Fully compliant with IEC TR 63079:2017 and the field strength requirements stipulated in BS 5839-9, the PDA103i is a self-contained hearing loop system specifically designed to integrate with disabled refuge, door entry, and intercom help points. Brian Foster, C-TEC’s UK Sales Manager, said: “We’ve created the new PDA103i to comply with the accessibility and integrated loop requirements in the Equality Act and the latest version of BS 8300. The system connects easily to outsta...
Lake Assault Boats., part of Fraser Industries and a foremost manufacturer of fire, patrol, and rescue craft, named Banner Fire Equipment, Inc. – of Roxanna, Illinois – as its sales and service dealership for Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and portions of Illinois. Established in 1986, Banner Fire Equipment offers first responders a full range of sales, service, and support capabilities. Authority comments “Adding Banner Fire Equipment to our dealer network is great news for...
In the case of a fire emergency at any airport, every second counts. Aircraft Rescue Fire Firefighters (ARFF) always have to be effective in a short time, in order to save precious lives from a burning aircraft. The firefighting foam must be quickly efficient and should be able to contain the fire effectively. fluorine-free foam (FFF) The world of firefighting is quickly moving towards fluorine-free foam products, moving away from PFAS-containing products (such as AFFF and AR-AFFF foams). The...
The AZTEK is an extremely versatile tool to complete a knot pass through a system. The AZTEK can be used for a knot pass on a raise or lower and can be used on a Twin Tension Rope System (TTRS) or a Dedicated Main/Dedicated Belay (DMDB). In the video, the team demonstrates how to perform a knot pass using an AZTEK on a TTRS lowering system with dual CLUTCHes. AZTEK piggyback haul system The AZTEK is what is referred to as a piggyback haul system. A piggyback haul system or “pig rig&rdqu...
After the Civil Protect in September, Rosenbauer Italia will also present an extensive selection of Rosenbauer products at REAS 2021 from October 8 to 10. As an absolute highlight, the RT Revolutionary Technology can be experienced at the booth (No. C10-D9 in Hall 1).The Rosenbauer team is looking forward to the visit!
The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for 99 years, has announced “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety™” as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 3-9, 2021. From beeps to chirps, this year’s campaign works to better educate the public about the sounds smoke alarms make, what those sounds mean, and how to respond to them. “Smoke alarms have played a leading role in...
Potter announces the acquisition of three mainstay product lines in the fire alarm industry: Harrington Fire Alarm, Evax Systems, and CPG Signals. The acquisition of these three product lines will not only strengthen Potter’s position in life safety products, but will also broaden the range of products and services available to customers in order to meet all their fire protection needs. By incorporating the technologies of these products, Potter will expand its fire system and voice product lines, providing customers even greater access to the markets they serve. Customer service staffs Dick Eisenlauer, President of Harrington Signal Inc. said, “We at Harrington Signal look forward to the benefits that this acquisition will offer our customers. The corporate values established in the early 1900s by both Charles Potter and Fred Harrington continue to this day. Potter has demonstrated standards such as providing an excellent work environment and focusing on outstanding customer service; leaving us certain that our customers will be in good hands.” Potter has demonstrated standards such as providing an excellent work environment" Potter expects the transition of buying products from Harrington Signal, Inc. and Evax, Inc. to Potter to be relatively seamless. The excellent customer service staffs of Harrington Signal, Inc., Evax, Inc. and Potter will be available to ensure that all new purchasing occurs without a glitch. The exceptional product and support, for which these three brands are well known, will be further enhanced by Potter’s unequaled customer service and tech support. Voice system solutions Dave Kosciuk, EVP of the Fire/Security Division at Potter said, “The acquisition of Evax, Harrington Fire, and CPG is exactly what Potter needed to fill in the gaps in our product line. We have been continuously updating and moving our product line up market and this accomplishes many of the requests from our dealer base as we add networking, smoke control, and low and high rise voice to our product portfolio.” “We look forward to bolstering the relationships that have already been established and making them a part of the Potter customer family. Being the only independent manufacturer with a full line of fire alarm and voice system solutions, Potter looks forward to strengthening our footprint in the life safety market and continuing to build on the successes we’ve had.”
Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc., a subsidiary of REV Group® and a foremost manufacturer of custom-built, heavy-duty fire apparatus, announces the purchase order for a fleet of 12 new units to Birmingham Fire & Rescue Service in Alabama. “Birmingham Fire & Rescue Service is dedicated to providing rapid, reliable, and professional emergency services to the citizens and stakeholders of Birmingham,” said Cory D. Moon, Fire Chief, Birmingham Fire & Rescue Service. “Getting these new and updated apparatus from Ferrara is an important part for us to fulfill our mission.” “We’re excited to partner with Birmingham Fire & Rescue and thank them for their confidence in our team and our products,” said Jason Louque, Director of Sales, Ferrara. Ferrara Igniter Features The order includes nine Ferrara Igniter® LFD cabs with 102″ wide extruded aluminum bodies and features: Cummins® L9 450-hp engine Allison 3000 EVS™ transmission Bostrom® seats Waterous® 1500 gpm pump Waterous Aquis™ foam system FRC® Pump Boss pressure governor 500-gallon water tank 30-gallon foam concentrate cell Whelen® emergency warning lights Ferrara Igniter MVP’s with XMFD cabs features Additionally, Birmingham Fire & Rescue Service has ordered two Ferrara Igniter MVP’s with XMFD cabs and extruded aluminum 103″ MVP bodies which feature: Cummins L9 450-hp engine Allison 3000 EVS™ transmission Bostrom seats Waterous 1500 gpm pump FRC Pump Boss pressure governor Three speedlays with two 1.75-inch and one 2.5-inch connections TFT Monsoon Series electric monitor 750-gallon water tank 50-gallon foam concentrate cell Waterous Aquis foam system 10 KW Harrison generator Command Light Knight Series with six-head configuration Ferrara Inferno cab 77′ ladder features Birmingham Fire & Rescue Service also ordered one Ferrara Inferno cab 77′ ladder with extruded aluminum body and features: Cummins X-12 500-hp engine Allison 4000 EVS™ transmission Bostrom seats Waterous 1500 gpm pump Waterous Aquis foam system 400-gallon water tank 30-gallon foam concentrate cell Whelen emergency warning lights 10 KW Harrison generator Replacing old fire apparatus “When it comes to configuring our fire apparatus, the safety of the citizens we serve, and the safety of our personnel is our top priority,” stated Moon. The fleet of 12 Ferrara units will replace Birmingham’s older apparatus as a part of its apparatus replacement plan. Purchased at Williams Fire Apparatus in Ashland, Alabama, the trucks will also help the department remain compliant with NFPA 1901 standards. “Ferrara and Williams Fire are respected and trusted in the Fire Apparatus industry,” concluded Moon. “We appreciate and value our partnership with them.”
Federal disaster assistance is now available for wildfire survivors with uninsured and underinsured damage to their primary residence in Tehama and Trinity counties. Funds assistance Assistance may include funds for temporary housing while one is unable to live in the home, such as rental assistance or reimbursement for hotel costs; funds to support the repair or replacement of owner-occupied homes that serve as the household’s primary residence. Including privately-owned access routes, such as driveways, roads, or bridges; and funds for disaster-caused expenses and serious needs, such as repair or replacement of personal property and vehicles, funds for moving and storage, medical, dental, child care, and other miscellaneous items. Filing insurance claims Survivors are asked to file insurance claims for damage to homes, personal property, businesses, and vehicles Survivors are encouraged to file insurance claims for damage to their homes, personal property, businesses, and vehicles before they apply for FEMA assistance. The easiest way to apply is online. Survivors may also call the FEMA Helpline at +1 800-621-3362 (TTY +1 800-462-7585) from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. PT, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available. If one uses a relay service, such as a videophone, InnoCaption, or CapTel, give FEMA the number for that service. Disaster assistance Applicants for disaster assistance should have the following information prior to registration: Social Security number; address of the damaged primary residence; insurance coverage information; current telephone number and mailing address; and bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds. Disaster assistance is not a substitute for insurance and cannot compensate for all losses caused by a disaster. The assistance is intended to meet the basic needs and supplement disaster recovery efforts.
