Combining thermal imaging and augmented reality (AR) enables firefighters see through smoke, in effect enhancing their vision in the life-threatening environment of a fire. AR capabilities can be deployed in a visor attached to a helmet, and an affixed thermal camera captures the images. The most recent prototype of such a product is a robust helmet design that withstands rough treatment. The system also includes software processing that augments thermal images to enable firefighters to see th...
The latest two winners have been announced in MSA Safety Incorporated’s and DuPont’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. Douglas City (CA) Volunteer Fire Department and Cooper Landing (AK) Emergency Services will each receive four sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear and four helmets to increase the safety of their members. Providing turnout gear MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) team up each year to help volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed gear. With the...
Carbon monoxide (CO), also known as the ‘silent killer’, is especially dangerous because it is not visible and cannot be smelt or tasted. The only way to protect against this potentially deadly threat is with a CO alarm. In honor of CO Awareness Month in November, First Alert and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have partnered to create an online CO awareness and CO alarm training course for volunteer fire departments nationwide, supplemented by an alarm donation program f...
Adapting workspaces to operate safely during a pandemic presents complications, not least of which is making sure that the measures taken to protect employees from infection do not undermine fire safety. In the course of altering a building to prevent infection spread, there are risks of introducing new life safety hazards and compromising emergency preparedness. As buildings adapt to new occupancy standards and requirements, it is critical that any protective measures do not interfere with ope...
In response to a specific customer requirement, Kentec Electronics, a globally renowned manufacturer of life-critical control systems, has developed through their Special Applications Department an Evacuation and Alert Control Indicating System (EACIE) to provide fire and rescue teams with an intelligent communication structure to support staged evacuation. Evac-Point system Kentec’s made-to-order ‘Evac-Point’ system uses user-defined zone reference labeling to enable Fire Se...
The Dutch Army has recently completed a live-fire counter-drone trial using Smart Shooter's SMASH Fire Control System. Soldiers from all branches of the Dutch army, including the Air Force, Special Forces, and Marines, attended the trial, which was done in close co-operation with Smart Shooter Dutch Partner, TBM bv. The trial took place at the site of the knowledge center for weapons and ammunition in ‘t Harde. Most of the soldiers were introduced to the system for the first time the morn...
Fire and life safety systems manufacturer, Advanced has announced the appointment of a dedicated business development manager responsible for the launch and growth of EvacGo, Advanced’s new BS 8629-compliant evacuation alert system. EvacGo, Evacuation Alert System Ken Bullock, who joined Advanced as Regional Sales Manager for South East England, four years ago, brings over 35 years of fire industry experience to his new role as Business Development Manager – EvacGo, Evacuation Alert Systems. Ken has been instrumental in the development of the EvacGo solution and ensuring that it will make life easy for anyone who needs to meet the BS 8629 Code of Practice recommendation, applicable to buildings over 18 meters in height and containing flats. Enhancing fire safety in high-rises I’ve been heavily involved in developing our evacuation alert system and am passionate about the ability of this product" Ken Bullock, Business Development Manager – Emergency Evacuation Systems, said “I’ve been heavily involved in developing our evacuation alert system and am passionate about the ability of this product to help improve fire safety for residents in high-rise buildings. It therefore seemed natural for me to focus on educating the market about the importance of following BS 8629 recommendations and to raise awareness of our evacuation alert solution, EvacGo.” Ken adds, “In developing our system, we’ve worked with renowned fire industry experts to ensure it delivers maximum performance, quality and ease of use. I now look forward to developing these relationships still further as we all strive to build a safer future.” Built using MxPro 5 fire panel components The EvacGo panel is built using Advanced’s industry-renowned MxPro 5 fire panel components, providing the added assurance for installers and building owners that their sites will be protected with robust and proven technology that’s been rigorously tested to EN 54 parts 2 and 4 as recommended in BS 8629. To ensure every aspect of the BS 8629 Code of Practice was followed, the panel is housed in a tamper-proof STS 205 class BR2 security-rated enclosure, made by renowned manufacturer, Gerda with a patented BS EN 1303-compliant lock and key mechanism for exclusive access by the fire and rescue service. BS 8629:2019 Code of Practice compliant BS 8629:2019 is the new Code of Practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in England. In place since November 2019, this code of practice recommends the installation of a dedicated evacuation alert system intended for the sole use of the fire and rescue services and separate from the building’s fire alarm system. It is relevant to blocks of flats with a story located at a height of more than 18 meters above ground level. Evacuation alert control and indicating equipment installation EACIE installation is already mandatory in new buildings containing flats over 18 meters high in Scotland Although not yet a legal requirement in England, evacuation alert control and indicating equipment (EACIE) installation is already mandatory in new buildings containing flats over 18 meters high in Scotland and considered best practice by a number of fire and rescue services. Gary Craig, Sales Director at Advanced, stated “Over recent months, Ken’s work on EvacGo has focused on ensuring it is easy for building owners and installers to meet the recommendations of the BS 8629 Code of Practice, while ensuring optimum safety for the residents of high-rise buildings and ease of use for the fire service. Ken’s expertise will help ensure the process of specifying, designing and sourcing a BS 8629 system is simple, straightforward and stress-free.” Expansion of evacuation alert systems business Gary adds, “Ken’s appointment adds a vastly experienced voice to this project and the future direction of our evacuation alert systems business. His expertise and track record in driving growth and expansion within the UK market will be immensely valuable, as we experience rising demand for this new product.” Account customers currently looked after by Ken will continue to receive excellent support, as they transfer to Business Development Manager, Amanda Hope.
