Fire Safety Testing
A ground-breaking trial using 4G LTE cellular connectivity to enable beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drones to deliver automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the scene of a cardiac arrest has taken place in the County of Renfrew, Ontario, Canada. Working in partnership with technology providers, including InDro Robotics, Cradlepoint and Ericsson, the trial demonstrated the drones’ capabilities to arrive more than seven minutes before paramedic vehicles during each test flight. P...
CertAlarm’s partner Kiwa recently announced the opening of their new state-of-the-art fire lab in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. To celebrate this, they are hosting a festive opening event ‘How to deal with complexity and integrality of future trends?’ on the 13th of November 2019. Opening of Apeldoorn fire lab “Collaboration is key in our sector. That is precisely why at CertAlarm we are happy to see the opening of the new fire lab, as a consequence, it will improve the c...
Consistency, learning from incidents and developing fit-for-purpose professional Standards is the core purpose of the Fire Standards Board which was formed earlier this year. The Board will be responsible for development of a high-quality, useable framework of professional Standards focused on achieving positive outcomes and driving continuous improvement. The Standards will be aligned to the work of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and its national improvement programs. Once developed, t...
As the condition of aging bridges, roadways, transportation resources, and grids across the U.S. has increasingly become the focus of discussion, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued Renovations Needs of the U.S. Fire Service, a new report on the fire service’s aging infrastructure. Two key findings within the report show that more than 21,000 firehouses across the country are beyond 40 years of age with total replacement costs estimated to be in the $70-$100 billion...
Bars, restaurants and businesses along Ipswich’s Waterfront have attended awareness training in the event of anyone falling into water. As part of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service prevention work, these waterside businesses have been supplied with a safety throw line to keep at their premises. This is a small bag containing a floating line which can be deployed very quickly and easily in the event of someone falling into the water around the marina. Helping To Reduce Risk Staff were give...
Manholes on-board ships or in industrial or offshore plants are generally only used from time to time. The manholes are closed most of the time and are only opened when there is a need for maintenance or other activities to be performed on the installation. Gaskets are used to ensure the steel sealing plates reliably seal off the manhole. The NOFIRNO gaskets supplied by Beele Engineering for these types of systems were recently subjected to one of the most severe fire tests possible. Tested To...
UK manufacturer of security systems, ASL, located in Lewes, East Sussex has been recruiting apprentices since early 2012 via the UK Apprenticeship Service. Working with local training provider Sigta Training, ASL currently employs five apprentices, four in engineering and one in business and administration, at ASL’s head office in Lewes. An apprenticeship is a genuine job combining practical training while working with study. Apprenticeships can run for up to four years and include on the job and off the job training and are available at Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree levels. UK Apprenticeship Service A full list of available apprenticeships can be found on the gov.uk website Apprenticeships are available in a very wide variety of subjects including electronics, mechanical engineering, building services, welding and fabrication, electrical engineering, sheet metal work, plant maintenance, business administration and many more. A full list of available apprenticeships can be found on the gov.uk website. At any one time there are between twelve and twenty thousand apprenticeship vacancies online. Applicants can search the gov.uk website using keywords to find the apprenticeship they are looking for. Off-the-job training Once accepted for a position, a training provider, Sigta Training in the example of ASL, has a key role to play in providing off-the-job training, assessing progress towards achieving qualification and providing support during an apprenticeship. Annette Brown, HR for ASL comments, “We currently have five apprentices within the team at ASL. Apprentices have to work hard to succeed, juggling their studies whilst working, and they have to produce a portfolio of evidence to support their learning." ASL apprentices “There is no guarantee that apprentices will be offered full-time employment once they complete their apprenticeship but I am happy to report that Sigta Training has been an excellent apprenticeship partner to work with and since we started working with Sigta, all ASL apprentices have been offered full-time employment with the company," continues Brown. Jason Dann, technical project manager at ASL has completed his CAD apprenticeship with ASL and Sigta two years ago and is now employed in the role of Technical Project Manager for ASL. Gemma Eastwood, employed in a Sales Support role with the company, completed her business and administration apprenticeship earlier this year. Gemma now assists with training ASL’s newest apprentice, Emily Bonner, who is employed in Gemma’s previous receptionist roles and general administration duties. value apprentices The best thing to come out of my apprenticeship with ASL is an actual job" Jason Dann comments, “The best thing to come out of my apprenticeship with ASL is an actual job. By the end of the apprenticeship you realize how valuable you are to the company and how much they appreciate your skill set. Companies don’t want to lose you, good companies like ASL value apprentices." “I enrolled on an apprenticeship rather than going to college or university because of the experience I would be offered and I wanted to be earning an income at the same time. Most of the companies I speak to value apprenticeships above purely academic qualifications gained at college. I know a lot of people in this industry and they actually prefer people to come up through a training scheme rather than through university. You definitely gain a lot of knowledge and hands-on experience working within a company in the industry," continues Dann. Project management expert “I currently run project management for a rail network, where we are removing old public address systems and installing new ones in more than one hundred train stations. ASL has been very good to me, I informed the company that I wanted to be managing projects and they drafted a route for me to get there and gain all this experience," states Dann. “One of the things I have enjoyed the most is gaining knowledge and experience from senior people within the company. I started in 2D then 3D design and was trained in test, build, manufacturing, software and firmware to gain the relevant experience to get where I wanted to be ”, concludes Dann. Training and qualification Gemma Eastwood, Sales Support, ASL said, “My apprenticeship gave me a starting point and gave me experience of working in a professional workplace. I found out about the apprenticeships on the government website and applied. ASL has been very good in giving me the knowledge I needed to complete my apprenticeship ”. “My apprenticeship was work based and Annette Brown in HR at ASL provided lots of ongoing of support. Sigta came in regularly, once a month, to assist my progress and steer my development ”, continues Eastwood. Engineering Apprentice David Worth, Engineering Apprentice in the Qualification Team at ASL is midway through his apprenticeship “My apprenticeship has been really good for me and has allowed me to progress from receptionist and general administration duties to a sales support role. I now provide sales quotations for customers, customer support and deal with telephone enquiries from customers and I really enjoy the variety my role offers ”, summarizes Eastwood. David Worth, Engineering Apprentice in the Qualification Team at ASL is midway through his apprenticeship. Having started in April 2016 he will conclude his apprenticeship in November 2019. He began his apprenticeship with ASL working as a CAD engineer studying in Electrical Engineering. He hopes to achieve an Advanced / Level 3 Diploma and will spend his final year amassing evidence and experience to meet his qualification. Retail expert “My apprenticeship with ASL has allowed me to develop my skillset and I now carry out lots of test work for equipment before it is dispatched to site. I started at the age of twenty two after leaving college with my A-levels and taking a few jobs in retail before deciding what I wanted to do ”, continues Worth. “The company has been really important in helping me achieve my development and growth objectives and provides lots of opportunities for me to stretch my legs in my role, particularly if I compare my experiences with those offered to my peers completing apprenticeships in other companies ”. Sigta Training David Underwood, Sigta Training, picks up the story, “We have a great track record matching apprentices with high quality companies offering apprenticeships in a wide range of