Fire Safety Standards
The Fire Safety Event, 9-11th April, at the National Exhibition Center (NEC) in Birmingham, UK, is the fastest growing exhibition for the fire safety industry in the United Kingdom in terms of both exhibitor and visitor numbers, say the organizers. The growth can be attributed to the exhibitor lineup and full program of seminars and features. Visitors can also expect live demonstrations, world-class speakers and a keen focus on the issues most pressing in the industry today. This content is man...
IFEDA, the Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association is celebrating 30 years of raising standards within the fire protection industry. The association was formed on a desire to bring fire extinguisher technician training to the independent fire trade beyond the confines of the manufacturing companies. Credit for the association should go to Mr Dave Hulse and his company National Fire Training. Through his good offices and at the direction of the founding committee members, IFE...
Members of the fire and emergency services pledge to serve and protect their communities from hazards of all kinds. Yet instances of bullying, harassment, and discrimination within the emergency services ranks persist. These actions are detrimental to the fire service, putting members in danger, discouraging people from joining or staying in the service, and tarnishing the reputation of the entire fire service community. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), International Association of B...
The effective digital transformation of the UK’s emergency services is essential if it is to continue to provide the best possible Blue Light services, the General Manager of Public Safety & Defence at telent warned today. Barry Zielinski urged the sector to harness every technological tool available to them as a new white paper revealed that between 2015 and 2019, emergency fire and rescue services face – on average – a 22% reduction in their budgets due to government fun...
Firefighting is hot, hazardous, and let's face it, grueling work. But believe it or not, the job today has become even more challenging as firefighters must deal with increased heat loads, toxic substances and other physical challenges that make structural firefighting one of the most demanding professions on the planet. So, needless to say, being well-trained, physically fit, and safely equipped can make all the difference in the world. Evolving Technology The fact is, as heat loads and toxic...
Products for electrical systems that are installed into modern, complex buildings have to be fit-for-purpose for today’s challenging demands. With the background of numerous incidents still being felt by the fire performance industry, how is it to set the benchmarks for the future to make sure there is never another Lakanal House or another Grenfell? The long-term answer is for clearer guidance and legislation, if necessary, to enable the whole supply chain to make decisions which are com...
Each spring, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) honors a firefighter who has provided a lifetime of service, an outstanding junior firefighter, and an exemplary junior firefighter program. With the addition of a new award, the NVFC will also honor a firefighter who has demonstrated leadership in the area of firefighter health and wellness. All recipients receive a personalized award and national recognition. The nomination period for the NVFC’s four annual awards is now open, with applications due by 5pm EST on January 31, 2019. Active Volunteer Firefighter The recipient will receive a trip for themselves and a guest to attend an awards banquet at the NVFC spring meeting on April 26, 2019 The new Chief James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership Award, co-sponsored by Ward Diesel and VFIS, will be presented to a volunteer firefighter, EMS provider, or rescue worker who has served as a leader in creating or promoting emergency responder health and wellness programs or initiatives in areas including, but not limited to, firefighter cancer, heart health, behavioral health, and overall health and wellness. The nominee must currently be serving as an active volunteer firefighter, EMS provider, or rescue worker and have made an impact in responder health and wellness at the local, state, and/or national level. The recipient will receive a trip for themselves and a guest to attend an awards banquet at the NVFC spring meeting on April 26, 2019, in Alexandria, VA, just outside of Washington, DC. Volunteer Fire Service The NVFC Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Rosenbauer America, recognises a volunteer firefighter who has served at least 20 years and has made a major contribution or achieved significant accomplishments in the volunteer fire service at the local, state, and/or national level. The nominee must have demonstrated superior dedication to the volunteer fire service, been active in their state firefighters’ association The nominee must have demonstrated superior dedication to the volunteer fire service, been active in their state firefighters’ association, and have positively impacted the community through the fire service or other volunteer activities. The recipient will receive a trip for themselves and a guest to attend the awards banquet on April 26 in Alexandria, VA. The Junior Firefighter of the Year Award, sponsored by California Casualty, honors a junior firefighter, cadet, or Explorer who has shown extraordinary dedication, commitment, and achievements as a youth member of the fire service. Junior Firefighter Program Nominees must have been a junior firefighter for at least one year and have gone above and beyond in their participation at the station. The recipient will receive a trip for themselves and up to two parents/guardians to the attend the awards banquet on April 26 in Alexandria, VA. The Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Award, sponsored by California Casualty, recognises a department that has an outstanding junior firefighter program. The program must have been in operation for at least one year, and departments must demonstrate creativity and community impact for the program. The department will be presented with their award at the local level to allow the junior program members to participate.
