The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) is a certification body for organizations providing security systems and services, fire detection and alarm systems, telecare systems and services, manned security services and monitoring services. In this challenging time, with the closure of many business and the Prime Minister’s statement to further restrict movement, it is important to ensure the vital national work that the private security industry firms carry out is recognize...
Coronavirus COVID-19 is developing rapidly across the UK and the impact on customers and workforces is likely to be significant, and in some cases unavoidable, but as of currently, Coopers Fire is continuing to operate as business as usual. Coopers Fire are continuing to manufacture at full capacity and their main telephone number is working as usual with the majority of the Coopers Fire team still available to receive emails, talk on the phone or via Microsoft Teams and/or Skype for Busi...
DuPont announced close monitoring of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as it continues to spread across the world, and taking key steps to ensure the safety of their employees, customers and communities in which they operate to keep them informed as the health crisis unfolds. Effective COVID-19 response The company said that the health and safety of their employees is of the highest priority. They have corporate, regional and local crisis management teams in place that are actively monitorin...
AEI Cables highlights the need for the highest quality of cabling for use in sprinkler systems being fitted as part of new fire safety initiatives for high-rise buildings. New blocks of flats of six storeys or higher could require sprinkler systems under new Government plans being considered in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. Meeting relevant stands Graham Turner, of AEI Cables said, “While the approach to sprinkler systems is positive news, the need for reliable...
Bodies within the Security and Fire sector, namely the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), Fire and Security Association (FSA), National Security Inspectorate (NSI), and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) are re-iterating calls for employees of all security and fire safety companies approved by UKAS-accredited specialist certification bodies to be designated as ‘Key Workers’, to ensure environments not currently designated as ‘critical’ con...
The Fire Industry Association (FIA) is continuously seeking further clarification from the Government's position on this issue after Boris Johnson's speech on Monday 23rd at 20:30. FIA CEO Ian Moore has been in discussions with the Home Office on this subject over the last few days. FIA CEO Ian Moore says, “We have received hundreds of calls requesting clarification on what is meant by the Home Office statements. My first response is to be pragmatic about what you deem to be important und...
With its new generation of wireless detectors, Bosch Building Technologies offers a flexible fire protection solution that works almost entirely without cabling. It is therefore ideally suited for historical buildings, for retrofitting and expansion of existing buildings, and for temporary installations. Thanks to the combination of two frequency bands and highly reliable mesh technology, the new wireless fire alarm system offers high system availability and maximum protection. The solution consists of a gateway, which is connected to the fire alarm system by cable, as well as up to 30 detectors and 10 manual call points, which communicate with the gateway by radio and can therefore be installed anywhere without cabling. radio-based fire detection The new wireless solution from Bosch is highly scalable, as up to 10 gateways can be networked. They are compatible with every Bosch fire panel and can thus easily integrate into existing solutions. The gateways are battery-powered and can therefore be configured prior to installation, making commissioning much easier. Installation and configuration are intuitive and fast, and an intuitive diagnostic tool allows easy verification of the entire installation. Each detector acts as a repeater and can forward alarms from other detectors The detectors are arranged in a mesh topology instead of a conventional star topology. This ensures that redundant connection paths are always available to all devices, so that reliable alarming is ensured even if one radio link fails. Each detector acts as a repeater and can forward alarms from other detectors, so that radio-based fire detection can now be used even in very large buildings. No direct connection to the gateway is required for this. multi sensor detectors The redundancy created through the mesh topology is complemented by the use of two radio bands to ensure reliable operation even in the event of interference on one frequency. In this case, switching takes place automatically. Both radio bands can be used without restrictions throughout Europe. The new wireless solution from Bosch uses EN54-certified multi sensor detectors with optical and thermal sensors. Main areas of application are hotels, town halls, shopping centers and temporary installations, for example in exhibition halls. Thanks to its redundant configuration, the radio-based solution is also suitable for challenging applications in which radio has often caused problems in the past, for example environments where many walls could interfere or block the radio signal.
Given the unprecedented situation of COVID-19 and uncertainty faced by everyone around the world, FFE Ltd. Managing Director, Oliver Burstall said, “I would like to take this opportunity to reach out and update you on the steps we are taking to ensure operations continue in the safest way possible.” Availability of product He said, “Our primary concern as a business is the health and safety of our colleagues, customers, suppliers and their families. At FFE Ltd., we have been carefully evaluating the situation daily and following the official advice from the government and health organisations.” Oliver adds, “To ensure that there are no risks to our supply chain we are working closely with all our suppliers. We currently have 4- 6 weeks material guaranteed and further material in the pipeline. Our manufacturing facility is working at near full capacity and is successfully meeting the current demand. As this is a very dynamic situation, we will keep you apprised of any impacts as they unfold.” Shipment of orders He further said that FFE Ltd. was committed towards ensuring that all shipments continue to be delivered to customers within the standard lead times. However, there may be some disruptions that are out of the company’s control and therefore advise customers to place orders with sufficient time in hand. Customers with any questions or requiring a substantial order are requested to get in touch with the account manager to discuss the implications. Mitigating Risk FFE Ltd. strives to maintain business operations with minimal impact to the service provided over the years. To mitigate risk and the spread of infection, the company is taking necessary steps to protect employees by facilitating work from home for them. This implies, to handle customers’ queries efficiently, they will be required to contact the appropriate individuals via the alloted email addresses Oliver Burstall concluded, “We will ensure our policies and procedures continue to reflect any further guidance from the authorities and will keep you updated on any changes to our services. Thank you for taking the time to read this message and on behalf of all of us at FFE, we send you our best wishes for your safety and health.”
Snido is pleased to announce that João Palhinha joined its team of engineers. Graduating from the University of Algarve in 2010 with a degree in computer engineering, João joined an Algarvian digital company in 2009 and became director of their R&D department in 2015. During his time there he worked on developing websites and web applications, along with Android, iOS and desktop applications. “I am delighted to bring my knowledge and experience of working with the most varied web, mobile and desktop technologies to Snido and trust that my skillset will assist in developing future pathways for the company. It will also be interesting working in a team of engineers with various skill types as we all share our individual learnings” said João. He is currently working with Snido’s system programming software development team as that project nears completion.
