Fire Safety Management
Due to the nature of their design and uses, tunnels have particularly unique fire risks, and any fire can spread quickly, risking damage to assets or injuries to teams. Mining, cable and communication tunnels are subject to significantly high risks, as they utilize heavy-duty machinery, flammable materials and cables, which are all subject to the production of excess heat. Here we discuss the prevalent fire risks in tunnels and explain how businesses operating within them can assess and mitigat...
Combining fire alarm and voice evacuation on a single, IP-based platform accelerates emergency response and unlocks a wide range of efficiency gains. This evolution continues with a new generation of fire alarm panels. One of the main tasks for every building and safety manager consists of preparing optimally for emergency scenarios. This includes having the right protocols in place for fires to make sure that a building can be evacuated as quickly as possible when every second counts. For an...
A firefighter needs to evaporate about 1 liter of sweat per hour to be able to regulate the body temperature when exposed to extreme heat. The human body is designed to function within a very specific temperature range between 36.5 and 37.5 Celsius. However, fighting fires test these limits and can increase a firefighter’s body temperature to over 38 degrees. Selection Of PPE While there are many factors to consider to reduce the impact of heat stress on firefighters – such...
Asolvi, Europe’s provider of field service and contract management software, announces that it has agreed to acquire TIVAPP, the German field service solution for the fire protection and security sector. TIVAPP is a specialist service, inventory, test documentation and billing software solution, developed by fire prevention professionals. Founded in Germany, the company has over 20 years of experience in the sector. During that time, TIVAPP has built up a customer base and established its...
CU First Responders Finance (CUFR) is excited to welcome Firefighters First Credit Union as a lead lender to their business lending network. Firefighters First Credit Union will be originating commercial and business loans generated by the CUFR network of first responder credit unions. CUFR’s business lending solutions CUFR’s business lending solutions provide an online platform for member credit unions to refer their members’ business loan requests to a trusted lender. They...
Science shows clearly that the way to reduce the damaging impacts of wildfires and threats to life and property is to proactively manage ecosystems that evolved with fire. This means reintroducing fire in the right ways and places combined with mimicking the effects of fire on forest structure through mechanical treatments. “Rocky Mountain Research Station's Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program (RMRS) focuses on the science of risk management from ways that they can treat fuels and miti...
The latest two winners have been announced in MSA Safety Incorporated’s and DuPont’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. Douglas City (CA) Volunteer Fire Department and Cooper Landing (AK) Emergency Services will each receive four sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear and four helmets to increase the safety of their members. Providing turnout gear MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) team up each year to help volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed gear. With the latest round of awards, 118 departments in need have received 547 sets of gear since 2012 to better equip their members for response. An additional three departments will be awarded turnout gear in December, 2020 An additional three departments will be awarded turnout gear in December, 2020. The first 500 applicants in this year’s giveaway also received a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA. Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department The Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department (DCVFD) protects 25 square miles of rural northern California, serving around 1,000 residents and responding to an average of 165 calls annually. Despite their small size, DCVFD plays a vital role in their community, especially during wildfire season. Additionally, DCVFD responds to a high number of medical calls, vehicle crashes, and high- and low-angle rescues, and are often the first and sometimes only resource available. They also provide mutual aid to neighboring departments who likewise have limited resources. Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department’s seven active firefighters share five sets of turnout gear, three of which are more than 10 years old. Because they are funded entirely by donations from their community, they are unable to replace their aging gear or purchase additional needed PPE such as helmets. Providing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Additionally, the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) makes recruiting new volunteers a challenge, and probationary members are issued well-used turnout gear that is often ill-fitting and compromised by age and use. “New and well-fitting turnout gear and helmets will enable us to present as a professional and modern fire department with high standards, as well as allow us to complete our tasks in a safer and more effective way,” said Firefighter, James Dunsdon. Cooper Landing Emergency Services Cooper Landing Emergency Services protects a 70 square-mile expanse of Alaska’s rural Kenai Peninsula Cooper Landing Emergency Services (CLES) protects a 70 square-mile expanse of Alaska’s rural Kenai Peninsula. The community’s population swells from 350 to nearly 1,000 during the summer months due to tourism and seasonal residents. CLES responds to an average of 120 calls annually, including on two of the busiest roads in the state, as well as provides mutual aid to neighboring departments. In 2019, Cooper Landing was the center of the Swan Lake Wildfire, which burned over 175,000 acres and threatened homes and businesses through CLES’ response area. “It became clear during the fire and on dozens of highway motor vehicle accidents that the department's gear, made up of previous donations, was woefully inadequate to protect our members against the elements or the hazards of an involved structure fire,” said Firefighter/EMT, Riley Shurtleff. Firefighting apparatus and equipment All of Cooper Landing Emergency Services’ turnout gear are over 10 years old and were donated by other fire departments. Because they rely solely on fundraisers, donations, grants, and ambulance patient billings, their budget is limited. CLES recently had to purchase new firefighting apparatus, meaning that their ability to afford new turnout and protective gear was significantly diminished. “This turnout gear will greatly increase the safety for our members and be a continued source of pride for years to come,” adds Riley Shurtleff.
Carbon monoxide (CO), also known as the ‘silent killer’, is especially dangerous because it is not visible and cannot be smelt or tasted. The only way to protect against this potentially deadly threat is with a CO alarm. In honor of CO Awareness Month in November, First Alert and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have partnered to create an online CO awareness and CO alarm training course for volunteer fire departments nationwide, supplemented by an alarm donation program for communities in need. Online CO awareness and CO alarm training course Aptly called the ‘Protect against the Silent Killer’ training program, the course virtually trains fire department personnel about the prevalence and symptoms of CO poisoning and proper CO alarm installation to help reduce the risk of CO suffocation incidents and deaths in communities across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency room each year due to accidental CO poisoning and 4,000 are hospitalized. Awareness of CO poisoning is coming at a crucial time as winter approaches Awareness of CO poisoning is coming at a crucial time as winter approaches. According to the CDC, two-fifths of CO exposure occurs during December, January and February. While almost all homes have at least one smoke alarm, only two out of five households said that they have a working CO alarm, according to the American Housing Survey. Installing CO alarms on each level of the home Current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines recommend installing CO alarms on each level of the home, including the basement, and near every sleeping area. “Installing and properly maintaining CO alarms is the best way to keep your family protected against this potentially deadly threat,” said Tarsila Wey, Director of Marketing for First Alert, the most trusted brand in fire safety, adding, “We are proud to play a role in helping firefighters and communities expand their knowledge about CO poisoning and are glad that our educational tools directly impact their community risk reduction efforts.” Information on proper installation of CO alarms As temperatures begin to drop and people continue to spend more time at home, it is crucial that CO alarms are installed throughout the home and that everyone is aware of the signs of CO poisoning. The training provides insight about how CO is created, the dangers it presents, and the symptoms and risk factors of CO poisoning. The course offers detailed information on proper installation of CO alarms, appropriate in-home placement and maintenance. Presenters also emphasize the importance of alarm and battery replacement and discuss the various types of CO alarms. Complimentary First Alert CO alarms Students will receive the donated alarms in 2021 for distribution within their communities To complement the training, the first 20 students, who are associated with a fire or emergency medical service (EMS) department, to complete this course are eligible to apply for 25 complimentary First Alert CO alarms. Students will receive the donated alarms in 2021 for distribution within their communities to enhance the safety of their neighbors. “We value the dedication of all the firefighters and EMS providers who work tirelessly to keep their communities safe from the threats of CO,” said the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair, Steve Hirsch. Steve adds, “Having access to this comprehensive training, along with First Alert’s generous alarm donation, helps to keep fire departments up-to-date on best practices and better equips them to educate their communities.”