The 2018 Fire Industry Association Annual General Meeting (AGM) and lunch was again, one of the standout industry events of the year bringing together more than 300 industry leaders. The FIA AGM provides the ideal opportunity to highlight the achievements of the association over the last year and signal our priorities for the future. Our members mingle with industry colleagues, entertain prospective customers and catch up with the FIA Secretariat team. This year Ellie Taylor provided the after-lunch entertainment, which helped create the memorable experience. Recognizing contributions to fire safety industry The FIA Honorary Award signifies a member's sustained commitment and outstanding volunteer contributions to FIAAfter lunch and the Chairman’s address the FIA recognizes the exceptional contribution to the fire safety industry. This year Jonathan O’Neill received the FIA’s most prestigious, Lifetime achievement award. As he collected his award, FIA CEO, Ian Moore cited some of Jonathan’s achievements and commented “I cannot think of anyone better connected within the fire industry than Jonathan – he has been consistent in his support for improving the resilience of the built environment and has provided educated and informed challenge where it is due both within the UK and internationally.” The FIA Honorary Award signifies a member's sustained commitment and outstanding volunteer contributions to FIA. Both Martin Harvey and David Murfitt were recognized for their long-term contribution that started before the formation of the FIA, back in the days of BFPSA and FETA. Congratulations once again to all the award winners! The 2018 FIA AGM & Lunch was brought to the members in association with the industry leading FIREX International, the world's leading fire safety exhibition.
The global market for Passive Fire Protection (PFP) Materials is estimated to reach US$ 30.2 billion by 2025. Growth in the market will be driven by the growing number of fire accidents, stringent fire safety regulations, and technological advances and product innovations. The growing number of fire accidents worldwide in recent years has led to the implementation of increasingly stringent regulations related to fire safety across the globe. In this background, demand for fire management products such as passive fire protection (PFP) materials has grown rapidly over the last few years. Passive Fire Protection (PFP) Material PFP materials prevent the structure of a building from collapsing by containing the spread of fire and are increasingly becoming an indispensable part of the building disaster management system. Use of PFP materials in buildings and complex structures enhances the structural stability and offers additional protection to load bearing beams and columns which prolongs their crumbling in the event of a fire breakout. Apart from construction, other key end-use markets for PFP materials are oil & gas, and electronics. Sprays, boards, and thin film intumescent coatings are the most commonly used PFP materials to protect steel structures from fire Sprays, boards, and thin film intumescent coatings are the most commonly used PFP materials to protect steel structures from fire. Intumescent thin-film coatings are one of the fastest growing market segments and are being widely used as substitute for boards and sprays. Water-based intumescent coatings are the most commonly used coatings for fireproofing steel. Global PFP Market The above findings are part of a comprehensive analysis of the global passive fire protection materials market published by Melvin Bright, which provides insights into key market segments such as coatings, bulkheads, cladding and panels, fire protection doors, sealants, fittings, sprays, boards, cables, ductworks, glazing systems, fire walls, and ceilings and partitions, among others. It also covers end-use markets such as construction, oil and gas, electronics, defense, automotive and transportation, chemical, energy and power, healthcare, waste management, and hospitality, among others. The study provides granular market information on the above market segments for all the major regional and country markets.
Leading lights in fire safety have been appointed by the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition [IFSS] to help improve building safety worldwide. A core group of twenty-two leading fire safety experts was appointed to the coalition’s standards setting committee that will work to develop landmark industry standards for fire safety in buildings. Overcoming Risk To Public Safety Past-president of the Association for Project Safety (APS) Bobby Chakravarthy – who is a founder member and represents the association on the IFSS – said that in an increasingly globalized construction market there needed to consistent principles, so fire safety could be tackled internationally. The standards aim to overcome the risk to public safety that can arise when there is confusion and uncertainty arising from different rules for materials testing and certification, building regulations or codes and standards on how buildings are managed. Chakravarthy said the standards being developed at an international level would provide guidance so professionals could improve safety locally. Improving Building Fire Safety Standards I believe that the experts who have joined the coalition will play a vital part in making buildings everywhere safer for everyone"Past-President Bobby Chakravarthy said: “The standard of fire safety needs to be improved at home and overseas. This is why the Association for Project Safety [APS] is part of the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition [IFSS] and why we are working with our partner organizations across the world to develop consistent standards which will take the guess work out of fire safety in construction. “The Grenfell Tower disaster was a wake-up call in the UK but far too many people are still killed in building fires worldwide. I believe that the experts who have joined the coalition will play a vital part in making buildings everywhere safer for everyone.” Best Practise For Fire Safety The International Fire Safety Standards Coalition consists of local and international professional bodies and standard-setting organizations committed to developing and supporting, in the public interest, a shared set of standards for fire safety in buildings. The standards aim to set and reinforce the best practice for professionals to ensure building safety in the event of a fire.
