Passive Fire Protection (PFP)
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is promoting awareness of the danger of heart attacks in the fire service. A toolkit provided by the IAFC includes information and resources to assist members and fire departments when responding to on-duty or duty-related cardiac events. The international campaign, titled ‘If You Don’t Feel Well, Don’t Make It Your Farewell,’ offers standard operating procedures (SOPs) including an example policy that departments can u...
Aico celebrates a significant milestone in 2020 with finishing 30 years of renowned market presence in Fire and Carbon Monoxide (CO) protection solutions. Incorporated in 1990 in Oswestry, Shropshire, United Kingdom, Aico has rapidly grown from strength to strength over its 30-year history, with the growth being marked by the move to a new, bespoke head office. New Oswestry head office The new 7-acre site came as a necessity as Aico’s growth and success has seen significant expansion to...
Whether the machine needs to endure frigid temperatures, or it must ward against operator fatigue after long shifts, no one knows a cab’s needs better than the operator. Because of that fact, every machine has specific needs for its cab in order to get the most from its operators. Be it whether that’s a simplified design, solely focused on safety, or a highly-complex set up with numerous amenities. The most efficient way for OEMs to get what they want from their machine is to work w...
Protests and riots spread throughout the United States in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman. Firefighters are on the front lines as rioters set fires and even attack firefighters seeking to do their jobs. In Richmond, Virginia, rioters blocked a fire truck from responding to a burning home. Protesters had intentionally set the fire at the home, and there was a child inside. In Philadelphia during a 24-hour period, the fire department responded to doze...
For commercial fire installations, one can choose DMP’s new CellComF-LTE. Designed with the same platform as DMP’s popular DualCom Universal Communicator, the CellComF-LTE includes two sets of tip and ring terminals for easy installations. This new design meets the NFPA 72 standard for single communications technology. For instance, if the CellComF stops communicating, it’s designed to automatically disrupt voltage on the second tip and ring, that triggers the host panel to an...
Kentec Electronics, a globally renowned manufacturer of life-critical control systems, has added BACnet (Building Automation and Control Network) protocol support to its Vizulinx alarm management solution, to facilitate smart, coordinated and efficient responses to fire incidents. Smart Building functionality Supporting Smart Building functionality, the protocol provides integration between Kentec fire systems and other BACnet protocol systems. Kentec fire alarm systems send real time status m...
Xtralis has announced the release of its Li-ion Tamer Lithium Ion Battery Rack Monitoring system for efficient gas leak detection in the market. Li-ion Tamer Rack Monitor system The Li-ion Tamer Rack Monitor system can provide an alert to ‘off- gas’ events that occur early in the failure mode of li-ion batteries, well in advance of smoke detection and traditional LFL gas detection. Early warning of off-gas events enable proper mitigation steps to be taken to avoid progression to a catastrophic thermal runaway failure. The Li-ion Tamer Rack Monitor system requires minimal operation and maintenance procedures as the off-gas sensors are designed to be calibration-free and have comparable lifetime to that of the ESS battery system. Off-gas sensors The off-gas sensors can be easily deployed throughout the space and detect failures without electrical or mechanical contact of battery cells. Sensor response can be easily verified with a bump test kit without the need of specialized gas test equipment and test gases. The Li-ion Tamer Battery Rack Monitor system provides an essential early warning signal that is used to integrate with other safety systems to initiate appropriate response processes to reduce the risk from thermal runaway.
LuxIntelligent from Advanced is an addressable, automatic emergency light test system. It shows all emergency lighting is compliant and functioning, with no engineer involvement required. It can be easily networked and retrofitted onto existing wiring and luminaires, keeping installation costs to a minimum. LuxIntelligent provides cloud monitoring and system management via mobile and web apps. Test data is stored securely in the cloud and the system delivers live details on status, faults, test failures and advisories from a smartphone, tablet or via a web browser. This allows users to monitor all their sites, anywhere in the world, right down to individual devices. Users can share the data on sites or panels with engineers and maintenance staff and e-mail maintenance and test reports in one click. monitored via cloud The system is easily installed in single-panel or networked formats. Each LuxIntelligent panel can be connected to the LAN via its own MOXA LAN device, allowing any PC on the LAN or with access to the IP address to act as the monitoring PC, and connect to any panel on the network. This low-cost, no-disruption method allows an unlimited number of panels to be networked to cover large or multiple sites across the globe and monitored via the cloud. LuxIntelligent works with most third-party luminaires and LED lights and can be easily added to existing wiring LuxIntelligent works with most third-party luminaires and LED lights and can be easily added to existing wiring, offering considerable savings on installation and maintenance time and cost. It works with any system including those with a central battery, and each panel has up to four loops each supporting 249 luminaires. automatic testing technology LuxIntelligent has a unique set of test methods that include the standard current and voltage tests, as well as direct light level measurement via fiber optics. Once installed, the panels should never need to be looked at, and only need a three-year battery check. “LuxIntelligent makes compliance with BS5266-1 easy and cost-effective,” comments Advanced’s Emergency Lighting Business Manager, Matt Jones. “To help you see how much time and money LuxIntelligent could save you, you can access the savings calculator on our website, showing how the automatic testing technology, easy installation and cloud monitoring will benefit its users.” zero-time testing “A well-tested, compliant system that works when you need it is vital to life safety. We achieve this in a few simple steps. Firstly, we offer live status and test reporting; secondly, all of your data is stored securely in three places: the panel, the PC and the cloud; thirdly, you can access that data on your phone, tablet or any computer. Finally, we make it simple to share sites, panels or test and maintenance reports with your team or third-party partners quickly and easily." "It’s this combination of zero-time testing, data integrity and quick resolution of problems and maintenance needs that make LuxIntelligent so reliable and cost-effective. Not only this, but your system can also easily scale to cover any site anywhere and work with just about any light or LED fitting” concluded Matt. LED light fittings Advanced protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile sites across the globe Advanced offer a full range of ready to install, intelligent standalone LED light fittings, as well as a new range of ultra-low voltage, fast fitting luminaires and exit signs called EasySAFE. These devices twist and click onto a first fix base that draws its power directly from the data cable from the LuxIntelligent panel (32V) – meaning that almost any member of the user’s team can conduct installation and maintenance easily and safely. Owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, Advanced protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile sites across the globe – from London’s Shard to Abu Dhabi International Airport and Las Vegas’ Golden Nugget Casino. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. intelligent fire systems Advanced is globally renowned for the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Emergency vehicle manufacturer, Venari Group – based in Brighouse – has invested £400,000 in new machinery in an effort to advance its manufacturing quality, ability and capacity. Following a successful launch into the emergency services market in early 2020, Venari has bought the automated equipment in a bid for growth, amid the challenges brought on by COVID-19. The significant investment represents a CNC router – capable of precisely cutting sheets of metal from CAD drawings – as well as press brakes and edge banders. The equipment will allow Venari to fulfil high-quality production finishes over large quantities, without outsourcing production. For example, it will see Venari’s experienced team manufacturing bodies from raw material, whilst driving significant improvements in light-weighting, which has huge environmental impacts. Reduced costs and lead times Customers will also experience reduced costs and lead times – and it will lead to subsequent drives in local recruitment. Venari CEO, Oliver North, commented: “We’re in the midst of the most challenging economic period that many of us have faced in our careers to-date, but nevertheless – we must move forward. The recent challenges in the global supply chain means that maximal self-sufficiency is key, to ensure that we can maintain production for our emergency services throughout their most challenging period.” “We’re also more acutely aware that we must manufacture more in the UK than ever before, to drive employment and economic recovery as much as possible, and this investment shows the respect we have for our market and the economy as a whole. We’re satisfied that we’re doing ‘our bit’ in assisting economic recovery.” Ambulance deliveries to the NHS As a key supplier to the UK’s emergency services, Venari has been one of few manufacturers to maintain production during the Covid-19 lockdown – concentrating on ambulance deliveries to the NHS – whilst maintaining maximum protection for its workforce. Oliver finished: “Since the Covid outbreak, our team at Venari has taken strides forward in culture, togetherness and sheer work ethic. To now back up this unrivalled passion we have for manufacturing, with an increase in self-sufficiency and capability moves us in front of our continental European rivals, which is no mean feat. And to be able to compete with global industry leaders, means we can prove a strong case to manufacture all taxpayer-funded assets right here in the UK.”