In response to a specific customer requirement, Kentec Electronics, a globally renowned manufacturer of life-critical control systems, has developed through their Special Applications Department an Evacuation and Alert Control Indicating System (EACIE) to provide fire and rescue teams with an intelligent communication structure to support staged evacuation. Evac-Point system Kentec’s made-to-order ‘Evac-Point’ system uses user-defined zone reference labeling to enable Fire Services to sound alarms in targeted areas of a building, such as a specific flat or floor, so that the public can be evacuated in line with how an incident develops. It is being delivered through Kentec’s Special Applications bespoke engineering department, which has a long-established pedigree for manufacturing evacuation control panels. The modular design allows for greater flexibility and site customization for the installer and end user and reduces lead time availability. Efficient tall-buildings rescue and evacuations The custom-build panel’s development follows the Grenfell tragedy and the 2019 BS 8629 Standard, which seeks to ensure residential buildings over 18 meters high are provided with an effective means to help the fire brigade evacuate efficiently and effectively, regardless of the manufacturer or specific design. It is available in two and three loop versions (expandable to four loops) with a modular design, where banks of five can be added to increase capacity, if required. In-built LED control panel illumination Evac-Point provides the market with a convenient, good-value and highly-sophisticated option" Derrick Hall, Sales Director at Kentec, stated “Evac-Point provides the market with a convenient, good-value and highly-sophisticated option. Other products on the market are only available in the largest sizes, meaning paying for functionality that is not required.” He adds, “Another differentiation is its in-built LED control panel illumination, provided as standard. The BS 8629 Standard recommends a lit environment, so this additional feature saves installing dedicated lighting separately. Our role as life-safety manufacturers is, as ever, to make the lives of our installers and the end users easier and safer.” Integrated with Syncro AS technology The Evac-Point system is available with a flush bezel so that it can be set into the wall, providing a secure and robust, two-point locking steel enclosure. It is based on the reliable Syncro AS technology, with an open protocol architecture that is compatible with Hochiki and Apollo protocols to provide maximum system design flexibility. Kentec is hosting a webinar on Monday 9th November 2020 from 11 am to 11.30 am, where Derrick Hall, Director of Sales, will talk about BS8629 and how it will impact any residential building over 18m, as well as how Kentec Electronics can help.
Global fire systems provider, Advanced, has been specified on another landmark tall building. Set to stand at 62-storeys high, 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London will, on completion, become the second tallest building in Western Europe. The 278m office building will offer 1.275 million sq. ft. of high specification office space, as well as eight community spaces, covering over 100,000 sq ft, including an innovation hub, curated gallery space, fresh food market, gym and wellbeing retreat. Once completed, Advanced will protect both of Western Europe’s tallest buildings, with 22 Bishopsgate being the latest in a long line of London’s most prestigious and iconic skyscrapers specifying Advanced, including the Shard, the Leadenhall Building, the Heron Tower and the HSBC Tower. Fire Command Centre Advanced’s panels are used alongside Soteria detectors and its networking is regarded as the most resilient At the center of the active fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate are over 80 networked MxPro 5 panels with graphic display and BMS integration, alongside three special build panels for the building’s Fire Command Centre, that will form part of the intelligent fire detection network. Advanced’s panels are used alongside Apollo’s Soteria detectors and its networking is widely regarded as the most resilient and scalable solution on the market. It can be expanded up to 200 node networks covering huge areas with complicated cause-and-effect. As a UK-first, 22 Bishopsgate will utilize a specially developed lift-evacuation strategy in case of fire. The building is separated into four vertical areas by fire-hardened slabs with a two-hour fire rating separating a floor from the one above at levels 26, 42 and 58. renowned networking capabilities Depending on which of the four vertical areas of the building a fire is detected, workers on that floor and the floors above egress via fire escape stairs to the area below and from there can evacuate via the lifts, safe in the knowledge that these are protected by the slabs above. Responsible for every aspect of installation of the fire system from design to completion, PHF Fire, a division of PHF Electrical, used Advanced for its renowned networking capabilities, best suited to managing a network of this size and complexity. dependable fire protection Paul Falkner, Director at PHF Fire, said: “Great emphasis and consideration has been placed on the fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate - a building truly at the at the forefront of fire technology. From working with Advanced previously we knew its products could be relied upon to deliver powerful, flexible and dependable fire protection for the complex nature of a building of this size.” Advanced is a renowned brand in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager at Advanced, said: “Advanced is a leader in the market in terms of performance, quality and ease-of-use and being specified in arguably the UK’s most high-profile commercial development, since the Shard, reinforces this. We are thrilled to now not only protect Western Europe’s tallest building, but soon also the second tallest. It was a pleasure to work with the team at PHF Fire where we were able to meet their needs with a system capable of delivering the complicated cause and effect programming and flexible networking required.” false alarm management systems With EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 approval the MxPro is one of the fire industry’s leading multiprotocol fire solution, offering customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network that enjoys free training and support. Advanced is a renowned brand 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 in some of the world’s most prestigious sites. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, extinguishing control panels, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Fire and life safety systems manufacturer, Advanced has announced the appointment of a dedicated business development manager responsible for the launch and growth of EvacGo, Advanced’s new BS 8629-compliant evacuation alert system. EvacGo, Evacuation Alert System Ken Bullock, who joined Advanced as Regional Sales Manager for South East England, four years ago, brings over 35 years of fire industry experience to his new role as Business Development Manager – EvacGo, Evacuation Alert Systems. Ken has been instrumental in the development of the EvacGo solution and ensuring that it will make life easy for anyone who needs to meet the BS 8629 Code of Practice recommendation, applicable to buildings over 18 meters in height and containing flats. Enhancing fire safety in high-rises I’ve been heavily involved in developing our evacuation alert system and am passionate about the ability of this product" Ken Bullock, Business Development Manager – Emergency Evacuation Systems, said “I’ve been heavily involved in developing our evacuation alert system and am passionate about the ability of this product to help improve fire safety for residents in high-rise buildings. It therefore seemed natural for me to focus on educating the market about the importance of following BS 8629 recommendations and to raise awareness of our evacuation alert solution, EvacGo.” Ken adds, “In developing our system, we’ve worked with renowned fire industry experts to ensure it delivers maximum performance, quality and ease of use. I now look forward to developing these relationships still further as we all strive to build a safer future.” Built using MxPro 5 fire panel components The EvacGo panel is built using Advanced’s industry-renowned MxPro 5 fire panel components, providing the added assurance for installers and building owners that their sites will be protected with robust and proven technology that’s been rigorously tested to EN 54 parts 2 and 4 as recommended in BS 8629. To ensure every aspect of the BS 8629 Code of Practice was followed, the panel is housed in a tamper-proof STS 205 class BR2 security-rated enclosure, made by renowned manufacturer, Gerda with a patented BS EN 1303-compliant lock and key mechanism for exclusive access by the fire and rescue service. BS 8629:2019 Code of Practice compliant BS 8629:2019 is the new Code of Practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in England. In place since November 2019, this code of practice recommends the installation of a dedicated evacuation alert system intended for the sole use of the fire and rescue services and separate from the building’s fire alarm system. It is relevant to blocks of flats with a story located at a height of more than 18 meters above ground level. Evacuation alert control and indicating equipment installation EACIE installation is already mandatory in new buildings containing flats over 18 meters high in Scotland Although not yet a legal requirement in England, evacuation alert control and indicating equipment (EACIE) installation is already mandatory in new buildings containing flats over 18 meters high in Scotland and considered best practice by a number of fire and rescue services. Gary Craig, Sales Director at Advanced, stated “Over recent months, Ken’s work on EvacGo has focused on ensuring it is easy for building owners and installers to meet the recommendations of the BS 8629 Code of Practice, while ensuring optimum safety for the residents of high-rise buildings and ease of use for the fire service. Ken’s expertise will help ensure the process of specifying, designing and sourcing a BS 8629 system is simple, straightforward and stress-free.” Expansion of evacuation alert systems business Gary adds, “Ken’s appointment adds a vastly experienced voice to this project and the future direction of our evacuation alert systems business. His expertise and track record in driving growth and expansion within the UK market will be immensely valuable, as we experience rising demand for this new product.” Account customers currently looked after by Ken will continue to receive excellent support, as they transfer to Business Development Manager, Amanda Hope.
