Fire stations are unique environments with conditions that could be conducive to the spread of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19. Firefighters live in close quarters for 24-hour shifts, and then return home to their families. Reports about “hot” firehouses have helped to emphasize the need to follow best practices to avoid the spread of the disease. The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) has compiled a list of guidelines that departments can put into practice to...
Chubb has been appointed the exclusive UK distributor, installer and service provider of SmartCell, a complete wireless fire detection platform by EMS. The platform provides customers with smaller commercial sites and properties complete control of their fire safety systems’ performance and strategy. Chubb and EMS are part of Carrier, a global provider of innovative heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies. Fire...
New government legislation due to come into force in the United Kingdom on July 1st will require electrical installations in privately rented properties to be tested and inspected at least once every 5 years. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations (2020) will require landlords to enlist qualified electricians to complete inspections and provide certification to tenants – or face fines of up to £30,000. While the risk of fire can never be entire...
There have been challenges with completing fire safety maintenance and installation projects during the current Covid-19 crisis, most notably as a result of the difficulties for installers in safely accessing sites. Many construction projects halted for lockdown and this resulted in approximately 50% of the British installers we work with having to furlough staff. The challenges, however, are not just restricted to the UK. With Kentec panels sold in more than 90 countries across the world, we ha...
Almost 300 ambulance shifts were completed by Norfolk’s firefighters during their first month of supporting their blue light colleagues during the Covid-19 pandemic. The first group of 24 on-call firefighters who volunteered for the secondment carried out 278 shifts, equating to 3,336 hours of work, during the first four weeks after completing their training. They have now returned to their fire stations and been replaced with a further 25 on-call firefighters who started their ambulance...
Venari Group has confirmed a major exclusive partnership agreement for the firefighting sector, with one of the helmet manufacturers, SCHUBERTH. SCHUBERTH is a famous, 90-year old, manufacturer of safety helmets for motorcyclists and motorsport, including Formula One. For decades, it has also been one of the most popular helmets among German motorcyclists. And having produced EN 443-certified firefighting helmets for over 50 years, the company has selected recently launched Venari Group as its...
The latest Introduction into the Angloco Mist-Tech Range is the new and unique Battery driven misting system the VMSB 2000. All vehicle mounted misting systems are usually powered by an internal combustion engine. This can create problems with their installation, for example engine noise, exhaust emissions and in some cases having to carry another type of fuel. Battery powered misting system Angloco is all concerned about the environment and there must be a better way and following months of prototype testing Angloco is pleased to say they have the first battery powered misting system. The system has the latest technology from the batteries through to the power supply. The power source is a bank of batteries, the D.C battery power is then converted by an invertor to A.C and this drives the motor connected to the pump. It’s simple to operate and no complicated installation is required, Battery power: no pollution, very quiet operation and no fuels to deal with. The VMSB 2000 system will run for over an hour on one full charge.
The UK’s oldest manufacturer of fire vehicles – based in Batley – is readying itself for the biggest recruitment drive in its 54-year history, as the team prepares for its largest ever period of growth. Established in 1965, fire fighting and rescue vehicle specialist Angloco has already doubled production levels in the last 18 months, which sees 2017-18 turnover of £13m look set to rocket to £25m by the end of 2020. Water tender appliances But with the uplift showing no sign of slowing, the 90-strong team now needs at least another 12 employees by December 2019, with more vacancies undoubtedly on the horizon for the following year too. A key trigger for the sharp growth was winning a number of new long-term multi-vehicle contracts A key trigger for the sharp growth was winning a number of new long-term multi-vehicle contracts, for example from Essex County Fire and Rescue back in 2014. Until that point, Angloco – which designs and builds its own products – had concentrated on specialist or one-off vehicles for the UK and export market. But the first ‘long run’ of water tender appliances for Essex has gone on to see the team design and manufacture 59 units for that Service, over the last four years. Increasing momentum and production capacity With longer runs of ‘standard’ equipment now a mainstay of the business alongside ongoing specialist one offs, all eyes are now on staffing levels to enable Angloco to increase momentum and production capacity. “We’re lucky to boast a loyal, talented workforce,” commented managing director Alistair Brown – who joined Angloco as business development manager in 2004 before taking the helm in 2017. “In fact, 39 people have been with the company for more than ten years. But as a fast-growing and dynamic business, we need to significantly boost the team. We’re therefore currently looking for skilled individuals to join our design, production and service departments, and will also consider untrained but bright, capable people who are ready to learn.” Reducing water consumption There’s an immense amount of pride associated with building a fire engine" “There’s an immense amount of pride associated with building a fire engine. For many of our team, these vehicles are works of art. And to know they’re leaving our HQ in Batley, to go on and save lives around the world, is incredibly fulfilling.” Angloco has also recently acquired a majority shareholding in Mist-Tech. This Polish company is the brains behind an innovation which allows fire and rescue services to extinguish blazes using miniscule water droplets without the need for the ultra-high pressures typically required. The significantly reduced water consumption saves costs and helps protect the environment. Incredibly rewarding and friendly environment “Angloco has grown organically, which is something we’re particularly proud of,” continued Alistair. “We’re entirely self-funded with no external investment, and in the past three years we’ve taken the business into a whole new chapter. We’re now an iconic British brand and we have a promising future.” Angloco now supplies all UK Fire and Rescue Services with vehicles and equipment, and has exported to 70 overseas countries to date. Alistair’s father, Bill Brown, joined the business as a trouble-shooter in 1973, before buying shares, managing the company into the 1980s and taking it into family ownership in 1986. Alistair concluded: “This is an ideal time to join a growing team and to quickly learn new skills in an incredibly rewarding and friendly environment.”
On the 8th June, 2020, the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service will be opening recruitment process for wholetime firefighters. Between now and then, the fire and rescue service wants to raise awareness of the role of modern day firefighters and encourage applications from all parts of the communities. Raise awareness on fire safety When the recruitment application window opens, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will be recruiting wholetime firefighters for the following fire stations: Day crewed fire stations (Ripon, Malton, Tadcaster, Selby and Whitby), Self-Roster fire stations (Northallerton and Richmond) and; Shift fire stations (Acomb, Huntington, York, Scarborough and Harrogate). Details about the different types of crewing for the stated fire stations can be found on the company website. Recruiting wholetime firefigthers We’ll soon be launching our recruitment window for wholetime firefighters again" North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chief Fire Officer, Andrew Brodie said, “We’ll soon be launching our recruitment window for wholetime firefighters again, and it doesn’t get more exciting. Last year’s intake is embedded in their teams on our fire and rescue stations and helping communities to Be Safe and Feel Safe.” He adds, “The role of a modern-day firefighter is varied. It’s much more than just attending emergency incidents, so ignore any thoughts of simply having to fight fires and cut up cars. It’s more about educating communities, engaging with people, delivering activities and events, planning and forming partnerships, and being creative prevent, protect and creating community resilience.” Protecting and creating community resilience Andrew Brodie stated, “Response is a last resort. We need people who are caring, compassionate and inventive, who enjoy working as part of a team and who want to make a truly positive difference to people. Being a good firefighter isn’t about being good at fighting fires, that’s only a part of it. Being a good firefighter is about being good at everything that the role involves.” He further adds, “Such a varied role needs a varied firefighters’ workforce. We welcome applications from all parts of our communities. We need to improve our diversity to reflect our diverse communities, so we are particularly interested in people from groups that are currently under-represented in the Service.” Firefighting standards Andrew said, “But this isn’t about varying standards of entry into the service. Everyone goes through the same process and achieves the same minimum standards.” He adds, “Our message is simple; this is great opportunity to join a progressive and essential organization. So, if you’ve always dreamt of becoming a firefighter or you’ve never considered it before but think it could be the job for you now, we’d love to hear from you.” Firefighters’ eligibility and selection process Firefighters across North Yorkshire play a crucial role in keeping us safe and feeling safe" Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said, “Firefighters across North Yorkshire play a crucial role in keeping us safe and feeling safe, and I’m pleased that we are able to add to our wholetime team. I would encourage anyone interested in joining our brilliant team of men and women to consider applying for these important roles.” Anyone aged 18 or over can apply to become a firefighter; when the application window opens on the 8th of June, 2020. However, candidates will be required to meet all requirements of the role. There are various stages of the application process and the candidates must complete and be successful at each stage to progress to the next stage. The application process for recruitment to the fire service will be open to those who are aged 17 so long as they will have attained the age of 18, prior to commencing in their new role in April 2021.
