Fire Safety Standards
Due to the nature of their design and uses, tunnels have particularly unique fire risks, and any fire can spread quickly, risking damage to assets or injuries to teams. Mining, cable and communication tunnels are subject to significantly high risks, as they utilize heavy-duty machinery, flammable materials and cables, which are all subject to the production of excess heat. Here we discuss the prevalent fire risks in tunnels and explain how businesses operating within them can assess and mitigat...
A firefighter needs to evaporate about 1 liter of sweat per hour to be able to regulate the body temperature when exposed to extreme heat. The human body is designed to function within a very specific temperature range between 36.5 and 37.5 Celsius. However, fighting fires test these limits and can increase a firefighter’s body temperature to over 38 degrees. Selection Of PPE While there are many factors to consider to reduce the impact of heat stress on firefighters – such...
Asolvi, Europe’s provider of field service and contract management software, announces that it has agreed to acquire TIVAPP, the German field service solution for the fire protection and security sector. TIVAPP is a specialist service, inventory, test documentation and billing software solution, developed by fire prevention professionals. Founded in Germany, the company has over 20 years of experience in the sector. During that time, TIVAPP has built up a customer base and established its...
CU First Responders Finance (CUFR) is excited to welcome Firefighters First Credit Union as a lead lender to their business lending network. Firefighters First Credit Union will be originating commercial and business loans generated by the CUFR network of first responder credit unions. CUFR’s business lending solutions CUFR’s business lending solutions provide an online platform for member credit unions to refer their members’ business loan requests to a trusted lender. They...
Public and firefighter safety is the number one priority at the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) in Missoula, Mont. The Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program there seeks to develop tools and technology that can help protect people and communities before, during, and after wildfires. RMRS develops and delivers innovative science and technology to improve the health and use of the nation’s forests and grasslands. Their scientists put tools and knowledge into the hands of managers who...
Only approved cabling should be used in critical signal and control equipment in the event of a real fire - and the announcement of a revized version of the Code of Practice covering these areas of performance clarifies the detail. The equipment served by these cables - including smoke and heat extraction systems - assists fire services in the case of firefighting and a safe evacuation in the case of life safety. fire performance cables As the only supplier in the UK with independent approval...
The latest two winners have been announced in MSA Safety Incorporated’s and DuPont’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. Douglas City (CA) Volunteer Fire Department and Cooper Landing (AK) Emergency Services will each receive four sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear and four helmets to increase the safety of their members. Providing turnout gear MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) team up each year to help volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed gear. With the latest round of awards, 118 departments in need have received 547 sets of gear since 2012 to better equip their members for response. An additional three departments will be awarded turnout gear in December, 2020 An additional three departments will be awarded turnout gear in December, 2020. The first 500 applicants in this year’s giveaway also received a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA. Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department The Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department (DCVFD) protects 25 square miles of rural northern California, serving around 1,000 residents and responding to an average of 165 calls annually. Despite their small size, DCVFD plays a vital role in their community, especially during wildfire season. Additionally, DCVFD responds to a high number of medical calls, vehicle crashes, and high- and low-angle rescues, and are often the first and sometimes only resource available. They also provide mutual aid to neighboring departments who likewise have limited resources. Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department’s seven active firefighters share five sets of turnout gear, three of which are more than 10 years old. Because they are funded entirely by donations from their community, they are unable to replace their aging gear or purchase additional needed PPE such as helmets. Providing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Additionally, the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) makes recruiting new volunteers a challenge, and probationary members are issued well-used turnout gear that is often ill-fitting and compromised by age and use. “New and well-fitting turnout gear and helmets will enable us to present as a professional and modern fire department with high standards, as well as allow us to complete our tasks in a safer and more effective way,” said Firefighter, James Dunsdon. Cooper Landing Emergency Services Cooper Landing Emergency Services protects a 70 square-mile expanse of Alaska’s rural Kenai Peninsula Cooper Landing Emergency Services (CLES) protects a 70 square-mile expanse of Alaska’s rural Kenai Peninsula. The community’s population swells from 350 to nearly 1,000 during the summer months due to tourism and seasonal residents. CLES responds to an average of 120 calls annually, including on two of the busiest roads in the state, as well as provides mutual aid to neighboring departments. In 2019, Cooper Landing was the center of the Swan Lake Wildfire, which burned over 175,000 acres and threatened homes and businesses through CLES’ response area. “It became clear during the fire and on dozens of highway motor vehicle accidents that the department's gear, made up of previous donations, was woefully inadequate to protect our members against the elements or the hazards of an involved structure fire,” said Firefighter/EMT, Riley Shurtleff. Firefighting apparatus and equipment All of Cooper Landing Emergency Services’ turnout gear are over 10 years old and were donated by other fire departments. Because they rely solely on fundraisers, donations, grants, and ambulance patient billings, their budget is limited. CLES recently had to purchase new firefighting apparatus, meaning that their ability to afford new turnout and protective gear was significantly diminished. “This turnout gear will greatly increase the safety for our members and be a continued source of pride for years to come,” adds Riley Shurtleff.
Carbon monoxide (CO), also known as the ‘silent killer’, is especially dangerous because it is not visible and cannot be smelt or tasted. The only way to protect against this potentially deadly threat is with a CO alarm. In honor of CO Awareness Month in November, First Alert and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have partnered to create an online CO awareness and CO alarm training course for volunteer fire departments nationwide, supplemented by an alarm donation program for communities in need. Online CO awareness and CO alarm training course Aptly called the ‘Protect against the Silent Killer’ training program, the course virtually trains fire department personnel about the prevalence and symptoms of CO poisoning and proper CO alarm installation to help reduce the risk of CO suffocation incidents and deaths in communities across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency room each year due to accidental CO poisoning and 4,000 are hospitalized. Awareness of CO poisoning is coming at a crucial time as winter approaches Awareness of CO poisoning is coming at a crucial time as winter approaches. According to the CDC, two-fifths of CO exposure occurs during December, January and February. While almost all homes have at least one smoke alarm, only two out of five households said that they have a working CO alarm, according to the American Housing Survey. Installing CO alarms on each level of the home Current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines recommend installing CO alarms on each level of the home, including the basement, and near every sleeping area. “Installing and properly maintaining CO alarms is the best way to keep your family protected against this potentially deadly threat,” said Tarsila Wey, Director of Marketing for First Alert, the most trusted brand in fire safety, adding, “We are proud to play a role in helping firefighters and communities expand their knowledge about CO poisoning and are glad that our educational tools directly impact their community risk reduction efforts.” Information on proper installation of CO alarms As temperatures begin to drop and people continue to spend more time at home, it is crucial that CO alarms are installed throughout the home and that everyone is aware of the signs of CO poisoning. The training provides insight about how CO is created, the dangers it presents, and the symptoms and risk factors of CO poisoning. The course offers detailed information on proper installation of CO alarms, appropriate in-home placement and maintenance. Presenters also emphasize the importance of alarm and battery replacement and discuss the various types of CO alarms. Complimentary First Alert CO alarms Students will receive the donated alarms in 2021 for distribution within their communities To complement the training, the first 20 students, who are associated with a fire or emergency medical service (EMS) department, to complete this course are eligible to apply for 25 complimentary First Alert CO alarms. Students will receive the donated alarms in 2021 for distribution within their communities to enhance the safety of their neighbors. “We value the dedication of all the firefighters and EMS providers who work tirelessly to keep their communities safe from the threats of CO,” said the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair, Steve Hirsch. Steve adds, “Having access to this comprehensive training, along with First Alert’s generous alarm donation, helps to keep fire departments up-to-date on best practices and better equips them to educate their communities.”