For the honor of wildland firefighters who risk it all to protect the forests and natural resources. KIMTEK is proud to introduce the Ford Motor Company Bronco-Filson Wild Fire Vehicle which features the KIMTEK FIRELITE® Fire Rescue skid unit that includes a Darley-Davey Pump, Hannay Reel, and Mercedes Boostlite Forestry Hose. KIMTEK is excited about this collaboration between Ford, Filson and KIMTEK and more excited to see the formation of the Bronco Wild Fund to celebrate wildland firefighters and to help raise awareness and funds to assist in preserving America's Natural Resources and National Forests. KIMTEK thanks Ford Motor Company and Filson for choosing and trusting the design quality of the FIRELITE Transport skids manufactured by KIMTEK Corporation.
In the years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy of 2017, all eyes have been on fire regulations, which have come under increased scrutiny – and it’s easy to see why. Even after the disaster, businesses across the UK are still lagging behind on mandatory fire safety regulations. It seems that regulatory change has not brought about the desired outcome at most organizations. With all 53 recommendations of the Hackitt Review set to come into effect this year, many are hoping that this will soon change. Dame Hackitt’s ‘new regulatory regime’ will place renewed momentum on regulatory change to help ensure all tower blocks are safe to inhabit. The industry has realised that introducing regulations in a gradual fashion will see them implemented in a phased and unstructured approach. While every organization is working towards the same fire safety goals, the impact of this piecemeal change has been somewhat of a hindrance. What the industry needs is a complete overhaul of the way fire safety regulations are understood and applied. The Hackitt Review has helped to keep momentum going, but a lot more can be done to make regulatory change a reality. The changing regulatory landscape Take the Fire Safety Order of 2005. The Order, which states that fire detection and suppression systems and fire risk assessments must be ‘suitable and sufficient’, should be the starting point from which businesses determine their fire safety strategy. Sadly, in reality, outdated fire risk assessments and ill-prepared systems are all too common. UK businesses need to reconsider their policies and ensure that they are not only up to regulatory standard, but fully equipped to protect their employees, residents and visitors from harm. What the industry needs is a complete overhaul of the way fire safety regulations are understood and applied On a similar note, take 2017’s updated British Standard 5839-1 regulation as a second example. With the extended rules now in place, companies need to understand how they will be affected and what the requirements will be. The standard, which deals with the design, installation and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems, now calls for greater attention to the reduction of false alarms, increased numbers of sensor types in different zones and improved maintenance. Due diligence requirements are being tightened up, and companies will find loopholes much more closely policed. Not only that, but investment in hardware, including covers for call points, is going to be necessary. Change will have to come at both the operational and the budget stages – and preparation is key. The government’s plans for a new buildings safety regulator should have a major impact on practices and on the wider landscape, shedding light on what needs to change within both residential and commercial buildings, and probably beyond the UK. Now it’s up to individual companies to change the way they approach fire safety, and ensure that they can keep occupants as safe as possible. Effective fire suppression as a priority For a case in point of how regulatory changes should be implemented, let’s consider sprinkler systems. In their current form, there is a requirement that buildings above a certain size and application must have sprinkler systems built in from the earliest stages of planning. As the Grenfell inquiry progresses and brings its recommendations to parliament, we can expect a far larger proportion of public buildings required to have sprinkler systems retrofitted, and new builds needing to incorporate them from the very beginning. Due diligence requirements are being tightened up, and companies will find loopholes much more closely policed But it’s not just a matter of installing sprinkler systems: servicing, maintenance, system design, and operation must all be properly attended to. Safety teams must ensure that all sprinkler systems are kept in full working order, checking components on a regular basis and running simulations where possible. Regular hazard reviews and testing carried out by certificated companies is also essential, and your systems must be checked by qualified engineers. There should be an attitude of honesty when it comes to upgrades and change – if a system fails to comply with regulations, or has degraded over time, then cost worries must always come second to compliance. Assessing the risk at your facilities To ensure safety, you need to ensure that your hardware is being tested on a regular basis by independent observers. You also need to conduct regular fire risk assessments of the entire building, taking into account everything from exits, gangways and ventilation to detection, alarms and evacuation procedures. From the furthest reach of the building to the place of ultimate safety, you need to have considered every potential hindrance and risk to give you the best chance of protecting your building occupants. But this doesn’t mean a black and white choice between a satisfactory balance sheet and the safety of employees and the local community. By working with an expert fire risk assessor, businesses can achieve regulatory compliance and desirable safety levels on a workable budget through a combination of intelligent consultancy and expertise. In the rush to avoid repeating past mistakes, there is certainly a risk that some fire safety teams may settle for less well-resourced assessors, or those without the expertise required to effectively and safely discern the conditions of the building, just to make sure that something is done. To avoid this, companies should be looking for professional organizations with a proven track record of successful assessments – who should be product agnostic – to conduct the review. A full-service offering is a positive sign that points to a good provider – a consultative organization that can assess needs and suggest solutions accordingly, specific to particular environments and systems, is key to reducing risk and achieving compliance. Even better, companies that can provide assessment, servicing, and long-term maintenance across an entire building, site or facility are most likely to be able to help you comply with new regulations and protect your staff and assets. The results of risk assessments A good fire risk assessment can be very literally the difference between life and death. We all like to think that it couldn’t happen to us; that our office or home must be safe, couldn’t possibly fall foul of a stray spark or a dropped match; but the statistics say otherwise. In the year ending September 2017, Fire and Rescue services attended over 170,000 fires in the UK, and there were 346 fatalities as a result. To ensure safety, you need to ensure that your hardware is being tested on a regular basis by independent observers We’ve all experienced the directionless panic that can set in when people undergo an unplanned fire drill. That’s particularly heightened in cases where false alarms are common – frequent evacuations as a result of poor maintenance or system management breed complacency. Why is this relevant to fire risk assessments? The better your assessment, the more well-equipped you’ll be to plan your evacuation procedure, as well as to locate and maintain your detection and suppression systems. A regularly-updated fire risk assessment is the key to understanding the potential pitfalls of your building, whether that’s sub-par fire doors, narrow staircases, a small number of exterior exit points or simply a need for more alarm call points. Some of those factors will be out of your control, but you can take advice from your assessors and install new hardware or remove obstacles from gangways. Above all, you’ll be better able to draft a well-informed evacuation plan to ensure that all occupants know what’s required of them in the event of a fire. Aside from all-important personal safety, there are also business considerations involved in fire risk assessments, the most prominent among them being regulatory compliance and future commercial planning. We began by considering some of the major regulatory requirements that have been introduced under BS 5839-1:2017. The best way to help yourself prepare for compliance and ensure that you do a good job of implementing the changes is to have a comprehensive fire risk assessment on hand to help you understand how the rules will apply to your particular situation. The ability to plan effectively will also help you to look after the bottom line without sacrificing due diligence. There are worries that sweeping changes in fire regulations will cost the earth, and when faced with a whole new raft of purchases and process updates, it can feel daunting and expensive. However, by beginning now and making sure you have a comprehensive understanding of your facility’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to fire safety, you’ll be able to get a basic understanding of what’s going to need changing, allowing you to plan any necessary expenses and review multiple tenders to get the best price. Moving forward With renewed focus on fire regulations, it’s essential for companies of every size to shape up, regardless of their workforce or building type. Protecting lives and assets from the risk of fire is of crucial importance. Ignoring the details of fire safety will no longer simply be an oversight – but a matter of life or death. Protecting lives and assets from the risk of fire is of crucial importance Conducting a detailed fire risk assessment is a good first step to ensuring businesses are prepared. From there, choosing a partner who has access to a full suite of services and a proven track record of success will help usher in the necessary change. Fire safety should ultimately be treated with the severity and attention that it deserves – there is simply too much to lose if we fail to learn from past mistakes.
