Fire Safety Standards
Firefighters Support Alliance has launched an initiative to help voters understand the local economic impact fire departments have on their communities, and how crucial federal grant programs like AFG and SAFER are to emergency preparedness. One of the most exciting tools to be launched as part of this initiative is an interactive map that tracks and breaks down data related to the economic impact of firefighters. Firefighters Support Alliance is the direct grassroots public policy & politi...
Hundreds of fire industry professionals from over 30 countries have benefitted from Apollo Fire Detectors’ free online training courses available throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period. The weekly virtual CPD seminars and product focused webinars have proved so popular that the company has extended the initial six- week program of events into July and August, and potentially beyond. the next phase of courses Warren Moyle, Senior Technical Support Engineer at Apollo Fire Detectors, who...
Baystone Government Finance announced its completion of $3.35 million financing for the City of New York. Assistant Vice President Christina Ummel said the funds will be used to pay for 19 ambulances pressed into service at the height of the City's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "The FDNY had an urgent need for additional vehicles that could be used to transport patients from their homes to medical facilities or between facilities throughout the city," said Ummel. "The 19 vehicles purchased...
The Extinguishing Section of Euralarm has published a guidance document on the important aspects relating to the periodic inspection of cylinders used in fixed gaseous fire extinguishing systems and especially in respect to hydrostatic testing. The guidance note is intended to identify some critical areas that are often not fully understood and does not prescribe the full processes involved in the testing or the physical handling of the cylinders. Transportable cylinders under the TPED (Transpo...
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and Mag Instrument, U.S. Manufacturer of the iconic MAGLITE® flashlight, have partnered with the Pedestrian Safety Institute (PSI) to drive awareness of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrian and traffic fatalities in the Month of July. July has been designated National Roadside Traffic Safety Awareness Month because of the spike in accidents and fatalities during that tim...
Pallet Consultants Nationwide announced a donation of pallets from its facility in Atlanta, Georgia has been used in live fire training by the Forest Park Fire Department. The City of Forest Park is a suburb of Atlanta, and beginning its fire department will use the donation of more than 500 pallets to train and recertify over 60 firefighters and fire training officers to make them more effective in the field. Shortage of pallets Forest Park Fire Department Captain Jon Baker said training is a...
Thirty-three Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), comprising over 33,500 firefighters, are now benefiting from the Local Authority Collaborative PPE Framework. Launched three years ago in June 2017, the Framework gives UK FRSs access to high quality PPE ensembles and volume discounts through a streamlined procurement process. The Framework was set up in response to calls from government and the industry for FRSs to work together to share best practice and deliver efficiencies. It is run by Kent FRS, with PPE supplied by Bristol Uniforms, who was selected as the preferred supplier following a rigorous two-year tender process. Signing up via a purchase only or fully managed service contract, FRSs continue to reap the benefits of the Framework, which guarantees quality PPE that has been independently evaluated and tested, and can save considerable time and costs. utilize latest technology So far this year through the Framework, Bristol has delivered new PPE to seven FRSs, including Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service who opted for a Fully Managed Services Contract. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, they were measured and received their kit on 1 June. The safety of our firefighters is of the utmost importance to us here in Oxfordshire" Chief Fire Officer Rob MacDougall said: “Bristol Uniforms uses the latest technology in firefighter clothing, and they design PPE to provide fire crews with the very best protection. The safety of our firefighters is of the utmost importance to us here in Oxfordshire. The kit is lighter in weight, breathable and offers more support for the wearer and we are proud to know we are now one of many fire and rescue services in the country to utilize this latest technology in protective clothing for our staff. Thank you to Bristol Uniforms for providing us with a first-class service.” fire and rescue service Chris Colgan, Director of Operations at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, and Chair of the NFCC PPE/Clothing Committee, said: “The National Collaborative PPE Framework is the first of its kind for the fire and rescue service, enabling borderless provision of standardized critical kit." "So far, working with the team at Bristol Uniforms, we have made significant progress in demonstrating that the sector can work as one customer. However, more can be done. The pandemic has shown us that it is not an impossible target to expect all FRS to sign up to national arrangements delivered through the National Fire Commercial Transformation Programme and we are committed to continuing to build on the success of this arrangement." benefits of joint working The selected styles combine innovative and ergonomic designs with the use of high-performance fabrics and fibers "Bristol Uniforms has done a sterling job ensuring service continuity for all FRS throughout the disruptions caused by COVID-19, working closely with the contract management team at Kent FRS on behalf of the Sector. This has been one of the greatest tests of strategic relationship and service management and I am incredibly pleased that the result has been a real proof of concept.” Roger Startin, Joint Managing Director at Bristol Uniforms said: “The demand for our cutting-edge PPE through the Collaborative Framework has been unprecedented as FRSs learn about the benefits of joint working. The Framework has significantly improved and simplified the procurement process and despite very challenging circumstances, we continue to size firefighters for their new kit, manufacture and deliver it on time and to budget.” high-performance fabrics PPE supplied by Bristol Uniforms within the Framework includes Full Structural Ensemble, a Layered Jacket, Rescue Jacket and USAR Ensemble. The selected styles combine innovative and ergonomic designs with the use of high-performance fabrics and fibers, offering maximum comfort, manoeuvrability and protection.
Prior to organizing its Extraordinary General Assembly and following a decision of its members, Euralarm opened the doors for Associate Members to work with them to keep Europe a safe place to live, work and relax. 50 years after their founding, Europe is in a time of change. New technologies, digitization, new standards and regulations will move them in a new era. Life safety and security for European citizens at home, at work or traveling throughout Europe, are key for the future. The fire safety and security industry have an important role in keeping Europe a safe place to live. National associations and companies Their work is supported by a broad representation of the stakeholders caring for a safe and secure society. That support ensures that Euralarm can contribute to make Europe the best and safest place to live. Euralarm provides leadership for the fire safety, security and extinguishing industry, and expertise for policy makers and standardization bodies. The European association supports pro-actively a Single European Market strategy for the sector. As part of that strategy and as the only trade association in the sector, Euralarm has a local team in Brussels. Until now the membership of Euralarm was open for national associations and companies who want to tap into the political expertise of Euralarm and understand how EU and local policy is impacting the fire safety and security industry, its markets and the European citizens. Making personal connections The associate membership allows companies to make personal connections with technical and political experts Euralarm calls stakeholders who want to contribute to the move to the next era to join their organization. Stakeholders include research organizations, certification bodies, associations, insurance companies and consumer organizations. The associate membership allows companies to make personal connections with technical and political experts, share expertise on standardization and be heard and influence standardization and legislative processes. Stakeholders that are interested in an associate membership will stay in touch with the latest trends in regulation and technology and have directly access to a repository of Euralarm documentation produced by Euralarm members and its professional team. Cross-Sectional information Associate members are also welcome to network with industry experts during the annual Euralarm Symposium and other expert events. An associate member has an observer status and therefore has no voting rights or rights to chair a section or committee. Associate members have the right to participate in the activities of the association and its sections and have access to relevant section and cross-sectional information. Candidate associate organizations that are interested to join Euralarm can send their application in writing to the General Management.
