; A2 indicates lower flammability; and A3 indicates higher flammability. Hydrocarbons such as propane have higher flammability (A3) and are restricted to a lower charge limit that does not address refrigeration needs of large systems. Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) are mildly flammable, have a low flammability limit (LFL) and have been categorized as an A2L refrigerant. They tend to burn slowly and give off little heat. Hydrocarbons such as propane have higher flammability NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) offers online and instructor-led training to educate firefighters about flammability and toxicity risks associated with new refrigerants. The training also covers asphyxiation challenges, jet stream fires, transportation issues and other life-safety considerations associated with flammable refrigerants. The training covers how to adapt response tactics to mitigate consequences from refrigerants in various types of emergencies. Strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), personal protective equipment (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) protocols and decontamination practices are also covered. Categorising refrigerant flammability The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) provides funding to NFPA to develop training on the emerging technology. According to an ASHRAE report, refrigerant flammability can be characterized by three factors: Likelihood that a refrigerant leak would result in a concentration range that reaches the lower flammability limit; Presence of a sufficient energy ignition source; and Likely severity of a combustion event, and probability of a secondary fire. ASHRAE is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) are researching the flammability of refrigerants, including factors such as refrigerant charge size, release height, leak rate, humidity, and room size and temperature. When choosing the best refrigerants, it is likely a tradeoff will be required among global warming potential, flammability and efficiency. Codes and standards Codes and standards are being modified to address the use of new materials Currently, codes and standards are being modified to address the use of new materials, although risk mitigation concerns of the fire service have historically not been considered. One issue is the risk of using large amounts of flammable gas in a refrigeration system to cool a larger room. Additional safety measures are needed to make the risk acceptable. Detection of leaks is another issue, especially the need for repeated calibration of leak detectors to ensure accuracy. More than 200 countries will be ushering in the new class of refrigerants.
The U.K. government is looking to apply the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire by strengthening the regulatory system for building safety, including regulations for high-rise buildings. By changing the industry culture to increase accountability and responsibility, proposed measures seek to ensure residents are safe in their homes. The new measures – Building Safety and Fire Safety Bills – expand on a pledge to “[bring forward] new measures to … improve building safety,” which was included in the Queen’s Speech to both houses of Parliament on Dec. 19, 2019. Bringing In New Fire Safety Measures When Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed his plans for government with his new majority, he included mention of housing issues. To ensure residents are safe in their homes, the government will bring forward measures to implement the most urgent recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. They will also publish a draft Building Safety Bill to implement the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations. The new measures will draw from all 53 of the recommendations of the independent review of building safety, and in some cases, go beyond those recommendations. For example, the government seeks to give residents a stronger voice and strengthen enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance. To ensure residents are safe in their homes, the government will bring forward measures to implement the most urgent recommendationsDame Judith Hackitt’s review found that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose in relation to high-rise and complex buildings. A new system to oversee the whole built environment will involve local enforcement agencies and national regulators working together to ensure better safety of all buildings. New Regulations, Guidance And Improvements An enhanced regime for high-rise residential buildings will apply to more than 11,000 high-rise buildings, increasing to almost 15,000 buildings within 10 years. Some £600 million of funding has been made available to replace the unsafe cladding in the social and private sectorsPreviously, the government has implemented a range of improvements that did not require legislation, including identification of more than 400 high-rise buildings that use unsafe Aluminium Compositie Material (ACM) cladding, like that used on the Grenfell Tower. They have worked with local authorities and fire and rescue authorities to ensure appropriate interim safety measures are in place. Some £600 million of funding has been made available to replace the unsafe cladding in the social and private sectors. New regulations and guidance ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of new buildings over 18 meters containing flats, as well as new hospitals, resident care premises, dormitories and student accommodations. Learning From Mistakes The Fire Safety Bill has been brought forward to “deliver meaningful change to ensure an appalling tragedy like Grenfell can never happen again.” In addition to addressing the elements of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, the Fire Safety Bill seeks to clarify the scope of the Fire Safety Order to include external walls of buildings, including cladding, and fire doors for domestic premises of multiple occupancy. It would also strengthen the relevant enforcement powers to hold building owners and managers to account. A transitional period will allow building owners and managers and Fire and Rescue Services to put in place the infrastructure for these changes.
