Fire Safety Testing
Rosenbauer International AG, a company of the Rosenbauer Group, and Brandweer Amsterdam Amstelland will be working together on the ongoing development of a new range-extended electrical fire truck over the next two years. The aim of the innovation partnership is to subject the underlying approach of Rosenbauer’s Concept Fire Truck (CFT) to comprehensive practical testing and to analyze its performance in day-to-day operations on the narrow streets of the Dutch capital. Following an implem...
Over the last decade, fire protection has been transformed by the rise of addressable, IP-based devices embedded in networked fire alarm system infrastructure. The scalability and modular architecture of digital fire alarm systems has unlocked a new level of fire safety, for instance by pinpointing the exact location of a triggered smoke detector in an alarm, or by interfacing with public address systems for phased building evacuations. For system integrators, installation and maintenance of ala...
Fire safety solutions expert and fire protection equipment firm, Advanced has announced that it will be showcasing its latest versatile range of fire protection solutions at Intersec 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Advanced will be exhibiting its state-of-the-art fire safety products at F24 stall in Hall 4 of the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Dubai, UAE. Visitors will discover the full spectrum of fire safety solutions offered by Advanced’s Axis EN and Axis...
Portable gas detection equipment needs to work faultlessly and in conjunction with safety best practice. Lives depend on it. But, faced with many daily demands on a safety manager’s time, maintaining compliance across a fleet of equipment is a constant challenge. Matt DeLorenzo, Business Director for Safety io (an MSA Safety Company subsidiary), explains how the Grid Fleet Manager – software service for managing fleets of portable gas detectors – helps to ensure compliance thro...
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland is advising fire safety professionals on the importance of properly certified hardware and training, following warnings from experts in fire safety law that they may now be deemed responsible for any breaches. Liability for fire safety breaches is being increasingly pushed down from building owners and occupiers to those that have been consulted, assessed and advised on the appropriate fire safety solutions for a site. Should these products fail to...
Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) has taken part in a series of multi-agency training exercises to tests its chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear response. The three training sessions, which fell under CBRNe, were designed to test how emergency services from across the region responded to incidents such as chemical spills and contamination. Training exercises These scenarios involved staff from Avon and Somerset Police, South Western Ambulance Service, Devon & Somerset Fire...
Shipping an American cooker to the UK and finding the closest comparison to a US burger, are just some of the lengths Apollo Fire Detectors has gone to in the development of its new range of Soteria UL268 7th edition detectors, which will be launched at Intersec in January 2020. Exhibiting in Hall 4 on stand F10, Apollo Fire Detectors will showcase the new range of Soteria UL heat, smoke and multi-criteria detectors. The new products have been designed for markets that require UL listed systems including the US, Middle East and Asia. Apollo has invested heavily in research and development ahead of the new UL standard that comes into force on 29th May 2020. The new UL standard represents a major step change for the fire industry. Photoelectric smoke detector Cooking nuisance test has been introduced to tackle the issue of false alarms caused by cooking appliances The UL268 7th edition is the new Underwriters Laboratories (UL) smoke detector standard for photoelectric and multi-criteria smoke detectors, updating the 6th Edition of UL268, which has been in effect for the last decade. There are more than 250 updates to UL268 as part of the 7th edition, culminating in the addition of two new test fires. The new test fires are UL268 Clause 41.1.5: Cooking Nuisance Smoke Test and UL268 41.1.5: Smoldering Polyurethane Foam Test and Flaming Polyurethane Foam Test. The new cooking nuisance test has been introduced to tackle the issue of false alarms caused by cooking appliances. The new flaming and smoldering polyurethane tests were added to ensure that newly manufactured smoke detectors perform quickly and adequately when installed in environments where modern, synthetic materials, such as polyurethane foam are used. Fire detection systems Smoke detectors achieving the 7th edition of UL268 will be required to demonstrate greater sensitivity to the smoke produced by polyurethane fires. The standard for heat detectors (UL521) remains unchanged. However, Apollo has released a newly styled heat detector as part of the new range as well as new UL compliant bases. The new Soteria UL range replaces the Apollo Discovery UL range and is compatible with Discovery and CoreProtocol. It comes with a built-in isolator to assist with the detection and correction of faults in fire detection systems. Tests have included sensitivity, directionality, stability, air velocity, temperature, humidity, and corrosionApollo also has variants that are compatible with XP95A protocol. Using its state-of the-art laboratories at its head offices in the UK as well as visiting the UL testing facilities in Chicago, Apollo Fire Detectors is creating a new generation of detectors to achieve UL compliance. Tests have included sensitivity, directionality, stability, air velocity, temperature, humidity, and corrosion, to name a few. fire alarm control panel As a result of the comprehensive testing, substantial changes have been made to the new product range including air flow, smoke chamber size and shape, and sensing technology. Mohammed Al Zaben, Head of Sales - Middle East & North Africa at Apollo Fire Detectors, said: “Focused R&D has culminated in a UL268 7th edition offering that is compatible with our existing installation base, which minimizes the impact of the new standard on our customers." "The Apollo solution has placed our customers front and centre in the process, as the new detectors are able to be installed onto an existing system without the need to update the fire alarm control panel. We are committed to developing these new products ahead of the May 2020 deadline and to supporting our customers throughout the transition process. Intersec will provide the perfect opportunity to discuss the new standard with us and discuss the implications for the industry.”