Euralarm has welcomed Drax Technology as new member. The company will join the Fire Section of Euralarm which activities cover the technical and political trends and taking action to guide the developments. Together with a diverse number of stakeholders in Europe, the fire section collaborates on finding solutions for current challenges as well as future challenges for fire safety in a digitized world. Drax Technology will now benefit from Euralarm’s services in terms of representation towards European institutions and standardization organizations. This includes the monitoring of legislative and standardization issues relevant to the industry. Drax Technology will have access to the extended network of national associations and major companies in the electronic fire safety and security sectors, which form Euralarm’s members. The new membership will create opportunities for both sides, as it also strengthens the association. Integrating multiple alarm systems The company is highly-specialized in integrating and centralizing fire alarm panels Drax are pioneers in the design and supply of solutions for the integration, monitoring, management and reporting of multiple alarm systems into a single and user-friendly graphical interface and cloud-based reporting dashboard. The company is highly-specialized in integrating and centralizing fire alarm panels from a variety of manufacturers to help users to meet the demands of managing both modern and complex sites, no matter their location. Drax has built positive relationships with various manufacturers, yet remain an independent organization with no obligatory ties, and are therefore able to create bespoke systems that are unique to the customer’s requirement. Future-Proof customer systems Drax Technology are committed to ensuring that their customer’s systems are future-proofed, with robust research and product development processes that ensure the highest level of protection for people and assets. Companies joining Euralarm get a unique insight into what is happening on other European markets Businesses that work with Drax are encouraged to utilize their data to improve their fire strategy; using custom reporting and trend-analysis to inform preventative maintenance practices, reduce response times and cost, as well as monitor performance through clear audit-trails. Insight into European markets Companies joining Euralarm get a unique insight into what is happening on other European markets and the opportunities that they might offer. They not only tap into the political expertise and understanding of the EU policy, but can also make personal connections with technical and political experts and potential business partners. Being a member of Euralarm enables companies and associations to gain expertise on standardization. Members have their voice heard in Brussels and can support and direct standardization and legislative processes.
The fireboats used by the Marine Division of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) use Rotork’s IQ range of part-turn intelligent electric actuators to keep the city safe. The IQ part-turn actuators provided are used on two fireboats, ‘Firefighter 2’ and ‘Firefighter 343’. The actuators have the important duty of controlling the flow of water to the fire nozzles on deck, meaning that they are vital in the event of an emergency. Combating Fire-Related Incidents New York City is one of the busiest ports in the world and has 560 miles of waterfront. The FDNY has long employed the use of fireboats in order to combat fire-related incidents both on land and on the water. These 2 ships are the largest ones in their fleet. Water is extracted from the river upon which the fireboats operate and the actuators then control the flow from the river to the fire nozzle. This ensures that the fireboats have access to an endless supply of water in the event of an emergency. It is critical that the flow of water to the fire nozzles is maintained at all times. Fire-Fighting Application Additionally, the fire nozzles are sometimes used to spray water at festival displays such as Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Fleet Week. The IQ actuators were installed as a retrofit, after the existing electric actuators installed previously failed due to water ingress. The Rotork actuators were chosen for their longevity and reliability. With water ingress protection, they are double sealed to IP66/68 (20 m for 10 days). The IQT actuators are capable of up to 1,200 starts per hour, making them ideal for a fire-fighting application where duty cycles can be very demanding in emergencies.
Thanks to Anheuser-Busch, volunteer fire departments who respond to wildland fires can now apply for canned emergency drinking water through the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) for their immediate or upcoming wildfire response needs. Fighting Wildfires The Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program supports volunteer departments across the U.S. fighting wildfires throughout the year by helping provide critical hydration when it is needed most. “We appreciate Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to support our volunteer boots on the ground responders in fighting our nation’s wildland fires, especially since many volunteer departments often work with limited budgets and resources,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman, Steve Hirsch. Supporting fire and emergency ground responders It’s critical that firefighters are well-hydrated to ensure the proper level of response" Steve adds, “It’s critical that firefighters are well-hydrated to ensure the proper level of response. Anheuser-Busch has been an outstanding partner, and we are excited to continue our relationship together through this invaluable program to support our volunteer firefighters’ health and safety.” This is the second year of the program, which is an expansion of Anheuser-Busch’s longstanding tradition of providing emergency drinking water and supplies for disaster relief efforts. In 2019, Anheuser-Busch teamed up with the NVFC to deliver over 1 million cans of clean drinking water to help hydrate our nation’s firefighters. This year, Anheuser-Busch has pledged to continue this support through a donation of 1.5 million cans of emergency drinking water to support fire departments across the country. Enhancing firefighters’ safety “Volunteer firefighters selflessly put their lives on the line to help protect our friends, families, and neighbors,” said Adam Warrington, Vice President, Better World at Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud to provide valuable hydration support through our emergency drinking water program to our nation's brave firefighters and to work alongside our partners at the NVFC, highlighting their efforts and sacrifices for the continued safety of our communities.” Departments will have two key opportunities to request water in 2020 to support immediate and upcoming wildfire-related incidents. Application Period 1: March 15 – May 15. NOW OPEN! Application Period 2: July 1 – August 31 Applying for emergency drinking water Departments in a declared emergency due to wildfire will also be able to request water outside of the application periods to help with their immediate wildfire response needs. To apply for emergency drinking water from Anheuser-Busch and the NVFC, departments must meet the following requirements: Responded to wildfires in 2019 and plans to respond to wildfires in 2020 Be all-volunteer or mostly-volunteer (over 50%) Serve a population of 25,000 or less Be located in the U.S. and be legally organized under state law Must be available to accept the water delivery, store requested amount, and utilize amount by ‘best by’ date on package (canned water has a shelf life of 365 days from the packaging date) Demonstrate a need for the water Departments are encouraged to submit one application per year. Subsequent applications received for that department will be subject to additional review. NVFC members will have priority to receive the water donation.
