Created more than 20 years ago, the French firm COSSILYS21 offers intelligent video-protection solutions. It equips major national banks, numerous regional banks, as well as shops. The COSSILYS21 firm is nowadays a reference in the banking sector. COSSILYS21 and FOXSTREAM have established a strong partnership for several years. When Mister Alain Ghaye, CEO and main shareholder of COSSILYS21, decided to hand over its firm to retire, the idea of bringing closer the two firms naturally made its wa...
As the countdown to Christmas gets well and truly underway with offices and places of work getting into the festive spirit, Siemens Building Technologies is warning UK businesses about the potential consequences of false fire alarms during the busiest period of the year. False alarms from remotely-monitored fire detection and fire alarm systems cost the UK economy an estimated £1 billion in business disruption with 95% of automatically-generated alarms being proved to be false placing Fire...
Frequentis has developed an application which allows location data and video from drones to feed directly into workstations in the control center, through its LifeX and ASGARD solutions. The integrated solution will be presented at the global trade fair for professional mobile communications and control centers, PMRExpo, in Cologne from November 27, 2018. UAVs/Drones Application In Emergency Situations Video and sensor data provided by drones could vastly support rescue forces in their mission...
The immense scope and scale of this month’s California wildfires are a timely reminder of a “new normal” that includes a catastrophic toll in human tragedy and presents new challenges for fire service professionals. Some have pointed to the increased frequency of wildfires as a consequence of global warming, and the resulting higher temperatures, less humidity and changing wind and rainfall patterns. President Trump has blamed “poor forest management” (an assertion...
Very high packing density, intelligent networking, complex processes: Automated warehouses present new challenges for fire protection concepts. Conventional solutions are usually not sufficient to meet the protection goals of logistics providers. These include maintenance processes and a delivery capability, preventing business interruptions and protecting goods and investments. The WAGNER Group will be presenting solutions specially adapted to these requirements, from 19 to 21 February 2019 at...
With many families affected by wildfires unable to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at home, the American Red Cross urges families in Los Angeles and Ventura counties to focus on home fire safety this weekend. Thanksgiving is one of the leading days for home cooking fires. You can help protect yourself and loved ones from home fires—the nation's most frequent disaster—by testing your smoke alarms and practicing your escape plan with free resources from the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign...
Globe, DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have been working together since 2012 to provide new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to volunteer fire departments in need through the Globe Gear Giveaway program. In 2018, 52 sets of gear will be awarded to 13 departments to help better protect their responders. Providence (NC) Fire & Rescue and the Strong Volunteer Fire Company (Mount Carmel Township, PA) are the latest gear recipients. Providence Fire & Rescue is located in the northern Piedmont region of NC, approximately 50 miles northwest of Chapel Hill on the NC/VA state line. Provide Mutual Aid The department’s 29 volunteers run an average of 330 calls each year and provide mutual aid to surrounding departments and across state lines The department’s 29 volunteers run an average of 330 calls each year and provide mutual aid to surrounding departments and across state lines. However, almost half of the department’s responders use personal protective equipment (PPE) that is more than 10 years old, which is considered non-compliant according to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) standards. Budget restrictions have left the department unable to purchase new gear and have also eliminated the department’s allowance for travel, decreasing their members’ opportunity to receive training unless classes are hosted locally. With a per capita income of only $16,470 and 14.4 percent of their small 3,400 population living under the poverty line, local fundraisers have not yielded enough funds to offset budget cuts. Fire-Related Hazard “In addition to training, this gear will enable our members and the members of our auto-aid departments the reassurance that they are using NFPA compliant PPE on any fire or fire-related hazard,” said Chief Kenneth R. Everett. “This will enable us to continue providing the members of our department safe, compliant PPE for years to come.” The Strong Volunteer Fire Company (VFC) is located near three heavily traveled highways and five state routes. The company has 25 volunteers who protect 3,300 residents over 22 square miles. They are first on-scene for all motor-vehicle accidents, structure fires, vehicle fires, wildland fires, and rescues and respond to two large industrial parks, an explosive plant, three mining operations, multiple schools and nursing homes, and dozens of smaller businesses. Firefighting Capabilities These four sets of gear will greatly improve our firefighting capabilities and provide a higher level of firefighter safety" The company is also very active in the community and hosts multiple fire prevention activities and fundraisers throughout the year to strengthen community support. Over half of the department’s responders do not have gear that meet recommended safety standards. Severe budget constraints have forced the department to buy used gear for its volunteers, and many members have purchased their own hoods and gloves. Additionally, the Strong VFC is expecting additional members soon because one neighbouring company is closing and a second may have to close as well due to financial and membership issues. “These four sets of gear will greatly improve our firefighting capabilities and provide a higher level of firefighter safety for our dedicated volunteers,” said Captain Kevin Mains. “We are trying to plan for additional new members and proper gear is a priority.”
