Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
VIKING Life-saving Equipment is maintaining momentum in its development of the most complete range of safety solutions to cover the risks facing wind turbine service technicians, by introducing an easily accessible and self-contained evacuation kit located in the tower. Following a collaborative design project, VIKING has launched a tower evacuation kit that fits snugly into what is currently an unused space between the platform handrails and the tower’s ou...
Kentec Electronics, a manufacturer of life-critical control systems, has welcomed Fortus Group Holdings (‘Fortus’) to its Kentec Authorized Distributor (KAD) scheme, providing the fire and security distributor with dedicated product training and support, enhancing its ability to provide comprehensive solutions to installers. The KAD scheme is a global network of specialists, experts and trained fire alarm distribution companies, that are recognized for their high levels of Ken...
New training for firefighters aims to fight the cancer threat to them from fires, by taking aim at the toxic substances that fires produce. UK firefighters surveyed as part of University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) research were four times more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer than the general population. It’s thought that firefighter’s exposure to those toxic substances could be playing a part in their increased risk of getting cancer and other diseases. Better cleaning...
Wildland fires are an increasing threat in the United Kingdom. They’re high risk, difficult to manage, and create a set of very particular circumstances for firefighters, who are battling the blaze. And with wildland call-outs measured in days, rather than hours, fire services need a kit that’s as tough as the terrain that they’re working on. Defender wildland firefighting suit FlamePro, a British manufacturing specialist of life-saving garments for firefighters, has unveiled...
Volunteer firefighters who are also National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) members have one final chance to enter and win a personalized MSA Safety Incorporated’s MSA Cairns XF1 Fire Helmet. This is the last of three helmets that will be given out in 2021. MSA Cairns XF1 Fire Helmet The jet-style design of the Cairns XF1 Fire Helmet reduces snag hazards, provides a personalized fit, and houses its own integrated light module. Plus, the soft goods are removable, washable, and replaceable,...
Fire-Dex announces the acquisition of Marken PPE Restoration, a UL verified Independent Service Provider (ISP) of clean and repair services based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. This business is the third ISP Fire-Dex has acquired, following the purchase of Gear Wash in 2019 and Done Right Fire Gear in 2020. This acquisition will allow the company to expand its efforts to provide clean and repair services to departments in untouched regions throughout the West. Making solid connections The broad se...
For the second year, DripDrop Hydration (DripDrop ORS), a renowned rehydration therapy company, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the global association representing the volunteer fire, EMS (Emergency Medical Services), and rescue services, have teamed up to provide dehydration relief to volunteer firefighters. Oral rehydration solution (ORS) DripDrop is providing 200,000 sticks of their oral rehydration solution (ORS) to volunteer fire departments across the U.S. The donation comes as fire departments continue to battle severe wildfires, summer heat, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through the donation, volunteer firefighters can request one 80-count multi-flavor package of DripDrop ORS, to use in their department, during wildfire response, long incidents, intense training, or other strenuous work. Dehydration affects up to 75 percent of the U.S. population at any given time, and firefighters are at great risk of dehydration, due to the extreme work conditions that they face. DripDrop ORS DripDrop ORS improves on the World Health Organization standard for an ORS with medical-grade electrolytes 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. “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 Hydration, adding “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.” Dehydration, serious health concern for firefighters “Dehydration is a very serious health concern for firefighters,” said NVFC’s Chair, Steve Hirsch, adding “Dehydration can lead to negative consequences, such as decreased performance, weakness and muscle fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and even heat stroke or heart attack.” Steve Hirsch adds, “These impacts are especially risky for firefighters, as lives are on the line. We are grateful to DripDrop for this donation, to provide a much-needed safety measure, to keep our firefighters performing safely and effectively.”