engineering, manufacturing and business administration courses ”. “We choose to work with excellent companies willing to engage in real career development and opportunities for young people. We provide access to careers for young people and allow them to develop skill sets that cause them to progress within the companies they are working for. We visit apprentices regularly during their apprenticeship to monitor, review and assist their development and ensure they are being treated well and remunerated accordingly ”, adds Underwood. Apprenticeships Apprenticeships are returning to favour, certainly as far as the apprentices at ASL are concerned David further states, “We also work very hard locally and national to encourage young people to get on board with apprenticeships, visiting lots of schools, colleges and local events to promote the wide variety of apprenticeships available with Sigta Training. I’ve lost count of the number of company CEO’s, directors etc that I meet later in their life who tell me they started their careers with a Sigta apprenticeship.” Apprenticeships are returning to favor, certainly as far as the apprentices at ASL are concerned. It appears this is an increasing trend with younger people as they recognize they can access careers of their choosing whilst potentially ‘earning and learning’ at the same time. The apprentices at ASL are very optimistic about their futures. CAD Apprentice George Workman, a CAD apprentice with ASL, joined the team in 2018 after finishing his A-levels and studying a BTEC in Engineering at college. He decided he didn’t want to continue his studies at University and also found the position with ASL on the government apprenticeship website. George adds, “Since starting at ASL I have had to learn a lot of software packages, I’ve learned animation, 3D modeling and acoustic design and it’s been really nice to get into detailed use of the software. The training at ASL has been excellent, 90% of my electrical knowledge has been gained here ”. Business & Administration Apprentice “My role here is very varied, I’ve been to site and I’m now responsible for rack build schematics for projects, as well as the electrical schematics, working to EN54 standards, it’s challenging, intense but at the same time really great for my own personal development ”, summarizes Workman. Emily Bonner, ASL’s newest apprentice in business and administration sums up the benefits of getting on board with an apprenticeship at ASL adding, “After leaving college and working in retail jobs I found the opportunity at ASL. My job here is a lot more business minded than where I worked before and whilst I am very new here I am receiving great training from Annette Brown and Sigta, who visit me at work once a month. Hopefully my apprenticeship may lead me to a role in accounts or something similar in the future ”.
Kochek Company, LLC has posted on its website white papers detailing the latest independent flow test results of multiple brands of fire hose, strainers and elbows. Conducted by GBW Associates, LLC and Water Supply Innovations, LLC, test conditions were closely monitored for consistency and elimination of variables. Kochek lightweight suction hose was used as a constant in each testing category. Kochek's low level, ice, floating, box, and barrel strainers and 90° suction elbows performed at or near the top of all test subjects. Description of each test's flow speed, motor speed, and vacuum readings as well as official summaries of independent test findings may be found at Kochek’s website. Water Flow Products The latest flow testing data support fire professionals' observations of Kochek's rugged construction, reliable performance, and versatility in the field. Kochek strainers are compact and constructed of lightweight aluminum yet are durable to withstand harsh weather conditions while delivering maximum water flow. They come in sizes from 1.5” to 6” and are available in NH, Storz Camlock, connection styles. Kochek produces a full line of top performance water flow products manufactured from high quality materials engineered to exacting specifications. All Kochek products are covered by a five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
During FDIC 2019, TenCate Protective Fabrics will showcase TurnOut Gear that has seen multiple exposures. Concern over higher rates of occupation cancer among firefighters prompts additional efforts in decontamination and cleaning of turnout gear to reduce particulate accumulation. But will turnout gear stand up to more washing and drying along with the hard work firefighters do. TurnOut Gear TenCate Protective Fabrics wanted to find out and now firefighters at FDIC International 2019 will be able to see for themselves. The Georgia Fire Academy in Forsyth, GA, took three sets of turnouts featuring outer shells and thermal liners from TenCate Protective Fabrics. Each went through grueling fire evolutions and multiple extraction cleaning. TenCate sent sets of its outer shell offerings, paired with a variety of thermal liners and moisture barriers, for a wear test TenCate sent sets of its three outer shell offerings, paired with a variety of thermal liners and moisture barriers, for a wear test at the academy. Enhanced comfort and protection “The instructors — and a few students — at the Georgia Fire Academy liked the comfort of the gear and the protection offered, “ said Bart McCool, End User Marketing Manager for TenCate. “Most didn’t want to give up the gear, but we needed it for further evaluation.” The three that will be on display at booth #2109 in Hall D at the Indianapolis Convention Center, including these sets: - Kombat Flex, an outer shell powered by PBI fiber, which saw *500* fire evolutions and *51* wash/dry cycles. - Agility, an outer shell featuring DuPont Kevlar, which experienced *379* fire evolutions and *50* wash/dry cycles. - Pioneer, an outer shell featuring a DuPont Nomex blend, which went through *140* fire entries and 35 wash/dry cycles. FDIC International 2019 “Firefighters at FDIC be seeing plenty brand-new, sparkling-clean gear, “ McCool said. “We wanted to show them what it looks and feels like after it’s been around the block a few times. It makes it easier to see what they can expect from the gear.” TenCate Protective Fabrics will be displaying its turnout gear at the TenCate Fire Station booth #2109 at FDIC.
Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) has welcomed the Ministerial Statement to the House, given by the then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, in which he updated members on building safety. In particular, he informed those present that following an independent investigation into timber fire doors, no issues had been found with the consistency of the fire-resistance performance of the doors tested. This is good news for the industry and adds further weight to DHF’s continuing campaign for all fire doorsets to be factory-prepared (as opposed to prepared on-site), and furthermore, certified by a third-party. Tested under British Standard BS-476:223 25 timber fire doors from manufacturers were furnace tested, all of which passed the 30-minute standard on both sidesIn reporting his findings on 18th July, Mr. Brokenshire explained that all tests were undertaken to British Standard BS-476:223 in a UKAS accredited test house on complete doorsets facing into and away from the furnace. 25 timber fire doors from different manufacturers (and including a range of glazed and un-glazed fire doors with a variety of hardware) were furnace tested, all of which passed the 30-minute standard on both sides. As a result, the Expert Panel concluded that timber fire doors perform consistently in fire resistance when tested and pass the 30-minute required standard across the market when manufactured to specification. He did, however, make clear that complete assurance can only be achieved if building owners insist that installed fire doors are fit for purpose and have the required documentation and certification in place. Promotes third-party certification Commenting on the findings, DHF’s CEO, Bob Perry, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this investigation, which is very positive for the industry.” He said, “As an organization, DHF has lobbied assiduously for third-party certification of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors, all of which form a vital part of fire safety." DHF joined forces with SBD and the FIA to publish a guidance document on flat entrance doorsets" “It is imperative that those responsible for installing and maintaining flat entrance doorsets, such as building owners, ensure that these are purchased directly from the manufacturer and produced to specification. They have a legal and moral obligation to uphold these practices.” Guidance document on flat entrance doorsets Earlier this year, DHF joined forces with Secured by Design (SBD) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) to publish a guidance document on flat entrance doorsets. The joint publication: A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets: A publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England, highlights the fundamental issues of fire safety for those selecting fire doorsets. The federation has, since 2014, also partnered with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses, together, developing three all-inclusive one-day training courses on fire door safety to offer greater clarity on the regulations and standards applying to fire doors.