Christmas trees start more than 200 fires every year and one in every 31 results in death. Many people don't know the important safety tips, but since Sher Grogg tragically lost 6 members of her family, including her brother, Don, his wife and their 4 grandchildren in a fire caused by an overly dry Christmas tree, she has made it her mission to help other families celebrate their holidays safely. Watch Sher tell the story in her own words. #DoItForDon Holiday Fire Safety Campaign Fire safety advocacy group, Common Voices, and Flash Max, fire safety superhero character helps spread the message through the #DoItForDon Holiday Safety Campaign Sher has teamed up with fire safety advocacy group, Common Voices, and Flash Max, a fire safety Superhero character (and active firefighter) to help spread her message through the #DoItForDon Holiday Safety Campaign that includes a downloadable Christmas Tree Safety Flyer. Here are three easy-to-follow tips: Water the Tree Stand Daily Always Turn the Lights off and Unplug Them Before Leaving or Going to Bed Dispose of the Tree Within 30 Days or By January 2, whichever comes first Virginia Fighters And Home Fire Safety It was after hearing about the tragic fire that claimed the lives of Sher Grogg's family that Michael Furman, the Fairfax County, Virginia firefighter created the Flash Max character. His mission: to bring the important message of home fire safety and survival to children and families. "After overcoming my own personal childhood fear of fire, I always wanted to work with children to help allay their fears. Watching how the unconscionable tragedy of a Christmas tree fire gripped the hearts of people nationwide, set the wheels in motion for Flash Max the fire safety superhero to be born," he says. "My brother, Don, died trying to save his loved ones," notes Sher Grogg. "These are simple steps that everyone should know to keep their family safe. We also now know that if the house had fire sprinklers, the outcome would have been much different. Fire sprinklers buy time, and time buys life."
Fire and emergency service volunteers donate countless hours to serve and protect their communities. One's selfless contributions are critical to making their community a safer, stronger place. With this in mind, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to partner with Cabot Creamery Co-operative to promote volunteerism and reward those who serve. In conjunction with Points of Light, National Cooperative Bank, and Create the Good, Cabot created Reward Volunteers, a free, easy way to track the time one spends volunteering in their community and to earn rewards for their contributions. Since the program started in 2012, over 440,000 hours were logged by nearly 5,400 selfless volunteers, to the benefit of more than 4,000 organizations. Providing incentives and rewards Cabot awards amazing prizes every month from prize sponsors like King Arthur Flour, Kind Snacks, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, as well as cash and prizes for the firehouse. Department leaders may also want to utilize this program as a way to provide extra incentives and rewards for their volunteers. They should encourage everyone in their department to use the Reward Volunteers tool under the NVFC group.