According to their South African manufacturer ThoroughTec, CYBERDRIVE ARFF simulators are the perfect solution for organizations looking to dramatically improve ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting) operational readiness while also cutting costs. When ThoroughTec first started out over 25 years ago, the founders had two overarching goals – ‘to always build great products’ and ‘to only employ thoroughbreds.’ To this day, these goals are enshrined in the corporate philosophy and have no doubt contributed to exponential year-on-year growth. Boosting operational readiness But what is the true essence of ThoroughTec? Certified to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, the company prides itself on being one of the pioneer suppliers of land-based heavy equipment simulations, including ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting) solutions. The CYBERDRIVE ARFF simulator set to be unveiled at INTERSCHUTZ The CYBERDRIVE ARFF simulator set to be unveiled at INTERSCHUTZ - now postponed till next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic - is designed to significantly boost the operational readiness of ARFF teams while also reducing the associated costs. Developing operator proficiency Rising fuel prices, concerns relating to emissions and safety, wear and tear on increasingly complex and expensive vehicles, and the practical limitations of live fire training that is as realistic as possible are among the general drawbacks of traditional emergency drills. Simulator-based ARFF training is intended to help overcome these constraints, providing an efficient, cost-effective method of developing operator proficiency and ensuring crew readiness. The ThoroughTec CYBERDRIVE ARFF simulator is perfect for training establishments and also for on-site use by airport fire departments. Potential applications include testing potential new recruits, carrying out refresher training, developing new skills and maintaining these capabilities.
Kochek Company, LLC has introduced its new HiRise Kit, carefully designed to carry the basic tools and adapters needed to combat fire in hotel and high-rise buildings. Developed in response to requests from first responders for a convenient, grab-and-go bag, each Kochek HiRise Kit contains two spanner wrenches, one line-pressure gauge, one 09k valve, and one 2.5” elbow. Kochek HiRise Kit Kochek's HiRise Kit bag is constructed of heavy reinforced vinyl with a double heavy-duty waterproof reinforced bottom and measures 18"L x 12"D x 18"H. Extra wide nylon handle straps have a snap button closure which allows quick access even while wearing gloves. Its 288 cubic inch interior provides ample space for additional items such as wedges, adapters, door stops, door straps, rope, and tools. When fully packed with the included items, the Kochek HiRise Kit Bag weighs 16.25 lb. Efficient decontamination and cleaning Tool divider inserts attach with Velcro for easy removal to facilitate decontamination and cleaning. The bags are black and feature sewn-on reflectors for enhanced visibility. Reference new part number HIRISEKIT25-01-NH52.
Allison Transmission presented the UROVESA K6 IS, equipped with the Allison 3000 Series™ transmission, at SICUR 2020 (February 25-28, IFEMA trade fair center, Madrid). The vehicle features a chassis with a maximum GVW of 16 metric tonnes, excellent traction and extremely robust parts. It is specifically designed for off-road work on very rough terrain with full loads. It is in great demand for forest firefighting applications due to its innovative 4-wheel independent suspension system combined with three locking differentials, one in each axle and one in the transfer case. Independent suspension system Thanks to this configuration, and even if only one wheel has ground contact, the vehicle can negotiate very rough terrain at twice the speed of conventional 4x4 trucks. All this enables firefighting teams to reach fires in the remotest of locations rapidly and safely. The K6 IS is a unique vehicle in the global high-mobility off-road market" “The K6 IS is a unique vehicle in the global high-mobility off-road market, and is specifically designed for emergency services and firefighting,” said Justo Sierra, President and CEO at UROVESA. “It affords greater guarantees of safety and efficiency than other vehicles, thanks to an independent suspension system and the Allison 3000 Series™ automatic transmission. As an option the vehicle can also include the integrated output retarder, which enhances braking whilst reducing brake pad wear.” Enhancing driver ergonomics “Allison 3000 Series automatic transmissions provide a number of advantages for URO vehicles,” said Sierra. “These transmissions facilitate driving, prevent gear shift errors, enable both hands to be on the wheel at all times and enhance driver ergonomics and safety. The optional retarder avoids the need for excessive braking, particularly on long grades, resulting in greater driver comfort and improved safety. The reliability of Allison Automatics means lower maintenance costs and consequently greater productivity throughout the lifecycle of the vehicle.” A key element that sets Allison transmissions apart from other models is the torque converter, which eliminates the need for a clutch. “The Allison torque converter optimizes the operation of vehicles required to work off-road and fight forest fires, such as the K6 IS. It offers excellent efficiency and engine torque use. Moreover, it protects the engine and the entire drivetrain of the vehicle because it mitigates the torque peaks transmitted to mechanical elements with manual transmissions. The result is longer vehicle service life,” said Sierra. Provider of automatic transmissions Allison offers added confidence to Spanish firefighters, who know that they will arrive quickly" Trond Johansen, European Key Fleets and Market Development Manager at Allison Transmission, highlighted the excellent reputation Allison has built up over its 105-year history: “Our transmissions are renowned for reliability and durability. We have been developing outstanding products for 100 years, a fact that has now positioned us as the leading provider of automatic transmissions to the emergency services in Spain. Allison offers added confidence to Spanish firefighters, who know that they will arrive quickly and safely to their destination.” Allison provides this security in multiple applications. “The great benefits of fitting trucks with Allison was recently proven once again in two mythical and extremely tough races: the Dakar Rally 2020 in Saudi Arabia and the Africa Eco Race, where a number of Allison-equipped vehicles occupied the leading positions,” said Johansen. Special off-Road vehicles Since 1981, UROVESA has supplied special off-road vehicles designed for the most demanding civil and military missions all over the world. The company’s relationship with Allison dates back to 1989, when it became the first manufacturer in Spain to use automatic transmissions. “We have been working with Allison for 30 years. Since then, we have manufactured over 7,000 vehicles with automatic transmissions,” said Sierra. “It has been a very positive relationship in terms of both customer satisfaction and reliability, with an extremely low number of incidents. Allison is a global benchmark and a leading brand worldwide. Equipping vehicles with Allison transmissions is a safe bet and generates confidence amongst our clients, which is extremely important. Working with Allison has proven to be a great success, both technically and commercially.”
