Fire Emergency Response
Combining fire alarm and voice evacuation on a single, IP-based platform accelerates emergency response and unlocks a wide range of efficiency gains. This evolution continues with a new generation of fire alarm panels. One of the main tasks for every building and safety manager consists of preparing optimally for emergency scenarios. This includes having the right protocols in place for fires to make sure that a building can be evacuated as quickly as possible when every second counts. For an...
CU First Responders Finance (CUFR) is excited to welcome Firefighters First Credit Union as a lead lender to their business lending network. Firefighters First Credit Union will be originating commercial and business loans generated by the CUFR network of first responder credit unions. CUFR’s business lending solutions CUFR’s business lending solutions provide an online platform for member credit unions to refer their members’ business loan requests to a trusted lender. They...
Public and firefighter safety is the number one priority at the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) in Missoula, Mont. The Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program there seeks to develop tools and technology that can help protect people and communities before, during, and after wildfires. RMRS develops and delivers innovative science and technology to improve the health and use of the nation’s forests and grasslands. Their scientists put tools and knowledge into the hands of managers who...
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...
Amthal has become a full member of the prestigious Door & Hardware Federation (DHF), highlighting its ongoing commitment to health and safety across its automated gates, product and service portfolio. The DHF is a not for profit trade association for companies associated with Locks & Building Hardware; Doorsets; Industrial Doors & Shutters; Domestic Garage Doors and Automated Gates. Regarded as a Centre of Excellence, DHF offers specifiers and end users of individual and commercial buildings, alongside domestic customers a single source for technical expertise, information, knowledge, and advice. safety and compliance Says Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal Fire & Security: “DHF is undoubtedly the go-to association when it comes to influencing the future of technical security, helping organizations understand and comply with latest health and safety legislation, relevant to our industry. Our membership aligns us with an organization that represents the agreed, best and most effective way of delivering a product and service." "As a business, we are looking forward to receiving first-hand the latest developments on our industry, while presenting our customers with a portfolio of automated gate products that achieves DHF requirements for, safety and compliance.” raising industry standards Our aim is to advance standards to improve the quality and safety of products, services and systems" Amthal will now be able to present its membership of DHF with the use of its logo on all printed and digital media; to demonstrate its dedication to an organization associated with quality, credibility and raising industry standards. Nick Perkins, Training & Compliance Officer added: “At DHF, in our role as an industry leading trade association, we provide the knowledge that members use to enable them to put a safe, compliant product on the market. We sit on various standards committees throughout the UK and Europe and are at the forefront of safety and compliance. Our aim is to advance standards to improve the quality and safety of products, services and systems. We welcome new DHF members on their journey to demonstrate commitment to best practice.” advanced electronic fire solution Independently owned, Amthal Fire & Security is dedicated to satisfying end user needs for security safety and convenience offering design, installation, maintenance and monitoring of advanced electronic fire & security solutions; including intruder, fire, access and CCTV solutions. Amthal Fire & Security is accredited by the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) and British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE).
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 Services to sound alarms in targeted areas of a building, such as a specific flat or floor, so that the public can be evacuated in line with how an incident develops. It is being delivered through Kentec’s Special Applications bespoke engineering department, which has a long-established pedigree for manufacturing evacuation control panels. The modular design allows for greater flexibility and site customization for the installer and end user and reduces lead time availability. Efficient tall-buildings rescue and evacuations The custom-build panel’s development follows the Grenfell tragedy and the 2019 BS 8629 Standard, which seeks to ensure residential buildings over 18 meters high are provided with an effective means to help the fire brigade evacuate efficiently and effectively, regardless of the manufacturer or specific design. It is available in two and three loop versions (expandable to four loops) with a modular design, where banks of five can be added to increase capacity, if required. In-built LED control panel illumination Evac-Point provides the market with a convenient, good-value and highly-sophisticated option" Derrick Hall, Sales Director at Kentec, stated “Evac-Point provides the market with a convenient, good-value and highly-sophisticated option. Other products on the market are only available in the largest sizes, meaning paying for functionality that is not required.” He adds, “Another differentiation is its in-built LED control panel illumination, provided as standard. The BS 8629 Standard recommends a lit environment, so this additional feature saves installing dedicated lighting separately. Our role as life-safety manufacturers is, as ever, to make the lives of our installers and the end users easier and safer.” Integrated with Syncro AS technology The Evac-Point system is available with a flush bezel so that it can be set into the wall, providing a secure and robust, two-point locking steel enclosure. It is based on the reliable Syncro AS technology, with an open protocol architecture that is compatible with Hochiki and Apollo protocols to provide maximum system design flexibility. Kentec is hosting a webinar on Monday 9th November 2020 from 11 am to 11.30 am, where Derrick Hall, Director of Sales, will talk about BS8629 and how it will impact any residential building over 18m, as well as how Kentec Electronics can help.