MSA Safety, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) are helping volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed gear through MSA’s and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway. In 2020, 13 departments will each receive four new sets of turnout gear and four new helmets to help enhance the safety of their firefighters. The first 500 applicants also received a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA. The latest recipients of MSA’s and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway are the Highway K Volunteer Fire Department in Doniphan, MO, and the Valley View Volunteer Fire Department in Lawton, OK. Highway K Volunteer Fire Department Highway K Volunteer Fire Department (Highway K VFD) protects 95 square miles of rural southern Missouri Highway K Volunteer Fire Department (Highway K VFD) protects 95 square miles of rural southern Missouri, serving around 900 residents and responding to an average of 35 calls annually. Based out of Doniphan, Missouri, the department’s 16 active volunteer firefighters share 12 sets of turnout gear, all of which were donated by other fire departments and are between 15 and 25 years old. Without adequate protective gear, many of the normal duties required of firefighters become more difficult and dangerous. The department puts the health and safety if its members first, and due to the age and condition of their available gear, firefighters do not make interior entry during structural fires unless someone is trapped inside. Rely on voluntary subscriptions and donations for funds Highway K VFD is not supported by any tax dollars and instead relies on voluntary subscriptions, donations, and fundraisers. The department’s firefighters and board of directors spend hundreds of hours each year to help with fundraising efforts, but community members have limited donations to give. Rising operating costs and a small budget make purchasing multiple sets of turnout gear impossible. In addition to the safety implications, receiving the new gear from MSA Safety and DuPont will help the Highway K Volunteer Fire Department’s efforts to recruit new firefighters. “Many [trained firefighters] do not want to volunteer for a department that cannot provide up-to-date gear,” said Chief Greg Greenwood of the Highway K Volunteer Fire Department, adding “I believe that having up-to-date gear that can be issued to the higher-trained volunteers will help with the recruitment and retention of volunteers.” Valley View Volunteer Fire Department Valley View Volunteer Fire Department is a relatively new department serving a rural area of southern Oklahoma Based out of Lawton, Oklahoma, the Valley View Volunteer Fire Department is a relatively new department serving a rural area of southern Oklahoma. In addition to protecting 15 square miles in the immediate vicinity of their station, the fire department is a state-certified emergency medical response agency and responds to other districts to provide fire safety and rescue services that they are lacking. Founded in 2012, the Valley View Volunteer Fire Department’s majority protective turnout gear was donated by other fire departments, but is now between 10 and 15 years old. Most of the fire department’s budget has gone to build the fire station and equip their fire rescue trucks, leaving little left to purchase turnout gear. “The time it will take us to save up enough money [to purchase new gear] could be too late if something were to happen now with the old gear we have,” said Chief Lin Newton of Valley View Volunteer Fire Department, adding “The ability to receive new gear [through MSA’s and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway] will allow us to meet the NFPA standards on gear and better protect our firefighters.”
Intersec, the world’s renowned security, safety, and fire protection trade fair, has been rescheduled to take place in January 2022, organiser of the trade event, Messe Frankfurt Middle East confirmed on September 24, 2020. The 23rd edition of the three-day event was originally set to run from January 24-26, 2021, at the Dubai World Trade Center, in Dubai, UAE. However, the event has now been moved to 2022, after extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders. Intersec Dubai 2022 “We’ve spoken to many of our exhibitors, industry trade associations, supporters, and partners over the last couple of weeks and have heard first-hand the many challenges they’re facing putting pressure on their ability to participate at Intersec in January 2021,” said Alexandria Robinson, Intersec’s Show Director at Messe Frankfurt. He adds, “Moving Intersec to its customary January dates in 2022 at the Dubai World Trade Center will allow time for recovery.” Webinar series in 2021 Ms. Robinson said Intersec will be very active throughout 2021, via its ongoing webinar series, while the team is now working towards creating a virtual event early next year, so as to engage industry leaders, regulators, government agencies and opinion formers. “We might be restricted physically, but we know there is a definitive need for critical conversations and discussions to address the challenges the industry has faced,” said Robinson. Digital forum to share ideas and solutions By hosting these talks via a digital forum, it enables us to keep connected to the industry" He adds, “By hosting these talks via a digital forum, it enables us to keep connected to the industry and nurture our existing relationships, while sharing solutions and common goals. We’ll share further details and plans about the digital event in the coming weeks.” Intersec’s popular free-to-attend webinar series, of which there’ve been 11 so far in the last four months, have kept thousands of attendees abreast of the latest industry trends and opportunities. Ensuring safety in COVID-19 pandemic period “We know we have a vital role to play in connecting and supporting the industry, and the Intersec webinars stimulate meaningful conversations, collaborations and success stories,” stated Robinson, adding “We will continue to run these and support our stakeholders in every way possible until we meet again personally, and safely, at Intersec 2022.” She further said, “One thing is absolutely certain, our community is resilient and will bounce back. It has been involved in many frontline situations throughout the course of this year and it will continue to play a critical role in the months ahead. Throughout 2021 and come January 2022, we’ll have much to share and learn from each other.” Intersec 2020 Intersec in 2020 featured 1,100 exhibitors from 56 countries, while attracting 33,872 visitors from 135 countries. The global industry event is supported by Dubai Civil Defense, Dubai Police, the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA), Dubai Police Academy and Dubai Municipality.
Knauf Insulation is proud to announce the launch of their new sustainability strategy for Knauf Insulation — ‘For A Better World’. The exciting new strategy reveals their ambitions for the future and focuses on four key sustainable goals: Putting people first, achieving zero carbon, delivering a circular economy, creating better buildings. Sustainable building solutions “We have made a series of long-term commitments to show how each goal will be achieved. But — critically — we have also set clear, concrete short-term targets for 2025 that everyone can start achieving now,” said Jean-Claude Carlin, Knauf Insulation Group CEO. Vincent Briard, Director of Sustainability, said: “It is vital, in the short term, that we provide a measurable milestone of success and ensure the current leadership is held accountable for progressing towards our long-term vision to avoid leaving the problem to the next generation.” They are supporting their customers as they navigate market forces and regulatory landscapes Knauf is also here to help. They are supporting their customers as they navigate market forces and regulatory landscapes that are increasingly demanding more sustainable building solutions. “Sustainability defines everything we do. Our products save energy, cut emissions and make buildings fit for the future. We have the experience and expertise to ensure all our customers achieve their sustainable ambitions.” General capital expenditure Knauf Insulation’s company-wide sustainability targets for 2025 include: Reducing safety Total Recordable Incident Rate from 9.2 to five Reducing the embodied carbon of the products by 15% Investing 10% of the general capital expenditure in the new projects to reduce emissions or landfill waste Cutting the carbon footprint of their offices and through business travel by 25% Reducing virgin plastic packaging by more than 25% Using more than 25% of external recycled material by 2025 in their Rock Mineral Wool and more than 65% recycled material in their Glass Mineral Wool Sending zero production waste to landfill The strategy builds on the sustainability successes of the past decade. From 2010 to 2019 they have cut their energy consumption and emissions by 23%; reduced Lost Time Accident rate by 56% and cut their landfill waste by 67%.