The RF581I4 and TX-6010-03-1 are wireless smoke / heat detectors, designed for use in a residential intrusion system with a compatible receiver. The RF581I4 works in eco-systems using the legacy 433-63bit protocol, whereas TX-6010-03-1 ‘talks’ the 868AM Gen2 protocol. The device has a test button surrounded by a status LED and a built-in sounder for alarm indication. The status LED flashes red every 45 seconds to indicate normal status (no alarm). When smoke or heat is detected (as configured), the status LED changes from flashing to continuously on, the built-in sounder is activated, and an alarm signal is sent to the control panel. Remote Monitoring Station The device sends a supervisory signal to the receiver every 15-18 minutes to report its status The test button itself can also be used to silence the internal sounder in case of a low battery alert and is, of course, used when performing a sensitivity and alarm test. The test button can even be used to perform a remote monitoring station alarm test. The device sends a supervisory signal to the receiver every 15-18 minutes to report its status. In addition to the above the device also has a tamper switch that triggers a tamper signal transmission when the device is removed from its mounting base and also performs a self-diagnostic monitoring the sensitivity and operation status of the device. The configuration switch hidden behind the batteries, can be used to select the sounder tone and volume. Another set of switches help to select the smoke and/or heat as well as their associated sensitivity levels.
Following its launch, the wide range of benefits offered by Solo 365 have been enjoyed by users around the world. Now, through the launch of a new adaptor, Solo 365 has even more to offer. Alongside testing smoke detectors, Solo 365 now has the ability to functionally test ASD systems. This is made possible through a specialist adaptor which is fitted to Solo 365 in place of the standard clear cup. Testing smoke detectors and ASD systems With the adaptor fitted and the ‘Delayed Start’ mode selected – Solo 365 can be raised to the aspirating pipe, its slim-line and light design making it easy to align with a sampling hole. Smoke is then automatically generated and drawn through the pipe – activating the alarm and providing a functional test of the system. The availability of the adaptor puts the ability to test standard point type smoke detectors and ASD systems into one portable tester – for the first time. This not only leads to a more professional approach to maintenance, but also offers a simpler and cleaner solution which can enable faster testing at a reduced cost.
Those responsible for the specification of products which go into new modern buildings have been asking for safe, approved cabling, which play a critical part in electrical supply systems. The number of fires in high-rise buildings in Europe and the Middle East have brought the issue of quality of products for fire performance circuits into sharp focus, not least the Grenfell disaster. Meanwhile, new buildings become increasingly complex, with the use of new materials and the designs of many requiring complex electrical systems to support security and fire safety. New and refurbished buildings such as hospitals, schools, shopping malls or airports, may have complex addressable loop fire alarm systems which provide information on individual detectors. Conventional systems only provide information about specific circuits or zones. Indicating exact location of fire, fault For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about there can be no greater priority than safetyThe addressable systems feature a fire control panel which receives information and status reports from each device, indicating its exact location and if there may be a fire, a fault, heat or contamination. For critical alarm circuits in buildings where large numbers of people move about – many of whom can be vulnerable – there can be no greater priority than safety. The cabling chosen for these systems is therefore critical. If the power to these alarm systems fails because the cabling does not meet the required performance, then the information available for fire and rescue services is directly affected and with it, the chance of finding people who may be in the building. To meet these design challenges, and with the inquiry into the Grenfell disaster still ongoing, it is the use of the very latest technology and science that is taking enhanced fire performance cabling onto a new level. Safe and compliant cable products Decision-makers in the supply chain want reassurance that the products they are specifying are safe and compliant, meeting all recognized specifications. Calls have been made by the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) for all cable being used in the UK to conform to relevant British, European or international standards amid increasing concerns about the volume of non-approved cables coming onto the market. Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling Installers have welcomed the development of a new generation of fire performance cabling which ensures critical fire-safety circuits can continue to operate in the event of a fire from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes. The standard and enhanced cables in the Total Fire Solutions range are tubed, making them a welcome product for contractors with ease of installation. They are all UV stable and they all come with a hard insulant to resist any fault generation over time. These cables meet all relevant industry standards including ISO 9001 and is approved by the leading industry organizations nationally and worldwide including BASEC and LPCB. Carrying out fire risk assessment For the fire and rescue services, the continuity of power means they can continue to read fire alarm system information which can direct them to the seat of the fire and help to locate people who may be in the building. Responsibility for choosing the right system lies with the ‘responsible person’ under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in business or any other non-domestic premises. This will be the owner, employer, landlord, or may be the facilities manager or building manager. As the responsible person, he or she must carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly and put in place and maintain appropriate fire safety measures. Ultimately, the responsible person faces a fines or jail if they fail to follow these measures and there is a fire. For some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios Any items or products which go into these fire safety systems must be covered by standards set by national, European and international bodies such as British Standards. These will certify that when needed these products will perform their function and operate as expected in real life fire conditions. Ensuring cables meet fire safety standards In support of these standards, cable industry bodies provide testing regimes to ensure that different types of cable are fit for purpose and meet these standards when tested in fire conditions. For installers, or those procuring cables, there is a need to check the cable when it arrives to make sure it is exactly what was specified. Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to lightFor some buildings, it is crucial to select the highest quality products to meet the most rigorous third-party tests and real-life fire scenarios. These include environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes where older people and children move about. Specifiers looking at new large public sector projects such as hospitals should refer to BS 8519 for the electrical supply, and the most relevant cabling system. Counterfeit Flexible Cords campaign Instances of unsafe non-approved cable continue to come to light. Unsafe flexible cord, intended for use in domestic and industrial applications, has been found on sale in the UK recently, prompting the ACI to issue a fresh alert to the electrical supply chain. The latest find of sub-standard flexible cords is marked ‘Made in Turkey’ and ‘Ermaks’. Samples came to light following the initiative’s recent ‘Counterfeit Flexible Cords’ campaign which alerted the electrical supply chain to dangerous industrial flexible cords. We in the supply chain should all be vigilant to watch out and report these instances of non-compliant cabling wherever we see or suspect they have been installed, while developing only the safest products and systems of our own. We shouldn’t forget that we all have a duty and a responsibility where lives and property are at stake. Importance of MV cables to infrastructure Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliantThe demand for power has never been greater, with the explosion of development in towns and cities across the UK and the growth of industrial development and technology reliant on consistent supplies. Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market should be independently approved and certified as compliant as the pressure mounts on the installation of quality products in modern building developments. MV cables are crucial to our infrastructure. Electricity leaves the generating site and is routed via a step-up transformer to take it up to the National Grid distribution voltages of 400Kv, 275Kv and 132Kv. Once in the local area, the supply goes through step-down transformers that reduce the voltage to 415V with domestic supplies tapped off at 230V. To provide power to the sub-stations – very often located on the premises of the establishment that they supply – Medium Voltage (MV) cables are used. MV cables were only developed as the level of voltages increased and the need arose for a greater classification range. design and specification of the cables The technical design and specification of the cables is of paramount importance within the power distribution networkThe size of the market has developed to the point where the global MV cables market was valued at 39.31billion US dollars in 2016 and projected to grow at a rate of more than six percent until 2022. The technical design and specification of the cables themselves is of paramount importance within the power distribution network. There are a number of technical considerations to be taken into account including the size of the installation, the position of the installation in relation to the network and the presence of primary and secondary sub-stations. Prior to installation, a detailed route survey should also be carried out to plan where cables will be jointed and to identify any possible obstructions which may require special civil engineering works such as directional drilling. Underlying the critical nature of supplies to these types of services, the incidence of non-approved cables for these applications also plagues the industry.