FLIR Systems, Inc. announced the launch of the FLIR Fido® X4, the newest, most advanced version of its premium handheld explosives trace detector. The Fido X4 delivers unmatched sensitivity for a broad range of explosives, so users can easily detect threats at levels other devices cannot. FLIR Systems’ TrueTrace® detection technology features a new five-channel sensor array that delivers expanded threat coverage. TrueTrace can accurately detect a wide range of explosives at nanogram to sub-nanogram levels – including military, commercial, improvized, and homemade explosives – allowing users to gain actionable intelligence through identification of threats in as little as ten seconds. A FLIR PackBot Hardware Integration Kit will sync the Fido X4 with the company’s unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) widely used for explosive ordnance and bomb disposal. Fido’s multi-platform adaptability will allow users to switch the device from handheld operation to unmanned systems for standoff threat detection. intelligent sensing solutions FLIR and authorized partners are taking pre-orders for the Fido X4 and shipments will begin in December 2019 “Our new Fido X4 is mission-ready for all critical security applications – from high-volume checkpoint and randomized screenings to foot patrols and standoff operations – going wherever it is needed,” said David Ray, president of FLIR Systems’ Government and Defense Business Unit. “FLIR is committed to providing operators with intelligent sensing solutions that keep them out of harm’s way. With thousands of Fido devices already deployed in more than 40 countries, the X4 builds on a legacy of success for military and public safety personnel worldwide.” Multiple connectivity options Weighing three pounds and ergonomically built to minimize operator fatigue, the Fido X4 is designed for extended operations of up to 16 hours with two 8-hour, hot-swappable batteries. X4’s new simplified user interface features on-board video tutorials, user prompts, and color-coded alarms with strength indicators for quick and decisive operation. Analyzing and reporting results is made easy through multiple connectivity options, so critical data can be shared fast. FLIR and authorized FLIR channel partners are currently taking pre-orders for the Fido X4 and shipments will begin in December 2019. The PackBot Hardware Integration Kit is being developed in 2020.
G3 Systems of Portland, Dorset, UK are pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Thain as Business Development Manager – Fire Protection Services. This is a new role focussing on the further international expansion of G3 Systems’ aviation and industrial fire protection services business, with an emphasis on development across the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. Chris joins G3 Systems having worked most recently in Business Development and Marketing for Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, where he oversaw the profitable growth of commercial training and Fire Protection Services. Formerly, Chris was the Marketing Director of global maritime supplies company Unitor AS, serving in Oslo, Norway and Long Beach, California, before returning to the UK to set up his own consultancy business. Structural and aviation fire and rescue services G3 Systems currently provide both structural and aviation fire and rescue services to both international national operating standards. Services include emergency dispatch and response, fire safety, fire inspection and investigation, equipment and vehicle maintenance, testing and compliance, firefighter training and CPD and Medical Crash Crew / Ambulance Services. G3 Systems provide site security services, emergency medical services and client training The organization is presently providing operational fire and rescue services at the four international airports in air bases in Afghanistan, covering both civil and military aviation and delivering cover for up to Category 10 aircraft on a 24/7 basis. In addition, G3 Systems provide site security services, emergency medical services and client training in emergency response procedures as well as through life logistics support via mobile Field Service Engineers and forward deployed engineers. Other deployments include the delivery of facilities and infrastructure projects in Kenya and the Falkland Islands. Fire Protection Services Business Paul Holt, Business Development Director for G3 Systems said “I warmly welcome Chris into the G3 Systems family. We are excited to begin building our Fire Protection Services business across the Middle East market and beyond and our mission is to support our clients with the safest and most professional Emergency Fire and Rescue Services available today.” He continued “G3 Systems are now speaking with Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Energy infrastructure companies with high risk sites across the region to assess their Emergency Response plans and to consider how their on-site fire protection services could be both streamlined and improved”. G3 Systems are a group subsidiary of IAP Worldwide.