Over the last decade, fire protection has been transformed by the rise of addressable, IP-based devices embedded in networked fire alarm system infrastructure. The scalability and modular architecture of digital fire alarm systems has unlocked a new level of fire safety, for instance by pinpointing the exact location of a triggered smoke detector in an alarm, or by interfacing with public address systems for phased building evacuations. For system integrators, installation and maintenance of alarm systems have reached new levels of efficiency – including automated service alerts and far fewer false alarms – with unprecedented cost savings. Accordingly, the world market for fire alarm systems has seen significant growth, driven by the digitization of existing systems to meet higher safety standards and legislation. Experts at Grand View Research expect the market to increase from $52.2 billion in 2016 to $93.5 billion by 2022. Addressable systems – including IP-networked smoke detectors and fire panels – already account for more than two-thirds of the alarm technologies segment. And, as analog systems are being phased out, their share will soon be 100 percent. Networked fire alarm systems With that said, all elements are in place for the second, even more fundamental transformation in fire protection: In the near future, a growing amount of networked fire alarm systems will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). In the near future, a growing amount of networked fire alarm systems will be connected to the IoTThis is part of a larger trend across industries, including smart homes and smart buildings automated by a mixture of sensor data and artificial intelligence (AI). The number of IoT-connected devices worldwide is expected to exceed 14 billion by 2022, more than half of the world’s 28.5 billion connected devices. For technology providers like Bosch, the IoT’s level of networked intelligence calls for a strategic response. “Our strategic target for all of our electronic product categories is to be IoT-enabled by 2020,” said Volkmar Denner, CEO of Bosch. This vision is supported by “3S’s” in Bosch’s connectivity business: sensors, software, and services. In developing and implementing services and solutions for the connected world, Bosch benefits from its expertise in software and sensor technology as well as, in particular, its broad business portfolio. Remote Services lead the way When it comes to bringing the IoT into the fire safety segment, Bosch envisions a future in which connected devices – and their data – open up new kinds of services that offer significant benefits to end customers and system integrators. This digital transformation journey is already well underway, as IoT-based applications are already enhancing the fire safety service offering on several levels. As a prerequisite, networked system architecture such as fire panels and sensors need to connect to the internet via nodes, hubs, and gateways in a secure manner. With this connection in place, the system can communicate with a cloud application server via IP protocol to send real-time data such as device health, battery status, and event history. Networked system architecture such as fire panels and sensors need to connect to the internet via nodes, hubs, and gateways in a secure manner Because system integrators can access these data points from any location without physically visiting the installation on-site, the impact of the IoT so far has been most pronounced in the Remote Services segment with the following three focus areas: Remote Connect. Allows for the remote set-up of a system and programming to customer specifications. Offers cost savings, as set-up can be handled practically without leaving the office for each new installation. Requests for changes can also be implemented at faster turnaround. Remote Alert. In case of fire, the system sends an alert via the remote portal, which can be integrated with messaging systems. Integrators also receive alerts for device outages and malfunctions. Remote Maintenance. The system performs regular health checks and condition monitoring, sent at user-specified intervals. Smart fire detectors also ping administrators for electromagnetic pollution or contamination with dust. Major efficiency gains for system integrators While IoT-based Remote Services already provide major efficiency gains for system integrators, we’re only just scratching the surface of what is possible. At the same time, the foundation for next-generation IoT-connected services is already created today, as the integration between sensors, software, and services increases.It will not only be crucial for devices to work together within the same network In the process of building end-to-end fire safety systems that are ready to connect with the IoT, seamless interfaces with third-party apps and platforms via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) will be a competitive advantage for system technology providers. It will not only be crucial for devices to work together within the same network. It will be even more important that systems can communicate with apps or building management software. On the same note, the ability to provide integrated, IoT-connected services on a secure backbone – safe from hackers and malicious attacks – will be indispensable, because system data is the most valuable resource moving forward. Analyzed correctly, this data holds the key to what comes next. Smart data instead of Big Data Needless to say, the rise of IoT-connected fire alarm systems will create massive amounts of data. This new ‘Big Data’ reality will call for improved data processing capabilities. Not just in terms of quantity: The most relevant services will be derived from smart data provided by IoT solutions in fire safety. The focus lies with data points that matter and making this data actionable by practice-oriented analysis. For a quick glimpse into the process, our IoT data scientists are currently running comparative analyses of several fire alarm systems to gain visibility on problematic incidents, for instance when devices trigger false alarms. New services will have the potential to transform the way in which fire alarm systems are maintainedIn the next step, categorizing all systems that report such incidents into clusters would allow to give system integrators a big picture overview pinpointing exactly those among their managed systems that are at risk and need inspection, repairs, or upgrades. On the technical level, Bosch is using Mongo DB, a universal, document-based database for apps, to perform these quantitative analyses, always with a focus on new services and benefits for customers. As our understanding of this data increases, new services will become possible that have the potential to transform the way in which fire alarm systems are maintained and managed. Whereas today, system integrators can view data points such as device status in their Remote Portal and offer basic maintenance support via cloud-connected apps, tomorrow their service approach will be much more proactive, again thanks to smart data. The next level of IoT-powered services In the future, data from IoT-connected systems can be leveraged to predict automatically at what exact point in time a system component is going to fail. Instead of replacing said component ahead of time, as is the case in today’s preventive maintenance approach, this new predictive service protocol allows to save cost by making maximum usage of the device’s lifespan.This new predictive service protocol allows to save cost by making maximum usage of the device’s lifespan In the bigger picture, the data log of a particular fire alarm installation’s data can provide the basis for targeted system optimization efforts. For instance, if long-term data indicates that sensors in a particular area tend to trigger false alarms because of signal interference, the integrators can perform a deep dive into whether nearby high-voltage cabling is the cause and make adjustments to system architecture accordingly. In the same vein, integrators gain transparency on whether detectors in a certain location tend to need replacement due to dust and contamination, or if electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) with other systems like voice broadcast is causing issues – and take preventative measures. Self-monitoring Fire alarm systems Overall, these data points, together with constant real-time information on system health, will provide system administrators with the tools for planning and maintaining fire alarm systems in a more efficient manner. They can design and install new systems based on the data-powered learnings from previous installations. And they can provide a more customer-centric response to information requests or inquiries for system updates. Most of all, the connection to IoT-based services will provide a new peace of mind: These upgraded fire alarm systems will quietly monitor and secure themselves, and only trigger alarms or notifications when service is needed, while system integrators can focus on more important tasks. Right now, we are building the foundation for making these new IoT-driven services a reality. But compared to what the IoT has is store for the future design of fire alarm systems in buildings, we have only seen the beginning. The biggest benefits are still to come.
The effective provision and management of on-site fire safety, prevention, response and protection is a core responsibility of operators of hazardous high-risk critical infrastructure and industrial manufacturing facilities around the world. Such services are typically found at airports, refineries and petrochemical plants, power stations and nuclear facilities, mines, manufacturing sites and port facilities. Driven by legislative requirements and international fire safety standards, many organizations are required to maintain and operate an on-site Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) or for airports, an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Service in order to meet their compliance requirements. Legislative Compliance Failure to fully comply can expose these organizations to the risk of serious financial liability in the event of an incident, Failure to fully comply can expose these organizations to the risk of serious financial liabilityas insurers demand that risk is minimised and mitigated before they will provide cover for the site and its operations. Notwithstanding the availability of local or municipal resources to respond in the event of an emergency or serious incident, the RFFS and ARFF provision available to commercial organizations generally falls into two main options; an employed service or an outsourced service. The Decision To outsource While many organizations choose to invest in their own Fire and Rescue Service, which includes the provision of a Fire Station(s), personnel, vehicles and equipment, others have turned to outsourced service providers to enable them to meet their operational and compliance needs. So what are the factors that influence a decision to outsource and how do organizations choose between the two options? Managing risk and improving resilience The requirement and resources for an on-site fire and rescue service will be determined chiefly by the type of activity that the organization is involved in at each site or facility, the assessment of the risks associated with the processes or activities that occur on-site and the impact that any emergency incident may have on the business, its employees and on the surrounding communities. Ultimately, the motivation for investment in an on-site fire and rescue resource is rooted in the avoidance of loss, which can be both organizational, reputational and/or personal in nature and in a need to ensure the on-going stability, security and resilience of the facility and processes in question. But rather like when an insurance policy is purchased, one sincerely hopes that the Fire and Rescue Service will never need to be called upon to be utilized in a real-life emergency. A decision to outsource may be driven by purely financial motives as organizations seek to reduce costs and enhance shareholder value or by strategic and tactical factors as the business seeks to re-engineer or re-focus itself. Outsourcing enables companies to focus on their core business processes while delegating essential but non-core processes to external specialist providers Recruiting, training, resourcing, and supporting an employed on-site fire and rescue service is an expensive indirect operational cost for the business, consuming cash resources that could possibly be better invested elsewhere. The day to day