Fire Safety Inspection
The fire sprinkler system in your building is a critical safety measure and, when needed, it can save lives. Still, even the best systems can malfunction, and sprinklers do occasionally fail. When they do, they can drench the interior of your building, damaging everything from furniture and personal belongings to drywall and building materials. As a property manager, dealing with fire sprinkler failure can feel overwhelming. What do you do next? Where do you start? And why did the sprinkler sy...
Gunning London, the Chartered Building Company that specializes in internal and external refurbishments, has launched a new division, Gunning Fire, to meet the increasing need for professionally installed fire door and fire stopping solutions. Gunning Fire division Having achieved independent UKAS accredited certification from Bluesky in April 2021, the division will offer fire door installation, fire door maintenance, fire stopping (compartmentalization), and cladding refurbishment, delivered...
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings and architect of OpenBlue connected solutions, has unveiled its new ANSUL LVS Non-Fluorinated Liquid Suppression Agent. The new agent is manufactured without the use of per-fluorinated chemicals and is performance tested to ensure maximum effectiveness. It is now available worldwide. LVS Non-Fluorinated Agent LVS Non-Fluorinated Agent works by rapidly knocking down flames, then blanketing the fuel and...
Usually, if the application requires acoustic and visual notification, the market offers two separate products. Nevertheless, sometimes for public buildings, hotels, and hospitals, but also for industry and other verticals, it may be necessary to have a combination of visual and acoustic alarms in one device. AVENAR all-in-one 4000 Bosch Security System’s AVENAR all-in-one 4000 is one product that can provide such a solution. This product is able to combine not only a sounder and a strob...
Rescu (Rescu Saves Lives), an emergency alert app that connects people directly to certified emergency dispatchers, has launched throughout the United States, in partnership with over 30,000 local emergency agencies. Rescu is the first and only Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) in a non-hardware platform. Rescu emergency alert app Unlike 9-1-1, the Rescu app does not require speaking to a dispatcher. With Rescu, users can communicate non-verbally to an emergency dispatcher. This means...
Fire and EMS departments are eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) of their costs, related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A streamlined project application process eases the burden of applying for the program, but support documentation is required. Tracking costs For COVID-19 recovery Many departments do not apply for the money because they perceive reporting requirements as too difficult, and record-keeping as too big a challenge. To help, the U.S. Fir...
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable building solutions and architect of OpenBlue connected solutions, has announced the launch of Chemguard NFF 3x3 UL201 Foam Concentrate. NFF technology This new, patent-pending Non-Fluorinated Foam (NFF) technology provides fast and effective fire suppression on most Class B hydrocarbon and polar solvent fuel fires. With a longer drain time than most AR-AFFFs, this foam blanket also delivers excellent post-extinguishment burn-back resistance and vapor suppression. Chemguard NFF 3x3 UL201 Concentrate passes the UL 162 synthetic foam concentrate protocol. It has also passed, under independent third-party witness, the UL 162 AR-AFFF test protocol for Type III hydrocarbon fuel at a 3-to-1 expansion ratio. Chemguard NFF 3x3 UL201 Foam Concentrate Chemguard NFF 3x3 UL201 Concentrate provides flexibility and ease of use for first response teams This protocol’s more challenging foam application test rate of 0.04 gpm/ft2 (1.6 lpm/m2) is two-thirds that of the UL 162 synthetic, non-fluorinated foam protocol and for an AR-AFFF, this result would correspond to a minimum design application rate of 0.10 gpm/ft2 (4.1 lpm/m2). Chemguard NFF 3x3 UL201 Concentrate provides flexibility and ease of use for first response teams, as it allows for consistent three percent proportioning for both hydrocarbon and polar solvent fires. This means there is no need to adjust proportioning for different Class B hazards. Compatible with Standard response proportioning devices With a 3-to-1 expansion ratio and viscosity similar to a 3x3 AR-AFFF, this foam concentrate is compatible with most standard response proportioning and discharge devices, reducing the need for significant hardware changes. The low expansion ratio provides greater throw distance for the foam, giving firefighters additional separation from the flames. “We developed and tested the NFF Concentrate at the Johnson Controls Fire Technology Center, one of the most extensive fire research and testing facilities in the world,” said Craig Cook, Global Product Development Leader for foam products at Johnson Controls. Craig Cook adds, “When tested on a hydrocarbon fuel fire at three percent concentration, the foam quickly gained 90 percent control and exceeded the requirements for extinguishment and burn-back time for a UL 162 AR-AFFF Type III listing.” Non-fluorinated firefighting foam concentrate Chemguard NFF 3x3 UL201 concentrate is defined as a non-fluorinated firefighting foam concentrate, produced in an equipment free from the use of PFAS chemistry. Since this product is free from any intentionally added PFAS chemistry and precautions have been taken to avoid PFAS contamination, it inherently complies with Directives (EU) 2017/1000 on PFOA and 2019/1021 (EU POPs directive) as a non-fluorinated product. Along with other Johnson Controls’ fire protection products and solutions, this Chemguard NFF Concentrate helps protect people and property within industries, such as petroleum and chemical, where spills and limited scale hazards require a municipal and industrial response. It is also suitable for use in foam systems with Type II discharge devices.
Euralarm, the globally renowned fire and security solutions organization, has announced support for a resolution of the European Parliament that asks for quick solutions from the European Commission to improve the standardization of construction products, while also pushing for a transition to a sustainable and more circular economy. Resolution on standardization MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) have recently called in the resolution, adopted with 686 votes in favor (4 votes against and 5 abstentions), on the European Commission to find a quick and viable way, in order to improve and speed up the standardization process for construction products. Of the 444 existing harmonized standards for construction products, only 12 new ones have been issued, since the Construction Products Regulation was adopted in 2011, hindering the free movement of products in the European Union. Construction Products Regulation With 686 votes in favor of the resolution, the European Parliament has taken a clear position on the upcoming revision of the regulation by the European Commission. “The Construction Products Regulation must be made fit for the future with a view to digitalization and sustainability,” said rapporteur Christian Doleschal. Prior to the decision-making process for the European Parliament, the chair of the Euralarm Fire Section presented a paper on the ‘Impact of the Construction Products Regulation on Standardization’ in the active fire safety industry. The presentation was held during an Informal meeting of the Working Party Technical Harmonization (Construction Products) of the German EU Council Presidency - Construction Products Regulation.
Fire Equipment Inc. (FEI), New England’s renowned full-service life safety company, has announced the launch of FEI Connect, which provides customers with reliable monitoring service for their fire protection systems 24/7. FEI Connect “FEI Connect is a critical component for any commercial business’ overall fire protection system,” said Brian Murphy, President at Fire Equipment Inc., adding “Our monitoring service can identify a fire or problem early, which can mean the difference between losing everything to keeping damage and loss to a minimum.” Benefits of FEI Connect include: First Responders will be notified immediately and respond quickly saving lives. Potentially saves thousands of dollars in property damage from a fire. Warns customers if something is faulty with the fire alarm system, sprinklers, and/or other life safety systems. Meets fire code requirements. UL Listed central monitoring station with 24/7 coverage and full back-up protection for central station. Features of FEI Connect, which sends alerts to business owner and FEI: Signal sent if fire alarm is activated (alerts sent to fire department, business owner and FEI) Fire Alarm Trouble Indicator: Alert for performance or maintenance issues. Fire Supervisory: Alert if system is disabled and/or needs resetting. Low Battery: Alert sent if the fire alarm panel battery is at less than optimum voltage. Power Failure: Critical alert for power failure usually means fire monitoring needs backup power to function. Sprinkler/tamper monitoring signals to alert owner if sprinkler system is violated or tampered with. Technical Support “Not only will FEI Connect alert FEI and the owner to any issue with their fire protection system, but we can also send our certified and licensed technicians out to inspect and remedy the issue almost immediately,” said Joe Golini, Director of Service Sales and Business Development at Fire Equipment Inc.