Amthal has become a full member of the prestigious Door & Hardware Federation (DHF), highlighting its ongoing commitment to health and safety across its automated gates, product and service portfolio. The DHF is a not for profit trade association for companies associated with Locks & Building Hardware; Doorsets; Industrial Doors & Shutters; Domestic Garage Doors and Automated Gates. Regarded as a Centre of Excellence, DHF offers specifiers and end users of individual and commercial buildings, alongside domestic customers a single source for technical expertise, information, knowledge, and advice. safety and compliance Says Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal Fire & Security: “DHF is undoubtedly the go-to association when it comes to influencing the future of technical security, helping organizations understand and comply with latest health and safety legislation, relevant to our industry. Our membership aligns us with an organization that represents the agreed, best and most effective way of delivering a product and service." "As a business, we are looking forward to receiving first-hand the latest developments on our industry, while presenting our customers with a portfolio of automated gate products that achieves DHF requirements for, safety and compliance.” raising industry standards Our aim is to advance standards to improve the quality and safety of products, services and systems" Amthal will now be able to present its membership of DHF with the use of its logo on all printed and digital media; to demonstrate its dedication to an organization associated with quality, credibility and raising industry standards. Nick Perkins, Training & Compliance Officer added: “At DHF, in our role as an industry leading trade association, we provide the knowledge that members use to enable them to put a safe, compliant product on the market. We sit on various standards committees throughout the UK and Europe and are at the forefront of safety and compliance. Our aim is to advance standards to improve the quality and safety of products, services and systems. We welcome new DHF members on their journey to demonstrate commitment to best practice.” advanced electronic fire solution Independently owned, Amthal Fire & Security is dedicated to satisfying end user needs for security safety and convenience offering design, installation, maintenance and monitoring of advanced electronic fire & security solutions; including intruder, fire, access and CCTV solutions. 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).
In response to a specific customer requirement, Kentec Electronics, a globally renowned manufacturer of life-critical control systems, has developed through their Special Applications Department an Evacuation and Alert Control Indicating System (EACIE) to provide fire and rescue teams with an intelligent communication structure to support staged evacuation. Evac-Point system Kentec’s made-to-order ‘Evac-Point’ system uses user-defined zone reference labeling to enable Fire Services to sound alarms in targeted areas of a building, such as a specific flat or floor, so that the public can be evacuated in line with how an incident develops. It is being delivered through Kentec’s Special Applications bespoke engineering department, which has a long-established pedigree for manufacturing evacuation control panels. The modular design allows for greater flexibility and site customization for the installer and end user and reduces lead time availability. Efficient tall-buildings rescue and evacuations The custom-build panel’s development follows the Grenfell tragedy and the 2019 BS 8629 Standard, which seeks to ensure residential buildings over 18 meters high are provided with an effective means to help the fire brigade evacuate efficiently and effectively, regardless of the manufacturer or specific design. It is available in two and three loop versions (expandable to four loops) with a modular design, where banks of five can be added to increase capacity, if required. In-built LED control panel illumination Evac-Point provides the market with a convenient, good-value and highly-sophisticated option" Derrick Hall, Sales Director at Kentec, stated “Evac-Point provides the market with a convenient, good-value and highly-sophisticated option. Other products on the market are only available in the largest sizes, meaning paying for functionality that is not required.” He adds, “Another differentiation is its in-built LED control panel illumination, provided as standard. The BS 8629 Standard recommends a lit environment, so this additional feature saves installing dedicated lighting separately. Our role as life-safety manufacturers is, as ever, to make the lives of our installers and the end users easier and safer.” Integrated with Syncro AS technology The Evac-Point system is available with a flush bezel so that it can be set into the wall, providing a secure and robust, two-point locking steel enclosure. It is based on the reliable Syncro AS technology, with an open protocol architecture that is compatible with Hochiki and Apollo protocols to provide maximum system design flexibility. Kentec is hosting a webinar on Monday 9th November 2020 from 11 am to 11.30 am, where Derrick Hall, Director of Sales, will talk about BS8629 and how it will impact any residential building over 18m, as well as how Kentec Electronics can help.
Firefighters working for the busiest fire and rescue service in the UK will receive expert training from a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) scientist who specializes in the flammability of skincare products and fire investigation. Dr Sarah Hall, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Analytical Chemistry and Forensic Science at DMU’s Leicester School of Pharmacy, was contacted by the London Fire Brigade to share her expertise as part of their training package, to help firefighters better understand the link between skin creams and fatal burns. serious risk of injury The collaboration comes after Dr Hall’s research proved that fabrics with skin creams and lotions dried on can catch fire significantly faster than clean material and therefore pose a serious risk of injury or even death. Firefighters can help us to get a truer picture of what the cause of a fire might be" “I am honored to be working with the London Fire Brigade,” said Dr Hall. “Firefighters can help us to get a truer picture of what the cause of a fire might be and the more information we have, the more research we can do." Dr Hall has recorded a series of videos for the LFB, detailing her work and explaining how fire investigation makes a huge difference to the research being done. The short films will be incorporated in the online training provided to new and existing firefighters at the brigade. skin creams and fatal burns “While fatal fires receive a high level of investigation the London Fire Brigade are continually working to understand how accidental fires and injuries can be prevented,” said Dr Hall. “Our research proves that there is a link between skin creams and fatal burns, but we need more information to further our work and firefighters play a huge part in helping us do that. Whenever they attend an incident, even if it is ruled to be accidental, it would be incredibly useful to know more information about the cause, especially if skin creams were involved.” emollient training video Sharon Biggs, Care, Health and Safeguarding Manager in Community Safety at the London Fire Brigade, said: “We are producing an emollient training video for firefighters which will help them to understand how fire risk increases when emollients or skin creams are placed near a heat source or naked flame." Dr Sarah Hall has been working with the National Fire Chief’s Council in an advisory role for a number of years" "Dr Sarah Hall has been working with the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) in an advisory role for a number of years and we believe that her expertise and research will add an integrity to our own training package based on scientific data that supports our own experiences in the fire service. The firefighter training will not only educate our own staff about the safe use of emollients and skin creams but will enable them to feel confident enough to advise individuals they visit about the increased risk and how to mitigate these.” increase in fire risk Since 2010 there have been 56 confirmed fire deaths linked to emollient creams in England. A review found that those most at risk tend to be over 60, smokers and have reduced mobility. Thousands of people use emollient creams daily to manage dry, itchy or scaly skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, so they are easily transferred from skin on to clothing and bedding. The creams alone are not flammable, nor are they flammable when on the body. However, the fire risk increases with every application of the cream as it transfers, dries and builds up on the fabric. Some cream remains even when the items are washed, so it’s important to minimize the risk in additional ways, such as removing long sleeved or loose clothing before cooking or using a safety lighter. details of accidental fires Dr Hall and the MHRA partnered with the NFCC for a new campaign called #KnowTheFireRisk “Our own constantly evolving data collection, which is even more focused on the details around accidental fires, also means that our prevention work can be even more closely monitored and directed,” added Sharon. “Dr Sarah Hall’s work has been an invaluable addition to the ongoing prevention work that we carry out and we are extremely grateful to be able to use the very latest advice for our training package.” In 2018, as a direct result of Dr Hall’s work, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommended that labeling of emollients and similar prescribed products should have larger, clearer and more visible warnings had to be printed on packaging to encourage safer use and highlight the fire risk. Earlier this year, to further raise awareness of the dangers associated with emollients, Dr Hall and the MHRA partnered with the NFCC for a new campaign called #KnowTheFireRisk. fire service assessment The MHRA recommends that anyone in the high-risk group, or their carers, should arrange a fire service assessment of their personal surroundings. They are also urged to exercise caution when close to naked flames or potential ignition sources (for example, lighting a cigarette).