Venari Group has confirmed a major exclusive partnership agreement for the firefighting sector, with one of the helmet manufacturers, SCHUBERTH. SCHUBERTH is a famous, 90-year old, manufacturer of safety helmets for motorcyclists and motorsport, including Formula One. For decades, it has also been one of the most popular helmets among German motorcyclists. And having produced EN 443-certified firefighting helmets for over 50 years, the company has selected recently launched Venari Group as its UK and Ireland distributor. Firefighting equipment sales Simultaneously, Venari announces the activation of a new firefighting equipment sales, service, and customer support division, to drive product quality and aftercare into the challenging firefighting sector. Venari Group CEO, Oliver North, said: “Pre-Venari, the team and I have supplied firefighting equipment to fire brigades since 2008, including over 80% of the current UK firefighter helmets. So, the partnership with SCHUBERTH was a very natural one. The activation of our firefighting equipment department further solidifies our intention of being a high performing supplier to the UK fire and rescue market whilst continuing to build our emergency vehicle range to the highest quality possible.” Structural firefighting PPE The UK fire and rescue service are equipped to a very high standard in terms of structural firefighting PPE" SCHUBERTH is a company committed to researching and developing materials to withstand the toughest of environments. Oliver continued: “Our partnership will concentrate on SCHUBERTH’s truly incredible F300 helmet. The UK fire and rescue service are equipped to a very high standard in terms of structural firefighting PPE, but with more frequent wildland firefighting, RTC’s and water rescues, the F300 provides the ultimate flexibility as a rescue and wildland helmet." UK firefighting and ambulance market Thomas Heinlein, head of BU Industrial Safety and Firefighting at SCHUBERTH added: “For us, Venari is the most exciting company in the British emergency services supplier market, so we are naturally delighted to have agreed on this truly exciting partnership with them.” “Our global reputation for high quality means we can only partner with highly efficient and passionate distributors in their specialist fields. Venari’s team have proven their efficiency and passion over countless years in the UK fire market and we’re excited to work with them in the UK firefighting and ambulance market with our F300.”
The UK’s oldest manufacturer of fire vehicles – based in Batley – is readying itself for the biggest recruitment drive in its 54-year history, as the team prepares for its largest ever period of growth. Established in 1965, fire fighting and rescue vehicle specialist Angloco has already doubled production levels in the last 18 months, which sees 2017-18 turnover of £13m look set to rocket to £25m by the end of 2020. Water tender appliances But with the uplift showing no sign of slowing, the 90-strong team now needs at least another 12 employees by December 2019, with more vacancies undoubtedly on the horizon for the following year too. A key trigger for the sharp growth was winning a number of new long-term multi-vehicle contracts A key trigger for the sharp growth was winning a number of new long-term multi-vehicle contracts, for example from Essex County Fire and Rescue back in 2014. Until that point, Angloco – which designs and builds its own products – had concentrated on specialist or one-off vehicles for the UK and export market. But the first ‘long run’ of water tender appliances for Essex has gone on to see the team design and manufacture 59 units for that Service, over the last four years. Increasing momentum and production capacity With longer runs of ‘standard’ equipment now a mainstay of the business alongside ongoing specialist one offs, all eyes are now on staffing levels to enable Angloco to increase momentum and production capacity. “We’re lucky to boast a loyal, talented workforce,” commented managing director Alistair Brown – who joined Angloco as business development manager in 2004 before taking the helm in 2017. “In fact, 39 people have been with the company for more than ten years. But as a fast-growing and dynamic business, we need to significantly boost the team. We’re therefore currently looking for skilled individuals to join our design, production and service departments, and will also consider untrained but bright, capable people who are ready to learn.” Reducing water consumption There’s an immense amount of pride associated with building a fire engine" “There’s an immense amount of pride associated with building a fire engine. For many of our team, these vehicles are works of art. And to know they’re leaving our HQ in Batley, to go on and save lives around the world, is incredibly fulfilling.” Angloco has also recently acquired a majority shareholding in Mist-Tech. This Polish company is the brains behind an innovation which allows fire and rescue services to extinguish blazes using miniscule water droplets without the need for the ultra-high pressures typically required. The significantly reduced water consumption saves costs and helps protect the environment. Incredibly rewarding and friendly environment “Angloco has grown organically, which is something we’re particularly proud of,” continued Alistair. “We’re entirely self-funded with no external investment, and in the past three years we’ve taken the business into a whole new chapter. We’re now an iconic British brand and we have a promising future.” Angloco now supplies all UK Fire and Rescue Services with vehicles and equipment, and has exported to 70 overseas countries to date. Alistair’s father, Bill Brown, joined the business as a trouble-shooter in 1973, before buying shares, managing the company into the 1980s and taking it into family ownership in 1986. Alistair concluded: “This is an ideal time to join a growing team and to quickly learn new skills in an incredibly rewarding and friendly environment.”
On the 8th June, 2020, the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service will be opening recruitment process for wholetime firefighters. Between now and then, the fire and rescue service wants to raise awareness of the role of modern day firefighters and encourage applications from all parts of the communities. Raise awareness on fire safety When the recruitment application window opens, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will be recruiting wholetime firefighters for the following fire stations: Day crewed fire stations (Ripon, Malton, Tadcaster, Selby and Whitby), Self-Roster fire stations (Northallerton and Richmond) and; Shift fire stations (Acomb, Huntington, York, Scarborough and Harrogate). Details about the different types of crewing for the stated fire stations can be found on the company website. Recruiting wholetime firefigthers We’ll soon be launching our recruitment window for wholetime firefighters again" North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chief Fire Officer, Andrew Brodie said, “We’ll soon be launching our recruitment window for wholetime firefighters again, and it doesn’t get more exciting. Last year’s intake is embedded in their teams on our fire and rescue stations and helping communities to Be Safe and Feel Safe.” He adds, “The role of a modern-day firefighter is varied. It’s much more than just attending emergency incidents, so ignore any thoughts of simply having to fight fires and cut up cars. It’s more about educating communities, engaging with people, delivering activities and events, planning and forming partnerships, and being creative prevent, protect and creating community resilience.” Protecting and creating community resilience Andrew Brodie stated, “Response is a last resort. We need people who are caring, compassionate and inventive, who enjoy working as part of a team and who want to make a truly positive difference to people. Being a good firefighter isn’t about being good at fighting fires, that’s only a part of it. Being a good firefighter is about being good at everything that the role involves.” He further adds, “Such a varied role needs a varied firefighters’ workforce. We welcome applications from all parts of our communities. We need to improve our diversity to reflect our diverse communities, so we are particularly interested in people from groups that are currently under-represented in the Service.” Firefighting standards Andrew said, “But this isn’t about varying standards of entry into the service. Everyone goes through the same process and achieves the same minimum standards.” He adds, “Our message is simple; this is great opportunity to join a progressive and essential organization. So, if you’ve always dreamt of becoming a firefighter or you’ve never considered it before but think it could be the job for you now, we’d love to hear from you.” Firefighters’ eligibility and selection process Firefighters across North Yorkshire play a crucial role in keeping us safe and feeling safe" Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said, “Firefighters across North Yorkshire play a crucial role in keeping us safe and feeling safe, and I’m pleased that we are able to add to our wholetime team. I would encourage anyone interested in joining our brilliant team of men and women to consider applying for these important roles.” Anyone aged 18 or over can apply to become a firefighter; when the application window opens on the 8th of June, 2020. However, candidates will be required to meet all requirements of the role. There are various stages of the application process and the candidates must complete and be successful at each stage to progress to the next stage. The application process for recruitment to the fire service will be open to those who are aged 17 so long as they will have attained the age of 18, prior to commencing in their new role in April 2021.