PACCAR, a global company in zero emissions commercial vehicles, has announced a five-year supply agreement for battery power systems with Romeo Power, Inc. (Romeo Power), an internationally renowned battery technology solutions company, with headquarters located in Los Angeles, California. battery management software PACCAR will purchase Romeo Power’s battery packs and battery management software for heavy-duty battery electric Peterbilt 579EV vehicles and Peterbilt 520EV refuse trucks in North America. PACCAR has become a minority shareholder in Romeo Power as part of the strategic alliance. The partnership with Romeo will further enhance PACCAR’s zero emissions product offerings" “PACCAR is delighted to be working with Romeo Power. The partnership with Romeo will further enhance PACCAR’s zero emissions product offerings that improve customers’ operational efficiency and environmental impact,” said Darrin Siver, the Senior Vice President of PACCAR. High energy Romeo battery packs The Romeo battery packs provide high energy, fast charging performance and ample range for customers’ applications. “The Romeo battery system is designed for seamless integration into Peterbilt commercial vehicle chassis and other vehicle systems,” said Kyle Quinn, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at PACCAR. Production of Peterbilt zero emissions trucks featuring Romeo Power’s battery packs are expected to launch in the second half of 2021. PACCAR is a globally renowned technology company that specializes in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF brands. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced powertrains, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.
There is currently a semiconductor shortage that is affecting some industries, including the automotive sector. The semiconductor shortage has reduced PACCAR’s truck deliveries in the first quarter of 2021, by approximately 3,000 vehicles. Semiconductor shortage PACCAR’s first quarter 2021 truck deliveries are estimated to be approximately 42,000 vehicles, compared to 40,800 vehicles delivered in the fourth quarter of 2020. The company anticipates that the semiconductor shortage will continue in the second quarter of 2021 as well. However, North American and European truck industry orders continue to be very strong. PACCAR’s forecast for 2021 truck industry retail sales remains unchanged. Light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks provider PACCAR is a globally renowned technology company, which specializes in the design, manufacture, and customer support of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks, sold under the Kenworth, Peterbilt, and DAF brand. The company also designs and manufactures advanced power trains, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.
As hospitals battle through the second major wave of the COVID-19 virus, concerns have been raised around the NHS’ on-going maintenance backlog and the impact on safety and infrastructure. In January 2021, figures suggested that the total backlog was the equivalent of the annual running cost of the entire NHS estate, which was around £9.7 billion in 2019/20. fire safety standards compliance Emergency hospital evacuations are inherently more complicated when compared to other public buildings Despite the added pressure of the COVID-19 global pandemic, hospitals and health care buildings must ensure that fire safety standards are not only compliant, but adapted to facilitate the added challenge of the ongoing pandemic. Emergency hospital evacuations are inherently more complicated when compared to other public buildings. Alike most aspects of modern life, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this process more difficult, with the requirements of social distancing and the prevention of infection a vital consideration. Mobility issues and the vulnerable nature of patients, combined with expensive and often life dependent equipment requires substantial assistance from staff in the event of a fire, slowing the procedure down and risking lives in the process. Royal Stoke University Hospital fire incident A fire evacuation in the accident and emergency unit at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in 2017 saw patients on higher levels waiting for lifts for up to an hour, while the fire alarm sounded. As many of the patients were unable to walk, staff attempted to transport them on beds and mattresses, causing a grid lock in the hospital corridors and the subsequent delays. Furthermore, as smoke from the fire spread throughout the building, patients had to be redirected to neighboring hospitals as the A&E unit and surrounding wards were closed and ventilated. The limited capacity in hospitals across the UK today would make an incident like this catastrophic, with patients left with nowhere to go. Increased use of ventilators a fire risk COVID-19 has seen a change to day-to-day behaviors that may directly intensify the risk of a fire in a hospital COVID-19 has seen a change to day-to-day behaviors that may directly intensify the risk of a fire in a hospital. The increased use of ventilators was raised as a heightened fire risk by the NHS England estates team in March last year, with higher oxygen levels within wards allowing a potential fire to spread at a faster rate. The need to reduce touch points and prevent contact with door handles has resulted in many high traffic fire doors being held open. Fire doors are essential to provide protection to a building and its occupants, preventing smoke and flames spreading from room to room in the event of a fire. Salamander fire door system Geofire, manufacturer of the Salamander fire door system, said in the release, “As an official supplier to one the largest hospital trusts in the UK, we want to stress to Fire Safety Officers across the country the importance of not letting fire safety standards slip. Our approved radio controlled, Salamander devices are battery operated and connect wirelessly to a mains-powered controller unit, which is easily wired into existing fire alarm systems, ensuring that fire doors will safely close in the event of a fault or fire." It adds, "The Salamander system has all the benefits of hard-wired electromagnetic door holders and closers, but as the devices are wire-free, they are quick and easy to install, saving time, installation costs and require no disruption to a building’s fabric or its occupants.” Holding open a fire door with a non-compliant device not only threatens prosecution, fines and closures following failed inspections, but puts patients, staff, equipment and the building at risk. Salamander offers the only wire-free system of radio controlled fire door holders and closers, which complies with Category A of BS 7273-4 standards.