Johnson Controls announces the launch of two new TYCO® pressure control valves for fire protection systems: the TYCO® Model RV-1A Pressure Relief Valve and the TYCO® Model PRV-1A Pressure Reducing Valve. The new valves offer simple, low-maintenance solutions for controlling and maintaining optimal water pressure within commercial fire protection systems. Maintains a relatively constant system pressure The TYCO® RV-1A Pressure Relief Valve automatically relieves excess pressure in fire protection systems to maintain a relatively constant system pressure as flow demands change. Its simple design eliminates the need for users to bleed trapped air from the diaphragm chamber. The valve offers users a nominal relief “set pressure” range of 30 to 250 psi (2.1 to 17.2 bar). "With a simple trim configuration and just one moving part, just like the DV-5A, these new valves provide optimal pressure control with minimal maintenance and dependable, consistent operation over time." – Gijsbert van Rooijen, global product manager, Johnson Controls The TYCO® PRV-1A Pressure Reducing Valve reduces a higher inlet pressure to a lower outlet delivery pressure in water-filled pipes. It automatically maintains the outlet "set pressure" (static and residual) within a close range, regardless of fluctuations in the higher-pressure inlet line or varying flow rates. Valves are factory assembled and fully trimmed “We developed both valves using the same diaphragm design as the TYCO® DV-5A deluge valve”, said Gijsbert van Rooijen, global product manager, Johnson Controls. “With a simple trim configuration and just one moving part, just like the DV-5A, these new valves provide optimal pressure control with minimal maintenance and dependable, consistent operation over time.” The RV-1A and PRV-1A valves are UL and ULc Listed and FM Approved. Both valves are factory assembled and fully trimmed. They are available in sizes ranging from two inches to eight inches, with flange-by-flange and grooved-by-grooved end connection options.
Accela, a renowned provider of cloud-based solutions for government, announced the launch of its Civic Application for Fire Prevention. The solution helps fire departments increase their capacity and effectiveness and ensure they are equipped in the case of emergencies, especially amid an evolving environmental and public safety landscape. It consists of a complete system for managing permitting and inspection processes, including a mobile application available both online and offline to keep fire department staff on track towards inspection targets, process permits faster, and improve business owner visibility. importance of public safety The COVID-19 pandemic and recent incidents of civic unrest has presented unprecedented challenges" This is the latest addition to Accela's suite of out-of-the-box SaaS Civic Applications and makes product evaluation and procurement processes easier and faster for state and local agencies by packaging the solution with three tiered capabilities based on an agency's budget and need. "The COVID-19 pandemic and recent incidents of civic unrest has presented unprecedented challenges for cities and states across the country and brought a renewed focus on the importance of public safety," said Jonathon (JK) Knight, Chief Customer Officer at Accela. local emergency response "Fire departments are core to any local emergency response and require robust digital tools with the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. Our new Civic Application for Fire Prevention will help departments enhance public safety, increase productivity, and build resilience as they navigate the current public health crisis, protests, and beyond." Accela's new Fire Prevention Civic Application automates all aspects of permitting, licensing, and inspection processes for fire departments to increase emergency preparedness. The solution moves all workflows and functions online, removing paper and manual steps, and significantly streamlines the complexities of the plan review, inspection, and permitting processes so agencies can focus on fire prevention and public safety outreach. seamless mobile experience It also provides a seamless mobile experience for field inspections to increase productivity, enable team inspections, simplify staff training, and minimize person-to-person interactions among firefighters and fire inspectors. The City of Oakland, California's fire department is leveraging Accela to help streamline their fire permitting and field inspections to reach more facilities in less time. Before Accela, we would spend three weeks printing, collating, and pre-sorting the inspection forms" "Before Accela, we would spend three weeks printing, collating, and pre-sorting the inspection forms, and delivering them to each fire station responsible for those areas. After the inspections were finished, the forms had to be physically picked up by the Fire Prevention team and filed away in the Fire Prevention Bureau, resulting in lots of trips back and forth–just to deliver pieces of paper," says Oakland Fire Department Captain Anthony Sanders. valuable best practices "Now, the inspection data is captured as we're in the field on our tablets, and we don't need to do that double-data entry anymore – it's saved a lot of time." The Fire Prevention Civic Application is the newest offering in Accela's suite of Civic Applications. These out-of-the-box solutions provide "consumer-like" experiences for citizens, shorten time to value, and come pre-built with valuable best practices. The Fire Prevention Civic Application is the first in the series designed to make product evaluation and procurement processes more streamlined for governments to speed implementation and improve the economics. leverage cloud technology Accela is offering the Fire Prevention Civic Application in packages -- titled Essentials, Extended and Enterprise -- ranging from low to high complexity for fire departments to choose from based on their size, budget, and individual needs. Larger or more complex fire departments can leverage all pre-built components of the system that are available to smaller or less complex department requirements, with the added capability to customize on top of Accela's preconfigured technology. The announcement builds on Accela's efforts to help cities leverage cloud technology These packages also facilitate quicker installation processes and include training and user guides to reduce the burden of managing software to give agencies more time and resources to properly handle emergencies. The announcement builds on Accela's efforts to help cities leverage cloud technology to respond to high levels of citizen requests during times of crisis. COVID-19 Response Solutions More than 80 percent of Accela's new customers purchased solutions in the cloud, and 66 percent of all Accela customers are now in the cloud. Accela recently launched its suite of COVID-19 Response Solutions to help cities and states respond to the biggest challenges of the current pandemic. These cloud-based solutions were developed to enable agencies to provide online citizen services while working remotely, including scheduling healthcare workers and volunteers, conducting mobile and virtual inspections to help field workers continue critical, timely inspections or construction projects as scheduled, and more. They can be rapidly implemented in as little as 24-72 hours, depending on the solution, to empower agencies to adapt to the circumstances quickly.
Viking Electronics introduces ceiling speaker - the 30AE-70V for 70-Volt and 25-Volt paging systems that are economical and dynamic. The speaker distributes sound evenly, accurately, and affordably. “The 30AE-70V efficiently produces high quality audio and is a great addition to Viking’s paging collection,” said Paul Speltz, Senior Engineer, Viking Electronics, Inc. 30AE-70V ceiling speaker Viking’s new 30AE-70V ceiling speaker is designed to evenly distribute sound from a 70-Volt or 25-Volt paging amplifier. It mounts into an 8.25 to 10-inch diameter cut-out or enclosure which is neatly concealed by the speaker’s faceplate. The 30AE-70V has an excellent frequency response for high quality sound reproduction. Five selectable power taps enable each speaker’s volume to be set to an appropriate level for its location. Each 30AE-70V can handle up to 10 Watts of power.
