Fire Safety Inspection
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland is advising fire safety professionals on the importance of properly certified hardware and training, following warnings from experts in fire safety law that they may now be deemed responsible for any breaches. Liability for fire safety breaches is being increasingly pushed down from building owners and occupiers to those that have been consulted, assessed and advised on the appropriate fire safety solutions for a site. Should these products fail to...
Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) has taken part in a series of multi-agency training exercises to tests its chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear response. The three training sessions, which fell under CBRNe, were designed to test how emergency services from across the region responded to incidents such as chemical spills and contamination. Training exercises These scenarios involved staff from Avon and Somerset Police, South Western Ambulance Service, Devon & Somerset Fire...
MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have awarded essential turnout gear to fire departments in Illinois and Ohio through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway. This annual program began in 2012 and provides much-needed gear to volunteer fire departments in the U.S. and Canada. In 2019, a total of 13 departments will each receive four new sets of state-of-the-art turnouts to help them increase the safety of their firefighters. The first 500 applicants also received a compliment...
FLIR Systems, Inc. announced the launch of the FLIR Fido® X4, the newest, most advanced version of its premium handheld explosives trace detector. The Fido X4 delivers unmatched sensitivity for a broad range of explosives, so users can easily detect threats at levels other devices cannot. FLIR Systems’ TrueTrace® detection technology features a new five-channel sensor array that delivers expanded threat coverage. TrueTrace can accurately detect a wide range of explosives at nanogr...
Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) joined with charity Catch22 to inspire young males by providing them with positive role models and a Fire Safety Course. As part of the partnership, seven teenagers aged from 14 - 16 spent six weeks with firefighters from Temple fire station developing their skills and experience. Throughout their weekly two hour courses at the station, they covered everything from breathing apparatus, hose use, road traffic collision management and first aid, providin...
G3 Systems of Portland, Dorset, UK are pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Thain as Business Development Manager – Fire Protection Services. This is a new role focussing on the further international expansion of G3 Systems’ aviation and industrial fire protection services business, with an emphasis on development across the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. Chris joins G3 Systems having worked most recently in Business Development and Marketing for Devon and Somerset Fire...
MagneGrip Group, manufacturer of fire station exhaust removal and air-cleaning systems, is exhibiting at Firehouse Expo in Nashville, October 10-12. MagneGrip Exhaust Removal Systems and AirHawk Air Purification Systems products will be on display in booth 617. Representatives will be available to answer any questions and demonstrate product features. MagneGrip Group manufactures air-cleaning systems for every firehouse application to eliminate exhaust fumes and other airborne contaminants that pose critical health risks.
The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Home Safety Week runs from 30th September to the 6th October 2019. The campaign is encouraging households to check smoke alarms are right for their homes needs and will provide them with an early warning in the event of a fire. Most homes have smoke alarms installed (95%) but in nearly 20% of accidental house fires in the UK alarm failed to activate. The most common reasons were the smoke failed to reach the detector was because batteries were either missing or defective. NFCC guidelines for superior fire safety at homes Replace alarms every ten years- even if they appear to work when tested Fit additional alarms in the rooms used most Install interlinked alarms, so when one activates they all do Purchased sealed unit alarms so batteries cannot be removed or tampered with NFCC want people to think beyond installing a smoke alarm on the landing and in the hallway" James Bywater, NFCC Lead for Home Detection commented, " NFCC want people to think beyond installing a smoke alarm on the landing and in the hallway and think about the risks in their own home to ensure they have the right detection in the right places. Home detection technology He adds, “This might mean installing more alarms in homes, particularly in the rooms used most. Home detection technology has advanced and products with sealed batteries or interlinked systems are available and as part of the home safety plan so as to give residents precious minutes to escape in case a fire starts." As part of the week, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) are also asking people to register their white goods and take care with electrical items. Enhanced home safety tips Keep eyes peeled for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit breakers that trip. Appliances use different amounts of power so check the amps on the plug and make sure you don’t go over 13 amps in a wall socket. Keep portable heaters clear of curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes. Register larger electrical appliances for vital information on safety repairs or recalls.Clean ovens and grill pans so there isn’t a build-up of fat. Clear out the fluff/lint tray on the tumble dryer after every use. Check and clean filters on washing machines. Clean the rear of fridges and freezers while ensuring the drainage hole is clear. Never leave tumble dryers or washing machines on when stepping out of the house. Think about bedtime routine; turn off or unplug appliances that don’t need to be left on overnight, ensure to shut doors as this can stop fire from spreading and keep keys for doors and windows in an easily accessible place. Be careful with laptops, don’t leave them charging on beds or sofas. Plan an escape route in case a fire does break out in your home.
Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is asking businesses and residents to pledge to lose the wedge this Fire Door Safety week (23-29 Sept). Launching the campaign, the service is asking all businesses, care homes and residential properties to ditch door wedges that prop open fire doors. As part of the awareness week, now in its seventh year, staff from across AF&RS will be targeting businesses and homes within the service area to highlight the importance of fire doors and the difference they can make during a fire. Along with visiting businesses in Yate, the Technical Fire Safety Team will also be writing to all care homes in the area and offering support to any business that requested a risk inspection. The Service is also promoting its Home Fire Safety Visits, in which crews will visit vulnerable residents at home to ensure they are safe. Research conducted for this year’s Fire Door Safety Week by the British Woodworking Federation reveals concerns about fire safety as well as a lack of clarity about the crucial role that fire doors play in business, care home, and multi-occupancy buildings. Risk assessments Fire doors play a key role in keeping people safe and wedging doors open causes unnecessary risk.” According to 1,000 care home workers, 75 per cent think their place of work could do more to improve fire safety, 63 per cent think their place of work is at risk of fire and only 43 per cent understand the purpose of a fire door. Staggeringly, 82 per cent said they keep a fire door open at work on purpose. Di Clack, Technical Fire Safety Crew Manager, said: “This week, we are asking everyone to pledge to lose the wedge. Fire doors play a key role in keeping people safe and wedging doors open causes unnecessary risk.” “While we will always assist and offer fire safety inspections for business or home fire safety visits for residential properties, since 2006’s Fire Safety Order, it is the responsible person’s duty to carry out risk assessments on the property and they have a responsibility to ensure everyone is safe. We want to provide people with the tools they need to keep themselves safe and simple procedures like closing all fire doors helps to ensure this.” Fire safety practice Good practice is important in buildings with multiple residents who may be vulnerable Brand new for this year’s campaign, driven by the British Woodworking Federation, is an interactive mock criminal trial, aimed at providing manufacturers of fire safety products, consultants, contractors, designers, installers and other potential duty holders with an insight into where they may be liable in the event of a fire incident. Helen Hewitt, Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation, said: “We all need to feel protected, and especially so when we are asleep. Fire doors play a vital role as the first line of defence against fire and smoke, containing their spread while buildings are evacuated. But they must be properly installed and maintained, and good fire safety practice must be shared and followed. That’s why we continue to raise awareness every year through Fire Door Safety Week. Good practice is especially important in buildings with multiple occupants and residents who may be vulnerable. It is quite literally a matter of life and death.” A simple five-step safety check includes: Certification (Look for a label, plug or similar marking) Apertures (Altering the door for windows voids the certification) Gaps and seals (Check gaps around the door to ensure they are no more than 4mm) Closers (Ensure the closer shuts the door firmly) Operation (Ensure the door closes correctly around the whole frame)
West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) staff, volunteers and visitors will fall silent for two minutes at 9am on 9 September in memory of emergency services friends and colleagues who have died as a result of their duties. Annual Emergency Services Day The tribute, coinciding with the start of the second annual Emergency Services Day (ESD), will be followed by the raising of ESD flags outside WMFS buildings. A series of events will also be taking place across the UK in the lead up to ESD, including a national festival of thanksgiving which this year is being held in Edinburgh. The commemorations are coordinated by the National Emergency Services Memorial charity which is aiming to raise at least £3m to fund the first national 999 cenotaph. The WMFS ‘Roll of Honor’ contains the names of ten serving personnel who died during the course of their duties. West Midlands Fire Service ‘Roll of Honor’ We are acutely mindful of the risks whenever we respond to any incident that threatens life or property"The Chief Fire Officer, Phil Loach, said: “The ten names on the West Midlands Fire Service roll of honor is our way of, every day, keeping alive the memory of colleagues who paid the ultimate price of being a firefighter. The risk of being confronted with life-threatening danger is an ever-present part of the role. Phil adds, “The health and safety of our well-equipped crews is paramount. Firefighter safety is at the heart of our training and operational procedures. It enables us to be assertive when saving lives and reducing damage from fires and other incidents. We are acutely mindful of the risks whenever we respond to any incident that threatens life or property.” Highlighting firefighters’ safety and security He further said, “Emergency Services Day gives us an additional opportunity to remember those we have lost. It is also a day to celebrate the amazing work of all our colleagues and volunteers throughout our service, and I want to thank them and their families for their support.” Councilor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said “At 9am on the ninth day of the ninth month we will join together to remember all those we have lost from the emergency services family. Remembering fire incident victims Greg adds, “Emergency Services Day is also a time to pay tribute to our firefighters’ courage, compassion, skills and professionalism. The roles of modern-day firefighters and our support staff are incredibly varied. They deliver outstanding service, time and time again.”
As the condition of aging bridges, roadways, transportation resources, and grids across the U.S. has increasingly become the focus of discussion, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued Renovations Needs of the U.S. Fire Service, a new report on the fire service’s aging infrastructure. Two key findings within the report show that more than 21,000 firehouses across the country are beyond 40 years of age with total replacement costs estimated to be in the $70-$100 billion range. Data Found In Survey The report draws on data found in the Fourth Needs Assessment for the U.S. Fire Service, a survey that compares what fire departments actually have with what existing standards, government regulations, and other guidance documents state as being required in order to be safe and effective. Relevant case studies were also considered as part of the research project. The objective was to determine just how old firehouses are today, and what it would cost to rebuild current, compliant structures that keep first responders safe from harm at their workplace. The report identifies the number of stations that are over 40-years old; are not equipped with exhaust emission control; are without backup power; do not have separate facilities for female firefighters; and need mold remediation. Findings from the report 21, 230 of U.S. fire stations (43 percent) are more than 40 years old, representing an 11 percent increase in aging infrastructure over the past 15 years. The estimated cost to replace these stations is estimated at between $70 and $100 billion; costs depend on space needs, location, site condition, and department preferences. Sixty-one percent of fire stations that are more than 40 years old are serving communities with less than 9,999 people. A shortage of funding, tighter budgets, and a lack of grants are likely reasons for the large number of older stations. 29,120 fire stations (59 percent) in the U.S. are not equipped with exhaust emission control systems, which are critical for mitigating firefighter exposure to diesel fumes. These fumes can increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, cardiopulmonary disease, respiratory disease, and lung cancer. Assistance to Firefighter Grants have helped reduce the number of firehouses without exhaust emission control systems from 66 to 59 percent. Approximately 17,030 fire stations (35 percent) do not have access to backup power, which is critical for business continuity during an emergency event. When the power is out, firehouses without generators may run into issues with phones ringing, computers running, trucks being fueled, and garage bay doors opening. The cost to install backup generators runs between $850 million and $1.7 billion. When fire stations were built 40-plus years ago, departments were exclusively male. Today, the most recent Needs Assessment estimates that 10 percent of career firefighters are female. The number of males and females in a particular fire department typically varies based on whether the fire company is career, volunteer or combination, as well as the size of the community. Further research is needed today to determine the number of stations that do not provide separate facilities for female firefighters and the estimated cost to renovate these stations. The number of firehouses affected by mold is unknown, despite common perceptions that stations are susceptible given water damage, prolonged humidity, or dampness. All fire stations should allocate resources for mold prevention including dehumidifiers, proper ventilation, mold inhibitors, and mold-killing cleaning products to reduce the likelihood of seasonal allergy and pneumonia-like symptoms.
