Fire Safety Testing
An explosion of blue-colored smoke on Sept. 5, 2020 in Yucalpa, California, was the beginning of a large wildfire in El Dorado Ranch Park. The pyrotechnic device was essentially a smoke bomb designed to send plumes of pink or blue smoke rising into the air, designating the gender of an expected baby. The expectant dad had packed the target with a highly explosive substance called Tannerite and shot it with a high-powered rifle. The target was designed to explode in pink or blue to reveal whethe...
Designed with facilities managers and nominated Responsible Persons in mind, the guide has been created to be a trusted source of safety and compliance information. It is free for any business to download and use to review their own fire doors. In 2019, the Fire Door Inspection Scheme found that 76% of fire doors inspected were condemned as not fit for purpose, with excessive gaps, damaged smoke seals and poorly adjusted door closers the top reasons for failings. Fire door safety The research...
Euralarm has welcomed its first associate member: Kiwa, a trusted and proven partner in the field of fire safety and security. The autonomous global company is specialized in testing, inspection, certification, training and consultancy services. With these services Kiwa contributes among others to the quality, safety and sustainability of organization’s products, services and processes. The associate membership is a result of Kiwa’s Fire Lab, located in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, t...
As fire safety continues to make the headlines, Karen Trigg of Allegion UK outlines the importance of hardware selection and reminds decision makers of how routine checks can save lives. Door hardware plays a role in the operational integrity of a building, and more crucially, is a key element of a facility’s fire safety and security. Putting fire safety measures at risk Fire doors, and their accompanying hardware in particular, require special attention from facility managers and insta...
The biggest risk of property damage and injury from wildfires comes at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is defined as areas where structures and the built environment begin to intermingle with wildland vegetation. More and more such areas are being created as humans move near wildland areas to take advantage of their natural beauty and privacy. As a result, fire departments are fighting more fires along the interface, and there is a greater need for citizens living in these areas to be...
Retention has long been a challenge for many volunteer and combination fire and EMS departments, yet little research has been done on the subject. volunteer fire service retention Thanks to support from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has conducted a study to identify institutional drivers that cause volunteers to leave, the differing perceptions between leadership, current volunteers and former volunteers and what c...
DripDrop ORS (DripDrop Hydration), a globally renowned rehydration therapy company, announced partnering with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to provide the nation’s volunteer firefighters with dehydration relief. DripDrop Oral Rehydration Solution The company pledged to donate 100,000 sticks of DripDrop Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) this summer to assist volunteer firefighters during extreme heat, wildfire season, and the COVID-19 pandemic. When this donation was met within two days of the campaign’s launch, DripDrop increased the amount by an additional 100,000 sticks. “The speed with which the initial donation amount was reached proves how needed rehydration therapy is in volunteer fire departments across the U.S.,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman, Steve Hirsch. Rehydrating firefighters working in extreme conditions Firefighters work and train in extreme conditions, losing a significant amount of water" Steve adds, “Firefighters work and train in extreme conditions, losing a significant amount of water. The generous donation of 200,000 sticks of DripDrop ORS will help make sure these firefighters receive the relief they need so they don’t suffer the negative consequences of dehydration.” “No one is immune to dehydration and the effects it can have on our bodies, particularly those who work in extreme conditions like firefighters,” said Eduardo Dolhun, Managing Director and Founder of DripDrop ORS. Eduardo adds, “We are proud to partner with the NVFC and provide these brave heroes with DripDrop’s ORS to help them stay healthy and maintain proper hydration levels.” DripDrop – NVFC partnership The partnership between DripDrop and the NVFC coincided with the expansion of DripDrop’s popular ORS lineup to now include an 80-count, multi-flavor box of berry, lemon, watermelon, and orange flavors. This product is the latest in DripDrop’s arsenal aimed at combating dehydration, a condition affecting up to 75 percent of the U.S. population at any given time. DripDrop ORS improves on the World Health Organization standard for an ORS with medical-grade electrolytes, making it both the ideal rehydration therapy for the general population and a mission-critical tool for firefighters and other public safety and emergency workers.
Modules, also known as interfaces, are powerful devices designed to connect fire detection systems with other fire safety devices and/ or third-party equipment. For example, if there is a fire in a factory, user may wish to release magnetic locks on fire doors, send signals to access controls and automatically shut down plant machinery, all of which can be done through the capabilities of a module. The problem is, with so many modules available, how to know which one is ideal for a particular set up? Each manufacturer offers slightly different interfaces/modules, however, below is a list of Hochiki modules for a wide range of applications. The list offers a basic guide to help understand when and where a user can use each of the modules, however, full technical information and accessories can be found on the official Hochiki website. Powered Output Module Typically, a CHQ-POM module can also be used to interface equipment such as Hochiki’s IFD-E flame detector Hochiki’s CHQ-POM module is designed to supply 24 VDC at various, user-selectable current levels, from 2 to 32 mA (in increments of 2mA). This means that, by using a CHQ-POM, users can not only interface with conventional equipment, but can also power it. Typically, a CHQ-POM module can also be used to interface equipment such as Hochiki’s IFD-E flame detector or even the LDM-519-LP linear heat controller. Single Input Module Hochiki’s CHQ-SIM module has been designed to allow a single monitored input to be connected to the ESP loop. For example, the module offers a cost-effective way of interfacing and monitoring a conventional fire alarm panel. Single Output Module Hochiki’s CHQ-SOM module allows a single relay output to be connected to the ESP loop. The unit incorporates a volt-free relay contact that can be configured as normally open or normally closed, therefore, allowing users to program outputs such as, breaking the DC supply to Maglocks or sending a signal to a lift controller. Dual Input Module The CHQ-DIM2 (SCI) module is similar to the single input module, but with 2 independent inputs for connecting volt free contacts. The CHQ-DIM2 module is, therefore, a cost-effective solution if the user wants to receive inputs from two pieces of third-party equipment, for example, receiving input from a sprinkler flow switch and a door contact in the same area. Dual Relay Module The CHQ-DRC2 (SCI) module is similar to the single output module, but with two general purpose outputs that can be controlled separately. As the product name suggests, it also has an integrated short circuit isolator. The CHQ-DRC2 (SCI) module is, therefore, ideal for interfacing the fire system with two pieces of third-party equipment, for example, breaking the DC supply to both a door magnet and an access control system. 4 Inputs and 4 Outputs The CHQ-PCM (SCI) module is that little bit more flexible, allowing users to sub address up to 4 inputs and 4 outputs The CHQ-PCM (SCI) module is that little bit more flexible, allowing users to sub address up to 4 inputs and 4 outputs. The 4 inputs are provided for local fire and fault monitoring, and these are fully monitored for open and short circuit, which if required, can be enabled or disabled in pairs, using a two-way DIL switch. Again, the outputs can be used to interface with any third-party equipment, including dampers, air-conditioning units, roller shutters or plant equipment, etc. Single Zone Monitor Hochiki’s CHQ-SZM2 (SCI) module is a single zone monitor, allowing users to interface up to 6 conventional devices with an addressable system. As the name suggests, it treats the 6 conventional devices as a single zone. This is ideal for shopping centers that require an addressable system throughout the main center, but also need to interface with conventional devices in each store. Each store would be seen as a separate zone, allowing the main center to identify which store had the fire or fault. Dual Zone Monitor The CHQ-DZM (SCI) module is a more powerful version of the CHQ-SZM2 (SCI) module. It has two zones and each can accommodate up to 30 devices (60 in total). As users may expect, a unit as powerful as this does will require an external PSU unit, however, it is really useful if they have an existing conventional system, and require more intelligent monitoring. This module is especially useful for users who don’t quite have the budget to upgrade to a full addressable system. Mains Relay Controller The CHQ-MRC2 (SCI) controller module has a single relay contact rated at 250Vdc at 5A or 48 Vdc at 2A The CHQ-MRC2 (SCI) controller module has a single relay contact rated at 250Vdc at 5A or 48 Vdc at 2A (resistive load only in both instances), which gives users the flexibility to interface directly with mains powered equipment, for example, to shut down plant equipment or to break the supply to a gas solenoid. Dual Sounder Controller Hochiki’s CHQ-DSC2 (SCI) controller module is designed specifically to provide two conventional sounder outputs rated at 1A. Furthermore, each can be controlled separately and has full fault monitoring. However, it is important to note that the CHQ-DSC2 (SCI) module does require a 24v power supply. Intrinsically Safe Compatible Sounder Module When installing intrinsically safe sounders in a hazardous location or difficult area, the CHQ-ISM module must sit between the CHQ-DSC2 (SCI) module and the barrier. The modules are designed to interface with the addressable ESP system, while the barrier is designed to reduce the current. It is important to remember for users that both the barrier and the modules must sit in the safe area, not the hazardous area.