Technologies to protect against fire are among the innovations being shown at CES 2020, the technology event, Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas. The fire market is one of many served by the range of consumer and smart home technologies on display at CES 2020, from artificial intelligence (AI) to 5G, vehicle technology to AR/VR (augmented and virtual reality), robotics to home automation. For example, Longan Vision will display augmented reality systems for firefighters, helping them make good decisions during high-risk events while reducing the cognitive load of incident command personnel. Longan's "Fusion Vision System" provides firefighters with enhanced vision, communication and situational awareness. fire-related products Smart home could be about delivering home analytics through cloudless architectures and new door lock approaches" The smart home market is a major focus at CES. In the case of fire-related products, a smart home can also be a safer home. “For the smart home market at CES this year, we expect to see numerous announcements regarding home awareness,” says Blake Kozak, Senior Principal Analyst at IHS Markit. “This will include brands offering up additional analytics for consumer security cameras with a focus on edge-based solutions.” The show features more than 170,000 attendees, 4,500 exhibitors and 1,100 industry thought-leaders featured on the CES stage. “The impact of this [event] for the smart home could be about delivering home analytics and enhancing privacy through cloudless architectures and new electronic door lock approaches,” Kozak adds. integrated smart home experience An example of home analytics is the Resideo Home app, introduced in December, which will make whole-home monitoring possible for four critical networks of the home – water, air, energy and security. Resideo promises a “simplified and integrated smart home experience." Smart fire monitoring solution provider Rozetatech at CES 2020 offers an Internet of Things (IoT) fire detection solution that uses advanced digital sensors and their wireless capabilities and sends real-time information through mobile phones to 911 rescue centers and fire officers. First Alert has helped protect homes and families for 60 years. Their Onelink portfolio, on display at CES, expands to provide whole home safety and WiFi coverage solutions. Gentex Corp. provides commercial smoke detection and signaling devices for the fire protection industry (in addition to a portfolio of electro-optical products for the global automotive industry). smart home and IoT applications Their newly developed UART-interface alarms can be integrated with any client's wireless module for various smart home EVERDay Technology provides smoke/heat/CO/gas detectors for both commercial and residential applications. Their newly developed UART-interface alarms, such as smoke/heat combo alarms, smoke/CO combo alarms and gas alarms, can be integrated with any client's wireless module for various smart home and IoT applications. Siterwell Electronics includes sensor alarms such as smoke, carbon monoxide, gas, heat, and water level alarms among its range of security and protection products for residential and commercial applications. Siterwell exports to around 66 countries. Other products include a UL-listed commercial fire alarm system, IoT intelligent security and smart home networking products. smart water leak detectors AerNos nano gas sensors detect multiple gases simultaneously to parts-per-billion levels for indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring, hazardous gas detection and other "e-nose" applications. The tiny, accurate, affordable and low-power modules deliver results for plug-and-play integration with commercial product lines. Safera Oy is an international innovator in intelligent stove guard technology and preventive fire safety. The new Safera Sense product provides smart cooking notifications to help users reduce cooking fire risks, assist with cooking temperatures and times, and improve air quality while cooking. smart home devices WaryMe designs and develops a personal safety mobile application to improve a user’s security in public places, schools, transports and companies by addressing major risks such as terrorism attacks, intrusion, fire and even industrial accidents. An all-in-one mobile application integrates alerting, crisis management and mass notification features. “Market players are looking to expand beyond established smart home devices like smart thermostats and networked cameras to products like smart water leak detectors, smart pet feeders, and smart air purifiers,” says Elizabeth Parks, President, Parks Associates. “Familiarity with smart home devices lags behind familiarity with smart entertainment products; it even lags that of smart speakers, which are quite new in the market,” adds Parks. In 2020, we will see players working to advance the visibility and marketing around device integration and specifically focus on use case scenarios around safety, security, and convenience, which have always been the primary drivers of adoption of these types of products.”