Global fire systems provider, Advanced, has been specified on another landmark tall building. Set to stand at 62-storeys high, 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London will, on completion, become the second tallest building in Western Europe. The 278m office building will offer 1.275 million sq. ft. of high specification office space, as well as eight community spaces, covering over 100,000 sq ft, including an innovation hub, curated gallery space, fresh food market, gym and wellbeing retreat. Once completed, Advanced will protect both of Western Europe’s tallest buildings, with 22 Bishopsgate being the latest in a long line of London’s most prestigious and iconic skyscrapers specifying Advanced, including the Shard, the Leadenhall Building, the Heron Tower and the HSBC Tower. Fire Command Centre Advanced’s panels are used alongside Soteria detectors and its networking is regarded as the most resilient At the center of the active fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate are over 80 networked MxPro 5 panels with graphic display and BMS integration, alongside three special build panels for the building’s Fire Command Centre, that will form part of the intelligent fire detection network. Advanced’s panels are used alongside Apollo’s Soteria detectors and its networking is widely regarded as the most resilient and scalable solution on the market. It can be expanded up to 200 node networks covering huge areas with complicated cause-and-effect. As a UK-first, 22 Bishopsgate will utilize a specially developed lift-evacuation strategy in case of fire. The building is separated into four vertical areas by fire-hardened slabs with a two-hour fire rating separating a floor from the one above at levels 26, 42 and 58. renowned networking capabilities Depending on which of the four vertical areas of the building a fire is detected, workers on that floor and the floors above egress via fire escape stairs to the area below and from there can evacuate via the lifts, safe in the knowledge that these are protected by the slabs above. Responsible for every aspect of installation of the fire system from design to completion, PHF Fire, a division of PHF Electrical, used Advanced for its renowned networking capabilities, best suited to managing a network of this size and complexity. dependable fire protection Paul Falkner, Director at PHF Fire, said: “Great emphasis and consideration has been placed on the fire protection for 22 Bishopsgate - a building truly at the at the forefront of fire technology. From working with Advanced previously we knew its products could be relied upon to deliver powerful, flexible and dependable fire protection for the complex nature of a building of this size.” Advanced is a renowned brand in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager at Advanced, said: “Advanced is a leader in the market in terms of performance, quality and ease-of-use and being specified in arguably the UK’s most high-profile commercial development, since the Shard, reinforces this. We are thrilled to now not only protect Western Europe’s tallest building, but soon also the second tallest. It was a pleasure to work with the team at PHF Fire where we were able to meet their needs with a system capable of delivering the complicated cause and effect programming and flexible networking required.” false alarm management systems With EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 approval the MxPro is one of the fire industry’s leading multiprotocol fire solution, offering customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network that enjoys free training and support. Advanced is a renowned brand in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The performance, quality and ease of use of its products sees Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large, multi-site networks in some of the world’s most prestigious sites. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, extinguishing control panels, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
In the years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy of 2017, all eyes have been on fire regulations, which have come under increased scrutiny – and it’s easy to see why. Even after the disaster, businesses across the UK are still lagging behind on mandatory fire safety regulations. It seems that regulatory change has not brought about the desired outcome at most organizations. With all 53 recommendations of the Hackitt Review set to come into effect this year, many are hoping that this will soon change. Dame Hackitt’s ‘new regulatory regime’ will place renewed momentum on regulatory change to help ensure all tower blocks are safe to inhabit. The industry has realised that introducing regulations in a gradual fashion will see them implemented in a phased and unstructured approach. While every organization is working towards the same fire safety goals, the impact of this piecemeal change has been somewhat of a hindrance. What the industry needs is a complete overhaul of the way fire safety regulations are understood and applied. The Hackitt Review has helped to keep momentum going, but a lot more can be done to make regulatory change a reality. The changing regulatory landscape Take the Fire Safety Order of 2005. The Order, which states that fire detection and suppression systems and fire risk assessments must be ‘suitable and sufficient’, should be the starting point from which businesses determine their fire safety strategy. Sadly, in reality, outdated fire risk assessments and ill-prepared systems are all too common. UK businesses need to reconsider their policies and ensure that they are not only up to regulatory standard, but fully equipped to protect their employees, residents and visitors from harm. What the industry needs is a complete overhaul of the way fire safety regulations are understood and applied On a similar note, take 2017’s updated British Standard 5839-1 regulation as a second example. With the extended rules now in place, companies need to understand how they will be affected and what the requirements will be. The standard, which deals with the design, installation and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems, now calls for greater attention to the reduction of false alarms, increased numbers of sensor types in different zones and improved maintenance. Due diligence requirements are being tightened up, and companies will find loopholes much more closely policed. Not only that, but investment in hardware, including covers for call points, is going to be necessary. Change will have to come at both the operational and the budget stages – and preparation is key. The government’s plans for a new buildings safety regulator should have a major impact on practices and on the wider landscape, shedding light on what needs to change within both residential and commercial buildings, and probably beyond the UK. Now it’s up to individual companies to change the way they approach fire safety, and ensure that they can keep occupants as safe as possible. Effective fire suppression as a priority For a case in point of how regulatory changes should be implemented, let’s consider sprinkler systems. In their current form, there is a requirement that buildings above a certain size and application must have sprinkler systems built in from the earliest stages of planning. As the Grenfell inquiry progresses and brings its recommendations to parliament, we can expect a far larger proportion of public buildings required to have sprinkler systems retrofitted, and new builds needing to incorporate them from the very beginning. Due diligence requirements are being tightened up, and companies will find loopholes much more closely policed But it’s not just a matter of installing sprinkler systems: servicing, maintenance, system design, and operation must all be properly attended to. Safety teams must ensure that all sprinkler systems are kept in full working order, checking components on a regular basis and running simulations where possible. Regular hazard reviews and testing carried out by certificated companies is also essential, and your systems must be checked by qualified engineers. There should be an attitude of honesty when it comes to upgrades and change – if a system fails to comply with regulations, or has degraded over time, then cost worries must always come second to compliance. Assessing the risk at your facilities To ensure safety, you need to ensure that your hardware is being tested on a regular basis by independent observers. You also need to conduct regular fire risk assessments of the entire building, taking into account everything from exits, gangways and ventilation to detection, alarms and evacuation procedures. From the furthest reach of the building to the place of ultimate safety, you need to have considered every potential hindrance and risk to give you the best chance of protecting your building occupants. But this doesn’t mean a black and white choice between a satisfactory balance sheet and the safety of employees and the local community. By working with an expert fire risk assessor, businesses can achieve regulatory compliance and desirable safety levels on a workable budget through a combination of intelligent consultancy and expertise. In the rush to avoid repeating past mistakes, there is certainly a risk that some fire safety teams may settle for less well-resourced assessors, or those without the expertise required to effectively and safely discern the conditions of the building, just to make sure