Spartan Emergency Response ("Spartan" or "Spartan ER"), a business unit of Spartan Motors, Inc. partnered with several of its dealers to demonstrate its globally renowned first responder safety technologies during the recent Firehouse Expo in Nashville, Tennessee. Spartan Advanced Protection System The event featured the Spartan Advanced Protection System which was displayed on two vehicles—the Metro Star 75' Rear Mount Smeal Ladder Demonstration Unit and the Metro Star MFD 10" Raised Roof Pumper. Spartan was represented by four of its regional dealers at the expo: Atlantic Coast Fire Trucks; Hendrickson Fire Rescue Equipment, Inc.; Hoosier Fire Equipment; and Johnson's EVS. Fairview Fire Department, from Fairview, TN showcased their Spartan pumper alongside a Smeal 75' Rear Mount Ladder Demo in this year's booth. Spartan's Advanced Protection System was included in this display as well, and its industry-leading safety features were demonstrated; including driver-knee airbags, outboard sensors, side impact protection, full-side curtain airbags, Spartan 360 camera, and smart restraints to keep first responders optimally safe to and from the call. First Responder Safety "Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our first responders," said Daryl Adams, Spartan Motors' President and Chief Executive Officer. "We believe in networking, sharing best practices in safety innovations, and facilitating technician training to ensure vehicles are properly serviced and ready for duty. Our goal is to put first responders in the best possible position to do their job safely." The annual Firehouse Expo conference provides a leading educational program offering training and solutions for those throughout the emergency response industry.
Earlier this year, Johnson Controls partnered with a third-party consulting firm and research group to successfully test a new technology that could potentially save countless lives with early fire identification and intervention for rapid fire protection to the external facade of a building. The standalone system was designed to quickly identify and accurately pinpoint the location of the fire and deliver water to that exact location within seconds. In addition, the system may use existing building fire protection infrastructure to minimise the need for additional water supplies, pipework and pumps. Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants (TBWIC) in cooperation with the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE) conducted a full-scale fire test program to assess the performance of this new SPRAYSAFE Autonomous Fire Suppression (AFS) technology, licensed by Unifire AB. Small Target Fires Testing occurred from January to March of 2018 at the TBWIC facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The purpose of the test was to validate the ability of the new SPRAYSAFE AFS technology to autonomously detect and locate an early-stage fire, distribute water to its location and prevent it from spreading on the exterior surface of a building with combustible facade materials. The objective of the targeting tests was to verify that the system could automatically detect and accurately direct water spray at small target fires Two tests were conducted – a targeting test series and a large-scale fire performance test -- using combustible fire cladding. The objective of the targeting tests was to verify that the system could automatically detect and accurately direct water spray at small target fires within the limits of the coverage area at both minimum and maximum operating pressures. Prevent Fire Spread The large-scale fire performance test was conducted to verify the system could adequately prevent fire spread on a simulated full-scale facade. Three different attack types were assessed – vertical downward, diagonal downward and horizontal. A free-burn test was also performed to verify the combustibility and response of the facade material without suppression. The testing validated the new SPRAYSAFE AFS technology has the capability to rapidly and autonomously fight an early-stage fire anywhere within its coverage area. Additionally, the system also effectively contained flashover fires, prevented fires from spreading via the exterior of the facade surface and limited severe fire damage to the point of origin. “As buildings continue to reach new heights, the need for early fire detection and intervention of the facade is critically important,” said Fredrik Rosen, marketing manager, Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants. “This revolutionary technology from Johnson Controls can quickly and effectively fight fires in high-rise buildings, which is a major challenge in today’s environment.”
Standards are being set with fire and rescue services in the UK adopting escape hoods to protect trapped and injured people from toxic smoke during evacuation at fires. Latest figures show in the year 2017/2018 firefighters attended 717,890 incidents in the UK, with 213,464 being fires. Fire related fatalities totalled 401 and there were 5113 non-fatal fire related casualties requiring hospital treatment. The London Fire Brigade is the first in the UK to carry the PARAT 5550 to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires. The fire service will be rolling out approximately 600 fire escape hoods across 102 fire stations in London over the next few months. Fire Escape Hoods Assistant Commissioner Richard Mills from the London Fire Brigade said: “Smoke from fires is extremely toxic and can render people unconscious within a few breaths. These hoods filter out four of the most dangerous gases, including what we call the ‘toxic twins’ of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.” Fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities “Rather than having to carry out every rescue as fast as possible, fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities and plan the safest exit route. We’ve worked closely with the Fire Brigades Union to introduce these fire escape hoods as part of fire fighting kit.” Fire-Related Gases With standards being set in the London region, Dräger is committed to assisting fire brigades around the UK and Ireland with adoption of fire escape hoods. The PARAT 5550 from Dräger is a fire escape hood packaged in a flame-retardant holster that has been specially designed to be carried without restricting freedom of movement of the firefighter and ready to be used whenever it is needed. The fire escape hood offers people who are trapped in fires protection from toxic fire-related gases as well as particles and vapours for a minimum of 15 minutes.