The Middle East’s US$1.9 billion fire safety systems and equipment market will see solid growth over the next six years, with new government regulations around life safety and fire protection along with large-scale infrastructure investment among the key market drivers. A November 2018 report by analysts 6Wresearch estimates the Middle East market for firefighting systems, fire detection & alarm systems, and emergency exit & lighting, will be worth US$3 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of nearly eight percent. The report stated the regional market witnessed a slight decline during 2014-2016, however from 2017 demand has picked up, aided by recovering oil prices and government economic diversification initiatives aimed at reviving the construction sector. Passive fire-rated products Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event Additionally, revised fire and life safety codes, such as those rolled out by the UAE Civil Defence in 2016, has helped growth in passive fire-rated products in new buildings and infrastructure, while adding further impetus to the retrofitting segment, where newer systems in line with current regulations are replacing older systems. 6Wresearch’s report was published ahead of the Intersec exhibition, the world’s leading trade fair for security, safety, and fire protection, taking place from 20-22 January 2019 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Fire & Rescue exhibitors Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event, where more than 1,300 exhibitors from 59 countries are set to take part in the show’s 21st edition early next year. More than 350 of those will be in the Fire & Rescue section, including the biggest names in the global fire and life safety business such as UAE-based powerhouses NAFFCO and Concorde Corodex Group, Honeywell from the USA, Japanese-headquartered Hochiki, Drager from Germany, and Turkish fire truck manufacturer, Volkan. Future fire safety trends All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out" Eaton Corporation is another headline exhibitor in the Fire & Rescue section and is one of many companies at Intersec 2019 positive about the current and future fire safety trends in the regional market. Frank Ackland, Eaton’s Middle East Managing Director said the regulations set out by the UAE Civil Defence for example, offer a much higher standard of regulation than has ever been seen before: “Eaton provides emergency lighting and fire detection systems for buildings and we’ve noted an increase in the levels of regulation that are being adhered to – not only to the set standard but also above in many cases." "All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done, and this is where we see a significant investment in retrofitting also taking place in the UAE, in order to make older buildings safer and in line with current regulations.” Fire and emergency lighting Eaton will showcase a wide range of products from its fire and emergency lighting divisions at Intersec 2019, including its adaptive evacuation exit luminaires which provide commercial buildings with the potential to redirect occupants to safety by adjusting the directions displayed according to the threat. Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), provide vital peace of mind to buildings such as hospitals and military bases" Ackland said all Eaton’s solutions are designed with safety at the core, adding, “This is not limited to our life safety division products, and we’ve have noticed there’s a much greater emphasis placed on how power solutions can keep a building safe and mitigate risks caused by power fault or failure." "Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), for example, provide vital peace of mind to buildings, specifically those where critical power is a necessity such as in hospitals and military bases. They also to ensure the continual safety of data and information that can be lost to public cyberspace within a split second of a power failure.” Emergency mobile solutions Concorde Corodex Group is another regular Intersec exhibitor and will showcase in 2019 its UAE-made emergency mobile solutions, such as fire trucks, ambulances, special vehicles, and hydraulic platforms, along with its static fire equipment, including pumps, cabinet extinguishers and fixed suppression equipment. Starting out as a two-man show with big ideas and a lot of hard work in 1974, the company now has two factories in the UAE with 1,500 people and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most trusted exporters of life safety and fire protection solutions. Intersec Future Security Summit will be raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more Life safety and fire protection Mohanned Awad, Concorde Corodex’s Regional Director for Business Development, said much of this is thanks to its UAE roots, “In the UAE, the natural status of our customers and partners is to be early adopters,” said Awad. “Our partners always request to think ahead of the curve; they don’t want to just solve the problem but to be able to prevent the problem and be two or three steps ahead of the problem." "We’re very fortunate to have such demanding requirements locally, because we’ve been able to take that know-how and expand it through other markets that we serve, such as Asia, MENA and the CIS. It’s forced us to think out of the box and put considerable investment in research and development capabilities and to bring on board many key people who have experience.” Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE Awad said Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE – if it arrives on time: “It’s a new technology that may have been seen in other places but not in the UAE, and will take up a big footprint outside the fairgrounds,” he said. “It will definitely be an eyebrow raiser.” Commercial and hospitality sectors Intersec 2019 is organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East and returns with key government supporters such as Dubai Police, Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Municipality, and the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA). Andreas Rex, Intersec’s show director, said the commercial and hospitality sectors are other key verticals driving demand for fire safety systems and equipment, adding, “The big growth, particularly in the UAE will come over the next two years as delivery of the Dubai Expo 2020 looms, while throughout the Gulf region, large scale infrastructure investment will steer the market toward solid growth." Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets" "Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets and beyond, where thousands of engineers, system integrators, contractors, industry professionals and decision makers will seek solutions for their various projects.” Fire Safety and Protection Conference Intersec’s other show sections comprise Commercial Security, Safety & Health, Homeland Security & Policing, Physical & Perimeter Security, Information Security, and Smart Home & Building Automation. The annual showpiece returns next year with a revamped conference line-up, including a three-day Intersec Future Security Summit raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more. Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals Returning is the SIRA (Security Industry Regulatory Agency) Forum, with the latest updates in security law and industry regulations in Dubai, while a one-day Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals. Popular event features Returning popular features in 2019 include the Drone Zone, an Outdoor Demo Area, a Smart Home Pavilion and the Safety Design in Buildings Pavilion. More than 150 exhibitors will be participating for the first time, while Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, and the USA comprise the 15 country pavilions. Intersec 2019 is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and supported by the Dubai Police, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Civil Defence, SIRA, and the Dubai Municipality.