The global debate on building cladding, which has soared up the international safety agenda in the wake of London’s Grenfell Tower disaster which claimed 74 lives and left another 70 injured, arrives in Doha this month. Building cladding is a key feature of the Safety Design in Buildings Conference (SDiB), which runs on 16 October at The Business Park of the Crowne Plaza, Doha. The conference will feature 11 regional and international experts as speakers. Insight On Improved Protection The spread of the June 2017 fire, which arose from a refrigerator electrical fault and ripped through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, was largely exacerbated by the building’s flammable exterior cladding. The annual SDiB campaign is a GCC-wide initiative to debate safety standards and practices “In a region dominated by high rise structures, it’s not surprising that the local industry is keen to learn lessons from Grenfell,” said Andreas Rex, show director for Intersec, the world’s pioneer trade fair for Security, Safety & Fire Protection which is SDiB’s Founding Sponsor. The annual SDiB campaign is a GCC-wide initiative to debate safety standards and practices in the built environment. “Like Intersec, SDiB is essential for sharing insight on improved protection of people and assets in the Gulf.” Examine Retrofitting For Fire Safety The SDiB Doha conference will bring leading fire safety consultants, architects, engineers and testing experts together with safety systems suppliers to explore industry standards updates and debate best practice solutions. The agenda will examine retrofitting for fire safety, how to best involve design teams to mitigate fire safety risks, façade fire compartmentation and how mega infrastructure projects can meet international safety standards. Achieving Safety Compliance On Existing Buildings Sreenivas Narayanan, General Manager – Middle East and Asia Pacific of the UK’s Siderise Insulation Limited will outline strategies for achieving safety compliance on existing buildings. His presentation will discuss the need for safety compliance on existing structures and buildings which have been in use for some time. Fire and life safety systems are commonly engineered and designed based on the operational effectiveness" “The issues surrounding the cladding on a project has been a key discussion globally,” he explained. “It's important for all stakeholders involved in a project to understand what the requirements are and how to overcome the challenges. The global façade industry is keen to incorporate the best practice and I would be sharing from my recent interactions to support the local market.” Abilities To Maintain And Commission Fire Cristina Perez Domper, Regional Operations Manager – Product Testing and Certification Building & Construction of Britain’s Intertek will further the debate abilities to maintain and commission fire and life safety systems in high rise tower clusters – capabilities which she asserts are all too often neglected. “Fire and life safety systems are commonly engineered and designed based on the operational effectiveness,” she explains. “What is equally important but often overlooked is the ease of maintenance, testing and even commissioning. A fire safety system that cannot be, or is difficult to maintain or to test, will result in it not being tested or maintained which in turn will lead to it not working properly.” Maintenance And Testing Domper says preventative action is key to a comprehensive fire safety strategy through a building’s lifespan. “According to the National Fire Protection Association statistics, nearly 30% of fires in non-sprinkled facilities spread beyond the room of origin. To minimize this, preventative action must be taken to reduce the effects of fire on a facility, business continuity and life safety,” she advises. Fire safety installation that can’t be maintained will eventually end up in non-working fire safety systems" But Peter Van Gorp, Director of Fire and Life Safety of the USA’s AESG says lessons have been learnt and are being incorporated into new builds, though more attention needs to be placed on maintenance and testing. Maintainability Aspect Of Fire Safety Systems “While I used to see blatant mistakes in fire safety system design related issues in the past, I don’t see those that often anymore in newly constructed buildings. What I do still see is mistakes with regard to ease of maintenance and ease of testing. “These aspects are not only overlooked but often completely ignored. Fire safety installation that can’t be tested or maintained or are difficult to test or maintain will eventually end up in non-working fire safety systems like any other installation or system,” he warns. “I hope that my presentation will move authorities, designers, contractors and anybody else involved to give the maintainability aspect of fire safety systems the attention it deserves.” Protecting Major Events Through Stadium Security The presentation will highlight the key requirements for delivering a safe, and secure stadia" Safety for mega projects and events is also on the Doha agenda, which is essential to Qatar as it gears up to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and has huge major event ambitions. Andrew Cooke, Director Security Operations of Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security will outline ways of protecting major events through stadium security design, which he says, has significant bottom-line implications. “By