management of an employed Fire, Rescue and Safety service can also sap the organization of time and energy that, while imperative to the safe, legal and ultimately the profitable operation of the facility, is not actually a core function of the business itself. Outsourcing enables companies to focus on their core business processes while delegating essential but non-core processes to external specialist providers. This releases internal resources that can be put to more effective use for other purposes, leading to greater efficiency and competitiveness. Outsourcing enables companies to focus on their core business processes while delegating essential but non-core processes to external specialist providers The question to be asked is, could an outsourced service provider deliver the required functions, tasks and compliance, maintain and improve site safety, respond effectively to any emergency incidents and add value to the organization at a more cost-effective rate than directly employing the on-site team? When properly executed, outsourcing the on-site Fire and Rescue Service can have a defining impact on the company’s revenue recognition and can deliver significant savings through lower operational and labour costs. Specialist knowledge, skills and expertise Organizations cannot realistically be experts in every business function, process and discipline, it is simply far too expensive. By utilizing outsourced service providers, companies can leverage a global knowledge base and resource centre, accessing world class capabilities, skills and expertise that they may have been precluded from previously. Managed FRS service providers often have access to a wider, more highly skilled and diverse talent pool than the client themselves and will already have in place the requisite interview and selection processes designed to select only the strongest, most appropriately qualified and experienced staff. Shared experiences coupled with specialist skills, learning and best working practices also enable the outsourced service provider to add value and resilience to and further reduce risk within the client’s operation. Shared responsibilities and liabilities Although all organizations must maintain a duty of care to operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, delegating fire and rescue service responsibilities to external providers can release companies of the day to day functions that are difficult to manage and control, while still realizing their benefits and upholding compliance. Outsourced FRS service providers generally are much better at deciding how to avoid risk in their areas of expertise As specialists in their field, outsourced FRS service providers generally are much better at deciding how to avoid risk in their areas of expertise than perhaps a fully employed on-site team might be. This is because the incentive to deliver a high level of service and to maintain their professional reputation while remaining profitable is potentially stronger for the outsourced provider. A further consideration if, unfortunately something does go wrong, may be that the responsibility and possible consequential contractual liability might well rest in whole or in part with the service provider, rather than the contracting client themselves. what are the potential negatives? Violations of confidentiality and intellectual property are of increasing concern to companies. This is particularly true for clients that outsource to providers from countries that may not have the same type or standards of confidentiality laws that prevail in their home jurisdiction. One way to mitigate this issue is to have strong confidentiality clauses contained within all commercial contractual documentation and employee contracts, and to make security of data and information a key performance indicator within any outsource contract. Outsourcing may in some cases result in job eliminations or employees leaving for other personal reasons, which in turn can have a negative effect on morale, loyalty and productivity among the personnel who remain. Human Resources In FRS In most cases for Fire and Rescue Service outsourcing, human resource levels are already stipulated based on the site or facility risk profile and therefore it is more likely that existing employees will simply be transferred to a new contract of employment with the new service provider, albeit perhaps on slightly different terms. There are also often hidden costs that, if not managed correctly, can quickly negate many of the anticipated savings Although most companies see an immediate benefit to the bottom line when outsourcing, there are also often hidden costs that, if not managed correctly, can quickly negate many of the anticipated savings. It should not be underestimated that, as in any period of change, increased ancillary costs such as travel and related expenses can accrue as employees travel back and forth for training and other meetings, particularly during the mobilization phase of the new contract. Making your mind up The decision to outsource the Fire and Rescue Service for a high-risk site or facility should never be made lightly. A thorough and detailed examination of the associated costs and benefits must be investigated before a go/no go decision is reached. However, if a decision to outsource is positive, then careful selection of your partner organization, taking account of both the hard and soft delivery factors for each facility, is of critical importance.
Across the world, fire and rescue services vary greatly, and each will have their own unique circumstances and challenges to deal with. Firefighters in the USA and Australia are more likely to face wildland fires, whilst in the Middle East, firefighters deal more regularly with transport related fires involving hazardous materials. In many European countries, less than 10% of call-outs are fire related at all, with firefighters much more likely to attend traffic accidents, medical emergencies or flooding. A range of different climates also provide firefighters with specific challenges. Providing Optimum Protection These fabrics can offer resistance to fire, increased breathability, control of moisture, and a lighter weight Firefighters in hot and tropical Indonesia for example, will have different requirements to those in hot and arid South Africa, whilst those in Scandinavia operate in more temperate and cooler conditions. It’s important, therefore, that PPE manufacturers can provide a wide variety of options to suit particular environments and operations. PPE must be highly effective, comfortable, and suitable for the job in hand, wherever in the world the firefighters are operating. Selecting the right fabric for your PPE is the first step in providing optimum protection for the environment you are operating in. International fibre and fabric manufacturers have developed a number of highly specialized materials offering a range of benefits. Used in combination, these fabrics can offer resistance to fire, increased breathability, control of moisture, and a lighter weight. Best Quality Firefighting Garments Highly specialized and lightweight fibers for the outer-shell of a garment, for example, can provide outstanding air permeability and breathability, allowing metabolic heat to escape, whilst of course providing vital protection against the intense external heat and flames of a fire. The best quality firefighting garments combine this type of outer shell with an inner moisture barrier and liner system which draws moisture away from the skin, helping to keep the body cool and dry. Strenuous work in a hot environment causes profuse sweating, and if this sweat is not able to evaporate, the body is not able to cool itself effectively. Once the most appropriate fabric is chosen, the design and style of a garment also plays a crucial role in contributing to a firefighters’ safety. Maintaining A Comfortable Body Temperature Search and Rescue operations often take place once the immediate danger of flame is removed Whether operating in bushland, floods, on the roadside or even in extremely cold conditions, firefighters need to maintain a comfortable body temperature and stay dry. They are also likely to need to crawl, run, and climb to carry out the job in hand. Any protective clothing must be ergonomic and has to be able to work with them rather than hinder them. As a result, over and above the full structural firefighting garments available to FRSs, manufacturers have also developed innovative designs for more specific applications. For example, Search and Rescue operations often take place once the immediate danger of flame is removed, with USAR or technical rescue teams entering enclosed and confined spaces where high temperatures and often toxic smoke are hazards. Particular Protection Against Radiant Heat USAR firefighting garments therefore should be tear and puncture resistant, provide protection against blood-borne pathogens, offer physical protection at high risk points such as the knees and elbows, provide a high level of flexibility to afford maneuvrability in confined spaces, and crucially be lightweight and breathable to minimize heat stress. Alternatively, for firefighters engaged specifically in combatting forest and wildland fires, garments need to provide particular protection against radiant heat, and ideally feature a double layer of fabric to protect against sharp thorns and undergrowth. Today, many FRSs across the world use a combination of structural and technical rescue garments which can be particularly useful when faced with a range of operations requiring different levels of protection. Rescue jackets are worn with standard structural trousers when responding to a road traffic accident International Standards Of Performance For PPE Frequently, rescue jackets are worn with standard structural trousers when responding to a road traffic accident, for example. So long as these garments are tested and approved as compatible before they are used in combination, this can serve to improve ergonomics and comfort, and crucially can contribute to the lowering of heat stress in firefighters. There are currently three major standard-setting bodies on the world stage To ensure the best level of protection, most countries demand conformity with both national and international standards of performance for PPE. There are currently three major standard-setting bodies on the world stage, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) which covers the USA, Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region, the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) which covers Europe, and the International Standards Organisation (ISO) which sets standards worldwide. Lighting And Communications Equipment In addition, each country will have its own National Standards Body (NSB), setting standards for its own specific interests. Ultimately, it is down to the customer to decide which standards they would like their PPE to follow. The best manufacturers can create PPE to meet a number of these standards simultaneously. These include alternative types of trouser front, leg openings and knee-pads, as well as cuff styles on fire coats Different countries, and even individual FRSs, often have particular additional requirements for their PPE, which can simply be down to style or color preference, or to accommodate particular tools or equipment they use. These include alternative types of trouser front, leg openings and knee-pads, as well as cuff styles on fire coats. Operational safety features such as integrated safety harnesses and drag rescue devices can also be specified. In addition, firefighter accessories including tools, lighting and communications equipment all have to be carried safely requiring a selection of loops, straps, D-rings, glove hooks, and pockets and flaps. Developing Innovative Solutions Finally, most FRSs aim to present a professional and clearly recognizable identity to their communities, so particular colors and badging can be an important feature of PPE. This has led to the introduction of a wide range of fabric colors and the increased use of Velcro fixings for identification badges with logos, names and roles being individually catered for. Called upon to handle an ever-increasing variety of challenges, in contrasting climates and situations, firefighters across the world are certainly faced with complex environments in which to operate. By carefully studying these conditions and listening closely to customers, PPE designers and fabric manufacturers will continue to work together to develop innovative solutions to meet these specific needs and create optimum garments for maximum protection and comfort.