Across the world, fire and rescue services vary greatly, and each will have their own unique circumstances and challenges to deal with. Firefighters in the USA and Australia are more likely to face wildland fires, whilst in the Middle East, firefighters deal more regularly with transport related fires involving hazardous materials. In many European countries, less than 10% of call-outs are fire related at all, with firefighters much more likely to attend traffic accidents, medical emergencies or flooding. A range of different climates also provide firefighters with specific challenges. Providing Optimum Protection These fabrics can offer resistance to fire, increased breathability, control of moisture, and a lighter weight Firefighters in hot and tropical Indonesia for example, will have different requirements to those in hot and arid South Africa, whilst those in Scandinavia operate in more temperate and cooler conditions. It’s important, therefore, that PPE manufacturers can provide a wide variety of options to suit particular environments and operations. PPE must be highly effective, comfortable, and suitable for the job in hand, wherever in the world the firefighters are operating. Selecting the right fabric for your PPE is the first step in providing optimum protection for the environment you are operating in. International fibre and fabric manufacturers have developed a number of highly specialized materials offering a range of benefits. Used in combination, these fabrics can offer resistance to fire, increased breathability, control of moisture, and a lighter weight. Best Quality Firefighting Garments Highly specialized and lightweight fibers for the outer-shell of a garment, for example, can provide outstanding air permeability and breathability, allowing metabolic heat to escape, whilst of course providing vital protection against the intense external heat and flames of a fire. The best quality firefighting garments combine this type of outer shell with an inner moisture barrier and liner system which draws moisture away from the skin, helping to keep the body cool and dry. Strenuous work in a hot environment causes profuse sweating, and if this sweat is not able to evaporate, the body is not able to cool itself effectively. Once the most appropriate fabric is chosen, the design and style of a garment also plays a crucial role in contributing to a firefighters’ safety. Maintaining A Comfortable Body Temperature Search and Rescue operations often take place once the immediate danger of flame is removed Whether operating in bushland, floods, on the roadside or even in extremely cold conditions, firefighters need to maintain a comfortable body temperature and stay dry. They are also likely to need to crawl, run, and climb to carry out the job in hand. Any protective clothing must be ergonomic and has to be able to work with them rather than hinder them. As a result, over and above the full structural firefighting garments available to FRSs, manufacturers have also developed innovative designs for more specific applications. For example, Search and Rescue operations often take place once the immediate danger of flame is removed, with USAR or technical rescue teams entering enclosed and confined spaces where high temperatures and often toxic smoke are hazards. Particular Protection Against Radiant Heat USAR firefighting garments therefore should be tear and puncture resistant, provide protection against blood-borne pathogens, offer physical protection at high risk points such as the knees and elbows, provide a high level of flexibility to afford maneuvrability in confined spaces, and crucially be lightweight and breathable to minimize heat stress. Alternatively, for firefighters engaged specifically in combatting forest and wildland fires, garments need to provide particular protection against radiant heat, and ideally feature a double layer of fabric to protect against sharp thorns and undergrowth. Today, many FRSs across the world use a combination of structural and technical rescue garments which can be particularly useful when faced with a range of operations requiring different levels of protection. Rescue jackets are worn with standard structural trousers when responding to a road traffic accident International Standards Of Performance For PPE Frequently, rescue jackets are worn with standard structural trousers when responding to a road traffic accident, for example. So long as these garments are tested and approved as compatible before they are used in combination, this can serve to improve ergonomics and comfort, and crucially can contribute to the lowering of heat stress in firefighters. There are currently three major standard-setting bodies on the world stage To ensure the best level of protection, most countries demand conformity with both national and international standards of performance for PPE. There are currently three major standard-setting bodies on the world stage, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) which covers the USA, Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region, the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) which covers Europe, and the International Standards Organisation (ISO) which sets standards worldwide. Lighting And Communications Equipment In addition, each country will have its own National Standards Body (NSB), setting standards for its own specific interests. Ultimately, it is down to the customer to decide which standards they would like their PPE to follow. The best manufacturers can create PPE to meet a number of these standards simultaneously. These include alternative types of trouser front, leg openings and knee-pads, as well as cuff styles on fire coats Different countries, and even individual FRSs, often have particular additional requirements for their PPE, which can simply be down to style or color preference, or to accommodate particular tools or equipment they use. These include alternative types of trouser front, leg openings and knee-pads, as well as cuff styles on fire coats. Operational safety features such as integrated safety harnesses and drag rescue devices can also be specified. In addition, firefighter accessories including tools, lighting and communications equipment all have to be carried safely requiring a selection of loops, straps, D-rings, glove hooks, and pockets and flaps. Developing Innovative Solutions Finally, most FRSs aim to present a professional and clearly recognizable identity to their communities, so particular colors and badging can be an important feature of PPE. This has led to the introduction of a wide range of fabric colors and the increased use of Velcro fixings for identification badges with logos, names and roles being individually catered for. Called upon to handle an ever-increasing variety of challenges, in contrasting climates and situations, firefighters across the world are certainly faced with complex environments in which to operate. By carefully studying these conditions and listening closely to customers, PPE designers and fabric manufacturers will continue to work together to develop innovative solutions to meet these specific needs and create optimum garments for maximum protection and comfort.