Across the world, fire and rescue services vary greatly, and each will have their own unique circumstances and challenges to deal with. Firefighters in the USA and Australia are more likely to face wildland fires, whilst in the Middle East, firefighters deal more regularly with transport related fires involving hazardous materials. In many European countries, less than 10% of call-outs are fire related at all, with firefighters much more likely to attend traffic accidents, medical emergencies or flooding. A range of different climates also provide firefighters with specific challenges. Providing Optimum Protection These fabrics can offer resistance to fire, increased breathability, control of moisture, and a lighter weight Firefighters in hot and tropical Indonesia for example, will have different requirements to those in hot and arid South Africa, whilst those in Scandinavia operate in more temperate and cooler conditions. It’s important, therefore, that PPE manufacturers can provide a wide variety of options to suit particular environments and operations. PPE must be highly effective, comfortable, and suitable for the job in hand, wherever in the world the firefighters are operating. Selecting the right fabric for your PPE is the first step in providing optimum protection for the environment you are operating in. International fibre and fabric manufacturers have developed a number of highly specialized materials offering a range of benefits. Used in combination, these fabrics can offer resistance to fire, increased breathability, control of moisture, and a lighter weight. Best Quality Firefighting Garments Highly specialized and lightweight fibers for the outer-shell of a garment, for example, can provide outstanding air permeability and breathability, allowing metabolic heat to escape, whilst of course providing vital protection against the intense external heat and flames of a fire. The best quality firefighting garments combine this type of outer shell with an inner moisture barrier and liner system which draws moisture away from the skin, helping to keep the body cool and dry. Strenuous work in a hot environment causes profuse sweating, and if this sweat is not able to evaporate, the body is not able to cool itself effectively. Once the most appropriate fabric is chosen, the design and style of a garment also plays a crucial role in contributing to a firefighters’ safety. Maintaining A Comfortable Body Temperature Search and Rescue operations often take place once the immediate danger of flame is removed Whether operating in bushland, floods, on the roadside or even in extremely cold conditions, firefighters need to maintain a comfortable body temperature and stay dry. They are also likely to need to crawl, run, and climb to carry out the job in hand. Any protective clothing must be ergonomic and has to be able to work with them rather than hinder them. As a result, over and above the full structural firefighting garments available to FRSs, manufacturers have also developed innovative designs for more specific applications. For example, Search and Rescue operations often take place once the immediate danger of flame is removed, with USAR or technical rescue teams entering enclosed and confined spaces where high temperatures and often toxic smoke are hazards. Particular Protection Against Radiant Heat USAR firefighting garments therefore should be tear and puncture resistant, provide protection against blood-borne pathogens, offer physical protection at high risk points such as the knees and elbows, provide a high level of flexibility to afford maneuvrability in confined spaces, and crucially be lightweight and breathable to minimize heat stress. Alternatively, for firefighters engaged specifically in combatting forest and wildland fires, garments need to provide particular protection against radiant heat, and ideally feature a double layer of fabric to protect against sharp thorns and undergrowth. Today, many FRSs across the world use a combination of structural and technical rescue garments which can be particularly useful when faced with a range of operations requiring different levels of protection. Rescue jackets are worn with standard structural trousers when responding to a road traffic accident International Standards Of Performance For PPE Frequently, rescue jackets are worn with standard structural trousers when responding to a road traffic accident, for example. So long as these garments are tested and approved as compatible before they are used in combination, this can serve to improve ergonomics and comfort, and crucially can contribute to the lowering of heat stress in firefighters. There are currently three major standard-setting bodies on the world stage To ensure the best level of protection, most countries demand conformity with both national and international standards of performance for PPE. There are currently three major standard-setting bodies on the world stage, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) which covers the USA, Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region, the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) which covers Europe, and the International Standards Organisation (ISO) which sets standards worldwide. Lighting And Communications Equipment In addition, each country will have its own National Standards Body (NSB), setting standards for its own specific interests. Ultimately, it is down to the customer to decide which standards they would like their PPE to follow. The best manufacturers can create PPE to meet a number of these standards simultaneously. These include alternative types of trouser front, leg openings and knee-pads, as well as cuff styles on fire coats Different countries, and even individual FRSs, often have particular additional requirements for their PPE, which can simply be down to style or color preference, or to accommodate particular tools or equipment they use. These include alternative types of trouser front, leg openings and knee-pads, as well as cuff styles on fire coats. Operational safety features such as integrated safety harnesses and drag rescue devices can also be specified. In addition, firefighter accessories including tools, lighting and communications equipment all have to be carried safely requiring a selection of loops, straps, D-rings, glove hooks, and pockets and flaps. Developing Innovative Solutions Finally, most FRSs aim to present a professional and clearly recognizable identity to their communities, so particular colors and badging can be an important feature of PPE. This has led to the introduction of a wide range of fabric colors and the increased use of Velcro fixings for identification badges with logos, names and roles being individually catered for. Called upon to handle an ever-increasing variety of challenges, in contrasting climates and situations, firefighters across the world are certainly faced with complex environments in which to operate. By carefully studying these conditions and listening closely to customers, PPE designers and fabric manufacturers will continue to work together to develop innovative solutions to meet these specific needs and create optimum garments for maximum protection and comfort.
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.