that something is done. To avoid this, companies should be looking for professional organizations with a proven track record of successful assessments – who should be product agnostic – to conduct the review. A full-service offering is a positive sign that points to a good provider – a consultative organization that can assess needs and suggest solutions accordingly, specific to particular environments and systems, is key to reducing risk and achieving compliance. Even better, companies that can provide assessment, servicing, and long-term maintenance across an entire building, site or facility are most likely to be able to help you comply with new regulations and protect your staff and assets. The results of risk assessments A good fire risk assessment can be very literally the difference between life and death. We all like to think that it couldn’t happen to us; that our office or home must be safe, couldn’t possibly fall foul of a stray spark or a dropped match; but the statistics say otherwise. In the year ending September 2017, Fire and Rescue services attended over 170,000 fires in the UK, and there were 346 fatalities as a result. To ensure safety, you need to ensure that your hardware is being tested on a regular basis by independent observers We’ve all experienced the directionless panic that can set in when people undergo an unplanned fire drill. That’s particularly heightened in cases where false alarms are common – frequent evacuations as a result of poor maintenance or system management breed complacency. Why is this relevant to fire risk assessments? The better your assessment, the more well-equipped you’ll be to plan your evacuation procedure, as well as to locate and maintain your detection and suppression systems. A regularly-updated fire risk assessment is the key to understanding the potential pitfalls of your building, whether that’s sub-par fire doors, narrow staircases, a small number of exterior exit points or simply a need for more alarm call points. Some of those factors will be out of your control, but you can take advice from your assessors and install new hardware or remove obstacles from gangways. Above all, you’ll be better able to draft a well-informed evacuation plan to ensure that all occupants know what’s required of them in the event of a fire. Aside from all-important personal safety, there are also business considerations involved in fire risk assessments, the most prominent among them being regulatory compliance and future commercial planning. We began by considering some of the major regulatory requirements that have been introduced under BS 5839-1:2017. The best way to help yourself prepare for compliance and ensure that you do a good job of implementing the changes is to have a comprehensive fire risk assessment on hand to help you understand how the rules will apply to your particular situation. The ability to plan effectively will also help you to look after the bottom line without sacrificing due diligence. There are worries that sweeping changes in fire regulations will cost the earth, and when faced with a whole new raft of purchases and process updates, it can feel daunting and expensive. However, by beginning now and making sure you have a comprehensive understanding of your facility’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to fire safety, you’ll be able to get a basic understanding of what’s going to need changing, allowing you to plan any necessary expenses and review multiple tenders to get the best price. Moving forward With renewed focus on fire regulations, it’s essential for companies of every size to shape up, regardless of their workforce or building type. Protecting lives and assets from the risk of fire is of crucial importance. Ignoring the details of fire safety will no longer simply be an oversight – but a matter of life or death. Protecting lives and assets from the risk of fire is of crucial importance Conducting a detailed fire risk assessment is a good first step to ensuring businesses are prepared. From there, choosing a partner who has access to a full suite of services and a proven track record of success will help usher in the necessary change. Fire safety should ultimately be treated with the severity and attention that it deserves – there is simply too much to lose if we fail to learn from past mistakes.
As fire safety continues to make the headlines, Karen Trigg of Allegion UK outlines the importance of hardware selection and reminds decision makers of how routine checks can save lives. Door hardware plays a role in the operational integrity of a building, and more crucially, is a key element of a facility’s fire safety and security. Putting fire safety measures at risk Fire doors, and their accompanying hardware in particular, require special attention from facility managers and installers. Installing inefficient equipment could suddenly put a whole building’s network of fire safety measures at risk. And in light of this year’s debate on the government’s planned fire safety reforms, the importance of fire door hardware is now more valued than ever. The importance of fire door hardware is now more valued than ever The expanding role of hardware is also giving decision makers extra considerations to make when selecting hardware. From ease of integration to the flow of movement – various factors can dictate a decision, potentially overwhelming some. Yet, decision makers must recognize the responsibility they carry in ensuring both a door and its hardware operate effectively – even after installation. A cultural change Fire doors are designed to protect occupants from the spread of fire, smoke and toxic fumes. Because of this, hardware (including handles, closers and hinges) must meet certain standards and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. Yet, as phase one of the Grenfell Inquiry has once again reminded us, not all buildings are meeting these requirements. Detailed Grenfell reports have raised questions over the integrity of the building’s fire doors, focusing on the failure of compartmentalization and broken self-closing mechanisms on flat entrance doors. With incorrect hardware selection or failed maintenance to blame, this case, like many others, should become the catalyst for change – before the safety of others is jeopardized. Industry experts are calling for a change in fire safety culture Today, hardware adaptable and designed to tackle almost all fire safety, security and operational challenges that a building can present. From access and emergency egress elements to the more unique and defined details such as flow of movement, its importance simply can’t be understated. But too often, purchase decisions can be led by cost, as opposed to quality. With this in mind, industry experts are calling for a change in fire safety culture. Although there are various elements and touchpoints to consider, one area that must change quickly is how we choose our door hardware. Manufacturers, architectural ironmongers and installers must all recognize that a ‘one size fits all’ solution doesn’t exist and, instead, make adequate, proactive choices – moving away from reactive decisions because fire safety requires extra consideration, even after a hardware decision has been made. Inspections and checks Even with the correct door hardware in place, its operational life can be significantly reduced if basic maintenance is neglected. Previously, best practice guidelines have suggested that the performance of self-closers should be checked once every six months. However, the ‘Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’ has in 2020 proposed quarterly fire door checks as part of their updated fire safety reforms. Building owners must ensure all doors are well kept and operational to meet health and safety requirements, including all door furniture and panic and emergency exit hardware. With most building entrances enduring repeated use, durability can sometimes become an issue – especially in areas of high footfall. However, as part of regular maintenance periods, both occupants and qualified teams can undertake a number of hardware checks. Visual inspections can determine whether a door and its hardware has attained any damage. Both the physical door and its surrounding frame and hardware can become damaged over time. However, if its functionality is being effected, the damaged area should be replaced immediately. The physical door and its surrounding frame and hardware can become damaged Taking the right steps Aside from visual inspections, functional checks can also be made and are key to maintaining a door’s fire safety and operational elements. Functional checks will reveal whether hardware is still operating effectively, without requiring any undue force. Seals or weatherstripping can sometimes become loose and inhibit the correct operation of a fire door and may need to be replaced. Similarly, some fixings may need to be tightened to ensure that the door can swing freely. By completing these checks, not only will facility managers expand the lifespan of their hardware, but they’ll also protect the lives of occupants. The choice of hardware will always be integral in the success of a facility’s fire safety. With various high profile failings being publicized it’s clear that a change in approach to fire safety is long overdue. And with the development of new fire safety reforms, we now should be guiding those responsible to better standards within their own buildings. After all, it only takes the failure of one designated fire door to spell disaster.