Nittan Europe is delighted that they could take part in The Fire Safety Event at NEC Birmingham, held on 7th – 9th September 2021. This free-to-enter event was aimed for visitors to gain direct insight into the latest fire protection and prevention products and solutions, to maintain the very highest standards of fire safety management. The Nittan team have had an incredibly successful three days at the event. Many thanks to all the visitors and customers for making the first presence at this event special. In addition, Robin Edmunds CPD seminar explaining the relative advantages of various Multi-Sensor types to select the best solution for minimizing false alarms, went down well on the second day. Nittan thanked all who joined the session, hoping they learnt something of interest.
Thermal imaging cameras are indispensable for modern firefighting operations. They are used for situational awareness, in search and rescue operations, or to locate the seat of the fire, to name just a few of the many applications. The cameras are an indispensable tool, especially for inside fire attacks, as they provide SCBA crews with a good view even in zero visibility. They see what is not visible to the human eye, namely the heat radiation from objects and people. It is like having a sixth sense - and enables emergency crews to orient themselves better in completely smoke-filled buildings and to recognize more details, to move around more quickly, to find people and animals faster, and to locate the seat of the fire or embers more rapidly and precisely. Protection Of Life And Health In addition to more efficient use, a thermal imaging camera also contributes to protecting the health and lives of the emergency crews: with this equipment, they can better assess the fire situation, more easily recognize dangers such as a flashover or an unstable ceiling, see what is lurking behind a door, locate escape routes and secure their way back. A crew with a camera is faster and safer on the way into and out of a burning or smoky building than a crew without The fact is, a crew with a camera is faster and safer on the way into and out of a burning or smoky building than a crew without. The thermal imaging camera is, therefore, an enormous safety asset for all those involved in an inside fire attack. Experts have long called for them to be part of the standard SCBA equipment, and ideally, each individual should carry their own withdrawal insurance with them. A Camera For Each SCBA Wearer What has so far often failed because of the cost, can now be implemented economically: every SCBA wearer has their own thermal imaging camera! Rosenbauer has expanded its existing portfolio in this respect and now offers two new, super-compact, easy-to-use, and highly attractively priced cameras: the FLIR K1 at around € 600 (exc. VAT) and the FLIR K2 for about € 1,500 (exc. VAT). FLIR K1 The FLIR K1 is a handy thermal imaging camera with a built-in rechargeable battery. It supports firefighters in assessing the situation and allows a quick overview of operational events, even in complete darkness and with a lot of smoke. The line of sight is therefore never lost. The camera is waterproof, can withstand a two-meter drop onto a concrete floor, and, at only 410 g, is an absolute lightweight. With a sensor resolution of 160 x 120 pixels and a thermal sensitivity < 100 mK, it meets the requirements for reconnaissance missions. In the process, the thermal image is overlaid by a second visual camera, thereby optimizing the displayed image. Up to 10,000 thermal images or photos (integrated digital camera) can be saved as JPEG files for documentation. With a fully charged battery, the K1 can be used to record thermal images for up to 5.5 hours. FLIR K2 The FLIR K2 is a tactical inside fire attack camera with a replaceable rechargeable battery. It has the same IR detector (focal plane array) and IR resolution (160 x 120 pixels) as the K1, but displays more image modes and higher object temperatures (up to 500 °C). Again, a second integrated visual camera overlays the displayed thermal image and optimizes the resolution. The FLIR K2 has been specifically designed and tested for inside fire attacks. It comes with two batteries that can be charged either in the camera or in an external charger within 2.5 hours. In addition, the K2 is just as easy to handle (glove-compatible one-button operation) as the K1, has the same operating time and, at around 700 g, is also one of the lightest cameras in this class. New High-End Cameras The thermal imaging camera range is rounded off by the C1 camera that can be attached to the Rosenbauer helmets Also, new to Rosenbauer's equipment range are FLIR models K33, K45, K53, K55, and K65, the latter of which is NFPA 1801:2018-certified. These cameras have IR resolutions of 240 x 180 pixels or 320 x 240 pixels. The thermal images are displayed on large, bright 4" displays and are ultra-sharp. The operating time of the cameras is more than four hours each, the batteries are charged within two hours. The thermal imaging camera range is rounded off by the C1 thermal imaging camera, the only one of its kind in the world, which can be attached to the Rosenbauer HEROS Titan and HEROS H30 firefighting helmets. Its display is simply folded in front of the helmet wearer's field of vision if required so that the thermal image is always at eye level. The huge advantage of the C1 is that the SCBA wearer has their hands free in every situation - for rescue, protection, and extinguishing.
“Most nights, the fire alarm goes off after midnight in the building where I live. It rings for about 20 minutes before security switches it off. This has been happening for almost three years. The alarm has never yet been the result of a real fire, but I fear the day when it is. Everyone’s become so complacent now that I worry no one will react when an emergency does happen – and there will be very serious consequences.” The day-to-day experience of this Dubai resident is common across many parts of the UAE. The grinding monotony of regular disturbances from false fire alarms is undermining people’s trust in fire alarm systems, altering their behavior towards the signals that are designed to protect them, and putting lives at unnecessary risk. So, what can be done to reduce false alarms? As ever with complex problems, the solution lies in many areas. It’s a question of carefully assessing all the risks of false alarms in a specific setting, then putting the most appropriate measures in place to address them. Education A vital piece in the false alarm management jigsaw – whether in domestic, public, commercial, or industrial settings – is education. Ensuring that those who use and maintain buildings understand the central role they play in preventing false alarms can go a long way to reducing their occurrence. Indeed, spreading ‘fire safety and preventive awareness across society’ is a key objective of the new Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice. All too often this fundamental step is left out – especially when building ownership or management changes Although some can’t be prevented completely, such as malicious activations, call point misuse, or activations with good intent (i.e. when someone genuinely thinks a fire is breaking out), many are easy to avoid with some simple, preventative steps. If people are clearly told about the kinds of activity that will lead to false alarms when they first come to use a building (e.g. smoking near or under detectors, keeping bathroom doors open when there are high levels of steam in the room, or leaving food grilling until it smokes), many incidents can be avoided altogether. Allied to this is the need for building owners to make clear who building occupants can/should contact in cases where false alarms persist. All too often this fundamental step is left out – especially when building ownership or management changes. Careful design and planning of the fire system A thorough and detailed fire risk assessment is essential for specifying a fire system that can cope with all the demands that will be placed upon it. To achieve effective false alarm management, a system needs to offer high levels of control and configurability. There are two fundamental aspects to the technology facilitating false alarm management. The detectors, which help screen false signals in the detector heads, and then the fire panel, which analyses the signals received from sensors and interprets this information to determine if the fire signal is real or not. Many forward-looking manufacturers, including Advanced, are combining these technologies to great effect. Detector technologies Manufacturers invest considerable time and money in designing shapes and filters that reduce the causes of false alarms Detectors are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can detect and analyze a higher number of signals from more onboard sensors than ever before. The latest models use smart algorithms to distinguish real fires from false signals caused by steam or cooking smoke for example. Some also have operating modes designed for particular areas or likely fire types. Many detectors now also offer improved physical protection from environmental pollutants and dust/insect ingress. The best manufacturers invest considerable time and money in designing chamber shapes and filters that reduce these causes of false alarms, so there’s an ever-increasing range of options available to suit the needs of specific sites. Panel power However, the real power of any fire system comes from combining detector data with an intelligent fire panel. At a basic level, this allows individual detectors to be used in combination or in different modes to help prevent false alarm incidents. For example, multi-sensor detectors can be switched between heat and smoke modes to confirm a signal. Alternatively, several