Ballyclare has revealed details of a major new tender win with the latest additions to its XENON range of multi-functional structural firefighting clothing. The contract, which covers PPE for some 3,200 firefighters, has been awarded by three fire and rescue services in the Yorkshire and Humberside region and includes new additions to the XENON range which have been developed to meet the specific demands of this customer. Provide bespoke solutions “With today’s firefighting and rescue professionals facing an ever-expanding range of challenges, we continue to develop our XENON garments to make sure they offer the highest levels of protection,” explains Ballyclare’s Business Development Manager, Andrew Buckley. We’re constantly working with our customers to advance the XENON range" “We’re constantly working with our customers to advance the XENON range and provide bespoke solutions for their requirements. This latest success is another example of that strategy in action, and it will benefit firefighters in the South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and Humberside regions.” Unique layered construction “One of the key factors for us awarding the contract to Ballyclare was the feedback provided by the end-users who participated in the garment tests,” explains Category Manager Mark Lloyd, of the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. “Wearers commented that they felt no need to remove their suits as soon as possible in order to cool down, and described the garments as the ‘most comfortable’ and ‘most innovative’ PPE they had ever worn. The level of protection, moisture management, and freedom of movement also drew comments from the test participants.” The new garments feature a unique layered construction which enhances the traditional XENON advantages of outstanding protection, high levels of breathability, and maximum freedom of movement. Outstanding tensile strength The rugged construction of this fabric allows the XENON garments to withstand constant washing cycles The outer layer of the garments is a strong but extremely lightweight fabric which provides excellent protection against heat and flame, and also delivers outstanding tensile strength. It will not become brittle, shrink or break open when exposed to flame or high temperatures, thus ensuring reliable protection for the wearer. Next comes a cutting-edge moisture barrier which has been specified to meet the requirements of this customer. A unique, lightweight 3D construction and a ‘ridged’ profile reduce the amount of contact with the wearer by some 30%. This increases the barrier’s ability to trap air and provide another heat barrier, and also speeds up the transmission of moisture away from the wearer. The rugged construction of this fabric allows the XENON garments to withstand constant washing cycles without compromising on comfort, breathability, or protection. Ensuring maximum comfort Completing the new XENON garments is a thermal layer which also has a 3D construction that traps air to add yet another barrier against heat. This hydrophilic layer also helps transfer moisture away from the wearer and into the moisture barrier, thus allowing the wearer’s skin to breathe more easily and ensuring maximum comfort. After just a few minutes of exposure to ultraviolet light, this tape gives off an intense glow for up to 8 hours The new XENON garments also include the world’s first fire-retardant and fully launderable phosphorescent tape, which significantly increases the visibility of firefighters in dark conditions. After just a few minutes of exposure to ultraviolet light, this tape gives off an intense glow for up to 8 hours, in conditions where there is little or no light, significantly increasing the visibility of the wearer. Specific safety standards “We have worked with our colleagues from across Yorkshire as part of a regional exercise to secure new structural PPE from Ballyclare International,” adds Humberside Fire & Rescue Service Procurement Manager, Dave Lofthouse. “This has helped us all benefit from efficiencies while providing our staff with new PPE that improves their safety and comfort.” As with all Ballyclare firefighter PPE, the new XENON garments are manufactured to exacting national and international safety, performance and quality standards. These include specific safety standards for firefighter clothing EN469 (protective clothing for firefighters. Performance requirements for protective clothing for firefighting activities) and standards not specific to firefighter suits such as EN ISO 13688 (protective clothing - general requirements).