Within traditional commercial and industrial firefighting systems, engineers have primarily focused on permanent installation designs rather than entertaining alternative or supplemental mobile firefighting systems. Permanent installation design is typically better understood, supported, and supplied throughout the fire protection engineering and manufacturing community. However, mobile firefighting systems provide unique solutions and advantages compared to their permanent installation cousins such as flexible deployment, simpler servicing, improved economy, and much higher performance availability. The combination of both systems is frequently the most strategic solution for the facility operator. Limitations of fixed installation systems Permanent installation (fixed) systems include everything from sprinklers, foam systems, primary watermain pumps, and the plethora of piping in between. A large refinery complex will need to address various hazard mitigation and control problems that span both hardware and personnel needs. In the event standard hazard mitigation safety procedures and equipment have failed, the facility immediately initiates a hazard control operation. Passive fixed systems automatically engage the hazard through an array of sensors, mechanical triggers, and control algorithms. A properly designed system with adequate hazard coverage, preplanning, preventative maintenance, and testing will successfully terminate the hazard, while firefighting personnel respond and ensure no further hazards develop. This conceptual approach relies on hardware and personnel all operating as planned…. Combining permanent and mobile apparatus “According to plan” would never have any failures or fires, but history has a different script. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard putting the entire response on human and mobile hardware resources. This would include but is not limited to firetrucks, mobile high-flow pumping systems, large mobile monitors, foam proportioning units, and large diameter layflat hose. This type of response escalates into a larger scale operation, sometimes involving agencies beyond the facility operator itself. Although a low probability event, the risk to life and property is significantly substantial. Fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage Reducing fire-related expenditureMore typical than the worst-case scenario, facilities experience both maintenance-related system downtimes and natural phenomena damage such as extreme weather and seismic events. In this case, fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage. In any of these situations, mobile fire apparatus may fill the gap requirements of the facility as their flexible storage and deployment would protect them from everything but the worst natural disasters. Their further benefit is that a smaller set of mobile apparatus resources may be used to protect a larger amount of infrastructure, especially while in use in a mutual-aid program between facilities and communities. According to the NFPA’s report “Total Cost of Fire in the United States”, fire-related damages and expenditures from 1980 to 2014 have risen from roughly $200B (adjusted for inflation to 2014) to nearly $330B. The greatest expenditure is in fire safety costs in building construction, amounting to $57.4B. Although the overall losses per year as a ratio to protection expenditures has dropped by roughly 70% over the past 30 years, petrochemical facility losses have continued to rise over the same time. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard Petrochemical facility challenges According to the NFPA, refineries or natural gas plants had reported an average of 228 fires or explosions per year through the 1990s. Furthering this data with Marsh’s “100 Largest Losses, 25th edition”, refinery losses have continually expanded throughout the last two decades with 11 of the top 20 largest losses of the past 40 years happening during or after the year 2000. Two primary drivers of this trend are the advanced age of petrochemical facilities and their staggering complexity. As oil margins fall, upstream operational businesses are detrimentally affected by reduced investment in everything to new equipment, maintenance and passive safety systems. There is an observable correlation between a major oil price drop followed by upstream facility fire losses. Even with reduced investment and oil throughput growth rates, US refinery utilisation at the end 2017 was at 96.7%, the highest since 2005 (Marsh, The Impact of the Price of Oil). The short story is that systems and personnel are being asked to do more with less with each passing year. Cost-effective mobile apparatus systems Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardised designs and application methodology. They can access open water sources by either drafting (when in close proximity to the water) or using floating source pumps (for variable level or difficult access water sources). Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardized designs and application methodology With this open water access, they can provide significantly more water (upwards of 10,000 GPM or more per system if necessary) than any typical fixed fire pumping solution. Moreover, as their primary benefit, they are easy to move and deploy. This benefit allows them to be utilised at the point of hazard as needed while being easily accessible for service. While fixed systems are installed at “every known” hazard and must be continually maintained to operate effectively, mobile systems may be used sitewide or across facilities. This flexibility reduces overall capital expenditure requirements and establishes a valuable primary and secondary firefighting system depending on the hazard and facility resources. Combining fixed and mobile systems Permanent installation fire suppression systems are a mainstay of modern day firefighting. They provide immediate passive response with little human intervention. However, as facility utilisation is pushed to maximum capacity while fixed systems continually age out without adequate replacement or maintenance, mobile systems will need to both fill the response gap and provide a final wall to total loss incidents. The reality is that both fixed and mobile systems need to work together to provide the safest possible operation. Service and training requirements need to also be maintained to manage an adequate, or even better, exemplary response to hazard control incidents. Managing major facility uptime requires continuous oversight and to drive hazard mitigation standards throughout the organisation, including executive management. A safe, reliable and fully-functional plant is also a profitable and cost-effective plant much like a healthy worker is a better worker. Protect your people and property and you will protecting your company’s future.
Wellness, mental toughness and psychological self-care for firefighters are available in the palms of their hands; that is, in a smart phone app. Fire and police agencies can provide their officers access to these and other self-help tools in an app that reflects each agency’s identity and design choices. Employees can be assured that use of the app is totally confidential. Cordico, Gold River, California, west of Sacramento, provides confidential support for firefighters and other employees through an app that incorporates comprehensive and trusted wellness resources. The CordicoFire app is easy to use, available on-demand, and only requires the push of a button. Firefighter wellness tools The app is designed to reinforce and strengthen a fire agency’s existing wellness culture The app is designed to reinforce and strengthen a fire agency’s existing wellness culture and is updated continuously. The app includes firefighter wellness tools, such as self-assessments and a therapist finder. Peer support resources are built into the app, and psychological first aid helps firefighters know when help is needed – and what their options are. There are also sections on the app addressing healthy habits, making marriage work, mindfulness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Specific to firefighters, there is information on cancer awareness, exposure to hazardous materials, and heart health – among more than 40 topics firemen can scroll through. Self-assessments can identify the sources of stress and how to address them, and/or identify problems with alcohol abuse. Physical fitness videos demonstrate exercises for stress release and injury prevention, and there is a section on nutrition. No additional authentication required Each firefighter is provided a link and password to download the app. Posters promoting use of the app are available, including a QR code that employees can scan to download the app. There is no additional authentication required, and no personal information is shared with the app. Around 90% of employees typically download the app. The app is hosted on Cordico’s server rather than the agency’s server, so there is no tracking of information, which would defeat the purpose of an anonymous app. Anonymity is important to overcome the perceived stigma that could make firefighters hesitate to ask for help. The app is also made available to spouses, significant others and even retirees, who may find that cumulative trauma catches up with them years later. Employee assistance programs People use their smart phones all the time, so it’s easy for anyone to get on the app" “People use their smart phones all the time, so it’s easy for anyone to get on the app, click on a section and read for 10 minutes if they need information, help or emotional support,” says Kevin Dacy, Operations Manager, Cordico. “There is a generation of people comfortable with using apps. We provide them with privacy to look at topics and get the self-help they need.” The app dovetails with an organization’s employee assistance programs and peer support team and/or leaders. Cordico works with agencies to include information about therapists, clinicians and chaplains who are available to help. When an agency decides to use the app, Cordico’s chief technology officer organizes a product launch meeting, and Cordico’s client care team works with the agency until the app has been successfully launched. Pre-Employment psychological evaluations Agencies have flexibility in terms of the graphics and illustrations used on the app and also the information provided, which could include traffic, weather, etc., in addition to other services. (Southern California agencies include a surfing report because the activity can help to relieve stress.) Updates to the app are done on the back end as new information is added. The app password can be changed to limit use of the app to current enrollees. The company evolved to providing pre-employment psychological evaluations for first responder jobs Dr. David Black, CEO of Cordico, shifted his psychological practice to first responders after 9/11. The company evolved to providing pre-employment psychological evaluations for first responder jobs. The app grew out of that service, and now most of the largest agencies in California use the app. Cordico has worked with small and large agencies – five to 22,000 employees – although the average department size using the app is 150 to 200 people. Consulting clinicians and therapists In addition to a concentration in California, the company also does business throughout the United States, with customers in most states. Cordico has around 15 employees, in addition to consulting clinicians and therapists. Although Cordico does not share specific data with an agency about who uses the app, they can provide activity counts. For example, usage of the app could spike after a dramatic incident, which could alert the agency of a higher level of trauma that might need additional education and/or comfort. During the coronavirus pandemic, Cordico’s phone lines and emails have lit up with agencies looking to consider the app to help manage the added stress of dealing with the pandemic. Even during the economic downturn, Cordico is busier than ever.