Last year saw a 14 per cent increase in fires in England, according to UK Home Office statistics. And while around three million fire doors are installed in the UK every year, a lack of understanding during operation, maintenance and management of fire doors is still apparent. In this article, David Hindle, Head of Door Closer Sales at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, will address this issue. Importance of fire doors Fire doors are often the first line of defense in a fire, yet even after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, fire door hardware remains a significant area of concern. In May 2018, an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by dame Judith Hackitt, have been published. The review highlighted a range of issues, but the message stood clear, the UK’s current approach to fire safety in buildings is not functioning as intended and a new, holistic approach to fire safety is required. Review of fire inspections In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors. However, there is no legal requirement for them to complete any recommended upgrades or repairs, or to prove that they have done so. This represents a major problem, as doors that do not perform to the required standard could compromise a building’s safety and put occupants at risk. Ultimately, this could lead to liability being assigned back to the building owner or facilities manager. Need to maintain fire safety standards Fire safety is only properly maintained if standards and checks are carried out throughout the lifecycle of the product and building. This is best addressed through regular inspection, maintenance and the replacement of products when required. A review by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme revealed the most common fire door faults, ranging from missing fire or smoke seals, to unsuitable hinges and damage to the door leaf itself. Any one of these issues can render a fire door useless and can seriously impede a door’s capability to protect people from harm. Door leaf and frame maintenance Fire door hardware is often not afforded the attention it requires and is left mismanaged throughout its service life. So what needs to be done to ensure fire door hardware is working as expected? Naturally, the door leaf should not be damaged, warped or twisted, and it is vital to ensure the fire door closes correctly around all parts of the frame, with no distortion between the stiles, top and frame. Gaps between the door and leaf must not be greater than those specified in the manufacturer’s installation instructions or fire certificate data sheet, typically around 3 to 4mm all the way round. Importance of door closers A door closer ensures a fire door returns to its fully closed position and the door seals correctly in the door frame A door closer ensures a fire door always returns to its fully closed position and makes sure that the door seals correctly in the door frame, when not in use. There are three steps to ensuring these components are working correctly. First, open the door fully and check that it closes without dragging across the floor. Next, open it to approximately 5-10 degrees and again check that it fully closes, engaging any latch or seal. Finally, check the door closing speed is approximately five seconds from a 90 degree angle, ensuring the door does not slam shut. Intumescent fire and smoke seals Fire and smoke seals should be in good condition, fit the full length of the door and be secure in the groove. If seals are badly fitted, damaged or painted, then they must be replaced with exactly the same size and intumescent material that was originally specified. If the smoke seals have to be replaced, then they should be fitted in one continuous length, if possible. To ensure hinges are in good condition, check for visible wear, dark marks or stains around the hinge knuckle that could indicate wear and impending failure. Hinges must be strong enough to carry the door mass, plus robust enough to work efficiently no matter the level of usage. The hinges should be firmly screwed into the door and frame, ensuring that the seals at the top and sides of the door are not damaged or missing at any time. Intumescent pads should also be used with hinges, as these are required for the door to get its appropriate fire rating. Locks and lever handles To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use Wiping any metal dust deposits off the handles will help ensure that the latch-bolt is engaging smoothly and completely into the keep during use. To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use. If it does not, the lever may, at best, need adjusting or lubricating. At worst, it may need replacing, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Again, ensure the lock case is protected by intumescent material. Maintaining record of fire door inspection No matter the component, a record of inspection and maintenance should be kept for all door hardware. Furthermore, those responsible for ensuring the fire safety of a site should encourage others to report any issues with any of the door components. Faults should be fixed as soon as possible, using the correct and fire-rated components. To check the compatibility of components, always consult the fire certificate data sheet or contact the manufacturer.
Adapting workspaces to operate safely during a pandemic presents complications, not least of which is making sure that the measures taken to protect employees from infection do not undermine fire safety. In the course of altering a building to prevent infection spread, there are risks of introducing new life safety hazards and compromising emergency preparedness. As buildings adapt to new occupancy standards and requirements, it is critical that any protective measures do not interfere with operation of life safety systems. Might temporary partitions or barriers block escape routes during a fire emergency? Social distancing measures might entail blocking emergency exists and disrupting the flow of occupants looking to vacate a building. It is also important to avoid blocking firefighter access and facilities. Fire Safety Partitions Temporary partitions could block smoke exhausts, sprinkler systems or other elements of a life safety system Temporary partitions could block smoke exhausts, sprinkler systems or other elements of a life safety system. Call points and detectors should remain unobstructed. Partitions should not be installed too closes to any smoke detector. If installed more than 12 inches from the ceiling, partitions serve as walls that can obstruct the flow of smoke and heat, thus causing sprinklers to malfunction, for example. Another consideration is the need to ensure fire safety systems are operating as intended when buildings reopen after being unoccupied for an extended period. Appropriate inspection, testing and maintenance procedures should be followed, including sprinklers, alarm systems and portable fire extinguishers. During the various lockdowns, routine system maintenance might have been postponed or cancelled. Adapting emergency and evacuation procedures Building occupants should be educated on how they need to adapt their emergency and evacuation procedures in light of any COVID-19 related changes. Building owners and managers should also consider any new fire dangers, for example, might storage of large quantities of combustible items such as hand sanitizer constitute a fire hazard? Maintaining social distancing can undermine the ability to vacate a building rapidly during a fire emergency. Obviously, if there is a real fire, the imminent threat of injury or death takes precedence over the goal of preventing infection by a (less likely) disease. In general, because rules have changed, the uncertainty might slow down evacuation. What is the impact of lower occupancy on a building’s emergency procedures? Despite fewer occupants, there should be efforts to ensure enough trained people are on site to carry out evacuation. Fewer employees and staggered work schedules could require additional fire wardens or fire marshals. More training may be needed. frequent fire drills Larger outside assembly areas may be needed to avoid crowding and/or close proximity during a fire drill What about fire drills? How do you weigh the benefits of being prepared to evacuate versus the risk of infection if social distancing requirements are ignored? Do distancing requirements apply as people move through a fire escape? How much more complicated do these questions become in a high-rise building? What about the use of elevators? Larger outside assembly areas may be needed to avoid crowding and/or close proximity during a fire drill. In the event that social distancing rules are breached during a fire drill, should additional quarantine or contact tracing procedures be implemented? fire safety arrangements At the end of the day, most of these hurdles can be overcome. However, they should not be ignored. Careful consideration of the broad impacts of COVID-19 safety measures on life safety ensures that building occupants remain safe from either calamity. As businesses reopen, adequate fire safety arrangements must be a part of the new normal.