BAFE and the FIA announced the acquisition of the FIA AO by BAFE FireQual Ltd. BAFE strongly believe this will be a significant opportunity for the fire industry to develop an exciting range of accredited qualifications to meet the demand for quality assurance of individual skill and expertise required by the industry. This necessity was heightened by the Grenfell tragedy and its subsequent reports outlined by Dame Judith Hackitt and the Competency Steering Group. Dame Judith Hackitt stated: “The lack of a coherent approach to competence levels and experience required – or professional qualifications where these may be necessary – and how these qualifications and experience should be evidenced so that they are clearly understood by all those operating within the system.” - 5.2 Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report. Board of Directors FireQual will operate as a separate wholly-owned subsidiary of BAFE, with its own Board of Directors, and will be led by a newly appointed Qualifications Manager who has a wide experience at a senior level in the qualifications sector. The FireQual Board currently is made up of Chairman Lewis Ramsay - former Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Scottish Fire & Rescue, Pauline Traetto - previous Executive Director of BRE Academy, Douglas Barnett - Chairman of BAFE and Stephen Adams - BAFE Chief Executive. For full clarity FireQual will only offer exams and qualifications – neither BAFE nor FireQual will be delivering any training. FireQual will be working with licensed training organizations (including the FIA) who will offer the approved syllabuses to their learners. BAFE consider this separation from training and exams/invigilation, as currently operated at BAFE with the BS 5306 fire extinguisher exam, is important to deliver independent quality assurance of this process. Certification Bodies Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, commented, “There are natural synergies that will occur along with the BAFE ethos of Third Party Certification for companies delivered through licensed [UKAS Accredited] Certification Bodies. We believe that the introduction of accredited qualifications will only enhance the BAFE company schemes. These are not to be thought of as one or the other however, BAFE will continue to monitor company assurance of specific service competency which holds important value. FireQual will develop qualifications for individual expertise for specific services, whether the candidate works for a BAFE Registered Company or not.” Following the acquisition, the FIA AO will continue to deliver their exams until FireQual has established the necessary systems and delivery processes. FireQual aim to make this transition as quickly as possible with all the requirements for OFQUAL and the equivalent standards in Scotland and Wales under way. Fire safety industry qualifications FireQual will take the opportunity to contact a wide range of organizations that currently deliver training across all aspects of fire safety to consider the application of the new range of qualifications that we will be reviewing. FireQual welcomes any approaches to consider how this should develop and looks forward to collaborating with the industry to progress the future of individual qualifications for the fire safety industry.
CertaSite announced that Advanced Fire Company, Approved Fire Protection and Advanced Fire & Security have merged to form Advanced Fire, a CertaSite Company. CertaSite is a new commercial fire protection and life safety company that provides high levels of customer service, responsiveness, building safety and code compliance to customers across the country. The company goes beyond compliance, focusing on partnerships and professionalism while providing customers a simplified and dependable solution to managing all of the fire protection and life safety systems in commercial buildings. CertaSite in the fire protection industry CertaSite is led by CEO Jeff Wyatt, who has more than 30 years of experience in the fire protection and life safety industry. He most recently served as president of Koorsen Fire & Security, one of the privately-owned life safety companies in the industry. He started his career in the profession as an installation technician and is a veteran of the United States Navy. Wyatt was recruited to lead CertaSite by The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm that is CertaSite's primary investor. A three-generation family business that started with door-to-door fire extinguisher sales in 1957, the Advanced family of businesses has grown to three separate companies with a legacy of comprehensive offerings, strong customer service and a sustainable model for growth. Its solid reputation in the tri-state area, along with its community-driven approach, will allow the company to grow its customer base and expand into new markets under the CertaSite platform. Expansion under the Advanced brand One hundred five employees are joining the CertaSite family under the Advanced brand One hundred five employees are joining the CertaSite family under the Advanced brand, serving a network of more than 5,000 customers representing schools, government agencies and businesses of all sizes. Combining forces with Advanced marks CertaSite's a large expansion since it launched in 2018. "CertaSite and Riverside are the perfect partners to build on the foundation laid by our employees and customers," said Advanced owner Ronald Cruder. "As I set my sights on what is next for our company and how we could enrich our customers' experience, shared values and a code of ethics for saving lives and securing property were key considerations in this important decision. From the beginning, our company has had a laser focus on the customer, and this partnership with CertaSite will enable us to strengthen our investments in the community and the customer experience. We are excited to expand these capabilities, and establish an even deeper presence in our community." Advanced Fire operations The merger with Advanced Fire, a CertaSite company, continues CertaSite's expansion in western Pennsylvania The merger with Advanced Fire, a CertaSite company, continues CertaSite's expansion in western Pennsylvania. County Fire Protection joined the CertaSite family in 2018, and serves customers in Kent, Columbus, Toledo and Rimersburg, Pennsylvania. Bill Holmes, director of operations, will oversee the Advanced Fire operations. "We are grateful to Ronald Cruder and the Advanced family for their continued partnership throughout this process," said Jeff Wyatt, CEO of CertaSite. "We are committed to preserving the legacy that these dedicated professionals built, and we recognize and respect their strong local presence. Our team will provide our new employees with development and career advancement, and expanded services and support to customers. We are thrilled to be expanding our unique brand of customer service in this market." Acquisition of companies CertaSite already has acquired eight fire protection and life safety companies and is actively engaged in bringing new businesses under the CertaSite umbrella. To date, the CertaSite family includes: ABC Fire Extinguisher Co. (Youngstown, Ohio); Approved Protection Systems (Michigan); Approved Safety and Security (South Bend, Indiana); Company One Suppression (Illinois and Iowa); County Fire Protection (Ohio); Erlich Fire Protection (Michigan); Field's Fire Protection (Michigan); and Spears Fire & Safety (Michigan). Markets of focus for 2020 include Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
"I wanted to create an improved accessory for extinguishing campfires to help prevent forest fires," said an inventor, from Flora Vista, New Mexico. "So I invented the Torian Forest Fire Prevention Blanket." The invention provides a quick and effective way to extinguish a campfire. In doing so, it offers an alternative to using water or covering the embers with dirt. As a result, it enhances safety and it could help to reduce the risk of forest or woodland fires and related damage. Portable and compact design The invention features a portable and compact design that is convenient and easy to use, so it is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, hikers, etc. Additionally, it is producible in design variations and a prototype is available. The inventor described the invention design saying, "My design enables a campfire to be properly extinguished in an efficient manner." The original design was submitted to the National sales office of InventHelp. It is currently available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers.