Did you know an estimated 30% of smoke alarms in the UK are inoperable due to missing, flat or disconnected batteries? For a property to comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is vitally important that all fire safety equipment is kept in perfect working order at all times. This involves checking that the fire safety equipment is accessible, well maintained and hasn’t been tampered with. There are many ways you can take care of your fire safety equipment, to ensure your property is prepared, should there ever be a fire. Equipment Assessment Checks There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually If you’re the ‘responsible person’ for commercial property, you need to ensure your building meets fire safety standards. Here are 5 tips on how to properly maintain your fire safety equipment. Both passive and active fire safety equipment must be check regularly for any signs of wear or damage. There are two types of equipment assessment checks that should be carried out, including monthly and annually. There is a range of equipment checks you must carry out, including fire doors, fire alarm test, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers. Emergency lighting should be checked monthly, with all issues kept in a logbook. Fire doors should also be checked to ensure their seals and frames are in good condition. Fire Alarm Tests All fire protection has to be checked annually including alarms, detectors, lighting, sprinklers, extinguishers and fire doors. They should be carefully inspected. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises. To check that your Fire alarms still function correctly, it is important to get them serviced. All fire alarms should be tested, maintained and inspected by a competent person who is able to carry out any remedial work. Fire alarms are a legal requirement for commercial premises Fire extinguishers must be ready to work straight away in the event of a fire, so it is vital they are regularly checked and serviced. You should ensure they are maintained and kept in a functional condition. Every month, the pressure gauge should be tested on all fire extinguishers. Fire Risk Assessments Every year, it is required that a qualified technician carries out a thorough check on all your extinguishers for them to be fully serviced and certified. In addition to regular maintenance checks on your fire safety equipment, it is vital your commercial property has a fire risk assessment carried out every 4 years, with a renewal every 2 years. Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally Fully trained and qualified assessors should undertake this to make sure it is done professionally. By having a fire risk assessment review, it determines whether any changes could impact the ability for your equipment to properly protect your building. Fire Safety Logbook During a risk assessment, all fire doors must be checked to ensure they are in good condition and close efficiently with secure hinges. The fire seals must be fixed in position, with signs on the door present and legible. To keep an overview of all findings and actions, there should be a fire safety logbook and maintenance record that remains at your premises at all times. The logbook is used to record and review any significant findings when carrying out the fire risk assessment. This helps to keep all fire safety equipment functioning effectively and available to respond to emergency fires.
A number of shocking incidents involving fire have highlighted the need to better manage risks in buildings. David Adkins, managing director at Risk Warden, explains why some organisations need to give compliance with statutory regulations more focus and how the use of state-of-the-art online risk assessment tools can help to ensure that a building is as safe as possible. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into sharp focus. A government review into building regulations in the wake of this tragedy, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, made it clear that competence – defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and experience – underpins safety for all. It also found that that the current regulatory system is not fit for purpose and, with little or no quality monitoring, has created a situation where poor language confuses guidance with regulation and means that there is an overlapping regulatory enforcement framework. Why you need a fire safety action plan Sadly, Grenfell was not an isolated incident and similar events have occurred throughout the world. In 2017 a fire at a 17-storey commercial building in Iran led to multiple deaths, including those of 18 firefighters, while in 2015 16 people died in a fire in a residential building in Azerbaijan. Perhaps what is most concerning is that these types of events have been regularly occurring for many years – in 2010 a fire in a 28-storey tower block in China killed 53 people and injured at least 90, while in 2004 a fire at a care home in Scotland led directly to the deaths of 14 residents. The inquiry concluded that this tragedy could have been prevented by a suitable fire safety action plan. These examples highlight why it is vital to take the issue of safety seriously by undertaking a formal risk assessment. Put simply, if risks aren’t identified, a building’s occupants are in danger. There are a number of important pieces of legislation relating to this area in the UK including The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which contain a consistent set of requirements. Employers also have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. The Grenfell Tower disaster in London, in which 72 people lost their lives, brought the subject of fire safety into focus Responsibility for fire risk assessment When it comes to the dangers associated specifically with fire, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) places the onus on a designated responsible person within an organisation to carry out regular assessments to identify, manage and reduce the potential danger posed by fire. Article 9 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions he/she needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him/her by or under this order". Any failure that leads to loss of life, personal injury or damage to property will expose a responsible person and could lead to prosecution. Outside fire risk assessors If the responsible person does not have the knowledge to carry out a fire risk assessment on his or her own, it will be necessary to call on a competent outside fire risk assessor. However, as Article 18 of the RRFSO points out, "Preference is to be given to a suitable competent person in the responsible person’s employment over a person not in their employment". Just as importantly, it states that, "A person is to be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures". If an outside fire risk assessor is employed then the responsible person must undertake due diligence to ensure that the individual concerned is competent and has successful track record in this line of work. Failure to do so can have enormous repercussions like, for example, in 2017 when a former firefighter and professional fire risk assessor was given a sentence of four months in prison suspended for 12 months for providing a ‘woefully inadequate’ fire risk assessment in his capacity as a private consultant. Failure to undertake due diligence when employing a fire risk assessor can have legal consequences Monitoring and reviewing fire risk It is up to the responsible person to put processes and procedures in place to enable compliance to be fully evidenced. This includes keeping up to date records of testing and maintenance regimes that can be scrutinised by relevant enforcement authorities, as well as enabling the responsible person to monitor, control and periodically review the fire risk assessment, especially during and after significant changes to the use or layout of a building. At the moment there are no hard and fast rules as to how fire risk assessments should be carried out. However, the most important requirement is to identify the fire hazards and how people could be at risk. In addition, emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, fire fighting equipment, the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances, and the needs of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with disabilities must be factored in. The aim should always be to remove or reduce the risks as much as is 'reasonably practicable'. A failure to provide satisfactory evidence that a comprehensive risk assessment has taken place could result in invalid insurance, large fines and even the prosecution of any individuals responsible. To that end Article 11 of the RRFSO states that "The responsible person must make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the size of his/her undertaking and the nature of its activities, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures". Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface Risk assessment and compliance tools Sometimes, particularly with large buildings or campus environments, the complexity of the risk assessment process requires a more methodical approach that takes subjectivity out of the process. When it comes to satisfying the requirements of Article 11 of the RRFSO where "the responsible person must record the arrangements", the latest generation of intuitive risk assessment and compliance tools can help. Today’s state-of-the-art solutions are structured around an intuitive internet-based interface, which allows a responsible person to be guided through the entire risk assessment process in a clear and thorough manner. This is a significant improvement on the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ approach, as digital images can be captured and placed directly into a report at the relevant section, while templates for specific building types ensure consistency throughout. This simplifies the identification, management and prevention of any risks related to not only fire, but security, and health and safety too, thereby reducing the potential for danger within a wide variety of environments. It should always be remembered that the risk assessment is only the first stage of the process and where traditional methods often fall down is in taking – or not taking, as the case may be – any necessary remedial action. Online tools provide a more cohesive approach, as once the risk assessment has been completed all work undertaken is clearly outlined, logged and accounted for to comply with audits. This provides evidence of compliance and ensures organisations meet their legal obligations, validate their insurance, take a consistent approach to risk management and provide peace of mind for a responsible person. Making buildings safer There is a clear need for a digital record of risk assessment compliance for the whole life of a building – from design and construction through to occupation. As assessing risk can be a lengthy and complicated process, anything that makes this easier and enhances an organisation’s ability to negate the likelihood of injury or even death should be embraced. It stands to reason that risk management must be more strictly applied in order to prevent incidents that could be avoided – therefore, the use of online risk assessment and compliance tools should be at the forefront when it comes to making buildings safer.
Dame Judith Hackett’s recommendations to the U.K. Government after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 were that the competence of the individuals working in the construction and life cycle of Higher Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs) needs to improve and be clearer. Work had already started in many fire protection sectors to create fully recognized qualifications, and these help raise the benchmark. Improving fire safety training A force driving improvements in training is the Fire Industry Association (FIA). As a trade association, FIA is looking at ways to help its members and the broader industry sectors. One way to do that is to improve the training that FIA has provided to fire detection and fire alarm technicians for over 20 years. Having looked at various ways of doing this, FIA’s members agreed that creating nationally recognized qualifications would help add more professionalism to this sector. To offer nationally recognized qualifications, the FIA chose to become an awarding body registered with OFQUAL [Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation]. Initially, training is focused on the FD&A [Fire Detection and Alarm] sector, with future plans to offer training in other fire sectors. The process of becoming an awarding body was rigorous and difficult. It took FIA more than three years of applying and submitting policy documents before the organization finally achieved awarding body status in 2014. Fire system installation roles Training is provided in the four job roles as described in the fire system installation standard BS 5389/1: 2017 Training is provided in the four job roles as described in the fire system installation standard BS 5389/1: 2017; they are Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance. These roles are also recognized within company third party certifications schemes (LPS 1014 and BAFE SP203). The designer designs the FD&A system, and the Installer installs it. The Commissioning technician checks and signs off the installation, and the Maintenance technician will complete the routine maintenance during the life of the system. Training modules Training in FIA’s four qualifications, at National Vocational Qualification Level 3, is broken down into modules. The Foundation is the information that each job role needs and is common to all four job roles, as is the Environment module and the Health and Safety module. These are the core modules. The final job-specific module picks up on the differences among the roles; e.g., what does a maintenance technician need to know that is different to an install technician? “Providing a qualification requires a process of asking the sector what it wants,” says Martin Duggan, General Manager, Fire Industry Association (FIA). “We went through a comprehensive route with ‘voice of the customer’ days and surveys plus syllabus reviews to check and double-check that the qualification reflects what the industry wants.” The base is the BS 5389 standard, although more was added such as Health and Safety and Environmental aspects. National Vocational Qualification Level 3 Level 3 is for supervisors or unsupervised workers and in a lot of cases, the individual will work unsupervised once they are qualified and have gained experience. The work done to create the services standard EN 16763: 2017 Services for Fire Safety Systems and Security Systems identified Level 3 as the appropriate level. The trailblazer aimed at apprentices in this sector also reached a conclusion that level 3 was the right one, as did FIA’s own research. Many electricians and security companies install fire alarm systems as their skills are very similar; however, the Fire Safety Order (England and Wales) states that a responsible person should only use competent persons to install and maintain fire protection systems. But how do you prove competence? Training in FIA’s four qualifications, at National Vocational Qualification Level 3, is broken down into modules Fire Safety Order “One of the worst things we see from all types of installers into buildings is leaving big holes in compartment walls,” says Duggan. (A compartment wall is designed to contain the spread of fire for a designated period of time.) “These should all be correctly sealed up.” The work being done by Working Group 2 (Installers) as part of the industry response group to Government on Dame Judith Hackett’s recommendations includes: Company third party certification (so that the purchasing of services is done through a recognized company). The individuals the companies employ have a relevant recognized qualification. This is backed up on site with a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card or equivalent. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) or refresher training is introduced A basic knowledge of fire safe building and compartmentation is understood. “It’s this final piece that will help drive cultural change quickly, if we can implement it correctly,” says Duggan. “Can we get all installers to understand why we build compartments and why it’s so important not to damage these and allow smoke, heat and fire to move freely about a building?” LPS 1014 and BAFE SP203 The benchmark for the FD&A industry has been third party certification with the two schemes LPS 1014 and BAFE SP203 The benchmark for the FD&A industry has been company third party certification with the two schemes LPS 1014 and BAFE SP203 being well established for the last 20 years; however, there are many companies that still are not registered, says Duggan. The excuse is based on cost, that customers are not asking for it, and that it’s not mandatory. “The way the current legislation works and is policed, it’s only likely that poor installations etc. will be found after a serious fire when it’s too late,” says Duggan. “Unfortunately, customers do not fully understand their duties to only employ competent people, and the courts will ask: What is the industry best practice and what more could have been done to prove your competence?” Third party schemes “We have company third party schemes for most fire protection disciplines and there are qualifications coming online for most sectors as well,” says Duggan. “These are what the FIA would point to as best practice.”