Euralarm has welcomed its newest Member Eaton Electrical Products Ltd. The company will join the Fire Section of Euralarm, which activities cover detection, notification and evacuation in case of fire. Eaton Electrical Products will now benefit from Euralarm’s services in terms of representation towards European Institutions and standardization organisations, the monitoring of relevant legislative and standardization issues, and will have access to its extended network of national associations and major companies in the fire safety and security sector. Eaton Electrical Products As a global power management company, Eaton enables customers to manage the power needed for buildings, aircraft, trucks, cars, machinery and businesses. Eaton’s innovative technologies help customers manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more reliably, efficiently, safely and sustainably. The products of Eaton Electrical Products help detect, notify, evacuate and protect against a range of threats in complex and challenging environments The products of Eaton Electrical Products help detect, notify, evacuate and protect against a range of threats in today’s most complex and challenging environments. Among the many products that the company provides are fire alarm devices, fire detection systems, public address and voice alarm systems as well as security systems and intruder alarms. Insight In European Markets One of Euralarm’s objectives is to provide an open, transparent and equal platform for Members of all sizes, including by monitoring trends in European and global markets, informing Members and promoting action where appropriate. Additionally, Euralarm uses professional advocacy, when appropriate, to achieve its goals, including building close relations and constructive dialogue with related industries, associations, standardization, testing and certification bodies, and political authorities (including relevant directorates-general of the European Commission). Companies that join Euralarm gain expertise into ‘political’ issues impacting the Industry and its markets and have an opportunity to influence the Industry by having a say directly into Brussels.
The continuity of power in the event of a real fire has never been more important as modern buildings become more complex and the need for the highest quality of products comes under the spotlight. With power for lighting and fire alarms, the fire and rescue services can use the intelligence gathered to evacuate people quickly, confident that they have found all the people in the building. Without power, they are literally scrambling in the dark without good information upon which to make their rescue. The continuity of power will also ensure that sprinkler or water mist systems can continue to operate where they exist. In commercial buildings, there may also be smoke evacuation fans which help to enable safe evacuation. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services Appropriate Cabling At the start of a project, the most appropriate cabling should be specified as part of the electrical system rather than at the end of a project. Fire alarms may be digital, with loop systems which will provide information for fire and rescue services across individual areas and floors. At the same time, there are new designs, materials and products continually coming on to the market for major projects, and with it an increasing need for the various parties involved to work closely together to make sure they get it right. There has been an increasing incidence of non-approved cables on the market and unfortunately it is not until cables have been installed, tested or used that issues become clear. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Should there be a problem, have it checked and seek good advice. Keep records of purchase, including reel flanges with batch markings and a sample of the cable markings. Send lengths for testing and then decide on the most appropriate course of action. Choice of cabling is crucial at the start of major projects as issues may occur later Meeting Rigorous Third-Party Tests For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. It is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests This Code of Practice specifies that the type of system selected during the design phase ‘should be derived from a detailed process of consultation with the relevant authorities’ and that ‘the design should be agreed at an early stage.’ The decision-making process for cable selection relevant for life safety and firefighting systems is clearly defined here. This covers three categories ranging from 30 minutes to 120 minutes fire survival time. Categories 1 and 2 cover means of escape for 30 minutes and then 60 minutes respectively, and these cables are tested in accordance with the relevant codes. Category 3 for firefighting to 120 minutes refers to power and control cables meeting the 120-minute test according to the relevant standards. It should be emphasised that only Mineral Insulated Cable (MIC) or a cable meeting the requirements of BS7846 F120 will meet this criteria. For clarity, BS 8519 does not take precedence over BS 5839 for alarm systems and BS 5266 for emergency lighting. In essence, choosing the most relevant cabling and electrical accessories which will continue to operate under fire conditions has become critical. Application Of Medium Voltage Cables As the incidence of non-approved cables continues then so the application of Medium Voltage (MV) cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, schools, care homes, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites also becomes critical. In the context off fire engineering, it is important to select the relevant MV Cables in these areas. Adhering to the latest regulations is no longer enough - there needs to be a risk assessment. In order to do this effectively, it is important to ask – are the fire safety procedures up to date? All AEI MV cables are third party tested and approved by BASEC. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards The whole supply chain needs to take consideration of these areas where vulnerable people often move about such as children or elderly people in hospitals or care homes. The fire and rescue services may need a little more time than a conventional building including reading complex fire alarm information to ensure a safe rescue in the event of a real fire. Educational establishments including schools, colleges and laboratories are some of the most prone structures to fire hazards. This is due to ageing structures, high volume of combustible materials, and changing use in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programmes where more combustible and flammable liquids are being used. Concerns have been raised by architects and and designers about fire protection regimes Sufficient Fire Risk Assessment Recent research by the Fire Brigades Union, for example, showed that a key focus for all educational institutions must be ensuring that there is an effective fire risk management process in place, delivered by suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment carried out by an expert in the field. The best practice under Business Information Modelling (BIM) and all best practice of fire safety engineering methods should be observed in conjunction with project partners. There have been concerns over a number of years around the fire protection regime for new buildings expressed by the architects and designers themselves. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) points to the delays to Approved Document B with regard to the relationship of Building Regulations to changing design and construction. AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service RIBA says the virtual disappearance of the role of the clerk of works or site architect and the loss of independent oversight of construction and workmanship on behalf of the client is a further issue for concern. In essence, RIBA believes that future proposals for the fire safety regulatory regime should be informed by the specialist fire safety expertise of relevant professional organisations and groups, and also take full account of this wider set of construction industry AEI Cables provides a full range of cabling products through its Total Fire Solutions service with the support of its parent company Ducab based in Dubai, with the design, manufacture and supply of MIC, Firetec Enhanced or Firetec Power depending on specific needs. The choice of cabling and accessories should not be underestimated at the earliest opportunity to ensure the fire and rescue services are given every chance of success in rescuing people and saving property.