There is a sense in some markets that the paper and pulp industry will decline owing to the digital technologies with which people interact every day. While this might be considered logical, the reality is completely different. In fact, the paper and pulp industry has experienced a steady growth and will continue to do so in 2021. Production of paper increased by more than 450% in the last decades and the demand of paperboard in the world is expected to grow significantly, driven by e-commerce and big retailers increasing their presence in the online sales universe. This sustained growth in production capacity and paper consumption presents several fire risks to companies and exposes communities that develop around paper mills, to the impact of disasters caused by these fire risks. Fire risks in the paper and pulp industry Paper and cardboard are combustible, but this is not the only fire risk found in these types of industries. Raw materials and finished goods storage are sensitive to fire. In addition, the paper making process includes several stages where fires can occur, due to hot surfaces or poor ventilation. The most relevant fire risks on a paper plant are: Storage Areas: As mentioned before, paper and cardboard are combustible. Solid paper blocks and reels have hard surfaces that don’t ignite easily, but usually these reels can suffer minor damages or have loose sheets that significantly increase the fire risk. When paper reels are stacked in columns, gaps in the center can act as chimneys and when fires start in the bottom of the stack, this chimney effect will accelerate smoke and hot air spread, increasing vertical and horizontal flame spread. Wood and Bale storage fire risks Bale storage also presents a high fire risk, as loose materials are always present Raw materials for the paper making process can have two main sources, forestry products (mainly wood) or recycled cardboard and paper. Wood storage presents several challenges, especially due to wood chips that are highly combustible and, in some cases, even explosive. Bale storage also presents a high fire risk, as loose materials are always present. Fire in baled paper is difficult to extinguish and generates heavy smoke. In many recycling facilities, these paper bales are stored outdoors, where paper or rags soaked in flammable liquids, embedded between the paper sheets, can ignite resulting in a fast spreading fire. Chemicals, flammable liquids and gases In addition, it is possible to find different types of chemicals, flammable liquids and gases that are used in the paper making process. These materials have their own fire-related risks that need to be taken in consideration. Production Areas: In pulp factories, there are several long-distance conveyors that transport wood and wood chips. These conveyors constitute a fire risk and the most probable causes of fire are bearing damage, overheating of the conveyor and igniting chips in the environment. IR dryers, a common source of fire After the wood has been transported, chipped and digested, the paper making process becomes extremely humid, due to the large amounts of hot water and steam needed. But, as soon as the pulp fiber sheet starts to dry, the hot surfaces in contact with the paper sheets can be a source of ignition. IR dryers used in the process are also a common source of fire in the paper industry. When the sheet of paper is formed, close contact with reels and bearings moving fast can create static electricity that could ignite loose paper or airborne particles. Problems like these are likely to be more extensive in tissue mills. Paper dust is generated in certain parts of the process, especially where paper shits are slit or cut. Poorly insulated steam pipes lead to fire Poorly insulated steam pipes can ignite paper dust or even their own insulation materials. In addition, paper dust gathers in the ventilation grills of machinery, causing overheating and igniting as well. Heated oil is used in several parts of the process as well and if a malfunction occurs on the Hot Oil Roll systems, leaks might occur, exposing hot surfaces to this oil and causing ignitions. A paper mill has hydraulically operated machinery, where leaks or sprays might ignite as well. Service Areas: As in many other manufacturing facilities, several service areas can be found. Electrical and network equipment rooms have an inherent fire risk due to damaged wires or equipment, overheating or short circuits in high voltage circuits. Transformer and generator areas entail fire risks as well. High fire risk for boiler rooms Flammable gas distribution systems can be ignition sources, in case of leaks or damaged pipes or valves Hot water and steam are key components for the paper making process. For this reason, paper plants use high capacity boilers that can be powered by flammable liquids or gases. A high fire risk can be considered for boiler rooms. Flammable gas distribution systems can be ignition sources, in case of leaks or damaged pipes or valves. In addition to the fire risks mentioned in these areas, many maintenance operations can also pose fire risk, especially when hot works are being performed. Sparks caused by welding or the use of certain tools can ignite paper sheets or dust in the air. Poor housekeeping and buildup of paper dust, for example, increases the risk associated with maintenance and construction works. Prevention, the first line of defense According to the Health and Safety Executive from the United Kingdom, 60% of fires on paper mills are caused by machine faults and poor housekeeping. The first line of defense to avoid fire risks in paper plants is prevention. As mentioned before, a high number of fires in these types of facilities occur because of poor housekeeping and machine malfunction. The key is to identify the risks and possible ignition sources, and apply measures to minimize them. As in many industries, fire protection has two main components: Passive and Active protection. Passive fire protection measures Passive measures include fire rated walls, ceilings, and floors in the most critical areas. Chemical storage areas should be physically separated from other dangerous areas, if this is not possible then the walls separating areas should be fire rated and materials must be stored in a way that minimizes the risk of fire spread by radiation or conduction. Proper compartmentalization and intumescent protection of structural elements should be part of the package as well. Passive measures include proper ventilation and smoke control. As mentioned before, paper dust is a major fire risk, which is why ventilation and cleaning of hoods over the paper machine is important to minimize the possibility of ignition. Fire resisting construction should be designed with the following goals in mind: Protection of escape routes Form compartments to contain fires that might occur Separate areas of higher fire risk Protect load bearing and structural members to minimize risk of collapse Sprinkler systems, gas extinguishing systems and hose reels Active fire protection includes sprinkler systems, gas extinguishing systems and hose reels to support fire brigades Active fire protection includes sprinkler systems, gas extinguishing systems and hose reels to support fire brigades. Finished goods stored indoors should be protected with sprinkler systems and the same should be considered for chemical storage areas and certain raw materials. Paper bales, ideally should be protected by sprinklers that are suitably designed to cope with the height and located, in all cases, 3 meters above the level of bales stacked vertically (which should not exceed 5 meters height). Spark detectors in hoods, pipes and ventilation systems Dangerous sparks could be generated in several parts of the paper making process, which is why spark detectors must be installed in hoods, pipes, and ventilation systems. Water spray and CO2 systems can be used to protect machinery against these risks. Means to fight fires, like extinguishers and hose reels, should be provided to support fire brigades. All the elements should be properly identified and all personnel should be trained and made aware of the location of such devices. Importance of fire alarms Fire alarms are required in all paper mills and fire alarm call points should be provided in all locations, according to international guidelines, such as NFPA 72 or EN54. The spread of flames and smoke in paper, wood and chemical storage might become extremely fast. For this reason, early detection is critical. Many technologies might be applied in the different areas of a paper plant. Nevertheless, there are dusty or humid areas where regular heat or smoke detectors might fail under certain circumstances. For these areas, especially located outdoors, innovative state-of-the-art detection solutions might be applied, like Video Fire Detection (VFD). NFPA 72 standard for flame and smoke detection NFPA 72 provides guidelines to implement this technology for flame and smoke detection NFPA 72 provides guidelines to implement this technology for flame and smoke detection, opening interesting alternatives for designers and fire protection engineers. Many EHS managers and fire protection professionals selected VFD, because it is the only fire detection solution that effectively covered their needs. Many engineers, specialized in fire protection for paper plants, explained that they tested linear heat detection, aspiration smoke detection, IR/UV detectors and even beams, but none of these technologies performed as they needed on the dirtiest or more humid areas. Video Fire Detection (VFD) solutions Outdoor storage areas are often unprotected, because deploying flame or heat detection in large open areas can be costly and mostly ineffective. VFD solutions can detect smoke and flames in outdoor conditions, allowing the monitoring and protection of wood and paper bales in large areas. Fire detection and alarm systems should be designed with the following goals: Minimize risk of fires, including the use of fire detection technology in areas where regular detection technologies cannot be implemented or are not practical. Minimize risk of flame and smoke spread, with state-of-the-art detection algorithms that guarantee fast and effective detection. Also, reliable algorithms minimize the possibility of nuance or unwanted alarms. In case of a fire, fast detection gives occupants life-saving time to reach to a place of safety, before the flames and smoke have spread to dangerous levels. Global production of paper and pulp reached 490 million tons in 2020, with many industries and markets depended on the paper and pulp supply chain. That is why innovative ways to protect this supply chain, are key to sustain the paper market growth in the future.