Infographics has announced that Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is the latest fire service to move to the company’s FireWatch Cloud, a fully-managed service based on the Microsoft Azure platform. FireWatch Cloud solution The new FireWatch Cloud solution will provide a resilient architecture, flexible access to the FireWatch integrated fire service management platform from remote locations, and includes software upgrade services and other benefits. Richard Jacques, ICT Data & Applications Manager at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said “We are delighted to be working with Infographics on our move to the FireWatch cloud platform. Although this decision is not as a direct result of the current COVID-19 situation, it clearly reinforces the validity of our strategy and benefits of having resilient systems available from anywhere, at any time, with the ability to quickly adapt and scale as needed without reliance on corporate networks and systems.” FireWatch integrated fire service management Richard adds, “That, along with the breadth of features, integrated user experience, teams and workflows available with the FireWatch Cloud platform, will ensure we are in an even stronger position to support the operations of our Fire Services during these challenging times and thereafter.” Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said “We are delighted to announce Humberside Fire & Rescue as another new client of our FireWatch Cloud offering. This follows multiple other recent new FRS contracts, with more to follow in the coming weeks and months. The benefits of the specialist, connected FireWatch Fire Service Management platform in the Cloud are clear and compelling – providing our clients with the ‘big picture’ of their operations and helping them keep working as an integrated service – whatever their location or circumstances.”
The Hyde Group is utilizing Aico’s revolutionary Ei1000G SmartLINK Gateway to provide a solution-focused approach to asset management that assures the safety of their tenants. With over 50,000 homes across London, the south and south east of England, the Hyde Group is taking a proactive approach to the management of its housing stock. Hyde ensures that as many of its homes as possible are occupied, redeveloping those that are not, and improving the efficiency of operations through strategic asset management. Keeping all residents safe from fire is paramount, and asset management is a route to achieving this. In order to mitigate risk and monitor the alarm systems within their properties, Hyde collaborated with Regional Specification Manager of Aico, David Cunningham to provide a solution that was cost-effective, met the requirements for Hyde and ensured minimal disruption for their tenants. Ei3024 Multi-Sensor fire alarm Each of the properties have now been fitted with an Ei3024 Multi-Sensor fire alarm and Ei1000G Gateway The installation of the new Aico SmartLINK Gateway was recommended to provide real-time data insight into the fire alarm system, reporting events such as alarm head removals and fire alerts. Each of the properties have now been fitted with an Ei3024 Multi-Sensor fire alarm and Ei1000G Gateway, giving Hyde a proactive approach to fault-finding, defining any trends in alarm activations and maintenance requirements, while drastically minimizing the issue of property access. The Ei1000G SmartLINK Gateway utilizes Aico’s next generation of wireless technology to interface the SmartLINK Gateway with Aico alarms, assuring easy installation and reliable connection. This allows full visibility of connected RF systems via an online, cloud-based SmartLINK portal system. By having this information in real time, it enables an effective, reactive approach, meaning safer homes. SmartLINK Gateway Compliance Contract Manager for Hyde, Jack Bernard, commented, “The Aico Ei1000G Gateway system enables us to proactively monitor smoke alarms in our homes. The location we initially installed the system in requires an enhanced monitoring function because it suffers from false alarms and tampering. The Gateway enables us to monitor the system in real time, providing specific and useable information to offer a truly safer home.” David Cunningham, Regional Specification Manager for Aico said of the collaboration “In the Hyde Group’s case, they were experiencing large numbers of false-alarming and tampering with the smoke alarms in their properties, resulting in an increase in callouts, maintenance, repairs and disruption to tenants.” With the Aico SmartLINK Gateway, Hyde can ensure the best quality, fit-for-purpose homes “The SmartLINK Gateway is the perfect solution because real-time notifications alert you to any alarm activations or when an alarm is taken off the ceiling. This data insight can enable Hyde to look for trends, identify any issues quickly and rectify these with minimal disruption to the tenants.” Fit-for-purpose homes With the Aico SmartLINK Gateway, Hyde can ensure the best quality, fit-for-purpose homes that are easier and more efficient to maintain and are fully compliant with safety requirements. Aico, an Ei Company, are the UK suppliers of home life safety by pioneering new technologies and offering high-quality alarms, developed and manufactured in Ireland. All Aico alarms meet UK standards and offer a variety of sensor types to guarantee protection for every home, the cornerstone of which is delivering quality, service and innovation. Established in 1967, the Hyde Group provides social housing in London, the south and south east of England with approximately 50,000 homes in their stock. Their mission is to provide affordable, quality housing in response to the housing crisis.