Manholes on-board ships or in industrial or offshore plants are generally only used from time to time. The manholes are closed most of the time and are only opened when there is a need for maintenance or other activities to be performed on the installation. Gaskets are used to ensure the steel sealing plates reliably seal off the manhole. The NOFIRNO gaskets supplied by Beele Engineering for these types of systems were recently subjected to one of the most severe fire tests possible. Tested To Investigate Fire-Resistance The fire test was carried out for two manholes in a non-insulated bulkhead sealed with 10-mm thick steel plates and NOFIRNO gaskets. The fire test was designed to investigate the fire-resistance of the gasket in accordance with the FTP Code 2010. The outside diameter of the gaskets is 365 mm, while the inside diameter is 275 mm. Openings for mounting the cover plate with bolts are located at 12 equally spaced places. The gasket complies with the FTP Code 2010 and the fire rating was established at 60 minutes A-0 Although the cover plate and the bulkhead became red-hot during the fire test and furthermore deformed due to the heat, the 5 mm thick gasket continued to fully perform its function. As such, the gasket complies with the FTP Code 2010 and the fire rating was established at 60 minutes A-0. High-Quality Rubber The Beele Engineering NOFIRNO gaskets stand out due to their exceptional profile and high-quality rubber. Combined with BEBOLTITE bolts they ensure that with a low tightening force of 6 Nm a maximum seal of up to 6 - 15 bar is created. Once tightened, the gaskets provide a durable seal. That means that the regular tightening of bolts has become superfluous. Due to the NOFIRNO rubber's high restorative capacity, the gaskets can be reused after the flange has been unscrewed and then is tightened down again.
Those responsible for the specification of products which go into new modern buildings have been asking for safe, approved cabling, which play a critical part in electrical supply systems. The number of fires in high-rise buildings in Europe and the Middle East have brought the issue of quality of products for fire performance circuits into sharp focus, not least the Grenfell disaster. Meanwhile, new buildings become increasingly complex, with the use of new materials and the designs of many requiring complex electrical systems to support security and fire safety. New and refurbished buildings such as hospitals, schools, shopping malls or airports, may have complex addressable loop fire alarm systems which provide information on individual detectors. Conventional systems only provide information about specific circuits or zones. Indicating exact location of fire, fault For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about there can be no greater priority than safetyThe addressable systems feature a fire control panel which receives information and status reports from each device, indicating its exact location and if there may be a fire, a fault, heat or contamination. For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about – many of whom can be vulnerable – there can be no greater priority than safety. The cabling chosen for these systems is therefore critical. If the power to these alarm systems fails because the cabling does not meet the required performance, then the information available for fire and rescue services is directly affected and with it, the chance of finding people who may be in the building. To meet these design challenges, and with the inquiry into the Grenfell disaster still ongoing, it is the use of the very latest technology and science that is taking enhanced fire performance cabling onto a new level. Safe and compliant cable products Decision-makers in the supply chain want reassurance that the products they are specifying are safe and compliant, meeting all recognized specifications. Calls have been made by the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) for all cable being used in the UK to conform to relevant British, European or international standards amid increasing concerns about the volume of non-approved cables coming onto the market. Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling which ensures critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes. The standard and enhanced cables in the Total Fire Solutions range are tubed, making them a welcome product for contractors with ease of installation. They are all UV stable and they all come with a hard insulant to resist any fault generation over time. These cables meet all relevant industry standards including ISO 9001 and is approved by the leading industry organizations nationally and worldwide including BASEC and LPCB. Carrying out fire risk assessment For the fire and rescue services, the continuity of power means they can continue to read fire alarm system information which can direct them to the seat of the fire and help to locate people who may be in the building. Responsibility for choosing the right system lies with the ‘responsible person’ under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in business or any other non-domestic premises. This will be the owner, employer, landlord, or may be the facilities manager or building manager. As the responsible person, he or she must carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly and put in place and maintain appropriate fire safety measures. Ultimately, the responsible person faces a fines or jail if they fail to follow these measures and there is a fire. For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios Any items or products which go into these fire safety systems must be covered by standards set by national, European and international bodies such as British Standards. These will certify that when needed these products will perform their function and operate as expected in real life fire conditions. Ensuring cables meet fire safety standards In support of these standards, cable industry bodies provide testing regimes to ensure that different types of cable are fit for purpose and meet these standards when tested in fire conditions. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to lightFor some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. Counterfeit Flexible Cords campaign Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to light. Unsafe flexible cord, intended for use in domestic and industrial applications, has been found on sale in the UK recently, prompting the ACI to issue a fresh alert to the electrical supply chain. The latest find of sub-standard flexible cords is marked ‘Made in Turkey’ and ‘Ermaks’. Samples came to light following the initiative’s recent ‘Counterfeit Flexible Cords’ campaign which alerted the electrical supply chain to dangerous industrial flexible cords. We in the supply chain should all be vigilant to watch out and report these instances of non-compliant cabling wherever we see or suspect they have been installed, while developing only the safest products and systems of our own. We shouldn’t forget that we all have a duty and a responsibility where lives and property are at stake. Importance of MV cables to infrastructure Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliantThe demand for power has never been greater, with the explosion of development in towns and cities across the UK and the growth of industrial development and technology reliant on consistent supplies. Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliant as the pressure mounts on the installation of quality products in modern building developments. MV cables are crucial to our infrastructure. Electricity leaves the generating site and is routed via a step-up transformer to take it up to the National Grid distribution voltages of 400Kv, 275Kv and 132Kv. Once in the local area, the supply goes through step-down transformers that reduce the voltage to 415V with domestic supplies tapped off at 230V. To provide power to the sub-stations – very often located on the premises of the establishment that they supply – Medium Voltage (MV) cables are used. MV cables were only developed as the level of voltages increased and the need arose for a greater classification range. design and specification of the cables The technical design and specification of the cables is of paramount importance within the power distribution networkThe size of the market has developed to the point where the global MV cables market was valued at 39.31billion US dollars in 2016 and projected to grow at a rate of more than six percent until 2022. The technical design and specification of the cables themselves is of paramount importance within the power distribution network. There are a number of technical considerations to be taken into account including the size of the installation, the position of the installation in relation to the network and the presence of primary and secondary sub-stations. Prior to installation, a detailed route survey should also be carried out to plan where cables will be jointed and to identify any possible obstructions which may require special civil engineering works such as directional drilling. Underlying the critical nature of supplies to these types of services, the incidence of non-approved cables for these applications also plagues the industry.