As fire safety continues to make the headlines, Karen Trigg of Allegion UK outlines the importance of hardware selection and reminds decision makers of how routine checks can save lives. Door hardware plays a role in the operational integrity of a building, and more crucially, is a key element of a facility’s fire safety and security. Putting fire safety measures at risk Fire doors, and their accompanying hardware in particular, require special attention from facility managers and installers. Installing inefficient equipment could suddenly put a whole building’s network of fire safety measures at risk. And in light of this year’s debate on the government’s planned fire safety reforms, the importance of fire door hardware is now more valued than ever. The importance of fire door hardware is now more valued than ever The expanding role of hardware is also giving decision makers extra considerations to make when selecting hardware. From ease of integration to the flow of movement – various factors can dictate a decision, potentially overwhelming some. Yet, decision makers must recognize the responsibility they carry in ensuring both a door and its hardware operate effectively – even after installation. A cultural change Fire doors are designed to protect occupants from the spread of fire, smoke and toxic fumes. Because of this, hardware (including handles, closers and hinges) must meet certain standards and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. Yet, as phase one of the Grenfell Inquiry has once again reminded us, not all buildings are meeting these requirements. Detailed Grenfell reports have raised questions over the integrity of the building’s fire doors, focusing on the failure of compartmentalization and broken self-closing mechanisms on flat entrance doors. With incorrect hardware selection or failed maintenance to blame, this case, like many others, should become the catalyst for change – before the safety of others is jeopardized. Industry experts are calling for a change in fire safety culture Today, hardware adaptable and designed to tackle almost all fire safety, security and operational challenges that a building can present. From access and emergency egress elements to the more unique and defined details such as flow of movement, its importance simply can’t be understated. But too often, purchase decisions can be led by cost, as opposed to quality. With this in mind, industry experts are calling for a change in fire safety culture. Although there are various elements and touchpoints to consider, one area that must change quickly is how we choose our door hardware. Manufacturers, architectural ironmongers and installers must all recognize that a ‘one size fits all’ solution doesn’t exist and, instead, make adequate, proactive choices – moving away from reactive decisions because fire safety requires extra consideration, even after a hardware decision has been made. Inspections and checks Even with the correct door hardware in place, its operational life can be significantly reduced if basic maintenance is neglected. Previously, best practice guidelines have suggested that the performance of self-closers should be checked once every six months. However, the ‘Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’ has in 2020 proposed quarterly fire door checks as part of their updated fire safety reforms. Building owners must ensure all doors are well kept and operational to meet health and safety requirements, including all door furniture and panic and emergency exit hardware. With most building entrances enduring repeated use, durability can sometimes become an issue – especially in areas of high footfall. However, as part of regular maintenance periods, both occupants and qualified teams can undertake a number of hardware checks. Visual inspections can determine whether a door and its hardware has attained any damage. Both the physical door and its surrounding frame and hardware can become damaged over time. However, if its functionality is being effected, the damaged area should be replaced immediately. The physical door and its surrounding frame and hardware can become damaged Taking the right steps Aside from visual inspections, functional checks can also be made and are key to maintaining a door’s fire safety and operational elements. Functional checks will reveal whether hardware is still operating effectively, without requiring any undue force. Seals or weatherstripping can sometimes become loose and inhibit the correct operation of a fire door and may need to be replaced. Similarly, some fixings may need to be tightened to ensure that the door can swing freely. By completing these checks, not only will facility managers expand the lifespan of their hardware, but they’ll also protect the lives of occupants. The choice of hardware will always be integral in the success of a facility’s fire safety. With various high profile failings being publicized it’s clear that a change in approach to fire safety is long overdue. And with the development of new fire safety reforms, we now should be guiding those responsible to better standards within their own buildings. After all, it only takes the failure of one designated fire door to spell disaster.