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is the first fire service in North America to purchase a pre-series vehicle based on the Concept Fire Truck (CFT). The electric fire truck from Rosenbauer will be delivered in the first quarter 2021 and put into practice as part of a comprehensive test operation. CFT Technology In addition to its driving characteristics and safety features, the truck made an impression with its ergonomics and high functionality during the initial demonstrations last December. A sworn workforce of around 3,500 makes the LAFD one of the largest fire services in the US. It operates a fleet of 1,300 vehicles and responded to approximately 500,000 emergency calls last year, including 4,100 structure fires. Pre-series vehicle based on the CFT will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt hours The LAFD and the City of Los Angeles are setting a clear example for sustainability and climate protection with the decision to use CFT technology. The purchase was made through Velocity Fire Equipment & Sales, which acts as a prime contractor and represents Rosenbauer Group in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. Fully Electric Operation The pre-series vehicle based on the CFT will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt hours. This enables fully electric operation for roughly two hours and covers around 90% of all applications. A 200-kilowatt range extender is integrated for longer application times. The fire truck will be adjusted to meet the needs of the LAFD in terms of usage and loading, without limiting the flexible vehicle architecture in the process, and is designed to meet all standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “I am excited that we are the first Department in North America to order this cutting-edge fire engine,” says LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. “The electric fire engine is an innovative tool that will help reduce noise, harmful diesel emissions, and provide a flexible tool for firefighting and rescue operations from a technologically advanced platform. We are looking forward to evaluating in a real-world environment once it hits the streets of Hollywood next year.” Meets All The Safety Standards “The future fire truck is fundamentally different from the vehicles which are in service at the fire stations today. It is multi-functional, fully connected and its flexible interior can be used as a fully featured command center. Its floor can be lowered facilitating minimum boarding and working levels. Electric engines reduce noise and pollution. We will develop a production-ready fire truck that meets all the safety standards" “I am particularly delighted to receive the order from the Los Angeles Fire Department, which really is a fantastic vote of confidence,” says Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International. “Together, we will develop a production-ready fire truck that meets all the safety standards of the NFPA and can seamlessly be brought into real operation further down the line.” Municipal Firefighting Vehicles Rosenbauer’s Concept Fire Truck was first presented to the public in 2016. As a fire truck of the future, it anticipates major mega-trends such as climate change, demographic change and urbanization, as well as the challenges that these entail for fire departments. The use of electric drives enables a completely new kind of vehicle architecture that is 100% tailored to these future scenarios and sets new benchmarks in terms of functionality and ergonomics. The main application area for innovative CFT technology at the moment is municipal firefighting vehicles, but it will also be applied to other types of vehicles further down the line. Rosenbauer estimates that the number of vehicles with technology similar to CFT will rise to around 3,200 by 2030; up to 400 such vehicles could already be in service in Northern America by 2025.