The continuity of power in the event of a real fire has never been more important as modern buildings become more complex and the need for the highest quality of products comes under the spotlight. With power for lighting and fire alarms, the fire and rescue services can use the intelligence gathered to evacuate people quickly, confident that they have found all the people in the building. Without power, they are literally scrambling in the dark without good information upon which to make their rescue. The continuity of power will also ensure that sprinkler or water mist systems can continue to operate where they exist. In commercial buildings, there may also be smoke evacuation fans which help to enable safe evacuation. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services Appropriate Cabling At the start of a project, the most appropriate cabling should be specified as part of the electrical system rather than at the end of a project. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services across individual areas and floors. At the same time, there are new designs, materials and products continually coming on to the market for major projects, and with it an increasing need for the various parties involved to work closely together to make sure they get it right. There has been an increasing incidence of non-approved cables on the market and unfortunately it is not until cables have been installed, tested or used that issues become clear. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Should there be a problem, have it checked and seek good advice. Keep records of purchase, including reel flanges with batch markings and a sample of the cable markings. Send lengths for testing and then decide on the most appropriate course of action. Choice of cabling is crucial at the start of major projects as issues may occur later Meeting Rigorous Third-Party Tests For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. It is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests This Code of Practice specifies that the type of system selected during the design phase ‘should be derived from a detailed process of consultation with the relevant authorities’ and that ‘the design should be agreed at an early stage.’ The decision-making process for cable selection relevant for life safety and firefighting systems is clearly defined here. This covers three categories ranging from 30 minutes to 120 minutes fire survival time. Categories 1 and 2 cover means of escape for 30 minutes and then 60 minutes respectively, and these cables are tested in accordance with the relevant codes. Category 3 for firefighting to 120 minutes refers to power and control cables meeting the 120-minute test according to the relevant standards. It should be emphasised that only Mineral Insulated Cable (MIC) or a cable meeting the requirements of BS7846 F120 will meet this criteria. For clarity, BS 8519 does not take precedence over BS 5839 for alarm systems and BS 5266 for emergency lighting. In essence, choosing the most relevant cabling and electrical accessories which will continue to operate under fire conditions has become critical. Application Of Medium Voltage Cables As the incidence of non-approved cables continues then so the application of Medium Voltage (MV) cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, schools, care homes, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites also becomes critical. In the context off fire engineering, it is important to select the relevant MV Cables in these areas. Adhering to the latest regulations is no longer enough - there needs to be a risk assessment. In order to do this effectively, it is important to ask – are the fire safety procedures up to date? All AEI MV cables are third party tested and approved by BASEC. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards The whole supply chain needs to take consideration of these areas where vulnerable people often move about such as children or elderly people in hospitals or care homes. The fire and rescue services may need a little more time than a conventional building including reading complex fire alarm information to ensure a safe rescue in the event of a real fire. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards. This is due to ageing structures, high volume of combustible materials, and changing use in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programmes where more combustible and flammable liquids are being used. Concerns have been raised by architects and and designers about fire protection regimes Sufficient Fire Risk Assessment Recent research by the Fire Brigades Union, for example, showed that a key focus for all educational institutions must be ensuring that there is an effective fire risk management process in place, delivered by suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by an expert in the field. The best practice under Business Information Modelling (BIM) and all best practice of fire safety engineering methods should be observed in conjunction with project partners. There have been concerns over a number of years around the fire protection regime for new buildings expressed by the architects and designers themselves. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) points to the delays to Approved Document B with regard to the relationship of Building Regulations to changing design and construction. AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service RIBA says the virtual disappearance of the role of the clerk of works or site architect and the loss of independent oversight of construction and workmanship on behalf of the client is a further issue for concern. In essence, RIBA believes that future proposals for the fire safety regulatory regime should be informed by the specialist fire safety expertise of relevant professional organisations and groups, and also take full account of this wider set of construction industry AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service with the support of its parent company Ducab based in Dubai, with the design, manufacture and supply of MIC, Firetec Enhanced or Firetec Power depending on specific needs. The choice of cabling and accessories should not be underestimated at the earliest opportunity to ensure the fire and rescue services are given every chance of success in rescuing people and saving property.
A number of shocking incidents involving fire have highlighted the need to better manage risks in buildings. David Adkins, managing director at Risk Warden, explains why some organisations need to give compliance with statutory regulations more focus and how the use of state-of-the-art online risk assessment tools can help to ensure that a building is as safe as possible. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into sharp focus. A government review into building regulations in the wake of this tragedy, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, made it clear that competence – defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and experience – underpins safety for all. It also found that that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose and, with little or no quality monitoring, has created a situation where poor language confuses guidance with regulation and means that there is an overlapping regulatory enforcement framework. Why you need a fire safety action plan Sadly, Grenfell was not an isolated incident and similar events have occurred throughout the world. In 2017 a fire at a 17-storey commercial building in Iran led to multiple deaths, including those of 18 firefighters, while in 2015 16 people died in a fire in a residential building in Azerbaijan. Perhaps what is most concerning is that these types of events have been regularly occurring for many years – in 2010 a fire in a 28-storey tower block in China killed 53 people and injured at least 90, while in 2004 a fire at a care home in Scotland led directly to the deaths of 14 residents. The inquiry concluded that this tragedy could have been prevented by a suitable fire safety action plan. These examples highlight why it is vital to take the issue of safety seriously by undertaking a formal risk assessment. Put simply, if risks aren’t identified, a building’s occupants are in danger. There are a number of important pieces of legislation relating to this area in the UK including The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which contain a consistent set of requirements. Employers also have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into focus Responsibility for fire risk assessment When it comes to the dangers associated specifically with fire, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) places the onus on a designated responsible person within an organisation to carry out regular assessments to identify, manage and reduce the potential danger posed by fire. Article 9 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he/she needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him/her by or under this order". Any failure that leads to loss of life, personal injury or damage to property will expose a responsible person and could lead to prosecution. Outside fire risk assessors If the responsible person does not have the knowledge to carry out a fire risk assessment on his or her own, it will be necessary to call on a competent outside fire risk assessor. However, as Article 18 of the RRFSO points out, "Preference is to be given