The majority of fires within the UK take place within the home; with that in mind, it is highly advisable to regularly update and practice exit strategies in the event of an emergency. In order to raise awareness of fire safety in our communities, it’s important to be clear on what the most common causes of household fires are. Electrical appliances Electrical items are a major culprit of home fires. This can easily be avoided by ensuring a PAT test is carried out each year. It’s crucial to replace damaged or frayed wiring around outlets and to dispose old or faulty appliances. Never overcrowd electrical outlets and only use extension cords when necessary. Overwhelming units by ‘daisy chaining’ extensions to fit more appliances leads to higher chances of an electrical fire. All electrical appliances should additionally be repaired or installed According to the London Fire Brigade, around 60 percent of fires in the home begin in the kitchenby a certified professional. It’s also worth keeping an eye on sockets and fuses that blow for no reason. Flickering lights and scorch marks on sockets or plugs are easy signs which can alert you to unsafe environments. A common habit is to leave electrical items unattended overnight on ‘standby’ mode, this should always be switched off when not in continual use to avoid overheating. Whilst personal home assistant devices are meant to be in constant operation, be sure to look out for hot plugs and turn off outlets when you will be out of the house for extended periods of time such as holidays or weekends away. Smoking materials, lighters and matches The festive season sees a 12% surge in call-outs compared to the monthly average and over the last three years, fire crews dealt with 2,300 fires on Christmas Day alone. When celebrating the festivities try safer alternatives such as battery-operated or LED candles. Faux candles are a great substitute, particularly if you are living with young children. Always let hot matches cool in a metal or ceramic dish or run them under water for extra precaution. Keeping matches nearby lit candles or leaving lit candles unattended overnight are palpable dangers within the home. When celebrating festivities, try safer alternatives such as battery-operated or LED candles Space heaters Portable heaters are the cause of many UK home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Half of those fires occur because objects are kept within three feet of the heater getting far too hot and catching alight. Keeping flammable items at the recommended distance is essential warding off potential fires. Refrain from covering heaters or air vents with dry or damp washing, even if you have installed a fireguard. While some space heaters utilize a self-timer or sleep feature, be sure to manually switch off the heater when it’s not in use. By assuming the heater will automatically turn itself off, you leave yourself at risk as the heater may malfunction. Additionally, as self-timers only control the product itself and not the outlet, the plug still may be at risk of overheating. Cooking According to the London Fire Brigade, around 60 percent of fires in the home begin in the kitchen. It is crucial to be aware of your safety whilst cooking, with some points to always consider: Try not to leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill – if you leave the kitchen turn off the heat Do not cook whilst under the influence of alcohol or medication that can cause drowsiness Be aware of loose clothing that can easily catch fire, take care not to lean over a hob and always keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker In the event of loose clothing or a cloth catching fire; practice the stop, drop and roll rule – don’t run, lie down on the ground and roll in heavy fabric or a fire blanket to smother the flames Keep the oven, hob, extractor fan and grill as clean as possible – built up fat and grease can ignite and cause fires Use spark devices to light gas cookers, they are far safer than matches or lighters as they don’t have a naked flame. Ensure toasters are kept clean and not placed under kitchen cabinets Never place anything made of metal in a microwave When cooking on the stove-top, use the fan or open a window to disperse any smoke and avoid accidentally triggering any fire alarm If water or food spillages occur whilst the hobs are on and in use, turn off the heat, remove any pans, and let it cool before using any cleaning equipment Preventing spreading To prevent fires from spreading, it’s important to check hidden electrical outlets, particularly those behind large pieces of furniture such as television stands or couches – be sure to keep enough distance between the object and the outlet to prevent crowding. Check these out of sight outlets once a month to ensure there are no obvious signs of scorch marks. It is also a good idea to ensure you add an outlet inspection to any checklist before leaving on holiday. Good fire safety precautions can be practiced as part of your daily routine. Ensure you keep a torch and phone by your bed in case of a fire during the night. Install a dual alarm that uses long-life lithium batteries on every level of your home (including the basement). Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working properly and ensure you take the time to replace batteries every year for complete peace of mind. Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working properly and ensure you take the time to replace batteries An exit strategy If you find yourself trapped with no feasible exit to safety, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone and place bedding around the bottom of To prevent fires from spreading, it’s important to check hidden electrical outlets, particularly those behind large pieces of furniture the door to stifle smoke. Call 999 when possible and open the window to let your presence be known. If you’re on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through a window. Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully – don’t jump. If you can’t open the window break the glass in the bottom corner and make jagged edges safer by cushioning glass with a towel or thick blanket. Don’t make the mistake of investigating what’s happened in the event of a fire or rescuing valuables. If there’s smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. In the event of having to open a door, check if it’s warm. If it is, don’t open it – it is likely the fire is on the other side.
Combining thermal imaging and augmented reality (AR) enables firefighters see through smoke, in effect enhancing their vision in the life-threatening environment of a fire. AR capabilities can be deployed in a visor attached to a helmet, and an affixed thermal camera captures the images. The most recent prototype of such a product is a robust helmet design that withstands rough treatment. The system also includes software processing that augments thermal images to enable firefighters to see the outline of objects more clearly, thus enabling their detection in the field. augmented reality Firefighters can see through the visor/screen, or they can view the thermal image video live overlaid onto their vision. A switch on the side of the helmet allows them to switch among various modes – gray scale, RGB mode, fusion mode, etc. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards specify what information appears on an AR screen. In general, mostly emergency alerts appear so as to simplify the view. The technology began as a project at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to combine augmented reality (AR) with thermal imaging for use by police and fire departments. The project has evolved into the startup company Longan Vision. Live fire situations Funding has been provided by Defense Research and Development of Canada (DRDC) and private sources Development began in 2018 and has continued for two years through six generations of prototypes. The goal throughout the iterations has been to make sure the product is sufficiently robust for use in the field and will hold up to rough usage by firefighters, according to Enzo Jia, CEO and founder of Longan Vision. Funding has been provided by Defense Research and Development of Canada (DRDC) and private sources, and the project has progressed in partnership with industry manufacturers including helmet and apparatus companies. After two years of development, the company is on the verge of testing the product in live fire situations. Pilot testing will begin in January 2021. The device will begin pursuing NFPA certification next March, and hopefully the company will be shipping products by June or July 2021. Local fire departments Longan Vision has depended on feedback from fire departments throughout development of the product. They currently have partnerships with more than eight local fire departments, three in the United States. They meet with fire chiefs and firefighters and ask for their honest opinions on how the device operates, whittling down the good and the bad. Feedback from the departments included the need for hands-free thermal imaging and a system that displays all needed information in their view. The devices have also been tested by fire departments in Tokyo, which has close relationships with Longan Vision’s fire apparatus partners there. “We have tried to work very closely with firefighters,” says Alex Shortt, Longan Vision’s CTO. “We are a group of engineers, but we need firefighters to help us develop a good product. We keep a firefighter focus in all the work we do.” Virtual reality visor The AR device can connect with smart phones or other Internet of Things (IoT) devices to add additional information There are three possibilities for taking the technology to market. One is to work with helmet manufacturers to incorporate the AR technology into helmets. A second possibility is to work with fire apparatus companies to provide the technology as part of a broader ‘system’ of capabilities surrounding modernized apparatus. The third option is to equip the technology with a ‘universal mounting system’ – a series of bands and/or straps that allow the camera and attached virtual reality visor to be installed onto an existing helmet. The AR device can connect with smart phones or other Internet of Things (IoT) devices to add additional information to the system and visor display screen, such as the heart rate of the firefighter, for example. Incident Command Center Firefighters can communicate among themselves using a Mesh network, or alternatively, a 5G network if available. Each firefighter’s unit can also communicate with an incident Command Center. Incorporating VR into a robust helmet is preferable in the fire industry to using an off-the-shelf AR device such as Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens, says Jia. The AR view can be recorded as video to an SD card in the helmet, which can hold two hours or so of footage These devices are not designed for the rigors of the firefighting environment and therefore must be worn inside a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) mask. However, in that scenario, if there is a device failure, removing the device is more complicated, as is the process of handing the device over to another firefighter if someone ‘steps in’ to an emergency situation. The AR view can be recorded as video to an SD card in the helmet, which can hold two hours or so of footage. However, the demand for such a feature is mixed among fire departments. Early detection method A fire chief might want the recording to use for training purposes, but a firefighter might not want the video to be used to judge the potential liability of his every action, which could be open to legal scrutiny or even lawsuits. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Longan Vision as they look to launch their new product, including a tightening in the procurement market. On the positive side, the company has adapted the technology into another product, Gatekeeper, that uses thermal imaging to measure skin temperature as an early detection method for elevated temperatures. The system has an accuracy of plus-or-minus 0.3 degrees Celsius and can measure a maximum of five people at a time. The wall-mounted, non-contact unit captures a face image of people entering the video frame and displays each face alongside their skin temperature.