Cancer is a hidden killer amongst the force. In fact, firefighters have a 68% higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer than the general population! Why? It’s simple, exposure to cancer-causing particles is high. But, this hidden killer can be stopped in its tracks, with careful PPE inspection and maintenance. Here, Reece Buchner, Technical Sales Manager at FlamePro, a British specialist manufacturer of life-saving garments for firefighters, explains how to maintain and inspect the kit. Specialist cleaning services While previous generations would have worn scorch marks and dirt as a badge of honor, firefighters know different. A fire suit is only as good as its weakest seam, and therefore kit needs to be checked A clean kit is a safe kit, so it’s essential that brigades utilize specialist cleaning services, ensuring that kits are correctly washed and cared for after every single use. Regular inspections of fire kits are just as important as laundering. A fire suit is only as good as its weakest seam, and therefore kit needs to be checked that it is fit for purpose before every use. Withstanding blunt pressure Here are five steps that will help preserve the life of the kit: Back to basics - It sounds simple, but check the surface of the fabric first and foremost. One should be looking for holes, rips, tears, and scuffs - even just the smallest rip or graze can impact on a kit’s protection. This should be conducted both prior to using the kit and after each shift. Now you see me - Whether called out to a rescue in dark and hazardous conditions, battling through thick plumes of smoke, or attending a road incident amidst live traffic, being easily seen is vital to ensuring safety on the job. A kit with good visibility enhances not only one’s own safety, but also that of the team. A torch test will check the reflective surfaces of a fire suit. Shine a torch over reflective surfaces to make sure they remain reflective. This also applies to non-fire kits, such as a rescue-wear set. Wet, wet, wet - Maintaining water repellence is crucial. Not only does it allow for more effective and comfortable working, it ensures that harmful chemicals and particulates are not able to infiltrate through the material. And it’s incredibly easy to check if a suit is still water tight - simply spray it with water. If the water pools in droplets on the surface, the durable water repellent (DWR) layer is working effectively. But if it soaks into the fabric, the DWR has failed and the garment needs re-treating. Safely sealed - Even the smallest amount of damage to a suit can compromise its ability to protect. And this includes fastenings, seals, zips, and poppers. These seals provide an important line of defense for firefighters – they ensure full body protection in extreme heat, and are designed to ensure corrosive liquids, carcinogenic particles, and other harmful substances can’t infiltrate the kit. Stress test - UV exposure can gradually wear fabric. This won’t be immediately visible, but tired fabric whilst on a job will soon become apparent. Make sure to stress test the fabric and ensure it can withstand blunt pressure. Do this by pushing a blunt object against the fabric. The object shouldn’t go through, but if it does, it’s a good indicator of UV damage. Check the Velcro - If one has been in a grassy environment, the Velcro can easily become matted and fail to close properly. This compromises protection against particulates. It is also paramount that zips and other fasteners are checked and ensured that they are closing properly. No matter how well one maintains the kit, there will always come a time when it will need replacing. So, it’s important to know when this time comes. Replacing the kit at the right time keeps the team safe and comfortable, no matter what the call-out is for.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2021 Annual Fire Service Achievement Awards. NVFC’s awards recipients Theodore Schroll Jr. will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by ADT, Robert James will receive the Chief James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership Award, co-sponsored by VFIS and Ward Diesel Filter Systems, Paige Davis will receive the Junior Firefighter of the Year Award, sponsored by California Casualty, and the Colonia Volunteer Fire Department Explorer Program will receive the Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Award, sponsored by California Casualty. It is with great pleasure that we recognize the incredible work of our 2021 award winners" “The past year has tested our nation in many ways, but one thing we can always rely on is the dedication, resilience, and exceptional service provided by our nation’s volunteer firefighters and EMS providers,” said NVFC’s Chair Steve Hirsch. Steve adds, “It is with great pleasure that we recognize the incredible work of our 2021 award winners and highlight the amazing achievements of those who give so much to help their communities.” 2021 Annual Fire Service Achievement Awards A celebration luncheon to honor the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement, Chief James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership, and Junior Firefighter of the Year awards will take place during the NVFC’s fall meeting scheduled on October 15, 2021, in Jackson, Wyoming. The recipient of the Junior Firefighter Program of the Year will be presented with their award at their department this fall, so that all their junior firefighters may attend. The recipients of the NVFC’s 2021 Annual Fire Service Achievement Awards are as follows: Asst. Chief Theodore ‘Ted’ Schroll Jr. - NVFC Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by ADT Ret. Asst. Chief Ted Schroll has never ‘just belonged’ to anything that he has been involved with. He is a dedicated fire service volunteer and works hard on any assignment, to make things better. Ted joined Wethersfield Fire Department in 1960, in Connecticut, working his way up from Firefighter to Acting Chief, and his energy and dedication