Established in 1984 in South Africa to contract in the Fire Detection and Automatic Extinguishing Systems market, Specifire prides itself on providing a professional approach to each individual customer. Building on this success, the company expanded in 1995, opening a sprinkler division that is now the biggest installer of fire protection and detection systems in KwaZulu-Natal region, in South Africa. Thanks to its excellent reputation, Specifire has steadily built up a large client base that includes some of South Africa’s biggest companies, including Sappi Fine Papers, Illovo Sugar, Hulamin, Toyota S.A., Unilever and numerous shopping centers. Fire protection and detection systems installed Specifire focuses almost exclusively on the KwaZulu-Natal region, including the city of Durban Specifire focuses almost exclusively on the KwaZulu-Natal region, including the city of Durban – which accounts for approximately 95% of its business. Featuring 150 employees, the company sees annual revenue of up to £6 million – thanks largely in part to the installation of fire control technology in industrial sites such as sugar mills and warehouses. “For our customers, price is always a consideration, so we aim to be competitive, but at the same time we don’t want to compromise our high quality,” explained Martin Holmes, Managing Director, Specifire. “We do everything in-house, from design to fabrication to installation, and finish every project on time.” AutoCAD and Tyco sprinkler systems In over thirty years of business, Specifire has seen exponential growth in the marketplace and constantly evolves its own operations to meet changing demands. The implementation of a new management structure is just one of its latest innovations, along with a renewed focus on services rather than simple installation. “Our mission is to provide the very best in design, installation and service; leveraging advanced technologies such as AutoCAD and Tyco sprinkler systems. By putting detailed planning at the heart of every project, we can ensure success,” added Holmes. “Furthermore, by focusing more on services, we can generate annuity income on a regular basis.” Tycoin-rack and roof sprinklers One recent project that showcases Specifire’s attention to design and detail is the deployment of circa 20, 000 Tycoin-rack and roof sprinklers in a large clothing warehouse. Founded in 1965, PEP Stores is a large multinational discount clothing company based in Cape Town. Operating in 11 countries, including Australia and Poland, the company employs approximately 44,000 people. Operating more than 4,600 retail outlets, the company wanted to build a new 90,000 m2 central hub warehouse that would house and protect its precious inventory from fire damage. Tyco high velocity sprayers and guards Specifire has installed 75% of the Tyco sprinklers and is on target to complete the project within the agreed schedule"“Pepkor has consolidated all its warehousing facilities into one single distribution depot and needed a robust fire-protection solution. We put together a design concept with guaranteed compliance with regulations and won the business,” continued Holmes. “In the past five months, we have installed 75% of the Tyco sprinklers and we are on target to complete the project within the agreed tight schedule.” The Tyco in-rack and roof sprinklers, along with Tyco high velocity sprayers and guards and pre-trimmed wet Alarm Valve (AV-1) assemblies will ensure that millions of dollars’ worth of stock will be protected from fire. The Tyco TY-B Conventional Sprinkler automatically distributes water in a spherical pattern below the deflector. The benefits of this conventional sprinkler include – Quality products that give peace of mind Competitive prices that don’t compromise on quality Effective fire protection of valuable stock “We are the current holder of the ASIB “Best Installation Award” for our nearly £1 million installation at the new premises of Unilever in Durban and we wanted this ambitious project to be similarly well regarded,” said Holmes. “It is certainly a flagship example of how to properly integrate fire protection into a Greenfield development.” Enhanced fire safety and protection For Pepkor, the clear benefits are having peace of mind when it comes to fire protection as well as security in terms of full regulatory compliance. For Specifire, its relationship with Tyco products delivers multiple advantages; from the quality of the sprinklers and valves to the support it receives. “Tyco not only supplies premium quality products at affordable prices, but also has a strong local presence so I know that if I have a question, it will get answered quickly,” commented Holmes. “There are support boffins in the region who will happily come talk about the equipment and respond to any technical enquiries.” Meticulous fire protection specialist Tyco not only supplies premium quality produce at affordable prices but also has a strong local presence" “Tyco not only supplies premium quality produce at affordable prices but also has a strong local presence so I know that if I have a question, it will get answered quickly.” Martin Holmes, MD, Specifire With the Pepkor project nearing completion, Specifire is looking to the future and hoping to build on its reputation as the region’s most professional and meticulous fire protection specialist. It fully expects Tyco products to continue to play a vital role in the company’s ongoing development. Tyco fire safety equipment and solutions Holmes concludes, “The supply, delivery and service we receive from Tyco is excellent; any concerns regarding pricing, availability and technical detail are answered within a day by the local Tyco team,” concluded Holmes. “I simply don’t get that level of support from anyone else.” TYCO Products are part of Johnson Controls, a global diversified technology and multi industrial solutions provider serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries globally.