The era of “smart buildings” is here, bringing new opportunities for significant gains in efficiency, safety and environmental protection. In an interview, Rodger Reiswig, director of industry relations at Johnson Controls Global Fire Protection Products, offers his insights into the impact of smart buildings on fire detection and what it means for organisations planning new facilities. Q: How do you define smart buildings? The term “smart buildings” means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about the Green Initiative. Is the building able to sustain itself or reduce its carbon footprint? Can they reuse some of their water or generate electricity from onsite solar cells or wind turbines? Another definition of “smart buildings” is based on sensors. Is the building smart enough to know that, if I’m the first person there in the morning and I swipe my card, it should switch the HVAC system into occupied mode? Can it start to turn the lights on? Can it adjust the window shades to allow the sun to come in? Can it call the elevator down for me because it knows that I’m in the lobby and I’m going to the tenth floor? It’s all about how the systems integrate with one another, not just providing information to each other, but also interacting with one another, causing things to happen from one system to another. Q: How close are we to the vision of an integrated intelligent building where all the systems work together? We’ve already been doing some integration for a few years now with things like HVAC and lighting. Now we’re seeing tighter integration where, for example, we can use the position of the sun to get the best impact of sunlight to start to heat the building in the winter. One of the biggest challenges that we see in the smart building environment is protocols or topologies for how one system talks to another. The fire alarm system uses a certain protocol or language. The HVAC system uses another protocol or language, and so on. Creating an environment where systems can talk to one another and not just send, but also receive information – that’s the difficult part. Everybody can send information out. It’s easy for me to tell you what is happening in a system. But for you to tell me what’s happening in your system and then expect me to do something with that information, that’s when it gets a little bit harder. Q: What makes system-to-system communication challenging? Because of the critical role they play in protecting lives and property, life safety systems require a level of reliability and resilience far beyond that of other building systems or networks. Therefore, we have to be extremely careful about how we allow information from other systems to come into the life safety system, in case that information should affect the performance of the system. In addition, the design and specification of life safety systems is guided via three different means: building codes, standards and listings. Each of those means is controlled by different organisations. Any proposed changes to life safety networks have to pass muster with those entities, and that takes time, effort and consensus-building. When we’re talking specifically about system-to-system communication, the listing entities, organisations like UL and FM Global, regulate how much information can come into any life safety system. The listing documents require that there be some type of a barrier or gateway to prevent unauthorised or corrupted information from coming into a fire alarm system, causing harm or causing it to lock up. Life safety systems require a level of reliability and resilience far beyond that of other building systems or networks We will see all building technologies become more integrated over time as we work through the different entities and people begin to realise the benefits of improved safety, lower environmental impact, and reduced costs. Q: How will fire detection systems benefit from other sensor information available in a building? One of the things being explored is occupancy sensors that tell where people are located in a building. Some type of telemetry could be used to understand where people are concentrated in a facility and, based on that, make the fire alarm system more or less sensitive to smoke. If a lot of people are congregating in one area, there might be more activity and more dust being stirred up. You could use that information to set different alarm parameters compared to, for example, an empty building with no significant air movement. We see that type of operation happening. Knowing how many people are in a building and where they are located is also a critically valuable piece of information for first responders. Here’s another example: let’s say we have a big parking garage next to a mall. Cars come in, and perhaps some people leave their cars running, or the cars aren’t operating as efficiently as they should be. You could have carbon monoxide detectors and occupancy sensors in the garage, and when the garage becomes crowded and carbon monoxide levels start to rise a bit, you could tell the fire alarm system not to go into alarm, but instead to turn fans on to get some fresh air moving throughout the building. It’s performing a life safety function, but at a non-emergency level. Q: Are you involved in any cross-industry standard-setting organisations to enable better communication among building systems? On an industry level, Johnson Controls is very active in the development of codes and standards. We have people who sit on committees for things like healthcare occupancy standards. We have engineers that contribute to product listing documents. We have people who participate in committees that determine how products should be installed and maintained.Fire alarm systems could be used to detect and solve non-emergencies before they become threats We’re even involved with groups, like the National Disabilities Rights Network, that advocate for laws that promote equal access and notification of life safety events. The list goes on. It’s a common protocol that allows all types of systems to get on the same communication platform and be able to send and possibly receive information, depending on the product and the type of system it is.Just to give you an example, there’s a standard called BACnet, Building Automation Control Network, which was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. BACnet is based on entities, so within their system, they need to define what each entity is. What is a thermostat? What is a variable air box? What is a lighting controller? What is a fire alarm smoke detector? We work closely with this organisation to create entities that can reside on their infrastructure so that, for example, the lightning system recognises what a smoke detector is when they send that entity out to the network. It’s one of the most important methods we are using to communicate among dissimilar systems. Integrated systems mean elevators could