The new BS 8629:2019 gives guidance on Evacuation Alert Systems installed in blocks of flats to assist the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) in evacuating part or all of a building in an emergency. C-TEC’s new EVAC-ALERT system can be customized to create a simple-to-use and cost-effective BS 8629-compliant solution in any high-rise residential building. Housed in a robust vandal-resistant locked cabinet accessible only by the FRS in an emergency, the control panel features an intuitive interface, bright LED indicators and easy-to-operate toggle switches for each evacuation zone. Evacuation alert systems Each panel can connect to an array of evacuation alert devices including sounders, visual alert devices and even vibrating devices and pagers to alert the deaf, hard of hearing or mobility impaired. Highly flexible, EVAC-ALERT is comprised of EN54-2/4 third-party certified components and can be used to create building-specific wired, wireless or hybrid evacuation alert systems in consultation with the relevant FRS. Andy Scott, Project Director at C-TEC said, “As a leading manufacturer of world-class life-safety systems, C-TEC has an enviable reputation for delivering high-quality standard-compliant solutions at a competitive price. We’ve utilized our time-tested technology and expertise to create EVAC-ALERT, a system specifically designed to meet the exact requirements of BS 8629 and one which is certain to be of interest to landlords, property managers and local authorities keen to ensure their buildings fully comply with this new standard.”
Last year saw a 14 per cent increase in fires in England, according to UK Home Office statistics. And while around three million fire doors are installed in the UK every year, a lack of understanding during operation, maintenance and management of fire doors is still apparent. In this article, David Hindle, Head of Door Closer Sales at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, will address this issue. Importance of fire doors Fire doors are often the first line of defense in a fire, yet even after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, fire door hardware remains a significant area of concern. In May 2018, an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by dame Judith Hackitt, have been published. The review highlighted a range of issues, but the message stood clear, the UK’s current approach to fire safety in buildings is not functioning as intended and a new, holistic approach to fire safety is required. Review of fire inspections In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors. However, there is no legal requirement for them to complete any recommended upgrades or repairs, or to prove that they have done so. This represents a major problem, as doors that do not perform to the required standard could compromise a building’s safety and put occupants at risk. Ultimately, this could lead to liability being assigned back to the building owner or facilities manager. Need to maintain fire safety standards Fire safety is only properly maintained if standards and checks are carried out throughout the lifecycle of the product and building. This is best addressed through regular inspection, maintenance and the replacement of products when required. A review by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme revealed the most common fire door faults, ranging from missing fire or smoke seals, to unsuitable hinges and damage to the door leaf itself. Any one of these issues can render a fire door useless and can seriously impede a door’s capability to protect people from harm. Door leaf and frame maintenance Fire door hardware is often not afforded the attention it requires and is left mismanaged throughout its service life. So what needs to be done to ensure fire door hardware is working as expected? Naturally, the door leaf should not be damaged, warped or twisted, and it is vital to ensure the fire door closes correctly around all parts of the frame, with no distortion between the stiles, top and frame. Gaps between the door and leaf must not be greater than those specified in the manufacturer’s installation instructions or fire certificate data sheet, typically around 3 to 4mm all the way round. Importance of door closers A door closer ensures a fire door returns to its fully closed position and the door seals correctly in the door frame A door closer ensures a fire door always returns to its fully closed position and makes sure that the door seals correctly in the door frame, when not in use. There are three steps to ensuring these components are working correctly. First, open the door fully and check that it closes without dragging across the floor. Next, open it to approximately 5-10 degrees and again check that it fully closes, engaging any latch or seal. Finally, check the door closing speed is approximately five seconds from a 90 degree angle, ensuring the door does not slam shut. Intumescent fire and smoke seals Fire and smoke seals should be in good condition, fit the full length of the door and be secure in the groove. If seals are badly fitted, damaged or painted, then they must be replaced with exactly the same size and intumescent material that was originally specified. If the smoke seals have to be replaced, then they should be fitted in one continuous length, if possible. To ensure hinges are in good condition, check for visible wear, dark marks or stains around the hinge knuckle that could indicate wear and impending failure. Hinges must be strong enough to carry the door mass, plus robust enough to work efficiently no matter the level of usage. The hinges should be firmly screwed into the door and frame, ensuring that the seals at the top and sides of the door are not damaged or missing at any time. Intumescent pads should also be used with hinges, as these are required for the door to get its appropriate fire rating. Locks and lever handles To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use Wiping any metal dust deposits off the handles will help ensure that the latch-bolt is engaging smoothly and completely into the keep during use. To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use. If it does not, the lever may, at best, need adjusting or lubricating. At worst, it may need replacing, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Again, ensure the lock case is protected by intumescent material. Maintaining record of fire door inspection No matter the component, a record of inspection and maintenance should be kept for all door hardware. Furthermore, those responsible for ensuring the fire safety of a site should encourage others to report any issues with any of the door components. Faults should be fixed as soon as possible, using the correct and fire-rated components. To check the compatibility of components, always consult the fire certificate data sheet or contact the manufacturer.