Adapting workspaces to operate safely during a pandemic presents complications, not least of which is making sure that the measures taken to protect employees from infection do not undermine fire safety. In the course of altering a building to prevent infection spread, there are risks of introducing new life safety hazards and compromising emergency preparedness. As buildings adapt to new occupancy standards and requirements, it is critical that any protective measures do not interfere with operation of life safety systems. Might temporary partitions or barriers block escape routes during a fire emergency? Social distancing measures might entail blocking emergency exists and disrupting the flow of occupants looking to vacate a building. It is also important to avoid blocking firefighter access and facilities. Fire Safety Partitions Temporary partitions could block smoke exhausts, sprinkler systems or other elements of a life safety system Temporary partitions could block smoke exhausts, sprinkler systems or other elements of a life safety system. Call points and detectors should remain unobstructed. Partitions should not be installed too closes to any smoke detector. If installed more than 12 inches from the ceiling, partitions serve as walls that can obstruct the flow of smoke and heat, thus causing sprinklers to malfunction, for example. Another consideration is the need to ensure fire safety systems are operating as intended when buildings reopen after being unoccupied for an extended period. Appropriate inspection, testing and maintenance procedures should be followed, including sprinklers, alarm systems and portable fire extinguishers. During the various lockdowns, routine system maintenance might have been postponed or cancelled. Adapting emergency and evacuation procedures Building occupants should be educated on how they need to adapt their emergency and evacuation procedures in light of any COVID-19 related changes. Building owners and managers should also consider any new fire dangers, for example, might storage of large quantities of combustible items such as hand sanitizer constitute a fire hazard? Maintaining social distancing can undermine the ability to vacate a building rapidly during a fire emergency. Obviously, if there is a real fire, the imminent threat of injury or death takes precedence over the goal of preventing infection by a (less likely) disease. In general, because rules have changed, the uncertainty might slow down evacuation. What is the impact of lower occupancy on a building’s emergency procedures? Despite fewer occupants, there should be efforts to ensure enough trained people are on site to carry out evacuation. Fewer employees and staggered work schedules could require additional fire wardens or fire marshals. More training may be needed. frequent fire drills Larger outside assembly areas may be needed to avoid crowding and/or close proximity during a fire drill What about fire drills? How do you weigh the benefits of being prepared to evacuate versus the risk of infection if social distancing requirements are ignored? Do distancing requirements apply as people move through a fire escape? How much more complicated do these questions become in a high-rise building? What about the use of elevators? Larger outside assembly areas may be needed to avoid crowding and/or close proximity during a fire drill. In the event that social distancing rules are breached during a fire drill, should additional quarantine or contact tracing procedures be implemented? fire safety arrangements At the end of the day, most of these hurdles can be overcome. However, they should not be ignored. Careful consideration of the broad impacts of COVID-19 safety measures on life safety ensures that building occupants remain safe from either calamity. As businesses reopen, adequate fire safety arrangements must be a part of the new normal.
Fire extinguishers are red for a reason, aren’t they? Traditionally, red is associated with danger and fire and red is certainly easy to see, even in darker environments. Aesthetic fire extinguishers But a company in Japan is offering a line of fire extinguishers that abandons the signature color for an approach that is more aesthetically pleasing and that fits more easily into modern decor. Disaster prevention brand, Modular Aerial Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) has unveiled fire extinguishers that are black or white, thus defying convention and better harmonizing with a variety of living spaces. The Japanese company, Morita Miyata Corp. has been making fire extinguishers for more than 100 years The Japanese company, Morita Miyata Corp. has been making fire extinguishers for more than 100 years. Their new sleek, minimalist fire extinguishers have won a Good Design Good Focus Award in the category of disaster prevention and recovery design. The award celebrates outstanding works designed for the prevention of and recovery from natural disasters. Disaster preparedness The concept is to ‘Take Bosai into the lifestyle’ (Bosai is disaster preparedness in Japanese). Beyond aesthetics, there is a practical reason to make the lowly fire extinguisher blend more seamlessly with a room’s decor. The reason is that prettier fire extinguishers encourage consumers to place the extinguisher proudly out in the open, where it is within easier reach to use quickly if needed. The minimal and attractive design allows the fire extinguisher to be placed in a more visible, high profile place in homes, without the ‘harsh’ red interfering with the interior decor. Consumers are prompted to enter the date of purchase and expiration date on the fire extinguisher’s body. Higher effectiveness of fire extinguishers in visible spots In short, fire extinguishers can be more effective if they are not hidden away in a closet or cupboard where valuable seconds are lost locating them in case of a fire. The idea is to unify style and function. Obviously, style is an undervalued element in the entire fire industry, given the affinity for less subtle use of red evident in everything from fire apparatus to web site names. Breaking traditional conventions Abandoning tradition may be creative, but don’t years of convention complicate the concept of changing the color of emergency equipment? For example, in the case of fire extinguishers, although primarily red, they also use color-coded labels to designate their type, such as blue for dry powder, yellow for wet chemical, etc. Also, fire pull stations, for example, are red, but pull stations for police emergencies may be blue instead. The colors have meaning that is understood to building occupants. Therefore, using new colors in public buildings could cause confusion, even if they contribute positively to the aesthetics of an expensive office suite, for example. Extending the concept of ‘Kanso’ to fire extinguishers Extending the concept of 'Kanso' to fire extinguishers has promise, as long as design does not interfere with safety The Japanese interior design concept of ‘Kanso’ is all about simplicity and focuses on the flow and movement of energy in a space. The concept seeks to eliminate clutter from a home and to show restraint and simplicity in every aspect of design. Extending the concept of 'Kanso' to fire extinguishers has promise, as long as design simplicity does not interfere with safety. The Good Design award jury states, “The simple modification of changing the color of the fire extinguisher to black and white is a big step forward in creating harmony with the living space.” Changes in style of fire apparatus and firefighting equipment The jury adds, “There has been a preconceived notion that fire extinguishers must be red in order to grab visual attention. We have just accepted fire extinguishers to be red because that is the way they are. Maybe an innovation like this can happen in other areas. The fact that the development of this product could lead to changing many other preconceptions we have was another important factor for the award.” Should everyone be looking for ‘Kanso’ to make its way soon to fire stations? Might a more positive flow of energy contribute to more relaxed and effective firefighters? Should fire apparatus colors be coordinated with station decor? Could it be that stylish fire extinguishers are only the beginning? These are some of the important questions in the development of new fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment.