to a suitable competent person in the responsible person’s employment over a person not in their employment". Just as importantly, it states that, "A person is to be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures". If an outside fire risk assessor is employed then the responsible person must undertake due diligence to ensure that the individual concerned is competent and has successful track record in this line of work. Failure to do so can have enormous repercussions like, for example, in 2017 when a former firefighter and professional fire risk assessor was given a sentence of four months in prison suspended for 12 months for providing a ‘woefully inadequate’ fire risk assessment in his capacity as a private consultant. Failure to undertake due diligence when employing a fire risk assessor can have legal consequences Monitoring and reviewing fire risk It is up to the responsible person to put processes and procedures in place to enable compliance to be fully evidenced. This includes keeping up to date records of testing and maintenance regimes that can be scrutinised by relevant enforcement authorities, as well as enabling the responsible person to monitor, control and periodically review the fire risk assessment, especially during and after significant changes to the use or layout of a building. At the moment there are no hard and fast rules as to how fire risk assessments should be carried out. However, the most important requirement is to identify the fire hazards and how people could be at risk. In addition, emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, fire fighting equipment, the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances, and the needs of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with disabilities must be factored in. The aim should always be to remove or reduce the risks as much as is 'reasonably practicable'. A failure to provide satisfactory evidence that a comprehensive risk assessment has taken place could result in invalid insurance, large fines and even the prosecution of any individuals responsible. To that end Article 11 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his/her undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures". Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface Risk assessment and compliance tools Sometimes, particularly with large buildings or campus environments, the complexity of the risk assessment process requires a more methodical approach that takes subjectivity out of the process. When it comes to satisfying the requirements of Article 11 of the RRFSO where "the responsible person must record the arrangements", the latest generation of intuitive risk assessment and compliance tools can help. Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface, which allows a responsible person to be guided through the entire risk assessment process in a clear and thorough manner. This is a significant improvement on the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ approach, as digital images can be captured and placed directly into a report at the relevant section, while templates for specific building types ensure consistency throughout. This simplifies the identification, management and prevention of any risks related to not only fire, but security, and health and safety too, thereby reducing the potential for danger within a wide variety of environments. It should always be remembered that the risk assessment is only the first stage of the process and where traditional methods often fall down is in taking – or not taking, as the case may be – any necessary remedial action. Online tools provide a more cohesive approach, as once the risk assessment has been completed all work undertaken is clearly outlined, logged and accounted for to comply with audits. This provides evidence of compliance and ensures organisations meet their legal obligations, validate their insurance, take a consistent approach to risk management and provide peace of mind for a responsible person. Making buildings safer There is a clear need for a digital record of risk assessment compliance for the whole life of a building – from design and construction through to occupation. As assessing risk can be a lengthy and complicated process, anything that makes this easier and enhances an organisation’s ability to negate the likelihood of injury or even death should be embraced. It stands to reason that risk management must be more strictly applied in order to prevent incidents that could be avoided – therefore, the use of online risk assessment and compliance tools should be at the forefront when it comes to making buildings safer.
One lesson of Grenfell is how many fire system technicians operate without the appropriate qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications, and for industry to implement a system in which clients and end users can be assured that operatives are fully competent. Another lesson is that fire service audits of buildings are no longer fit for purpose. For instance, the current system does not require proof that a fire system was installed by a “competent person.” Fire safety in commercial buildings “The general public would be horrified to learn that someone can fit a fire safety system in a commercial building without any proper qualifications or licence,” says Tom Brookes, Managing Director of Lindum Fire Services Ltd., former Chairman of the British Fire Consortium (BFC), and current Chairman of the Fire and Security Association. When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game" “When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game,” says Brookes. “Some larger companies are upskilling their staff and moving towards formal qualifications. If small- and medium-sized enterprises do not follow suit, they will fall behind and may be excluded from the marketplace altogether.” Working Group 2 on installer competence Working Group 2 on installer competence was established after the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report last year, under the joint leadership of Build UK and the Fire Sector Federation. The group has discussed extensively the need for systems engineers to be suitably qualified and able to demonstrate their competence. “In my opinion, there is too much focus on rival competency schemes rather than overall industry outcomes, which somewhat muddies the waters,” says Brookes. “However, one thing that has become crystal clear is that all fire and emergency systems engineers will likely need to hold a Level 3 qualification in the future.” Training provided BFC, FIA and IFEDA Although quality training is provided through the British Fire Consortium (BFC), Fire Industry Association (FIA), Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association (IFEDA) and others, historically there have been no Ofqual-approved qualifications for the fire sector. (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation [Ofqual] is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests.) Changes are afoot, however. In England, the Fire, Emergency Systems and Security trailblazer apprenticeship attracted around 300 new starts last year. The FIA have replaced their 20-year-old training programmes with a new system that will enable technicians who complete the series to achieve their Level 3 qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification The awarding organization EAL are launching a BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification in August 2019. This will allow previously trained engineers to sit an exam and gain a Level 3 award demonstrating up-to-date knowledge. Practical skills testing for more experienced technicians, outside of an apprenticeship, is something FSA are currently working hard on with partners including ECA, NET and ECS. “Our aim is for a few options to become available for operatives to gain some sort of practical competence certification,” says Brookes. “More technological solutions are now being considered for competency evaluation, such as uploading video assessments of candidates to a portal for assessors. This is already used for some NVQ type assessments and widely used in the USA. It may be just what our sector needs at this moment in time.” 'Accountable Person' role Latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings The latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings called the “Accountable Person.” This person will have a legal responsibility to ensure people working on systems are competent. While only for high rise and high-risk buildings, like all developments, it will likely spread throughout the sector. “For as long as I have been in the fire industry trade bodies have called upon the fire authorities and Government to legislate to stop unskilled workers installing and maintaining fire safety equipment,” says Brookes. He notes that both independent third-party certification of businesses and CSCS partner card schemes like ECS for individuals are voluntary arrangements. To date, neither Government nor fire services insist either scheme is used by a fire protection company. “If, heaven forbid, we witnessed another tragedy like Grenfell tomorrow, sadly I suspect the outcome would be very much the same,” says Brookes. “However, looking further ahead, I am confident buildings will be safer once new legislation comes into force and effectively eliminates the threat of incompetent and unqualified fire and emergency system engineers.”