With so many of us having been confined to our homes over the past few months, it’s fair to say that we have started to notice more about our living environments. As we’ve become increasingly familiar with our surroundings, some of us have had the urge to change them. DIY projects have surged, gardens have been given a new lease of life and the rooms around our homes have been decorated (twice in some cases). Doors and fire safety It’s always nice to put up new wallpaper and apply some fresh paint to the skirting boards and doors. But, when doing so, how many of us have really looked at our doors? In particular, the ironmongery. With so many of us getting carried away with maintenance projects at home, some door closers may have been removed to fill and paint the door – not realising the importance of the closer in the first place. Some homeowners may have even painted over hinges, not aware of their importance to aid the closer to shut the door correctly. To use the analogy of a bucket full of holes, a fire door with no closer or a poorly working, inefficient closer will make it impossible for the door to operate as intended – rendering it useless in the case of a fire. How many of us are truly aware of the importance of a fire door and its ironmongery? being aware of the consequences Again, we must question how many of us are truly aware of the importance of a fire door and its ironmongery? It’s common for people to notice a wedged open fire door and not think anything of it – despite the potential consequences. Simply put, we become so used to our surroundings that sometimes we become too comfortable. Fire doors are everywhere. Where we work, where we visit and where we live. They are fundamental to the safety of people and property. When operating correctly, they allow time for escape in the event of a fire. But without closers (or closers that aren’t operating as they should), valuable time is lost. As we know, fire spreads at an alarming rate but when fire doors are closed, the rate is slowed. Yet, despite their importance to our lives, fire doors are generally ignored until they become difficult to open or shut. Testing firedoors The integrity of a fire door itself is also of high importance. All fire doors will have been tested with all the correct ironmongery attached. They are tested to withstand fire and smoke for a specific period of time (commonly 30 to 60 minutes) and any break in their integrity could cause the door to fail. Similarly, if the door has been altered in any way, this runs the risk of both fire and smoke being able to flood through any gaps that have been left as a result of that modification. Gaps around the fire door should be maintained at no more than 3mm around the top, hinge side and the latch/lock side. If the floor levels differ from threshold to floor, then it’s important to seek products that can help overcome this whilst maintaining the recommended gap under the door. And yes, door closers can sometimes seem like an inconvenience. This is especially true in our homes as we navigate through rooms, arms laden with shopping, holding a pushchair or even for people with mobility issues. However, doors should not be difficult to open. Problems and solutions Should you experience an issue with your door and its hardware, there are solutions out there. Any reputable architectural ironmongery manufacturer should be able to direct property owners to the best possible product to suit the situation. In terms of door closers, the best options are adjustable. With the use of an Allen key, an adjustable door closer can adjust on the body of the closer, allowing individuals to fine-tune the unit to compensate for any change in air pressure. For example, a door that operates well in the winter can sometimes begin to slam shut in the summer months, in which case, an adjustable closer can fix this. Managing Fire escape routes Finally, fire escape routes are also critical to the safety of a building’s occupants. For example, most hotel guests may have noticed fire escape stair shafts littered with objects that can deter a safe escape in the event of a fire. Yet, it is an offence to block any escape route and property owners are responsible for keeping these areas clear. Achieving maximum fire safety in your building will leave you with peace of mind Generally, when designing a building and its entry points, it’s important to seek the advice of professionals and look to manufacturers for assistance on product selection and budget. In a field that can feel confusing, they will provide products that suit the environment, ensuring that new installations are fully certified and equipped for the task at hand. In the end, achieving maximum fire safety in your building will leave you with peace of mind. So, as the DIY projects continue and in anticipation for when we’re finally ready to explore the outside world again, it’s key to change our approach to fire doors. Instead of resenting them or forgetting their purpose, we must remember that fire doors and their ancillary products should be rejoiced for what they’re there to achieve – complete fire safety.
2020 introduced a variety of unique challenges for many industries around the world. Not surprisingly, the fire detection industry was not immune to all of those challenges. However, as much of the global community defined our manufacturing and installing peers as “essential” or “critical” it required us, as an industry, to adapt so we could continue to service our customers with our products and services. Many regions around the world are experiencing significant demand for temporary detection systems. This demand is almost universally driven by an increase in education, awareness, and enforcement. While this is a global shift, our company has experienced a large demand in our own backyard. Within the United States, this is being driven by the adoption and enforcement of NFPA 241. NFPA is the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. NFPA 241 has been a “concept” since 1930 and the official text was finally adopted by the NFPA in 1933. As with all standards, it has progressed over the years to accommodate changes in technology as well as safety awareness. Fire safety awareness While general safety awareness on construction sites has always been consistently high, fire safety awareness has significantly increased within the last 5 years. Nuisance alarms negatively consume first responder bandwidth Typically, new, or increased regulation within our industry occurs after a single devastating event or several significant events. In this particular case, it was a combination of both. On a national level, fires on construction sites were reaching dangerous and unacceptable levels and becoming so widespread that enforcement of this standard became a priority in several states. Need for accurate and timely fire detection According to a report released by Richard Campbell of the NFPA in February of 2020 titled Fire In Structures under Construction or Renovation, “the estimated number of fires in structures under construction has increased since 2014 after declining between 2008 and 2010” further creating awareness. For the last few years, the focus of many local AHJ’s (authority having jurisdiction) was on new and active worksites or renovation projects. With the changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic today, many non-essential industries have either shut down or had their operations significantly reduced. This means the need for a functioning detection system is more critical now than ever as many facilities remain idle or continue to operate with reduced personnel. Detecting fires quickly and accurately gives our first responders the best chance of saving a person or facility. Conversely, having any “detection system” is often not good enough. Nuisance alarms negatively consume first responder bandwidth, possibly removing an engine or fire company from a genuine event. Temporary fire detection In an article by The Boston Globe, Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts said “Ninety