One lesson of Grenfell is how many fire system technicians operate without the appropriate qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications, and for industry to implement a system in which clients and end users can be assured that operatives are fully competent. Another lesson is that fire service audits of buildings are no longer fit for purpose. For instance, the current system does not require proof that a fire system was installed by a “competent person.” Fire safety in commercial buildings “The general public would be horrified to learn that someone can fit a fire safety system in a commercial building without any proper qualifications or licence,” says Tom Brookes, Managing Director of Lindum Fire Services Ltd., former Chairman of the British Fire Consortium (BFC), and current Chairman of the Fire and Security Association. When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game" “When it comes to competency, the whole industry needs to up its game,” says Brookes. “Some larger companies are upskilling their staff and moving towards formal qualifications. If small- and medium-sized enterprises do not follow suit, they will fall behind and may be excluded from the marketplace altogether.” Working Group 2 on installer competence Working Group 2 on installer competence was established after the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report last year, under the joint leadership of Build UK and the Fire Sector Federation. The group has discussed extensively the need for systems engineers to be suitably qualified and able to demonstrate their competence. “In my opinion, there is too much focus on rival competency schemes rather than overall industry outcomes, which somewhat muddies the waters,” says Brookes. “However, one thing that has become crystal clear is that all fire and emergency systems engineers will likely need to hold a Level 3 qualification in the future.” Training provided BFC, FIA and IFEDA Although quality training is provided through the British Fire Consortium (BFC), Fire Industry Association (FIA), Independent Fire Engineering & Distributors Association (IFEDA) and others, historically there have been no Ofqual-approved qualifications for the fire sector. (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation [Ofqual] is a non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests.) Changes are afoot, however. In England, the Fire, Emergency Systems and Security trailblazer apprenticeship attracted around 300 new starts last year. The FIA have replaced their 20-year-old training programmes with a new system that will enable technicians who complete the series to achieve their Level 3 qualifications. Since the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt has called for all relevant trades to hold formal qualifications BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification The awarding organization EAL are launching a BS5839-1:2017 Ofqual-approved qualification in August 2019. This will allow previously trained engineers to sit an exam and gain a Level 3 award demonstrating up-to-date knowledge. Practical skills testing for more experienced technicians, outside of an apprenticeship, is something FSA are currently working hard on with partners including ECA, NET and ECS. “Our aim is for a few options to become available for operatives to gain some sort of practical competence certification,” says Brookes. “More technological solutions are now being considered for competency evaluation, such as uploading video assessments of candidates to a portal for assessors. This is already used for some NVQ type assessments and widely used in the USA. It may be just what our sector needs at this moment in time.” 'Accountable Person' role Latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings The latest Government report following Grenfell states they are looking to create a role in commercial buildings called the “Accountable Person.” This person will have a legal responsibility to ensure people working on systems are competent. While only for high rise and high-risk buildings, like all developments, it will likely spread throughout the sector. “For as long as I have been in the fire industry trade bodies have called upon the fire authorities and Government to legislate to stop unskilled workers installing and maintaining fire safety equipment,” says Brookes. He notes that both independent third-party certification of businesses and CSCS partner card schemes like ECS for individuals are voluntary arrangements. To date, neither Government nor fire services insist either scheme is used by a fire protection company. “If, heaven forbid, we witnessed another tragedy like Grenfell tomorrow, sadly I suspect the outcome would be very much the same,” says Brookes. “However, looking further ahead, I am confident buildings will be safer once new legislation comes into force and effectively eliminates the threat of incompetent and unqualified fire and emergency system engineers.”
FIREX International, 18-20 June, 2019, at ExCel London will feature 25-plus hours of seminars and panel discussions along with an exhibition of 130-plus manufacturers showcasing products for fire safety. A Sprinkler and Suppression Presentation Area will highlight the important category. Also, for the fourth year, the International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference will take place alongside FIREX International. There will be 18,000 fire prevention and protection professionals from over 70 countries in attendance at FIREX International. Seminars and panel debates, held in the dedicated Expertise and Guidance Theatre, will include sessions covering tall building safety, passive fire protection, case studies, and more. One session will consider how the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will impact fire safety laws and the fire industry. Implications of fire safety regulations A presentation will cover the development of new tests to assess video smoke and flame detectorsThe aftermath of the Grenfell fire will be the backdrop of several sessions. One will address the competency of fire, emergency and security systems technicians in the post-Grenfell era, presented by Fire and Security Association Chairman Tom Brookes. Also, a panel discussion will consider the process control and record-keeping requirements of Dame Judith Hackitt's proposed ‘golden thread of information’ that spans regulatory, design, compliance, construction and operational management functions. Another session will speak to post-Grenfell implications of fire safety and future regulations, and there will be a summary of the government response to the Hackitt/ADB review and its impact on passive fire protection. Other topics include training, testing, and fire risk assessment. A case study will highlight the importance of smoke alarms in rented properties. A session on defining Fire Industry Association (FIA) Qualifications will address the impact of best practice, legislation and standards. A presentation will cover the development of new tests to assess video smoke and flame detectors. And there will be an update on industry efforts to create an overarching competence body for the fire safety sector. Thousands of products on display The Passive Protection Zone offers an opportunity for delegates to develop their knowledge of passive fire protectionFIREX International caters to everyone within the fire safety buying chain from manufacturers, distributors, installers, integrators, consultants to end users. With tens of thousands of products on display, attendees can test and try them out hands-on. The largest presence at the show will be the Fire Solutions stand, organized by Halma, which will feature six leading suppliers of fire safety technology from the same commercial family hosted at a single stand. The featured exhibitors will be Advanced, Apollo Fire Detectors, Argus Security, FFE UK, Klaxon and LAN Control Systems. The Passive Protection Zone offers an opportunity for delegates to develop their knowledge of passive fire protection via a variety of seminars and workshops. Plus, Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) member companies will be located around the zone, displaying related products. Tall Building Fire Safety Conference The 6th International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference will focus on innovation, drones, fire science and more. Topics on Day 1 will be fire engineering, fire testing and fire science in tall buildings. Day 2 will address fire risk management, insurance and construction in tall buildings. Day 3 will focus on firefighting in tall buildings. FIREX International is co-located with IFSEC International, Facilities Show, Safety & Health Expo and Field Service Management Expo, catering to those working across many platforms, including building management, and protection and safety of people and information.