Wellness, mental toughness and psychological self-care for firefighters are available in the palms of their hands; that is, in a smart phone app. Fire and police agencies can provide their officers access to these and other self-help tools in an app that reflects each agency’s identity and design choices. Employees can be assured that use of the app is totally confidential. Cordico, Gold River, California, west of Sacramento, provides confidential support for firefighters and other employees through an app that incorporates comprehensive and trusted wellness resources. The CordicoFire app is easy to use, available on-demand, and only requires the push of a button. Firefighter wellness tools The app is designed to reinforce and strengthen a fire agency’s existing wellness culture The app is designed to reinforce and strengthen a fire agency’s existing wellness culture and is updated continuously. The app includes firefighter wellness tools, such as self-assessments and a therapist finder. Peer support resources are built into the app, and psychological first aid helps firefighters know when help is needed – and what their options are. There are also sections on the app addressing healthy habits, making marriage work, mindfulness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Specific to firefighters, there is information on cancer awareness, exposure to hazardous materials, and heart health – among more than 40 topics firemen can scroll through. Self-assessments can identify the sources of stress and how to address them, and/or identify problems with alcohol abuse. Physical fitness videos demonstrate exercises for stress release and injury prevention, and there is a section on nutrition. No additional authentication required Each firefighter is provided a link and password to download the app. Posters promoting use of the app are available, including a QR code that employees can scan to download the app. There is no additional authentication required, and no personal information is shared with the app. Around 90% of employees typically download the app. The app is hosted on Cordico’s server rather than the agency’s server, so there is no tracking of information, which would defeat the purpose of an anonymous app. Anonymity is important to overcome the perceived stigma that could make firefighters hesitate to ask for help. The app is also made available to spouses, significant others and even retirees, who may find that cumulative trauma catches up with them years later. Employee assistance programs People use their smart phones all the time, so it’s easy for anyone to get on the app" “People use their smart phones all the time, so it’s easy for anyone to get on the app, click on a section and read for 10 minutes if they need information, help or emotional support,” says Kevin Dacy, Operations Manager, Cordico. “There is a generation of people comfortable with using apps. We provide them with privacy to look at topics and get the self-help they need.” The app dovetails with an organization’s employee assistance programs and peer support team and/or leaders. Cordico works with agencies to include information about therapists, clinicians and chaplains who are available to help. When an agency decides to use the app, Cordico’s chief technology officer organizes a product launch meeting, and Cordico’s client care team works with the agency until the app has been successfully launched. Pre-Employment psychological evaluations Agencies have flexibility in terms of the graphics and illustrations used on the app and also the information provided, which could include traffic, weather, etc., in addition to other services. (Southern California agencies include a surfing report because the activity can help to relieve stress.) Updates to the app are done on the back end as new information is added. The app password can be changed to limit use of the app to current enrollees. The company evolved to providing pre-employment psychological evaluations for first responder jobs Dr. David Black, CEO of Cordico, shifted his psychological practice to first responders after 9/11. The company evolved to providing pre-employment psychological evaluations for first responder jobs. The app grew out of that service, and now most of the largest agencies in California use the app. Cordico has worked with small and large agencies – five to 22,000 employees – although the average department size using the app is 150 to 200 people. Consulting clinicians and therapists In addition to a concentration in California, the company also does business throughout the United States, with customers in most states. Cordico has around 15 employees, in addition to consulting clinicians and therapists. Although Cordico does not share specific data with an agency about who uses the app, they can provide activity counts. For example, usage of the app could spike after a dramatic incident, which could alert the agency of a higher level of trauma that might need additional education and/or comfort. During the coronavirus pandemic, Cordico’s phone lines and emails have lit up with agencies looking to consider the app to help manage the added stress of dealing with the pandemic. Even during the economic downturn, Cordico is busier than ever.
Why do gas engineers need to become Gas Safe Registered? Why do heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers need to have an advanced driving license? We all know the answers to these questions: To determine competency and reduce risk. Because they are mandatory, it is simply expected. Premises managers expect the same competency from their fire safety providers; however, there are no mandatory measures in place to ensure a particular level of competency is met. But there should be, says Stephen Adams, Chief Executive of BAFE, an independent registration body for third party certified protection companies across the United Kingdom. Advocating certification of fire safety competency Third party certification (or any system to monitor competency) is not mandatory in the fire safety industry at present, which presents unnecessary risk, says Adams. Third Party Certification (or any system to monitor competency) is not mandatory in the fire safety industry at present, which presents unnecessary risk There is a benefit to the customer of using a provider that is independently and regularly assessed by a UKAS Accredited Certification Body to ensure they are competent to deliver the specific required service. Sourcing a provider who holds the appropriate third-party certification will also provide strong evidence of acting with due diligence in following fire safety legislation. “Certainly for high-risk premises, not just those above a certain height but those where the occupants or function demands strong fire protection, there needs to be mandated third party certification of the competence of all those involved,” says Adams. “This is not just at the initial construction stage, but throughout the building life cycle as use, occupancy and technology change. The end user and those responsible for building safety have the key responsibility, together with input from the Fire and Rescue Services, providers and public authorities to ensure ongoing compliance and recording of actions.” Determining competency for fire safety services BAFE was first established in 1984 within FETA (Fire Extinguishing Trades Association) and the British Fire Protection Systems Association (BFPSA). Since 2009, however, BAFE has been independent and has evolved into developing and monitoring schemes to determine competency for multiple fire safety services. BAFE develops schemes based on defined quality standards and industry best practice for fire safety service providers to achieve and become Third Party Certificated. These assessments are performed by UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies (licensed by BAFE). Only when a company holds appropriate and valid Third Party Certification are they permitted to become BAFE Registered and appear on the national register available free to view at on their website. BAFE’s competency schemes BAFE offer competency schemes for the following areas: Fire extinguisher servicing/maintenance (BAFE SP101) Fire risk assessment (BAFE SP205) Kitchen fire protection systems (BAFE SP206) Dry and wet riser/falling installations servicing/maintenance (BAFE SP105) The SP203 suite of schemes is modular and offers competency criteria for the design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance of: Fire detection and alarms systems (BAFE SP203-1) Fixed gaseous fire extinguishing systems (BAFE SP203-3) Emergency lighting systems (BAFE SP203-4) BAFE has dedicated monitoring groups for each scheme that meet regularly to ensure they continue to represent the highest levels of competency within the industry. Supporting UK fire safety BAFE has been active in efforts to influence and support fire safety for the UK. This includes work with the appropriate Competence Steering Group (CSG) working groups established since the publication of the Hackitt review (“Building a Safer Future”). Chris Auger, Head of Schemes – BAFE, is currently Secretary to WG2 (Installers) and WG4 is continuing to develop competence standards for Fire Risk Assessors to meet the requirements of high-risk residential buildings (HRRBs). BAFE also has close working relationships with organisations including UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), FSF (Fire Sector Federation), FIA (Fire Industry Association), FPA (Fire Protection Association), IFEDA (Independent Fire Engineering and Distributors Association), Construction Industry Council (CIC) and multiple Certification Bodies. Raising the bar BAFE exists to help raise the bar of competency within the fire safety industry across the United Kingdom, says Adams. Their ethos is in a strong belief in Third Party Certification. BAFE exists to help raise the bar of competency within the fire safety industry across the United Kingdom “Whilst we strongly believe the BAFE schemes offer a quality, independent method of determining competency for a specific service though a range of Certification Bodies, we purely want Third Party Certification to be the baseline absolute requirement for any fire safety work (where it is available),” says Adams. BAFE stands with FPA Managing Director Jonathan O'Neill’s request to Government to mandate Third Party Certification. The more providers that hold Third Party Certification, and the more end users that request it, the stronger the argument to Government to mandate this requirement for a better regulated industry. Addressing the misconceptions A misconception about fire safety Third Party Certification from end users (e.g. premises management) is that it covers all fire safety services offered. BAFE this year have launched a new campaign, “Don’t Just Specify, Verify!,” to highlight this issue. “Before awarding any contract, we are trying to educate people to verify their chosen contractor’s Third Party Certification to ensure it is appropriate for the work they require,” says Adams. Whilst most customers understand that they should have fire protection systems, they do not adequately understand the need for a full and competent Fire Risk Assessment. There are still “assessors” who will offer one for ridiculously low prices, often without even entering the building. The need for fire risk assessments The Fire Risk Assessment is a mandatory requirement and forms the basis for all other activity – and must be kept up to date. By not using a competent provider, the responsible person is leaving themselves open to prosecution and serious loss of life and property. The horrific Grenfell fire that unfolded on 14th June 2017 raised interest and awareness of fire safety measures, their relationship to the whole construction and what should be in place to keep any premises safe. The horrific Grenfell fire that unfolded on 14th June 2017 raised interest and awareness of fire safety measures Adams says BAFE saw an increase in companies gaining Third Party Certification, especially to the Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment (SP205) scheme. “This is a skill that needs greater emphasis and some mandatory measures introduced to ensure competent persons are completing this vital action,” says Adams. “We welcome any stronger measures following the Hackitt Review to introduce robust methods of logging activity across the whole building life cycle (the ‘Golden Thread’ of information) in the interest of acting will due diligence creating safer buildings from fire.” The Fire Risk Assessment is a mandatory requirement and forms the basis for all other activity – and must be kept up to date “A year from now, we anticipate that the Hackitt requirements will be built into legislation and the Building Regulations across all parts of the UK,” says Adams. “By 2023 BAFE and the industry would like to see mandatory measures in place to monitor and determine competency of providers offering specific services. Most notable are services such as fire risk assessment, both commercial and domestic fire detection and alarm systems plus multiple other areas including many passive fire protection design and installation services. Certificated services should extend across all aspects of fire safety, passive and active, and include greater monitoring of individual as well as company competence.” Trade associations such as FIA and IFEDA demand third party certification as a core membership requirement, and other important professional bodies such as the FPA are calling out to Government to mandate third party certification, says Adams. “It would shake up the industry dramatically, leaving only the evidentially competent able to provide these works,” he says.