Across the country, law enforcement officers are finding it increasingly difficult to respond to the near overwhelming number of calls coming from security alarms. Police departments commonly define a false alarm as a call, which upon investigation, shows no evidence of criminal activity, such as broken windows, forced doors, items missing, or people injured. While false alarms bog down police, they can also negatively impact customers and integrators. End users can expect hefty fines for false alarm responses, and when these customers receive large bills from the city, many turn to installers, dealers, and even manufacturers expecting them to accept the responsibility and pay the check. What First Brought The Issue Of Alarm Verification To Your Attention? It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight I’ve been aware of the problem of false alarms for about 5 years. I believed audio capture, through microphone deployment, could be an active part of the solution when used as a second source for indicating ‘out of the norm’ activity and as an equal component with the video surveillance technology. In 2015, I found similarly minded security professionals when introduced to the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response. After reading PPVAR’s paper on ‘Audio Verified Alarms Best Practices; [April 2015],’ I knew that the Partnership was on to something important. In our lives, two of the five senses we count on day-in and day-out are sight and sound. It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight. What Is The False Alarm Rate? In 2016, the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported that over 98 percent of all alarm calls in the United States were false. This number is obviously staggering, and something we need to work towards correcting. Why Did This Issue Resonate So Strongly With You? When I first investigated this issue, I was sure that the security industry would have already recognized this and was acting to ensure improved alarm verification, preferably through a combination of audio and video technologies. However, I quickly saw that this was not the case, or even close to the norm. I have questioned the rationale behind the lack of adoption and found the deployment of audio is often hindered by the concern of privacy. I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio As CEO of Louroe Electronics, I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio. I’ve had to reassure many security personnel and customers how the law supports the use of audio in public places as long as there is no expectation of privacy. By dispelling fears with facts around deploying and implementing audio sensors, customers can confidently include audio in their surveillance systems and gain a more effective security solution. Who Is Affected By This? Truth be told, everyone from the end user to the manufacturer is affected by this issue. Not to mention the strain this puts on law enforcement who are tired of ‘wasting time’ and effort out in the field on these nuisance alerts. When an end user receives a check for their false alarm, many of them will immediately blame the integrator and or the monitoring center for a faulty set up and management and expect the integrator to remedy the situation, including carry the burden of paying the fines. The integrator, on the other hand, will turn to the manufacturer, assuming faulty equipment and installation instructions; therefore, looking for reimbursement for the cost. What Is The Average False Alarm Fee? It depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for responseIt depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for response. According to the Urban Institute, fees generally range from $25-$100 for the first offense, rising as high as a few thousand dollars per false alarm if a location has a large number in a single year. What’s worse, in extreme cases, alarm systems may even be blacklisted by the police dispatch center if they have raised too many false alarms in the past. Why Do You Believe Audio Is The Ideal Technology For Secondary Source Verification? Video surveillance has been the main option for security monitoring and alarm validation for decades, however industry professionals are realising that video alone is not enough. Video only tells half of the story, by adding audio capture, the responsible party gains a turnkey solution with the ability to gather additional evidence to verify alerts and expand overall awareness. In reality, audio’s range is greater than the field of view for a camera. Sound pickup is 360 degrees, capturing voices, gunshots, breaking glass, sirens, or other important details that a fixed camera many not see. How Would A Secondary Source Verification System Work With Audio? Using a video monitoring solution equipped with audio, the microphone will pick up the sounds at the time a visual alert or alarm is triggered. If embedded with classification analytics, the microphone will send alerts for specific detected sounds. The captured audio, and any notifications are immediately sent to the monitoring station, where trained personnel can listen to the sound clip, along with live audio and video from their station. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response From here, an informed decision can then be made about the validity of the alarm, along with what the current threat is at the location. If the alarm is in fact valid, the information is then passed along to the law enforcement within minutes. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response. It also provides more information in a forensic evaluation. Are There Any Additional Resources You Would Suggest Looking Into? Yes, we would suggest looking into the following to see a few different perspectives on the matter: NSA Support For 2018 Model Ordinance For Alarm Management and False Alarm Reduction Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response Support for the Term “Verified Alarm” and Prioritising Verified Alarm Responses Urban Institute Opportunities for Police Cost Savings without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms
Did you know an estimated 30% of smoke alarms in the UK are inoperable due to missing, flat or disconnected batteries? For a property to comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is vitally important that all fire safety equipment is kept in perfect working order at all times. This involves checking that the fire safety equipment is accessible, well maintained and hasn’t been tampered with. There are many ways you can take care of your fire safety equipment, to ensure your property is prepared, should there ever be a fire. Equipment Assessment Checks There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually If you’re the ‘responsible person’ for commercial property, you need to ensure your building meets fire safety standards. Here are 5 tips on how to properly maintain your fire safety equipment. Both passive and active fire safety equipment must be check regularly for any signs of wear or damage. There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually. There is a range of equipment checks you must carry out, including fire doors, fire alarm test, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers. Emergency lighting should be checked monthly, with all issues kept in a logbook. Fire doors should also be checked to ensure their seals and frames are in good condition. Fire Alarm Tests All fire protection has to be checked annually including alarms, detectors, lighting, sprinklers, extinguishers and fire doors. They should be carefully inspected. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises. To check that your Fire alarms still function correctly, it is important to get them serviced. All fire alarms should be tested, maintained and inspected by a competent person who is able to carry out any remedial work. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises Fire extinguishers must be ready to work straight away in the event of a fire, so it is vital they are regularly checked and serviced. You should ensure they are maintained and kept in a functional condition. Every month, the pressure gauge should be tested on all fire extinguishers. Fire Risk Assessments Every year, it is required that a qualified technician carries out a thorough check on all your extinguishers for them to be fully serviced and certified. In addition to regular maintenance checks on your fire safety equipment, it is vital your commercial property has a fire risk assessment carried out every 4 years, with a renewal every 2 years. Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally. By having a fire risk assessment review, it determines whether any changes could impact the ability for your equipment to properly protect your building. Fire Safety Logbook During a risk assessment, all fire doors must be checked to ensure they are in good condition and close efficiently with secure hinges. The fire seals must be fixed in position, with signs on the door present and legible. To keep an overview of all findings and actions, there should be a fire safety logbook and maintenance record that remains at your premises at all times. The logbook is used to record and review any significant findings when carrying out the fire risk assessment. This helps to keep all fire safety equipment functioning effectively and available to respond to emergency fires.