FIREX International, 18-20 June, 2019, at ExCel London will feature 25-plus hours of seminars and panel discussions along with an exhibition of 130-plus manufacturers showcasing products for fire safety. A Sprinkler and Suppression Presentation Area will highlight the important category. Also, for the fourth year, the International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference will take place alongside FIREX International. There will be 18,000 fire prevention and protection professionals from over 70 countries in attendance at FIREX International. Seminars and panel debates, held in the dedicated Expertise and Guidance Theatre, will include sessions covering tall building safety, passive fire protection, case studies, and more. One session will consider how the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will impact fire safety laws and the fire industry. Implications of fire safety regulations A presentation will cover the development of new tests to assess video smoke and flame detectorsThe aftermath of the Grenfell fire will be the backdrop of several sessions. One will address the competency of fire, emergency and security systems technicians in the post-Grenfell era, presented by Fire and Security Association Chairman Tom Brookes. Also, a panel discussion will consider the process control and record-keeping requirements of Dame Judith Hackitt's proposed ‘golden thread of information’ that spans regulatory, design, compliance, construction and operational management functions. Another session will speak to post-Grenfell implications of fire safety and future regulations, and there will be a summary of the government response to the Hackitt/ADB review and its impact on passive fire protection. Other topics include training, testing, and fire risk assessment. A case study will highlight the importance of smoke alarms in rented properties. A session on defining Fire Industry Association (FIA) Qualifications will address the impact of best practice, legislation and standards. A presentation will cover the development of new tests to assess video smoke and flame detectors. And there will be an update on industry efforts to create an overarching competence body for the fire safety sector. Thousands of products on display The Passive Protection Zone offers an opportunity for delegates to develop their knowledge of passive fire protectionFIREX International caters to everyone within the fire safety buying chain from manufacturers, distributors, installers, integrators, consultants to end users. With tens of thousands of products on display, attendees can test and try them out hands-on. The largest presence at the show will be the Fire Solutions stand, organized by Halma, which will feature six leading suppliers of fire safety technology from the same commercial family hosted at a single stand. The featured exhibitors will be Advanced, Apollo Fire Detectors, Argus Security, FFE UK, Klaxon and LAN Control Systems. The Passive Protection Zone offers an opportunity for delegates to develop their knowledge of passive fire protection via a variety of seminars and workshops. Plus, Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) member companies will be located around the zone, displaying related products. Tall Building Fire Safety Conference The 6th International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference will focus on innovation, drones, fire science and more. Topics on Day 1 will be fire engineering, fire testing and fire science in tall buildings. Day 2 will address fire risk management, insurance and construction in tall buildings. Day 3 will focus on firefighting in tall buildings. FIREX International is co-located with IFSEC International, Facilities Show, Safety & Health Expo and Field Service Management Expo, catering to those working across many platforms, including building management, and protection and safety of people and information.
When Salford Reds made their debut in their newly opened rugby league Stadium last December, it was the beginning of a new era for the club and its fans. Behind the scenes, numerous contractors and officials had been planning and building towards the premier game in the brand new £16m City of Salford Stadium. The opening fixture marked the start of fire industry experts; Gent by Honeywell’s first commercial UK site to be installed with the company’s recently launched D1 rack based voice alarm and Public Address (PA) system. This was fitted alongside a Vigilon fire alarm solution in order to protect the Stadium, staff and fans. D1 Voice Alarm/Public Address system Tate worked in conjunction with Gent, selecting the company’s latest innovative D1 voice alarm/PA system Wigan-based safety and security specialists, Tate Security Technology Limited, one of Gent 24’s of Approved Systems Integrators, managed the installation, from the initial design stages right through to commissioning and completion. Tate worked in conjunction with Gent, selecting the company’s latest innovative D1 voice alarm/PA system as the most suitable solution for the Stadium. Steve Hutchinson, Sales and Development Director, Tate Security Technology, explains, “Discussions about this project began almost two years ago and we have worked closely with the major key partners and the main contractors, supply team on the project since then. We were brought in during the early planning stages to do the full detailed designs based on the Stadium’s construction drawings.” Turnstile entry counting systems Tate Security Technology Ltd has more than 30 years’ experience working in the UK stadia market. The company has worked closely in the early years of Stadia Safety with the government and the Football League Association and has pioneered new methods of crowd control, Turnstile entry counting systems and including exit gate release, which now forms part and parcel of every major Stadium in the country. Steve Hutchinson continues, “We chose the Gent system purely because of the quality of D1 voice alarm/PA and the fire alarm product. Gent has an extensive range of fully compliant equipment available to be installed in the market place and what better way to do that than within a brand new Stadium facility.” Vigilon voice alarm systems The main part of the project started at the end of August 2011 and was completed earlier this year following a series of successful ramp events, including the Salford Reds opening rugby league game in December. The Gent solution selected for the project was a fire alarm and D1 Public Address/Voice Alarm system that is fully compliant with the relevant standards for sports stadiums, and meets all of the requirements of EN54 parts 16 and 24. Gent’s Vigilon voice alarm systems were among the first to be certified with BRE, in line with the newly harmonized part 16 of EN54. Networked addressable control panels City of Salford Stadium system comprises four Vigilon networked addressable control panels, with nine detection loopsThe system in place at the City of Salford Stadium comprises four Vigilon networked addressable control panels, with nine detection loops in total. The D1 voice alarm/PA system, designed specifically for the venue, is a large rack based system comprising three 42u racks and a 19 zone voice alarm/PA system, providing a total power output of 13,000 watts to the loudspeakers throughout the Stadium. Steve Hutchinson explains how the system works, stating “The cause and effect strategy of the D1 voice alarm/PA system for the whole Stadium changes according to whether there is a match taking place. The system was programmed to meet both building control and the fire strategy to enable two different modes”. High quality communications system “One operates during the games to protect the Stadium and its supporters, providing a high quality communications system and the other can be used on a day to day basis, when there is only the club staff occupying the ground.” The Gent system has been programmed to enable both non-event mode, used on non-match days, and full event match day mode to provide individual zoned areas with phased announcements and evacuation procedures. There are three microphones in total: A fireman’s microphone in the control room; a 19 zone paging microphone in the match day control room; and a 19 zone paging microphone in the DJ room. Flexible, controllable stadium PA system The Stadium public announcement system is both flexible and controllable used solely for providing audible messaging to any one of the Stadium’s individual zones. On non-match days the multi zone desk microphone station in the Stadium’s reception