Mathew Baxter is the Founder and CEO of the echelon group with responsibility for the management of echelon Consultancy, Pretium Frameworks and echelon Improvement Partnerships. Mathew has spent most of his working life in the construction sector. The devastating Grenfell Tower fire has prompted what the government has referred to as ‘the biggest change in building safety for a generation’. So what do the Building Safety and the Fire Safety Bills mean in terms of emergent legislation and is the housing industry prepared for substantive change on this scale? Fire Safety Bill Let’s start with the new Fire Safety Bill, which has been designed to give clear definitive guidance principally around areas of responsibility for fire safety. One way of looking at the new Fire Safety Bill is as a piece of legislation designed to beef up the existing legislation, focused specifically around the envelope of the building. The Fire Safety Bill makes it clear that the person designated as responsible has undertaken a fire safety survey around exterior walls (including cladding, balconies and windows) and individual flat walls entrance doors, where they open onto common parts to make sure they are compliant and if not, then to take any necessary remedial action and precautions to make that building safe. We suspect that demand for fire experts may rapidly outstrip supply. Building Safety Bill The Building Safety Bill proposes a significant amount of consultation is going to be required with residents The Building Safety Bill proposes a significant amount of consultation is going to be required with residents. Every ‘higher risk’ property has to have a strategy around the program of change that it will need. Resident consultation exercises will result in organic documents that will live as long as that building is occupied. Ideally all stakeholders (for example repairs contractors) coming in and out of properties should be encouraged and trained to take a holistic view of that property, and to be prepared to raise an alert, if they see something that is not right, for example, a fire door that has been propped open. Checking and replacing old appliances Many fires are caused by residents’ own appliances. Some local authorities are checking tenants’ appliances and if they seem unsafe, either removing or disconnecting them and in some cases, they are also providing free replacements. Housing associations and landlords will need to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their property and stock. For example, if you have a cladded building, you need to know exactly what the specification of that cladding is. Not all cladding is equal and risk profiles vary. Intrusive surveys may be required to ascertain the exact construction and product used. There is still a clear issue that many building owners/managers are unsure of what their building is clad in and how the cladding is fixed for the building. Effectively, this is something landlords need to get a comprehensive understanding of immediately, for fear of very rapid enforcement action from the Local Authority. Adherence to fire safety regulation compliance Local Authorities are entirely within their rights to approach housing associations and ask for copies of the fire safety regulation compliance of these buildings and if it has not been done then they can take action and that can include decanting the whole building and ordering remedial works As previously mentioned, two new roles are also specified within the Building Safety Bill, that of the Accountable Person within an organization for fire safety and the Building Safety Manager. It is anticipated that the role of the Accountable Person role will need to be fulfilled by a senior member of staff within the client organization and the Building Safety Manager will have a high level of responsibility and accountability for maintaining the safety of the building. Competency frameworks and resident engagement strategies The Building Safety Bill may have a grace period, before it comes into force on existing buildings The Building Safety Bill may have a grace period, before it comes into force on existing buildings and elements that are likely to be included are already being discussed, for example competency frameworks, resident engagement strategies and two separate roles, namely Building Safety Managers and Accountable Person. One of the most significant changes that the Building Safety Bill will create is a new definition of buildings as ‘higher risk’ buildings. This category will obviously include high rise, but also student accommodation and supported living accommodation. High risk buildings Any building over 18 meters, or more than six floors high is immediately defined as high risk. The Bill also makes it clear that the new Building Safety Regulator (created under the Bill) can also add other buildings to the category at their discretion. The Bill places a lot more responsibility on landlords and owners of those buildings. In fact, the Accountable Person has legal responsibility for those buildings, as long as they are occupied. Assessment of fire safety risks Responsibilities include the assessment of fire safety risks, co-operation with any remedial action in terms of fire safety, the registration of high-rise buildings, building safety information and the appointment of the building safety manager. The Accountable Person has a duty to report the name and details of the Building Safety Manager to the Building Safety Regulator. This individual’s contact details have to be available to everyone in the building, a safety case report has to be undertaken and managed along with a risk assessment and an ongoing strategy for the safety of the building and information provided to the new regulator. If the Building Safety Manager is found to be non-compliant then she/he risks a prison sentence. Many of the clients are appointing Building Safety Managers directly with a salary between £60,000 – £70,000. The guidance is that they should not look after more than five buildings each, as the responsibility carries too much weight for more and as such, this represents a significant resource for many landlords with a large portfolio of ‘higher risk’ buildings. Undefined transition period for Act rollout The new Building Safety Regulator will become the Building Control Authority for higher risk building There is expected to be an as yet undefined transition period before the Act applies to existing buildings. As well as the changes that will be necessary to existing buildings, it is essential that consideration is given to the design and thought process behind new developments and new builds. There is a whole new regime for the design and construction phase. The new Building Safety Regulator will become the Building Control Authority for higher risk buildings. Developers are no longer able to choose their building control authority at will. This imposes strict competency requirements on all duty holders working on higher risk buildings, including the client, the principal designer and principal contractor. Impact of the two safety bills The impact on these two Bills will have an enormous impact on leaseholders and indeed everyone involved in construction and building maintenance. The administrative burden and personal responsibility on those accountable will be equally enormous but, in our view, in the light of Grenfell, absolutely necessary. Our advice to all our clients is to start planning ahead and to develop a strategy of how they will deliver all the aspects of the Building Safety Bill once it becomes legislation.
As Grenfell remains a chilling reminder of the importance of fire safety in construction, new digital methods are now being adopted to guarantee the safety of end users. But how is digitization helping and how will this further advance fire safety during the wider construction process? There’s no doubt that the past five years have had a profound effect on the construction industry. Events such as the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire disaster have forced the industry to sit-up and rethink the processes it currently has in place. Campaign for a complete system overhaul The result has been a campaign for a complete system overhaul. Advocates for change, such as Dame Judith Hackitt, are now speaking at length of a ‘broken industry’ and how without major reform, the construction industry will never reach acceptable levels of safety. Yet hope is on the horizon and as is often the case with such events, they can and must serve as a catalyst for major change. Hackitt’s inquiry into building regulations and fire safety, following Grenfell, revealed a need for greater fail safes and a requirement for what Hackitt termed as ‘The Golden Thread’ of information. This is an accurate record of a building, providing a timeline of what has gone into the structure, from design to occupation and its ongoing maintenance. By having this in place, the industry can then deliver full transparency and accountability to help keep end users safe. Introduction of new building safety regulator Hackitt’s inquiry into building regulations and fire safety, following Grenfell, revealed a need for greater fail safesA further response has been the introduction of a new building safety regulator and new construction product regulator, both of which represent a landmark moment not just in fire safety, but improved levels of safety across the board. The first, which is under the Health and Safety Executive, will oversee the safety and performance of all buildings with a new, more stringent framework for higher-risk builds. The latter, (the construction product regulator), will be aimed at manufacturers to ensure that their products are safe, before being sold and that they abide by pre-determined levels of industry safety. If products aren’t deemed fit for purpose, these stricter measures will grant the regulator the power to remove products, revoke building safety certifications, as well as prosecute those who attempt to side-step rules. Building Safety Bill Speaking at the Construction Leaders’ Summit in February 2020, Hackitt explained that the Building Safety Bill and the creation of the new regulators will help the sector to change both technically and culturally, moving away from decisions that result in the ‘cheapest solution’, to one where safety and quality become paramount. Hackitt also warned that the regulators will have real bite. She said, “It will not look to see you have merely followed the rules, but check the building is safe from planning to occupation and you’ve done everything in your power to ensure this.” New laws post building regulations and fire safety review New laws have also been introduced since Hackitt’s review of building regulations and fire safety New laws have also been introduced since Hackitt’s review of building regulations and fire safety. In April of 2020, UK Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick announced a series of measures comprising of what he called ‘the biggest change in building safety for a generation.’ These were changes that applied to multi-occupancy buildings of 18 meters and above, or six stories, whichever is reached first. For buildings in-scope, a duty holder regime will apply, with a Client, Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. The contractor and designers will have to demonstrate that the building is safe and the ability of the duty-holder to choose which building control body to oversee the removal of the construction/refurbishment. To make sure the regulation is followed, there are gateway points at various stages, requiring regulator sign-off before the project can move forward. The sign-off procedure can then only take place once the right evidence is in place. Before residents are allowed to occupy the building, a full digital documentation will have to be provided which includes drawings and datasets and any design changes will need to be amended, signed-off and recorded. The need for digital adoption It’s clear that with so many changes coming into play that a new way of working is needed, with the needle pointing towards digital adoption as an answer to these issues. One of its main benefits is that it gives specifiers, contractors and residents the ability to access extensive datasets on specific fire related products. This feature plays a huge role in guaranteeing the safety of buildings and end users, by supplying them with the most up-to-date information and the latest in industry laws and regulations. If the industry is to iron-out the risk of products being ‘mis-specified’, then architects must be given a vehicle to access this information as easily as possible. Rise in use of digital tools, 3D and data Another example is the recent changes to the RIBA Plan of Work – the industry blueprint for the process management of a build. While this still remains as the ‘go-to’ map for how a construction process should take place, digital innovation continues to transform many aspects of its project workflow. This can be seen in the likes of ‘Part 3 – Changing Processes’ where the use of digital tools is helping to shift the balance away from 2D information towards 3D and data. Digital site surveys are also becoming the norm, using cloud surveys, photogrammetry, lidar sensors and the ability to mount cameras on drones, to help with the success of projects. BIM (Building Information Modeling) BIM can be used to improve the design, construction and operation of buildings, making them safer for end users Feeding into this is also the greater use of BIM (Building Information Modeling). This digital approach can be used to improve the design, construction and operation of buildings, making them safer for end users. Again, it’s a concept that has been around for some time, but the recent shift in perceptions has allowed this way of working to flourish, with three quarters of specifiers now using BIM, compared to just one in ten a decade ago. Digitization – The only way forward It’s obvious to see that shifting to digital has an immeasurable benefit to the future of the construction industry. Not only do digital tools improve standards, reduce mistakes and improve record keeping and auditing at every stage, but it also keeps costs down and drives up quality. From previous history, we’ve seen that the construction industry is notorious for dragging its heels when it comes to change, but as we’ve seen so far, the quicker it adopts this way of thinking, the quicker improvements in fire safety and compliance can be achieved. ‘Build Back Better’ We’ve heard the government talk of ‘Build Back Better’ and the digitization of the industry will hold all the keys to ensuring this is possible. If nothing else, the construction industry owes it to the victims and survivors of the Grenfell fire tragedy to make sure that all is being done to eradicate the chances of future mistakes from happening again.
Drone usage by public safety agencies is at its highest level to date, with nearly 4,000 agencies now having drones or drone programs. Leading the implementation of drones in law enforcement with 42%, followed by fire service at 37%, emergency management with 12%, and the remainder by other categories such as search-and-rescue and EMS. Some of the primary fire missions for drones are structural fires, wildfires, hazmat responses, fire forensic investigations, swift water rescues, floods, tornadoes, search for lost persons, and hurricane damage assessment. Using Thermal imaging A thermal image camera is a key payload for drones in the fire service as it supplies heat signatures that provide valuable information as to fire spread, structural integrity, and location of firefighters while operating around the fire. Thermal images see through smoke to direct elevated streams effectively onto the fire and identify hotspots Thermal images see through smoke to direct elevated streams effectively onto the fire and identify hotspots from a lightning strike, hotspots during overhaul, hotspots from wildfires, and liquid levels in hazmat tanks. Applications of drones Drones in hazmat can be deployed to do remote monitoring, substance identification, pre-entry evaluation, overwatch during the hazmat operation, and drop needed tools nearby. They can also identify spills and direction of flow, pollutants on or in waterways, and more. For wildfires, drones can quickly identify the direction of fire spread, the distance between the fire and firefighters, hotspots remaining, and can drop incendiary devices to start backfire operations. Drones are also used before and after the fire to determine the fuel load present. Pre-fire analysis of the fuel load can be used to mitigate and/or minimize hazardous situations before the fire. fire-service training The fire service is also using drones for training. Roof operations and other training can be observed and captured to review later. Also, drones can capture facility pre-fire plans as well as complex building projects. Every fire department will deploy a drone to enhance safety, operational effectiveness, and real-time awareness “As fire service (and public safety) leadership fully understand the potential of what drones offer, every department will be deploying a drone (or two) for significant incidents as a part of the initial response to enhance safety, increase operational effectiveness, and real-time situational awareness,” says Chief Charles L. Werner (Emeritus-RET), Director, DroneResponders Public Safety Alliance. Non-profit Program The DroneResponders Alliance is the largest and an award-winning non-profit program to advance the use of drones in public safety (for all disciplines). While focused on the United States, DroneResponders has more than 3,800 members and representation from 47 countries. On its website, DroneResponders hosts the largest Online Resource Center (more than 600 documents – standard operating procedures, policy manuals, Certificate of Authorization/Waiver Guidance, etc.) and has a discussion forum with many topic threads. Increasing drone programs Drone programs (free flight and/or tethered) will continue to increase exponentially for the fire service. There were over 17 public safety use cases identified on the DroneResponders Spring 2020 Research Study, and even these case studies can be broken down even more. “One thing that we have found is that if a single agency has a drone program, they usually fly other missions as well as their primary mission set,” says Werner. “So if a fire department is the only agency flying, they will usually cover fire missions, police missions, and emergency management missions. The same is true if it were a single police agency flying.” Having real-time awareness “Real-time 360 situational awareness is a game-changer with visual optics, thermal imaging, and streaming video on structure fires, wildfires, hazmat incidents, lost person searches, floods/swift-water rescues, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and more,” says Werner. “I ask agency leaders if they would ever make command decisions with their eyes closed because, without that aerial view, many hazards or critical information are not known,” adds Werner. “I do believe as the numbers of drones increase, prices will fall and there will be a more competitive marketplace.” Limitations of drones One of the main obstacles of the drone is the current length of flight is limited by battery life The main obstacles that remain are regulatory limits on Beyond Visual Line of Sight (which are changing) and one remote pilot operating multiple drones. Other obstacles include a need for competitively priced drones with comparable payloads, and the current length of flights is limited by battery life. In France during the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, a drone was used to identify the best position to attack the fire to prevent further spread to the remainder of the cathedral. Initiatives taken by DroneResponders Other DroneResponders initiatives include: Monthly Public Safety UAS Webinars in partnership with the FAA; Monthly Podcasts that highlight Public Safety UAS programs, successes, emerging technologies; A Major Cities Working Group (cities over 500K) headed up by Capt. Michael Leo (Fire Department of New York); A Drone as a First Responder Working Group headed up by Capt. Don Redmond (Chula Vista [Calif.] Police Department); Legal/Policy Working Group led by Dawn Zoldi, Founder and CEO of P3 Tech Consulting; Public Safety/Media Working Group led by Mickey Osterreicher (National Press Photographers Association); Training Curriculum Standard Working Group facilitated by Katie Thielmeyer (Woodlawn [Ohio} Fire Department); National Public Safety UAS Database Project headed up by Charles Werner in partnership with NASA Ames Research Center; and National Public Safety UAS Database Mapping Project headed up by Brandon Karr (Pearland Police Department) in partnership with Esri [mapping and software provider].