Intelligent fire panels from global fire systems pioneer, Advanced, have been installed in a prestigious, £134million Central London office building. Situated in the prime London business address of St Paul’s Churchyard, the nine-story commercial premises, Condor House, stands adjacent to St Paul’s Cathedral and just meters from Fleet Street. Comprising 110,000 sq. ft. of high-quality office space, Condor House is home to a number of professional services firms including financial services provider Barclays Capital and investment bank Moelis & Company. Hailed by the installers as the ‘Engineer’s choice’, a network of Advanced’s flagship 4-loop MxPro 5 multiprotocol fire panels have been installed to protect the site. Integration of MxPro 5 panels and XP95 detectors WFP integrated the MxPro 5 open protocol control panels alongside Apollo’s XP95 range of detectorsResponsible for the complete replacement of all elements of the integrated fire detection, voice alarm and fire telephone system installed at Condor House, including design, installation, programming, testing and commissioning, were Essex-based firm and Advanced partners, WFP Fire and Security. The ‘closed’ nature of the system meant that the cost for alterations and maintenance was higher than the market price of an ‘open’ system. WFP integrated the MxPro 5 open protocol control panels, which recently received FM Approval to the EN54 standard, alongside Apollo’s XP95 range of detectors and interfaces. Advanced’s PC-based graphical interface package, detailing the building layout to make it straightforward for the security team to have visibility and control over the fire system, was also provided. Designing and building custom panels During the project, WFP enlisted the support of Advanced’s AdSpecials department to design and build several custom panels including 200 zonal indicator panels, sprinkler indication panels and bespoke plant with key switch isolation controls to be installed in mobile racking units alongside the six 4-loop fire alarm panels. For customers requiring custom fire panels, Advanced’s AdSpecials team will work with them to design and manufacture unique panels and control interfaces for its fire systems, whatever the installation challenge. The end result is a fully up-to-date fire detection and voice alarm system ready for 10-15 years of service" WFP Fire and Security’s Contracts Manager, Scott Wright, said: “From a technical standpoint, the design and implementation of the fire system at Condor House required intricate planning and execution. We consider Advanced as the engineer’s choice of product when it comes to fire alarm control panels as it’s one of the most versatile ‘open’ systems on the market. The end result is a fully up-to-date fire detection and voice alarm system ready for 10-15 years of service.” Easy to install and configure fire panels Approved to EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13, MxPro 5 panels can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into high speed, 200 panel networks covering huge areas and tens of thousands of field devices. Advanced’s legendary ease of installation and configuration and wide peripheral range means that MxPro is customizable to almost any application, and it can be found in challenging and prestigious sites around the world. Ken Bullock, Regional Sales Manager, said: “This project involved a major upgrade from the old closed protocol system. Advanced MxPro 5 panels are compatible with detectors from four of the biggest manufacturers: Apollo, Argus, Nittan and Hochiki. Our panels and compatible field devices are available from a wide range of distributors putting the customer in charge of their budget." Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control “The MxPro 5 range of alarm control equipment was specified because of the openness, flexibility and performance and we were thrilled to work with WFP to provide the solutions they needed to make this extensive retrofit a success.” Protecting commercial properties Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, has a long history of protecting high-profile commercial property from HSBC’s Canary Wharf headquarters in London to Sydney’s famous Westfield Shopping Centre. Advanced is a global pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. The legendary 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. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
A major chemical company in the UK had been running a large spray drying process for many years. They thought the explosion risk had been mitigated by installing suppression systems on the main dryer and cyclone and flameless venting on the filter. These had activated over 30 times, for real explosions, and the system had so far done its job. However, the frequency of activations increased and eventually an explosion in the main filter led to damage in the plant, despite the protection system. A selection of suppliers, including Fike, were asked for a solution to this suppression problem and each performed a trial with retrofitted detection devices. Experience in product characterization testing This information was critical to designing the most effective suppression systemWhen a subsequent incident occurred, it was only detected by Fike, and they showed that usual detection techniques were unreliable for these potential incipient explosions. Fike’s detailed review identified that the explosion data used (Kst 430, Pmax = 8.9) may be misleading. Fike’s lengthy experience in product characterization testing, in both the 20l sphere and 1m3 test vessels, led us to believe that the 20l sphere test would probably give erroneous results and instead suggested that a full set of tests be repeated along with a new test in the Fike 1m3 test vessel. So, Fike tested the product in one of the four 20l spheres they run and the tests results were very close to those previously conducted by the original test house. However, tests in the 1m3 sphere resulted in a much lower Kst. This information was critical to designing the most effective suppression system. The existing supplier’s suppression system and flameless venting devices were de-commissioned and Fike installed explosion suppression on the main dryer, cyclones, main filter and duct work. Initiated a turnkey CDM project The project had in excess of 50 suppressors and 20 detection points and all the work was completed on timeOne vital element of the previous safety system was the implementation of flameless venting to the filter. Fike advised that flameless venting shouldn’t be applied to the filter due to its size (>250m3), as this exceeded by magnitudes the limits of any known testing. It was also found that the existing flameless vents would not have opened since the product had been allowed to open the vent valve (a simple spring loaded valve), enabling product to block the radial mild steel element which was also very badly corroded. Fike initiated a full turnkey Construction, Design and Management (CDM) project. This involved full project management of all disciplines from structural steel work and process vessel fabrication, to electrical and instrument engineering. The project had in excess of 50 suppressors and 20 detection points and all the work was completed on time. Testing of the Fike Suppression system Following the successful installation and commissioning of the Fike suppression system, it was tested almost immediately. During recommission of the process, the end user accidentally allowed natural gas into the dryer and cyclones and, as expected, it ignited. Fike was called as the atomizer of the dryer had lifted (this had not been chained down as specified by Fike). After some detailed calculations were made, it was determined that the pressure required to lift the 1.5t atomizer was in the order of 40mbarg. Fike provided a full report to the client detailing the exact history (pressure time graph) of the explosion Fike provided a full report to the client detailing the exact history (pressure time graph) of the explosion by extracting the saved data from the control system. This clearly demonstrated that there was an explosion and although the system was not designed for the hazard (gas) that had occurred, it was successfully suppressed to 197mbarg, well below the design strength of the dryer. Protects life as well as reduces downtime This Fike suppression system has been protecting the process at this chemical company for a number of years and demonstrates that with an experienced and knowledgeable design team, difficult processes can operate safely with protection systems. These not only guard from loss of life and damage to valuable assets but also reduce additional operation problems such as down time.