integrating security right from the beginning of the design phase for venues, organizers can make significant savings by identifying potential threats at an early stage in the process and thus preventing expensive rework, delays, penalties and incorrect use of resources and materials later. The presentation will highlight the key requirements for delivering a safe, and secure stadia.” Testing All Components Of A Fire Strategy Having gained extensive experience within the fire sector and witnessing devastating effects of fire first-hand, Peter Stephenson, Business Development Manager at Warringtonfire emphasizes the importance of sharing lessons learnt to mitigate fire hazards. Validating and testing all components of a fire strategy is vital to ensure the safety of all persons" As building assurance is extremely important, Stephenson highlighted Warringtonfire’s involvement in Doha Metro, one of the key infrastructure projects linked to the FIFA World Cup 2022 hosted in Qatar “Validating and testing all components of a fire strategy is vital to ensure the safety of all persons using or working on the infrastructure.” Tests, Inspections, Certifications “SDiB provides a platform to bring industry professionals together to learn and share experiences which ultimately enhance fire safety within the region. At Warringtonfire, we value the safety and wellbeing of our employees and consider it a top priority. This belief is reflected in our tests, inspections, certifications and consultancy services,” added Stephenson. “The key take-away at SDiB is the importance of building assurance, emphasizing that Warringtonfire, with its depth of experience and industry experts, is the first choice as a trusted partner for all fire and life safety requirements.” Digital ‘Passive’ Fire Protection Delegates will also hear how digital tools can now automate fire safety. David Black, Director, Middle East Operations of the GCC’s Joule Group says despite laws and regulations, human error remains a daily risk because ‘passive assets’ - non-digital fire systems - are not prioritized. The emergence of passive protection is one factor behind the expansion of the show’s Fire and Rescue section" “We need to have more transparency on how passive fire assets are managed and checked building to building. This can be achieved through the use of digital platforms,” he said. Digital ‘passive’ fire protection is also high on the agenda for Intersec, which will run at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 19-21 January. Intersec’s Growing Sections “The emergence of passive protection is one factor behind the expansion of the show’s Fire and Rescue section, which is now one of Intersec’s fastest growing sections with more than 450 exhibitors and includes industry leaders such as NAFFCO, Honeywell, Komtes, Hochiki, Draeger, ATEIS, and Thomas Bell-Wright International,” explained Rex. “Additionally, the show will feature a Safety Design in Buildings Pavilion dedicated to Fire Safety in the building materials industry.” The next SDiB conference will run in Abu Dhabi on December 12th.
Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) is demonstrating its continuing support for Fire Door Safety Week by holding a series of free fire door safety seminars. The national awareness safety campaign, which took place between 23-29 September 2019, was launched in 2013 in response to a legacy of fire door neglect and aims to increase the public’s understanding of the role that fire doors play in protecting life and property. It is led by high-profile organizations such as the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), the BWF Fire Door Alliance (an evolution of the BWF CERTIFIRE Scheme) and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS). DHF’s fire door seminars DHF’s fire door seminars will take place on the mornings of 14th January, 11th February and 17th March next year, and will be presented by the Chair of DHF’s Timber Doorset Group, Fiona Critchley. DHF has been a particularly vocal advocate for third-party certification of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors, and earlier this year, joined forces with Secured by Design (SBD) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) to publish a guidance document on flat entrance doorsets titled - A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets ‘A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets’ It is a publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England, which highlights the fundamental issues of fire safety for those selecting fire doorsets. Those attending the fire door seminars will receive a free copy of the guidance document 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. Supporting Fire Door Safety Week initiative Those attending the fire door seminars will receive a free copy of the guidance document. “We are delighted to continue to support Fire Door Safety Week and hope that our free seminars, which are open to all, will promote awareness and safety, in addition to educating delegates on the pivotal role that fire doors play in protecting lives and property,” says DHF’s Commercial Manager, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens. She adds, “We continue to stress that the use of fire doors, correctly installed and with robust fire door maintenance procedures, are a key part of fire safety and urge those in positions of responsibility to seek the correct training with regards to installation and maintenance.”