C-TEC’s revolutionary Hush Pro BS 5839-6 Grade C domestic fire detection and alarm system has been chosen for three iconic tower block developments in Manchester, United Kingdom. Located in the center of Piccadilly, Oxygen Towers is a striking set of three new 31-storey, 16-storey and 10-storey buildings consisting of 345 stylish 1, 2 and 3-bedroomed apartments and 12 spacious family townhouses. Protecting futuristic ‘vertical village’ Designed to provide the ultimate living experience, the futuristic ‘vertical village’ combines luxury accommodation with fabulous five-star leisure facilities including a swimming pool, cinema, gym and spa. The stunning development also features lush garden terraces and rooftop gardens. Selected for its cutting-edge technology and capacity to align with the building’s fire strategy, Hush Pro will integrate with the site’s BS 5839 part 1 landlord system to offer higher levels of fire protection than the Grade D unmonitored battery alarm systems, typically used in domestic installations. Hush Pro BS 5839-6 Grade C fire detection and alarm system As a fully-monitored BS 5839 part 6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults As a fully-monitored BS 5839 part 6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults and operation faults back to the fire panel and even allows management and maintenance companies to remotely monitor the system. Once the project is complete, each of the flats will feature an easily accessible low-level Hush Pro Controller connected to a series of Hush Pro smoke detectors, base sounders, multi-sensors and heat detectors all seamlessly interfaced to a powerful network of C-TEC 4-loop ZFP addressable fire control panels to provide all-encompassing fire and fault monitoring of the system. Enhancing fire safety management If, for any reason, part of the domestic fire alarm is compromised, this will immediately be reported to the building management team to allow them to action the fault and re-instate full fire detection coverage to the flat. John Blundell, Head of Solid State Security Ltd (Solid State Living), the specialist fire company involved with the design and delivery of the project, said “As well as enhancing the fire safety management, property and life protection of the buildings, a key factor in our client’s decision to invest in Hush Pro was the system’s ability to notify building management in the event of a real fire and, at the same time, its potential to virtually eliminate false alarms.” Reducing false fire alarms He adds, “Hush Pro’s unique capacity to differentiate between Fire Level 1, usually a false alarm reported locally in the dwelling, and Fire Level 2, almost always a real alarm activated outside of the dwelling, reduces false fire alarms, unnecessary call-outs and the risk of a real fire alarm being ignored. As our client requires immediate notification in the event of a fire but also first-class false alarm management, Hush Pro will prove ideal.” John further stated, “Also of vital importance to our client is that, as the project consists of private balconies with an open plan flat arrangement, Hush Pro is the only fire alarm solution that can actually meet the requirements of BS 9991 Annex D3.” Hush Pro’s powerful false alarm management capability will also prove invaluable at the site" Jason Lawler, 24-7 Group’s Group Director and the person responsible for delivering the electrical and mechanical systems for the project, said “Hush Pro is an outstanding solution. The system will provide residents with easy-to-use detection, alarm, silencing and test facilities so they can test their own devices, be alerted to system faults and hush any false alarms at the Hush Button, which is positioned at light-switch level for safe and easy access. Hush Pro’s powerful false alarm management capability will also prove invaluable at the site.” Integrated BS 5839 part 1 and part 6 fire alarm solutions John Blundell said, “Client satisfaction is incredibly important to us so we were delighted to be able to specify a robust and fully-compliant integrated BS 5839 part 1 and part 6 fire alarm solutions for Oxygen Towers.” He concludes, “With its capacity to provide high levels of fire protection yet also minimize costly and disruptive false alarms, Hush Pro is fast becoming the system of choice for fire strategy engineers and consultants dedicated to enhancing fire safety in high-rise residential and specialist housing projects throughout the UK.”
When Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Helicopter Emergency Medics became concerned about their current helmet due to its obsolescence and poor comfort, the charity contacted Vimpex who they were aware had successfully supplied helmet solutions to other Air Ambulance Services, including Lincolnshire and Kent. Pacific R6C Rescue Helmet Following meetings to identify product performance requirements, and a product trial by critical care paramedics and doctors, Thames Valley Air Ambulance chose the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet because it gives the charity a high-performing, future-proofed safety solution that can also be fully customized. Every part of the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet can be quickly removed without the use of special tools" Vimpex Business Development Manager Steve Clelland explains, “Every part of the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet can be quickly and easily removed without the use of special tools. Cost of ownership is therefore minimized as repairs and replacement of all components is simple. Pacific helmets are tested in the most extreme conditions required for conformity to relevant clauses of the latest EN standards.” High performance PPE equipment The fantastic life-saving work carried out by Thames Valley Air Ambulance when there’s a life-threatening injury or medical emergency, and relies on the skill and bravery of its team of doctors and critical care paramedics, some of the most highly skilled pre-hospital medics in the world, to deliver advanced trauma care to some of the most seriously injured patients across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire from its base at RAF Benson. Such exceptional individuals, who regularly put their own safety on the line to protect others, need the highest levels of equipment performance, including their head protection PPE, to ensure that their well-being is never compromised. Fire evacuation and alarm systems major Vimpex is Europe's renowned independent manufacturer and distributor of high quality fire evacuation and alarm system products for installers, distributors and OEM manufacturers. The company is also a specialist in the supply of technical rescue and PPE equipment for UK fire, rescue, police, military and emergency services teams.
Cadiz Fire Brigade in Spain has recently taken delivery of new, state-of-the-art fire kit supplied by Bristol Uniforms, a globally renowned designer and manufacturer of protective clothing for emergency services across the globe. The contract was secured through Bristol’s international distributor, El Corte Ingles, who fought off stiff competition to secure the four-year contract. Ergonomic XFlex design Cadiz has ordered 780 sets of Bristol’s lightweight, ergonomic XFlex design (called FireFlex in Spain), with integrated safety harnesses incorporated into the jacket and trouser. The kit has a Hainsworth TITAN1250 outer, a highly breathable fabric featuring Nomex and a high percentage of Kevlar, which gives the fabric outstanding tensile and tear strength. In addition, it has a GORE-TEX FIREBLOCKER moisture barrier, which is made from a micro-porous breathable fabric that stops water passing through to the firefighter’s personal clothing, whilst allowing sweat to escape and reducing heat stress. Four-year care and maintenance contract To ensure health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract To further protect the health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract, so as to ensure that the kit is kept in good condition and free from contamination. Total Safety manages all Bristol’s garment care and maintenance in Spain and has worked with Bristol for more than 25 years. It collects soiled garments from customers and returns them clean and repaired within 72 hours. Featuring integrated safety harness Paco Griso, Bristol Uniform’s agent in Spain, said “The new kit has now been rolled out to firefighters in the Province of Cadiz and we are already getting positive feedback from them. They are really pleased with how flexible the kit is and how easy it to maneuver in tight spaces. The integrated harnesses, certified to EN 361, are an additional safety feature which will help prevent serious falls in fire and recuse situations.” Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms, said “This is a large contract for us in Spain, which was delivered on time, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the risks of wearing contaminated PPE have become ever more apparent, more and more fire and rescue services across the globe are opting for ongoing care and maintenance packages, so as to ensure their PPE is free of carcinogens and the health of their crew is prioritized.”
Ajax Systems in cooperation with Elotec, a Norwegian distributor of security systems and manufacturer of wired fire alarms, won a tender from the municipality of Bergen in Norway for the supply of a wireless fire security system. The project aims to protect the wooden architecture of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wireless Ajax detectors will provide an opportunity to protect the city center without disturbing the interior of the buildings. Wireless fire solutions “We are lucky that our distributor in Norway, Elotec, has an in-depth expertise in fire security. Being also a manufacturer of wired fire alarm systems with almost 30 years of experience, they chose Ajax as their wireless partner to protect the important historical site. This further proves that wireless fire solutions are becoming a trend in the industry,” said Valentine Hrytsenko, Ajax Systems CMO. This project is a big win, and securing UNESCO World Heritage buildings is our responsibility" “This project is a big win, and securing UNESCO World Heritage buildings is our responsibility. The development we have done with Ajax to make this solution was crucial, and making the system perfect for these kinds of projects,” said Kristian Kleven, product and quality manager in Elotec. Bergen has been affected by multiple fires over centuries, but the city is still one of Europe’s largest historical centers with wooden architecture. Fire detection cameras The city has 12 districts with old wooden buildings located close to each other, and about 11,000 residents. The project is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. The implementation is supervised by Elotec in cooperation with the Bergen Fire Department. Every resident or business owner in the protected area of Bergen had an opportunity to apply for the installation of a fire alarm system and to connect to the fire monitoring station free of charge. In total, 13 street fire detection cameras and 640 Ajax security kits (consisting of Hub control panels, FireProtect fire detectors, and Button panic buttons) will be used to protect the areas. Fire monitoring station Ajax fire detectors have a synchronous alarm function (interconnect) — when one detector is triggered, all fire detectors within the system are activated. Following Elotec’s initiative, for the Bergen project, the Ajax R&D team needed to implement a delay in interconnect distribution and transmitting alarms to the fire monitoring station in order to minimize false calls of fire brigades. The Ajax R&D team needed to implement a delay in interconnect distribution and transmitting alarms Hub control panels, FireProtect fire detectors, and Button panic buttons (with the new alarm interconnect delay function) for every house. If the owner of the premises simply overcooks a meal on the stove, they can press the Button within 2 minutes from the moment when smoke was detected, thus postponing alarm transmission. Preventing false calls In this way, they will have another 10 minutes to air the premises out and prevent the alarm from spreading to other detectors, and also to prevent false calls to the fire brigade. However, if the button is not pressed within 2 minutes, the alarm will be directly transmitted to the fire department. The FireProtect and FireProtect Plus fire detectors with firmware version 3.42 or later are technically ready to support the interconnect propagation delay. The feature will be fully available to all users with the new OS Malevich 2.10 update to be released in Q4 2020.