Firefighters often use aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) to extinguish fires, especially fires that involve petroleum or other flammable liquids. AFFFs that contain fluorinated surfactants have been shown to be the most effective agents to fight hydrocarbon-fuel fires in military, industrial and municipal settings. They have been used since the 1960s. However, the surfactants have been shown to be an environmental threat, contaminating ground water and creating hazards to human health. What makes up the foams? Although the materials have been manufactured for 50 years, it is only in the last couple of decades that the compounds have been linked to health problems. Major components of the foams are per- and polyfluoroalkyl acid (PFAS) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Concerns about the materials surfaced as early as 1974. Both chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects. Related health problems include kidney, testicular, bladder and prostate cancer Related health problems include kidney, testicular, bladder and prostate cancer, as well as immune reproductive and hormonal dysfunction. Unacceptable levels of the chemicals have been detected in the drinking water on or near sites where AFFF is used, such as fire training areas, airports, refineries and chemical plants. Newer foam formulations Some newer foam formulations contain variations of similar compounds that are also problematic, specifically PFAS substances based on shorter carbon chains (C6). There are potentially hundreds of these “precursor” materials, and none are biodegradable. Some are proprietary and evade detection and regulation. Although not specifically regulated in many cases, the materials can still be problematic. The Fire Fighting Foam Coalition (FFFC) is a non-profit trade association formed in 2001 to focus on issues related to the efficacy and environmental impact of firefighting foams. They publish “best practice” guidance on proper foam selection, containing and eliminating foam discharge, and disposal of foam and firewater. The international counterpart is the FluoroCouncil, a global organization representing the world’s leading FluoroTechnology companies. Founded in 2011, membership includes companies that manufacture, formulate or process fluoropolymer products, fluorotelomer-based products, fluoro-surfactants, and fluoro-surface property modification agents. Weighing up effectiveness vs environmental damage There has been effort to develop foams that are free of fluorosurfactants In the last decade or so, there has been effort to develop foams that are free of fluorosurfactants, although there is some disagreement about whether these foams are as effective. Some Fluorine-Free Firefighting (F3) foams have been shown to have comparable performance in some applications, and many airports around the world have embraced the F3 foams, including London Heathrow, Gatwick, Paris De Gaulle and Orly, Lisbon, Brussels, Stockholm, Sydney and Melbourne. Airports have often reported success using the F3 foams, and U.S. airports will be required to use fluorine-free foams by 2021. However, some experts contend that fluorine-free foams are not as effective. The search continues for ever-more-effective fluorine-free foams. One argument goes: If fluorine-free foams do not perform as well in a specific emergency, the threat to human life is more immediate than any threat posed by possible future environmental exposure to PFAS. Using a fluorine-free foam simplifies cleanup after an incident, as the foam can be washed into runoff drains. There is no need to collect and dispose of the effluent to prevent release into the environment. Specially designed training foams There are also specially designed training foams that simulate AFFF during training but do not contain fluorosurfactants and are biodegradable. The safety debate also extends to firefighters The safety debate also extends to firefighters, some of whom claim illness from exposure to fluorosurfactants. There are multiple firefighting-foam-related lawsuits pending. But does lack of fluorine equate to more “environmentally friendly?” One researcher contends that higher aquatic toxicity of non-fluorinated foams suggests otherwise, basing the conclusion on how many fish die when exposed to each type of material. Fluorinated surfactants may have fallen into disfavor, but a worldwide ban is unlikely, given that China still produces large quantities of PFOA which is widely used to make firefighting foams in Asia.
The U.K. government is looking to apply the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire by strengthening the regulatory system for building safety, including regulations for high-rise buildings. By changing the industry culture to increase accountability and responsibility, proposed measures seek to ensure residents are safe in their homes. The new measures – Building Safety and Fire Safety Bills – expand on a pledge to “[bring forward] new measures to … improve building safety,” which was included in the Queen’s Speech to both houses of Parliament on Dec. 19, 2019. Bringing In New Fire Safety Measures When Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed his plans for government with his new majority, he included mention of housing issues. To ensure residents are safe in their homes, the government will bring forward measures to implement the most urgent recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. They will also publish a draft Building Safety Bill to implement the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations. The new measures will draw from all 53 of the recommendations of the independent review of building safety, and in some cases, go beyond those recommendations. For example, the government seeks to give residents a stronger voice and strengthen enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance. To ensure residents are safe in their homes, the government will bring forward measures to implement the most urgent recommendationsDame Judith Hackitt’s review found that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose in relation to high-rise and complex buildings. A new system to oversee the whole built environment will involve local enforcement agencies and national regulators working together to ensure better safety of all buildings. New Regulations, Guidance And Improvements An enhanced regime for high-rise residential buildings will apply to more than 11,000 high-rise buildings, increasing to almost 15,000 buildings within 10 years. Some £600 million of funding has been made available to replace the unsafe cladding in the social and private sectorsPreviously, the government has implemented a range of improvements that did not require legislation, including identification of more than 400 high-rise buildings that use unsafe Aluminium Compositie Material (ACM) cladding, like that used on the Grenfell Tower. They have worked with local authorities and fire and rescue authorities to ensure appropriate interim safety measures are in place. Some £600 million of funding has been made available to replace the unsafe cladding in the social and private sectors. New regulations and guidance ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of new buildings over 18 meters containing flats, as well as new hospitals, resident care premises, dormitories and student accommodations. Learning From Mistakes The Fire Safety Bill has been brought forward to “deliver meaningful change to ensure an appalling tragedy like Grenfell can never happen again.” In addition to addressing the elements of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, the Fire Safety Bill seeks to clarify the scope of the Fire Safety Order to include external walls of buildings, including cladding, and fire doors for domestic premises of multiple occupancy. It would also strengthen the relevant enforcement powers to hold building owners and managers to account. A transitional period will allow building owners and managers and Fire and Rescue Services to put in place the infrastructure for these changes.