In response to a specific customer requirement, Kentec Electronics, 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. Functions And Benefits Of EACIE Panel Kentec’s made-to-order Evac-Point system uses user-defined zone reference labeling to enable fire services to sound alarms in targeted areas of a building, such as a specific flat or floor so that the public can be evacuated in line with how an incident develops. It is being delivered through Kentec’s Special Applications bespoke engineering department, which has a long-established pedigree for manufacturing evacuation control panels. The modular design allows for greater flexibility and site customization for the installer and end-user and reduces lead time availability. Its development follows the Grenfell tragedy and the 2019 BS 8629 Standard which seeks to ensure residential buildings over 18m are provided with an effective means to help the fire brigade evacuate efficiently and effectively, regardless of the manufacturer or specific design. in-built LED control panel illumination It is available in two and three-loop versions (expandable to four loops) with a modular design where banks of five can be added to increase capacity if required. EACIE panel provides a secure and robust, two-point locking, steel enclosureDerrick Hall, Sales Director at Kentec, says "Evac-Point provides the market with a convenient, good-value, and highly-sophisticated option. Other products on the market are only available in the largest sizes, meaning paying for functionality that is not required.” “Another differentiation is its in-built LED control panel illumination, provided as standard. The BS 8629 Standard recommends a lit environment, so this additional feature saves installing dedicated lighting separately. Our role as life-safety manufacturers is, as ever, to make the lives of our installers and the end-users easier and safer.” Syncro AS technology The Evac-Point is available with a flush bezel so that it can be set into the wall, providing a secure and robust, two-point locking, steel enclosure. It is based on the reliable Syncro AS technology, with an open protocol architecture that is compatible with Hochiki and Apollo protocols to provide maximum system design flexibility. Kentec is hosting a webinar on October 29, 2020, from 10.15 to 10.45 am, where Derrick Hall will discuss the product’s key benefits, functionality, and how it provides peace of mind that the BS 8629 recommendations have been met.
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 morning of the trial, and used it on a Colt 5,56 assault rifle to shoot down different kinds of drones from up to 150 meters. The test was successful, and the system proved to be very effective as all targets were shot down and eliminated. SMASH is a combat-proven Fire Control solution for small arms that ensures each round finds its target. Fire Control System With a unique "One Shot - One Hit" capability, SMASH allows the operator to quickly and effectively neutralize any ground or airborne target, manned or unmanned. It is a cost-effective solution that can be integrated onto any type of assault rifle and combined with other c-UAS systems, to provide an effective multi-layer defense solution suitable for the modern battlefield. Michal Mor, SMART SHOOTER CEO: "We are honored that the Dutch Army has decided to let its soldiers test and experiment with our systems, and are confident that the SMASH Fire Control System is an ideal hard-kill solution against the growing worldwide threat of UASs. Smart Shooter's SMASH systems are already in operational use by different defense forces, providing great results against ground, aerial, static or moving targets, and increasing the accuracy and lethality of small arms".