The continuity of power in the event of a real fire has never been more important as modern buildings become more complex and the need for the highest quality of products comes under the spotlight. With power for lighting and fire alarms, the fire and rescue services can use the intelligence gathered to evacuate people quickly, confident that they have found all the people in the building. Without power, they are literally scrambling in the dark without good information upon which to make their rescue. The continuity of power will also ensure that sprinkler or water mist systems can continue to operate where they exist. In commercial buildings, there may also be smoke evacuation fans which help to enable safe evacuation. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services Appropriate Cabling At the start of a project, the most appropriate cabling should be specified as part of the electrical system rather than at the end of a project. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services across individual areas and floors. At the same time, there are new designs, materials and products continually coming on to the market for major projects, and with it an increasing need for the various parties involved to work closely together to make sure they get it right. There has been an increasing incidence of non-approved cables on the market and unfortunately it is not until cables have been installed, tested or used that issues become clear. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Should there be a problem, have it checked and seek good advice. Keep records of purchase, including reel flanges with batch markings and a sample of the cable markings. Send lengths for testing and then decide on the most appropriate course of action. Choice of cabling is crucial at the start of major projects as issues may occur later Meeting Rigorous Third-Party Tests For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. It is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests This Code of Practice specifies that the type of system selected during the design phase ‘should be derived from a detailed process of consultation with the relevant authorities’ and that ‘the design should be agreed at an early stage.’ The decision-making process for cable selection relevant for life safety and firefighting systems is clearly defined here. This covers three categories ranging from 30 minutes to 120 minutes fire survival time. Categories 1 and 2 cover means of escape for 30 minutes and then 60 minutes respectively, and these cables are tested in accordance with the relevant codes. Category 3 for firefighting to 120 minutes refers to power and control cables meeting the 120-minute test according to the relevant standards. It should be emphasised that only Mineral Insulated Cable (MIC) or a cable meeting the requirements of BS7846 F120 will meet this criteria. For clarity, BS 8519 does not take precedence over BS 5839 for alarm systems and BS 5266 for emergency lighting. In essence, choosing the most relevant cabling and electrical accessories which will continue to operate under fire conditions has become critical. Application Of Medium Voltage Cables As the incidence of non-approved cables continues then so the application of Medium Voltage (MV) cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, schools, care homes, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites also becomes critical. In the context off fire engineering, it is important to select the relevant MV Cables in these areas. Adhering to the latest regulations is no longer enough - there needs to be a risk assessment. In order to do this effectively, it is important to ask – are the fire safety procedures up to date? All AEI MV cables are third party tested and approved by BASEC. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards The whole supply chain needs to take consideration of these areas where vulnerable people often move about such as children or elderly people in hospitals or care homes. The fire and rescue services may need a little more time than a conventional building including reading complex fire alarm information to ensure a safe rescue in the event of a real fire. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards. This is due to ageing structures, high volume of combustible materials, and changing use in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programmes where more combustible and flammable liquids are being used. Concerns have been raised by architects and and designers about fire protection regimes Sufficient Fire Risk Assessment Recent research by the Fire Brigades Union, for example, showed that a key focus for all educational institutions must be ensuring that there is an effective fire risk management process in place, delivered by suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by an expert in the field. The best practice under Business Information Modelling (BIM) and all best practice of fire safety engineering methods should be observed in conjunction with project partners. There have been concerns over a number of years around the fire protection regime for new buildings expressed by the architects and designers themselves. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) points to the delays to Approved Document B with regard to the relationship of Building Regulations to changing design and construction. AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service RIBA says the virtual disappearance of the role of the clerk of works or site architect and the loss of independent oversight of construction and workmanship on behalf of the client is a further issue for concern. In essence, RIBA believes that future proposals for the fire safety regulatory regime should be informed by the specialist fire safety expertise of relevant professional organisations and groups, and also take full account of this wider set of construction industry AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service with the support of its parent company Ducab based in Dubai, with the design, manufacture and supply of MIC, Firetec Enhanced or Firetec Power depending on specific needs. The choice of cabling and accessories should not be underestimated at the earliest opportunity to ensure the fire and rescue services are given every chance of success in rescuing people and saving property.