detectors can be combined, using double-knock or coincidence programming, to fulfill the same purpose. Modern addressable panels are effectively powerful computers that can match detector signals with sophisticated cause-and-effect programming, bringing a range of verification and investigation delay options into play that can significantly reduce false alarms. AlarmCalm from Advanced uses ‘building areas’ to give users optimal flexibility in how false alarm management is configured. These virtual areas by default match fire zones, but can be specified independently to cover multiple zones and points, or individual points per panel. Each building area can have entirely independent false alarm management strategies or can be grouped and share common settings. Verification delays Verification delays postpone the operation of certain outputs before the fire condition displays on the panel. Example verification delays: One can set a verification delay, which allows the system to automatically check if an activated device is genuinely in alarm before a fire condition is displayed on the panel. Investigation delays Investigation delays postpone the operation of certain outputs after the fire condition displays on the panel. Example investigation delays: During the hours when a building is staffed, one can set an investigation delay to trigger a pre-programmed countdown when a detector is activated. This gives staff time to attend to the area in question and check if the alarm’s cause is a reason to evacuate. If the detector activation is false, one can reset the panel and avoid unnecessary evacuation If the detector activation is false, one can reset the panel and avoid unnecessary evacuation. If a fire has caused the activation, one can immediately halt the delay and put the system into full alarm to initiate an evacuation. The technology within panels means they can also work with loop devices to facilitate easier maintenance, indicate levels of detector contamination, and allow remote monitoring of device status and faults. People power A well-designed system can achieve a great deal automatically, or with very minimal human input. However, in recent years some manufacturers have developed dedicated false alarm input devices which allow building occupants to help in-alarm verification, which can be very effective. Taking the form of restricted repeaters or loop devices (Advanced’s is called the AlarmCalm button), these allow trained residents or staff to acknowledge an alarm in a particular room/area and start a pre-programmed verification delay. If the signal clears before the end of the verification period, then the system resets. However, if the signal persists beyond the verification time, the next stage is implemented, usually a full fire alarm. Needless to say, the best versions of these devices also have robust failsafe so they do not allow a fire signal to be delayed beyond the pre-programmed period, and they can only be used once before a system reset. They must also be configured to meet relevant local standards. What should One look out for when choosing a false alarm management system? There are a number of important questions to ask when assessing whether a system will be capable of reliable false alarm management for the site. It’s vital to check how wide the system’s range of false alarm management options are: Does it offer day/night sensitivity modes, on-board time clocks to control when different cause and effect strategies apply? Can one configure investigation/verification delays for different parts of the system? To what degree is there manual versus automatic control? Is there an option to include alarm acknowledgment buttons? How easily can one configure outputs? There is no single solution for achieving optimal false alarm reduction Ideally, the chosen system will be easy to use and configure so that it is economical to install and doesn’t involve lengthy training to achieve. It should give one maximum flexibility to set up false alarm management by zone, loop, or ‘building area’ so that one can create a customized system that meets a particular building’s needs. It should be easy to modify after the installation as few buildings have fixed uses and new requirements emerge over time. Finally, it’s worth investing in a system that can be remotely monitored and controlled. In summary, there is no single solution for achieving optimal false alarm reduction. However, there has never been a better time to be tackling this universal issue. The sheer range and versatility of the false alarm technology now available is a dream for specifiers and installers and promises an end to our false alarm nightmares.
“Luckily, today fire safety is a topic not only experts and constructors, but also the end-consumer is interested in,” said Marc Husband, Purchasing Director at Leader Doors, one of the UK’s renowned door manufacturers and retailers. Over the last few years, there have been many changes in building regulations for flats, apartments and offices for fire safety. Any building with more than three floors needs to be equipped with FD30 rated 30-Minute-Fire-Doors, to ensure that in the event of a fire, escape is possible. More options in fire-rated doors Marc Husband said, “The regulation changes that happened in the last few years, led to a heightened interest in fire doors, both from professionals, as well as private individuals. This is a consumer trend we are very happy about. Since, the product ranges for fire-rated doors have massively expanded across different manufacturers and we continue to add more styles to our online and in-store offering.” Currently, we have over 400 models of fire doors available in our internal door collection" He adds, “Currently, we have over 400 models of fire doors available in our internal door collection. We are very happy to see that they have become more and more popular. I still remember that a few years ago, the only fire-rated doors you could buy as a normal consumer were these plain flush doors. They don’t look very nice and are quite dull and unpleasing, so a lot of home owners didn’t choose them.” Fully finished Oak fire doors Fire doors have a special core that will withstand fire for up to 30 or 60 minutes, depending on their rating. Traditionally, these doors were simple ‘firecheck’ flush doors, made of Ashwood. But with consumer behavior shifting, they come now in more modern materials, such as Oak. Furthermore, they come fully finished, so consumers don’t need to do much to fit them and can do it themselves. It used to be a big challenge for architects, constructors and home owners, to combine fire safety with interior and decorating style. Many people chose aesthetics over safety. This isn’t the case anymore and a lot of doors now match standard doors, in style and aesthetics, as many door manufacturers now produce their most popular styles in a fire-safe version. Fire doors, a cost-effective option for home owners Marc Husband said, “This makes them far more attractive options and means that people can choose the most up-to-date and on-trend designs, to match all their doors right throughout the property. At Leader Doors, we also want to make sure that fire safety isn’t a luxury option. Some fire door models of our own product range start at as little as £50.” He adds, “People still think that fire doors are only something for big, corporate buildings and that they are highly expensive. But, only heavy glazed fire doors, which have to go through a tailored construction, to ensure they remain fire resistant for 30 or 60 minutes, are still very expensive and not well suited for private homes.” DIY home renovations rise in COVID-19 period Even the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the business of fire doors Even the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the business of fire doors. DIY home renovations have been a big trend, already a few years ago, but increased even further over the last two years. People were looking for activities that bring them joy and they wanted to improve their homes, where they now spend so much more time in. Home owners wanted to save money and had more time at hand, so they started to renovate their homes by themselves. And, a lot of people documented their renovations on social media platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, which inspired other people to do the same. Expanded fire safety doors range With the changing consumer behavior and the recent trend for DIY home renovations, a lot of manufacturers and retailers widely expanded their whole fire safety range, in order to make it easier for constructors and individuals to fireproof their homes. Marc Husband, Purchasing Director at Leader Doors, stated “One thing that we always remind our private customers about is that to ensure a fire door remains compliant, with all building regulations and fire safety, so they must be fitted with fire-rated frames and linings. This is what people often forget about. The growing demand had a big impact on our business practices and product offering. We started to manufacture our very own fire doors, as part of our in-house brand range.” Fire-rated hardware He adds, “We currently stock 29 different fire door styles of our own range, ten years ago, no one in the company would have believed that this would happen. But, ultimately, we want to ensure that our customers and their homes are as safe as they can be. So, we now even supply fire-rated hardware, like handles, latches, hinges or locks.” Marc Husband concludes, “Our doors have never been safer. We will take this well into 2022 and beyond. We have a dedicated internal team that continues to push boundaries, to ensure our customers, from professionals to the private DIY-ers, are well educated about fire safety and have the very best choice available, anywhere online in the UK.”