Two-day indoor and outdoor press event in Ulm with innovations, world firsts and surprising news: Presentation of the FireBull tracked fire engine in cooperation with Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, expansion of the AirCore fire-fighting technology with the TLF AirCore and AirCore TAF60 and partnerships for the future. At the press conference in Ulm on 24th and 25th September 2020, Magirus demonstrates its comprehensive expertise and many years of know-how, especially in the field of off-road and forest fire solutions. The company presents numerous innovations and world firsts on both days. vegetation fire-fighting The launch of the Magirus FireBull takes place on Friday at the company’s own test site Magirus CEO Marc Diening summarizes the direction as follows: “Today we are presenting our solutions for the special requirements of off-road operations, which fire departments and other emergency services are increasingly experiencing today and will continue to do in the future. Especially for vegetation fire-fighting, we are presenting ideas and concepts for the future based on our decades of international experience in this field, all of which are available right now, safe and reliably ready for use.” The launch of the Magirus FireBull takes place on Friday at the company’s own test site. The tracked fire engine, which is ready for series production, was built on a “PowerBully” caterpillar chassis from Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG - one of the world’s renowned providers of tracked vehicles. Thanks to its high payload with low ground pressure - and a fording depth of 1,400 mm, it can be used not only in impassable terrain but also on moors and in swampy areas. sufficient spare capacity In addition to a 10,000 liter extinguishing agent tank, the AirCore extinguishing turbine with a capacity of up to 3,500 liters per minute as well as equipment spaces for loading specific equipment are available in the AirCore version. The PowerBully 18 T chassis has a gross vehicle weight of 30,000 kg. With an operating weight of around 26 tones, the vehicle has sufficient spare capacity for individual needs and equipment Where wheeled vehicles reach their limits, the caterpillar drive provides the necessary agility combined with a high level of driving comfort - regardless of the surface. Magirus demonstrates a total of three new vehicles in which the highly efficient AirCore water mist technology is used. mobile vehicle concept With the new TLF AirCore, Magirus combines the extinguishing turbine on a lifting device, a tank with 3,500 liters of extinguishing agent and the all-terrain Iveco Eurocargo chassis to create a new type of mobile vehicle concept, which in terms of performance features and equipment picks up on and further develops established, tried-and-tested forest fire solutions from countries such as France and Italy. It meets all requirements for optimal performance and safety in the field. As announced at the 2019 press conference, Magirus is taking the next step with its AirCore TAF extinguishing robot As announced at the 2019 press conference, Magirus is taking the next step with its AirCore TAF extinguishing robot. By reducing the overall height from 2.15 meters to less than 2 meters, the range of applications of the vehicle is considerably extended. For the first time, the AirCore technology can also be used to extinguish fires in underground and multi-story car parks - places where the recovery of vehicles was not possible before. remote control technology Even burning vehicles can now be brought safely and quickly out of the danger zone by the AirCore TAF, as an accompanying and/or subsequent cooling can be carried out during the clearing operation. In view of the current problems in the recovery of burning electric vehicles, this opens up completely new possibilities. Using camera and remote control technology, these operations can be directed from a safe distance. At the same time, the turbine output has been increased by up to 6,000 liters per minute. Besides the TLF Aircore and the AirCore TAF60, many other innovations were presented on the first day. These include, for example, the production model of the Alpha Wolf R1 - a tactical deployment robot - as well as remote-controlled units for the detection and prevention of potential dangers via air surveillance and by means of transmission of HD video live communication from the company Alpha Robotics. push technological progress Many of these new products, will be on display on the Magirus stand at the FLORIAN trade fair in Dresden During the press conference, Magirus and Alpha Robotics announced their future collaboration. With his interdisciplinary team, Alpha Robotics Managing Director Oliver Rasche wants to push technological progress in fire departments and disaster control: “We look forward to working with Magirus to find new ways to make the operations and work of fire-fighters and emergency services even easier, better and safer in the future by developing and employing innovative technology and comprehensive tactics.” The company also presented other new products and innovations, including new versions of established vehicle concepts such as the CCFM (French: Camion Citerne Forêts Moyen) forest fire engine to French specifications or the new Magirus MLF (medium pumper), which for the first time is based on an Iveco Daily 4x4 chassis with a gross vehicle weight of 7 tones, automatic transmission and a permanently installed pump. disaster control vehicle The disaster control vehicle LF KatS and the fire engine TLF 4000 are also benefiting from numerous extensions and innovations considering the latest requirements and standards. With the agile fire engine TLF 2000 with its reduced wheelbase, automatic transmission and integrated, internal 2,000-litre water tank, Magirus closes the gap in compact, all-terrain fire engines. Many of these, as well as other innovations and new products, will be on display on the Magirus stand at the FLORIAN trade fair in Dresden from 8th to 10th October 2020.
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.
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.