Titan are pleased to announce that they are offering a new range of luxury armored vehicles for use in corporate, government and private security sectors across Europe. Titan are now able to provide custom built armored cars including Range Rover, Mercedes Benz and Toyota Land Cruisers. The standard range offers full body armoring with B6 level protection, B6 overlaps to provide protection from bullets following linear and angular trajectories, upgraded suspension, wheel assemblies, slotted discs on all wheels to enhance heat dissipation. Armored Range Rovers Range Rovers are the most popular armored vehicle as they offer exceptional all terrain mobility, high performance engines and high impact resistance. The range offers upgraded suspension and wheel assemblies, full armor coverage to B6 as standard, slotted discs and 20” wheel assemblies. Ballistic glass offers B6 level protection with armor plate overlap at key areas. Internal engine and vehicle components are fitted with additional plating, protection and redundancies to keep the vehicle moving. Armored Mercedes Benz The S Class sedan is the pinnacle of luxury car and we are able to offer the new W221 generation in a variety of customized configurations including the S400 hybrid, S600, S63 and S65 AMG. The range offers complete armor coverage for all four sides and the roof, windshield and doors with ballistic overlaps and reinforced hinges to prevent potential misalignment of plates. The chassis has been fully reinforced and brake systems and suspension systems upgraded to provide increased mobility with armor plating. Armored Toyota Land Cruisers Toyota land cruisers are the company's popular flagship product and are available in left, and right hand drive with engine sizes from 4.0l V6 – 5.7l V8 Petrol and 4.5l V8 diesel offering exceptional power and speed. The armored land cruiser is incredibly versatile for all terrain and offers Smartarmor single piece armor design for sidewalls, overlapping Firewall armoring to minimize welding points, custom fabricated door panels, spall liner for bullet catching, updated armor to provide additional protection for batteries, engine wings, ECU, brake cylinder and radiators. The vehicle has been designed to act as a roll cage in the event of cars flipping and can be fully customized to customer’s specifications. automatic fire suppression systems As well as the standard features, Titan’s armored vehicles can be fitted with CEN B7 level protective armor to protect from armor piercing rounds, ballistic radiator protection, certified blast protection, automatic fire suppression systems, communications systems, escape hatches and PA systems. They provide the most versatile armored vehicles in the market today. All Titan’s vehicles are fully customizable and made to order so the client always receives a tailored armored vehicle.
2020 introduced a variety of unique challenges for many industries around the world. Not surprisingly, the fire detection industry was not immune to all of those challenges. However, as much of the global community defined our manufacturing and installing peers as “essential” or “critical” it required us, as an industry, to adapt so we could continue to service our customers with our products and services. Many regions around the world are experiencing significant demand for temporary detection systems. This demand is almost universally driven by an increase in education, awareness, and enforcement. While this is a global shift, our company has experienced a large demand in our own backyard. Within the United States, this is being driven by the adoption and enforcement of NFPA 241. NFPA is the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. NFPA 241 has been a “concept” since 1930 and the official text was finally adopted by the NFPA in 1933. As with all standards, it has progressed over the years to accommodate changes in technology as well as safety awareness. Fire safety awareness While general safety awareness on construction sites has always been consistently high, fire safety awareness has significantly increased within the last 5 years. Nuisance alarms negatively consume first responder bandwidth Typically, new, or increased regulation within our industry occurs after a single devastating event or several significant events. In this particular case, it was a combination of both. On a national level, fires on construction sites were reaching dangerous and unacceptable levels and becoming so widespread that enforcement of this standard became a priority in several states. Need for accurate and timely fire detection According to a report released by Richard Campbell of the NFPA in February of 2020 titled Fire In Structures under Construction or Renovation, “the estimated number of fires in structures under construction has increased since 2014 after declining between 2008 and 2010” further creating awareness. For the last few years, the focus of many local AHJ’s (authority having jurisdiction) was on new and active worksites or renovation projects. With the changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic today, many non-essential industries have either shut down or had their operations significantly reduced. This means the need for a functioning detection system is more critical now than ever as many facilities remain idle or continue to operate with reduced personnel. Detecting fires quickly and accurately gives our first responders the best chance of saving a person or facility. Conversely, having any “detection system” is often not good enough. Nuisance alarms negatively consume first responder bandwidth, possibly removing an engine or fire company from a genuine event. Temporary fire detection In an article by The Boston Globe, Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts said “Ninety percent of these buildings go up every day and nothing happens. It’s during construction before the sprinkler system is activated when they are most dangerous.” Globally, we have seen four approaches to temporary detection for both construction and renovation sites. We will quickly discuss the advantages and disadvantages below: Using 24/7 fire watch Utilizing local first responders or other authorized/trained personnel to offer 24/7 fire watch requires a person or team of people to be onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be physically looking for fires. Advantage: Someone is always on site, actively viewing and patrolling the facility. Disadvantage: Maintaining a 24/7 fire watch can be expensive, further the person or team can only see/find fires in proximity to them as they continue to move about a facility. Using digital linear heat detection Digital linear heat detection is a fixed temperature detector that is constructed using a twisted pair of metal conductors that are separated by a heat sensitive polymer. When the ambient temperature meets or exceeds the detector’s fixed temperature the polymers melt, and the detector shorts out resulting in an alarm. Advantages: Detector can be easily installed at a new construction site or a facility being renovated. The technology is a low profile, non-intrusive and cost-effective form of detection. This automatic initiating device is immune to environmental conditions. Protectowire FireSystems offers Confirmed Temperature Initiation technology (mechanical damage does not cause a false alarm). Disadvantages: Detector can be mechanically damaged during normal worksite operation. If you are unsure, be sure to check with the local AHJ or call your insurance provider Using wireless spot detectors There are a few companies on the market that offer wireless spot detectors that can be networked together. Advantage: Typically, this technology uses a mesh network of detectors. The detectors and their bases are battery operated and can be moved or placed per worksite requirements. Disadvantage: This technology can be expensive. Physical barriers on the construction site may hinder mesh network operation requiring the purchase of additional wireless units. Many wireless technology providers focus on smoke detection. Smoke detectors are often not ideal for the harsh environments associated with construction (dust, temperature changes, etc.). Using a hybrid approach This involves using wireless nodes to supervise linear heat detection. Most manufacturers of the wireless systems offer a wireless node that can accept a third-party initiating device. Advantage: Wireless nodes can be placed anywhere, and linear heat detection technology can withstand the harsh construction environment. Disadvantage: Wireless node battery life can be reduced when using a third-party device. Less cost-effective approach. Solution for Facilities While each of the approaches listed above has its own advantages and disadvantages, you must always consider what is best for your facility. If you are unsure, be sure to check with the local AHJ or call your insurance provider. Established in 1938, Protectowire FireSystems is the global manufacturer of Linear Heat Detection Systems. The Company has been manufacturing in the United States for the past 80 years and counting. Protectowire is dedicated to delivering products designed, engineered, manufactured, and tested with a high degree of performance, reliability, and quality. As one of the manufacturers in the fire protection industry, Protectowire has the experience and knowledge needed to meet the ever-increasing detection challenges of the special hazard and commercial industries.