be used to evacuate people in an emergency We’re working on two fronts: internally and industry-wide. We’re developing third-party interfaces that enable an outside entity to sign a non-disclosure form and get the keys to the kingdom, if you will, on our protocols for how our systems operate – the data stream that we can send out and receive back – allowing that third-party developer to create some of these interfaces themselves. That has been one of our challenges, because we have always said that this is a fire alarm system, and if you want that type of an interface, we need to write it and get it listed. We had to step back and say, what if we developed a barrier gateway and allowed somebody else to develop the protocol and, done properly, became able to receive and send information to the fire alarm system? It’s like what Apple does with apps. We are going down that road with this third-party interface gateway. Q: Have these developments changed how you’re planning for the future development of fire detection systems? Yes, they have. We are looking at how we can use these systems strategically to make life safety systems better. And life safety is becoming more nuanced, proactive and comprehensive. Can I communicate and use this information to unlock the door so people have a clear egress? Can I start to use the elevators to evacuate people during an emergency? We’ve been told traditionally to use the stairwell and not the elevator in the event of a fire. But it takes a person about a minute a floor to get out. That’s a problem if you’re in an 80-story building. You have elevators sitting there. Is there something we could do to allow these elevators to be used to evacuate people? The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has been working hard on developing the language and requirements to do that. It’s just one example of how having systems integrated and talking to each other allows us to create smarter solutions that can help make facilities safer. Q: What advice would you give to building owners, architects, designers or contractors to help them start planning today for the future of smart buildings? The most important thing is to build awareness. The average building owner doesn’t know that a lot of this technology even exists. We need to inform them that there are options they can ask about. One of my recommendations would be to ask your design engineer. As you discuss the kind of windows you want, the kind of flooring and lighting and so on, ask how these systems could integrate together and what the benefits of integration would be. The bigger your facility, the greater the benefits of integrating these systems. Another resource that people don’t use often enough is the AHJs, the authorities having jurisdiction. That’s the local fire marshal, the fire chief, the local first responders. Don’t be afraid to sit down with a fire marshal, tell them what kind of building you’re putting in, and ask them what would help them respond in the event of an emergency in that building. They’ll be glad you asked, because these people see a lot of different buildings and respond to emergencies every day.
A number of shocking incidents involving fire have highlighted the need to better manage risks in buildings. David Adkins, managing director at Risk Warden, explains why some organisations need to give compliance with statutory regulations more focus and how the use of state-of-the-art online risk assessment tools can help to ensure that a building is as safe as possible. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into sharp focus. A government review into building regulations in the wake of this tragedy, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, made it clear that competence – defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and experience – underpins safety for all. It also found that that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose and, with little or no quality monitoring, has created a situation where poor language confuses guidance with regulation and means that there is an overlapping regulatory enforcement framework. Why you need a fire safety action plan Sadly, Grenfell was not an isolated incident and similar events have occurred throughout the world. In 2017 a fire at a 17-storey commercial building in Iran led to multiple deaths, including those of 18 firefighters, while in 2015 16 people died in a fire in a residential building in Azerbaijan. Perhaps what is most concerning is that these types of events have been regularly occurring for many years – in 2010 a fire in a 28-storey tower block in China killed 53 people and injured at least 90, while in 2004 a fire at a care home in Scotland led directly to the deaths of 14 residents. The inquiry concluded that this tragedy could have been prevented by a suitable fire safety action plan. These examples highlight why it is vital to take the issue of safety seriously by undertaking a formal risk assessment. Put simply, if risks aren’t identified, a building’s occupants are in danger. There are a number of important pieces of legislation relating to this area in the UK including The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which contain a consistent set of requirements. Employers also have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into focus Responsibility for fire risk assessment When it comes to the dangers associated specifically with fire, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) places the onus on a designated responsible person within an organisation to carry out regular assessments to identify, manage and reduce the potential danger posed by fire. Article 9 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he/she needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him/her by or under this order". Any failure that leads to loss of life, personal injury or damage to property will expose a responsible person and could lead to prosecution. Outside fire risk assessors If the responsible person does not have the knowledge to carry out a fire risk assessment on his or her own, it will be necessary to call on a competent outside fire risk assessor. However, as Article 18 of the RRFSO points out, "Preference is to be given to a suitable competent person in the responsible person’s employment over a person not in their employment". Just as importantly, it states that, "A person is to be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures". If an outside fire risk assessor is employed then the responsible person must undertake due diligence to ensure that the individual concerned is competent and has successful track record in this line of work. Failure to do so can have enormous repercussions like, for example, in 2017 when a former firefighter and professional fire risk assessor was given a sentence of four months in prison suspended for 12 months for providing a ‘woefully inadequate’ fire risk assessment in his