According to the 2009 edition of the Emergency Care Research Institute Health Devices Guide, operating room fires rank third on the top 10 technology hazards. ECRI estimates that between 550 to 650 fires occur in operating rooms in the United States. The most common sites where fires were the head, face, neck and upper chest (Hart, MD et al. 2011) which means that patients are disproportionately at risk compared to patients exposed to fire risks in other parts of a hospital. Fire hazards in Operating Rooms I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the design or implementation of fire protection and life safety systems at different stages in several hospitals across Latin America. In these projects, fire professionals have recognized the importance of protecting the operating room from fire and electrical risks. The risk is heightened considering the cost of the medical equipment that exists there, but not many people really grasp the level of risk that exists during surgery. The risk is heightened considering the cost of the medical equipment Fires in these type of places are especially deadly because they might occur directly on the skin or air ways of patients on oxygen enriched environments. Hospital designers and planners should focus on prevention first, and with the help of medical experts create an environment where the likelihood of a fire is kept to the minimum, and where doctors and nurses have access and means to put down fires and keep patients out of harm. Common fire sources The most common fire sources that can be found in this type of environment are medical PPEs, such as gowns, hood and masks, drapes, towels and sponges that cover or are used over the patient’s skin, as well as plastic tubes and accessories directly attached to the patient and that might go into the airways. There are also different kinds of flammable chemicals and alcohol-based solutions used to prepare and clean the patient and the presence of medical gases. ECRI considers the patient’s skin and hair can be considered as fire sources as well, when certain conditions are met, like high oxygen concentrations on the air. According to the ECRI guide, 68% of fires in operating rooms were caused by electrosurgery equipment and other electrical hemostatic devices. In these environments prone to high concentrations of oxygen, any spark can become a potential ignition source. Between the medical equipment that might cause sparks, you can find: high speed surgical drills, defibrillators, lasers and electrocautery units. Of course, the most obvious ignition sources found in an OR are damaged cables and wires. The NFPA 99 (Standard for Fire Protection in Healthcare Facilities) considers that medical air and gas distribution systems have an inherent risk of fire and explosion associated with them, because these gases can act as oxidizers and create ideal conditions for ignition. Many studies indicate that almost any material can ignite with oxygen concentrations on the air above 30% (normal O2 concentration on the air is 21%). It’s also important to mention that nitrous oxide used in anesthesia supports combustion the same manner as oxygen (Hart MD. Et al. 2011). Types of Fires and how to minimize their risk According to the ECRI, fires in the operating room environment can be divided into fires that occur in the OR environment, like ignitions on medical equipment or materials stored or located around the operating table, and fires that ignite directly over the skin and airways of the patient. Many studies consider that 44% of fires over the patient’s skin are in the face, neck, head or upper chest and 21% on the airways. “The basic elements of a fire are always present during surgery” says Mark Bruley, vice president of Accident and Forensic Investigation on ECRI. “Slow reaction or the use of improper firefighting techniques and tools can lead to damage, destruction or death”. This calls for active involvement of the medical staff, including surgeons and anesthesiologists, in fire prevention training and pre-surgery planning. The basic elements of fire, such as oxygen, are always present during surgery Fire prevention in pre-surgery planning ECRI and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) strongly recommend that surgeons and nurses should include fire prevention and possible hazard identification during their pre-surgery planning. “Each one control a specific side of the fire tetrahedron and by properly managing their technique and part of the equation, surgical fires can be avoided” says Bruley. Medical staff should identify the location of gas and oxygen shutoff valves and evaluate the need of oxygen concentrations above 25%. Organizations like the OMS recommend avoiding the use of open oxygen sources on the face during procedures and use tracheal tubes or laryngeal masks instead. Also, it’s a good practice to use floor to ceiling drapes to create a barrier between the oxygen-enriched atmosphere around the operating table and the rest of the room. Staff should participate in drills and training on the use of firefighting equipment Also, ECRI recommends that all the staff should participate in drills and training on the use of firefighting equipment and rescue and escape methods. In case of a fire, all oxygen and medical gas sources need to be managed, and medical equipment removed or relocated (if possible) if they are directly affected by fire or the