The fire industry has made it absolutely clear, led by authorized bodies including the BAFE Fire Safety Register, that the current pandemic does not remove the need to comply with any fire safety requirements under the Building Regulations. As we now look beyond the lockdown period, John Allam, Operations Director at Amthal Fire and Security reviews the raft of new proposals demonstrating the Government and industry’s commitment to compliant fire safety and new immediate demands placed on responsible persons. Multi-Occupancy residential buildings Whilst the second phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been put on hold until July at the earliest over coronavirus restrictions, the government has continued its quest to effect change and bring the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill into legislation. While the Building Safety Bill will ‘place new and enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products’, both bills aim to strengthen the ‘whole regulatory system’ for both building and fire safety. The Fire Safety Bill will apply to England and Wales, to amend the Fire Safety Order 2005 and seeks to clarify responsibility for reducing fire risk in multi-occupancy residential buildings. The details of the Fire Safety Bill, which has now had its second reading in the House of Commons, includes recommendations of regular inspections of lifts and sprinkler systems for buildings over 11m tall. Quarterly fire door inspections Building owners will now face ‘enforcement action’ from emergency services if they do not manage fire risk Significantly, it also introduces compulsory quarterly fire door inspections, which is a hugely significant development in its own right, to influence an industry where this is no specific legislation that requires fire doors to be checked. The Fire Safety Bill intends to ensure evacuation plans are reviewed, regularly updated and communicated to residents in a ‘form that they can be reasonably be expected to understand.’ And it highlights the importance of individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards. This will play a key part in increasing residents’ fire safety, whereby building owners will now face ‘enforcement action’ from emergency services if they do not manage fire risk in a building’s structure. Improving the fire safety of buildings In addition, the government is consulting with the National Fire Chiefs Council to begin testing evacuation alert systems for high-rise blocks of flats, which could support fire and rescue services’ operational response by alerting residents if they need to escape. The National Fire Chiefs Council to begin testing evacuation alert systems for high-rise blocks of flats The new program will be governed by a Building Safety Regulator (BSR) that will initially be led by Dame Judith Hackitt during the set up phase, who will be tasked with improving the fire safety of buildings. Launched by The RT Hon Robert Jenrick MP Secretary Of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, he cited the new program as taking, “Ambitious steps to further reform the building safety system with the biggest changes in a generation to ensure residents are safe in their homes.” He added: “This new regime will put residents’ safety at its heart, and follows the announcement of the unprecedented £1 billion fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the budget.” Major regulatory decisions The BSR will be responsible for all major regulatory decisions made at key points during design, construction, occupation and refurbishment of buildings. And such decisions and obligations must be upheld and maintained throughout a development’s life. The new safety case regime will apply not only to new buildings, but also to buildings that are already in use" In Dame Judith’s own words: “When introduced by the new regulator, the new safety case regime will apply not only to new buildings, but also to buildings that are already in use and occupied. If those buildings were built to poor standards in the past, it will not be the case that you can simply say ‘well it complied with building regulations at the time’. The test will be different. The test will be ‘is this building safe to be occupied?’ and, if not, what are you going to do to improve it?’ … People will be asked to think about what they can do, what is reasonable and what is practicable to do in order to improve the safety of a given building.” Regulating the fire safety industry Both Hackitt and the Government want the BSR to be set up in shadow form before the Building Safety Bill becomes law. The plan is to put the bill before Parliament by the autumn, despite the challenges thrown by the Pandemic. The new legislation proposed by Government will undoubtedly ensure that buildings and those that live and work in them are maintained to be fire safe. In the words of BAFE CEO Stephen Adams: “The time is right to help better regulate the fire safety industry to change end user behavior and create a UK that's safer from the devastating effects of fire.” As BAFE further attests, as lockdown measures begin to be lifted, there will be a need for the competent maintenance of fire safety systems/provisions and fire risk assessment work. Fire doors and risk assessments Amthal is working closely with building owners and managers across the UK to deliver the benefits of safer environment This means for those who own or manage residential buildings, will soon be ‘held into account’ if they do not ensure fire safety in their buildings, and the requirements will impact further on costs and resource allocation, for investigating buildings and ensuring compliance. There is a definite sense to be proactive in acceptance of the new impending legislation. But the concern cited amongst building owners is the industry’s ability to undertake the volume of assessments required, given the lack of current lack of specific legislation on specific elements such as fire doors and risk assessments, together with the steep expectations for fire strategy and evacuation plans. Amthal is working closely with building owners and managers across the UK to deliver the benefits of safer environment within a holistic fire safety approach. Working in partnership, means taking the time to understand the implications of the Government’s Fire Safety Bill, alongside the implications of the Building Safety Bill and BSR program. This way, we can ensure responsible persons confidently achieve all operational requirements for the ultimate benefit of residents’ peace of mind.
New government legislation due to come into force in the United Kingdom on July 1st will require electrical installations in privately rented properties to be tested and inspected at least once every 5 years. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations (2020) will require landlords to enlist qualified electricians to complete inspections and provide certification to tenants – or face fines of up to £30,000. While the risk of fire can never be entirely eliminated, the new legislation will introduce higher levels of safety and ensure that one of the primary causes of fire – electrical malfunctions – is regularly tested for. There are a number of procedures and regulations in place for when a fire has already started, but this new law will help to reduce the chances of it getting to that point. After all, prevention is the best form of protection. No safety procedure or response plan will ever fully prepare someone for the reality of a fire. However, a comprehensive prevention strategy and use of the latest technologies to quickly detect and respond to a fire can at least reduce the potential risk to both life and property. Defensive detection A fire can spring from many sources. Current standards do a good job of ensuring properties are well equipped to defend against fires created by overcurrent caused by overloads and short circuits. A comprehensive prevention strategy and use of the latest technologies to quickly detect and respond to a fire can at least reduce potential risk However, electrical fires can also result from mistakes made during the installation process, namely loose cabling or aging circuits that will not be detected by overcurrent protection. Indeed, a defective or worn insulation is the cause of 14% of all electrical fires in buildings. The danger of landlords only performing the bare minimum to protect their buildings is that, should a fire start from a source they haven’t accounted for, the loss and disruption to property could be devastating. For maximum protection, individuals need reliable, innovative products that excel beyond the minimum standards to prevent a fire from starting in the first place. The pending legislation will add to this safety from the start. It will require landlords to use qualified electricians when installing, repairing and maintaining systems, benefitting both landlords and tenants by mitigating electrical issues and instilling greater confidence. Protection against insulation faults The risk of cable insulation faults grows over time and the consequences can be