percent of these buildings go up every day and nothing happens. It’s during construction before the sprinkler system is activated when they are most dangerous.” Globally, we have seen four approaches to temporary detection for both construction and renovation sites. We will quickly discuss the advantages and disadvantages below: Using 24/7 fire watch Utilizing local first responders or other authorized/trained personnel to offer 24/7 fire watch requires a person or team of people to be onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be physically looking for fires. Advantage: Someone is always on site, actively viewing and patrolling the facility. Disadvantage: Maintaining a 24/7 fire watch can be expensive, further the person or team can only see/find fires in proximity to them as they continue to move about a facility. Using digital linear heat detection Digital linear heat detection is a fixed temperature detector that is constructed using a twisted pair of metal conductors that are separated by a heat sensitive polymer. When the ambient temperature meets or exceeds the detector’s fixed temperature the polymers melt, and the detector shorts out resulting in an alarm. Advantages: Detector can be easily installed at a new construction site or a facility being renovated. The technology is a low profile, non-intrusive and cost-effective form of detection. This automatic initiating device is immune to environmental conditions. Protectowire FireSystems offers Confirmed Temperature Initiation technology (mechanical damage does not cause a false alarm). Disadvantages: Detector can be mechanically damaged during normal worksite operation. If you are unsure, be sure to check with the local AHJ or call your insurance provider Using wireless spot detectors There are a few companies on the market that offer wireless spot detectors that can be networked together. Advantage: Typically, this technology uses a mesh network of detectors. The detectors and their bases are battery operated and can be moved or placed per worksite requirements. Disadvantage: This technology can be expensive. Physical barriers on the construction site may hinder mesh network operation requiring the purchase of additional wireless units. Many wireless technology providers focus on smoke detection. Smoke detectors are often not ideal for the harsh environments associated with construction (dust, temperature changes, etc.). Using a hybrid approach This involves using wireless nodes to supervise linear heat detection. Most manufacturers of the wireless systems offer a wireless node that can accept a third-party initiating device. Advantage: Wireless nodes can be placed anywhere, and linear heat detection technology can withstand the harsh construction environment. Disadvantage: Wireless node battery life can be reduced when using a third-party device. Less cost-effective approach. Solution for Facilities While each of the approaches listed above has its own advantages and disadvantages, you must always consider what is best for your facility. If you are unsure, be sure to check with the local AHJ or call your insurance provider. Established in 1938, Protectowire FireSystems is the global manufacturer of Linear Heat Detection Systems. The Company has been manufacturing in the United States for the past 80 years and counting. Protectowire is dedicated to delivering products designed, engineered, manufactured, and tested with a high degree of performance, reliability, and quality. As one of the manufacturers in the fire protection industry, Protectowire has the experience and knowledge needed to meet the ever-increasing detection challenges of the special hazard and commercial industries.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding the variety of technical capabilities deployed in the interest of public safety, and smart cities are leveraging IoT data to provide insights and improve operations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is promoting technology development through its Science and Technology Directorate’s SCITI (pronounced “city”) solutions lab. SCITI stands for Smart City and Internet of Things Innovation. SCITI innovations promote public safety in urban environments to expand capabilities of first responders, including law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, and the associated commercial sector. The initiative focuses on integrating new and existing technologies to serve public safety needs, with emphasis on validation and go-to-market support through industry partners. A streamlined process is aimed at getting new capabilities commercialized and available to users. Supporting first responders The program seeks to provide new capabilities to support first responders and the associated commercial sector in three areas. They are: Autonomous navigation for indoor Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to support search and rescue missions in difficult environments. Intelligent building sensors to be mounted on fixed indoor building features, such as smoke detectors or exit signs. Sensors provide a mechanism to rapidly prioritize areas for search and rescue. A body-worn interoperable platform (“SmartHub”) that integrates personal network communications with third-party sensors to improve situational awareness. Collaborations for development The program has been instrumental in developing and commercializing a number of products DHS Science and Technology is leveraging a “commercial first” approach by working with technology innovation companies, government public safety officials, infrastructure owners and private sector investment partners to promote the design, development and operational testing and evaluation of suitability for commercial adoption. The program has been instrumental in developing and commercializing a number of products. Improving communication is one area of development. For example, Zello, Austin, Texas, provides a push-to-talk smartphone app that is a low-cost, reliable and secure alternative to traditional radios. Wireless System Solutions, Morrisville, North Carolina, has developed end-to-end multi-standard/band wireless network solutions that provide connectivity from the macro cellular network to the end-point gateway and/or sensor. Emergency situational awareness To provide situational awareness in an emergency, Known Quantity Sensors Inc., Atlanta, offers an IoT edge sensor platform To provide situational awareness in an emergency, Known Quantity Sensors Inc., Atlanta, offers an IoT edge sensor platform that uses AI-backed, image-based processing to quantify and locate human occupancy. CommandWear Systems, Vancouver, British Columbia, provides a simple, secure, mobile situational awareness platform that runs on existing smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, laptops and desktop PC. The system enables users to prepare for events and incidents in advance, know where personnel and assets are, communicate with them securely, and then review and analyze a mission after the fact. Other solutions promote teamwork and collaboration. Mutualink, Wallingford, Connecticut, connect voice, video and information sources so any agency can talk to and share information with partners on-demand, providing instant emergency collaboration, situational awareness and coordination. Coolfire Solutions, St. Louis, Missouri, provides collaboration software that synchronizes data, content and communications to enable people to work together more effectively. Artificial intelligence Providing automation to operate in an emergency, Airgility, College Park, Maryland, provides multi-mission unmanned aerial vehicles that can conduct search and rescue operations or protect the nation’s borders, including onboard artificial intelligence. Thirteen companies in all were selected in the first phase of the program, and additional companies were added in Phase II. The SCITI solutions lab was created in collaboration with Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, TechNexus in Chicago, and Smart City Works venture labs in Washington, D.C.