Fire extinguishers are red for a reason, aren’t they? Traditionally, red is associated with danger and fire and red is certainly easy to see, even in darker environments. Aesthetic fire extinguishers But a company in Japan is offering a line of fire extinguishers that abandons the signature color for an approach that is more aesthetically pleasing and that fits more easily into modern decor. Disaster prevention brand, Modular Aerial Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) has unveiled fire extinguishers that are black or white, thus defying convention and better harmonizing with a variety of living spaces. The Japanese company, Morita Miyata Corp. has been making fire extinguishers for more than 100 years The Japanese company, Morita Miyata Corp. has been making fire extinguishers for more than 100 years. Their new sleek, minimalist fire extinguishers have won a Good Design Good Focus Award in the category of disaster prevention and recovery design. The award celebrates outstanding works designed for the prevention of and recovery from natural disasters. Disaster preparedness The concept is to ‘Take Bosai into the lifestyle’ (Bosai is disaster preparedness in Japanese). Beyond aesthetics, there is a practical reason to make the lowly fire extinguisher blend more seamlessly with a room’s decor. The reason is that prettier fire extinguishers encourage consumers to place the extinguisher proudly out in the open, where it is within easier reach to use quickly if needed. The minimal and attractive design allows the fire extinguisher to be placed in a more visible, high profile place in homes, without the ‘harsh’ red interfering with the interior decor. Consumers are prompted to enter the date of purchase and expiration date on the fire extinguisher’s body. Higher effectiveness of fire extinguishers in visible spots In short, fire extinguishers can be more effective if they are not hidden away in a closet or cupboard where valuable seconds are lost locating them in case of a fire. The idea is to unify style and function. Obviously, style is an undervalued element in the entire fire industry, given the affinity for less subtle use of red evident in everything from fire apparatus to web site names. Breaking traditional conventions Abandoning tradition may be creative, but don’t years of convention complicate the concept of changing the color of emergency equipment? For example, in the case of fire extinguishers, although primarily red, they also use color-coded labels to designate their type, such as blue for dry powder, yellow for wet chemical, etc. Also, fire pull stations, for example, are red, but pull stations for police emergencies may be blue instead. The colors have meaning that is understood to building occupants. Therefore, using new colors in public buildings could cause confusion, even if they contribute positively to the aesthetics of an expensive office suite, for example. Extending the concept of ‘Kanso’ to fire extinguishers Extending the concept of 'Kanso' to fire extinguishers has promise, as long as design does not interfere with safety The Japanese interior design concept of ‘Kanso’ is all about simplicity and focuses on the flow and movement of energy in a space. The concept seeks to eliminate clutter from a home and to show restraint and simplicity in every aspect of design. Extending the concept of 'Kanso' to fire extinguishers has promise, as long as design simplicity does not interfere with safety. The Good Design award jury states, “The simple modification of changing the color of the fire extinguisher to black and white is a big step forward in creating harmony with the living space.” Changes in style of fire apparatus and firefighting equipment The jury adds, “There has been a preconceived notion that fire extinguishers must be red in order to grab visual attention. We have just accepted fire extinguishers to be red because that is the way they are. Maybe an innovation like this can happen in other areas. The fact that the development of this product could lead to changing many other preconceptions we have was another important factor for the award.” Should everyone be looking for ‘Kanso’ to make its way soon to fire stations? Might a more positive flow of energy contribute to more relaxed and effective firefighters? Should fire apparatus colors be coordinated with station decor? Could it be that stylish fire extinguishers are only the beginning? These are some of the important questions in the development of new fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment.
A wealth of data is used to track the course of wildfires and guide an effective firefighting response. Computers crunch the data using software and a computing infrastructure to yield information in the form of wildfire modeling and better situational awareness to guide fire service response. On the front line of turning data into useful information to advance fire science is the WIFIRE Lab at the University of California San Diego. The WIFIRE lab grew out of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). With a primary goal of enhancing fire science, the lab also impacts operational fire response, increasingly in real time. Complex natural disasters “Wildfires are complex natural disasters that are caused by many changing systems like weather and landscape,” says Ilkay Altintas, Ph.D., WIFIRE Founder and Director. “Ongoing observations using modern technology and analysis of changes using artificial intelligence are helpful to augment fire science and response efforts.” The mission of the WIFIRE Lab is to provide a collaborative and transparent framework to bridge data, artificial intelligence and computing with fire science and its application to practice. “We are envisioning this framework to extend to the modeling and management of disasters beyond fires in the long term, such as floods and smoke plumes," adds Altintas. The mission of the WIFIRE Lab is to provide a collaborative and transparent framework to bridge data, artificial intelligence and computing with fire science and its application to practice Detecting smoke patterns WIFIRE Labs analyzes climate data such as wind speeds and direction provided by utility company weather stations Much of the work at WIFIRE involves automating processes and creating workflows ‘behind the scenes’ to crunch a variety of data, sometimes using supercomputers, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The resulting ‘data assimilation’ provides valuable tools to advance the science of fire and to facilitate the work of firefighters. Among the goals is to provide ever-faster and more accurate intelligence, even for rapidly moving fires that have previously defied real-time computer analysis. WIFIRE Labs analyzes climate data such as wind speeds and direction provided by utility company weather stations, the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Forest service. Conditions such as moisture levels help to predict the course of a fire. Satellite imagery can detect smoke patterns, the hottest areas of fires, which areas are still burning and how they will likely continue to expand. Multiple weather forecasts Guiding WIFIRE Labs’ research is close collaboration with fire departments, including the Los Angeles and Orange County Fire Departments. They provide “Regular feedback about what they want out of the interface,” says Jessica Block, WIFIRE Associate Director for Operational Programs. “It is a direct product of close collaboration with firefighters.” “Being able to monitor our environment requires putting all the data together,” says Block. “Understanding how fires are behaving and changing the environment is important and available to the entire fire community.” A data portal and public interface is called FIREMAP. Fire agencies can request accounts and use the system to run predictive models to help with firefighting. For example, they can project the possible course of a fire based on multiple weather forecasts. Understanding how fires are behaving and changing the environment is important and available to the entire fire community Active fire perimeters The community knows there is a need for additional models to serve the need" FIREMAP is a decision-support and information tool that analyzes and visualizes data and makes it available to decision makers in a format that informs and assists them before, during and after a wildfire event. The map interface can show a variety of information such as active fire perimeters, weather conditions, wind direction, satellite images, local video camera views, surface fuels, etc. The currently used fire model is called FARSITE, but it was not designed for rapidly moving fires. “The community knows there is a need for additional models to serve the need,” says Block. For example, how are fire models different for fires fueled by surface grasses and shrubs versus those fueled in a conifer forest environment? Fire perimeter mapping The Fire Integrated Real-time Intelligence System (FIRIS) Pilot Program seeks to leverage enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to identify early onset fires using fixed wing aircraft equipped with aerial infrared (IR) computerized mapping. WIFIRE Labs is building a system that can enable the AI community to apply its tools to solving fire science problems The program provides better early intelligence, including initial real-time fire perimeter mapping within five minutes of aircraft arrival. Real-time intelligence from such a system is a game-changer. Data from historic fires aid in modeling future events. ‘Educating’ an AI system using historic data helps to inform smarter models for next year’s fires. WIFIRE Labs is building a system that can enable the AI community to apply its tools to solving fire science problems. The program provides better early intelligence, including initial real-time fire perimeter mapping within five minutes of aircraft arrival Advanced systems research For example, how can satellite imagery be used to better understand how vegetation has changed? The payoff from AI and other advanced systems research will likely happen in future fire seasons. Some of the fire systems use supercomputers such as the one at UC San Diego, or even systems in the cloud. However, much of the data is leveraged using everyday desktop computers. “We know how to leverage supercomputers when we need them, and how to take advantage of them,” says Block. “But we don’t use them if we don’t need them, and our systems are available to users and research partners.”