severe. Low-intensity arc faults are more likely to occur in humid, dusty environments, causing injury and deadly fires if precautions aren’t taken. Protection against insulation faults within cables can be assured by residual current devices (RCD), which are triggered by earth leakage currents exceeding 300mA. For maximum protection, individuals need reliable, innovative products that excel beyond the minimum standards to prevent a fire from starting Additionally, final circuits in critical locations (as recommended in IEC 60364), should be protected by an arc fault detection device (AFDD). This is a circuit breaker that automatically cuts off the electricity supply when it detects an arc fault in the circuit. By immediately stopping the supply, AFDDs stop arc faults from reaching temperatures where fires can break out. As well as ensuring that private tenants feel more safe and secure, the new legislation represents an opportunity for electricians to secure more work and develop their skills. Going forward, as the demand for electricians in the private rented sector rises, we expect to see greater opportunity for electrical engineers to win long running contracts with landlords and property managers. Fire may be a risk, but it is not unavoidable. This new legislation promises greater peace of mind for private tenants by ensuring that electrical standards are met and hazards reduced. With expert knowledge and the correct approach to electrical fire prevention, a fire can be extinguished before any damage is done.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is promoting awareness of the danger of heart attacks in the fire service. A toolkit provided by the IAFC includes information and resources to assist members and fire departments when responding to on-duty or duty-related cardiac events. The international campaign, titled ‘If You Don’t Feel Well, Don’t Make It Your Farewell,’ offers standard operating procedures (SOPs) including an example policy that departments can use to outline their actions and processes, and the department’s response to on-duty injuries and illness. Acute coronary syndrome An administrative checklist enumerates areas of concern and highlights a standardized approach to cardiac events. It is important to be proactive and put thoughtful guiding documents in place so that members of an organization know the ‘rules of the game.’ Existence of proper processes, policies and procedures can reduce stress, improve morale, and encourage members to speak up when they experience an event of if they know someone who does. The most common warning sign for men and women is chest pain or discomfort Among the training tools is a PDF that lists ‘the heart attack warning signs.’ The most common warning sign for men and women is chest pain or discomfort, but a heart attack may not be sudden or very painful. Information is also provided on ‘acute coronary syndrome,’ a term used to describe conditions associated with sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart. There is also information on treatments for a heart attack, which may vary according to the type of heart attack (i.e., whether a complete or partial blockage of a coronary artery). Identifying risk factors Other information includes ‘assessing cardiovascular risk’ and screening to identify risk factors and lifestyle habits that can increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. A survey by the IAFC of firefighters who have experienced a cardiac incident provides interesting insights: 47% of firefighters said they experienced a symptom that is not among the typical signs of a heart attack. 20.67% of firefighters took themselves to the hospital; 41% were taken by emergency medical services. 63.3% of firefighters returned to work (full duty). 40% were between the ages of 46 and 55. 68% were career firefighters; 22.67% were volunteer firefighters. “Almost half of all firefighter deaths each year are cardiac-related,” says Fire Chief Gary Ludwig, IAFC President and Chairman of the Board. “Many who have experienced but survived a cardiac incident have reported not feeling right, not feeling well, or that something is wrong,” added Ludwig, fire chief of the Champaign (Illinois) Fire Department. Changing a culture “The best way to change the culture of ignoring warning signs, which are not always chest tightness and shortness of breath, is through education and awareness. If you’re a first responder and your body is signaling to you a feeling that you have never experienced before with extreme fatigue and other symptoms, you need to act and those around you need to act,” said Ludwig, who has worked in the fire and emergency service for more than 42 years. “If a firefighter tells you ‘something is wrong’ or ‘I don’t feel right’ or any similar statement, do not tell them to go home or lay down in the bunk hall. Their body is sending them a signal that something could be seriously wrong.”
The COVID-19 pandemic presents new economic challenges to county and municipal governments. Fire departments are likely to be impacted as local governments respond to the economic downturn with spending freezes, hiring freezes and spending cuts. Some local governments are hoping for help from the state and/or federal level. Although some governments have “rainy day funds” to address economic downturns, not all of them do. Furthermore, the extent of the current economic crisis may exceed our worst fears. Proposed budget cuts for some fire and EMS departments are in the 10% to 25% range. As the new fiscal year begins in July, many local governments will need to approve a spending plan for next year by June 30. public safety agencies Although public safety agencies have historically been protected by local governments during economic downturns, the severity of the current downturn may change the approach. Lower sales tax collection is expected to be a major impact, although actual information on revenue levels can lag for three months because state governments collect the taxes and then return a share to cities and counties. The Southern California city is like many others around the United States that rely on sales tax and hotel taxes For many, the numbers for April will be available in July. For example, Hemet, California, estimates it has lost 34% of its sales tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic because consumer spending is down, and many businesses are closed to the public. Loss of hotel taxes is another hardship. The Southern California city is like many others around the United States that rely on sales tax and hotel taxes. replacing ageing fire engines The League of California Cities says COVID-19 will rob the state’s 482 cities and towns of about $6.7 billion in revenue over the next two fiscal years. Michael Pagano, Director of the Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says that municipalities that depend on sales tax revenue are being hit hard and quickly. In contrast, those that rely on property taxes will not feel an immediate impact, he says. The fire service in Hemet is being affected. Last year, the city paid $1 million in overtime. Belt-tightening will eliminate such expenditures this year. The city will also likely delay filling some open positions and will replace only one aging fire engine rather than two. They will be buying less safety and radio gear. Victoria, Texas, is another city among the many feeling the impact of lost sales tax revenue. fire fighter unions “It’s not an option for people to not get their trash picked up,” Victoria City Manager Jesus Garza told the Victoria Advocate. “It’s not an option for our police and firefighters to not work." With no definite end in sight, there are no easy solutions. Some scenarios, such as a salary freeze, would impact members of fire fighter unions. The president of the Baltimore’s International Association of Fire Fighters Local 734 says such discussions are premature. We know that the city has to balance their budget by July and that everyone is being hit hard by this global pandemic" “We know that the city has to balance their budget by July and that everyone is being hit hard by this global pandemic,” Richard Altieri II, president of the local fire fighters union, told the Baltimore Sun. “But to suggest this sacrifice of our members, who are on the front lines every day, is unacceptable and disheartening.” Baltimore has considered about $11 million in total reductions that may affect first responders. Coronavirus Relief Package California Gov. Gavin Newsom has warned that layoffs for police and firefighters could happen unless Washington provides financial help to state governments. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that included $875 billion in state and federal aid. However, the Democratic-authored bill is going nowhere in the U.S. Senate. “[There will be] fewer firefighters and police officers to answer emergency calls, reduced garbage pickup frequency, and limited staff for required inspections, processing business license, and permitting,” Nicolas Romo, a League of California Cities representative, told the Sacramento Bee.