Refrigerants used in cooling systems for homes and businesses are being replaced with alternatives that have less potential for global warming. But the transition comes at a risk: Some of the new refrigerants are flammable. Although less flammable than gases such as propane, for example, new refrigerants can still ignite and burn with a high intensity under ideal circumstances. The new materials have low-flame velocity and are less easily ignited; however, one byproduct of combustion is toxic hydrogen fluoride. Flammability risks of non-toxic refrigerants Non-toxic refrigerants are categorized by flammability risks. A1 designates no flame propagation; A2 indicates lower flammability; and A3 indicates higher flammability. Hydrocarbons such as propane have higher flammability (A3) and are restricted to a lower charge limit that does not address refrigeration needs of large systems. Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) are mildly flammable, have a low flammability limit (LFL) and have been categorized as an A2L refrigerant. They tend to burn slowly and give off little heat. Hydrocarbons such as propane have higher flammability NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) offers online and instructor-led training to educate firefighters about flammability and toxicity risks associated with new refrigerants. The training also covers asphyxiation challenges, jet stream fires, transportation issues and other life-safety considerations associated with flammable refrigerants. The training covers how to adapt response tactics to mitigate consequences from refrigerants in various types of emergencies. Strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), personal protective equipment (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) protocols and decontamination practices are also covered. Categorising refrigerant flammability The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) provides funding to NFPA to develop training on the emerging technology. According to an ASHRAE report, refrigerant flammability can be characterized by three factors: Likelihood that a refrigerant leak would result in a concentration range that reaches the lower flammability limit; Presence of a sufficient energy ignition source; and Likely severity of a combustion event, and probability of a secondary fire. ASHRAE is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) are researching the flammability of refrigerants, including factors such as refrigerant charge size, release height, leak rate, humidity, and room size and temperature. When choosing the best refrigerants, it is likely a tradeoff will be required among global warming potential, flammability and efficiency. Codes and standards Codes and standards are being modified to address the use of new materials Currently, codes and standards are being modified to address the use of new materials, although risk mitigation concerns of the fire service have historically not been considered. One issue is the risk of using large amounts of flammable gas in a refrigeration system to cool a larger room. Additional safety measures are needed to make the risk acceptable. Detection of leaks is another issue, especially the need for repeated calibration of leak detectors to ensure accuracy. More than 200 countries will be ushering in the new class of refrigerants.
Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced that it has secured an order for nine pumpers built on a Freightliner chassis from Dyer County Fire Department located in Northwest Tennessee. Emergency vehicle specialists Sold through Pierce dealer for Tennessee and Arkansas, Emergency Vehicle Specialists, the order for nine pumpers is the largest in the department’s history and will be distributed among each of its nine fire stations to replace aging apparatus. Our current fleet of Pierce fire trucks was purchased in 1993 and has served us well" “Our current fleet of Pierce fire trucks was purchased in 1993 and has served us well,” said James Medling, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director for Dyer County Fire Department. “When considering our needs for new fire apparatus, keeping a 100 percent Pierce fleet was an easy decision. We’ve been impressed with the performance and lifespan of our Pierce pumpers, as well as the easy accessibility to regional service support.” Providing expanded service support The Dyer County Fire Department’s nine new Pierce Pumpers will feature: Freightliner M2-106 commercial chassis Cummins 360 hp engine Hale 1,250 GPM pump 1,000-gallon water tank TFT deluge gun Dump valve in rear of apparatus 1,500-gallon portable tank on the top hose bed “Particularly in rural communities like many of the ones we serve, trust and longtime relationships are critical elements of our business,” said Bob Dudley, sales representative for Emergency Vehicle Specialists and incoming president of the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Association. “We’ve been honored to support the Dyer County Fire Department for nearly 30 years. We are grateful to once again work collaboratively to not only put the best fire trucks into service for the community but also provide expanded service support and parts inventory.” Strategic procurement resources The new Pierce Pumpers will serve dual purposes as both pumpers and tankers Dyersburg/Dyer County is located 75 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee, and is the hub of a 10-county region. The Dyer County Fire Department covers a service area encompassing 550 square miles, 40,000 residents, and an extensive manufacturing sector, large agri-business base, and regional shopping mall. To best serve the department’s diverse needs among nine stations, the new Pierce Pumpers will serve dual purposes as both pumpers and tankers. Additionally, the benefits of selecting Pierce’s commercial chassis include an economical and streamlined engineering and production process – which is often an ideal option for rural departments. Chief Medling continued, “We are grateful to our county commission representatives who were gracious in their support of our new apparatus purchase, as we secured financing through grants for rural communities and low-interest financing through strategic procurement resources. They will join us in our celebration, along with the Dyer County community, as we welcome the new pumpers into service with delivery planned to take place in April 2021.”
Comelit Group’s fire detection solution has been installed at Gleavewood Care Home by KJ Fire Safety, for the ongoing safety and security of staff, residents and visitors. Cheshire-based, Gleavewood Care Home, part of the Minster Care Group, is a two storey care home, with 30 single rooms and a variety of communal areas, alongside an enclosed garden area and multiple facilities and visitor activities on site for residents to benefit. Risk assessment on fire detection systems KJ Fire Safety was called to the site following a risk assessment on fire detection systems KJ Fire Safety was called to the site following a risk assessment on fire detection systems. With recommendations made for a new install, Comelit’s Atena Easy two loop solution was fitted in just three weeks, working around the residents and staff. Ruth Field, Estates Director of Minster Care Group said “Mitigating the risk from fire is a fundamental duty of care in any care home, and an absolute priority across our property portfolio.” Ruth adds, “To ensure the safety of our continued staff and residents at Gleavewood, KJ Fire Safety worked by our side to install Comelit’s system as quickly as possible, whilst being sensitive to our residents and their daily routines. We are really impressed, not only with the fast paced installation, but also the finished Atena Easy control panel, which staff have been trained on, and its proven very user friendly.” Atena Easy system Comelit’s Atena Easy system has been installed as an addressable fire alarm, stylish panel with 2 loops, connected to 130 devices on a completely new cable scheme. The information for the system status is visualized on a graphic display and LED indication for zones and troubleshooting. Nigel Thomas, Managing Director at KJ Fire Safety Ltd added, “Care home owners need to review their fire risk assessments, with a proper understanding of how fire can travel and develop”. Fire detection system Nigel adds, “Good practice, as Minster Care Group demonstrates, is that this is done on a regular basis. When Gleavewood’s risk assessment highlighted critical action, we quickly and efficiently replaced the system with Comelit Atena Easy due to its ease of install and operation without re-using any element of the original system.” Mandy Bowden, Comelit Fire Business Development Manager (BDM) said, “Comelit’s Atena Easy system is simple to install, cost effective and user friendly 1 to 2 loop panel, designed with ease of use in mind”. Mandy adds, “For added assurance, it comes with the full training and support capability of a globally renowned fire systems manufacturer. This makes it perfect for care homes such as Gleavewood, where fire safety is of such critical importance, to ensure peace of mind for all who work, live and visit this site.”