When their annual stair-climb event was sidelined back in March 2020, due to the global COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic spread concerns, LION and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) didn't let that stop their event. Instead, the LLS went virtual with their annual firefighter star-climb event. The event was renamed, 'Big Virtual Climb’. Big Virtual Climb event On June 13th, 2020 rather than gathering at San Francisco's Salesforce Tower, where the climb was originally scheduled to take place, participants were asked to climb 1, 762 stairs (the number of steps that would've been taken to reach the top of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco) via local building, park or stadium stair cases. Participating climbers were also given the option of walking 8, 810 steps at their favorite gym or on a hiking trail Participating climbers were also given the option of walking 8, 810 steps at their favorite gym or on a hiking trail. Additionally, the participants were allowed to do 600 chair step-ups to complete their scheduled climbs. As in the previously undertaken climbs, full fire Protective Personal Equipment (PPE), including SCBA equipment was required to be worn by all climbers. Raising funds for LSS charity program Participants stepped up to the unusual challenge. This year approximately 2, 207 firefighters, from more than 350 fire departments took part, raising US$ 2.7 million in support of LLS funds’ lifesaving blood cancer research program undertaken around the world. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) funds program provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients globally, for seeking access to quality, affordable and coordinated medical care. Everyone who participated in this first-of-its-kind virtual climb event received a congratulatory message from the organizers, irrespective of whether it involved counting steps on a treadmill at the local gym or hiking the tallest hill in their city.
The certifications are a testament to Laidlaw’s continuous improvement across the business, especially across health and safety, environmental management and quality management. Each certification involves rigorous assessments and external audits to ensure compliance with strict guidelines which provides customers with an assurance of Laidlaw’s safe and responsible practice. Laidlaw underwent a four-day audit in order to gain re-certification for three ISO standards. They are; ISO 9001 for quality management, ISO 14001 for environmental management and finally OHSAS 18001 for occupational health and safety management. Supply chain management services The auditors, BMTRADA, reviewed many of Laidlaw’s business processes and policies to ensure strict compliance. This includes the investigation of management systems, operations, support, health and safety and legal compliance. At the end of the four days, Laidlaw gained re-certification of all three standards with SSIP membership and received positive feedback within all audited areas of the business. Laidlaw has successfully maintained its Gold Membership status with Constructionline for the third consecutive year. Constructionline is the UK’s most connected provider of procurement and supply chain management services. Health and safety standards Laidlaw was reassessed and gained an Acclaim Health & Safety Accreditation which is SSIP compliant Maintaining a Gold standard involves comprehensive assessments in areas such as health and safety, environmental management, diversity and equality, and quality management. In addition, there is increased scrutiny around third-party governance and risk management by extending the mandatory PQQ. In order to attain the Gold standard, Laidlaw was reassessed and gained an Acclaim Health & Safety Accreditation which is SSIP compliant. The Contractors of Health and Safety Assessment Scheme was created in 1997 to improve health and safety standards across the UK. CHAS is also a founder member of SSIP, making them a highly trusted advisor on health and safety compliance. Social and environmental practices Laidlaw has recently been awarded CHAS re-certification with SSIP for the third consecutive year. This certification demonstrates Laidlaw’s compliance and on-going management of current health and safety legislation. Laidlaw has gained FSC Chain of Custody re-certification for its Orbis Integrated Doorsets. This ensures that Laidlaw purchases and supplies integrated doorsets and frames from FSC approved manufacturers. Customers can be assured Laidlaw doorsets are manufactured with responsibly sourced timber and that forest owners and managers follow best social and environmental practices. Laidlaw was audited by BMTRADA and was deemed to meet the requirements of FSC-STD-40-004.