Fire safety doesn’t happen by accident; it requires universal attention. With that, Karen Trigg of Allegion UK explores why the importance of working fire doors is often overlooked and why now is an opportune time to bridge the gap between fire safety education and action. Improving fire safety within UK buildings is a challenge we are all continuously facing. Irrelevant of the sector, it’s of the highest importance for any building type - from schools and hospitals to high-rise residential and industrial facilities. Because when it comes to fire, there are no exemptions. Most of us are only made aware of the danger of fire from headline disasters and yet, in the year ending March 2021, fire response teams attended 151,086 fires in the UK, of which the average total response time to primary fires in England was 8 minutes and 35 seconds. Role of Fire doors Fire door hardware is tested under BS EN 1154, BS EN 1155, and BS EN 1634 standards and CE marked Fire doors play a fundamental role in these scenarios and are rigorously constructed and tested to British Standards BS 476: Part 22 or BS EN 1634-1 to ensure they remain fire-resistant for a minimum of 30 minutes (FD30) or 60 minutes (FD60) - holding out long enough to cover response times and evacuation. Fire door hardware is also meticulously designed to comply with UK Construction Products Regulations and is tested under BS EN 1154, BS EN 1155, and BS EN 1634 standards and CE marked. After all, without functioning hardware, a fire door is rendered useless. Fire door safety Fire door safety is an area that should never be neglected. Often, fire doors are the first line of defense in protecting people and property in the event of a fire - but only when installed and maintained appropriately. Yet, as incident reports repeatedly highlight, the significance of working fire doors remains habitually overlooked. The latest in reformed guidelines hope to address this, with the introduction of this year’s Fire Safety Act 2021 and the Building Safety Bill highlighting the diligent detail in which all responsible parties must approach the subject. Missing knowledge Fire doors fall under what’s described as a building’s passive fire protection system. At their most basic and when closed, they form a barrier and enable a building to compartmentalize the spread of fire and smoke. When open, they provide an essential means of escape. Yet there’s nothing rudimentary about fire door safety. However, danger commonly lies where fire door safety is misunderstood. Especially when you consider that last year alone, for local authorities, a staggering 65% of 26,318 planned fire door maintenance and replacement phases did not progress as scheduled - leaving doors neglected and buildings vulnerable. And while some may dispute that 2020 fell to extenuating circumstances, there’s no argument that fire door safety has become too easy to neglect. Closing The Gap The gap in fire door safety expertise is resulting in poor design choices, faltering standards Evidently, the gap in fire door safety expertise is resulting in poor design choices, faltering standards, and a general lack of knowledge. While it’s clear that expertise is lacking across various touchpoints - think product selection, installation, and maintenance - there is momentum to incite real change and the resources to improve awareness and education. In response, and leading by example, is the Architects Registration Board (ARB) which recently published guidance to suggest fire safety is taught under the architecture curriculum at universities. And while this shows positive steps are being made, the onus can’t solely be passed to the next generation of architectural professionals. All professional areas must commit and, in an age where information is almost instantaneous, there are several methods to gain a greater understanding of fire door safety - and all from trusted sources. Fire Door Safety Week In light of Fire Door Safety Week, the British Woodworking Federation Group shares regular advice and useful toolkits on fire door safety; including a five-step checklist that’s designed to support building owners in assessing their own fire doors (via certification, apertures, gaps, and seals, closers and operation). Information pools like this provide modern building managers with the know-how they need to monitor and act - deciding to repair or replace fire doors where necessary. For those actively involved in the maintenance stage, further guidance on topics such as certification and door closer adjustments is available online and by manufacturer request - showing fire door safety doesn’t need to be tackled alone. Fire safety awareness Professionals can ensure that their standards don’t slip after time passes, by understanding more about fire door safety When it comes to product selection and installation, there’s also a wealth of information and walkthroughs available in the form of detailed product datasheets and installation guides. These can often be found online and allow for a greater understanding of the hardware that’s available, leading to better design decisions and more reliable installation. Aside from product manuals, installers and contractors are commonly offered specialist site visits, training portals, and even hardware classification guides in a bid to assist with projects post-installation. With this, professionals can ensure that their standards don’t slip after time passes, by understanding more about the rounded process that fire door safety is and being ready for maintenance periods when they approach. Today’s associations, professional bodies, and manufacturers are on hand more than ever to assist specifiers, installers, and end-users throughout the process that is fire door safety. The support is there, and the resources are readily available and so, there’s now a real opportunity to improve fire safety awareness and education for the better. How Allegion UK can Help Allegion UK has a wealth of resources to help professionals undertake product selection, installation, and maintenance checks on fire doors and hardware. This simple toolkit provides information and tips on detecting potential faulty doors and poor installation, a guide to the EN classification system, and a safety checklist. There’s also an option to order a free door gap tester or download Allegion’s general guide to service and maintenance for free. For information on product selection and installation, please speak to the experts or head to the download center for technical fitting instructions.
It is the legal duty of the responsible person in any building to make the evacuation of disabled people equal to that for able-bodied people, as Anthony Smith, Managing Director of Vox Ignis, explains. When the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was first introduced in 1995, it gave disabled people long overdue access to goods and services, education, employment, transport and accommodation. This was, subsequently, incorporated into the Equality Act in 2010. Evacuation of mobility impaired people Sadly, despite its many benefits in access to goods and services, one area the act failed to address was the evacuation of mobility impaired people, in the event of an incident, leading to the Government and Disability Rights Commission to publish a guide of supplementary information for the fire risk assessment for Disabled People in 2007. The guide highlighted that the Fire and Rescue Service’s role in fire evacuation is that of ensuring that the means of escape, in case of fire and associated fire safety measures provided for all people, who may be in a building, are both adequate and reasonable, taking into account the circumstances of each particular case. Fire risk assessment of buildings It is the responsibility of the person(s) having the responsibility for the building, to provide a fire safety risk assessment Under current fire safety legislation, it is the responsibility of the person(s) having the responsibility for the building, to provide a fire safety risk assessment that includes an emergency evacuation plan for all people likely to be in the premises, including disabled people and how that plan will be implemented. As a member of BSI FSH/12/5, which covers Voice Alarm and Emergency Voice Communication Systems, and as Managing Director of Vox Ignis, a manufacturer of disabled refuge and fire telephone systems, Anthony Smith has long lobbied for the amending of BS9991 and Building regulations approved document B1, to make it compulsory for dwellings above one floor to have disabled refuge areas, with an Emergency Voice Communications System (EVCS), as commercial buildings, ensuring residents can communicate with building management, in the event of an incident, such as fire. As a member of BSI FSH/12/5, Anthony Smith has long lobbied for the amending of BS9991 Clear and secure communications vital in emergencies In such emergencies, it is vital that communication is clear, secure, monitored and maintained. These systems can be the difference between life and death. In the wake of the Grenfell disaster, many in the industry, including Anthony Smith, believed it would only be a matter of time until such critical amends were made. However, four years on, it looks as though the industry, fire services and general public may finally be seeing their persistent rallying result in action, transforming this outdated mandate. Importance of refuge areas in buildings Lifts, escalators and platform lifts may have transformed the way that people with mobility issues access buildings While responsible building owners and there are some out there, are already establishing refuge areas in dwelling houses, the revision of BS9991 in the next year, could finally spell the end of such crucial health and safety measures being optional, and make it a requirement for residential buildings, but it will take a change to the Building Regulations Approved Document B1 to change the law. Lifts, escalators and platform lifts may have transformed the way that people with mobility issues access buildings. However, more often than not, they are completely redundant in an emergency, which is why refuge areas hold the key to ensuring the safe and orderly evacuation of people from buildings, in the event of a crisis. Key role in promoting disabled refuge areas Here at Vox Ignis, we’ve witnessed this first hand. Working with property developers across the globe, we’ve helped establish disabled refuge areas, in a wide range of developments, from skyscrapers to hotels and high-rise residential towers, and are starting to be involved in projects in this country with residential towers, notably in Croydon. Although, in both of those instances, the client wasn’t bound by law to include EVCS for the disabled refuge areas in their developments, it goes to show that many forward-thinking and responsible developers are already embracing the latest in evacuation and fire safety technology, however, as an industry and as a nation, we can ill afford to rest on our laurels. Of the 72 people who died in the tragic Grenfell fire disaster, more than half of the casualties were adults with limited mobility or children, according to evidence shared in the latest phase of the inquiry, and we can only hope that, if the proposed revisions to BS9991 are approved, and Approved Document B1 is amended, we can finally put the relevant measures in place, in order to make high-rise residential buildings safer for all, once and for all.