The Thermite RS3, manufactured by Howe & Howe Technologies, is a wide-chassis, industrial firefighting robot that is remotely operated using a belly-pack controller to provide high-definition video feedback for easy maneuverability, even in difficult conditions. The Los Angeles City Fire Department was the first to buy the bright yellow firefighting vehicle, as announced last fall. Thermite RS3 robot Decon7 Systems has teamed with Howe & Howe Technologies to pioneer the delivery of D7 disinfecting formula The robot is also being used in a new way during the COVID-19 pandemic. Decon7 Systems has teamed with Howe & Howe Technologies to pioneer the delivery of D7 disinfecting formula, using the RS3 to spray the disinfectant as foam, in order to ensure large areas are free of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The configuration is another way that a variety of items are being repurposed for new uses in the time of the pandemic, ranging from scarves used as face masks to kitchen tables that double as desks in a virtual schoolroom. In this case, a robot, which costs upwards of US$ 300,000, is providing a new way to carry out large-scale disinfecting operations of public places. Combination of D7 disinfectant and Thermite RS3 As COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease and more public events are contemplated, the combination of D7 and the Thermite RS3 to disinfect and clean large areas will be relevant to communities and facilities across the country. “The combination of Thermite RS3 technology and D7 foam opens the door to new methods of quickly and safely deactivating the COVID-19 virus in public spaces,” said Decon7 Systems’ Senior Vice President, William Joe Hill. Thermite and D7 provided a demonstration of the new capabilities. “We hope to show the significance of this capability to facility maintenance operators and first responders, including firefighters, law enforcement and emergency services teams, all across the country,” adds William Joe Hill. Positive pressure ventilation (PPV) ventilator The RS3’s modular design and wider stance allow additional equipment to be incorporated, including positive pressure ventilation (PPV) ventilator. In the disinfectant use case, two nozzles spray the disinfectant from the robot. One is controllable and can spray a sidewalk as the robot travels down the road, for example. The second nozzle feeds into the airstream of a PPV ventilator fan system, where it is jetted at 20 gallons per minute to get the right foaming action of the solution. A tow-behind trailer includes a pump to provide pressure without connecting to an outside water source. Large-scale disinfection operations When used in firefighting, the Thermite RS3 avoids having to deploy firefighters into extreme conditions When used in firefighting, the Thermite RS3 avoids having to deploy firefighters into extreme conditions. The RS3 enables firefighters to respond at a safer distance from danger, while using the robot as an extension of their own senses. The same advantages also drive new usage arenas such as COVID-19 disinfection, toxic chemical remediation, and biohazard disinfection. Large-scale disinfecting operations can be achieved without putting personnel in harm’s way. The RS3’s hose attachment enables users to spray large areas with disinfectant efficiently. D7 broad-spectrum antimicrobial disinfectant D7 is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial disinfectant that is versatile for a host of applications. It capitalizes on the power of hydrogen peroxide, penetrating and disarming toxins at the molecular level. The D7 formulation is made up of mild ingredients, which gives it low toxicity and corrosion properties. Fabricated using industrial-grade steel and reinforced rubber tracks, RS3 can navigate rugged terrain and withstand exposure to the extreme elements. Its 36.8 hp diesel engine can run 20 hours without refueling. The control device, strapped around the waist of the operator, has a range of a quarter mile away.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the fire service will continue at least through 2021 and possibly for years to come. Specifically, several aspects of the pandemic have impacted the fire service long-term and have possibly changed it forever. More awareness of Health Issues For one thing, the pandemic has heightened awareness about issues of health and wellness of firefighters. In this regard, COVID-19 has been just the latest in the series of health and wellness issues surrounding the fire service. However, a global pandemic is difficult to ignore or neglect, unlike some other perpetual health concerns, such as physical exhaustion, cancer risks and mental and emotional burnout. Ideally, the urgency of addressing the health concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus will translate into better management of longer-term concerns about the more enduring and ultimately, less retractable health concerns. In the end, concerns about health should be broad-based and intrinsic. Heightened awareness of the broad spectrum of health issues should be ingrained in the fire serve to engender more action, which is much needed and a long overdue. Greater focus on Personal Protective Equipment Another positive of the COVID-19 pandemic is a greater focus on personal protective equipment (PPE) Another positive of the COVID-19 pandemic is a greater focus on personal protective equipment (PPE). Might emphasis on the use of masks during the pandemic translate into broader and long term awareness of the important role of PPE and more consistent usage to protect fire personnel? Concerns about PPE supply during the pandemic also point to a need to manage usage levels of the equipment to ensure changes in the market do not leave a department’s personnel unprotected. Financial and budget challenges for fire departments The COVID-19 pandemic has also emphasized the fragile nature of fire department budgeting at all levels. Departments across the board were negatively impacted as tax revenues and fundraising funds decreased. And it’s not over yet. Financial struggles will continue through the final phases of the pandemic. Addressing the budgetary impact will extend into future budget cycles and fire departments will continue to feel the impact. More than ever, departments will need to look for additional funding sources, such as government and foundation grants. Imminent manpower crisis and concerns The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rates of retirement among firefighters, not to mention the likelihood of lower head counts because of budgetary cutbacks. The stresses of dealing with COVID-19 could discourage possible recruits from joining the fire service. The bottom line is an imminent manpower crisis for the fire service; or, I should say, a hastening of a manpower crisis that already exists. Furthermore, volunteer departments are finding it harder than ever to attract personnel and recruiting paid firemen has its own set of challenges. A legacy of the pandemic might be even more difficulty recruiting manpower for fire service. Training fire service personnel As the public health and safety environment has evolved, so too has the role of the fire service The COVID-19 pandemic stretched the resources of many fire departments as they sought to help out in myriad ways during public health emergencies. For example, more departments were called on to fill in the gaps in emergency management, community safety, etc. As the public health and safety environment has evolved, so too has the role of the fire service. To the extent that those changes persist into a ‘new normal’, fire departments will be struggling to fulfill their expanded roles. Departments will need to invest their scarce resources in training fire service personnel to respond to community needs in new and different ways. Fire services need to do more with less Taken together, these factors point to a need for fire departments to do more with less and fire departments need to up their game when it comes to addressing health concerns, managing PPE supplies, recruiting new personnel, and expanding services to meet the changing needs in the community. However, less funding and fewer other resources reflect an operational environment that may be changed forever. In general, the fire service rose to the occasion during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The aftermath will also require fire service volunteers and professionals to work even harder than they already have to deliver on a challenging and expanding mission.