One if the few bonuses of the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown in the UK was the dramatic reduction of aircraft noise around our homes. Certainly in the Southeast of England, it gave us some thought as to the number of aircraft in the sky, and what the consequences might be if something went wrong… Aviation in the UK is split between what is known as Commercial Airport Transport (CAT) and General Aviation (GA). The CAT sector operates out of 25 airports and accounts for around 900 aircraft. However, the GA sector accounts for 15,000 aircraft, flown by 32,000 pilots, operating out of 125 aerodromes licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and over 1,000 other flying sites (According to the General Aviation Awareness Council – our mapping data suggested 1650 sites) (1,2). Roughly 96% of the aircraft in the UK are engaged in General Aviation, engaged in business, leisure engineering and training activities, and HM Government estimate that the sector employs around 38,000 people (3). Each licensed airfield has its own firefighting response, termed airport rescue and firefighting services (RFFS) governed by the CAA guidelines and they are required to be:- .. proportionate to the aircraft operations and other activities taking place at the aerodrome; Provide for the coordination of appropriate organizations to respond to an emergency at the aerodrome or in its surroundings; Contain procedures for testing the adequacy of the plan, and for reviewing the results in order to improve its effectiveness. (CAA 2020) Ensuring Adequate firefighter training So simply put, each airfield needs to ensure it has adequate training, media, personnel in appropriate quantities to deal with any likely incident, given its size and traffic. There are around 1654 airfields in the UK, with 125 of those being licensed However, this is only limited to licensed airfields and the response is typically limited to the airfield itself, and the immediate surrounding area. Airfield vehicles are often specialist aviation firefighting vehicles – not necessarily suitable for driving potentially long distances to an incident. Even so, it is a well-established principle that RRFS would only fight the initial stages of any fire, to be relieved by, and with command passed to local authority fire services. There are around 1654 airfields in the UK, with 125 of those being licensed. In 2019-2020 (to date) there have been 62 air crashes, of which 9 involved a fatality. If we plot the locations of all airfields of any type, all the licensed airfields and the crashes, we can see the spatial relationship between them. Below, we see the two distributions – on the left, crashes versus all airfields and on the right crashes versus licensed fields. It’s clear that the crosses (crashes) and dots (fields) are not always in the same place, so clearly there is a potential problem here – namely the specialized airfield fire response is unlikely to be able to respond. Using the spatial analytical capability of QGIS, the open-source GIS software, we can then start to look at the distances from the airfields of the crashes. We can see that (based on the 2019-2020 data) that on average a crash occurs 3.22km from an airfield, but 15.78km from a licensed airfield (where the firefighting teams are). The maximum distance from a licensed airfield was 57.41km, two thirds of the crashes were more than 10km from a licensed airfield and over a third were more than 18km away. Fig 1a (left) shows crashes versus all airfields. Fig 1b (right) shows crashes versus licensed airfields only. Aircraft incidents pose complex firefighting challenges So, what does this all mean? Well the simple conclusion we can draw from this data is that there is a sizable risk of an aircrash occurring on the grounds of a non-airport fire service. In 2019-2020 there have been 62 air crashes, of which 9 involved a fatality Bearing that in mind, it’s also worth considering that aircraft incidents pose challenges to firefighters and firefighting, that need to be considered. The construction of aircraft has been evolving since the first days of flight, with materials that are strong, light and cheap to produce being adopted and in recent years created to order. This has seen a move from natural materials, such as wood and canvas towards aluminum and man-made materials, and in recent years man made mineral fibres (MMMFs) which are lighter and stronger than natural materials, and can be moulded into any shape. The problem is, MMMFs disintegrate into minuscule fibres when subject to impact or fire, which can stick like tiny needles into firefighters’ skin, leading to skin conditions, and pose a significant risk to respiratory systems if breathed in. As with all fires, there are risks associated with smoke products, with exposure to fuels and other chemicals and so there is the potential for a widespread hazmat incident, with respiratory and contamination hazards. Finally, there is always the risk, more so perhaps with military aircraft, of explosives or dangerous cargoes on the aircraft that put firefighters at risk. The problem is therefore this: There is a constant, but small, chance of an aviation incident occurring away from an airport, and requiring local authority fire services to act as the initial response agency, rather than a relieving agency. These incidents, when they do occur, are likely to be unfamiliar to responding crews, yet also present risks that need to be addressed. PLANE Thinking Despite this landscape of complex risk and inconsistent response coverage non-airfield fire services can still create an effective response structure in the event of an aviation incident away from an airfield. We have drawn up a simple, 5-step aide-memoire for structuring a response, following the acronym PLANE (Plan, Learn, Adapt, Nurture, Evolve). We are aware that all brigades will do this already to some extent (in fact they are obliged to). We are also aware that there was little point going into the technical details of firefighting itself – that is handled elsewhere and in far more detail – but instead we considered a broad, high-level system to act as a quick sanity check on the response measures already in place. There is always the risk, more so perhaps with military aircraft, of explosives or dangerous cargoes on the aircraft that put firefighters at risk In many ways this mirrors existing operational risk exercises, and begins with a planning process – considering the nature of risk in the response area, building links with other agencies and operators, and collating and analyzing intelligence. Services should expand their levels of knowledge (Learn) around the issue, and consider appointing tactical advisors for aviation incidents and using exercises and training programs to test and enhance response. Having identified the risk landscape, and invested in intelligence about it, we may then need to consider adapting our approaches to make sure we are ready to respond, and having carried out all of this activity, we need to keep the momentum going, and continue to nurture those relationships, and that expertise cross the service. Rapid technological advancement Aviation technology does not stand still. Many of us will have seen this week the testing in the lake district of the emergency response jetpack (4), and this is just one example of the pace of technological advances in the sector. Consider the huge emerging market of UAVs, commercially and recreationally and the potential for incidents related to them, as well as their potential application in responses. Finally, Services, potentially through their dedicated TacAd roles, need to keep abreast of emerging technologies, and ensure that the Planning and Learning continues to match the risk. Aviation technology does not stand still So, in conclusion, we have a (very) simple system for preparing for the potential for airline incidents off airfields. We are happy to admit that it’s not going to solve all of every brigades’ problems, and we’d like to think it simply holds a mirror to existing activities. We do hope that it does give a bit of structure to the consideration a potentially complex process, and that it is of some use, if only as a talking point. Best practices and technologies and will be among the topics discussed at the Aerial Firefighting Europe Conference, taking place in Nîmes, France on 27 – 28 April 2021. The biennial event provides a platform for over 600 international aerial firefighting professionals to discuss the ever-increasing challenges faced by the industry. References 1. General Aviation Awareness Council. Fact Sheet 1 - What is General Aviation (GA)? 2008. 2. Anon. UK Airfields KML. google maps. 2020. 3. Davies B. General Aviation Strategic Network Recommendations. GA Champion, 2018. 4. Barbour S. Jet suit paramedic tested in the Lake District “could save lives.” BBC News. 2020. Article Written by Chris Heywood and Dr Ian Greatbatch.