Sigma XT gas suppression panels, manufactured by Kentec Electronics, a globally renowned manufacturer of life-critical control systems, are protecting NHS staff and patients at the Louisa Jordan NHS Facility Glasgow, located at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), which provides more than 500 COVID-19 beds. Vipond Fire UK Ltd. installed the fire safety systems within a seven-day turnaround. The system includes a total of seven Sigma XT gas suppression panels, and 32 detectors located within the electrical room that serves the 10,000m2 facility. Sigma XT gas suppression panels Kentec’s Sigma XT gas suppression panels provide three initiation circuits as standard, which means the release of the extinguishant can be configured to activate from any combination of detection zone inputs to allow specific and controlled activations. It also features a large LED display, simplifying configuration and displaying the time remaining until release for added user safety. Gary White, Fire Alarm & Gas Suppression Manager at Vipond Fire UK Ltd, says that Kentec was an obvious choice for this installation. Easy configuration and installation Kentec is known for reliability and customers find its panels are easy to use and configure" Gary said, “Kentec is known for reliability and customers find its panels are easy to use and configure. And with time being a major factor in this installation, speed was critical.” He adds, “As Kentec is a UK manufacturer, we knew panels would not have to be imported and as a long-standing customer, we also knew they would do everything needed to ensure panels were delivered on time. Despite working around the Easter weekend, we were able to install on schedule.” Healthcare facility security Kevin Swann, Managing Director of Kentec, says he is immensely proud that Kentec panels are protecting such a critical facility. Kevin said, “The Sigma XT range is well suited to major healthcare facilities for its capacity, robust reliability and our brand’s signature intuitive user interface.” He adds, “It is testament to the skill, expertise and planning that Vipond were able to install in such a short time period and we are extremely pleased to have been able to support them in their mission. Working in line with Covid-19 regulations Kevin further stated, “The installation acts as an excellent example of how manufacturers and installers within the fire industry are working together, in line with COVID-19 regulations, to ensure that essential installation and maintenance of fire systems can go ahead.” Kentec Electronics is based in Kent, from conception at its global R&D facility in Rochester to its factory and offices based in Dartford, employing approximately 250 people.
A globally-renowned International Dairy Industry Group consulted IEP Technologies SAS located in France when an expansion project for one of their production sites in Western France led to the requirement for the upgraded process plant to be protected against the potentially dangerous and costly effects of industrial explosions. risk of explosion protection The company had decided to invest in the plant to increase its production capacity of dairy-based ingredients which are used in the food industry, however as part of the design review the company’s Global Insurance Underwriter judged that the new fluid bed drying and powder cooling plant as well as the upgraded dust collection equipment all needed to have “state of the art” explosion protection to meet or exceed their own internal engineering safety standards and rules. In addition to the dairy and food Industries, many manufacturing processes are at risk of dust explosions which may occur when fine particulates, dispersed in air, are exposed to an ignition source within a contained environment. Dust collectors These types of contained environments are commonly present throughout industry, for example piping and ducting, process vessels, dust collectors, and numerous types of special process machinery. Ignition sources should always be minimized or eliminated through a combination of engineering and safety controls The ignition source may originate from several conditions, including hot materials or surfaces, flames, self-heating clusters, friction or uncontrolled electrostatic discharges. Such ignition sources should always be minimized or eliminated through a combination of engineering and safety controls, effective management and operator training and awareness. Spray Drying process However, even with these safety measures in place, the explosion risk cannot be ignored in abnormal or fault conditions and therefore techniques to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of such an event must be employed. In this specific case, the upgrading of the Spray Drying process formed part of a much larger plant expansion which included a new external fluid bed dryer for final drying and effective powder cooling. In addition to this, the Cyclones currently in use were replaced with a totally new process bag filter. First protection concept and budgetary proposal IEP Technologies was first contacted by the project integrator in March 2018, and after an initial meeting where material explosion data and process specifications were collected, IEP Technologies responded with the first protection concept and budgetary proposal within a tight four-day turnaround. The existing drying chamber (10 meters in diameter) was already equipped with explosion venting panels and these were judged to be sufficient enough to provide explosion relief for this part of the process. Explosion suppression for the external fluid bed However, it was also necessary to isolate the chamber to reduce the risk of explosion propagating to the associated new equipment, at the same time as providing explosion suppression for the external fluid bed and the process bag filter. Deep discussions followed with the end user, integrator and insurance company to ensure that IEP’s proposal fully complied with the Insurer’s in-house standards and requirements as well as the pre-requisite local safety regulations and the European ATEX Directive. SmartDS dynamic explosion detection solution The key elements of the protection system selected consisted of SmartDS dynamic explosion detection solution During this phase, an extremely effective ongoing working partnership was formed between IEP France and the local integration manager and it is considered that this open and honest relationship facilitated a smooth execution of the overall project. The key elements of the protection system selected consisted of SmartDS dynamic explosion detection solution to provide early detection of developing explosions and to initiate the High Rate Discharge (HRD) Explosion Suppressors installed on the external fluid bed and process bag filter. High Rate Discharge Explosion Suppressors High Rate Discharge Explosion Suppressors actuate within 1.5 milliseconds of receiving an activation signal from the control unit, discharging the optimal quantity of powdered extinguishant through a special design nozzle system. The SmartDS is a SIL 2 certified rate of pressure rise detector which uses multiple algorithms that constantly interrogate pressure data to allow robust explosion detection while providing excellent false alarm immunity, thereby avoiding costly plant downtime. IR-13 Optical Detectors Additionally, in view of the relatively short distances involved, IR-13 Optical Detectors were installed on the process ducts to enable a suppressant isolation barrier to be rapidly activated before the flame front propagates through to associated equipment and creates a secondary explosion. The overall system is monitored and controlled by an EX-8000 multi-zone unit with the capability to selectively control discreet functions to initiate the appropriate protection devices only where and when they are needed. Explosion Protection System IEP’s local service team in France will be responsible for ongoing planned periodic maintenance IEP France was finally awarded the contract in July 2018 and all the elements of the Explosion Protection System were delivered in October 2018 with the project commissioned in December 2018, which was considered to be well within the project timeline. IEP’s local service team in France will be responsible for ongoing planned periodic maintenance, and the company has also purchased an inventory of running spares to minimize any downtime in the event of any system activations. Trusted Industrial Explosion Protection Partner The tight time scales involved in the execution of this entire project, right from initial contact, through protection concept design, proposal, proposal acceptance, system delivery, installation and commissioning, as well as the need to comply with the insurance company’s internal standards truly illustrates IEP’s capability as a Trusted Industrial Explosion Protection Partner, which comprises engineering review and design, system supply and ongoing maintenance, training and support.