Colossus, a fire-fighting robot, was deployed in the nave of the Notre Dame cathedral during the destructive fire on April 15 in Paris. Pumping water high into the air and onto the flames, the robot was instrumental in turning the tide for firefighters, extinguishing the fire and lowering temperatures inside the nave. Colossus was developed by the French Company Shark Robotics and deployed with the Paris Fire Brigade. The caterpillar-tracked robot stands just two and a half feet tall, weighs 1,000 pounds and can carry another 1,100 pounds of equipment. At Notre Dame it helped firefighters extinguish the blaze and mostly save 850 years of history. It helped firefighters extinguish the blaze and mostly save 850 years of history Robots in firefighting The historic use of Colossus illustrates the growing role of robotics in firefighting, including mobile systems with advanced features to assist an operator in navigation and to perform a wider range of tasks. According to Brian Lattimer, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Virginia Tech, a robotic system is a mechanical device that performs a task using sensors to perceive its environment, computer programs to control the robot based on its environment, and a human operator to assist with robot operation. A variety of robotic systems support a range of fire events, whether involving structures, vehicles, aircrafts, shops or wildlands, he says. In addition, the functionality of robot systems varies to support firefighters in tasks such as sizing up the fire, identifying trapped people, locating the fire, monitoring conditions, controlling fire spread and suppression, says Lattimer. Sizing up the fire, identifying trapped people, locating the fire, monitoring conditions, controlling fire spread and suppression automated robotics Also, aerial robotics such as drones provide added situational awareness, and indoor robots can eliminate fires at close range. There are also fixed systems, such as automated fire monitors, that can be used to extinguish significant fire hazards rapidly. Several robots have found utility in the fire service in recent years. Fire-fighting robots were essential for suppressing the blaze at Notre Dame Other life-saving robots The Tactical Hazardous Operations Robot (THOR), developed for the U.S. Navy’s Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFIR) program, is a human-like robot that can travel across unstable floors on ships, utilize hoses, and open doors. Because Navy ships have hazardous materials on board, extinguishing fires is critical. The robot uses stereoscopic thermal imaging and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors to navigate. It walks and works semi-autonomously with the help of a remote operator. The Thermite Robot is a small tank created by Howe and Howe Technologies for the U.S. Army. The Thermite RS1-T4 is remotely operated with a belly-pack controller that provides high-definition and infrared video in real-time. It has the power to push vehicles from its path, the agility to climb stars and can output 1,250 gpm of water at 200 psi. Thermite is designed as an advanced tool to help operators combat fires safely and efficiently. It has the power to push vehicles from its path, the agility to climb stars and can output 1,250 gpm of water at 200 psi Turbine Aided Firefighting Machine (TAF 20) is a robot created by Emicontrols, a subsidiary of the TechnoAlpin Group. Designed for small spaces such as tunnels, it uses a turbine to clear smoke, move obstacles with a bulldozer blade and focus its water spray from a mist to a jet. an emerging technology component The Fire Ox, a robotic firefighting vehicle that carries its own water tank, is designed as a first response unit. It suppresses fires, assists in search and rescue, and can handle dangerous materials. It is semi-autonomous and can be controlled from up to 200 miles away. Research at Purdue University has yielded firefighting robots with an automatic T-valve system, a “discharge valve,” that can remove water from the fire hose whenever a robot moves to a new location. The technology takes less energy and enables a firefighting robot to maneuver more quickly and efficiently around a burning structure. Robots can withstand hazardous environments and help to avoid injury to firefighters. They are an emerging technology component that will impact the art and science of firefighting for years to come.
Infographics has announced that Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is the latest fire service to move to the company’s FireWatch Cloud, a fully-managed service based on the Microsoft Azure platform. FireWatch Cloud solution The new FireWatch Cloud solution will provide a resilient architecture, flexible access to the FireWatch integrated fire service management platform from remote locations, and includes software upgrade services and other benefits. Richard Jacques, ICT Data & Applications Manager at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said “We are delighted to be working with Infographics on our move to the FireWatch cloud platform. Although this decision is not as a direct result of the current COVID-19 situation, it clearly reinforces the validity of our strategy and benefits of having resilient systems available from anywhere, at any time, with the ability to quickly adapt and scale as needed without reliance on corporate networks and systems.” FireWatch integrated fire service management Richard adds, “That, along with the breadth of features, integrated user experience, teams and workflows available with the FireWatch Cloud platform, will ensure we are in an even stronger position to support the operations of our Fire Services during these challenging times and thereafter.” Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said “We are delighted to announce Humberside Fire & Rescue as another new client of our FireWatch Cloud offering. This follows multiple other recent new FRS contracts, with more to follow in the coming weeks and months. The benefits of the specialist, connected FireWatch Fire Service Management platform in the Cloud are clear and compelling – providing our clients with the ‘big picture’ of their operations and helping them keep working as an integrated service – whatever their location or circumstances.”