Within traditional commercial and industrial firefighting systems, engineers have primarily focused on permanent installation designs rather than entertaining alternative or supplemental mobile firefighting systems. Permanent installation design is typically better understood, supported, and supplied throughout the fire protection engineering and manufacturing community. However, mobile firefighting systems provide unique solutions and advantages compared to their permanent installation cousins such as flexible deployment, simpler servicing, improved economy, and much higher performance availability. The combination of both systems is frequently the most strategic solution for the facility operator. Limitations of fixed installation systems Permanent installation (fixed) systems include everything from sprinklers, foam systems, primary watermain pumps, and the plethora of piping in between. A large refinery complex will need to address various hazard mitigation and control problems that span both hardware and personnel needs. In the event standard hazard mitigation safety procedures and equipment have failed, the facility immediately initiates a hazard control operation. Passive fixed systems automatically engage the hazard through an array of sensors, mechanical triggers, and control algorithms. A properly designed system with adequate hazard coverage, preplanning, preventative maintenance, and testing will successfully terminate the hazard, while firefighting personnel respond and ensure no further hazards develop. This conceptual approach relies on hardware and personnel all operating as planned…. Combining permanent and mobile apparatus “According to plan” would never have any failures or fires, but history has a different script. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard putting the entire response on human and mobile hardware resources. This would include but is not limited to firetrucks, mobile high-flow pumping systems, large mobile monitors, foam proportioning units, and large diameter layflat hose. This type of response escalates into a larger scale operation, sometimes involving agencies beyond the facility operator itself. Although a low probability event, the risk to life and property is significantly substantial. Fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage Reducing fire-related expenditureMore typical than the worst-case scenario, facilities experience both maintenance-related system downtimes and natural phenomena damage such as extreme weather and seismic events. In this case, fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage. In any of these situations, mobile fire apparatus may fill the gap requirements of the facility as their flexible storage and deployment would protect them from everything but the worst natural disasters. Their further benefit is that a smaller set of mobile apparatus resources may be used to protect a larger amount of infrastructure, especially while in use in a mutual-aid program between facilities and communities. According to the NFPA’s report “Total Cost of Fire in the United States”, fire-related damages and expenditures from 1980 to 2014 have risen from roughly $200B (adjusted for inflation to 2014) to nearly $330B. The greatest expenditure is in fire safety costs in building construction, amounting to $57.4B. Although the overall losses per year as a ratio to protection expenditures has dropped by roughly 70% over the past 30 years, petrochemical facility losses have continued to rise over the same time. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard Petrochemical facility challenges According to the NFPA, refineries or natural gas plants had reported an average of 228 fires or explosions per year through the 1990s. Furthering this data with Marsh’s “100 Largest Losses, 25th edition”, refinery losses have continually expanded throughout the last two decades with 11 of the top 20 largest losses of the past 40 years happening during or after the year 2000. Two primary drivers of this trend are the advanced age of petrochemical facilities and their staggering complexity. As oil margins fall, upstream operational businesses are detrimentally affected by reduced investment in everything to new equipment, maintenance and passive safety systems. There is an observable correlation between a major oil price drop followed by upstream facility fire losses. Even with reduced investment and oil throughput growth rates, US refinery utilisation at the end 2017 was at 96.7%, the highest since 2005 (Marsh, The Impact of the Price of Oil). The short story is that systems and personnel are being asked to do more with less with each passing year. Cost-effective mobile apparatus systems Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardised designs and application methodology. They can access open water sources by either drafting (when in close proximity to the water) or using floating source pumps (for variable level or difficult access water sources). Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardized designs and application methodology With this open water access, they can provide significantly more water (upwards of 10,000 GPM or more per system if necessary) than any typical fixed fire pumping solution. Moreover, as their primary benefit, they are easy to move and deploy. This benefit allows them to be utilised at the point of hazard as needed while being easily accessible for service. While fixed systems are installed at “every known” hazard and must be continually maintained to operate effectively, mobile systems may be used sitewide or across facilities. This flexibility reduces overall capital expenditure requirements and establishes a valuable primary and secondary firefighting system depending on the hazard and facility resources. Combining fixed and mobile systems Permanent installation fire suppression systems are a mainstay of modern day firefighting. They provide immediate passive response with little human intervention. However, as facility utilisation is pushed to maximum capacity while fixed systems continually age out without adequate replacement or maintenance, mobile systems will need to both fill the response gap and provide a final wall to total loss incidents. The reality is that both fixed and mobile systems need to work together to provide the safest possible operation. Service and training requirements need to also be maintained to manage an adequate, or even better, exemplary response to hazard control incidents. Managing major facility uptime requires continuous oversight and to drive hazard mitigation standards throughout the organisation, including executive management. A safe, reliable and fully-functional plant is also a profitable and cost-effective plant much like a healthy worker is a better worker. Protect your people and property and you will protecting your company’s future.
A number of shocking incidents involving fire have highlighted the need to better manage risks in buildings. David Adkins, managing director at Risk Warden, explains why some organisations need to give compliance with statutory regulations more focus and how the use of state-of-the-art online risk assessment tools can help to ensure that a building is as safe as possible. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into sharp focus. A government review into building regulations in the wake of this tragedy, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, made it clear that competence – defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and experience – underpins safety for all. It also found that that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose and, with little or no quality monitoring, has created a situation where poor language confuses guidance with regulation and means that there is an overlapping regulatory enforcement framework. Why you need a fire safety action plan Sadly, Grenfell was not an isolated incident and similar events have occurred throughout the world. In 2017 a fire at a 17-storey commercial building in Iran led to multiple deaths, including those of 18 firefighters, while in 2015 16 people died in a fire in a residential building in Azerbaijan. Perhaps what is most concerning is that these types of events have been regularly occurring for many years – in 2010 a fire in a 28-storey tower block in China killed 53 people and injured at least 90, while in 2004 a fire at a care home in Scotland led directly to the deaths of 14 residents. The inquiry concluded that this tragedy could have been prevented by a suitable fire safety action plan. These examples highlight why it is vital to take the issue of safety seriously by undertaking a formal risk assessment. Put simply, if risks aren’t identified, a building’s occupants are in danger. There are a number of important pieces of legislation relating to this area in the UK including The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which contain a consistent set of requirements. Employers also have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into focus Responsibility for fire risk assessment When it comes to the dangers associated specifically with fire, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) places the onus on a designated responsible person within an organisation to carry out regular assessments to identify, manage and reduce the potential danger posed by fire. Article 9 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he/she needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him/her by or under this order". Any failure that leads to loss of life, personal injury or damage to property will expose a responsible person and could lead to prosecution. Outside fire risk assessors If the responsible person does not have the knowledge to carry out a fire risk assessment on his or her own, it will be necessary to call on a competent outside fire risk assessor. However, as Article 18 of the RRFSO points out, "Preference is to be given to a suitable competent person in the responsible person’s employment over a person not in their employment". Just as importantly, it states that, "A person is to be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures". If an outside fire risk assessor is employed then the responsible person must undertake due diligence to ensure that the individual concerned is competent and has successful track record in this line of work. Failure to do so can have enormous repercussions like, for example, in 2017 when a former firefighter and professional fire risk assessor was given a sentence of four months in prison suspended for 12 months for providing a ‘woefully inadequate’ fire risk assessment in his capacity as a private consultant. Failure to undertake due diligence when employing a fire risk assessor can have legal consequences Monitoring and reviewing fire risk It is up to the responsible person to put processes and procedures in place to enable compliance to be fully evidenced. This includes keeping up to date records of testing and maintenance regimes that can be scrutinised by relevant enforcement authorities, as well as enabling the responsible person to monitor, control and periodically review the fire risk assessment, especially during and after significant changes to the use or layout of a building. At the moment there are no hard and fast rules as to how fire risk assessments should be carried out. However, the most important requirement is to identify the fire hazards and how people could be at risk. In addition, emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, fire fighting equipment, the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances, and the needs of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with disabilities must be factored in. The aim should always be to remove or reduce the risks as much as is 'reasonably practicable'. A failure to provide satisfactory evidence that a comprehensive risk assessment has taken place could result in invalid insurance, large fines and even the prosecution of any individuals responsible. To that end Article 11 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his/her undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures". Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface Risk assessment and compliance tools Sometimes, particularly with large buildings or campus environments, the complexity of the risk assessment process requires a more methodical approach that takes subjectivity out of the process. When it comes to satisfying the requirements of Article 11 of the RRFSO where "the responsible person must record the arrangements", the latest generation of intuitive risk assessment and compliance tools can help. Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface, which allows a responsible person to be guided through the entire risk assessment process in a clear and thorough manner. This is a significant improvement on the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ approach, as digital images can be captured and placed directly into a report at the relevant section, while templates for specific building types ensure consistency throughout. This simplifies the identification, management and prevention of any risks related to not only fire, but security, and health and safety too, thereby reducing the potential for danger within a wide variety of environments. It should always be remembered that the risk assessment is only the first stage of the process and where traditional methods often fall down is in taking – or not taking, as the case may be – any necessary remedial action. Online tools provide a more cohesive approach, as once the risk assessment has been completed all work undertaken is clearly outlined, logged and accounted for to comply with audits. This provides evidence of compliance and ensures organisations meet their legal obligations, validate their insurance, take a consistent approach to risk management and provide peace of mind for a responsible person. Making buildings safer There is a clear need for a digital record of risk assessment compliance for the whole life of a building – from design and construction through to occupation. As assessing risk can be a lengthy and complicated process, anything that makes this easier and enhances an organisation’s ability to negate the likelihood of injury or even death should be embraced. It stands to reason that risk management must be more strictly applied in order to prevent incidents that could be avoided – therefore, the use of online risk assessment and compliance tools should be at the forefront when it comes to making buildings safer.
The college occupies 76,000 sq ft of teaching and workshop space, with specialist training installations, including 150 metres of external track and catenary A key driver in the successful delivery of the UK’s £42.6 billion HS2 project, the new National College for High Speed Rail, is now protected by industry-leading fire panels from Advanced. Located in Doncaster, a town historically known for its prominent role in rail engineering and maintenance, the college occupies 76,000 sq ft of teaching and workshop space, with specialist training installations, including 150 metres of external track and catenary. It will train thousands of engineers to meet HS2’s future needs, as well as those of the wider rail sector. With 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities set to be created by HS2, and 25,000 people employed during construction, there has been, and continues to be high demand for appropriately skilled workers. Need of a high-quality fire system The Advanced MxPro panels were specified by the team at GBE Fire and Security, who were appointed by main contractor Briggs and Forrester to specify, install and commission the fire system at the site. GBE’s Business Development Manager, Andy Westgarth, commented: “We’re thrilled to have been involved in this project. The college will create many opportunities for young people and make a major contribution to the Northern Powerhouse. With sensitive installations, including electrical catenary, a high-quality fire system is essential and, as a longstanding Advanced partner, we feel that MxPro panels are the ideal solution.” Multiprotocol fire system solution MxPro is the fire industry’s leading multiprotocol fire system solution. It offers customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network, backed up by free training and support. MxPro panels can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into high speed, multi-loop panels in 200 node networks covering huge areas. MxPro’s legendary ease of installation and configuration and wide peripheral range make it customisable to almost any application. Reliable and easy to use Neil Parkin, Advanced Sales Manager for the North, commented: “This is the latest in a series of high-profile rail sector installations for Advanced panels. We have worked with GBE on many projects and it’s great to be working with them on such a positive project. MxPro ticks all the boxes for the National College for High Speed Rail, combining proven reliability with innovation and ease-of-use.” Advanced are members of the Rail Industry Fire Association (RIFA) and have panels installed in a number of other rail-related buildings, including the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station, almost 100 London Underground stations, the Hitachi Rail Europe factory in Newton Aycliffe and the Tyne & Wear Metro.