Ethics should be considered in almost any decision in the fire industry. Here is an example: A customer asks a technician to forge a certificate saying the customer had previously passed a fire audit in order to validate his previous year’s insurance. What do you do? If a company has laid a strong ethical foundation, it’s much easier for the technician to refuse the customer’s request and cite the corporate Code of Ethics as a solid basis for the refusal. Chubb Fire and Security is among the companies providing an example of how an emphasis on ethics can benefit a company, their employees, their customers and the world. Corporate Code of Ethics At Chubb, we have a code of ethics, our ‘bible,’ that is issued to employees when they start" In the fire market, the result of unethical actions could make the difference in life and death. For example, if an employee acts unethically when servicing a fire extinguisher, the result could be to burn down the building. “At Chubb, we have a code of ethics, our ‘bible,’ that is issued to employees when they start,” says Harv Dulay, Director of Ethics and Compliance at Chubb Fire and Security. “Within the bible are core fundamental rules about what’s acceptable and not acceptable. We lay it out for employees very specifically. They understand and embrace the code of ethics, which is based on trust, integrity, respect, innovation and excellence. If you get them right, the business moves in the right direction”. She adds, “A key piece of our ethics policy is based on trust. We relate to others with openness, transparency, and empathy. It makes Chubb a better place to work and enables us to provide better service to customers.” Importance of conforming to fire safety regulations For Chubb, ethics is not just theoretical, but ethical concepts play out every day in practical ways. An example might be an engineer who goes to a customer’s site and is asked to do a task that is outside his or her duties and/or not allowed under the ethics policy. The pressure might be even greater if the employee is struggling to meet a sales figure. The code of ethics addresses specific situations and outlines the behavior that is expected. “Ethics is embedded in our values and has been since the beginning,” says Dulay. “Ethics is making sure people do the right things. Ethics is integrated into the Chubb business model, and everyone knows what is expected of them. It’s a message heard from the top down, from everyone in the company.” Fire safety and security risks “The fire and security industry is different than others because lives and people’s safety are on the line,” Dulay says. “Our purpose is to protect clients from fire safety and security risks. This is a business where no one should take short cuts. It is important to do the right thing all the time, every time, and it’s about protecting lives and property.” Ethics discussions begin for employees at Chubb when they join the company; clear instructions about ethics are included as part of employee induction. There are nine modules of ethics training during employee orientation, and a discussion with an Ethics and Compliance Officer is part of the onboarding process. Online ethics training modules A series of supervisor-led trainings encourage managers to deliver face-to-face ethics training to their team The training program includes information about ethics, company expectations around ethics, where to go for questions about ethical issues, and details of the anonymous ombudsman program. Additionally, field staff is trained by their supervisors via regular face-to-face ethics toolbox talks. Office staff completes a series of on-line ethics training modules regularly. A series of supervisor-led trainings encourage managers to deliver face-to-face ethics training to their team, citing real-life examples. Healthy discussions are encouraged to deal with any ‘gray areas’. Dulay estimates that ethics and compliance officers spend about half their time answering questions and clarifying for employees what’s expected in the code of ethics. Data security Some 14,000 employees globally have multiple options when it comes to reporting an issue, and there are full-time Ethics and Compliances Officers in every country where Chubb does business. A reflection of Chubb’s global approach to compliance is their worldwide implementation of data security requirements of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); the company saw the benefits of the program for any jurisdiction. Training and education are part of Chubb’s investment in ethics. For example, a recent module on ‘respect in the workplace’ covered the need to create a company culture in which everyone feels respected. Training and education are part of Chubb’s investment in ethics Training and communication “Training and continuous communication are embedded in the organization. We invest in the process,” says Dulay. She adds, “We have had employees who left the company and then come back. They realized the importance of ethics and rejoined us.” “We start with the foundation that we would rather lose business than give up our ethical standards,” says Dulay. “We won’t abandon our policies even if there is money at stake. Some business is not worth getting if you don’t adhere to your values.” Effective conflict resolution “We manage potential conflicts proactively by creating and instituting methods in which employees have access to tools they can use to be successful and adaptable in times of change,” says Dulay. “Also, we will not tolerate retaliation against any employee who reports wrongdoing – regardless of the outcome of the investigation.” We measure it by people’s conduct, the number of cases we have, and awareness" And while there is no specific monetary value assigned to good ethical practices, success can be measured. “We measure it by people’s conduct, the number of cases we have, and awareness,” says Dulay. Good ethics behavior “It’s good for employee morale, and it’s good for customers and our business. It’s not measurable, but it is fundamental for business and customers. The work we do as a company can impact people’s lives so it is important that everyone has an understanding of the importance of their role,” says Dulay. A common misconception about ethics is that if no one is watching, it must be ok. However, Dulay says it is the things employees do when no one is watching or checking in on them that form good ethics behavior. During training, Chubb emphasizes that ethics is about doing the right thing, all the time even if no one is watching.
How can a building’s fire systems be integrated with access control and other security systems to ensure effective function of both? It can be a challenging and delicate endeavor. Integration of fire and security systems provides multiple benefits and some challenges to be addressed. It is useful to consider fire and security systems as part of the same overall mission to keep a building and its occupants safe, while also being attentive to the differing roles of the systems and how they can complement each other. integrating security and fire systems Integrating security and fire systems is becoming paramount to create improved efficiency “There’s a conflict between life safety and security systems,” says Karen Trigg, Business Development Manager, South East, for lock company Allegion (UK) Ltd. “We must secure buildings without impeding the flow of movement and hindering immediate escape should a fire incident occur. To do this, we must have a greater understanding of building requirements.” In today’s world, integrating security and fire systems is becoming paramount to create improved efficiency and effectiveness of a building’s safety technology — and this integration can provide monumental benefits, says Eric Widlitz, Vice President of Sales for North America for access control company Vanderbilt Industries. video management systems For example, in the event of a fire, an alarm from a fire system can trigger an access control system to release locks on fire escape doors, as well as generate muster reports to provide information on who is inside the building, says Widlitz. “Additionally, video management systems have the ability to provide access to real-time, remote video footage of the fire’s actual location, helping firefighters and other emergency personnel to assess the situation and respond with greater accuracy.” Many challenges and opportunities that facilities face when integrating systems relate to whether a building’s infrastructure is designed well enough to connect security and fire systems, says Julie Brown, Institutional Market Leader for Johnson Controls. By conducting a site assessment first, owners and managers can better determine where physical building updates may be needed. Integration Of Video Surveillance And Fire Alarms Adjusting design in this case can eventually help make the integration of video surveillance and fire alarms easier" For example, if video surveillance is obstructed in certain areas, owners need to identify if the cameras can be moved to a better location or if physical alterations to the building are needed. “Adjusting design in this case can eventually help make the integration of video surveillance and fire alarms easier,” says Brown. “In the event that a fire alarm sounds, owners can have peace of mind that their cameras have an unobstructed view and that they can be automatically alerted to provide visibility into the area affected and potential cause of the alarm. It is critical to occupant safety that building owners address any design hurdles. Budget is often an issue,” says Trigg. “Although a challenge, understanding budgets – not only for the system in place but also ongoing maintenance and upgrades – helps uncover the correct solution, showing that the ‘cheaper option’ may cost more in the long run for some.” thermal imaging cameras Joe Byron, Vice President for the Americas for MOBOTIX Corp, says integrating fire and security opens the door to a world of possibilities. “When specifically looking at industrial applications, these systems require an added layer of reliability in order to guarantee workplace safety and operational efficiency,” he says. This technology is tied into the fire-suppression system and can monitor the temperature of specified machines" Byron points to a specific deployment as an example: MOBOTIX’s work with KUHN RIKON, a world-renowned cookware manufacturer. In 2015, during mechanical pot polishing, an abrasive component spontaneously combusted causing a large-scale fire, leading to a dust explosion, says Byron. “While an unfortunate tragedy, this led to an opportunity to outfit the plant with thermal imaging cameras,” he adds. “This technology is tied into the fire-suppression system and can monitor the temperature of specified machines. With built-in logic, the cameras can alert technicians to heat warnings and, if not acted upon, can automatically shut-down the machinery and queue fire systems if required.” Fire And Security Systems A well-designed and integrated control room can help to organize, automate and streamline critical sensors by implementing workstations that transmit only the most critical information at any given time. “Additionally, operators are better equipped to make more educated and timely decision by leveraging audible alarms, visual LED indicators and video displays with built-in intelligence to change content based on triggers from third-party systems such as fire, building automation and access control,” says Dan Gundry, Director of National Control Room Sales for Vistacom. At the end of the day, fire and security systems are two elements of the same mission: To keep buildings and their occupants safe. However, the two systems often operate independently and may not be integrated. More integration offers benefits, but there are pitfalls to be avoided.