Comelit’s specialist fire detection systems have been specified by Avalon Technology Group at newly introduced smaller gym facilities of a leading low-cost leisure group. Standing as the pioneer of low-cost, no contract 24 / 7 gyms, the new leisure facilities in Newark, Beverly and Lowestoft, mark the introduction of ‘slimmed down’ gym concepts, to make them more accessible opportunities in smaller towns. For each facility, the electrical contractor appointed Avalon Technology Group to ensure the fire safety of the building, staff and guests, specifying Comelit’s Atena Easy single loop system. in-built IP connections Guy Stephens, Director Avalon Technology Group added: “In any gym facility, large or small, it is essential to ensure measures and systems are in place that will provide customers, employees and the premises itself, with sufficient prevention against fire at all times. Comelit’s Atena Easy solution proved to be user-friendly and comes with excellent training “To keep up with demand, we needed to select a system that was simple to install and operational as quickly as possible for the benefit of members and staff. Comelit’s Atena Easy solution proved to be user-friendly and comes with excellent training and support capability, alongside in-built IP connections to make it a straightforward system for us to maintain, even on a remote basis.” addressable control panel system Comelit’s Atena Easy single loop solution is a compact, entry level fully addressable control panel system. Finished in line with Comelit’s focus on aesthetics, it’s stylish design can accommodate up to 500 devices making it ideal for small applications, with a fully functional networked opportunity to expand with a facility or building requirement. Mandy Bowden, Comelit Fire Business Development Manager concluded: “The ambition to bring affordable access to leisure facilities to everyone is a growing trend across the UK. And the new smaller concepts provide an opportunity to go into towns that wouldn’t previously have been able to accommodate a full-scale gym. We are delighted to have been chosen to have been chosen by Avalon to supply fire detection systems to each new location as a simple to install, cost effective solution.”
The Hyde Group is utilizing Aico’s revolutionary Ei1000G SmartLINK Gateway to provide a solution-focused approach to asset management that assures the safety of their tenants. With over 50,000 homes across London, the south and south east of England, the Hyde Group is taking a proactive approach to the management of its housing stock. Hyde ensures that as many of its homes as possible are occupied, redeveloping those that are not, and improving the efficiency of operations through strategic asset management. Keeping all residents safe from fire is paramount, and asset management is a route to achieving this. In order to mitigate risk and monitor the alarm systems within their properties, Hyde collaborated with Regional Specification Manager of Aico, David Cunningham to provide a solution that was cost-effective, met the requirements for Hyde and ensured minimal disruption for their tenants. Ei3024 Multi-Sensor fire alarm Each of the properties have now been fitted with an Ei3024 Multi-Sensor fire alarm and Ei1000G Gateway The installation of the new Aico SmartLINK Gateway was recommended to provide real-time data insight into the fire alarm system, reporting events such as alarm head removals and fire alerts. Each of the properties have now been fitted with an Ei3024 Multi-Sensor fire alarm and Ei1000G Gateway, giving Hyde a proactive approach to fault-finding, defining any trends in alarm activations and maintenance requirements, while drastically minimizing the issue of property access. The Ei1000G SmartLINK Gateway utilizes Aico’s next generation of wireless technology to interface the SmartLINK Gateway with Aico alarms, assuring easy installation and reliable connection. This allows full visibility of connected RF systems via an online, cloud-based SmartLINK portal system. By having this information in real time, it enables an effective, reactive approach, meaning safer homes. SmartLINK Gateway Compliance Contract Manager for Hyde, Jack Bernard, commented, “The Aico Ei1000G Gateway system enables us to proactively monitor smoke alarms in our homes. The location we initially installed the system in requires an enhanced monitoring function because it suffers from false alarms and tampering. The Gateway enables us to monitor the system in real time, providing specific and useable information to offer a truly safer home.” David Cunningham, Regional Specification Manager for Aico said of the collaboration “In the Hyde Group’s case, they were experiencing large numbers of false-alarming and tampering with the smoke alarms in their properties, resulting in an increase in callouts, maintenance, repairs and disruption to tenants.” With the Aico SmartLINK Gateway, Hyde can ensure the best quality, fit-for-purpose homes “The SmartLINK Gateway is the perfect solution because real-time notifications alert you to any alarm activations or when an alarm is taken off the ceiling. This data insight can enable Hyde to look for trends, identify any issues quickly and rectify these with minimal disruption to the tenants.” Fit-for-purpose homes With the Aico SmartLINK Gateway, Hyde can ensure the best quality, fit-for-purpose homes that are easier and more efficient to maintain and are fully compliant with safety requirements. Aico, an Ei Company, are the UK suppliers of home life safety by pioneering new technologies and offering high-quality alarms, developed and manufactured in Ireland. All Aico alarms meet UK standards and offer a variety of sensor types to guarantee protection for every home, the cornerstone of which is delivering quality, service and innovation. Established in 1967, the Hyde Group provides social housing in London, the south and south east of England with approximately 50,000 homes in their stock. Their mission is to provide affordable, quality housing in response to the housing crisis.
Over the coming months, Schiphol’s fire service will be phasing in 13 new Rosenbauer fire engines, also known as crash tenders. The airport’s fire service will be using them to deal with aviation incidents. The crash tenders belong to the largest and fastest category of fire engines. They will replace the current vehicles, which have reached the end of their service life after a period of 15 years. The new fire engines are equipped with the very latest fire-extinguishing technology. The fire service personnel can already fight a fire while approaching it in the vehicle, therefore extinguishing it even more quickly and safely. Simultaneously Extinguishing A Fire Navigation systems and infrared cameras will enable the fire service to drive safely through the airfield The vehicles can be driven while simultaneously extinguishing a fire, using large quantities of extinguishing agent in a short space of time: 13,300 liters of water, 1,600 liters of foam and over 250 kilos of powder. This extinguishing capacity will enable Schiphol to satisfy the strictest requirements in the future as well and allows the largest aircraft. Schiphol has an unusual site, with a lot of grass and fields. The new vehicles have special wide tyres and are equipped with technical features to enhance their all-terrain capacity. Navigation systems and infrared cameras will enable the fire service to drive safely through the airfield in adverse weather conditions such as fog, rain or snow. State-Of-The-Art Features “Schiphol’s fire service is permanently on call, day and night, ready to reach a runway within three minutes if necessary. We prioritize the safety of passengers and staff in our operations. I am proud of the fact that we will be using these advanced crash tenders,” says Dick Benschop, CEO of Royal Schiphol Group. "A complex environment such as Schiphol requires its own approach to safety. With a fire brigade that has been specially trained for the airport and with its own equipment for the specific environment of Schiphol. I am proud and happy with such innovative equipment that we can also deploy outside Schiphol if necessary,” says mayor of Haarlemmermeer Marianne Schuurmans. We are very proud that Royal Schiphol Group has placed their trust in us" “The vehicles represent the very latest in firefighting technology. They offer exceptional performance, are safe to operate and are equipped with state-of-the-art features, including the Rosenbauer tracking and navigation system. We are very proud that Royal Schiphol Group has placed their trust in us,” says Dieter Siegel, CEO Rosenbauer International AG. Fire-Fighting Techniques The fire team’s emergency response service consists of approximately 150 employees who can operate the new vehicles. Over the past 18 months, all the firefighters have undergone intensive training to ensure that they have the right skills. This year, Rotterdam The Hague and Lelystad Airport will also deploy new Rosenbauer crash tenders, three and two respectively. These vehicles are somewhat smaller, however, as smaller aircraft land at these airports. They are six-wheel drive (6x6) vehicles that can hold up to 10,000 liters of water, 1,300 liters of foam and 250 kilos of powder. Otherwise, the vehicles are virtually the same as those used at Schiphol. This standardization offers advantages for the maintenance and management of the vehicles, the fire-fighting techniques and of course the education and training of the fire service personnel.