Award-winning Taktis fire panels, manufactured by Kentec Electronics Ltd., a globally renowned manufacturer of life-critical control systems, are protecting students and property at the University of Nicosia’s (UNIC) new state-of-the-art student residences, located in Cyprus. Integrated fire system The integrated fire system was installed by Kentec Installation Partner (KIP) Glosec Dragon Ltd. (GLOSEC), a Cyprus-based business that specializes in the design, installation and maintenance of security, surveillance, hazard prevention and hospitality systems. The UNIC student residences have been designed to set a new standard in modern student living The UNIC student residences have been designed to set a new standard in modern student living. They consist of two separate complexes, SIX and TRIANGLE, which provide a multitude of dining, relaxing and entertainment options including a cafe, mini-market, gym, TV rooms and games areas. Taktis addressable fire panels Split between six, 12-storey distinctive towers, SIX comprises 307 luxury student residences, and is protected by two, highly-sophisticated Taktis eight-loop addressable fire panels. TRIANGLE complements SIX with an additional 147 modern and spacious rooms, with one six-loop Taktis fire panel installed. Across both SIX and TRIANGLE residential complexes, the fire protection systems include 578 Apollo heat detectors, 530 sounder bases, 94 call points and 339 optical detectors. Additionally, three Taktis Vision Repeaters provide information on the status of the fire alarm system in key positions, across the residences via large and full-color, touch-screen graphical displays. Full-color resistive touch screen display Taktis provides an expandable solution, which includes a full suite of graphics, communications (copper and fiber), analytics and remote management tools. Multiple protocols can be supported on each panel to give installers and end users maximum choice in their systems’ design. Also, the scalable nature of the product provides the highest level of future proofing and networking capabilities. A 7 inches full-color resistive touch screen display and a clear, uncluttered intuitive interface make it easy to use, even for those with minimal or no training, which is essential in the event of an emergency. Fire system integration with CCTV and access control Stathis Ierodiaconou, Managing Director of Glosec Dragon feels the business has worked with Kentec for more than two decades and developed a trusting relationship. Taktis is easy to install, integrates with other systems well and customer feedback has been good" Stathis said, “Our experience with Kentec meant we knew Taktis was the right system for the project’s scope and needs. The project required that remote monitoring was possible from one control room to cover both SIX and TRIANGLE residences. It also needed to be an expandable system, which can grow as the development grows.” With Glosec Dragon also installing and maintaining a suite of other CCTV, wireless access control, intercom, parking and energy-saving systems, Stathis stated that integration was essential. He explains, “Taktis is easy to install, integrates with other systems well and customer feedback has been good.” Flexible fire safety system Anastasia Christodoulou, Manager, at UNIC Residences, believes that student safety is paramount. She said, “We required complete assurance that our fire protection system is providing the utmost protection. We were assured that Taktis does just that, and that its advanced integrative capabilities mean a future-proofed and user-friendly system.” Costas Constantinides, Head of International Development at Kentec, believes the Taktis panel with EN54-13 certification was the ideal choice for this development. He said, “The highly powerful and sophisticated Taktis panel was chosen to ensure the fire safety system had the required reliability, scale and flexibility to protect large numbers of students at such a prestigious development.”
C-TEC’s new CAST ZFP fire alarm system is protecting an exciting new hospitality venture in Cheshire, United Kingdom. Situated in the beautiful village of Tattenhall, The Bear and Ragged Staff has been radically transformed from a derelict shell into a high-end pub, restaurant and hotel, by a team of talented professionals, including Brian Mellor, an award-winning chef, and Martin Hilton, an industry-renowned beer sommelier. Featuring a fabulous bar/restaurant, eight en-suite bedrooms, and a first-floor function room, the magnificent venue is prominently positioned on the High Street and set not only to become a focal point in the village but also attract clientele from far and wide for celebratory and corporate events. CAST ZFP fire panel and detectors installed At the heart of the building’s life-safety systems is a C-TEC CAST ZFP fire panel connected to over 100 CAST detectors At the heart of the building’s life-safety systems is a C-TEC CAST ZFP fire panel connected to over 100 CAST detectors, sounders, VADs, and ancillary devices, spanning over four floors. The master 2-loop ZFP panel is located in a storeroom but relays key system information to a state-of-the-art Compact Controller, which is prominently displayed in the elegant reception area. With its bright easy-to-use touchscreen-control interface, the controller is stylish, highly visible and can be easily accessed by the fire and rescue service, and authorized personnel if required. L2 BS 5839-1 fire safety system John Westerman, Director of Wrexham-based Allied Fire Alarms Ltd, the company that specified, installed, and commissioned the system, said “We chose CAST ZFP as the cornerstone of The Bear’s L2 BS 5839-1 system, as it is powerful, intuitive, and has the capacity to connect to multiple intelligent devices. Our client also had some specific requirements for fire detection in certain areas which were facilitated using CAST’s innovative software and extensive programming capabilities.” John Westerman adds, “We were delighted to be involved with this project. As an NICEIC-approved specialist fire company, we pride ourselves on delivering top-quality life-safety systems to our client’s satisfaction and the CAST system we designed and installed has certainly exceeded everyone’s expectations.” CAST intelligent fire alarm system CAST is C-TEC’s own UK-designed and manufactured ‘distributed intelligence’ addressable fire detection and alarm system. Certified to all relevant EN54 product standards, including EN54-13, CAST is also fully compatible with ENVISION, C-TEC’s powerful new remote access, data management, and system testing software.
The Vizcaya Provincial Council in Spain, has invested seven million euros in its fire prevention, firefighting and rescue services. Almost 25 percent of the existing fleet will be replaced by new trucks, which will enhance efficiency and improve rapid response. The 15 new vehicles include six heavy-duty urban fire trucks, three heavy-duty large-tank pumpers, three first-response trucks and three automatic turntable ladders, all fitted with Allison fully automatic transmissions. Heavy-duty urban fire trucks VEICAR built the bodywork for nine of these vehicles, including the six heavy-duty urban fire trucks, which have already been delivered. The bodywork is mounted on a SCANIA P 410 B chassis with 4x4 traction and Allison 4000 Series transmissions with retarders. These trucks have water and foam tank capacities of 4,200 and 200 liters respectively. They are equipped with roof boxes that can be accessed from the ground, eliminating the need to enter the truck to access tools. An LED lighting mast provides supplementary lighting and a further feature is a monitor that provides a joystick-controlled flow rate of 4,000 liters per minute from the pump cabinet. Large-tank pumpers The Vizcaya Provincial Council’s order of three large-tank pumpers is also based on the SCANIA P 410 B chassis The Vizcaya Provincial Council’s order of three large-tank pumpers is also based on the SCANIA P 410 B chassis. The vehicles share the same features as the six heavy-duty urban fire trucks, including Allison 4000 Series transmissions with retarders. They have larger water and foam tank capacities of 9,000 and 300 liters respectively. Like many other vehicle bodybuilders, VEICAR has full confidence in the benefits of Allison fully automatic transmissions. The company has worked in close cooperation with Allison since 2009. Allison fully automatic transmission Rather than using the automated manual transmissions that come as standard in this SCANIA model, VEICAR opted for a fully automatic transmission with torque converter, in this case, an Allison 4000 Series model with retarder (GA866R in SCANIA nomenclature). “The vast majority of our fire trucks are equipped with Allison automatic transmissions. We consider them an indispensable firefighting tool as they maximize vehicle performance, and greatly improve acceleration, reliability and safety,” said Carlos Prieto-Puga González, CEO at VEICAR. Faster acceleration and increased torque Carlos Prieto-Puga González adds, “In addition, their superior acceleration and maneuverability are beyond question, which is vital when there is not a second to be wasted. Most urban firefighters prefer them because they provide greater safety. And if that weren't enough, the vehicles reach the final years of their service life in better condition.” Allison transmissions are designed to offer increased torque and up to 35 percent faster acceleration. When fire trucks respond to emergencies, they are heavily loaded, so the optional retarder has been incorporated to provide high braking capacity, enabling the vehicles to slow down quickly at intersections. Optimum maneuverability on varied terrains Allison transmissions have demonstrated exceptional reliability and durability in the most demanding conditions" “Allison transmissions have demonstrated exceptional reliability and durability in the most demanding conditions and are the transmission of choice for firefighting fleets around the world. As regular users of these transmissions, we have no doubts whatsoever. As bodybuilders, we are always much happier when vehicles are equipped with Allison,” said Prieto-Puga González. Allison automatic transmissions provide optimum maneuverability on soft ground and in tight spaces, greater control on steep grades, smoother driving, better starting capacity, and faster acceleration. This makes it possible to reach higher average speeds and save fuel. Prieto-Puga Gonzalez adds, “A two- or three-minute head start can be crucial. Not losing power during gear shifts means smoother, more continuous and consequently more effective acceleration. It also improves maneuverability and saves time, which, along with the reliability of the transmission, means greater safety for firefighters. These great benefits are even more extraordinary when we consider that Allison transmissions reduce fleet maintenance costs.” Featuring Chelsea 870 power take-off “The easy maneuverability of the vehicles simplifies the drivers' work. They don't have to shift gears and can concentrate fully on the job and the road when traveling at high speed. And with Allison, vehicles can include up to two power take-offs (PTOs) to keep hydraulic equipment working correctly, even while the vehicle is in motion,” said Trond Johansen, European Key Fleets and Market Development Manager at Allison Transmission. “The Chelsea 870 power take-off incorporated into the transmissions has allowed us to fine-tune the entire unit to achieve the best possible onsite fire pump performance,” concludes Prieto-Puga González.