Rajant and Dejero’s Technology Springs into Action in the Battle Against a 420-Acre Wildfire on the Santa Barbara County Coast. A wind-driven brush fire triggered evacuations after breaking out along the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, California. On a sunny afternoon in mid-October 2019, the heat from the sun combined with winds gusting up to 40 mph through the quiet foothills of El Capitán Canyon, sparking a wind-whipped, vegetation brush fire in the overly dry desert hills. The blaze, dubbed the ‘Real Fire,’ quickly charred 420 acres while threatening more than 100 structures that sat along the Gaviota Coast before firefighters and emergency crews were aware of the fire and able to gain an upper hand on the wild blaze. Wind-Driven bush fire Coincidentally, Rajant and Dejero had just arrived in Santa Barbara for a demonstration with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Shortly after the fire broke out, word reached the emergency services and crews from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, and other agencies who immediately dispatched their teams to contain the blaze before it spread further. The climate in the canyon at the time of the blaze was considered ‘critical fire weather’ with its dangerously dry grass and wind gusts. These conditions only encouraged the wind-driven bush fire to spread swiftly through the foothills on the north side of Highway 101 near El Capitán State Beach, California and east over the ridge. A good stretch of the 101 Freeway had to be shut down immediately—in both directions—and Amtrak routes through the area were canceled. Total communications solution At the peak of the fire, helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts attacked the flames from the air with retardant and water drops Visitors at nearby ranches, campgrounds, beaches, and resorts were evacuated, and a warning was given to residents living in the nearby Dos Pueblos, Refugio, and Winchester Canyons. At the peak of the fire, helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts attacked the flames from the air with retardant and water drops, while dozens of engines, along with bulldozers and hand-crews, fought it from the ground. At about that same time the fire broke out, teams from Rajant and Dejero, along with subject matter expert Bruce Arvizu from the Department Homeland Security, had arrived in Santa Barbara. Together, they were prepared to deliver a live safety demo to the Santa Barbara County fire chief on how the companies can together provide the total communications solution. Improved spectrum efficiency The planned public safety demo was also to show how the blending of Rajant’s technology with Dejero Smart Blending Technology (SBT) eliminates drops and gaps—a solution comprised of mesh radio communications, blended cellular, and satellite technologies to bridge the communication gap in remote locations where signals are often weak or lost. While LTE networks provide high bandwidth, lower latency, and improved spectrum efficiency, LTE can also become spotty and drop signals in remote locations and other areas. Dejero’s Smart Blending Technology (SBT) fills in these gaps in the Wide Area Network by seamlessly blending any available LTE with SAT comms to guarantee a connection for the responding teams. Signal continuity becomes even more challenging in valleys, around mountains, and along coastlines, which becomes mission critical when emergency services are responding. Continuous and reliable connection More than 200 firefighters were on site fighting the fire with reinforcing containment lines of helicopters Rajant’s mesh radio technology bridges the gaps in these local areas. When the three technologies are used together, a continuous and reliable connection is provided, ensuring that communications between the responding agencies and their teams in the field are not lost. Meanwhile at the El Capitán canyon, more than 200 firefighters were on site fighting the fire with reinforcing containment lines of helicopters and drones in the air and 30-ton bulldozers on the ground cutting out ‘catlines’ and uprooting vegetation, thus eliminating the fire’s fuel. By plowing through the flames, brush, and trees with the dozers, the emergency crews saved valuable manpower and shortened the fire’s reach and life. When fighting fires with bulldozers, it is critical for the commander in control to receive data from each dozer to manage fighting the fire collectively as a team and to track each dozer individually. Critical local data Rajant and Dejero quickly proposed to the fire chief the benefits of their combined technology at a time of crisis and asked to allow Rajant and Dejero to modify their presentation from a demo to a real life exercise. “Our county firefighters are willing to do whatever it takes to get that job done. When we do our after-action review, the successes and failures always come out. And we like to capitalize on our successes.” said Daniel Bertucelli, County Fire Captain Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Rajant BreadCrumbs® can be mounted to the bulldozers so the critical local data could be transmitted while other situational data and mapping could be revived in the field. Dejero SBT would power the Microsoft Tactical Truck and provide the bridge from the field to the command post over cellular and SAT networks, during this actual emergency situation. Combined firefighting attacks More than 400 acres had burned with no structures damaged and no reported injuries Notably, the SAT comms on the vehicle was to be powered by Kymeta’s flat-panel dish technology, enabling true ‘comms on the move’ to best leverage Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh®. The updated mission was green lighted. On Friday morning, Rajant and Dejero meet with the fire squad at the command control center. Rajant BreadCrumbs and camera systems were mounted to dozers while the Microsoft mobile comms truck, with the Dejero GateWay on-board, maintained a close, but safe, proximity to the dozers to provide LTE. The firefighters manning the bulldozers were able to communicate in the valley when normally they could not. Data was sent from the bulldozers to the van to the internet where the command control center could receive the video feed. The real-life demo was a success. The combined firefighting attacks on the blaze gained the upper hand and went from a 20-percent containment on Thursday evening to 50-percent by Friday afternoon. By Monday, the Real Fire was 100% contained. More than 400 acres had burned with no structures damaged and no reported injuries. Evacuations were lifted for all areas.
A bespoke fire and security solution specified and installed by Evolution, a renowned integrated fire and security systems business, is helping to protect new tenants and staff at One Embassy Gardens, a new riverside development project on the South Bank of London. Looking across the River Thames to Chelsea and Kensington, the gardens combine green spaces, shops, restaurants and office space for residents and guests. The area is also the new home for both the Dutch and US embassies. One Embassy Gardens was constructed and is owned by international property development company, Ballymore. Ballymore appointed Briggs & Forrester, one of the UK’s leading building services and engineering companies, to tender for the fire and security system, and Ballymore in turn appointed Evolution to manage the bespoke system’s design and installation. complete fire detection Evolution’s solution comprises a complete fire detection and alarm system including networked fire panels (that allow the system to be expanded as required), and air aspirating systems are utilized to detect the first signs of a potential fire for early intervention. The ‘Open Protocol’ system also includes bespoke voice sounders that have been developed for both the ‘evacuation’ process, which utilizes a phased evacuation process, and the ‘invacuation’ process, which involves moving occupants to a safe location within the building. installation and commissioning We have delivered a compliant fire and security solution tailored to meet the specific needs of the client" The security system is similarly bespoke comprising access control, CCTV and an innovative International Communications (InterComms) system, which includes live communications during an ‘invacuation’, allowing direct interactions between security staff and the occupants of the building. Nigel Hyson, Fire Sales Manager at Evolution, says One Embassy Gardens is a prime example of Evolution’s capabilities to deliver integrated systems, no matter what the size or complexities involved: “One Embassy Gardens is in a prestigious location and we had to be mindful of a wide range of potential risks associated with the surrounding buildings. From the initial design phase, right through to the installation and commissioning of the new systems, we are very proud to have been involved in this project." compliant fire and security solution "We have delivered a complete and fully compliant fire and security solution tailored to meet the specific needs of the client and this complex development.” The 12-storey, 215,000 sq. ft building is currently being sublet by two global publishing houses, with two floors still empty and available, and is being managed by CBRE.