A network of fire panels from UK manufacturer, Advanced, has been installed as part of a campus-wide system replacement at the Imperial College London (ICL), Hammersmith, United Kingdom. Six industry-renowned 8-loop MxPro 5 fire panels and a TouchControl remote control terminal and repeater panel have been installed across the Wolfson Education Center, the Institute of Reproductive Development Biology and the Commonwealth Building at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith campus. 8-loop MxPro 5 fire panels The installation, part of a system-wide upgrade, was conducted by Surrey-based Lloret Fire & Security Ltd who were tasked with replacing the existing fire alarm control panels, installing new cabling and devices and commissioning the system across occupied buildings, where live coverage needed to be maintained at all times. Imperial specifically requested a move away from the closed protocol fire system approach, and its associated service charges, which had been in operation for 15 years. Lloret Fire & Security’s experience installing Advanced control indicating equipment in other large-scale educational facilities meant they were confident that the open protocol MxPro 5 could easily provide the levels of flexibility and stability required by the site. Multi-sensor detection system installed Paul White, Design Director at Lloret Fire & Security Ltd, said “The project at Imperial’s Hammersmith campus involved the replacement of the fire system across a range of building environments, from offices, workshops and research labs, through to lecture theaters and conference halls, each with its own specific fire protection requirements.” Multi-sensor detection system was installed to manage and reduce the risk of false alarms In consideration of the site’s false alarm management strategy, multi-sensor detection system was installed to manage and reduce the risk of false alarms. For example, detectors have been configured for day/night use or can be altered as area usage changes. TouchControl repeater panel installed To replace the existing flush-fitted panel positioned front-of-house in the reception area of the Institute of Reproductive Development Biology, and for aesthetic purposes, Lloret Fire & Security Ltd suggested installing Advanced’s touch technology remote control terminal and repeater panel, TouchControl. Combining aesthetics with practicality, the low-profile, high-resolution touchscreen makes it easy to check fire system status via interactive maps and zone plans, while complementing even the most stylish interiors. When in standby mode, administrators can use TouchControl to display branding, advertisements and information, while it will instantly revert to fire operation when a fire condition occurs. Advanced fire safety solutions Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager, said “It’s fantastic to see that our partners Lloret Fire & Security Ltd are so confident in the Advanced solutions installed at Imperial. When installing or upgrading a building’s fire system, it’s important to consider which protocol is right for you." Amanda adds, “The nature of our MxPro 5’s open protocol gives end users greater freedom and flexibility over key factors such as detector partners, suppliers, installers and service companies. This in turn helps the end user to more easily achieve best value for money and access top-quality expertise.”
Infographics has announced that Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) is the first UK FRS to adopt the new FireWatch Bi-directional Mobilization Interface, with other services expected to deploy this functionality in the near future. FireWatch Mobilization Interface The FireWatch Bi-directional Mobilization Interface with Capita Vision is designed to enable greater real-time data sharing between the FireWatch Fire Service Management Platform, Capita Vision Mobilization System and on-appliance Mobile Data Terminals. HFRS already utilizes the FireWatch platform for integrated human resource management The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) already utilizes the FireWatch platform for integrated human resource management, training and development, health and safety, self-service, availability management, and automated electronic payment calculations and processing for on-call staff. Data integration Workflows to integrate absenteeism, payments and other data seamlessly with their shared business center systems are also in place. This latest deployment provides a new bi-directional interface between FireWatch and Capita Vision that seamlessly couples the systems together and provides a live closed loop of data flows as changes in either occur. Colin Sutherland, Systems Manager at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS), said “This new interface is the culmination of many months’ work for Hampshire Fire and our technological partners, Infographics and Capita. The interface provides individual and appliance crewing data directly into our mobilization system, allowing our Control rooms throughout the partnership to view Hampshire’s status in real-time.” Reducing the risk of human error Colin adds, “This not only improves our resilience with the interface and reduces the risk of human error, but also reduces the burden of crews on station having to complete events after the incident, as the interface now does this for them. A further benefit is that it provides us with crewing accountability on the way to, during and returning from fire calls, which is something we have not been able to achieve before.” He further stated, “This interface is also the first step in our move towards Attribute Based Response (ABR), which we are now working towards with our partners, and the interface is a solid foundation to build upon. It has been an incredibly exciting time with the release of the interface for Hampshire, and it highlights Infographics’ hard work and dedication to continually improve and enhance their offering.” Fully integrated FRS resource management platform Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said “What we have delivered jointly with Hampshire and Capita is a UK first. FireWatch already provides a fully integrated FRS resource management platform with all the benefits this brings. Coupling this with a live bi-directional flow of data and impacts with Capita Vision and the MDTs essentially enables the systems to act seamlessly as one – and deliver clear operational, risk and efficiency benefits.” From FireWatch to Capita Vision, the FireWatch interface calculates vehicle availability to-the-minute, derived from live HR, contract/role, employee availability, qualifications, physical vehicle availability, and other fully-connected and integrated data and modules. So when anything changes, FireWatch pushes updated vehicle availability status in real-time to the Capita Vision Mobilization system. Up-to-the-minute data availability The up-to-the-minute data ensures that when an ‘on call’ crew turns out to an incident The system takes into account shared resources across vehicles, priority levels and skill-derived attributes and incident types, rather than a simple on/off ‘the run’, and provides that live status to Capita Vision and control room staff. The up-to-the-minute data ensures that when an ‘on call’ crew turns out to an incident, the information on the MDT is already filtered to show those who should have been available, providing quick and easy selection of the actual employees on the vehicle and the impact of their skills and resource not being available for any other vehicles at that location. In the other direction, from Capita Vision to FireWatch, this provides: Live incident creation and stage updates as they happen. Data flows from the on-appliance Mobile Data Terminals to Vision, then to FireWatch, so that FireWatch understands the specific resources involved and can send the impact back to Vision. Updates to, and impacts of, event stages, attending vehicles and personnel changes. Automatic confirmation of personnel who have turned out in FireWatch event records. Further automation of event recording steps for pay and maintenance of competency purposes.