fire extinguished in place. It’s important to note that ECRI and other institutions, like the World Health Organization, recommend that fire extinguishers should be used only after the patient has been safely removed from the hazard. In extreme cases of fires over the patient’s skin, ECRI says that a CO2 extinguisher is preferable because they minimize tissue contamination and damage. Fire Protection Equipment in the Operating Room The IFC (International Fire Code) and the NFPA 99 and 101 (Life Safety Code) provide several guidelines to manage fire safety in healthcare facilities. Fire protection means can be passive or active, and one of them doesn’t exclude the other. Passive fire protection serves the purpose to minimize fire spread through ventilation, electrical wiring and openings through walls and windows. They need to be designed to keep flames and smoke from nearby fires away from the operating room, and to prevent smoke and flames that might occur inside one operating room to spread to the nearby areas. These protections include, but are not limited to: Walls, floors and ceilings should not only be fire rated for 120 minutes, and doors for at least ¾ of that time, but to be constructed in a manner that they are sealed to prevent smoke and flame leakage inside and outside. Use of fire stoppings in all ventilation, electrical and other kind of ducts that go through fire rated walls, floors or ceilings. Use of intumescent coverings in all structural and non-structural elements. Use of fire-retardant furniture, although is important that almost no material is fire retardant in atmospheres where the oxygen concentration is over 30%. Dampers and smoke control systems. All electrical systems and medical air, gas and oxygen distribution systems should be designed according the guidelines of the NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code) and the NFPA 99. Active fire protection Active fire protection includes automatic detection and alarm and extinguishing measures Active fire protection includes automatic detection and alarm and extinguishing measures. Fire extinguishers should be located for easy access and clearly identified by a plastic sign from the wall to the ceiling. Even though the NFPA 101 recognizes that fire sprinklers are mandatory in healthcare facilities, they should not be activated during an active surgery because this water might contaminate open wounds. In fact, ECRI recommends against the use of any water-based fire extinguished in operating rooms, including water mist systems. Also, the ECRI mentions that water that pools near or below medical equipment can cause electric shocks to the occupants. Regarding automatic detection and alarm, point type smoke detectors are not recommended for this type of application because they can accumulate dust, and regular dust contains levels of dead human tissue that might contaminate the environment. early fire detection Operating rooms call for early detection to avoid damages to costly medical equipment, but most importantly to minimize the risk and exposure to smoke and flames to staff and patients. The preferred detection method for this kind of application is aspirating smoke detection. Considering that operating rooms usually use forced ventilation, international guidelines propose the use of high sensibility detectors. The EN 54-20 prescribes Class 1 o Class 2 sensibility for rooms with high velocity air changes. Bosch Security and Safety Systems offer the Invisible Type smoke detector which doesn’t use a smoke chamber to detect smoke particles, but instead uses a state of the art technology and patented infrared source arrangement that allows it to be completely flat and with no openings. This detector can be easily cleaned, and with the IP66 back box accessory it doesn’t accumulate any dust whatsoever. Duct smoke detection should be installed in the air conditioning ducts to activate dampers and smoke control systems. As with fire extinguishers, manual pull stations should be properly located and identified to allow medical staff to give alert of a potential fire hazard. Notification appliances Notification appliances activate in specific areas of the hospital In the event of a fire, notification appliances activate in specific areas of the hospital, related to the fire location and risk. Inside operating rooms only visible notification is recommended, because audible signals might affect patient’s wellbeing. Voice evacuation should be activated in common and prepping areas nearby the operating rooms. All the fire detection and notification devices shall be connected to a central Fire Alarm panel (FACP) to allow staff in charge of fire and evacuation response to receive timely information and make real time decisions. The panel and all the systems related to fire detection and evacuation should be installed according to the NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code), EN 54-14, BS 5839 or any local relevant guidelines. Proper maintenance of all passive and active fire protection systems and regular training and preparation from medical staff and doctors are critical to minimize the risk of fires in operating rooms. Prevention is the first step, but when fires occur, optimal outcomes depend on coordinated team efforts (Hart MD. Et al, 2011). Also, a comprehensive fire safety program should be implemented in all hospital areas, including operating rooms.