Ignited by a faulty electric transmission line in November 2018, the Camp Fire burned for 17 days in Butte County, near the city of Paradise, Calif. When the blaze was finally contained, it had burned more than 150,000 acres, destroyed 18,000 buildings and taken 86 lives. The question is if the fire could have been predicted and if the damage could have been minimized through greater understanding of risk factors. Also if there is a scientific way to reduce the risk of fires, analogous to advances already made in the areas of earthquake risk assessment and disaster resilience. Those are some of the questions facing new research being undertaken by scientists at several institutions and financed through a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s LEAP-HI program. LEAP-HI is “Leading Engineering for America’s Prosperity, Health, and Infrastructure.” Diverse Team of researchers The new initiative will bring together a diverse team that includes atmospheric scientists, civil engineers, information systems and technology, fire ecology, weather systems, structural and fire engineering, and computer vision and machine learning. The vision of the research is “a computational platform for multi-level wildfire risk assessment.” The researchers seek to redefine wildfire risk monitoring and management to provide a platform that can be used by wildfire managers, emergency responders and utility companies to plan for, respond to, and mitigate the risk of wildfires. Hopefully, the research can lower the probability the world would suffer from another wildfire of the magnitude of the Camp Fire. The new capabilities could help to offset the growing trend of wildfire danger: Over the last 20 years, on average, seven million acres of U.S. land have burned in wildfires annually. Fire risks at regional and community scales The new computational platform will make wildfire management processes more efficient The “interdisciplinary intervention” will build a digital platform to monitor the risk of wildfire “on a spectrum of spatial resolution and time.” The new computational platform will make wildfire management processes more efficient by providing actionable information to decision-makers. Data will include long-term to short-term pre-ignition fire risks at regional and community scales, and post-ignition fire behavior at near-real-time for situational awareness. Computational modeling will be used to interpret data assembled by the group of researchers applying a variety of expertise to the larger problem. The systematic framework will quantify the risk of wildfires to the wildland-urban-interface communities in terms of total probability of loss, which includes a combination of monetary damage and the change in the quality of life of people. The model will take into account characteristics such as the community, its structure and location; as well as the adjacent wildland, its topography, climate conditions, fuel type and moisture. Principal investigator Hamed Ebrahimian, Assistant Professor at the University of Las Vegas, Reno, Nevada, College of Engineering, will lead the research as the principal investigator. Moved by the tragedy of the Camp Fire, Ebrahimian is seeking a better way to understand fire risk. The project will also involve researchers from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Reno, Nevada; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); University at Buffalo (N.Y.); National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado (NCAR); and the University of Nevada, Reno, Colleges of Science and Business. Predicting the behavior of fire Tools used in the research will be integrating scientific knowledge across disciplines, data harnessing (collection, processing, fusion, and uncertainty quantification); computational modeling, stochastic simulation, and model-based inference (i.e., making predictions based on calculations). (Stochastic simulation addresses variables that can change randomly with individual probabilities.) Computations that help to predict how active fires will behave and propagate will be instrumental in helping ground-zero firefighting activities.
Tracking firefighters’ exposure to smoke and cancer-causing materials is important when it comes to assessing liability claims, workers compensation, and coverage for occupational health claims. In a broader sense, tracking exposure to carcinogens provides important data for research to evaluate exactly how these materials affect the health and safety of firefighters. Tracking and documenting exposure data for firefighters is easier than ever using the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) Exposure Tracker App, developed by the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) as part of the NFORS Analytics Data System. The NFORS Mobile App, available in app stores, works on the iOS and Android platforms. The app helps firefighters, paramedics and officers create a personal and secure Career Diary, capable of logging both physical and mental exposures along with the incident details, in a private, encrypted, and secure online environment. The app enables firefighters to track their health exposure, on the go, prompted by questions that include the nature of an incident, the presence of smoke, fire and flames, soot, and other information, including the extent of on-scene decontamination and gear cleaning. simplifying documentation of exposure at fire scenes The app helps firefighters, paramedics and officers create a personal and secure Career Diary, capable of logging both physical and mental exposures It simplifies documentation of exposure at fire scenes after an incident response, and then maintains the information if verification for occupational cancer claims is needed later. Data is shared in the app indefinitely, and exposures are documented throughout a firefighting career. Every firefighter can even take his or her personal exposure database into retirement so that data are available if needed to document a cancer claim after they leave the job. The app was developed through a collaboration of the International Associations of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Urban Institute, and other fire service experts. The NFORS Exposure Tracker was funded by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program and the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation. The Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool (AMRRP) is providing the app to its members as a way to remove documentation hurdles fire service members face when seeking health coverage for occupational health claims. “With the app, member firefighters will be able to better assemble their exposure data for evaluation during any claim evaluation process,” says AMRRP President Rudy Rodriguez. The challenges of firefighter occupational cancer claims With the app, member firefighters will be able to better assemble their exposure data for evaluation during any claim evaluation process For municipal risk pools, there are two challenges when it comes to firefighter occupational cancer claims. One is the undue burden of out-of-pocket costs for the firefighter when a claim is denied; and another is firefighter documentation of exposures to support the claim. AMRRP is providing member firefighters access to the firefighter Exposure Tracking App for their phones. After AMRRP is notified of a claim, the primary focus of the claim evaluation process will be reviewing records. Each first responder submits his or her data, including medical information, any previously maintained documentation about the types of incidents in which the first responder had been involved, and the exposure data compiled and stored on the NFORS Firefighter Exposure Tracking App. The importance of preparedness “The hope is that this data is never used, but if the need arises, each firefighter will be better prepared,” says Brian Jefferies, President of Arizona Professional Firefighters and a cancer survivor. The International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) procures, assembles, analyzes and reports information from fire, rescue and law enforcement data. IPSDI provides live dashboards for local public safety agencies to ensure usable information about their operations.
Set on the iconic shores of Italy’s Lake Garda, Campeggio del Garda is a popular campsite that attracts tourists from around the globe to its picturesque location. Hochiki Italia’s Totem solution was specified to protect the idyllic campsite and provide occupants with an ideal level of outdoor protection. Campeggio del Garda is located on the water’s edge of Lake Garda, one of Italy’s most picturesque lakes and holiday hotspots. The scenic location offers a range of bungalows and mobile homes, as well as camping and mobile home pitching areas, for visitors. Looking at the spot, it’s clear why this campsite has become a must-visit attraction for tourists. With on-site facilities such as a swimming pool, restaurant and sports courts, the 3,000 guests the site can accommodate are able to enjoy complete luxury during their stay. Updated emergency evacuation system Italian-based designers, Studio Albertini, were brought on board to specify a suitable range of life safety devices In need of an updated emergency evacuation system, Italian-based designers, Studio Albertini, were brought on board to specify a suitable range of life safety devices to protect the site’s guests and employees. Owner and lead contact for the project, Paolo Albertini said, “It was essential for Campeggio del Garda that the solution would be complex enough to deal with the scale of their facilities, but also waterproof to accommodate for outdoor protection. Understanding the high-level of expertise that would be required for such a project, we worked alongside life safety manufacturer, Hochiki Italia, to supply the best and safest solution possible. In this case, their unique Totem system was specified.” Studio Albertini and Hochiki Italia collaboration Studio Albertini and Hochiki Italia collaborated closely on the project to specify a life safety system that could be installed across the expansive accommodation facility. Mirko Corsini, Project Manager at Hochiki Italia, said “Due to the sheer size of the camping area, we decided to manage the system through two networked panels by using the master/slave function of the device.” Mirko Corsini adds, “Combining this intelligent system with the 31 Totem call points that were installed throughout the campsite, we were able to provide a fully integrated and accessible network that covered the entirety of the park. Each Totem is fully waterproof to allow for operation all year around and contains a CHQ -WSB2 sounder beacon, warning signs, multilingual fire safety instructions as well as a UNI ISO 7010 signal call point, as requested by the Ministerial Decree.” Hochiki’s Totem system installed Hochiki Italia’s Totem system is ideal for large scale projects, as was the case and requirement at Campeggio del Garda. Being able to work from multiple networked panels, the system can be divided into zones, in order to make the connection and detection more secure and reliable. This basically means that the system can be operated and monitored from a singular control panel that includes a digital display screen for complete visibility of the status of the various call points. From this panel, duty holders can test, activate and identify any incidents for around the clock safety while reducing operational costs for large premises. The Totem’s call points are placed evenly across the facility to make sure they are accessible for all guests and are within a reachable distance at all times. The call points can be activated by guests or members of staff and can act as a beacon to communicate with guests. Fully compliant solution Totem is fully compliant with Italy’s Ministerial Decree 28.02 2014 and Circ. Prot.n. 0011002 - 12/9/2014 Totem is fully compliant with Italy’s Ministerial Decree 28.02 2014 and Circ. Prot.n. 0011002 - 12/9/2014, in relation to the safety of guests in open air, tourist accommodation. The decree states that all existing accommodation facilities must adopt the appropriate method of fire detection and fighting in spaces of more than 400 people. A clear part of the guidance is that call points should be distributed within 80 meters of each other and well-lit, with multi-lingual fire instructions. At the same time, the alarm signal coming from any of the detectors or call points must determine the optical and acoustic fire alarm signal at a manned place during the hours of activity. Signal and call point functionalities The signal and call point functionalities of Hochiki Italia’s Totem system work perfectly in line these requirements, making them suitable for a range of outdoor environments. Commenting on the end result, Paolo Albertini said “We are elated with the installation and the level of life safety that we can now offer to the campsite’s guests. It was a seamless process and we were able to adapt the system to our exact needs and ensure that fire detection was not only present, but accessible to staff across the whole site. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Hochiki Italia products to customers.”