capacity as a private consultant. Failure to undertake due diligence when employing a fire risk assessor can have legal consequences Monitoring and reviewing fire risk It is up to the responsible person to put processes and procedures in place to enable compliance to be fully evidenced. This includes keeping up to date records of testing and maintenance regimes that can be scrutinised by relevant enforcement authorities, as well as enabling the responsible person to monitor, control and periodically review the fire risk assessment, especially during and after significant changes to the use or layout of a building. At the moment there are no hard and fast rules as to how fire risk assessments should be carried out. However, the most important requirement is to identify the fire hazards and how people could be at risk. In addition, emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, fire fighting equipment, the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances, and the needs of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with disabilities must be factored in. The aim should always be to remove or reduce the risks as much as is 'reasonably practicable'. A failure to provide satisfactory evidence that a comprehensive risk assessment has taken place could result in invalid insurance, large fines and even the prosecution of any individuals responsible. To that end Article 11 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his/her undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures". Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface Risk assessment and compliance tools Sometimes, particularly with large buildings or campus environments, the complexity of the risk assessment process requires a more methodical approach that takes subjectivity out of the process. When it comes to satisfying the requirements of Article 11 of the RRFSO where "the responsible person must record the arrangements", the latest generation of intuitive risk assessment and compliance tools can help. Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface, which allows a responsible person to be guided through the entire risk assessment process in a clear and thorough manner. This is a significant improvement on the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ approach, as digital images can be captured and placed directly into a report at the relevant section, while templates for specific building types ensure consistency throughout. This simplifies the identification, management and prevention of any risks related to not only fire, but security, and health and safety too, thereby reducing the potential for danger within a wide variety of environments. It should always be remembered that the risk assessment is only the first stage of the process and where traditional methods often fall down is in taking – or not taking, as the case may be – any necessary remedial action. Online tools provide a more cohesive approach, as once the risk assessment has been completed all work undertaken is clearly outlined, logged and accounted for to comply with audits. This provides evidence of compliance and ensures organisations meet their legal obligations, validate their insurance, take a consistent approach to risk management and provide peace of mind for a responsible person. Making buildings safer There is a clear need for a digital record of risk assessment compliance for the whole life of a building – from design and construction through to occupation. As assessing risk can be a lengthy and complicated process, anything that makes this easier and enhances an organisation’s ability to negate the likelihood of injury or even death should be embraced. It stands to reason that risk management must be more strictly applied in order to prevent incidents that could be avoided – therefore, the use of online risk assessment and compliance tools should be at the forefront when it comes to making buildings safer.
For many students, the prospect of moving away from home and living alone for the first time can be daunting. Thanks to leading manufacturer of life safety solutions, Hochiki Europe, and NSC Sicherheitstechnik, students living at two sophisticated accommodation developments in Germany have one less thing to worry about when it comes to fire safety. The new developments are eight storeys high and capable of accommodating 239 residents at each location. Both named The Flag, they provide a flexible, smart city living space for students in Frankfurt and Munich, and feature premium fire detection and alarm equipment supplied by Hochiki Europe. Complying With European Standards One challenge that arose when specifying the life safety solutions for The Flag was the complexity of the sites. The nature of the buildings called for compliance with European EN standards including EN 54 Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems. It was also imperative that products selected offered optimum reliability to safeguard the wellbeing of occupants and limit the risk of false alarms. As well as being reliable, the products had to help keep running costs down across the sites, without compromising quality. Using products that offer enhanced energy efficiency credentials was therefore essential. Hochiki Fire Detection Solution To address these challenges, Hochiki Europe’s German-based systems partner, NSC Sicherheitstechnik, worked with building owners to identify and provide a range of life safety solutions for the two sites. This included a Solution F1 18 loop fire alarm system with 800 multi sensor detectors, which incorporate both smoke and thermal elements, and 925 base sounders. Multi sensors offer a number of benefits when it comes to reducing the risk of false alarms in residential environments, thanks to in-built intelligence. The sensors can be programmed in a way that ensures alarm conditions are reached only when smoke and heat are present at specific levels to minimise false alarms, and prevent unnecessary evacuations of residents. Additional Life Safety Solution Features The base sounders selected for use likewise feature in-built intelligence, and have an auto shutdown feature to reduce the risk of noise pollution, a common issue in large housing developments such as The Flag. In addition, the base sounders offer a low current consumption to help increase energy efficiency. Both the multi sensors and base sounders are also compatible with Hochiki Europe’s Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP), a range which offers high performance with enhanced reliability. This ensured compliance with strict fire safety standards as required by the developers. Frank Schade, Sales Manager at NSC Sicherheitstechnik, added: “By using these intelligent life safety solutions from Hochiki Europe, we have been given peace of mind that our premises are fully protected and compliant with international legislation.” Both of The Flag developments were completed in 2017.