Wellness, mental toughness and psychological self-care for firefighters are available in the palms of their hands; that is, in a smart phone app. Fire and police agencies can provide their officers access to these and other self-help tools in an app that reflects each agency’s identity and design choices. Employees can be assured that use of the app is totally confidential. Cordico, Gold River, California, west of Sacramento, provides confidential support for firefighters and other employees through an app that incorporates comprehensive and trusted wellness resources. The CordicoFire app is easy to use, available on-demand, and only requires the push of a button. Firefighter wellness tools The app is designed to reinforce and strengthen a fire agency’s existing wellness culture The app is designed to reinforce and strengthen a fire agency’s existing wellness culture and is updated continuously. The app includes firefighter wellness tools, such as self-assessments and a therapist finder. Peer support resources are built into the app, and psychological first aid helps firefighters know when help is needed – and what their options are. There are also sections on the app addressing healthy habits, making marriage work, mindfulness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Specific to firefighters, there is information on cancer awareness, exposure to hazardous materials, and heart health – among more than 40 topics firemen can scroll through. Self-assessments can identify the sources of stress and how to address them, and/or identify problems with alcohol abuse. Physical fitness videos demonstrate exercises for stress release and injury prevention, and there is a section on nutrition. No additional authentication required Each firefighter is provided a link and password to download the app. Posters promoting use of the app are available, including a QR code that employees can scan to download the app. There is no additional authentication required, and no personal information is shared with the app. Around 90% of employees typically download the app. The app is hosted on Cordico’s server rather than the agency’s server, so there is no tracking of information, which would defeat the purpose of an anonymous app. Anonymity is important to overcome the perceived stigma that could make firefighters hesitate to ask for help. The app is also made available to spouses, significant others and even retirees, who may find that cumulative trauma catches up with them years later. Employee assistance programs People use their smart phones all the time, so it’s easy for anyone to get on the app" “People use their smart phones all the time, so it’s easy for anyone to get on the app, click on a section and read for 10 minutes if they need information, help or emotional support,” says Kevin Dacy, Operations Manager, Cordico. “There is a generation of people comfortable with using apps. We provide them with privacy to look at topics and get the self-help they need.” The app dovetails with an organization’s employee assistance programs and peer support team and/or leaders. Cordico works with agencies to include information about therapists, clinicians and chaplains who are available to help. When an agency decides to use the app, Cordico’s chief technology officer organizes a product launch meeting, and Cordico’s client care team works with the agency until the app has been successfully launched. Pre-Employment psychological evaluations Agencies have flexibility in terms of the graphics and illustrations used on the app and also the information provided, which could include traffic, weather, etc., in addition to other services. (Southern California agencies include a surfing report because the activity can help to relieve stress.) Updates to the app are done on the back end as new information is added. The app password can be changed to limit use of the app to current enrollees. The company evolved to providing pre-employment psychological evaluations for first responder jobs Dr. David Black, CEO of Cordico, shifted his psychological practice to first responders after 9/11. The company evolved to providing pre-employment psychological evaluations for first responder jobs. The app grew out of that service, and now most of the largest agencies in California use the app. Cordico has worked with small and large agencies – five to 22,000 employees – although the average department size using the app is 150 to 200 people. Consulting clinicians and therapists In addition to a concentration in California, the company also does business throughout the United States, with customers in most states. Cordico has around 15 employees, in addition to consulting clinicians and therapists. Although Cordico does not share specific data with an agency about who uses the app, they can provide activity counts. For example, usage of the app could spike after a dramatic incident, which could alert the agency of a higher level of trauma that might need additional education and/or comfort. During the coronavirus pandemic, Cordico’s phone lines and emails have lit up with agencies looking to consider the app to help manage the added stress of dealing with the pandemic. Even during the economic downturn, Cordico is busier than ever.
An Axis AX fire system from Advanced has been installed as part of large-scale renovations at one of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious healthcare facilities. The 2-loop and 4-loop, UL-listed Axis AX fire panels, and more than 500 devices, were supplied, installed and commissioned at the Korea Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital by local Advanced partner, Firetech (Pvt.) Limited. Hospital fire safety system Located south of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, The District of Matara was gravely affected by the 2004 Tsunami. The Korea Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital was built at a cost of 1.27 billion rupees with the financial assistance from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to provide the residents of Matara District with increased access to crucial health care services. The 750 million rupee re-modelling, fully funded by KOICA and implemented by UNOPS in partnership with the Ministry of Health, saw the construction of a new Maternal and New-Born Heath Care ward complex and upgraded hospital facilities. This has provided a more modern and efficient service to the people of the District and in the Southern Province who rely on the hospital’s wards, operating theatres, intensive care unit (ICU), blood bank, pharmacy and neonatal ICU. 2-loop and 4-loop Axis AX fire panels UL 864-compliant Advanced system was selected to protect the hospital due to its robust design and ease of installation" Michael David, Business Development Manager at Firetech (Pvt) Limited, said “The UL 864-compliant Advanced system was selected to protect the hospital due to its robust design, ease of installation and configuration.” Michael adds, “As experts in fire safety, Advanced has always offered us a fast turnaround for spare parts, technical guidance and well-designed user interfaces ensuring on-site compatibility and ease of use for our engineers and end users.” Dependable fire safety solution Steve Carroll, General Manager at Advanced, said “Delivering a complete and dependable solution for effective notification and evacuation in a hospital setting is crucial to protecting patients who may be at greater risk in fire situations.” Steve adds, “Given its reliability, versatility and UL-listing, the Axis AX system was the obvious choice to recommend to Firetech and met all of the Sri Lanka Fire Department’s requirements.” UL 864-compliant Axis AX system Advanced’s Axis AX system offers enhanced power and performance in a user-friendly format, offering a vast range of configuration, control and interface option all with simple set-up and operation as well as Advanced’s legendary service and quality. The Axis AX system includes easily networked panels, audio panels and command centers, redundant controllers and a huge range of peripherals, devices and interfaces that make it ideal for almost any installation. Fire safety systems major Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 Company, Halma PLC, has an enviable history of protecting some of Asia’s most notable and prestigious buildings, including the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge and the University of Macau. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day.
Amthal has worked closely with the management team and residents at Kenilworth Court to ensure fire and security upgrades on site occur without compromising on aesthetics of the Edwardian mansion blocks. Situated in Putney, Kenilworth Court consists of eight purpose-built Edwardian style blocks of flats, completed in 1904 – 1905. Featuring 150 portered flats, with a garden in the middle, it is now run by the controlling company, Kenilworth Court Co-ownership Housing Association Ltd. Security Gates and fire maintenance service The opportunity to upgrade door entry from audio to video capability saw the initial introduction of Amthal to the development. Amthal now additionally maintains security gates and all fire requirements on site at Kenilworth Court So successful in understanding the importance of keeping with original design features, working closely with the management team and residents, from initial specification through installation and project completion, Amthal now additionally maintains security gates and all fire requirements on site at Kenilworth Court. Video security system at Kenilworth Court Steve Logie, General Manager at Kenilworth Court Co-Ownership Housing Association Ltd, said “With the historic significance of our development, and the pride of notable residents who have lived here, any upgrades, however small, must be carefully considered with regards to how it will impact on the aesthetics of the overall premises.” Steve adds, “Amthal understood this and worked closely with us and our residents, carefully taking in feedback to create bespoke video door entry solutions that blend with the grand entrances. Installation was sympathetic, always ensuring wiring was discreet and ‘boxed in’ where necessary.” He further said, “So impressed with their customer service and technical ability, we now consider them our preferred supplier for all fire and security maintenance.” CAME BPT brass entrance panel installed Based on resident feedback, Amthal created and installed a bespoke CAME BPT brass entrance panel for Kenilworth Court, allowing all homeowners to benefit from stylish video door entry technology. Residents and staff also benefit from an upgraded Paxton Net2 access control system, with dedicated fobs distributed to ensure safe and secure block entry. Phil Bryant, Amthal Strategic Accounts Team Manager added, “The key to our success with Kenilworth Court was taking the time initially to create an installation works program with video door entry systems that could blend in visually without disrupting the architectural aesthetic of the development.” Enhanced fire safety The management team has peace of mind that fire and security requirements will be maintained to exceed standards" Phil adds, “We spoke with the management team and residents throughout the design process, bringing door entry styles and samples to ensure everyone was confident in the installed final solution.” He further said, “From this, our engineering team and customer service has built up a trusting relationship where residents understand our needs to operate internally, sometimes within apartments themselves and also through communal areas. And the management team has peace of mind that fire and security requirements will be maintained to exceed standards across the development.” Fire safety solutions expert Independently owned, Amthal Fire & Security is dedicated to satisfying end user needs for security safety and convenience offering design, installation, service and remote monitoring of advanced electronic fire & security solutions, including intruder, fire, access and CCTV systems. Amthal Fire & Security is accredited by the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) and British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE).