C-TEC’s revolutionary CAST and Hush Pro fire alarm systems are safeguarding a charming cluster of commercial and residential properties in Llangollen, Wales. As a ‘mixed-use’ building housing both business units and domestic dwellings, a combination of commercial and residential fire systems was required. Allied Fire Alarms & Escapes Co. Ltd., a renowned Wrexham-based fire specialist company, installed one of C-TEC’s powerful CAST XFP addressable fire systems to protect the ground floor retail units and interfaced it to three of C-TEC’s new Hush Pro domestic fire systems to safeguard the residential dwellings on the first floor. Hush Pro domestic fire systems John Westerman, Director at Allied Fire Alarms & Escapes Co. Ltd. said, “Linking C-TEC’s CAST system to Hush Pro proved the ideal solution for this mixed-use building. Each domestic dwelling is fitted with a Hush Pro controller connected to a series of Hush Pro smoke detectors, base sounders and heat detectors, all interfaced via Hush Pro’s CAST Landlord Interfaces - to the CAST XFP communal/landlord system.” Specifically designed for flats, apartments and high-rise residential buildings, Hush Pro provides residents with easy-to-use detection, alarm, silencing and test facilities so they can test their own devices, be alerted to system faults and hush any false alarms at the Hush Button which is positioned at light-switch level for easy access. Fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C system As a fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults and operation faults" John stated, “We specified Hush Pro as it offers higher levels of fire protection over the Grade D unmonitored battery alarm systems typically used in domestic installations.” He adds, “As a fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C system, Hush Pro reports open and short circuit faults and operation faults back to the CAST fire panel and even allows management and maintenance companies to remotely monitor the system. In the event of an emergency, Hush Pro relays information to the CAST panel to effectively notify building management.” Integration with CAST fire system John further said, “As an intelligent domestic detection system, Hush Pro certainly ticks all the boxes. We were very impressed by its operation and ease of integration with the CAST fire system, which was also simple and straightforward to set up. With regards to customer support, C-TEC is always very responsive and happy to help with any enquiries we have.” He adds, “We look forward to installing C-TEC’s products into our future contracts as they provide high-quality, intuitive and easy-to-install fire detection solutions that can be adapted to meet the specific requirements of any building.”
A huge new Amazon fulfillment center on the outskirts of Bristol has installed Vimpex Smart+Guard tough polycarbonate hinged protective covers to protect the building’s alarm call points from accidental or malicious activation, which could trigger costly building evacuations resulting in lost production and missed logistical connections. Life and fire protection system Amazon’s new 500,000 sq. feet fulfillment center at Severn Beach is designed to ensure that more people in the Bristol region receive next-day deliveries. When it is fully operational in September the center will employ around 1,000 people and will be equipped with advanced robotics technology to help lift and move products around the plant. Fire detection specialists AFS (AFS Holdings), engaged to engineer and install a whole life protection system at the fulfillment center site, fitted Vimpex Smart+Guard covers to all the relevant manual call points across the site to protect the system from malicious activation. Smart+Guard protective cover Smart+Guard, manufactured in the UK by Vimpex, is a tough hinged protective cover Smart+Guard, manufactured in the UK by Vimpex, is a tough hinged protective cover that can be easily installed over a range of emergency switches and other devices to provide protection from vandalism, accidental damage or misuse that can cause unwanted alarms. Misuse of manual call points or pull stations resulting in false or nuisance alarms is a costly and troublesome interruption to business continuity. BS 5839 – The British Standard for Fire Alarm Installations recommends the use of manual call point covers in vulnerable areas to mitigate against false alarms. Vimpex Limited’s Managing Director, James Jones, commented, “When we acquired the SmartGuard range of products and merged production of the range into our operations, we knew there was massive scope for developing the business. This is evidenced by the growing list of high-profile end users now specifying the product for use in their facilities.” Fire alarm and detection systems specialist James adds, “The recent news that Amazon has installed the product into their newest fulfillment center in Bristol is testament to our great levels of customer service and our willingness to go that extra mile for our customers.” Vimpex is Europe’s renowned independent manufacturer and distributor of high quality fire evacuation and alarm system products for installers, distributors and OEM manufacturers. The company is also a specialist in the supply of technical rescue and PPE equipment for UK fire, rescue, police, military and emergency services teams.
SMART SHOOTER, a world-class designer, developer, and manufacturer of innovative fire control systems that significantly increase the accuracy and lethality of small arms, is honored to announce that the company has been considered as a potential solution-provider and its technology has been selected for a NATO Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work (DAT PoW) exercise in the domain of the fight against small UAVs. Smart Shooter's SMASH Fire Control Solution will be tested and evaluated on the engagement part of the UAV kill chain. Integrated onto assault rifles SMASH is a combat-proven Fire Control solution for small arms that ensures each round finds its target. With a unique "One Shot – One Hit" capability, SMASH allows the operator to quickly and effectively neutralize any ground or airborne target, manned or unmanned. It is a cost-effective solution that can be integrated onto any type of assault rifle, as well as combined with other C-UAS systems, to provide an effective multi-layer defense solution suitable for the modern battlefield. SMASH's proprietary target acquisition and tracking algorithms are integrated with sophisticated image-processing software into a rugged hardware solution that enables automatic detection, tracking, and effective engagement of UAVs. Micro-tactical network Bringing precision-missile targeting algorithms and advanced electro-optical processing capabilities into standard infantry, SMASH enables the creation of a micro-tactical network between deployed SMASH units, allowing the entire platoon to be smart, precise, and connected. Michal Mor, SMART SHOOTER CEO, noted, "SMART SHOOTER's SMASH solution is a proven and reliable hard-kill solution against UAVs, and we are honored that the NATO Defense Against Terrorism PoW has selected it for consideration in the domain of the fight against small UAVs. SMASH fire control system put a precision anti-UAV capability at the fingertips of its users, maximizing operational effectiveness while keeping the force safe and minimizing collateral damage."