Lake Assault Boats, part of Fraser Shipyards and a renowned manufacturer of purpose-built, mission-specific fire and rescue boats, has delivered a custom 26-foot craft to the Bartow County Fire Department located in Northwest Georgia. The boat was placed into service in July and is serving on Lake Allatoona, located 30 miles north of Atlanta. “Lake Allatoona is one of the most popular lakes in the entire country, and we’re honored to have one of our custom craft now on duty with the Bartow County Fire Department,” said Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats Vice President of Operations. “The boat’s versatile configuration enables firefighters to quickly and effectively respond to a wide range of on-the-water emergencies.” hydraulically operated bow door The modified V-hull craft’s configuration includes a 9-foot, 6-inch beam and a 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door. Other components include a 1,250 GPM fire pump driven by a dedicated 6-cylinder engine. A pair of 150 hp four-stroke outboards power the craft. The boat is equipped with a full-width T-top pilothouse offering an interior clearance height of 76-inches, and its ergonomic helm station features a 12-inch Garmin touchscreen integrated with GPS, sonar with SideVu and DownVu, and Chart Plotting. emergency response We met the folks from Lake Assault Boats at a trade show, and started a conversation that led to our purchase" “This new fireboat takes our department’s emergency response capabilities to a whole new level,” said Deputy Chief Marcus Warren of the Bartow County Fire Department. “The hydraulic bow door, in particular, enables us to beach the craft on a shoreline and quickly deploy an ATV, equipment, and firefighters. It is also an extremely valuable feature for our dive team during rescue operations.” “We met the folks from Lake Assault Boats at a trade show, and started a conversation that led to our purchase,” explained Deputy Chief Warren. “Ultimately, our order was placed through the Houston-Galveston Area Council purchasing cooperative, and it was a very smooth process.” mutual aid services Lake Allatoona is primarily located in Bartow County, but portions are situated in Cherokee County and Cobb County. The shoreline includes eight marinas, fifteen public boat ramps, many year-round residences, summer cottages, resorts, and hundreds of campgrounds. “The lake can be extremely busy, so we also provide mutual aid services to other department on the lake,” Warren said, “especially during busy national holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.”
C-TEC’s revolutionary Hush Pro BS 5839-6 Grade C domestic fire detection and alarm system has been chosen for three iconic tower block developments in Manchester, United Kingdom. Located in the center of Piccadilly, Oxygen Towers is a striking set of three new 31-storey, 16-storey and 10-storey buildings consisting of 345 stylish 1, 2 and 3-bedroomed apartments and 12 spacious family townhouses. Protecting futuristic ‘vertical village’ Designed to provide the ultimate living experience, the futuristic ‘vertical village’ combines luxury accommodation with fabulous five-star leisure facilities including a swimming pool, cinema, gym and spa. The stunning development also features lush garden terraces and rooftop gardens. Selected for its cutting-edge technology and capacity to align with the building’s fire strategy, Hush Pro will integrate with the site’s BS 5839 part 1 landlord system to offer higher levels of fire protection than the Grade D unmonitored battery alarm systems, typically used in domestic installations. Hush Pro BS 5839-6 Grade C fire detection and alarm system As a fully-monitored BS 5839 part 6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults As a fully-monitored BS 5839 part 6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults and operation faults back to the fire panel and even allows management and maintenance companies to remotely monitor the system. Once the project is complete, each of the flats will feature an easily accessible low-level Hush Pro Controller connected to a series of Hush Pro smoke detectors, base sounders, multi-sensors and heat detectors all seamlessly interfaced to a powerful network of C-TEC 4-loop ZFP addressable fire control panels to provide all-encompassing fire and fault monitoring of the system. Enhancing fire safety management If, for any reason, part of the domestic fire alarm is compromised, this will immediately be reported to the building management team to allow them to action the fault and re-instate full fire detection coverage to the flat. John Blundell, Head of Solid State Security Ltd (Solid State Living), the specialist fire company involved with the design and delivery of the project, said “As well as enhancing the fire safety management, property and life protection of the buildings, a key factor in our client’s decision to invest in Hush Pro was the system’s ability to notify building management in the event of a real fire and, at the same time, its potential to virtually eliminate false alarms.” Reducing false fire alarms He adds, “Hush Pro’s unique capacity to differentiate between Fire Level 1, usually a false alarm reported locally in the dwelling, and Fire Level 2, almost always a real alarm activated outside of the dwelling, reduces false fire alarms, unnecessary call-outs and the risk of a real fire alarm being ignored. As our client requires immediate notification in the event of a fire but also first-class false alarm management, Hush Pro will prove ideal.” John further stated, “Also of vital importance to our client is that, as the project consists of private balconies with an open plan flat arrangement, Hush Pro is the only fire alarm solution that can actually meet the requirements of BS 9991 Annex D3.” Hush Pro’s powerful false alarm management capability will also prove invaluable at the site" Jason Lawler, 24-7 Group’s Group Director and the person responsible for delivering the electrical and mechanical systems for the project, said “Hush Pro is an outstanding solution. The system will provide residents with easy-to-use detection, alarm, silencing and test facilities so they can test their own devices, be alerted to system faults and hush any false alarms at the Hush Button, which is positioned at light-switch level for safe and easy access. Hush Pro’s powerful false alarm management capability will also prove invaluable at the site.” Integrated BS 5839 part 1 and part 6 fire alarm solutions John Blundell said, “Client satisfaction is incredibly important to us so we were delighted to be able to specify a robust and fully-compliant integrated BS 5839 part 1 and part 6 fire alarm solutions for Oxygen Towers.” He concludes, “With its capacity to provide high levels of fire protection yet also minimize costly and disruptive false alarms, Hush Pro is fast becoming the system of choice for fire strategy engineers and consultants dedicated to enhancing fire safety in high-rise residential and specialist housing projects throughout the UK.”
When Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s Helicopter Emergency Medics became concerned about their current helmet due to its obsolescence and poor comfort, the charity contacted Vimpex who they were aware had successfully supplied helmet solutions to other Air Ambulance Services, including Lincolnshire and Kent. Pacific R6C Rescue Helmet Following meetings to identify product performance requirements, and a product trial by critical care paramedics and doctors, Thames Valley Air Ambulance chose the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet because it gives the charity a high-performing, future-proofed safety solution that can also be fully customized. Every part of the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet can be quickly removed without the use of special tools" Vimpex Business Development Manager Steve Clelland explains, “Every part of the Pacific R6C Paramedic/Rescue Helmet can be quickly and easily removed without the use of special tools. Cost of ownership is therefore minimized as repairs and replacement of all components is simple. Pacific helmets are tested in the most extreme conditions required for conformity to relevant clauses of the latest EN standards.” High performance PPE equipment The fantastic life-saving work carried out by Thames Valley Air Ambulance when there’s a life-threatening injury or medical emergency, and relies on the skill and bravery of its team of doctors and critical care paramedics, some of the most highly skilled pre-hospital medics in the world, to deliver advanced trauma care to some of the most seriously injured patients across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire from its base at RAF Benson. Such exceptional individuals, who regularly put their own safety on the line to protect others, need the highest levels of equipment performance, including their head protection PPE, to ensure that their well-being is never compromised. Fire evacuation and alarm systems major Vimpex is Europe's renowned independent manufacturer and distributor of high quality fire evacuation and alarm system products for installers, distributors and OEM manufacturers. The company is also a specialist in the supply of technical rescue and PPE equipment for UK fire, rescue, police, military and emergency services teams.