With commercial fires up 46% during lockdown, it’s crucial to understand and become more aware of the damage fire risks can have on a business when left undetected and unresolved. Fires can be a devastating experience for all, resulting in irreversible physical damage and, arguably more importantly, the unseen destruction of jobs, livelihoods, families and homes. While the risk of fire can never be completely eradicated, there are things you can do to help minimize the problem. More than simply guarding against a worst-case scenario, this is about making sure your business is as robust as possible. In other words, ensuring that you have in place effective protection long before a 911 call is required. Returning to work Evaluate how things may have changed since COVID-19 As businesses return to their premises, it’s a good idea to evaluate how things may have changed since COVID-19. Many premises remain either closed entirely, open for reduced hours or are operating with reduced staff. Even if you completed a fire risk assessment just before the pandemic began, it may need revisiting in light of these recent changes. For example, the amount of stock put into storage or the number of people using the building may have changed, and new risk factors may have emerged. Have employees trained as fire marshals been furloughed since the pandemic or unable to return to work? Any one of these factors being changed will require you to fill out a new fire risk assessment. If on the other hand, if your building remains unused – due to COVID-19 or other factors – it’s important to realize your responsibilities. Empty, unmanned buildings are at increased risk of break-ins and arson, failure to comply with best practice can put you at risk of insurance invalidation: Ensure that all keys to the building are accounted for and recovered. If any are missing, it is highly recommended that the locks are changed as soon as possible Apart from essential services such as lighting or fire and security systems, disconnect all services and utilities at the perimeter of the building In winter, maintain temperatures at or above 4ºC to avoid frost damage to any sprinkler system or other essential water services. Drain down all tanks except those which specifically need to be used Remove as much combustible material as you can, especially litter and scattered paperwork Secure letter flaps, install an anti-arson metal box inside and redirect mail Given the variety of business premises it’s difficult to say what’s likely to be a cause of fire in any one situation – which is why it’s essential to have an up-to-date fire risk assessment carried out by someone who can provide a more in-depth assessment aligned with your ways of working. Getting this done will give you a good understanding of the potential causes of fire in your workplace and is a good place to start for any business owner. protection methods If your premises are largely empty due to COVID-19 restrictions, you must ensure you have a protection method in place that isn’t primarily dependent upon people, such as fire extinguishers or fire hoses. It is crucial to install and test a monitored smoke detection system or automatic fire sprinklers which can help protect the premises whilst it remains vacant. While you can never have too many systems in place to protect your business from fire, there are a few key ones to consider: Fire ExtinguishersThere are different fire extinguishers for different types of fire, your fire risk assessment will contain information on the ignition and fuel risks that are in your building and you should ensure that the correct type of device is selected, either mounted on the wall or a special stand with a label that shows the types of fire the extinguisher is suitable for and basic operating instructions. Sprinkler SystemsModern Automatic Fire Suppression Systems, commonly called sprinklers, can save lives and livelihoods. They provide protection from fire damage and, most importantly, give people a greater chance of getting out if there is a blaze. If you’re unlucky enough to have a fire they can significantly reduce the cost of the damage it causes by reducing its spread and severity. Monitored Smoke and Fire AlarmsWhether your building is currently unoccupied or you’re starting to return to work, having a monitored smoke detector and fire alarm allow you to rest easy knowing that even if the battery is low or there’s a technical fault, they’re still effective. Fire alarm systems such as those from ADT are monitored 24/7/365 which help you rest assured knowing you can depend on your system and our team to take care of things even when you’re not close by. Fire Hose ReelsA level up from extinguishers, fire hose reels offer a quick and inexhaustible flow of water. They can be installed by a single technician, minimising disruption to your business, and in an emergency they’re easy to identify and use. Emergency LightingAll fire-fighting equipment and alarms, emergency routes and exits must be well lit. That includes lighting at every door, corridor, floor level, staircase. Your emergency lighting should, of course, be tested regularly. In the event of a fire, you’ll want to get out quickly and safely.
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.