area is used to page the ground and office staff. On match days, the D1 voice alarm/PA system gives input into the Stadium’s DJ for background music, scores and general crowd announcements. The control aspect means this can be overridden if there is a need to evacuate. The Stadium was initially built with a 12,000 capacity, with plans to extend to accommodate up to 20,000 over time. The site includes built-in offices, player facilities, hospitality boxes, concessions, community resources and two community outdoor sports pitches available for business and public hire. The main Stadium area has four covered stands for supporters. Detailed acoustic modeling Gent’s technical support team worked closely with Tate Security Technology to play a key part in the rack design Gent’s technical support team worked closely with Tate Security Technology and played a key part in the rack design, the acoustic modeling and the Stadium speaker mapping. Gent’s detailed acoustic modeling provided in-depth prediction and results in Sound Pressure Level (SPL) distribution and STI results. The whole arena had to be acoustically modeled to ensure it complied with the requirements of BS5839 part 8 2008 and reach the specific audibility levels. The requirements state that the results have to be at least five decibels above the Stadium’s ambient background noise and the Gent system delivers an SPL of 105 DB and STI results of 0.5-0.55. Gent technical support services Steve Hutchinson continues, “It is very difficult to predict the ambient noise levels in stadiums, as it’s often down to the individual design of each stand. The input from Gent’s technical support team was invaluable as their expert mapping enabled us to accurately predict the SPL distribution to give us equal sound as well as meet the minimum requirements across all four stands.” The Gent support services team was set up with the aim of providing expert support in acoustic design, as well as additional support for customers on any aspect of fire detection and alarm products. The team carries a vast amount of experience in the design and application engineering of FD&A and voice alarm/PA systems and can provide advice on everything from site survey and training, to general application guidance. Factory Acceptance Test Gent has recently created a new customer friendly D1 rack build area in the company’s extensive Leicester production facility to offer an expert rack build service with a dedicated Factory Acceptance Test area (FAT). The FAT area demonstrates how the rack is configured before it is sent to the site. All racks are built and programmed to a specification and the rack is shipped after it has been witness tested. Gent’s Kevin Cooper, support services manager, added, “We are delighted that our first commercial installation of the D1 voice alarm/PA system has been so well received by both Tate Security Technology Ltd and the City of Salford Stadium. Gent is one of only a small number of companies that has received the new certification for the voice alarm range last year and this, together with our highly experienced customer service team, has made us the winning choice for fire detection and voice alarm/PA systems. We are proud to be playing our part in protecting the Salford Reds supporters and staff.”
Trinity Fire and Security Systems, Inc. have taken center stage with the installation of a brand new life and fire safety system. As the first new-build theatre of the decade in Britain, the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre holds a unique position in theatre history and Trinity Protection Systems was commissioned to install a range of S-Quad devices from Gent by Honeywell to provide fire detection coverage. The Waterside Theatre opened its doors to the public on the 12th October 2010. A complex engineering project, this 300,000 visitor per year theatre is the focal point for Aylesbury Vale District Council's Waterside regeneration scheme for the town center. The large open spaces of the theatre required a carefully planned network of panels to ensure accurate detection of fires, whilst ensuring that false alarms were kept to a minimum to avoid costly disruption. S-Quad devices with intelligent sensors Trinity Fire and Security chose to install Gent's S-Quad devices due to its intelligent sensors Trinity Fire and Security chose to install Gent's S-Quad devices due to its intelligent sensors that can identify a clear distinction between smoke, steam and dust, as well as its fast response to fires. Combining these fire sensing capabilities with a sounder, strobe or speech, it uses technology that can be configured to identify the different particles present in risks and fires, ensuring rapid detection of real fires and the significant reduction of false alarms. Colin Smith of Trinity Fire and Security Systems, Inc. explains, "Theatrical smoke and strobe lighting was a bit of a challenge for us during the initial design and installation process of this project, as both stage effects can trigger sensors, resulting in unnecessary evacuation." Three panel network system He adds, "With a single optical chamber, the obturation of smoke entering the chamber is obscured once and then it sets the device off. The Gent S-Quad range has dual-optical heat carbon monoxide detection technology. The two optical chambers employ forward scatter and backward scatter to look for the correct out way for smoke obturation, which can determine if there is a real fire in place." Trinity Fire and Security Systems, Inc. built a three panel network system using all the detectors and antennary devices. This was interlinked to a standalone Public Address and Voice Alarm system, which could then be used for official public announcements.
The University of Edinburgh, one of the UK’s most prestigious educational establishments with a history stretching back to 1582, is now protected by industry-leading intelligent fire panels from Advanced. Edinburgh is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world, with the Old College building being opened in the early 19th century as a school for anatomy and surgery. The original campus was expanded in the 1880s with the addition of the New College, and the university now occupies six sites throughout Edinburgh. Flexible, Reliable And Compatible The new fire system installed at the main campus by long-term Advanced partner FMS Fire and Security Limited, covers the entire university campus. It compromises of multi-loop Advanced MxPro 4 and MxPro 5 panels, connected using fault-tolerant network cards. The new panels installed at the University of Edinburgh are the latest in a long line of installations" Dominic Rea, Director for FMS Fire and Security, said: “The new panels installed at the University of Edinburgh are the latest in a long line of installations we have undertaken throughout the university Campus, all using MxPro components. The Advanced panels installed are not only flexible and reliable but are also compatible with the existing systems already installed.” Two Panel Ranges MxPro is s multiprotocol panel and offers customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network that enjoys free training and support. Ronald Kerr, spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh, commented: “The safety of our staff and students is paramount and they are now protected by the best fire panels on the market. The university has been shaping history since it welcomed its first students in 1583 and has played a large part in the scientific and literary development of Scotland. Our buildings are a big part of that history and, thanks to Advanced, they will be protected for many years to come.” Alarm Control Across Advanced’s ease of installation and configuration make MxPro customisable to almost any application MxPro 5 offers high performance fire detection and alarm control across multi-panel networks and multiple sites. MxPro 5 panels are EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 approved. They can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into high speed, 200-panel networks covering huge areas. Advanced’s ease of installation and configuration make MxPro customisable to almost any application and the panel is fully compatible with MxPro 4. Neil Parkin, Advanced Sales Manager for the North, said: “The University of Edinburgh is the latest in a long line of educational establishments protected by Advanced panels, including Sheffield University, Herriot Watt University and a number of leading independent schools. Our MxPro range offers the performance and reliability required by a site such as the University campus and the system is flexible enough to be expanded and upgraded as technology evolves.” Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The performance, quality and ease-of-use of its products sees Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