Following feedback from customers, Aico a market pioneer in fire and CO protection have released an improved version of their web-based Alarm Selector. A common question that Aico’s technical teams are frequently asked is “What alarm type do I need?” The Alarm Selector has been designed to guide customers through this question and gives the customer a step by step online guide, enabling them to produce a specification for their alarm requirements for their properties. Customers can then take a basic or detailed specification to their local wholesaler, to order the products required or they can download a PDF version with no product codes. latest alarm type The simple mini specification gives customers the following information:- Alarm System Type Alarm Types and Recommended Products Alarm Features System Control and Installation Training Inspecting and Testing Helpful house graphic to show which rooms are covered by which alarm type The Alarm Selector has been updated to give all the latest alarm types in conformance with BS 5839-6:2019. The Alarm Selector can be found on the Aico website and takes a few minutes to complete, whereby the specification and information on alarm types can be downloaded or emailed to the customer. This tool makes determining which alarm types required quick and easy and has been designed to be a helpful addition for Aico’s customers.
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.
Drones can help save lives by delivering rescue equipment to the site of a medical emergency minutes faster than the arrival of emergency personnel. A recent trial of the technology in Ontario, Canada, demonstrated its value while expanding the capabilities to longer distances at even faster times. Automated external defibrillators The trial in the county of Renfrew used 4G LTE cellular connectivity to enable beyond-visual-line-of-site (BVLOS) drones to deliver automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the scene of a cardiac arrest patient. The drones arrived more than 7 minutes before paramedic vehicles in each test flight. The trial in the county of Renfrew used 4G LTE cellular connectivity to enable BVLOS drones The American Heart Association estimates that more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside hospitals every year; some 70% occur in homes. Drones can deliver AEDs to private, residential and rural locations where static AEDs are almost never used. They can deliver to balconies or upper levels in high rise buildings. Drones equipped with cameras can help 911 dispatchers assess a victim’s condition and support bystander CPR and AED application. Multiple studies have shown that AEDs can significantly increase chances of survival. LTE-connected drones The trial in Ontario adds new elements to the scenario, including a greatly expanded range of flight. The LTE-connected drones can fly to locations in a 10-mile operating radius. The project is among the first to be granted permission for a BVLOS flight, which could expand the reach of emergency services. The project offers the potential to deliver life-saving AEDs to patients up to 80 miles away. The Ontario trial demonstrates a marked improvement: A study in Sweden previously demonstrated a median response time of more than 16 minutes. The trial also suggests the possibility of obtaining permission to fly rescue drones beyond the operator line-of-sight in the United States. The LTE-connected drones can fly to locations in a 10-mile operating radius Emergency responders “Given the large area and varied terrain that the county encompasses, it is often difficult to get paramedics to patients in a timely fashion,” explained County of Renfrew Paramedic Chief Michael Nolan. “We have been successfully using drones to support our emergency responders for several years, but until now, the operators have had line-of-sight of the situation. We will now have further reach than ever.” For the Ontario trial, InDro Robotics supplied unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Cradlepoint provided the NetCloud Service, including an on-board IoT router that enables LTE connectivity to control data and video between the vehicle and its pilot, using signals traveling over an LTE advanced cellular network. Ericsson provided 4G LTE equipment with carrier aggregation, cellular network design support, and drone research. Artificial Intelligence The drone flew over cellular to remote take-off points selected by GPS The drone flew over cellular to remote take-off points selected by GPS and landed successfully to deliver an AED to onsite researchers, who used the device to deliver required shocks to a mannequin. The drones could share images and video with operators and employ artificial intelligence to manage collision avoidance and other key functions. Looking ahead to additional deployment of drones to deliver AEDs and other equipment, the U.S. Fire Administration lists several implementation challenges: Where should drone launch sites be located? Where they can cover an entire region or where they are needed the most? How time-consuming and costly will drone maintenance be? How will recharge time or swap-out of AEDs factor into a system deployment? How long should the drone remain on the scene? Will drones be able to operate in poor weather such as icing, turbulence and extreme cold? Drone-delivered AEDs The County of Renfrew trial suggests new options for the technology. “What’s particularly innovative and exciting about this trial is the potential of drone-delivered AEDs to have a transformative impact on emergency care for patients suffering cardiac arrest,” said Nolan.
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.”