Understanding the underlying causes of wildfires enables us to control them better over the long haul. One element is climate change, which has created conditions prone to wildfires by increasing heat, changing rain and snow patterns, and shifting plant communities. But there are also other contributing factors in the growing scale and intensity of wildfires. One is the condition of the forests in Australia, California, and other areas where the incidence of wildfires has increased. In California, for example, it is well known that the forests are unhealthy and in need of more prescribed burns and other thinning efforts. However, given California’s 33 million acres of forest land, more than half of it publicly owned, even an ambitious effort like addressing the needs of a million acres a year would require decades to fix the problem. managing the landscape We as a society need to decide how we can restore our forests, and start a conversation about what that looks like" “We know that getting our forests back to a healthy state will be the most effective way to cope with fires in the future,” says Jessica Block, Associate Director for Operational Programs at the WIFIRE Lab at the University of California San Diego. “However, massive fires are destroying the ability of forests to recover." The goal is not to stop wildfires but to understand the role of fire as part of the natural processes of managing the landscape. “We as a society need to decide how we can restore our forests, and start a conversation about what that looks like,” adds Block. “We should think of forests as a system we live in, and a system that we should be able to live in. Understanding the system is the goal, so that we can make all the right decisions in the future.” identify and control wildfires Fires are eating up forests that are way too dense and that have way too many standing trees, and state and federal agencies alone cannot solve the problem. Furthermore, the stakes are literally life and death: Thousands will die, whether in the wildfires or from the effects of inhaling smoke. The negative impact on long-term health is impossible to measure. Especially troubling is the impact of wildfires at the so-called wildland-urban interface (WUI), where growing population centers border on wildlands at risk of fire. Current fire models are not designed for these areas, so more work is needed to address these specific risks. Almost everyone agrees that the solution is to identify and control wildfires at early stages before they get out of control and turn into huge fires that impact millions of acres. automatic detection capabilities Today, postings on social media are an early warning sign but may not identify the exact location of a fire New technologies are helping to identify nascent wildfires. One option is the addition of automatic detection capabilities to the AlertWildfire network of cameras that currently keeps watch throughout five Western states to provide early warning of wildfires. So far, human volunteers have been used to track the cameras, but automation is on the horizon. One application of machine learning is to detect a smoke flume. A critical element is the ability to tell the difference between smoke and clouds, which humans can easily differentiate but is difficult to automate. With machine learning, computers should be able to “learn” the difference. Soon, mechanisms will exist to detect the location of a fire via multiple inputs - web cameras, social media and satellite images. Today, postings on social media are an early warning sign but may not identify the exact location of a fire. Working together, the other tools can help to pinpoint the location. Alerts to fire dispatchers must be verified as real to avoid misuse of resources.
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.
Lake Assault Boats, part of Fraser Shipyards and a renowned manufacturer of purpose-built, mission-specific fire and rescue boats, has delivered a custom 26-foot craft to the Bartow County Fire Department located in Northwest Georgia. The boat was placed into service in July and is serving on Lake Allatoona, located 30 miles north of Atlanta. “Lake Allatoona is one of the most popular lakes in the entire country, and we’re honored to have one of our custom craft now on duty with the Bartow County Fire Department,” said Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats Vice President of Operations. “The boat’s versatile configuration enables firefighters to quickly and effectively respond to a wide range of on-the-water emergencies.” hydraulically operated bow door The modified V-hull craft’s configuration includes a 9-foot, 6-inch beam and a 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door. Other components include a 1,250 GPM fire pump driven by a dedicated 6-cylinder engine. A pair of 150 hp four-stroke outboards power the craft. The boat is equipped with a full-width T-top pilothouse offering an interior clearance height of 76-inches, and its ergonomic helm station features a 12-inch Garmin touchscreen integrated with GPS, sonar with SideVu and DownVu, and Chart Plotting. emergency response We met the folks from Lake Assault Boats at a trade show, and started a conversation that led to our purchase" “This new fireboat takes our department’s emergency response capabilities to a whole new level,” said Deputy Chief Marcus Warren of the Bartow County Fire Department. “The hydraulic bow door, in particular, enables us to beach the craft on a shoreline and quickly deploy an ATV, equipment, and firefighters. It is also an extremely valuable feature for our dive team during rescue operations.” “We met the folks from Lake Assault Boats at a trade show, and started a conversation that led to our purchase,” explained Deputy Chief Warren. “Ultimately, our order was placed through the Houston-Galveston Area Council purchasing cooperative, and it was a very smooth process.” mutual aid services Lake Allatoona is primarily located in Bartow County, but portions are situated in Cherokee County and Cobb County. The shoreline includes eight marinas, fifteen public boat ramps, many year-round residences, summer cottages, resorts, and hundreds of campgrounds. “The lake can be extremely busy, so we also provide mutual aid services to other department on the lake,” Warren said, “especially during busy national holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.”