A practical, economical and versatile solution was demanded when IEP Technologies was approached to design an Explosion Protection System for a new spray drying process in a major Food Ingredients Manufacturing Plant based in the US Mid-West. The manufacturer may produce any one of 14 different cooking ingredients for the food industry on any given day, depending upon their customer requirements. Given the wide range of materials used and their respective particle/dust properties, individual explosibility characteristics had to be considered carefully in addition to the process plant design criteria to propose an explosion protection solution capable of providing appropriate protection as well as offering cost-effective long-term operation. High risk of dust explosions Many industrial manufacturing processes are inherently exposed to the risk of an explosion, whenever fine particulates dispersed in air are subjected to an ignition source within a contained environment. While the initial step in good plant design is always to control any potential ignition sources (typical examples include hot surfaces, open flames, mechanical friction or uncontrolled electrostatic discharges), often the risk cannot be totally ruled out therefore, measures to control or mitigate the disastrous effects of an explosion event (deflagration) must be put in place. Regulating potential ignition sources In this particular case, the process begins with wet slurry being introduced into the spray dryer, which is then dispersed into the heated environment and dried into fine particles. The particles are then discharged and pneumatically conveyed to four “Quad” Cyclones where lighter material is separated out while the heavier material is conveyed to a fifth cyclone for further separation. Finally, the material meeting the required specification for the process is transferred to the next stage elsewhere in the plant while the lighter material is returned to the start of the drying process for re-mixing with the incoming material. Spray Drying The five cyclones downstream continuously hold combustible dusts in suspension Spray drying processes always pose an explosion risk as they not only agitate the suspended dust particles in the air but also by their very nature introduce high temperatures which may create the initial ignition source under optimum conditions. In addition to this, the five cyclones downstream continuously hold combustible dusts in suspension, making them susceptible to any ignition source transferred from the dryer via a deflagration or in hot/burning material originating from the spray dryer itself. Explosion protection solution As an added dimension to the application, the spray dryer presented a further explosion protection challenge in view of its large volume – over 400 m3, as well as its low vessel strength. Taken together, these factors provided a uniquely demanding set of conditions for IEP to consider before proposing a practical and economical solution. The first step for IEP was to conduct testing of the materials to determine the explosibility properties. A third party had previously tested one of the products, but the other 13 were tested at the Combustion Research Center (CRC) in Marlborough, MA, an independent test laboratory specializing in the combustion hazards testing of dusts, liquids, and gases. Installing pressurized cylinders IEP’s design team was able to avoid using an excessive number of suppression cylinders Once collated, this data was used to exhaustively model different explosion scenarios for the vessels in the ingredients manufacturer’s spray drying process. The method of explosion protection selected involved installing pressurized cylinders to rapidly discharge explosion suppressant into the protected area in milliseconds upon activation. However, the unusual combination of large spray dryer vessel size (> 400 m3), along with its low vessel strength rating meant that a high number of cylinders would normally be needed to mitigate or isolate an explosion. Explosion suppression for spray drying Furthermore, after analyzing and modeling the spray dryer operation, IEP’s design team was able to avoid using an excessive number of suppression cylinders by using a recognized methodology where a reduced explosive volume can be used be used as the basis of the explosion suppression for spray drying processes of a specific design. The principle observation is that, as the top sections of some spray dryers do not contain dry combustible dust, explosion suppression of the entire volume is excessive and unwarranted. This technique allows for a reduced amount of suppressant to be delivered to the upper “wet zone” to maintain its inert state, while explosion protection is concentrated in the lower zone containing dry combustible powder, resulting in a reduction in the number of suppressors needed for overall protection. In North America, NFPA codes allow for this technique based upon performance-based approvals. Piston Fire II high-rate suppression and isolation cylinders Piston Fire II high-rate suppression and isolation cylinders were specified as part of the explosion protection system Several “Piston Fire II” high-rate suppression and isolation cylinders were specified as part of the explosion protection system, offering the additional benefit of having Class II Division 1 hazardous location approval. These suppressors as well as the SMARTDS dynamic explosion detection system are electrically connected to an EX8000 Control Panel with the capability to selectively activate specific suppressors in the zone where the deflagration is occurring. Targeted mitigation of explosion events The overall solution met the stated needs of the customer by providing highly targeted mitigation of explosion events at the same time as reducing the cost of equipment, installation and ongoing maintenance. By ingeniously combining experience and research done around the globe, IEP Technologies has demonstrated that their specialist know-how, capabilities and versatile range of explosion protection products and solution facilitate to create a practical and effective custom engineered fire safety solution.
When a potential dust explosion risk was unexpectedly identified prior to start-up in a newly constructed sugar handling process in Scandinavia, the company called in IEP Technologies to propose a solution that could be seamlessly incorporated into the existing equipment design parameters. The plant had already been designed on the basis of process material characteristics with relatively high minimum ignition energy (MIE), and easily-identifiable sources of ignition were not apparent. Consequently, there was no requirement for an explosion protection system to mitigate the serious effects of a dust explosion during operation. Installation of explosion protection system A potential explosion source was determined to be present within a product receiving vessel (day hopper) However, following a critical design review by an external safety consultant before the plant became fully operational, a potential explosion source was determined to be present within a product receiving vessel (day hopper). Furthermore, if an explosion had occurred within the day hopper, it was possible that flame could propagate upstream via the pneumatic conveying system, exposing interconnected equipment to explosion effects. Plant fire protection It therefore was considered necessary to provide a reliable explosion protection system to protect the plant, process and employees prior to operation. As the design calculations for the process had not factored in the requirement for explosion protection, this presented IEP’s engineers with certain challenges and constraints. Firstly, as the vessel strength of the hopper was insufficient to withstand the effects of an explosion, it was vital to mitigate such an explosion event before it could develop into a more serious problem with the potential to propagate to adjacent equipment and initiate a secondary explosion in the wider area. Installing explosion relief vent This problem would normally be solved by installing an explosion relief vent with a large enough surface area to relieve the explosion pressure in such circumstances. Since the hopper was located in the middle of a building, it was not possible to vent this to a safe area where employees and other sensitive equipment would not be present. Finally, any devices used as part of the explosion protection system would have to be “hygienic” in design and suitable for use in a food handling plant, while also complying with all necessary EU standards and regulations including ATEX, Pressure Equipment and Low Voltage directives. Explosion isolation and flameless venting integration IEP’s engineers proposed a “hybrid” solution incorporating explosion isolation and flameless venting After discussions with the manufacturer and reviewing all available options, IEP’s engineers proposed a “hybrid” solution incorporating explosion isolation and flameless venting, with associated sensing and control capability. Rapid acting explosion suppressors were mounted on the pneumatic conveying ducting to act as an extinguishing barrier to protect connected plant against explosion propagation. EVN30H “flameless” explosion venting device To relieve the pressure created by the initial explosion, an EVN30H “flameless” explosion venting device was fitted to the hopper. The EVN30H has a special re-closing and reusable design which uses a flame arrestor to break up and cool the flame, gases and products of the explosion, meaning that it can safely be installed in an internal area where people may be working in the vicinity. The “H” classification also means that it is designed for use in hygienic applications such as the food industry, and can safely be used in contact with products intended for human consumption. “SmartDS” dynamic pressure detection system The explosion suppressors are actuated by IEP Technologies “SmartDS” dynamic pressure detection system capable of rapidly detecting pressure rises created by incipient explosions, without being susceptible to spurious activation caused by varying pressure conditions inherent to the process. All elements of the system status were monitored and logged by IEP’s EX100 controller. The overall project was executed by IEP’s European Hub, based in Ratingen (Düsseldorf), Germany working alongside a respected German Food Processing Equipment Manufacturer and involved engineers and technicians from all disciplines including sales, design and service. Mitigating risk of dust explosions IEP engineers also provided operator training during pre-start up commissioning Dust explosions can occur in many manufacturing processes when fine particulates, dispersed in air, are subjected to an ignition source within a contained environment, for example a duct, vessel, mixer, silo or dust collector. IEP engineers also provided operator training during pre-start up commissioning and will also visit the plant for planned annual maintenance. Ignition can be generated by several factors, including hot surfaces, flames, welding, spontaneous combustion, friction or uncontrolled electrostatic discharges. Effective engineering controls and safety management These ignition sources should be minimized or eliminated by a combination of effective engineering controls, safety management and operator awareness but in many cases the explosion risk is ever present and therefore techniques to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects must be employed. In view of the hybrid explosion protection system selected, employing both active and passive devices, the sugar processing plant was able to gain final insurance acceptance and go safely into operation on schedule. Trusted Industrial Explosion Protection Partner The constraints and challenges that needed to be overcome to complete this project perfectly illustrate IEP’s capability as a Trusted Industrial Explosion Protection Partner, comprising material testing, engineering review and design, system supply and ongoing maintenance, training and support.
Round table discussion
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?