‘Fire weather’ is the combination of weather and environmental factors that determine the potential spread of a wildfire. Typically, the main concerns are wind, temperature, and moisture. Lightning is also critical as it is a semi-forecastable parameter. Typically, bigger fires need low moisture, high temperatures, and high winds. Too much moisture and fuels (grass and trees) won’t burn. If the winds are too weak, the fire becomes easily contained and unable to create spot fires, where embers ride the winds to more dry fuels. Hot temperatures help dry out the fuels, and fires have a difficult time starting in colder environments. Forecasting fire weather Predicting both the weather and wildfires depends on the scale of forecast. Both start by looking at the larger, background environment that is more easily predicted over a longer time. “As you get down to individual thunderstorms or individual fires, the forecasts drive towards hours or minutes and at much smaller distances,” says Renny Vandewege, DTN Vice President of Weather Operations. “The main difference is that with weather the environment and triggers are known. With wildfires, the triggers can be human influenced, which are not modeled as well.” Private company DTN has seen an increased desire for forecasting of ‘fire weather’ during the horrific wildfire season this summer. New technology specifically helps accurately forecast fire weather so utilities can be prepared for the possibility of fires and shut down to help save lives and property. Predicting both the weather and wildfires depends on the scale of forecast Driving business forward As a data, analytics and technology company, DTN delivers operational intelligence to organizations with complex supply chains around the world including the aviation, energy, offshore, shipping, transportation, and sports and safety markets. DTN’s more than 1,000 employees operate globally to ensure local understanding of the insights needed to drive business forward. Prolonged high heat is typically accompanied by exceedingly dry conditions Air temperature can help pre-heat the environment, making it more favorable for fires to start and spread, says Vandewege. Prolonged high heat is typically accompanied by exceedingly dry conditions. This heat dries out the fuels, making them more susceptible to catching an ember and becoming a fire. In July 2021, prolonged high heat across California and the Pacific Northwest aided in drying out fuels which, when sparked by lightning and driven by high winds, burned well over one million acres. Life-Threatening situations Fires feed back into the environment is several ways, says Vandewege. Fires can preheat the air around them, especially when being driven by the wind up a slope. This can create a situation where the fire spreads quicker into the hotter, drier area, rapidly expanding in coverage and creating life-threatening situations for misplaced crews. Further, winds can carry the embers of trees that are ablaze, thus creating spot fires beyond firebreaks or riverbeds. Controlled fires use up the fuels, preventing rapid and expansive fire growth, as well as stimulate new plant development. A ‘fire whirl’ forms when an intense fire heats up an area. This hot air rises quicky, and more air rushes in at the surface to replace that air and then it heats and rises. As more air is drawn in, it collides and begins to rotate, creating a fire whirl. There is also potential for pyro cumulus clouds to create some tornado-like activity Pyro cumulus clouds There is also potential for pyro cumulus clouds (the billowing clouds associated with high intensity wildfires) to create some tornado-like activity, sometimes referred to as a firenado (although the term is a misnomer). “There are currently lightning climatologies for weeks and months in a fire season but given that the fire season often lines up with the dry season, that information is not very useful,” says Vandewege. “We typically look for dry thunderstorm setups, where the instability is large (due to high heat), but the moisture is more in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere. This way any rain that forms evaporates before hitting the surface, preventing fuels from becoming wet. Once meteorologists see that type of signal, it’s mostly a waiting game to see where the fire starts.”
Electric bikes and scooters are a newly popular way to travel through urban environments. However, the nifty devices come with a fire risk that could be deadly. In London, firefighters have responded to more than 25 fires, involving e-bikes or e-scooters in recent months, some of them significant incidents with serious injuries. Lithium-ion batteries pose fire risks The fire hazards of e-bikes and e-scooters stem from their use of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can erupt into flames. Complicating the problem is use of unauthorized or third-party batteries that may not be safe. E-bike conversion kits are available to convert standard bikes into e-bikes, but they include only the motors and control gears. Batteries must be sourced separately, often over the internet and by cost-conscious buyers, who may not consider safety issues. Cheaper batteries may be faulty. Using trusted batteries and proper storage Firefighters urge residents to use only trusted batteries and to store them correctly Damaged batteries are also problematic. Spare batteries should not be knocked around, which can increase the likelihood of damage to the cells. Firefighters urge residents to use only trusted batteries and to store them correctly. In one recent incident, a first floor flat in Brixton in south London was badly damaged, after a fire was caused by a fault in the lithium-ion battery pack of a mountain bike that had been converted into an e-bike. In another incident, five people were taken to hospital, after a fire at a flat in Southwark in Central London, caused by the failure of a battery in an electric scooter on charge. In the United Kingdom, anyone over 14 years old can ride an ‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’ (EAPC) without a license and with no need to register, pay tax or ensure the bike. Parameters for e-bikes in the UK The bike must meet certain requirements, such as displaying the power output and motor manufacturer, showing either the battery voltage or the maximum speed of the bike, and having a maximum power output of 250 watts. The electric motor should not be able to propel the bike, when it’s traveling more than 15.5 mph. Assuming a bike (or vehicle with more than two wheels, such as a tricycle), meets the requirements, it is classified as a normal pedal bike and can be ridden on cycle paths, and anywhere else where pedal bikes are allowed. E-scooters for emission-free transport E-scooters are stand-up, electrically powered scooters that are becoming more popular in urban environments E-scooters are stand-up, electrically powered scooters that are becoming more popular in urban environments, providing individual and emission-free transport. In a city like London, e-bikes are a familiar sight. Riders may store and charge their e-bikes in communal areas or hallways, when they are home. This practice heightens the fire danger, because any fire that erupts is likely to block an escape route and trap occupants within the building. Avoiding unsafe mixing of batteries and chargers The London Fire Brigade’s Fire Investigation team has seen incidents involving multiple batteries and chargers for a number of bikes at one property, which has resulted in the unsafe mixing of batteries and chargers. Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to failure, if charged incorrectly, which may be a contributing factor in some incidents. Batteries can get warm during use and should be allowed to cool down, before attempting to re-charge. They should also be charged on hard, flat surfaces, in order to allow heat to dissipate. Chargers and batteries should not be left unattended or while residents are asleep. Installation of smoke alarms is advisable in areas where e-bikes or e-scooters are being charged.
This year’s catastrophic wildfire season reminds us of the need for early detection of wildland fires before they escalate out of control. Historically, tools such as satellite imagery and localized video cameras have helped to identify fires at their origin and to alert authorities. However, delayed detection and low reliability have been a problem. Cloudy weather can also be an impediment, and the severity and frequency of wildfires worldwide suggest that new approaches are needed. A new high-tech approach involves ground-based sensors, drones and the Internet of Things (IoT). Wildfire detection solution Numerical analysis of the new technique suggests it can offer a faster and more reliable wildfire detection solution than current satellite imaging techniques. However, the system can only cover smaller areas when compared to satellite imaging. The system can only cover smaller areas when compared to satellite imaging Researchers in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Canada have proposed an early wildfire detection system based on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that pass over to collect data wirelessly, using the IoT, from low-cost sensors positioned throughout a wildland area. The sensors monitor the forest for any signs of smoke or heat. In a report published by the IEEE Internet of Things Journal, the researchers sought (1) to study the performance and reliability of UAV-IoT networks for wildfire detection and (2) to propose a guideline to optimize the network to improve fire detection probability within limited system cost budgets. monitoring larger area The research suggests a need for a delicate balance to optimize the density of sensor devices and the number of UAVs covering a forest area. The goal is to maximize the lower bound of wildfire detection probability within a limited time and low system cost. Research suggests that more sensors equate to better detection up to a point. The researchers demonstrated that the IoT/UAV network could detect fires in a shorter time Beyond that threshold, however, efficiency is lost because extra time is needed for the UAV to gather data in each location, which delays the ability to monitor the larger area. The researchers demonstrated that the IoT/UAV network could detect fires in a shorter time when compared to satellite imagery. This finding expands the capability to fight a fire before it spreads out of control. IoT sensor devices After a fire ignition, the IoT sensor devices within a limited distance from the fire can detect it and then report their measurements to nearby UAVs. The researchers used Discrete-Time Markov Chain (DTMC) analysis to compute the fire detection and false alarm probabilities. Markov Chains use statistical models for real-world processes. Inexpensive sensors, like the ones proposed for this application, do not have sufficient range to communicate with a distant fire control center. Therefore, the drones are used to fly over the area, capture the data wirelessly and then return to a base to report a fire. Lower-Cost drones The outlook for accelerating numbers of wildfires this year and in the future looks grim The researchers are Osama M. Bushnaq of the Autonomous Robotics Research Center of the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), Abu Dhabi, UAE; Anas Chaaban of the School of Engineering, the University of British Columbia, Canada; and Tareq T. Al-Naffouri of the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwai, Saudi Arabia. More than 95% of the Western United States is in drought, and there has been more than a month of above-normal temperatures. The outlook for accelerating numbers of wildfires this year and in the future looks grim. New technologies provide a tool to address the problem, even as global warming makes it worse. Connectivity of the Internet of Things provides new opportunities to leverage the power of sensors, software and other technologies to address the challenges, and lower-cost drones are providing an additional tool to collect data that will power decision-making during wildfire seasons of the future.