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is the first fire service in North America to purchase a pre-series vehicle based on the Concept Fire Truck (CFT). The electric fire truck from Rosenbauer will be delivered in the first quarter 2021 and put into practice as part of a comprehensive test operation. CFT Technology In addition to its driving characteristics and safety features, the truck made an impression with its ergonomics and high functionality during the initial demonstrations last December. A sworn workforce of around 3,500 makes the LAFD one of the largest fire services in the US. It operates a fleet of 1,300 vehicles and responded to approximately 500,000 emergency calls last year, including 4,100 structure fires. Pre-series vehicle based on the CFT will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt hours The LAFD and the City of Los Angeles are setting a clear example for sustainability and climate protection with the decision to use CFT technology. The purchase was made through Velocity Fire Equipment & Sales, which acts as a prime contractor and represents Rosenbauer Group in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. Fully Electric Operation The pre-series vehicle based on the CFT will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt hours. This enables fully electric operation for roughly two hours and covers around 90% of all applications. A 200-kilowatt range extender is integrated for longer application times. The fire truck will be adjusted to meet the needs of the LAFD in terms of usage and loading, without limiting the flexible vehicle architecture in the process, and is designed to meet all standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “I am excited that we are the first Department in North America to order this cutting-edge fire engine,” says LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. “The electric fire engine is an innovative tool that will help reduce noise, harmful diesel emissions, and provide a flexible tool for firefighting and rescue operations from a technologically advanced platform. We are looking forward to evaluating in a real-world environment once it hits the streets of Hollywood next year.” Meets All The Safety Standards “The future fire truck is fundamentally different from the vehicles which are in service at the fire stations today. It is multi-functional, fully connected and its flexible interior can be used as a fully featured command center. Its floor can be lowered facilitating minimum boarding and working levels. Electric engines reduce noise and pollution. We will develop a production-ready fire truck that meets all the safety standards" “I am particularly delighted to receive the order from the Los Angeles Fire Department, which really is a fantastic vote of confidence,” says Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International. “Together, we will develop a production-ready fire truck that meets all the safety standards of the NFPA and can seamlessly be brought into real operation further down the line.” Municipal Firefighting Vehicles Rosenbauer’s Concept Fire Truck was first presented to the public in 2016. As a fire truck of the future, it anticipates major mega-trends such as climate change, demographic change and urbanization, as well as the challenges that these entail for fire departments. The use of electric drives enables a completely new kind of vehicle architecture that is 100% tailored to these future scenarios and sets new benchmarks in terms of functionality and ergonomics. The main application area for innovative CFT technology at the moment is municipal firefighting vehicles, but it will also be applied to other types of vehicles further down the line. Rosenbauer estimates that the number of vehicles with technology similar to CFT will rise to around 3,200 by 2030; up to 400 such vehicles could already be in service in Northern America by 2025.
48 million UK commuters and 80 new businesses who travel and operate within London Bridge Station each year are now protected by MxPro 5 fire panels from fire systems provider Advanced. London Bridge Station, the fourth busiest station in the UK, has undergone a high-profile £1billion redevelopment that has seen passenger capacity almost double. The five-year redevelopment, the biggest rail infrastructure transformation in over a century, was directed by operators Network Rail and has seen the construction of a 15-platform street-level concourse longer than the Shard - another London landmark protected by Advanced fire panels. Analog Addressable Panel MxPro 5 is the company’s highest performance analog addressable panel, approved to EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 offering four detector protocols and a completely open installer network that enjoys free training and support. MxPro panels can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into multi-loop, high speed, 200 panel networks covering huge areas and thousands of field devices. We are proud to have our British made products installed in such an established London landmark" Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager for Advanced, commented: “London Bridge Station is one of the capital’s most important transport hubs and a high-quality and reliable fire system capable of meeting the complexities of the site and protecting occupants is essential. We are proud to have our British made products installed in such an established London landmark.” Delivering Future Proof Solution “Advanced is renowned for providing some of the most intuitive fire panels on the market. We have extensive experience working within the rail sector and a project such as London Bridge Station is an excellent opportunity to showcase what we can offer, delivering a future proof solution that provides Network Rail with the option to expand and enhance the system in the future.” 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. False Alarm Management Systems Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems Lewis Atherton, Programme Manager, from Network Rail, said: “As a vital transport hub for commuters and visitors traveling into London, safety has been a key consideration throughout the development process of London Bridge Station in order for passengers to make their connections as smoothly, efficiently and enjoyably as possible.” “As well as the major track upgrade, a new rail underpass and platform widenings and extensions, the station now also includes almost 100 new shops, cafes and restaurants. With their proven track record of managing fire safety within the railway industry we felt entirely confident in the solutions Advanced offered.” Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease-of-use of its products see Advanced specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Fire Protection: Manufacturers & Suppliers
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