Founded more than 20 years ago, CLF-SATREM now employs over 200 people. The company covers seven French regions and saw more than £32 million in turnover in 2015. CLF-SATREM provides the comprehensive installation and maintenance of fixed systems for automatic fire protection using sprinklers and RIA, as well as specialized systems such as water mist and special hazards. Installation of fixed systems CLF-SATREM has enjoyed strong and steady growth since its inception, during which time the company has been involved in flagship projects such as the renovation of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France. However, the introduction of new regulations, combined with a more competitive global economy, is presenting challenges. When it comes to suppliers and partners, CLF-SATREM takes various criteria into account, such as cost and quality. “Certification is a necessity. At the same time, we can feel the contraction of the global market and that puts pressure on us,” explained Pierre Breillout, General Manager, CLF-SATREM. He adds, “However, we have remained at the forefront of the market with increasing revenues because we plan every project in detail, limit potential risk, respond to customer needs and work with the best suppliers.” CLF-SATREM specialized systems When it comes to suppliers and partners, CLF-SATREM takes various criteria into account, most importantly cost and quality. Having used Tyco products in numerous projects, CLF-SATREM is well aware of their unique qualities and how they help overcome the special demands of each and every project. “We rely on a small group of handpicked partners to supply us with the best technology for the job in hand, enabling us to mix and match according to the job specifications,” added Mr. Breillout. “This enables us to be very flexible when responding to RFPs and maximizes our chances of winning new business. It also means we can capitalize on the fast-growing residential market”.
The National Fire Chiefs’ Council has called for all residential buildings with four floors or more to be installed with sprinkler systems after a huge fire tore through student flats in Bolton, United Kingdom last month. Fire sprinklers in Tall buildings But a Freedom of Information request from The Argus revealed 44 council-owned housing blocks in Brighton and Hove which are four storeys or taller do not have sprinklers installed. This is a worrying discovery as two of the 44 buildings had sprinklers systems approved last September. However, despite funding of £300,000 from Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex Fire and Rescue service, the installation of fire sprinklers has been delayed due to ‘feedback from residents’. Sprinkler installation program “For a sprinkler installation program to be successful, the residents must be consulted. Although, not all residents are in favor of installing a sprinkler system; despite sprinklers being paramount in preventing another tragic disaster similar to the Grenfell Tower fire,” says an East Sussex Fire Brigade Union Spokesman. Whilst firefighters on the frontline understand the importance of sprinkler systems in assisting to prevent the rapid growth of fires, sprinkler systems should not be viewed as a ‘golden bullet’. There is no replacement to a properly funded and resourced fire and rescue service.
Round table discussion
Welcome to our Expert Panel Roundtable, a new feature of TheBigRedGuide.com. We will be asking timely questions about the fire market and seeking out experts in the field to provide responses. Our goal is to promote a useful exchange of information on a variety of topics and to create a forum for discussion of important issues facing the fire service and market. For our first question, we look to the year ahead and ask our panelists: What trends are likely to change the fire market in 2020?