Due to the concentration of production resources and inventories in ever-larger operating facilities, fire loads and possible consequential fire damage in food processing plants have risen considerably in recent years. The causes of fires are manifold: short circuits, ignition of packaging materials, fires in cold storage rooms, or grease fires are just a few of the causes. The consequences of fires can threaten the existence of companies. High property damage, expensive remediation measures as well as business interruptions, and loss of clients mean that, according to the bvfa (German Federal Association of Technical Fire Protection), almost half of the companies affected by a fire cannot resume operations. VOSSKO, the convenience specialist VOSSKO GmbH & Co. KG, based in Germany, specializes in the production of frozen products. The company serves clients with its country-specific product range in the retail and catering sectors as well as hospitals, care facilities, and schools worldwide. More than 700 employees work at the site in Ostbevern with a production capacity of 30,000 t per year. VOSSKO is thus one of the most important employers in the region. Delivering sprinkler system To safeguard production operations and protect employees, VOSSKO opted for comprehensive fire protection from Rosenbauer, in accordance with the applicable VdS regulations. The delivery and production areas as well as high-bay warehouses are protected with a classic sprinkler system. This is reliably triggered by heat build-up. The filled piping network brings water immediately to the seat of the fire and enables rapid and effective extinguishing. Optimal protection for every area Sprinkler systems with dry alarm valves were installed in the cooling areas prone to frosts, such as the deep-freeze warehouses and the packaging and shipping areas. In these sections, the pipe network from the alarm valve to the sprinkler is filled with compressed air. If a sprinkler opens due to the effects of heat, the pressure in the pipe network drops, the alarm valve opens and the pipe network is deluged. VdS-compliant fire protection concept meets insurance requirements and safeguards ongoing production operations Adequate protection in the waste areas is provided through a deluge system that quickly releases a large amount of water in the event of a fire and thus prevents its spread. Common rooms, offices, and the factory outlet are also protected by a sprinkler system. In the canteen, the RPE Kitchen Ansul kitchen protection system provides sufficient safety against possible grease fires. The extinguishing effect here is based on a reaction of the extinguishing agent with the burning fat and is hygienically harmless. Impressive technology A tank with a capacity of 1,250 m3 of water supplies the extinguishing systems. The pumps with a flow rate of almost 16,000 l/min [4,220 gpm] transport the extinguishing agent to the approximately 6,200 sprinklers installed throughout the plant. This VdS-compliant fire protection concept meets insurance requirements and successfully safeguards ongoing production operations.
Chubb recently installed a hybrid fire solution, comprised of a combination of hardwire and wireless fire systems, in Glenapp Castle, a 21-bedroom, luxury five-star hotel in Ayrshire, Scotland. The solution meets the historic Scotland preservation agency’s stringent requirements. Chubb is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, the foremost global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable, and intelligent building and cold chain solutions. Challenge The owners sought to convert the castle’s entire top floor into a luxury apartment but due to the historic nature of the building, it required a robust fire system in place. Normally if a void in a loft space is under a certain size, it does not need to be covered, but Historic Scotland requires all voids to be completely covered, so close attention to detail was required. Chubb’s initial site visit involved a thorough eight-hour examination, exploring every nook and cranny of the loft space, which revealed many voids, including the eaves spaces and the turrets at the top of the tower. Solution Chubb’s proposed solution comprised of a combination of hardwire and wireless fire systems The project required Chubb to devise a hybrid fire solution – one that would protect both the existing building and the renovation project. Chubb’s proposed solution comprised of a combination of hardwire and wireless fire systems; cabling for the renovation of the top floor; and wireless modules such as smoke detectors and sounders, to the existing cabling in the finished building. During the project, the scope of the renovation changed considerably, which required Chubb to be flexible in adjusting the original fire solution specified. Working closely alongside other contractors, Chubb also worked to interface the fire solution with various other systems including the BMS system, sprinkler system, dynamic emergency lighting system, and pressurization system to keep the fire exit stairways clear. One unusual challenge Chubb encountered was the discovery of bats in the loft space, which required the team to seek a bat license and involve the Bat Conservation Trust. Delayed work due to COVID-19 When the renovation started in January 2020, the proprietor intended to have the luxury apartment open for late summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed work until Spring 2021. Glenapp Castle reopened in May 2021 showcasing its new 4,500 square foot luxury penthouse apartment – The Endeavour – which was recently recognized in The Week’s “World’s Top 10 Best Luxury Hotel Penthouses.” Results Chubb team has been extremely thorough in recognizing fire protection required and delivering a bespoke solution Since completing the project, Chubb has enhanced the existing fire maintenance contract in place to cover the full scope of works completed and with the addition of remote monitoring. Due to the castle’s remote location, the owners wanted to ensure that the fire systems would be monitored by Chubb’s alarm receiving center 24/7. Authority Comment “This has been a challenging project for all our contractors, in respect of Historic Scotland’s requirements and the unforeseeable delays caused by COVID-19." "The team at Chubb has been extremely thorough and attentive throughout, both in recognizing the level of fire protection required and delivering a bespoke solution to very high standards,” said Paul Szkiler of Truestone, the owners of Glenapp Castle.