Nittan Europe, UK manufacturer of conventional and addressable fire detection products and systems, has had its Evolution analog addressable fire detection system installed into a new student accommodation development in Beeston, Nottingham. The system was installed by Nottinghamshire based integrated safety and security solutions provider, TIS. Dagfa House is a unique development of townhouses, clusters and studios adjacent to The University of Nottingham campus. It provides accommodation to 229 students and a range of leisure and study amenities. At the heart of the development is a Grade two listed building that dates back to the 18th-century and was converted into a school in 1948. Addressable fire alarm system This latest development has been undertaken by the Cassidy Group, which has over 30 years of experience in construction and property. One of the key fire safety challenges posed by the Dagfa House development was the mix of accommodation blocks, with some being relatively small. A cost-effective fire detection system was required that could potentially evacuate each site in the event of a fire and that would also be future proof, with spares readily available. A Nittan Evolution analog addressable fire alarm system, comprising two individually networked systems, each utilizing eight Evolution1 panels and Nittan devices was chosen as the solution. Chris Mills, Head of Fire Division at TIS explains: “TIS carried out market research of a number of fire alarm manufacturers before finally settling on the Nittan Evolution panel with Nittan devices which provided a single source approach while providing a cost effective and reliable solution.” Sophisticated detection algorithms Evolution uses ASIC technology in the sensors and sophisticated detection algorithms Evolution is Nittan’s advanced, premium fire system. Evolution uses ASIC technology in the sensors and sophisticated detection algorithms, combining extremely reliable fire detection together with a very high degree of protection against unwanted false alarms. Its advanced, highly flexible protocol allows for substantial amounts of information to be transmitted at high speed and is not affected by the number of devices on the loop. At Dagfa House, the Nittan Evolution1 Panel was selected because of its built-in network connectivity, making it extremely cost effective, plus its ease of installation and cause & effect configuration. For the primary detection in the majority of locations, Nittan’s EV-PYS Optical Detector with built-in sounder was selected for convenience, due to the reduced cost and time required compared to installing separate detectors and sounders, as well as the combined detector/sounder providing a more aesthetically pleasing solution. Compliant visual alarm In the open areas, such as the cinema room, games room, common room and the communal garden terrace, Nittan EV-HIOP-SB High Output Sounder Beacon VADs were installed. These devices provide high volume sound, EN 54-23 compliant visual alarm and are waterproofed to IP65, making them suitable for the outdoor areas. One of the most important devices in any fire alarm system is Manual Call Points, which are strategically located in the Dagfa House development at points of evacuation. Nittan EV-MCP2-SCI Call Point with built in short circuit isolators were chosen to ensure the loops were adequately protected, so the system remains compliant even under short circuit fault conditions. Each Call Point was also fitted with a hinged front cover for compliance with BS-5839-1: 2017, the code of practice for designing, installing, commissioning, and maintaining fire detection and alarm systems. Nittan fire detection systems are a popular choice for student accommodation, with many applications around the UK.
Comelit Group’s fire detection solution has been installed at Gleavewood Care Home by KJ Fire Safety, for the ongoing safety and security of staff, residents and visitors. Cheshire-based, Gleavewood Care Home, part of the Minster Care Group, is a two storey care home, with 30 single rooms and a variety of communal areas, alongside an enclosed garden area and multiple facilities and visitor activities on site for residents to benefit. Risk assessment on fire detection systems KJ Fire Safety was called to the site following a risk assessment on fire detection systems KJ Fire Safety was called to the site following a risk assessment on fire detection systems. With recommendations made for a new install, Comelit’s Atena Easy two loop solution was fitted in just three weeks, working around the residents and staff. Ruth Field, Estates Director of Minster Care Group said “Mitigating the risk from fire is a fundamental duty of care in any care home, and an absolute priority across our property portfolio.” Ruth adds, “To ensure the safety of our continued staff and residents at Gleavewood, KJ Fire Safety worked by our side to install Comelit’s system as quickly as possible, whilst being sensitive to our residents and their daily routines. We are really impressed, not only with the fast paced installation, but also the finished Atena Easy control panel, which staff have been trained on, and its proven very user friendly.” Atena Easy system Comelit’s Atena Easy system has been installed as an addressable fire alarm, stylish panel with 2 loops, connected to 130 devices on a completely new cable scheme. The information for the system status is visualized on a graphic display and LED indication for zones and troubleshooting. Nigel Thomas, Managing Director at KJ Fire Safety Ltd added, “Care home owners need to review their fire risk assessments, with a proper understanding of how fire can travel and develop”. Fire detection system Nigel adds, “Good practice, as Minster Care Group demonstrates, is that this is done on a regular basis. When Gleavewood’s risk assessment highlighted critical action, we quickly and efficiently replaced the system with Comelit Atena Easy due to its ease of install and operation without re-using any element of the original system.” Mandy Bowden, Comelit Fire Business Development Manager (BDM) said, “Comelit’s Atena Easy system is simple to install, cost effective and user friendly 1 to 2 loop panel, designed with ease of use in mind”. Mandy adds, “For added assurance, it comes with the full training and support capability of a globally renowned fire systems manufacturer. This makes it perfect for care homes such as Gleavewood, where fire safety is of such critical importance, to ensure peace of mind for all who work, live and visit this site.”
The Natta Building Company was formed in 1972 and specializes in a wide spectrum of civil engineering projects. They also undertake design and build projects and their excellent reputation and client relationships mean that 80% of their work comes from repeat business. Eco Fire Safety contacted Natta to explain more about the benefits of the P50 fire extinguisher and set up a meeting with their Senior Buyer, James Hibberd. “Jason contacted us to introduce the P50 and the product sounded interesting so we agreed to meet. At the meeting Jason showed us the Britannia P50 which is a multi-use fire extinguisher that we could service ourselves for the first 10 years. The servicing of fire extinguishers had, for us, become a logistical nightmare. We are consistently moving extinguishers from one building site to another, sometimes at short notice, and the fact that we could service the P50’s ourselves was a huge benefit to us”, explained James. standard fire extinguisher We believe this will save Natta somewhere in the region of £12,000 over the next 10 years" Eco Fire Safety provided a free site survey and evaluation of Natta’s current fire extinguishers and proved that the company could save money with a superior solution. “The P50 does cost slightly more than a standard extinguisher but this is far outweighed by the saving made by not having to have an external company charging us for servicing. We believe this will save Natta somewhere in the region of £12,000 over the next 10 years!”, confirmed James. installation and training The company was also able to almost halve the number of extinguishers because the P50 is multipurpose. This also makes them simpler to use because they don’t have to decide which extinguisher to use, negating decision paralysis. “Like many companies these days, we are trying to be more environmentally friendly and the fact that the P50 is 100% recyclable is another massive plus. The assistance we received from Eco Fire Safety in dealing with our requirements the order process, installation and training has surpassed our expectations. I would recommend Jason, Eco Fire Safety and the P50 to anyone who uses old metal extinguishers!”, enthused James.