Fire extinguishers are red for a reason, aren’t they? Traditionally, red is associated with danger and fire and red is certainly easy to see, even in darker environments. Aesthetic fire extinguishers But a company in Japan is offering a line of fire extinguishers that abandons the signature color for an approach that is more aesthetically pleasing and that fits more easily into modern decor. Disaster prevention brand, Modular Aerial Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) has unveiled fire extinguishers that are black or white, thus defying convention and better harmonizing with a variety of living spaces. The Japanese company, Morita Miyata Corp. has been making fire extinguishers for more than 100 years The Japanese company, Morita Miyata Corp. has been making fire extinguishers for more than 100 years. Their new sleek, minimalist fire extinguishers have won a Good Design Good Focus Award in the category of disaster prevention and recovery design. The award celebrates outstanding works designed for the prevention of and recovery from natural disasters. Disaster preparedness The concept is to ‘Take Bosai into the lifestyle’ (Bosai is disaster preparedness in Japanese). Beyond aesthetics, there is a practical reason to make the lowly fire extinguisher blend more seamlessly with a room’s decor. The reason is that prettier fire extinguishers encourage consumers to place the extinguisher proudly out in the open, where it is within easier reach to use quickly if needed. The minimal and attractive design allows the fire extinguisher to be placed in a more visible, high profile place in homes, without the ‘harsh’ red interfering with the interior decor. Consumers are prompted to enter the date of purchase and expiration date on the fire extinguisher’s body. Higher effectiveness of fire extinguishers in visible spots In short, fire extinguishers can be more effective if they are not hidden away in a closet or cupboard where valuable seconds are lost locating them in case of a fire. The idea is to unify style and function. Obviously, style is an undervalued element in the entire fire industry, given the affinity for less subtle use of red evident in everything from fire apparatus to web site names. Breaking traditional conventions Abandoning tradition may be creative, but don’t years of convention complicate the concept of changing the color of emergency equipment? For example, in the case of fire extinguishers, although primarily red, they also use color-coded labels to designate their type, such as blue for dry powder, yellow for wet chemical, etc. Also, fire pull stations, for example, are red, but pull stations for police emergencies may be blue instead. The colors have meaning that is understood to building occupants. Therefore, using new colors in public buildings could cause confusion, even if they contribute positively to the aesthetics of an expensive office suite, for example. Extending the concept of ‘Kanso’ to fire extinguishers Extending the concept of 'Kanso' to fire extinguishers has promise, as long as design does not interfere with safety The Japanese interior design concept of ‘Kanso’ is all about simplicity and focuses on the flow and movement of energy in a space. The concept seeks to eliminate clutter from a home and to show restraint and simplicity in every aspect of design. Extending the concept of 'Kanso' to fire extinguishers has promise, as long as design simplicity does not interfere with safety. The Good Design award jury states, “The simple modification of changing the color of the fire extinguisher to black and white is a big step forward in creating harmony with the living space.” Changes in style of fire apparatus and firefighting equipment The jury adds, “There has been a preconceived notion that fire extinguishers must be red in order to grab visual attention. We have just accepted fire extinguishers to be red because that is the way they are. Maybe an innovation like this can happen in other areas. The fact that the development of this product could lead to changing many other preconceptions we have was another important factor for the award.” Should everyone be looking for ‘Kanso’ to make its way soon to fire stations? Might a more positive flow of energy contribute to more relaxed and effective firefighters? Should fire apparatus colors be coordinated with station decor? Could it be that stylish fire extinguishers are only the beginning? These are some of the important questions in the development of new fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment.
During the Grenfell Tower fire incident in 2017, ineffective fire doors allowed smoke and toxic gases to spread through the building more quickly than should have been possible. Sir Martin Moore-Bick made this finding in the conclusion to Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. It serves to highlight the importance that fire doors play in protecting life and property. Grenfell Inquiry findings The Grenfell Inquiry findings have impacted subsequent United Kingdom government guidance and proposed legislation. For example, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) insists that non-fire resisting doors should be replaced immediately with door sets that are third party certified as providing at least 30 minutes of fire resistance. The BWF works to increase ‘mass market’ awareness of the vital role that fire doors play in protecting life and property The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) works to increase ‘mass market’ awareness of the vital role that fire doors play in protecting life and property. The BWF sponsored Fire Door Safety Week (21-27 Sept. 2020) in partnership with the UK Home Office’s National Fire Safety Campaign, the National Fire Chiefs Council and London Fire Brigade. The observance is the brainchild of the British Woodworking Federation, supported by the BWF Fire Door Alliance. Importance of fire doors in protecting life and property While there are multiple types of fire doors available, certified timber fire doors were subjected to government fire tests in 2019 and were shown effective at meeting and exceeding the minimum burn time requirement of 30 minutes. Factors to ensure a fire door performs as intended include product manufacture, quality, installation and maintenance. Correctly specifying, maintaining and managing a fire door can mean the difference between life and death for building occupants in an emergency. Appointing ‘Responsible Person’ to inspect fire doors Everyone plays a role to ensure a fire door performs as intended, from the manufacturer to a building’s users. Building owners should appoint a ‘Responsible Person’ to check the performance of fire doors. Propping open a fire door keeps it from performing as intended in the event of a fire. Fire doors and other passive fire protection industries have common interests with other fire-related organizations. More education can help the whole building industry and every property owner to understand the importance of fire doors. Regular inspection of fire doors Owners should carry out checks at three-month intervals to ensure all fire doors are fitted with effective self-closing devices Sir Martin Moore-Bick also recommended that those who have responsibility for entrance doors to individual flats in high-rise building should be required by law to ensure such doors comply with current standards. Owners and managers of any residential building that contains separate dwellings should carry out an urgent inspection of all fire doors to ensure they comply with applicable standards. Owners and managers should also be required to carry out checks at three-month intervals to ensure all fire doors are fitted with effective self-closing devices that are in working order. Raising standard of fire doors via Third party certification Third party certification is the best way to raise the standard of fire doors and fire door sets across the board to ensure all fire doors in any building type meet safety standards. Also, inspections should be carried out by trained and registered professionals who identify any faults and highlight where doors do not meet standards. Doors in high-traffic areas should be checked more frequently as they are more susceptible to damage.