A U.S.-based division of a cosmetic manufacturer employs high-value data center technology to maintain their day-to-day operations. Protecting this high-value asset equipment from fire is essential and had been accomplished with a Halon fire extinguishing system. However, it is now known that Halon is damaging the ozone and adding to the global warming problem. In response, the European Community issued regulation 2037/2000, making the removal of Halon mandatory by 2003. The European-based corporate headquarters made the decision to replace the Halon systems in all of their facilities, including those in the United States. ECARO-25 A Cost-Effective Replacement Fike, together with a long-time distributor in Cleveland, Ohio, Continental Fire & Security, successfully retrofitted the data control room Halon system with the easiest and most cost-effective “drop-in” Halon replacement, ECARO-25®, utilizing DuPont™ FE-25™ fire extinguishing agent. The major advantages of ECARO-25 make a Halon retrofit as easy as possible Fike’s ECARO-25 makes it possible to leave the existing piping in place and exchange the cylinders and the discharge nozzles only. These major advantages of ECARO-25 make a Halon retrofit as easy as possible, even for equipment that is running 24-hours a day/365 days a year. Fike Corporation and Continental Fire & Security also placed a second ECARO-25 system in another facility of this Fortune 500 company, protecting a telephone equipment room previously protected with Halon. Success Factors Of This Project The minimal amount of business interruption/downtime for this 365-day/year active data center. With corporate executives flying in soon, they needed the entire system changed out very quickly. Fike and Continental Fire & Security were able to beat the deadline, with time to spare. Cost savings with ECARO-25 compared to other Halon replacement systems.
In 2003, Jeffrey Energy Center (JEC), the coal-fired plant in Kansas, was recognized by the Powder River Basin (PRB) Coal User’s Group as its PRB Plant of the Year. Industry recognition was achieved through plant safety, plant performance, environmental achievements and overall plant cleanliness. Over the years JEC has undertaken a number of projects and process changes to further improve the plant. Enhancements to the fire detection and suppression systems have been a vital part of the plant’s earned recognition as a pacesetter plant. Using extinguishing agents and technologies Fike Corporation was invited to submit a performance specification and budget In late 2004, the Halon 1301 system protecting JEC’s Unit 3 Control Areas experienced numerous unwanted false alarms resulting in several costly, time-consuming system discharges. Jon Stoddard, a Westar Fire Protection Loss Representative, conducted an investigation of new fire protection technologies that were available to replace the ozone-depleting Halon system. The recommendation included a system featuring DuPont’s FE-25™ extinguishing agent, as well as the advanced technologies of a new detection and control system. Fike Corporation was invited to submit a performance specification and budget to replace the existing Halon 1301 systems. Solutions to Improve Safety and Performance The specification included a new ECARO-25® clean agent suppression system (utilizing FE-25) and a Cheetah® intelligent control unit (now Cheetah® Xi), both manufactured by Fike. The specification included these components, predominately because the ECARO-25 system requires 20% less agent, has a much lower per-pound agent cost, and more readily retains the necessary agent concentration levels than other clean agents. In addition, FE-25 is safe for people, the environment and sensitive computer equipment and electronic controls, thus satisfying the environmental requirements of the specification. Remote displays were specified for network connection to the new Cheetah control unit, which is capable of monitoring and controlling multiple zones and up to 508 addressable devices, for future expansion. Air sampling detectors Each of the systems was designed by a NICET Certified Fire Protection Engineering Technician It was advised that VESDA LaserPLUS® air sampling detectors with display units also be connected to the Cheetah control unit, to handle coal dust and other contaminants in a high-air-movement environment. Each of the systems was designed by a NICET Certified Fire Protection Engineering Technician, and upon receiving approvals, was installed in August of 2005. Jon Stoddard was so completely satisfied with the installation that Westar Energy is planning to use Fike fire protection systems exclusively for all future projects at JEC. The budget for installing similar systems on Unit 1, has already been approved. Critical Project Success Factors Westar Energy, Inc. thoroughly researched the most efficient, effective and environmentally-friendly solution to protecting the JEC control areas. Fike carefully evaluated all aspects of the protected areas, as well as the characteristics of any potential hazards. This assured the installation of the most efficient and cost-effective systems, including Fike’s state-of-the-art ECARO-25 system, the intelligent Cheetah fire detection system and the Vesda air sampling units. The successful partnership of Fike and Westar Energy has resulted in a system that will propel Jeffery Energy Center towards continued success as a premier power producer in safety and environmental challenges.
A Louisiana-based paint additive manufacturer experienced a Halon 1301 system discharge in their Rack Room that is vital to the day-to-day operations of the company. Seeking a Halon refill, the company called Fike’s distributor, C & S Safety Systems, in New Iberia, Louisiana who in turn presented ECARO-25®. After learning the many advantages of ECARO-25, this customer agreed to install this exciting product as long as the installation time would be equal to that of recharging the system with Halon 1301, and that the piping could remain as is. ECARO-25 The Perfect Solution C & S Safety Systems and Fike worked quickly to complete the flow calculations and design work, which confirmed ECARO-25 would be the perfect solution, only requiring a new cylinder and nozzles. Fike Corporation expedited the delivery of the new hardware to the job site with a one-day turn-Ecaro-25 clean agent fire suppressing system around, and the fire protection system was brought back on-line within a total of three days. Key Success Factors of This Project The quick, easy, no-fuss installation of this “drop-in” Halon replacement system. No business interruption to the company’s daily business operation. With a tight deadline for completing this project, Fike and C & S Safety Systems were able to satisfy the customer’s needs and install the system in only three days. Fike’s ECARO-25 makes it possible to leave the existing piping in place and exchange the cylinders and the discharge nozzles only. These major advantages of ECARO-25 make the Halon retrofit as easy as possible, even for equipment that is running 24-hours a day/365 days/year.
The Colruyt supermarket chain has become a successful company by offering the best available and most reasonable ‘discount’ on goods to consumers. To preserve the ‘lowest prices’ and to remain at the forefront with competitive products, Colruyt made substantial investments into computer technology and integrated a high-technology information system which runs non-stop 365 days a year. Needless to say, a highly relied upon asset of this type is essential to the continuous success of Colruyt. System downtime is not acceptable. Prevent Business Interruption Colruyt made the decision to install Halon 1301 fire extinguishing system to protect this operation Halon is damaging the ozone layer and adding to the global warming problem. Therefore the European Community has issued a regulation 2037 / 2000 which makes the removal of Halon mandatory by the end of 2003. Colruyt made the decision to install Halon 1301 fire extinguishing system to protect this operation. This investment would prevent business interruption from fire. Fike, together with our business partner Sicli, Belgium, has successfully retrofitted the high technology information system (IT) room of the Colruyt supermarket chain with ECARO-25®, which utilizes DuPont’s FE-25™ fire extinguishant. Fire Extinguishing System The key success factors of the program were: Minimum downtime of the Colruyt IT room Cost savings compared to other products Fike’s ECARO-25 makes it possible to leave the existing piping in place and exchange the cylinders and the discharge nozzles only. These major advantages of ECARO-25 make the Halon retrofit as easy as possible even for equipment which is running 24 hours a day / 365 days a year. Now, in the easiest and most cost-effective manner, the Colruyt supermarket chain is in full compliance with EC 2037/2000 by using the people and environmentally safe ECARO-25 fire extinguishing system from Fike Corporation.