Hochiki Europe, leading manufacturer of life safety solutions, has recently worked with Scottish Security and Fire Systems to ensure the safety and security of a renovated Baptist church in Fife. The building which now houses Glenrothes Baptist Church was first constructed in the early 1960s and used as local authority offices. Following its recent conversion into a place of religious worship and, as such, a place of medium assembly under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Order), the clergy house updated its fire safety and emergency lighting equipment. Appointed to carry out the works was specifier Scottish Security and Fire Systems, a provider of professional installation and maintenance services across Scotland. Meeting Aesthetic Requirements And Safety Standards The Fife project required an ultra-reliable and easy-to-maintain system that would not detract from the aesthetics of the building itself, nor distract its occupants with large, imposing features. Furthermore, the three-storey structure needed a networked system that performed in-line with recent changes in fire safety legislation. For example, the newly revised BS5266 Part 1: 2016 stipulates that emergency safety lighting should be bright enough to allow building occupants to see their surroundings in the event of a mains supply failure and the loss of normal lighting. On the back of a successful working relationship which began in 1995, Hochiki Europe’s intelligent emergency lighting and fire detection solutions were specified by their customer Scottish Security and Fire Systems. Hochiki Europe’s ESP range of intelligent devices utilise the world-proven Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP). The range offers high compliance to globally recognised safety standards, and the open protocol gives installers the flexibility to incorporate devices from multiple manufacturers. Intelligent LED Emergency Lighting Scottish Security and Fire Systems also chose to specify Hochiki Europe’s innovative FIREscape system – the UK’s first low-voltage, addressable, intelligent, LED emergency lighting system. When compared to conventional mains-driven, fluorescent emergency lighting luminaires, FIREscape products can save more than 95 per cent of energy costs*1. Richard Wharram, Regional Sales Manager at Hochiki Europe, explained: “In places of assembly, such as churches, many people can be affected by an emergency situation in a very short space of time, which means fire safety must be regarded with upmost importance. FIREscape technology is a fantastic investment for this project. The system is not only reliable, intelligent and compliant, but its energy saving capabilities make it a long-term, cost-effective investment, saving the church both time and money.” Safety For Church Buildings “By using our easy-to-install technology, the specifiers were also able to significantly reduce the expected turnaround time of the project. Using both our ESP intelligent and FIREscape products, Scottish Security and Fire Systems ensured that Glenrothes Baptist Church is completely compliant with the latest building regulations, and churchgoers will be alerted quickly and efficiently in the case of an emergency." Matthew Marshall, Assistant Pastor of Missions, said: “The new life safety system at Glenrothes Baptist Church is easy to operate, and its self-test ability is a great additional feature. The new system will undoubtedly save us time and money through energy savings over the coming years. The safety of our congregation is, of course, of paramount importance, and Hochiki Europe’s products have given us that peace of mind.” *1 Based on 100 luminaires (VTT Technical Research, Finland)
The University Hospital of Wales had been in use for some 20 years and several aspects of its design did not meet current hospital and fire safety standards. Project: The University Hospital of Wales is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. The main ward block houses 800 beds and is a high-rise building. In addition, there is a three-story medical block and a three-story dental block. The three buildings are interconnected by subways and tunnels. The hospital had been in use for some 20 years and several aspects of its design did not meet current hospital and fire safety standards. The hospital had also experienced severe disruption due to smoke spread from some relatively small fires. A radical re-evaluation of all aspects of the fire safety provision was required. This included assessing: Compartmentalisation and separation aspects. Automatic fire detection requirements. Automatic fire suppression strategies. Requirements for storage and removal of waste/rubbish. Procedures for evacuation in a fire emergency. Contribution: BRE Global's Fire and Risk Sciences Division (FRS) was commissioned by WHCSA to assess the total fire safety provision. The hospital of Wales will get an enhanced security and safety cover after the FRS report FRS liaised with the local fire service, the hospital board, the hospital fire officer and NHS Estates in order to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the problem. FRS then produced a fire safety report detailing cost-effective recommendations, which were based on fire safety engineering principles rather than just opting for compliance with prescriptive codes and requirements. The fire safety assessment report was then used to form the basis of a subsequent £multi-million refurbishment and upgrading scheme. Benefits: FRS is the UK's leading centre for research-based consultancy and testing covering all aspects of fire safety and security. The division can draw upon extensive research into experimental emergency evacuations and occupant behaviour during fires, all of which was important to the successful conclusion of this project. Established in 1947, FRS's clients extend beyond the construction industry, and include those concerned with design, development and manufacture of materials, products, systems, industrial processes, transport and offshore. BRE is retained as an advisor to the NHS Fire Code Committee and the NAPG.
Nuclear facilities require special security measures, as they are prone to hazards and fatal accidents ASL Safety & Security have supplied a high-integrity building evacuation system (BES) to Sellafield Ltd at the company's nuclear processing facility in Cumbria. Sellafield currently performs multiple tasks geared towards decommissioning the UK's nuclear legacy as well as fuel recycling, manufacture and waste management. As a key safety system at this nuclear-licensed site, the equipment is required to be entirely dual redundant, with emphasis placed on a design that meets key objectives for a robust architecture, unaffected by environmental and electromagnetic factors as defined in BSEN 61000-6-4 and BS EN 61000-6-2. The system also meets the stringent BS5839:8 standard for voice alarm systems. Nuclear facilities have unusual requirements and safety is so critical at this location that a 'confidence tone' is broadcast at 15-second intervals around the clock. The presence of these regular pips reassures personnel that the evacuation system is functioning correctly. If an event is activated manually by criticality incident detectors or activity-in-air monitors specific to a building, a distinct warning tone is broadcast within 300 milliseconds and the location in question is evacuated. At the same time, "Keep Out!" warning beacons are triggered throughout the evacuation zone. Local residents are automatically contacted by telephone and can also ring a number to hear a description of various emergency sirens. Failure of any of the components will not affect the operation of the system as a whole. The amplifiers employed are ASL's M400 rack-mounted main frame units which use the company's unique class-D adaptive technology to minimise power consumption, meaning a reduced sizing requirement for battery back-up. The system features dual power supplies, routers and standby amplifiers modules with speaker line monitoring and automatic switching carried out via DC surveillance.