An explosion of blue-colored smoke on Sept. 5, 2020 in Yucalpa, California, was the beginning of a large wildfire in El Dorado Ranch Park. The pyrotechnic device was essentially a smoke bomb designed to send plumes of pink or blue smoke rising into the air, designating the gender of an expected baby. The expectant dad had packed the target with a highly explosive substance called Tannerite and shot it with a high-powered rifle. The target was designed to explode in pink or blue to reveal whether the couple was expecting a boy or a girl. Flammable foliage When the device ignited, so did the dry, wild grasses growing up to 4 feet tall in the meadow at the park, 80 miles east of Los Angeles. In the peak of summer, Southern California foliage is extremely flammable, and there were already fires burning across the state. After being active for 11 days, the fire had affected 18,506 acres and was 63% contained. The family that sparked the fire sought to put down the flames using water bottles. Then they called 911. The responsible individuals were still at the park when firemen arrived, and there are also surveillance cameras. Wildfire Spread And Evacuation The fire spread from the park to the north on to Yucalpa Ridge that separates Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls from the City of Yucalpa. The fire threatened a nearby residential neighborhood, and some 21,000 people were evacuated. After being active for 11 days, the fire had affected 18,506 acres and was 63% contained. The pyrotechnic show was a variation on the popular trend of gender reveal parties, which seek to announce the gender of an expected infant in increasingly (and competitively) colorful and/or dramatic ways. The parties are often featured prominently on social media. Rising temperatures Also contributing to the fire was recent weather in California, whose terrain was scorching in record-breaking temperatures as high as 120 degrees F in early September. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire) reminds the public that, with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it does not take much to start a wildfire, and those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible. Natural conditions and human activity Natural conditions are central to causing wildfires, although human activity can provide the triggers Natural conditions are central to causing wildfires, although human activity can provide the triggers, including downed power lines, sparks from tire blowouts, and barbecues that get out of control. The pivotal gender-reveal part is just the latest example. If not for the increasingly dry and scorched conditions that make wildfire so easy to ignite, such human events would be much less consequential. With thousands of acres of wildfire raging across California, the cause of one wildfire seems less important in the overall scheme of things. However, the event does emphasize how seemingly minor events can have a very large impact. Lightning and fireworks Another cause of recent wildfires was lightning with more than 10,000 lightning strikes sparking 376 fires on Aug 16 and 17, 2020. In a season of wildfires, use of fireworks, for whatever reason, is a particular risk. Fireworks cause an average of 18,500 fires each year in the United States. Of those, about 1,200 injuries are from less powerful devices such as small firecrackers and sparklers.
C-TEC’s revolutionary Hush Pro BS 5839-6 Grade C domestic fire detection and alarm system has been chosen for three iconic tower block developments in Manchester, United Kingdom. Located in the center of Piccadilly, Oxygen Towers is a striking set of three new 31-storey, 16-storey and 10-storey buildings consisting of 345 stylish 1, 2 and 3-bedroomed apartments and 12 spacious family townhouses. Protecting futuristic ‘vertical village’ Designed to provide the ultimate living experience, the futuristic ‘vertical village’ combines luxury accommodation with fabulous five-star leisure facilities including a swimming pool, cinema, gym and spa. The stunning development also features lush garden terraces and rooftop gardens. Selected for its cutting-edge technology and capacity to align with the building’s fire strategy, Hush Pro will integrate with the site’s BS 5839 part 1 landlord system to offer higher levels of fire protection than the Grade D unmonitored battery alarm systems, typically used in domestic installations. Hush Pro BS 5839-6 Grade C fire detection and alarm system As a fully-monitored BS 5839 part 6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults As a fully-monitored BS 5839 part 6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults and operation faults back to the fire panel and even allows management and maintenance companies to remotely monitor the system. Once the project is complete, each of the flats will feature an easily accessible low-level Hush Pro Controller connected to a series of Hush Pro smoke detectors, base sounders, multi-sensors and heat detectors all seamlessly interfaced to a powerful network of C-TEC 4-loop ZFP addressable fire control panels to provide all-encompassing fire and fault monitoring of the system. Enhancing fire safety management If, for any reason, part of the domestic fire alarm is compromised, this will immediately be reported to the building management team to allow them to action the fault and re-instate full fire detection coverage to the flat. John Blundell, Head of Solid State Security Ltd (Solid State Living), the specialist fire company involved with the design and delivery of the project, said “As well as enhancing the fire safety management, property and life protection of the buildings, a key factor in our client’s decision to invest in Hush Pro was the system’s ability to notify building management in the event of a real fire and, at the same time, its potential to virtually eliminate false alarms.” Reducing false fire alarms He adds, “Hush Pro’s unique capacity to differentiate between Fire Level 1, usually a false alarm reported locally in the dwelling, and Fire Level 2, almost always a real alarm activated outside of the dwelling, reduces false fire alarms, unnecessary call-outs and the risk of a real fire alarm being ignored. As our client requires immediate notification in the event of a fire but also first-class false alarm management, Hush Pro will prove ideal.” John further stated, “Also of vital importance to our client is that, as the project consists of private balconies with an open plan flat arrangement, Hush Pro is the only fire alarm solution that can actually meet the requirements of BS 9991 Annex D3.” Hush Pro’s powerful false alarm management capability will also prove invaluable at the site" Jason Lawler, 24-7 Group’s Group Director and the person responsible for delivering the electrical and mechanical systems for the project, said “Hush Pro is an outstanding solution. The system will provide residents with easy-to-use detection, alarm, silencing and test facilities so they can test their own devices, be alerted to system faults and hush any false alarms at the Hush Button, which is positioned at light-switch level for safe and easy access. Hush Pro’s powerful false alarm management capability will also prove invaluable at the site.” Integrated BS 5839 part 1 and part 6 fire alarm solutions John Blundell said, “Client satisfaction is incredibly important to us so we were delighted to be able to specify a robust and fully-compliant integrated BS 5839 part 1 and part 6 fire alarm solutions for Oxygen Towers.” He concludes, “With its capacity to provide high levels of fire protection yet also minimize costly and disruptive false alarms, Hush Pro is fast becoming the system of choice for fire strategy engineers and consultants dedicated to enhancing fire safety in high-rise residential and specialist housing projects throughout the UK.”
When Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Helicopter Emergency Medics became concerned about their current helmet due to its obsolescence and poor comfort, the charity contacted Vimpex who they were aware had successfully supplied helmet solutions to other Air Ambulance Services, including Lincolnshire and Kent. Pacific R6C Rescue Helmet Following meetings to identify product performance requirements, and a product trial by critical care paramedics and doctors, Thames Valley Air Ambulance chose the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet because it gives the charity a high-performing, future-proofed safety solution that can also be fully customized. Every part of the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet can be quickly removed without the use of special tools" Vimpex Business Development Manager Steve Clelland explains, “Every part of the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet can be quickly and easily removed without the use of special tools. Cost of ownership is therefore minimized as repairs and replacement of all components is simple. Pacific helmets are tested in the most extreme conditions required for conformity to relevant clauses of the latest EN standards.” High performance PPE equipment The fantastic life-saving work carried out by Thames Valley Air Ambulance when there’s a life-threatening injury or medical emergency, and relies on the skill and bravery of its team of doctors and critical care paramedics, some of the most highly skilled pre-hospital medics in the world, to deliver advanced trauma care to some of the most seriously injured patients across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire from its base at RAF Benson. Such exceptional individuals, who regularly put their own safety on the line to protect others, need the highest levels of equipment performance, including their head protection PPE, to ensure that their well-being is never compromised. Fire evacuation and alarm systems major Vimpex is Europe's renowned independent manufacturer and distributor of high quality fire evacuation and alarm system products for installers, distributors and OEM manufacturers. The company is also a specialist in the supply of technical rescue and PPE equipment for UK fire, rescue, police, military and emergency services teams.
A network of fire panels from UK manufacturer, Advanced, has been installed as part of a campus-wide system replacement at the Imperial College London (ICL), Hammersmith, United Kingdom. Six industry-renowned 8-loop MxPro 5 fire panels and a TouchControl remote control terminal and repeater panel have been installed across the Wolfson Education Center, the Institute of Reproductive Development Biology and the Commonwealth Building at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith campus. 8-loop MxPro 5 fire panels The installation, part of a system-wide upgrade, was conducted by Surrey-based Lloret Fire & Security Ltd who were tasked with replacing the existing fire alarm control panels, installing new cabling and devices and commissioning the system across occupied buildings, where live coverage needed to be maintained at all times. Imperial specifically requested a move away from the closed protocol fire system approach, and its associated service charges, which had been in operation for 15 years. Lloret Fire & Security’s experience installing Advanced control indicating equipment in other large-scale educational facilities meant they were confident that the open protocol MxPro 5 could easily provide the levels of flexibility and stability required by the site. Multi-sensor detection system installed Paul White, Design Director at Lloret Fire & Security Ltd, said “The project at Imperial’s Hammersmith campus involved the replacement of the fire system across a range of building environments, from offices, workshops and research labs, through to lecture theaters and conference halls, each with its own specific fire protection requirements.” Multi-sensor detection system was installed to manage and reduce the risk of false alarms In consideration of the site’s false alarm management strategy, multi-sensor detection system was installed to manage and reduce the risk of false alarms. For example, detectors have been configured for day/night use or can be altered as area usage changes. TouchControl repeater panel installed To replace the existing flush-fitted panel positioned front-of-house in the reception area of the Institute of Reproductive Development Biology, and for aesthetic purposes, Lloret Fire & Security Ltd suggested installing Advanced’s touch technology remote control terminal and repeater panel, TouchControl. Combining aesthetics with practicality, the low-profile, high-resolution touchscreen makes it easy to check fire system status via interactive maps and zone plans, while complementing even the most stylish interiors. When in standby mode, administrators can use TouchControl to display branding, advertisements and information, while it will instantly revert to fire operation when a fire condition occurs. Advanced fire safety solutions Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager, said “It’s fantastic to see that our partners Lloret Fire & Security Ltd are so confident in the Advanced solutions installed at Imperial. When installing or upgrading a building’s fire system, it’s important to consider which protocol is right for you." Amanda adds, “The nature of our MxPro 5’s open protocol gives end users greater freedom and flexibility over key factors such as detector partners, suppliers, installers and service companies. This in turn helps the end user to more easily achieve best value for money and access top-quality expertise.”
Firefighters across Cornwall are wearing brand new PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), procured through the UK Collaborative PPE Framework. All 560 firefighters in the county have been equipped with two sets of new gold-colored structural coats and trousers, along with flash hoods, and a set of both structural and rescue gloves. Structural PPE The new PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), designed and manufactured by Bristol Uniforms, benefits from the very latest in fiber and fabric technology, along with ergonomic styling for ease of movement. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS), as part of their commitment to firefighter safety, also engaged with staff about the provision of additional PPE to meet the demands of non-structural fire situations, such as road traffic collisions and wildfire control. This new structural firefighting PPE supports the specific needs of Cornwall’s remote rural risk profile This new structural firefighting PPE supports the specific needs of Cornwall’s remote rural risk profile. As a result, an order has also been placed for lighter-weight, more breathable rescue jackets which are compatible with the structural trousers and other essential PPE, providing the most suitable level of protection. Light-weight, breathable rescue jackets Mark Salter is Group Manager at CFRS, with responsibility for Assets, Health and Safety and Wellbeing said, “Feedback from our firefighters has been very positive. The cut of the jacket is more fitted than our previous kit, which is better for movement and maneuverability, and the extra padding on the knees means the trousers are more comfortable when kneeling or crawling”. He adds, “The wide range of male and female sizes ensures that every member of the crew can get a good fit. The firefighters have found that the new lighter color shows up dirt and soot, but that is a helpful indicator of when the kit needs cleaning.” Maintenance and Care service with Bristol Uniforms Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is continuing its Maintenance and Care service arrangement with Bristol, for regular cleaning, and repairs and decontamination if necessary. Dirty kit is collected by Bristol Uniforms and taken to one of two in-house Service Centers, where it is washed and thoroughly examined before being returned within seven days, a service that is reassuring for Mark Salter and his firefighters. Mark Salter said, “The robust care provision is very important to us, particularly given the current risk of coronavirus, and concerns around carcinogens in smoke particles. Bristol’s in-house cleaning and repair service means we can always have full confidence that our PPE is fit for purpose and providing the right protection.” Advanced technologies and enhanced comfort As a fairly small FRS, the Collaborative Framework offered us the best possible efficiencies" He adds, “As a fairly small FRS, the Collaborative Framework offered us the best possible efficiencies, and we’re very pleased with the result. Bristol Uniforms has provided excellent support and guidance throughout the process, as have Kent Fire & Rescue Service who was particularly helpful in the early stages of the procurement process.” Philip Tasker, UK and Ireland Sales Director at Bristol Uniforms, commented “It is very rewarding to see the Cornish firefighters out on the job in their smart new PPE, knowing that they are benefitting from a state-of-the-art design featuring advanced technologies, enhanced comfort and maximum protection.” Enhanced staff safety Mark Hewitt, Chief Fire Officer at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) stated “The safety and welfare of our staff is of paramount importance, so ensuring that our firefighters are provided with quality Personal Protective garments is essential. I am assured that this new PPE from Bristol Uniforms meets our specific requirements.” Mark adds, “My thanks and acknowledgement also goes to Cornwall Council for supporting our Fire and Rescue Service with a 15 year capital replacement program, which enables significant investment in safety critical areas such as our PPE procurement, and also our internal technical services team who have worked with the collaboration and Bristol Uniforms to deliver this project.”