The Ponchartrain Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, named for the original title given to the area by French settlers, was erected in 1965. After going through many ownership changes, name changes, and eventually closing in 2009, the 25 story tall, 367 room luxury hotel was resurrected in 2012 by Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts. The Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain Detroit was officially opened for business on July 17, 2013. Just as the once distinguished Ponchartrain Hotel had succumb to years of neglect, so had its fire system. The dated, conventional, non-addressable system proved to be a hindrance to the building as it looked towards success as the new Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain Detroit. Audio voice evacuation Fire Pros, the contractor for the project, needed an addressable system that would allow for easy implementation in such a large space. There was THHN wiring installed throughout the entire building. This made it a simple choice for the contractors to use an addressable panel that could communicate using the existing wiring rather than having to rewire the entire building with all new twisted, shielded cable. Potter’s P400 Fire Panel was championed for this job due to its retrofitting capabilities Potter’s P400 Fire Panel was championed for this job due to its retrofitting capabilities, allowing it to easily function using the pre-existing THHN wiring. The original system had a zone configuration with selective signaling (floor above/floor below) and was configured with audio voice evacuation capabilities. There were typically three zones per floor; one for water flow, one for common area or general alarm, and one for the guest room smoke detectors. Distributing intelligent power This zoned configuration made it extremely difficult to determine the exact location of an alarm or trouble on the system. This also made performing the NFPA 72 required smoke detector sensitivity test a substantial disruption to business, as well as time consuming and expensive. The Potter P400’s ability to distribute intelligent power and system expanders throughout the facility on a simple 4-wire bus, made it very easy to configure the entire 1290 point system that included analog addressable smoke detectors and sounder bases. With the detectors and bases connected to the Potter P400, the required sensitivity testing can now be easily accomplished by utilizing software from the main control panel, saving the Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain time and money. Fire alarm systems Fire Pros technicians were able to easily install nine PSN-1000(E) power supply units Fire Pros, led by Bob Proos, was overwhelmingly pleased with the P-Link flexibility offered by Potter’s fire alarm systems, “It is a benefit to have the Potter P400 able to support all NAC’s and SLC cards on P-Link as opposed to peer to peer like many other networks.” Fire Pros technicians were able to easily install nine PSN-1000(E) power supply units, twelve remote SLC cards, two Remote Annunciators, and Voice Evacuation throughout the building due to the flexibility of the P-Link circuit on the Potter P400 panel. It was also very easy for them to incorporate firefighter telephones and elevator recall to ensure the safety of patrons as well as firefighters. The usability of Potter’s panel programming software was found to be especially helpful by Proos and his crew as they programmed their Potter fire alarm system with ease and efficiency. Programming entire system “The software for the P400 Panel is excellent. Our technicians had no trouble programming the entire system.” At one point, after Fire Pros technicians had programmed the system completely, they were notified that due to a requirement allotted by the more stringent Crowne Plaza safety standards, a re-working of the entire system was required. The download speed is excellent! It took 15 seconds instead of 15 minutes like other panels" This re-work was not an issue as Fire Pros technicians were able to easily re-program the system without having to remove any hardware. Using Potter’s easy drag-and-drop software, they were able to interface with the system quickly, “The download speed is excellent! It took 15 seconds instead of 15 minutes like other panels,” Proos said. Throughout the entire installation process Proos was able to communicate with the panel in Detroit, via e-mail reporting, while he was at Fire Pros headquarters in Grand Rapids. Minimizing travel time This made it very convenient to assess any issues pertaining to the installation process while minimizing travel time. Management could easily send information to technicians in the field through the panel, and they were able to instantaneously fix any issue. As the Crowne Plaza Detroit looks forward to serving the city as a premier hotel destination, it is important that they provide a safe environment for both guests and employees. The Potter P400 fire alarm system helps guarantee that every inch of the premises is monitored at all times, producing speedy and detailed notifications. Exact alarm locations The panel makes it simple to identify every problem with specificity concerning time and location “I like to be able to get information that tells me exactly where the trouble is located, so we can address it and notify the fire department as well as our entire staff. The Potter P400 Panel gives a detailed description when addressing trouble notifications which is helpful when giving incident reports to our security department,” said LaTina Johnson, Construction Manager for the property. The panel makes it simple to identify every problem with specificity concerning time and location, which is extremely helpful in such a large building. With easily accessible information on hand at all times, the hotel staff can properly manage any potential dilemma. Problems such as guest disputes over smoking in non-smoking rooms, and pinpointing exact alarm locations in a building of such magnitude, can be easily solved with e-mail reporting. Properly managing situation Johnson says, “It is nice to have a technical reference for what has transpired. It really helps us properly manage every situation on site, which is important because our staff wants to stay ahead of any situation; being proactive as opposed to reactive.” With the Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain Detroit carrying on its historical legacy as one of Detroit’s finest hotels, it is important that the standards for Crowne Plaza as well as ‘The Ponch’ are kept in mind. These standards are implemented to serve the customer in the best way possible, and that includes keeping them safe in case of an emergency. The installation of a Potter Alarm Fire System ensures that the safety standards will always be met.
Premier Inn is the biggest chain of hotels in the UK, featuring in many towns and cities making up a network of over 800 hotels nationwide. With the continued popularity in air travel, Premier Inn decided to construct a hotel at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4. The construction of the hotel was an eight-storey, 613-bedroom hotel offering various size bedroom suites along with customer lounge and restaurant. Protec were employed to design, supply, install and commission both fire alarm and emergency voice communication systems (EVC). The fire alarm system would comply with BS5839 Part 1 recommendations along with holding a full BAFE SP203 approval as per the client’s requirement. Fire alarm system The system, when designed, would have to take into account the use of each room. As some rooms were accessible bedrooms, this would mean the Equality Act 2010 would also apply to the design of the system. An EVC system was required in the hotel, to assist with the safe evacuation of the building in an emergency scenario. The disabled refuge system also had to meet the current BS5839 Part 9 recommendations The disabled refuge system also had to meet the current BS5839 Part 9 recommendations. The system installed was a fully addressable Protec 6000PLUS series fire alarm system, offering a total of 22 detection loops across the hotel. The detection loops monitored a total of 1148 peripheral fire alarm devices such as multi-sensor detectors, manual call points, fire alarm interfaces and wall mounted sounders. Optical heat detectors The design of the system took into account the environmental conditions of the rooms. Factors such as shower steam and aerosol sprays are types of issues which can create false alarms in a hotel, so minimizing these conditions was paramount. Within the bedrooms, Protec utilized the 6000PLUS optical heat detectors to cut down false alarms. The multi-sensor technology is a tried and proven method for bringing down false alarms caused by that of shower steam or aerosol sprays. The multi-sensor technology works by using infra-red and thermal sensor, along with the Protec’s algorithm technology (Algo-Tec™) to differentiate between a fire and a non-fire scenario. It means environmental conditions such as shower steam or aerosol spray do not create a false alarm unlike a standard optical type of detector would. Emergency services teams The disabled refuge intercom points offer a safe temporary waiting area for the less abled person The hotel offered multiple accessible bedrooms which had to be equipped with Protec’s range of visual alarm devices (VADS). The high output LED devices are mounted to the wall or incorporated into the detector head. The bright LED head flashes to notify a person with hearing difficulties when there is a fire scenario. The EVC system is used in an evacuation scenario, assisting the emergency services teams with the safe evacuation of the building. The disabled refuge intercom points offer a safe temporary waiting area for the less abled person to wait and communicate to the emergency services in a building evacuation. The system across the hotel offered two-way voice communication between the outstations at the dedicated refuge points and the main disabled refuge control panel. Disabled refuge outstations Protec continues to work with Premier Inn as their approved supplier of fire alarm systems The fire services use the disabled refuge main control panels to communicate with the person waiting at the refuge area in an emergency scenario. Protec offered a fully compliant BS5839-9 system within the building and consisted of a 24-way main control panel and 21 disabled refuge outstations. Since completion of the Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 Premier Inn project, Protec continues to work with Premier Inn (Whitbread) as their approved supplier of fire alarm systems. Fitting out new projects and maintaining the network of existing hotels throughout the UK, Northern and Southern Ireland. Working closely with Whitbread the Primer Inn portfolio benefits from Protec’s fully comprehensive service and maintenance package offering a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year reactive call out service. With reporting, PPM and Reactive works allocation provided via Whitbread’s web-based Ostara Systems.
2020 saw the United Kingdom hit with a worldwide pandemic of a respiratory disease called COVID-19. It saw thousands of people hospitalized and cause a severe strain on the country’s NHS services. The UK government decided to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and assist the under-pressure NHS, by building seven new temporary hospitals, located around the United Kingdom. The seven hospitals were to re-purpose existing, multi-function public buildings, such as London’s ExCel, Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Convention Complex. The buildings would become temporary hospitals, so as to treat patients suffering from COVID-19 infection. Manchester Central Convention Complex (MCCC) The Manchester Central Convention Complex (MCCC) was the chosen building to offer rehabilitation to patients in the North West region. The site was to become a 750-bed hospital complex, staffed by a vast range of consultants, nurses, clinical and non-clinical support workers, and administrators. The MCCC already had an existing fire alarm system. Due to time constraints, an extension of the current fire alarm system would be the most suitable option. However, the chosen building also carried a Grade II listing, making installation of services a complicated procedure. Bottleneck on supplies due to lockdown The UK government issued a nationwide lockdown, seeing the majority of industries close The United Kingdom was suffering from a worldwide pandemic. The UK government issued a nationwide lockdown, seeing the majority of industries close. It created a bottleneck on materials and supplies across multiple sectors, resulting in more exaggerated issues than usual. The companies involved needed dedicated labor and supply lines, in order to complete the project, without disrupting the project timeline. The proposed NHS Nightingale Manchester was the closet of the Nightingale hospitals to Protec’s production facility. Protec supplied fire detection equipment Protec manufactures all their detection devices and stocks a vast amount of equipment, at any given time. It meant Protec would supply the equipment, materials, and labor to carry out the work in the short timescale required making us the ideal fire alarm contractor for the project. The Manchester Central Convention Complex’s existing fire alarm system was not a Protec system. However, this wasn’t an issue. The current and new Protec fire alarm systems connect via dedicated fire alarm interfaces. Fire alarm system The new Protec fire alarm system offers detection to the newly created ward, shower room and morgue areas. Nightingale Manchester saw the existing open plan area split down into separate wards. These new wards benefited from automatic fire detection, visual alarm devices with manual call points located at nurse bases. Due to the Manchester Central Convention Complex (MCCC) still living its former life, as the Manchester Central Railway Station, built in 1880, it carries the typical architecture of that time. Its 64-meter wide by 168-meter long, arched roof means regular point detection is not the correct fire detection solution. At the highest point of the arch, the room height is more than 10 meters, which means that point detection would not be suitable, as this would be against BS5839 recommendations and challenging to maintain in the future. Beam detection, the ideal solution for the MCCC Beam detection benefits from short installation time over aspiration detection, while still offering ease of maintenance Only two alternative forms of detection would be suitable in this instance. The choice was between aspirating detection or beam detection. Both solutions would be ideal in this scenario. However, beam detection’s quick installation turnaround would be the perfect solution. Beam detection benefits from short installation time over aspiration detection, while still offering ease of maintenance. A total of 12 beam detectors covered the vast curved roof, over the new ward areas. detectors, sounders and call points installed In addition to the new ward areas, a series of smaller additional spaces were created. These included shower and morgue areas. Due to these areas’ pop-up nature, the quickest and most efficient fire system type for them would be a hybrid approach. The newly installed field devices consisted of detectors, sounders and manual call points, all wirelessly linking to Protec static translator modules. The translator modules introduce the wireless fire alarm devices to the newly installed Protec hard-wired addressable fire alarm system. NHS Nightingale Hospital North West NHS Nightingale Hospital North West assisted in the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, as it was initially intended and was successful. All building contractors, NHS and the Army, making up a 1000 strong team, came together to see the NHS Nightingale Northwest facility completed in a staggering thirteen days. Due to the project’s temporary nature, the system supplied included a 12-month service and maintenance contract, offering 24/7 service and support to the site. When the site is no longer needed, Protec will help decommission the fire alarm devices on the newly formed areas.