A flagship school in Port Talbot, Ysgol Bae Baglan, is being protected by fire panels from Advanced. Built by Bouygues UK, the new super-school is the first vertically integrated school in Wales, merging four older educational establishments into one. With 1,500 pupils ranging from reception class to GCSE level (3-16), it represents a large investment in school infrastructure in Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. At the heart of the school’s active fire protection system, which covers all areas of the main and lower schools, including science laboratories, specialist technology rooms, garage area and a wide range of sports facilities, is a network of five Advanced MxPro 5 intelligent multiprotocol panels. The network, which incorporates 1,200 devices, was designed, configured and commissioned by Protectorcomms Ltd, a long-time partner of Advanced. Multi-Protocol fire solution Lloyd Harding, Technical Director for Protector Comms Ltd, said: “Advanced panels are well known for outstanding performance and ease of use. This system protects over 1,500 staff and children in a brand-new building, so we needed a system that could offer outstanding quality, reliability and flexibility, with the capability to be expanded or upgraded in the future.” MxPro panels are already installed in many education facilities, including Sheffield University MxPro is the 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. MxPro panels can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into multi-loop, high speed, 200 panel networks covering huge areas and controlling up to 254 individual devices per loop. Mike Tate Head Teacher at Ysgol Bae Baglan, commented: “The safety of our pupils and staff is the paramount consideration when specifying a fire system, so we wanted to ensure that our new school was protected by the high-quality panels on the market. The Advanced panels installed will give us peace of mind, as well the capability to expand the system further should it be required in future.” Analog panel MxPro 5 is fully compliant with EN54 Parts 2, 4 and 13 and is Advanced’s highest performance analog panel. It is EN54 2, 4 & 13 approved and is backward compatible with MxPro 4, offering long-term security for MxPro customers. Phil Calvey, sales manager for Advanced, said: “We’re delighted that Advanced panels have been specified for one of the largest schools in Wales. MxPro panels are already installed in many education facilities, including Sheffield University, Edinburgh University and London’s capital city academy, which was also built Bouygues. MxPro panels are the ideal choice for this type of installation, combining proven reliability with innovation and ease-of-use.” About Halma and Advanced Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, protects a wide range of high-profile sites across the globe – from London’s Shard and the Berkeley Hotel to Abu Dhabi International Airport and Las Vegas’ Golden Nugget Casino. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a world provider in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Apollo Fire Detectors’ SOTERIA® range of detectors has been chosen to protect Ulster Bank’s headquarters in Belfast. Owned by RBS, Ulster Bank Group is a bank in Ireland with a branch network across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The group moved its headquarters to development in Donegall Square East in Belfast in 2000. The building required a life cycle replacement of its existing fire alarm system, which had been in service for 18 years, along with additional detection as necessary to validate L1 coverage. The Project The development was created around the façade of an old Methodist church designed by Dublin architect, Isaac Farrell, and consists of a reinforced concrete frame with flat slab floor construction including a double storey basement. In order to cause the least amount of disruption to staff, the work was all carried out after-hours and at weekends over a 12-week period, while also making sure the system was fully functional and all work areas clean and tidy for staff coming in the next day. Installation of Fire Alarm Systems Integrated services supplier Aramark Ireland was selected by Ulster Bank to perform the role of main contractor for the works. Following a tender process, fire alarm specialist Ashdale Engineering Ltd was appointed to replace the existing closed protocol fire alarm system and PAVA system. Met the customers’ expectations of enhanced detection to minimize the risk of false alarms Aramark project manager Michael Hyland said: “We were pleased to be able to appoint Ashdale for the key role of fire alarm replacement. Having delivered a similar project with them in 2015 for the same client we had total confidence in their ability. Ashdale performed flawlessly and the project was delivered on time and within budget.” In the role as principal contractor Aramark were also responsible for all the health and safety management relating to the project. Some of the work involved detection replacement in the 25-meter-high atrium, working at height over areas of plant, lift shafts and HV switch rooms. H&S manager for Aramark Gary Henderson said: “The project certainly had its challenges but with planning, consultation and coordination with Ashdale and other contractors we were able to deliver the project safely and without incident.” Optical smoke detector and heat detectors Apollo’s SOTERIA® range of devices were chosen for this project. This included the optical smoke detector, heat detectors, multisensors, manual call points and interfaces. Covering a range of areas from open plan offices, carpark, plant rooms, kitchens and canteen, SOTERIA® met the customers’ expectations of enhanced detection to minimize the risk of false alarms and provide a future proof system using next generation technology. A total of 645 optical detectors, 89 heat detectors, 24 multisensors, 83 manual call points and 78 interfaces combine to provide the ideal solution for Ulster Bank. All controlled by a fire panel from Advanced. Open protocol and backward compatibly David Moore, team leader at Ashdale, said: “The decision to select the Apollo SOTERIA® range of device for this project was an easy one. Having used SOTERIA® on a number of other projects we knew the devices were easy to install and commission. They also provide a modern aesthetically pleasing look in a modern office environment.” Colin Simms, operations director at Ashdale, added: “It was great to be able to continue our long relationship with Apollo on this project. Ashdale have represented Apollo Fire Detectors for over 30 years in Northern Ireland. With over 27 years’ experience with the product myself, it’s great to see how fire detection technology has developed from the days of Series 90 to the highly advanced SOTERIA® devices we have today. The open protocol and backward compatibly yet future proof design, continue to be key factors for us when we make our recommendations to our clients for fire detection.”