Wexham Park Hospital is a large acute NHS hospital situated near Slough in Berkshire. The 588-bed hospital is one of three managed by Frimley Health NHS Foundation trust, one of the top performing NHS trusts in the United Kingdom. As well as the main hospital building, the site has a large post graduate building, ambulance station, staff accommodation and a new £49 million, state-of-the-art, four-story Emergency Assessment Center. Responsible for the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the system was Advanced’s partner, Static Systems Group, who install Advanced under their brand name, Evo2. Site-wide fire safety system updated Static Systems completed the site-wide upgrade with 20 networked, MxPro 5 panels, 18 MxPro 5 repeater panels and 2000 Apollo field devices throughout a number of hospital buildings and departments including Intensive Care, Sterile Services, Radiology and its new 9,300 sq. meters Emergency Assessment Center. Alex Southall, Proposals Manager at Static Systems, said “We pride ourselves on our skills and expertise in working in challenging, live healthcare settings – it’s where we excel. We specified Advanced on this project thanks to the MxPro’s second-to-none networking capabilities, flexible multiprotocol platform and user-friendly interface.” Alex adds, “This enabled Static Systems to deliver a seamless installation with minimal disruption to the everyday workings of the clinical teams.” MxPro 5 fire alarm panels installed MxPro 5 is the fire industry’s renowned multiprotocol fire system solution MxPro 5 is the fire industry’s renowned multiprotocol fire system solution and was recently certified by FM Approvals to the EN 54 standard. 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 customizable to almost any application. Superior fire safety system Phil Calvey, Sales Manager for the South West region at Advanced, said “We are proud to be specified in countless hospitals and care facilities across the World. As one of the latest NHS hospitals to be protected by Advanced panels it was a pleasure to be able to meet Static Systems’ needs on the fire system upgrade at Wexham Park Hospital.”
130 Advanced fire alarm control panels have been chosen to protect one of the UK’s largest acute teaching hospitals. Selected for their performance, quality and ease of use, 96 intelligent addressable MxPro 5 fire alarm control panels and 34 custom AdSpecials panels will be installed at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, as part of a comprehensive upgrade. Wythenshawe Hospital As a center of clinical excellence, Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, has over 5,500 staff providing district general hospital and specialist tertiary services to the local community and the wider population of the North West of England, so fire system reliability was a critical part of the specification. Manchester-based Grainger Fire & Security, responsible for the 18-month project, chose Advanced’s industry-renowned fire protection for its robustness, versatility and ease of installation in complex and critical sites. Installation of new network cable and BMS integration The system changeover to Advanced includes installation of new network cable across a live hospital The system changeover to Advanced will involve the installation of new network cable across a live hospital environment as well as BMS integration, and the introduction of a graphics package to provide visual representation of the fire system to end users. The 34 custom-engineered, 6-loop panels with 600 zonal LEDs included in the installation will be designed and manufactured by Advanced’s AdSpecials department. The network of Advanced panels will work with over 20,000 devices using Apollo and Hochiki protocol. In addition, a full design review of the hospital’s existing false alarm management strategy will take place to ensure that the new system is programmed to effectively reduce unwanted alarms. MxPro 5 fire alarm control panels installed Will Taylor, Service & Small Works Manager at Grainger Fire & Security, stated “As Wythenshawe is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK, we needed a solution that offered superior programming and networking capabilities, ensuring the highest levels of protection across the site.” He adds, “As our preferred panel choice, we have recommended Advanced for a number of years. Its MxPro 5 panels are both easy to use and install and offer the features required to competently protect the hospital and its multiple buildings that each have individual cause and effect programming.” ipGateway fully interactive internet portal The upgrade to the system will also see the introduction of ipGateway, Advanced’s fully interactive internet portal that presents the user with a detailed description of the current status of the fire system. The ability to remotely interrogate the fire system is a valuable benefit for both the end user and Grainger Fire and Security, who will be able to pre-empt problems. Not only will this provide additional peace of mind for hospital users, it will also save time, money and inconvenience by reducing unnecessary service visits to site. Neil Parkin, Advanced’s Regional Sales Manager for the North, said “The cause and effect programming capabilities of our panels provide tangible benefits to customers when protecting large-scale sites such as hospitals, university campuses or airport terminals.” The cause and effect programming capabilities of our panels provide tangible benefits to customers" Neil adds, “Once the system at Wythenshawe Hospital is up and running, features such as AlarmCalm, our built-in false alarm management and reduction software, will work to radically reduce the number of unwanted alarms and the impact they have on patients and staff. It’s a pleasure to be able to support Grainger Fire & Security on this project, and I have complete confidence that our products will provide the dependable solution required.” Multiprotocol fire system solution MxPro 5 is the fire industry’s renowned multiprotocol fire system solution and was recently certified by FM Approvals to the EN 54 standard. 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 networks of up to 200 panels covering huge areas. MxPro’s ease of installation and configuration, as well as its wide peripheral range, make it customizable to almost any application.