KIMTEK's FIRELITE and MEDLITE units installed aboard emergency vehicles KIMTEK CORPORATION, manufacturers of modular skid units for firefighting and emergency medical transport in ATVs / UTVs, and brush trucks, recently implemented their latest line of skid units that support energy efficient electric vehicles. KIMTEK's commitment to environmental sustainability, quality construction and convenient, modular design features provides important advantages for makers of electric vehicles such as Polaris GEM and Ranger EV models and, most recently, for the California-based Tropos Motors team. KIMTEK FIRELITE Transport 300 series truck skid units Tropos Motors has just debuted its ABLE FRV and ABLE EMS fire and medical first responder electric vehicles with KIMTEK FIRELITE Transport 300 series truck skid units and the MEDLITE Transport MTSTR-104 Transport Cot Units aboard. Ideal for first response coverage at large events, parking garages, commercial buildings, and entertainment venues featuring smooth or paved surfaces, electric vehicles allow fire and EMS personnel access to hard to reach areas where standard full-size fire and rescue vehicles do not fit. "Our latest pairing of MEDLITE and FIRELITE skid units with electric vehicles is part of KIMTEK's history of partnerships with American manufacturers to serve the varied and emerging needs of public safety professionals," KIMTEK's Founder and President, Kimball Johnson, said. "We are constantly seeking relationships that reflect energy efficiency as well as product combinations that best adapt KIMTEK equipment with the needs of our first responders in the many environments in which they work." For more information about KIMTEK's full line of public safety skid units for fire, rescue, EMS, and brush trucks, including those specifically for electric vehicles, please visit the KIMTEK websites at kimtekresearch.com and brushtruckskids.com.
Morrisons has installed smoke and gas detection technology from Chubb Fire Sophisticated smoke and gas detection technology from Chubb Fire is protecting the staff and equipment at Rathbones, the bakery arm of Morrisons supermarket. Chubb Fire is part of UTC Fire & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp (NYSE:UTX). The systems had to be installed without disrupting baking production. Pervez Khan, General Manager of Rathbones (Wakefield and Middlesbrough) said this meant following strict hygiene and health and safety procedures: The installation had to be completed within five weeks and during normal working hours, and Chubb Fire proved equal to the challenge, he says. In a cooking environment, smoke detectors and alarms are crucial to protecting the people and the equipment from the threat of fire. Chubb Fire ensured the new system was installed, tested and commissioned simultaneously with the old system being removed. At no time was the factory left at risk. The systems installed include the latest HSSD smoke detectors and networked control panels to meet the relevant standards (BS5839 part 1 2002 categoryL1). Sounder beacon units have also been used to take into account the high noise levels throughout the factory. A separate alarm system has beenprovided specifically to monitor and detect ammonia, a harmful gas given off from the raising agent during the baking process. Jane Garland, Chubb Fire¹s Marketing and Communications Manager, says that fire prevention in the catering industry is essential both to safeguard the employees and the business: In this highly specialised installation, Chubb Fire engineers demonstrated their ability to work in any environment and to any schedule, even in the most difficult conditions, she says. Wm Morrison, the supermarket group, bought the Rathbones Baking Operation in 2005. Today the company claims around 15% of the market for own-label bread to UK supermarkets.