Rajant and Dejero’s Technology Springs into Action in the Battle Against a 420-Acre Wildfire on the Santa Barbara County Coast. A wind-driven brush fire triggered evacuations after breaking out along the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, California. On a sunny afternoon in mid-October 2019, the heat from the sun combined with winds gusting up to 40 mph through the quiet foothills of El Capitán Canyon, sparking a wind-whipped, vegetation brush fire in the overly dry desert hills. The blaze, dubbed the ‘Real Fire,’ quickly charred 420 acres while threatening more than 100 structures that sat along the Gaviota Coast before firefighters and emergency crews were aware of the fire and able to gain an upper hand on the wild blaze. Wind-Driven bush fire Coincidentally, Rajant and Dejero had just arrived in Santa Barbara for a demonstration with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Shortly after the fire broke out, word reached the emergency services and crews from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, and other agencies who immediately dispatched their teams to contain the blaze before it spread further. The climate in the canyon at the time of the blaze was considered ‘critical fire weather’ with its dangerously dry grass and wind gusts. These conditions only encouraged the wind-driven bush fire to spread swiftly through the foothills on the north side of Highway 101 near El Capitán State Beach, California and east over the ridge. A good stretch of the 101 Freeway had to be shut down immediately—in both directions—and Amtrak routes through the area were canceled. Total communications solution At the peak of the fire, helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts attacked the flames from the air with retardant and water drops Visitors at nearby ranches, campgrounds, beaches, and resorts were evacuated, and a warning was given to residents living in the nearby Dos Pueblos, Refugio, and Winchester Canyons. At the peak of the fire, helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts attacked the flames from the air with retardant and water drops, while dozens of engines, along with bulldozers and hand-crews, fought it from the ground. At about that same time the fire broke out, teams from Rajant and Dejero, along with subject matter expert Bruce Arvizu from the Department Homeland Security, had arrived in Santa Barbara. Together, they were prepared to deliver a live safety demo to the Santa Barbara County fire chief on how the companies can together provide the total communications solution. Improved spectrum efficiency The planned public safety demo was also to show how the blending of Rajant’s technology with Dejero Smart Blending Technology (SBT) eliminates drops and gaps—a solution comprised of mesh radio communications, blended cellular, and satellite technologies to bridge the communication gap in remote locations where signals are often weak or lost. While LTE networks provide high bandwidth, lower latency, and improved spectrum efficiency, LTE can also become spotty and drop signals in remote locations and other areas. Dejero’s Smart Blending Technology (SBT) fills in these gaps in the Wide Area Network by seamlessly blending any available LTE with SAT comms to guarantee a connection for the responding teams. Signal continuity becomes even more challenging in valleys, around mountains, and along coastlines, which becomes mission critical when emergency services are responding. Continuous and reliable connection More than 200 firefighters were on site fighting the fire with reinforcing containment lines of helicopters Rajant’s mesh radio technology bridges the gaps in these local areas. When the three technologies are used together, a continuous and reliable connection is provided, ensuring that communications between the responding agencies and their teams in the field are not lost. Meanwhile at the El Capitán canyon, more than 200 firefighters were on site fighting the fire with reinforcing containment lines of helicopters and drones in the air and 30-ton bulldozers on the ground cutting out ‘catlines’ and uprooting vegetation, thus eliminating the fire’s fuel. By plowing through the flames, brush, and trees with the dozers, the emergency crews saved valuable manpower and shortened the fire’s reach and life. When fighting fires with bulldozers, it is critical for the commander in control to receive data from each dozer to manage fighting the fire collectively as a team and to track each dozer individually. Critical local data Rajant and Dejero quickly proposed to the fire chief the benefits of their combined technology at a time of crisis and asked to allow Rajant and Dejero to modify their presentation from a demo to a real life exercise. “Our county firefighters are willing to do whatever it takes to get that job done. When we do our after-action review, the successes and failures always come out. And we like to capitalize on our successes.” said Daniel Bertucelli, County Fire Captain Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Rajant BreadCrumbs® can be mounted to the bulldozers so the critical local data could be transmitted while other situational data and mapping could be revived in the field. Dejero SBT would power the Microsoft Tactical Truck and provide the bridge from the field to the command post over cellular and SAT networks, during this actual emergency situation. Combined firefighting attacks More than 400 acres had burned with no structures damaged and no reported injuries Notably, the SAT comms on the vehicle was to be powered by Kymeta’s flat-panel dish technology, enabling true ‘comms on the move’ to best leverage Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh®. The updated mission was green lighted. On Friday morning, Rajant and Dejero meet with the fire squad at the command control center. Rajant BreadCrumbs and camera systems were mounted to dozers while the Microsoft mobile comms truck, with the Dejero GateWay on-board, maintained a close, but safe, proximity to the dozers to provide LTE. The firefighters manning the bulldozers were able to communicate in the valley when normally they could not. Data was sent from the bulldozers to the van to the internet where the command control center could receive the video feed. The real-life demo was a success. The combined firefighting attacks on the blaze gained the upper hand and went from a 20-percent containment on Thursday evening to 50-percent by Friday afternoon. By Monday, the Real Fire was 100% contained. More than 400 acres had burned with no structures damaged and no reported injuries. Evacuations were lifted for all areas.
Nittan Europe, a UK-based renowned manufacturer of conventional and addressable fire detection products and systems, is proud to have its Evolution analog addressable fire detectors installed into the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol. NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol Built in less than three weeks at the University of West of England Frenchay campus, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol has the capacity to provide up to 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients, if local services need them. The new facility is one of seven Nightingale hospitals to be set up around the country as part of a massive NHS effort to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency. Evolution analogue addressable fire detectors Nittan’s Evolution analog addressable fire detectors have been incorporated into Ramtech Electronics’ WES wireless firm alarm system, which is designed to provide a simple, fast and secure method of communicating fire and medical emergencies in the complex environmental conditions of construction sites. While WES has been designed to provide temporary protection on construction sites, its ease of use, reliability and quality made it ideal for use in the temporary Nightingale Hospital. Wireless fire alarm systems Wireless fire alarm systems are ideal for temporary sites as they don’t require specialist trades to set up Wireless fire alarm systems are ideal for temporary sites as they don’t require specialist trades to set up, and any number of call points can be deployed in minutes and linked wirelessly to cover large or small sites. The signal passes through all commonly found materials including steel, concrete and stone. Evolution EVC-DP dual optical detectors Nittan Evolution EVC-DP dual optical detectors are incorporated into the WES system. These award-winning detectors feature dual optical technology to reduce false alarms caused by non-combustion products such as steam, dust and aerosols. Unlike other conventional detectors on the market that claim to distinguish between smoke and non-combustion products, the EVC-DP effectively measures the actual particle size in the chamber via its combined IR and blue LED technology. No false alarms As steam and dust are much larger particles than smoke, the detector won’t cause false alarms. This makes the EVC-DP detector ideally suited to use in hospitals, hotels and other areas of multiple occupancy which are prone to steam and dust. The WES wireless fire alarm system featuring the Nittan detectors has been installed into the communal and welfare areas of NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol.
Round table discussion
Ensuring the health and wellness of firefighters is a burden shared among equipment manufacturers as well as the fire departments and individual firefighters. Thoughtful design of equipment and other products used in the fire service can be a positive factor as firefighters and other first responders face dangerous situations every day. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What steps can we take to better ensure firefighter health and wellness?