When a major European distiller invested in a modern Bio-Energy steam power plant for their facility located in Western Finland, they turned to Atexon Oy, the innovative specialists in spark detection and extinguishing systems to provide a fully integrated solution to detect ignition sources from hot particles within the new plant with the aim of eliminating or mitigating the costly consequences of any resulting fires or explosions within the material handling and process lines. The end product from the distillery is high quality grain alcohol distilled from Finnish barley for use in many famous international drinks brands. Annual production stands at around 30 million liters of 96% grain alcohol using a 250-fold distillation process. The same barley is also made into starch, fodder and carbon dioxide. Sustainable multi-fuel solution The plant subsequently became the first steam boiler plant in Finland capable of running solely on field biomass Prior to the new Bio-Energy plant, steam was generated using traditional fuels such as milled peat, however, the company recognized the benefits of switching to a more sustainable multi-fuel solution. This was chiefly field biomass (barley husk, grain particles and straw) as well as fusel oils, woodchip and peat, leading to greater fuel self-sufficiency and significantly reducing their overall carbon footprint, at the same time as improving operational cost effectiveness. The plant subsequently became the first steam boiler plant in Finland capable of running solely on field biomass. The plant was developed in cooperation with a specialist Finnish engineering company who carried out the overall plant design and construction and who are also responsible for its ongoing operation and maintenance. Protection against overheating and fire incidents In view of the combustible nature of the biofuels in use, it was essential to safeguard the plant against the potentially disastrous effects of dust explosions, fire accidents and overheating of components that could lead to production down-time, machine failures and property losses, at the same time as enhancing safety for the employees and protection of the wider environment. Such fires and explosions could arise from a variety of ignition sources such as mechanical failure, entrained abrasive material, frictional heat generation, static electricity, impurities within the process material as well as self-ignition (chemical reaction or microbiological decay). Monitoring surface temperature and flame detection To address these ever-present ignition risks, Atexon were consulted at an early stage to propose an overall solution to monitor the process lines within the three main areas of the plant, the fuel receiving station, the screening station and the boiler house, as well as two fuel storage silos. Atexon’s origins date back to the year 2000 and the company was founded to help the industry reduce the risk of fires and explosions in many different processes. The company is now internationally recognized through innovative technologies for suppressing ignition sources within combustible dust areas by advanced early spark detection and rapid acting extinguishing systems. Patented spark detection technologies Several technical challenges had to be overcome requiring several types of detection, monitoring and control methods Atexon is based in the Oulu region of Northern Finland which is a well-known center of excellence for research and development in electronics, and this has helped facilitate the design of unique and patented spark detection technologies. Owing to the wide range of fuels used in the new plant and the specialized nature of the processing and material handling equipment involved, several technical challenges had to be overcome requiring several types of detection, monitoring and control methods. Spark detectors Perhaps the most important technical challenge in monitoring the plant was the selection and location of the spark detectors that would be needed to activate the extinguishing system if an ignition source (spark, hot particle or ember) was detected in the process material (fuel). Conventional spark detection of materials moving inside closed de-dusting/dust extraction systems is a well-established method. Sensors typically operating in the Near Infra-Red (NIR) range offer good sensitivity to spark through multiple material layers, although they cannot detect hot particles at high temperatures. ATEX compliant V300EX detector Alternatively, sensors operating in the Infra-Red (IR) range can detect hot particles (250-400°C) but have poor sensitivity through material layers. Using advanced electronics, Atexon’s patented and ATEX compliant V300EX detector operates both in the NIR and IR range to offer a wide detection spectrum for all types of hot particle ignition sources, whether they emit visible or invisible light. Furthermore, the V300EX has an extra wide field of view (up to 180°) when compared to conventional sensors (up to 110°) leading to a fourfold increase in sensitivity when installed in ducting or chutes, providing a major reduction in “blind spots.” Daylight filtering technology Another important consideration for reliable spark detection in the plant was the fact that at certain stages of the process, the material was being handled in an open area in the presence of daylight – for example in the receiving station. Conventional spark detectors would be compromised by the presence of daylight, however, the V300EX incorporates daylight filtering technology making it suited to installations in difficult situations such as this. Remote sensor monitoring VMR200EX units were specified to incorporate remote “clean window testing” to enable remote sensor monitoring Spark detectors were also installed in the de-dusting lines connected to the silos, and as these were positioned in a difficult to access elevated location (25 meters high), VMR200EX units were specified to incorporate remote “clean window testing” to enable remote sensor monitoring to facilitate easier maintenance. In the event of a positive detection of a spark or hot particle, the extinguishing system reacts very rapidly (typically 0.05-0.1 seconds) and introduces a carefully measured amount of water (between 5-30 liters per event). The extinguishing system includes a pressure boosting station with membrane tanks to eliminate any air bubbles from the water. Enhanced extinguishing performance A high pressure system allows the generation of small droplet sizes, enhancing the extinguishing performance and reducing any negative effects on production from excessive water application. In view of the northerly location of the plant, any external/exposed water piping was heat traced and insulated to prevent freezing and ensure the water is kept at the optimum temperature. In addition to detection of sparks and other ignition sources in the process material, it was important to ensure that in the event of activation and discharge of the extinguishing system, there could be no contamination of the process material (fuel), and the plant could go back on line with minimum interruption. Installation of fast-acting diverter valves To meet this challenge, a fast-acting diverter valve was installed in the chute leading to the fine screening station in the boiler house to route any fuel contaminated by extinguishant (water) after activation away to a collecting container. This also provided an additional benefit in the way that the contents of the container could be analyzed after an activation to determine the cause of ignition (for example, abrasive material or foreign objects introduced at the receiving station). Importance of quick leakage detection The plant was designed with the aim of “zero wastage” and therefore any dust settling on the surfaces of the plant production area is routinely collected via a vacuum system and returned to the plant as part of the fuel mix. Similarly, fusel oil from the distillation process is also incorporated in the boiler fuel, and this gives rise to an additional need to detect any leakage at an early stage in the open area around the burner. Flame detectors installed at plant Atexon supplied flame detectors and pressurized water misting extinguishing system To address this challenge, Atexon supplied flame detectors and pressurized water misting extinguishing system to create a “cube of water mist” envelope around the burner in the event of any external flame development. Detection of sparks is not usually possible inside silos where there is a dense concentration of bulk material, however, Atexon included Carbon Monoxide monitoring on top of the silos to detect the result of any burning material inside the silo at an early stage. Atexon VR18Z control panel All the various elements of the Atexon solution for the process lines within the Plant – spark and flame detection, carbon monoxide monitoring and extinguishing system - were linked back to an Atexon VR18Z control panel, with a common user interface and emergency battery backup with local alarms and plant/process shut down capability. How a Spark Detection and Extinguishing System Works - Ignition sources are traveling to dust collector Spark detectors detect ignition sources System control unit receives signal detector, activates water extinguisher Water is sprayed from nozzles into dust pipe typically 5 seconds after spark The fan controller stops the fan in case of fan overheating or spark shower The overheat sensing cable monitors the fan bearing and the fan perimeter The pressure booster controller control the water pump and the heat tracing cables The pressure booster ensures airless extinguishing water with correct pressure Steam and compressed air processing The new 10MW steam energy plant, the first in Finland to be able to run entirely on field biomass, is now fully operational and produces enough steam for all production processes, as well as supplying compressed air for the processes and operating the water and wastewater treatment works. Overall plant and process safety through early stage ignition detection and monitoring is enhanced through the fully integrated system designed, installed and maintained by Atexon Oy. Engineering review, design, and system supply The technical challenges that needed to be overcome to complete this ground-breaking project strongly illustrate the specialist expertise and innovative solutions offered by Atexon Oy, comprising engineering review and design, system supply, installation and ongoing maintenance, training and support.