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.
Cadiz Fire Brigade in Spain has recently taken delivery of new, state-of-the-art fire kit supplied by Bristol Uniforms, a globally renowned designer and manufacturer of protective clothing for emergency services across the globe. The contract was secured through Bristol’s international distributor, El Corte Ingles, who fought off stiff competition to secure the four-year contract. Ergonomic XFlex design Cadiz has ordered 780 sets of Bristol’s lightweight, ergonomic XFlex design (called FireFlex in Spain), with integrated safety harnesses incorporated into the jacket and trouser. The kit has a Hainsworth TITAN1250 outer, a highly breathable fabric featuring Nomex and a high percentage of Kevlar, which gives the fabric outstanding tensile and tear strength. In addition, it has a GORE-TEX FIREBLOCKER moisture barrier, which is made from a micro-porous breathable fabric that stops water passing through to the firefighter’s personal clothing, whilst allowing sweat to escape and reducing heat stress. Four-year care and maintenance contract To ensure health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract To further protect the health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract, so as to ensure that the kit is kept in good condition and free from contamination. Total Safety manages all Bristol’s garment care and maintenance in Spain and has worked with Bristol for more than 25 years. It collects soiled garments from customers and returns them clean and repaired within 72 hours. Featuring integrated safety harness Paco Griso, Bristol Uniform’s agent in Spain, said “The new kit has now been rolled out to firefighters in the Province of Cadiz and we are already getting positive feedback from them. They are really pleased with how flexible the kit is and how easy it to maneuver in tight spaces. The integrated harnesses, certified to EN 361, are an additional safety feature which will help prevent serious falls in fire and recuse situations.” Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms, said “This is a large contract for us in Spain, which was delivered on time, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the risks of wearing contaminated PPE have become ever more apparent, more and more fire and rescue services across the globe are opting for ongoing care and maintenance packages, so as to ensure their PPE is free of carcinogens and the health of their crew is prioritized.”
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.”
C-TEC’s new Hush ActiV BS 5839-6 Grade C domestic fire alarm systems are providing top-grade fire protection at several Ministry of Defense-managed residential properties in North Wales. Located on the banks of the Menai Strait, the stretch of shallow tidal water that separates Angelsey from the mainland, the spacious homes are part of The Joint Service Mountain Training Centre Indefatigable, a facility designed to provide affordable holiday accommodation for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Each of the three-bedroomed properties is equipped with Hush ActiV smoke detectors in the entrance hall and stairs, a heat detector in the kitchen and sounder beacons in the bedrooms, all connected to a Hush ActiV controller. With its easy-to-operate low level controller, the system offers simple detection, alarm, silencing and test facilities at light-switch level - occupants simply press ‘HUSH’ on the controller to silence an unwanted alarm. Fire protection and minimal false fire alarms Said Darren Morrell, Director of Olympian Fire, the specialist installation company that completed the project: “Our client required a system that would provide the families staying in the properties with the highest levels of fire protection and minimal false fire alarms. We specified Hush ActiV, a high-quality cost-effective fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C solution, as it offers greater levels of protection than the unmonitored battery alarm Grade D systems typically used in these properties and virtually eliminates false alarms." “Hush ActiV is a fantastic option for domestic dwellings that don’t require all-out conventional fire alarm systems. Our client is delighted and the success of the project has led to C-TEC’s more sophisticated Hush Pro domestic fire solution being specified at some other MoD facilities where connection to a communal/landlord system is required.”
Round table discussion
Equipment is an important element in fighting fires, and in keeping firefighters safe. But what new needs are driving the development of equipment? How can equipment expand its role in fighting fires, or in managing building occupancy and traffic flow for that matter? We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the new trends and opportunities in firefighting equipment?
When a fire or other emergency occurs in a building or facility, first responders depend on every available resource to ensure a safe and orderly evacuation and response. One element in any response plan is the facility’s physical security systems, including access control, video surveillance and intrusion detection. How can these systems contribute to an orderly response to a chaotic situation? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the role of security systems in the event of a fire or other emergency evacuation?
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?