The Laurus Trust is a Multi-Academy Trust predominantly based within the Greater Manchester area. The trust consists of seven schools which are: Cheadle Hulme High School, Laurus Cheadle Hulme, Laurus Ryecroft, Didsbury High School, Hazel Grove High School, Gorsey Bank Primary School and Cheadle Hulme Primary School. In 2017, The Laurus Trust, along with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), selected BAM Construction Northwest, based in Salford, to deliver the Laurus Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle Hulme Primary School and Didsbury High School, with the contract valued circa £40 million. BAM also went on to secure the Laurus Ryecroft School, as part of the scheme, with the schools opening between September 2018 and March 2020. Protec’s full turkey solution The Laurus Trust’s group of schools set Protec the task to provide a full turnkey solution for the various life safety systems, installed at three of their schools. All the systems provided would have to meet current British Standard recommendations for the fire alarm and emergency voice communication (refuge alarm) systems, as well as take into account whether any value engineering solutions where possible, so as to ensure costs stayed within the contract budgets. BS5839-1 L2 compliant fire alarm system The scheme called for the installation of a BS5839-1 L2 compliant fire alarm system The scheme called for the installation of a BS5839-1 L2 compliant fire alarm system. The fire alarm systems of the 3 No. schools, all benefitted from the new 6500 main fire alarm panels, provided with ‘open protocol’ capabilities. The fully digital addressable panels would offer the display, control and monitoring of the 6000PLUS series fire alarm devices, fitted throughout the schools. The field devices were made up of digital addressable multi-sensors, heat sensors, beam detection, fire alarm interfaces, voice-enhanced sounders and visual alarm devices. At the tender stage, Protec identified multiple value engineering solutions, whereby a detailed up-front fire alarm system design could cut the overall installation costs. Solutions such as using the fire alarm system to indicate the intervals between classes, by adding a timer to the fire alarm system (i.e. Class Change). Protec 6000PLUS series Talking Sounders As the systems utilized the Protec 6000PLUS series Talking Sounders, this enabled the class change signal to use the ‘Bell Tone’ sound, within these devices, thus replicating the sound of a real bell, in a class change period. With Protec installing a fully digital addressable fire alarm system, this negated the need for providing remote indicator units, as the text on an addressable system shows the location of a fire or fault, on the main fire alarm control panel, for integration by the fire service, maintenance engineer or designated competent person. Lockdown Systems Lockdown Systems are becoming popular within the education sector. Sadly, this is due to the growing number of events that could impact on the safety of pupils and staff. The lockdown system is a means to alert staff of an incident, without causing undue distress to the pupils. In this case, Blue manual call points are installed within strategic locations in the schools, connected directly on the fire alarm detection loops. Upon activation of any blue manual call point, in a ‘lockdown’ event, this activates the coded message to alert all members of staff, so that they can implement the correct lockdown procedures. NACTSO guidelines for use of fire alarms Protec overcame the problem by using their Talking Sounder range of fire alarm devices The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) guidelines state that the use of fire alarms should be avoided, so as to reduce incorrect response to an incident. This statement is down to fire alarm tones being confused with the tones that could be used for a lockdown scenario. Protec overcame the problem by using their Talking Sounder range of fire alarm devices. The system provided enables various messages to apply for each of the different types of scenarios, reducing the risk of confusion. Differentiating between fire and lockdown alarms For these projects, the fire alarm is via a warble preamble, followed by the announcement, ‘Attention please, attention please, fire has been reported in the building, please leave the building immediately, by the nearest exit.’ The lockdown scenario would be initiated via a pulse preamble, followed by the announcement, ‘May I have your attention please, an incident has been reported in the building, please listen for further instructions.’ And finally, the class change is via a ‘Bell’ tone, which is a recorded message that replicates the sound of a traditional type bell. By utilizing the fire alarm system infrastructure for providing the lockdown feature, the system installed has become part of a value-engineered solution for the client. The use of the fire alarm system with the additional devices would mean a dedicated system for the lockdown system would not need installing, thereby, saving costs for the client. Emergency Voice Communication (Disabled Refuge Alarm) Emergency Voice Communication (Disabled Refuge Alarm) is a system used in an evacuation scenario Emergency Voice Communication (Disabled Refuge Alarm) is a system used in an evacuation scenario, so as to assist building management and the emergency services, with the safe evacuation of the building. The refuge intercom system offers a secure temporary ‘refuge’ area for the pupils, staff and visitors, requiring assistance to evacuate to a ground-level via stairs, so that they are able to safely wait and communicate to the emergency services, during a building evacuation. Two-way voice communication The systems across the schools offered two-way voice communication between the outstations, at the dedicated refuge points and the main emergency voice communication control panels. The fire & rescue service would use the main emergency voice communication control panels, which are located at the main point of entry to the building, for ease of access in an emergency scenario. Protec offered a fully compliant BS5839-9 system, across the 3 No. sites, a total of 5 No. 16-way main control panels and 21 No. refuge outstations. Additionally, 20 No. accessible toilet alarms were installed in the accessible WC’s and linked into the refuge alarm system, across the 3 No. sites, as part of a value-engineered solution, to incorporate the toilet alarms and refuge alarm into one complete system. Protec aftercare and service By combining these two systems, this reduced the costs of having a dedicated system for each. Since completion of the 3 No. school sites within this scheme, the Laurus Trust has taken out a PPM service contract with Protec, to ensure that the systems stay correctly maintained and operational for years to come.
Round table discussion
Thermal imaging is an advantageous tool for firefighters on the frontline. As thermal cameras have become more compact and affordable, their availability has expanded, along with their usefulness. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: How does thermal imaging serve the needs of firefighters and how is it changing?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had ramifications for almost every industry, some more than others. With the pandemic stretching well into a second year, the non-medical consequences continue, and many are wondering about which of the required changes might become permanent. As regards the fire sector, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact has COVID-19 had on the fire industry?
New tools and technologies are emerging that augment the efforts of the fire market to prevent and fight fires. Modern firefighting is benefiting from an ongoing sea change in technological capabilities, spanning equipment, electronic components, greater connectivity and firefighter monitoring, to name just a few. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What technologies will have the greatest impact on the fire industry in 2021?
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