A review of how a fire spread through a West Midlands hotel is being carried out by West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS). Firefighters arrived at the Holiday Inn near Walsall within 4 minutes of being mobilized. They immediately started to tackle what was already a significant fire, which soon consumed much of the building. West Midlands Hotel Fire 999 calls started to be received shortly before 4pm on Friday 2 August 2019, to the site near Junction 10 of the M6 motorway. WMFS were supported at the scene throughout the weekend by colleagues from several other agencies and the hotel management. Their fire investigators are satisfied that the fire started accidentally, in the hotel sauna area. Our Fire Control received a 999 call from the Holiday Inn at 3.54pm to a report of an electrical fire in the sauna" Gary Taylor, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said “Our Fire Control received a 999 call from the Holiday Inn at 3.54pm to a report of an electrical fire in the sauna. Two fire engines were mobilized within 42 seconds, as part of our pre-planned initial response to the site. The first crews arrived in less than four minutes.” breathing apparatus in fire incidents He adds, “Two teams of firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the building to fight the fire. However, the fire had already entered the roof space. Shortly afterwards it spread to other parts of the building.” Further stating, “Fortunately, the premises were successfully evacuated and so our crews tackled the fire from outside. The roof had completely collapsed and we had real concerns about the stability of the remaining structure.” Fire engines and brigade response vehicles At its height there were around 50 WMFS personnel at the incident. Over the weekend a total of 19 fire engines, six brigade response vehicles, three aerial platforms and more than 100 personnel were there. ACFO’s Taylor added “The premises were not fitted with fire sprinklers but, previously, our fire safety officers had recommended they be retro-fitted in line with our Fire Authority’s position. Our fire investigators believe that the fire started accidentally, in the sauna room. However, we will be carrying out further investigations to try to pinpoint the precise cause. We will also be looking in detail into factors that might have contributed to the spread and scale of the fire”. Fire safety “This incident is a stark reminder to us all about the devastating impact a fire can have. It underlines the importance of businesses having up-to-date fire safety procedures, and of their staff, guests and visitors familiarizing themselves with escape routes as an absolute priority.”
A highly sophisticated Taktis fire alarm and control panel from Kentec, a life safety control systems manufacturer, is providing the highest levels of fire safety at Brenntag UK & Ireland’s facility in Sunderland. Brenntag is a market leader in chemical distribution with a global network of more than 580 locations across 73 countries. Its North East team moved into the new site in Sunderland, one of the company’s 24 sites across the UK & Ireland, last December. Comprehensive fire safety and alarm system Pitts Wilson, the electrical contractor, was approached by Brenntag to recommend and install a comprehensive fire safety and alarm system for the entire site. They selected Kentec’s technology as an integral part of the installation, which has helped Pitts Wilson pass a BAFE/NSI inspection. Kentec’s Taktis panel ranges from 2 to 16 detection loops to provide up to 144 zone indicators and can network up to 128 panels. Its enhanced integration and networking capabilities mean it is able to meet the current and future needs of even the largest sites. Integrated with the Hochiki systems The flexibility of the Taktis panel makes it very simple to install and commission" Mark Ellse, Fire Systems Manager at Pitts Wilson, says Kentec has provided an intelligent solution: “The flexibility of the Taktis panel makes it very simple to install and commission, and because it is fully open-protocol it is also fully integrated with the Hochiki systems on site. “The full color 7” touch-screen display is easy for the customer to use and understand, especially in an emergency. Along with providing a great system, Kentec also provided excellent customer support throughout the project.” Kevin Swann, Managing Director at Kentec, says Taktis is the ideal solution for large and complex sites and infrastructure: “The scalability of Taktis means it provides a future-proofed solution, able to expand and develop in line with Brenntag’s requirements. And because it is truly open protocol, it provides installers and end-users maximum choice in their system design.”
STANLEY Security, one of the UK’s leading security providers, has installed a wireless fire alarm system at Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories, meeting their insurance requirements while saving considerable expense. Based in Leicester, Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories Ltd. operates from a large three storey building which it owns. Harvey’s itself works out of the bottom floor and the remaining building is subdivided into units which are rented out, with the two floors upstairs being dance studios that are mostly used in the evenings and weekends. Requirement Of A L2 Fire System L2 requires Manual Call Points throughout and optical AFD in escape routes and all rooms, corridors and compartmentsAs part of its insurance policy, Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories conducted a Fire Risk Assessment, undertaken by a third party. The assessor stated that an L2 category Fire System was required throughout the building. BS 5839-1:2017, the British Standard for fire detection and fire alarm systems in non-domestic premises, categorizes systems based on their objectives. Category L is a system designed to protect life and ranges from minimal protection 5 to top protection 1. L2 requires Manual Call Points throughout and optical automatic fire detection (AFD) in escape routes and all rooms, corridors and compartments that open onto escape routes, plus further AFD in areas identified as high fire risk. L2 systems therefore often come with a high price tag, especially in a large building such as that owned by Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories. After receiving several quotes that were out of the company’s reach, STANLEY Security provided the company with an affordable, effective alternative. EMS Wireless System For Cost Reduction “One of the key costs in the previous quotes was cabling,” states Ashley Hickling, Fire Sales Manager for STANLEY Security. “Other installers were looking to cable the entire system, or use a hybrid of hard wired and wireless equipment. With a large building, the amount of cabling pushed the price high. Furthermore, there were no cable routes, so a lot of containment would have been required for a hard-wired solution, which is also expensive and not aesthetically pleasing – an issue for the dance studios.” STANLEY Security recommended a full EMS wireless system which negates the need for cabling and reduces the costs The cost of labor to fit the cabling also added to the budget. STANLEY Security instead recommended a full EMS wireless system which negates the need for cabling and therefore reduces the costs significantly. Furthermore, the entire system is financed under STANLEY Assure, a finance solution for customers wishing to benefit from up to date security and fire technology without the risks of ownership and with evenly spread, manageable payment terms with no hidden extra costs. Day/Night Protection Of Building’s Inhabitants In the case of Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories, the cost of the system – including maintenance, replacement parts, call outs and labor on a wear and tear basis – is spread over five years with a monthly payment of just £393.80. Harvey’s Windows & Conservatories now benefits from a modern analog addressable L2 fire alarm system that meets its insurance obligations and protects the building’s inhabitants day and night. If a detector on the system should activate, it can be instantly pinpointed from the Fire Panel, confirming exactly which one it is and where, for appropriate, instant action to be taken.