FlamePro, a renowned British manufacturing specialist of life safety garments and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for firefighters, has been awarded a £4 million contract by Capita, to provide its firefighting PPE for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), across the next decade. Firefighting PPE tender The competitive tender, part of Capita’s contract with the MOD, saw four different PPE providers bid for the contract, with FlamePro being appointed to provide its full ensemble of Personal Protective Equipment, alongside a total garment care package. FlamePro was awarded the Ministry Of Defence’s PPE contract, due to its high-quality products FlamePro was awarded the Ministry Of Defence’s PPE contract, due to its high-quality products and the company’s dedication to providing support and expertise on Personal Protective Equipment care, use and maintenance. The contract includes a multi-million pounds initial roll out, with a total value of £4 million over 10 years duration. New fabric technologies and designs Nathan Bricknell, the General Manager at FlamePro, said “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this contract with Capita. It marks a key milestone for the company. Over recent months, we’ve worked with our partners to develop brand new fabric technologies and designs, including a 3D woven structure and new moisture barrier membrane, to ensure our PPE is the most advanced on the market.” Nathan Bricknell adds, “Our brand new structural fire suit has set a new benchmark across the whole industry. This, teamed with our shorter-than-average lead times, stands us in great stead to deliver top-quality products and service on this contract.”
Vimpex's Hydrosense Water Leak Detection System has been installed in Dublin Airport’s new Visual Control Tower (VCT) to protect the new state of the art facility from water ingress, which could seriously damage electrical, communication and computer networks. Visual Control Tower (VCT) The 87-meters high tower is Ireland’s tallest occupied structure and a commanding new addition to the city’s skyline. It comprises three separate but integrated building elements, the control cab and associated elements, the cab supporting shaft and a base building. The base building will accommodate staff facilities, electronic systems and mechanical plant space to provide control of the building environment. Hydrosense Water Leak Detection systems Vimpex’s Hydrosense Water Leak Detection systems are delivering the new standard in water leak detection Vimpex’s Hydrosense Water Leak Detection systems are delivering the new standard in water leak detection, applying the integrity, control and reliability of life safety and building infrastructure systems to protect against water ingress that could seriously damage critical IT and communication infrastructure. It continuously monitors for water leaks around the clock, year in year out and has the facility for 72-hour battery standby in the event of power failure. Should a leak be detected the control panel sounds an alarm which can be extended to a remote location. When an alarm is raised, Vimpex Hydro-Cryer voice sounders can be used to broadcast an unambiguous message, avoiding confusion with other sounders on site. Integrated with life safety technology Utilizing life safety technology in the design of Hydrosense provides the reliability and integrity of EN approved fire detection systems, meaning there is virtually no risk of failure, downtime and significantly fewer false alarms. Established in 1994, Vimpex is the UK's renowned independent manufacturer and distributor of fire and building infrastructure, alarm and evacuation products and accessories. The company produces and distributes a range of high quality evacuation, signaling and fire system products, both Vimpex manufactured and supplied by the company's manufacturing partners.
Following the successful delivery of more than 5,000 sets of high-quality structural firefighting PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from globally renowned specialist PPE manufacturer, MSA Bristol (MSA Safety Incorporated) and its Australian distributor, Pac Fire Australia (Pac Fire), Australia’s Fire & Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) fire service has continued with their roll out and expect to have an additional 5,000 sets of structural PPE delivered by June 2021. The expectation is that Fire & Rescue New South Wales will be able to complete the rollout of structural PPE to all of its 6,500 firefighters by December 2021. Fire & Rescue New South Wales Fire & Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) is one of the world’s renowned urban fire and rescue services Fire & Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) is one of the world’s renowned urban fire and rescue services and the busiest fire service in Australia, with more than 6,500 firefighters spread across 335 fire stations and attending close to 120,000 call outs per year. An extensive evaluation and wearer trial carried out in 2019 led to FRNSW selecting MSA Bristol’s popular XFlex ensemble for its PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) upgrade. MSA Bristol is a renowned designer and manufacturer of protective clothing and equipment for emergency services across the globe, formed by the recent acquisition of Bristol Uniforms by MSA Safety Incorporated. XFlex range of structural PPE Its XFlex range of structural PPE has been ergonomically designed with sports styling and lightweight fabrics, providing advanced comfort and protection. The unique fabric combination consists of Safety Components Nomex 360, combined with a GORE PARALLON liner system, which provides unparalleled levels of breathability while preventing drops in thermal protection. On taking delivery of the new kit, Fire & Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) Commissioner, Paul Baxter said, “These new uniforms are heavy-duty but lightweight, allowing for enhanced maneuverability and coverage, and will be supplied in a wider range of male and female sizes, so all firefighters will have better fitting garments. They also feature a customized moisture barrier, which helps prevent steam burns and keeps firefighters dry while on the job.” Service information on UHF-RFID chip fitted to PPE Service information, such as garment specifics, is assigned to a unique UHF-RFID chip fitted within the item Pac Fire Australia (Pac Fire) is one of Australasia’s renowned suppliers of personal protective equipment to the fire and emergency industry. Its specialized roll-out of the XFlex range of PPE ensembles to the Fire & Rescue New South Wales has included the allocation of each item to a specific firefighter. Service information, such as garment specifics, date of issue and firefighter information, is assigned to a unique UHF-RFID chip fitted within the item. This process allows garments to interact with inventory management and laundry systems, tracking physical location and the condition of the item, throughout its service life. Advanced fabric technology offers optimum protection Paul Clark, Business Development Manager (BDM) for Pac Fire Australia said, “The XFlex design with its distinctive sports styling has proved particularly popular with the firefighters, offering greater flexibility and reduced resistance when carrying out physical tasks, as well as providing optimum protection thanks to the advanced fabric technology.” Roger Startin, Joint Managing Director at MSA Bristol (MSA Safety Incorporated) said, “The roll-out of the first order went very smoothly, despite the challenges of the global pandemic, and all garments were delivered to schedule. It’s great to see the New South Wales firefighters in action in their new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and we’re delighted to be following this up by providing a further 4,500 sets of structural PPE this year.”
Round table discussion
New tools and technologies are emerging that augment the efforts of the fire market to prevent and fight fires. Modern firefighting is benefiting from an ongoing sea change in technological capabilities, spanning equipment, electronic components, greater connectivity and firefighter monitoring, to name just a few. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What technologies will have the greatest impact on the fire industry in 2021?