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, after Berlin, and home to approximately 1.8 million inhabitants, with its metropolitan region home to over five million. More than one million incoming calls must be handled by the control centers of fire services and police. The control room renewal project (in German Projekt ERneuerung LEitstellen - PERLE) will provide the two emergency services with a modern technical control room solution, in order to meet the organizations current and future requirements, as well as increase safety for citizens of and visitors to Hamburg. Increasing operator efficiency “We were impressed with the innovative solution concept that Frequentis had demonstrated to us, especially the multimedia functionality that will prepare us for the future needs of the emergency services, increasing the efficiency and operator convenience as well as public emergency contact,” said Eiko Hinrichs group leader of PERLE - firefighter and engineer for communication technology. “It gave us a great pleasure, to gain Frequentis as a very experienced and reliable partner for the implementation of our new communication system.“ 3020 LifeX™ is a future-oriented public safety communication and collaboration software designed to fulfill the demands of a next-generation control room (on-premises or hosted) that requires multimedia contact handling for telephony as well as radio for future cross-coupling of these technologies. Its sophisticated, modular architecture integrates a variety of systems with various protocols and can flexibly exchange or upgrade them without compromising ongoing operations. Efficient call handling and resource allocation The technology for Hamburg Fire and Police will be located in two central data centers and in two control centers, accommodating more than 220 workstations. The Frequentis communication system will integrate with the customer’s computer aided dispatch solution and the geographical information system, enabling geolocation and thus assisting operators with efficient call handling and resource allocation. “Receiving this contract during the COVID-19 lockdown period in Germany shows customers trust in Frequentis. We also commend customers who have future-orientated outlooks, considering not only the current needs of their service but also future changes and required functionality,” says Robert Nitsch, Frequentis Vice President Public Safety. “3020 LifeX™ focusses on increasing operator performance and harmonizing communication and collaboration without being bound to a physical location. We are pleased to be supporting the City of Hamburg’s police and fire services with this task and their future development strategy.”
The U.S. Army in Germany recently added eight Scania structural pumper P410 B4x4HZ trucks with Rosenbauer-body and Allison 4000 Series™ fully automatic transmissions to its fire fleet. The vehicles, featuring the new CP 31 Crew Cab, are powered by a 302 kW (410 hp) diesel engine combined with an Allison 4000 Series™ fully automatic transmission. They will be stationed at different locations across Germany. The U.S. Army has procured this vehicle configuration for the last 10 years, partly because of the advantages of a standardized fleet for staff training and vehicle maintenance, but also due to its positive experience with Allison transmissions over the past three decades. Operate water pump via the Power Take-Off “So far, the transmissions have fulfilled all requirements of the U.S. Army with regards to performance, operation and maintenance,” said Sigurd Mack, Fire Protection Specialist at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s European Headquarters in Sembach near Kaiserslautern. “This also applies to the integrated hydraulic retarder and the Power Take-Off with the pump and roll function. It enables us to maneuver the vehicle safely and, at the same time, operate the water pump via the Power Take-Off - which is indispensable for efficient firefighting. For our operations and emergency responses good acceleration, easy handling and robustness are essential.” According to the American NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1901 (Standard for Fire Apparatus) directive for firefighting vehicles, fully automatic transmissions are mandatory for heavy firefighting vehicles. In its solicitation, the U.S. Army does not only specify fully automatic transmissions, it also identifies bespoke emergency vehicle transmission software. “A fully automatic transmission will only properly benefit the driver during operation if the shift pattern is tuned to the vehicle and the transmission works together effectively with the driver. It has to meet the specific mission for emergency response,” said Mack. Improved acceleration and higher average speed Allison fully automatic transmissions differ from other technologies. Among other factors, they have specially developed shift calibration programs for the fire and rescue application. When combined with continuous powershifting, this results in improved acceleration, higher average speed and faster response times. The transmissions shift smoothly at precisely the right moment, allowing the driver to concentrate fully" The fully automatic Allison transmission with its patented torque converter and Continuous Power Technology™ multiplies engine torque during vehicle start-up and acceleration. Gear changes are made without interruption, resulting in the smooth transfer of power to the drive wheels and maximum efficiency between engine and transmission. “The transmissions shift smoothly at precisely the right moment, allowing the driver to concentrate fully on the road, which contributes significantly to accident prevention,” said Mack. “In addition, to have competent and highly skilled service technicians, as well as spare parts service locally available greatly limits down time and contributes to our readiness,” said Mack. “The transmission manufacturer infrastructure has also supported our goals so far in this regard.” Reliability and durability in extremely difficult conditions The oldest Allison transmissions in the fire brigade of the U.S. Army in Germany have clocked up over 30 years of service Allison fully automatic transmissions have demonstrated their outstanding reliability and durability under extremely difficult conditions and are consequently used by numerous fire brigade fleets worldwide. There are currently about 70 Allison fully automated vehicles in the fire truck fleet of the U.S. Army in Germany. The oldest Allison transmissions in the fire brigade of the U.S. Army in Germany have clocked up over 30 years of service. In 2007, the drivetrain components from 12 older Amertek 2500L trucks were removed and installed into 12 overhauled firefighting trucks, so called “glider kits.” The Detroit diesel engines and Allison HT 750 DRD transmissions of the Amertek 2500L trucks, which at that time were already around 25 years old, were fitted to a new HME 1871 SFO chassis with a body made by Hensel. Glider kits used for multi-purpose vehicles for firefighting “In the USA, general vehicle overhaul is a recognized procedure for vehicle maintenance and service life extension. The engines and transmissions, especially in fire trucks, are still in relatively good working condition and have proven to be very reliable, even after a long period of time. This contributed to the decision for a service life extension,” said Mack. Compared to a new purchase, the “glider kits” helped to save approx. 80,000 - 100,000 USD per vehicle without compromising the functionality. The “glider kits” are used as multi-purpose vehicles for firefighting and for providing technical assistance.