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 review of how a fire spread through a West Midlands hotel is being carried out by West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS). Firefighters arrived at the Holiday Inn near Walsall within 4 minutes of being mobilized. They immediately started to tackle what was already a significant fire, which soon consumed much of the building. West Midlands Hotel Fire 999 calls started to be received shortly before 4pm on Friday 2 August 2019, to the site near Junction 10 of the M6 motorway. WMFS were supported at the scene throughout the weekend by colleagues from several other agencies and the hotel management. Their fire investigators are satisfied that the fire started accidentally, in the hotel sauna area. Our Fire Control received a 999 call from the Holiday Inn at 3.54pm to a report of an electrical fire in the sauna" Gary Taylor, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said “Our Fire Control received a 999 call from the Holiday Inn at 3.54pm to a report of an electrical fire in the sauna. Two fire engines were mobilized within 42 seconds, as part of our pre-planned initial response to the site. The first crews arrived in less than four minutes.” breathing apparatus in fire incidents He adds, “Two teams of firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the building to fight the fire. However, the fire had already entered the roof space. Shortly afterwards it spread to other parts of the building.” Further stating, “Fortunately, the premises were successfully evacuated and so our crews tackled the fire from outside. The roof had completely collapsed and we had real concerns about the stability of the remaining structure.” Fire engines and brigade response vehicles At its height there were around 50 WMFS personnel at the incident. Over the weekend a total of 19 fire engines, six brigade response vehicles, three aerial platforms and more than 100 personnel were there. ACFO’s Taylor added “The premises were not fitted with fire sprinklers but, previously, our fire safety officers had recommended they be retro-fitted in line with our Fire Authority’s position. Our fire investigators believe that the fire started accidentally, in the sauna room. However, we will be carrying out further investigations to try to pinpoint the precise cause. We will also be looking in detail into factors that might have contributed to the spread and scale of the fire”. Fire safety “This incident is a stark reminder to us all about the devastating impact a fire can have. It underlines the importance of businesses having up-to-date fire safety procedures, and of their staff, guests and visitors familiarizing themselves with escape routes as an absolute priority.”
Northern Ireland’s first ‘lifestyle inspired care home’ is being protected by C-TEC’s innovative life-safety systems. Designed by Bailie Associates, installed by Turner Electrical NI and supplied and commissioned by Fire NI, the systems provide the highest levels of protection for residents and staff at Milesian Manor, an award-winning care home in Magherafelt. Employing over 50 dedicated staff, the luxurious home specializes in creating spaces designed to conjure up memories of activities residents enjoyed in the past and even features a bar, beauty and hair salon, spa bathroom, café, cinema and wellness garden. Home Fire Protection System Each bedroom is equipped with a call point and patients have their own tail call leads with which to call for assistance Communication between patients and staff is facilitated by a powerful Quantec addressable call system specifically tailored to meet the home’s exact requirements. Each bedroom is equipped with a call point and patients have their own tail call leads with which to call for assistance. In addition, bed and chair exit mats have been installed in day rooms, bedrooms and lounges to alert staff immediately should a patient leave their bed or chair. Door entry/exit monitoring systems are also in operation powered up by a series of C-TEC’s EN54-4 certified power supplies. At the heart of the home’s fire protection system is one of C-TEC’s revolutionary ZFP 4-loop addressable fire panels connected to four stylish compact controllers. Touchscreen-Controlled Interface With its easy-to-use touchscreen-controlled interface, the panel can easily be accessed by authorized personnel if required. C-TEC’s PDA103 domestic hearing loops ensure that hard of hearing residents can participate A SigTEL emergency voice communication/disabled refuge system has also been fitted within the stairwells so that, in an emergency, residents who cannot easily use fire escapes can call for assistance and wait until help arrives. C-TEC’s PDA103 domestic hearing loops ensure that hard of hearing residents can participate fully in the daily activities, games and entertainment hosted at the facility and a larger wall mounted PDA200E hearing loop has also been installed in reception for the benefit of residents, visitors and staff. Trail-Blazing Fire Alarm Solution Said Sam Keery, Director at Fire N I: “Milesian Manor is an outstanding ‘next generation’ care facility offering top-quality care for its residents. We specified C-TEC equipment as it is high-quality, reliable and ideally suited to a professional care home environment. The project ran smoothly and our client is delighted with the level of protection now in place.” C-TEC is a provider of world-class life-safety systems including fire alarm systems, fire detectors, call systems, disabled refuge systems and hearing loops. Visit C-TEC’s website to find out more about the revolutionary CAST addressable fire alarm system, new Quantec Surveyor2 data management software and Hush Pro – a trail-blazing new fire alarm solution, developed specifically to enhance fire safety in flats, apartments and other tall buildings/HMOs.
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.