A network of 10 MxPro 5 fire panels from Advanced, have been installed to protect London’s famous Lloyds Building. About Lloyds Building Also known as the Inside-Out Building, the Lloyds Building is located in the City of London’s main financial district and is a leading example of radical Bowellism architecture in which services for the building such as ducts and lifts are located on the exterior to maximize space in the interior. Built-in 1986, commercial office development became the youngest structure ever to obtain Grade I listing in 2011. The state-of-the-art Advanced fire panels, which were installed as part of a phased upgrade to the fire system, cover all areas of the 14-storey building, include BMS integration for graphics and are linked to over 3200 Hochiki devices, including wireless devices installed within the building’s towers. Installation Of Fire Panels Undertaking phase one, the design, installation, and commissioning of the fire panels and graphics system at the Lloyds Building were Kent-based Pacific Security Systems Ltd. Kirk Short, Director at Pacific Security Systems Ltd, said “Our client’s brief was to retain the existing Hochiki devices and wiring while upgrading the panels and graphics system on site. The system also needed to be both user-friendly and reliable.” “Advanced’s MxPro 5 panels were able to tick all of the boxes. Its network performance is particularly good, no matter the size of the system or complexity of the site Advanced’s products have the capability to deliver complete protection.” “Our customers are always happy with the product and find the panels very easy to operate with limited technical understanding.” Custom-Built Fire Safety Products As part of the work for phase two of the upgrade, a custom-built annunciator for sprinkler, wet riser, and plant status control will be designed and manufactured by the Advanced’s AdSpecials department. MxPro 5 fire system is certified by FM Approvals to the EN 54 standard Regional Sales Manager at Advanced, Ken Bullock, said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to support Pacific Security Systems Ltd with the equipment needed to protect such an iconic London landmark, and as a high performance yet a user-friendly solution, the MxPro 5 just makes sense.” “Our industry-leading fire panel offers the ideal solution for this project, where an intuitive interface that the end-user can easily operate and superior networking capabilities that can deliver protection across a large area, are crucial. Pacific Security Systems Ltd will also benefit from the MxPro 5’s built-in false alarm management software, AlarmCalm, enabling the configuration of the building’s investigation delays and double knock procedures with ease.” Multiprotocol Fire System MxPro 5 is the fire industry’s multiprotocol fire system solution and is certified by FM Approvals to the EN 54 standard. It offers four detector protocols and a completely open installer network, backed up by free training and support. MxPro 5 panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed networks of up to 200 panels covering huge areas. Its ease of installation and configuration as well as its wide peripheral range make it customizable to almost any application.
Cadiz Fire Brigade in Spain has recently taken delivery of new, state-of-the-art fire kit supplied by Bristol Uniforms, a globally renowned designer and manufacturer of protective clothing for emergency services across the globe. The contract was secured through Bristol’s international distributor, El Corte Ingles, who fought off stiff competition to secure the four-year contract. Ergonomic XFlex design Cadiz has ordered 780 sets of Bristol’s lightweight, ergonomic XFlex design (called FireFlex in Spain), with integrated safety harnesses incorporated into the jacket and trouser. The kit has a Hainsworth TITAN1250 outer, a highly breathable fabric featuring Nomex and a high percentage of Kevlar, which gives the fabric outstanding tensile and tear strength. In addition, it has a GORE-TEX FIREBLOCKER moisture barrier, which is made from a micro-porous breathable fabric that stops water passing through to the firefighter’s personal clothing, whilst allowing sweat to escape and reducing heat stress. Four-year care and maintenance contract To ensure health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract To further protect the health and safety of its firefighters, Cadiz Fire Brigade has opted for a four-year care and maintenance contract, so as to ensure that the kit is kept in good condition and free from contamination. Total Safety manages all Bristol’s garment care and maintenance in Spain and has worked with Bristol for more than 25 years. It collects soiled garments from customers and returns them clean and repaired within 72 hours. Featuring integrated safety harness Paco Griso, Bristol Uniform’s agent in Spain, said “The new kit has now been rolled out to firefighters in the Province of Cadiz and we are already getting positive feedback from them. They are really pleased with how flexible the kit is and how easy it to maneuver in tight spaces. The integrated harnesses, certified to EN 361, are an additional safety feature which will help prevent serious falls in fire and recuse situations.” Richard Cranham, International Sales Manager at Bristol Uniforms, said “This is a large contract for us in Spain, which was delivered on time, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the risks of wearing contaminated PPE have become ever more apparent, more and more fire and rescue services across the globe are opting for ongoing care and maintenance packages, so as to ensure their PPE is free of carcinogens and the health of their crew is prioritized.”
Ajax Systems in cooperation with Elotec, a Norwegian distributor of security systems and manufacturer of wired fire alarms, won a tender from the municipality of Bergen in Norway for the supply of a wireless fire security system. The project aims to protect the wooden architecture of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wireless Ajax detectors will provide an opportunity to protect the city center without disturbing the interior of the buildings. Wireless fire solutions “We are lucky that our distributor in Norway, Elotec, has an in-depth expertise in fire security. Being also a manufacturer of wired fire alarm systems with almost 30 years of experience, they chose Ajax as their wireless partner to protect the important historical site. This further proves that wireless fire solutions are becoming a trend in the industry,” said Valentine Hrytsenko, Ajax Systems CMO. This project is a big win, and securing UNESCO World Heritage buildings is our responsibility" “This project is a big win, and securing UNESCO World Heritage buildings is our responsibility. The development we have done with Ajax to make this solution was crucial, and making the system perfect for these kinds of projects,” said Kristian Kleven, product and quality manager in Elotec. Bergen has been affected by multiple fires over centuries, but the city is still one of Europe’s largest historical centers with wooden architecture. Fire detection cameras The city has 12 districts with old wooden buildings located close to each other, and about 11,000 residents. The project is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. The implementation is supervised by Elotec in cooperation with the Bergen Fire Department. Every resident or business owner in the protected area of Bergen had an opportunity to apply for the installation of a fire alarm system and to connect to the fire monitoring station free of charge. In total, 13 street fire detection cameras and 640 Ajax security kits (consisting of Hub control panels, FireProtect fire detectors, and Button panic buttons) will be used to protect the areas. Fire monitoring station Ajax fire detectors have a synchronous alarm function (interconnect) — when one detector is triggered, all fire detectors within the system are activated. Following Elotec’s initiative, for the Bergen project, the Ajax R&D team needed to implement a delay in interconnect distribution and transmitting alarms to the fire monitoring station in order to minimize false calls of fire brigades. The Ajax R&D team needed to implement a delay in interconnect distribution and transmitting alarms Hub control panels, FireProtect fire detectors, and Button panic buttons (with the new alarm interconnect delay function) for every house. If the owner of the premises simply overcooks a meal on the stove, they can press the Button within 2 minutes from the moment when smoke was detected, thus postponing alarm transmission. Preventing false calls In this way, they will have another 10 minutes to air the premises out and prevent the alarm from spreading to other detectors, and also to prevent false calls to the fire brigade. However, if the button is not pressed within 2 minutes, the alarm will be directly transmitted to the fire department. The FireProtect and FireProtect Plus fire detectors with firmware version 3.42 or later are technically ready to support the interconnect propagation delay. The feature will be fully available to all users with the new OS Malevich 2.10 update to be released in Q4 2020.
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?