are just as strong in 2021. Active member of the fire services Although, Ted Schroll retired as Acting Chief in 1999, he remains an active member of the fire department. He has shared his knowledge within his local department, the Connecticut State Firefighters Association (CSFA), and at the Connecticut State Capitol. Ted Schroll has served in all the executive positions for the state association, as well as served as CSFA’s legislative representative for over 25 years. Due to his thorough understanding of the legislative process, he was able to represent CSFA without missing a beat, during the COVID-19 pandemic and switch to online meetings. CSFA and the fire service representative Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ted Schroll spent countless hours at the state capitol, representing CSFA and the fire service Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ted Schroll spent countless hours at the state capitol, representing CSFA and the fire service. He has been aggressive to secure not only legislation, but also funding for construction and rehabilitation of Connecticut’s regional fire schools. He was instrumental, along with Chief John McAuliffe, in securing state legislation that prohibits career departments from forbidding their employees from volunteering in the communities that they live in. Due to his legislative expertise, he has been a resource to many other state fire associations, as well as the NVFC for legislative questions or concerns. CSFA’s Assistant Secretary Ted Schroll also currently serves as CSFA’s Assistant Secretary and Credentials Committee Chair. He is pivotal in organizing the yearly convention and makes it a family affair with his wife, children, and even grandson assisting the credentials committee at the convention. He was inducted into the Connecticut State Firefighters Hall of Fame in 2010. In addition to his work in the fire service, Ted served active duty in the United States Air Force until 1960 and is a past President of the New England Section of the International Municipal Signalman's Association (IMSA). Schroll has exemplified commitment and dedication to the fire service on the local, state, and national levels for over 61 years and will continue to do so for many more. Captain Robert ‘RJ’ James - NVFC Chief James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership Award, co-sponsored by VFIS and Ward Diesel Filter Systems Captain Robert James is a 20-year veteran of the fire service. He started as a volunteer firefighter with the Cromwell Fire Department, before relocating to Maryland, where he joined the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD), one of the busiest fire stations in Montgomery County. Mentor to young firefighters and EMTs In addition to volunteering, Robert James is a full time employee of the Frederick County Fire Rescue (FCFR) Division, Rescue Squad 3, where he leads the Advanced Technical Rescue Team. In July 2021 he was promoted to lieutenant. As a volunteer, Robert James has received numerous citations and awards from the RVFD and the State of Maryland. He hit the ground running, receiving his first award on his first week on the job, after making a life-saving rescue. His service and dedication have not slowed since. He is a mentor to young firefighters and EMTs, making safety his top priority. Rescue and hazardous materials operations expert Robert James is an expert in many areas, including firefighter survival and rescue and hazardous materials operations Robert James is an expert in many areas, including firefighter survival and rescue and hazardous materials operations, but he is especially proficient in technical rescue and trench operations. He uses his extensive knowledge and skill to mentor new recruits and seasoned professionals. He takes the utmost care in teaching them the necessary skills, while at the same time making their personal safety the primary factor in every aspect of his training programs. Robert travels across the country to teach, train and mentor. In his spare time, he has a podcast, where he discusses best practices for firefighter safety. Commitment to craft and training Because of Robert James’ commitment to his craft and the training that he provides, his fellow firefighters are safer and smarter, which allows them to better deal with the incidents that they face. It also makes them safer and better able to protect themselves now, so as to prevent physical or heath issues later in life. Robert James is a natural leader, which is why he is such a successful firefighter, EMT, trainer, and mentor. He is an inspiration to all who know him and always has his fellow firefighters’ safety and wellness at the forefront of everything he does. Paige Davis - NVFC Junior Firefighter of the Year, sponsored by California Casualty ‘Servant Leadership’ was the title of one of Paige Davis’ recent speeches to her cadets, and that leadership philosophy is befitting for her. She is the first to step up, help, pitch-in, and teach, even if there is no recognition. Davis always cheers for her competition, does the right thing, and acts with honesty and integrity. Bartlett Hackberry Township Fire Department’s junior program When Paige Davis joined the junior program at Bartlett Hackberry Township Fire Department (Bartlett, KS), on her 12th birthday, it was amid a major transition of juniors graduating into regular firefighter positions. This gap created the need for someone to step up and learn to lead, and she answered that call. Throughout this period, the community suffered from a prolific arsonist and experienced several of the worst fires in its history. Keeping safety at the forefront, Paige Davis and other juniors were called upon to assist the department in many ways, during this intense time, until the arsonist was caught. She then helped the junior program transition back from ‘busy’ to ‘normal’, by keeping members active and involved. Cadet & Junior Apprentice Firefighter Program lead She has led the fire department’s Cadet & Junior Apprentice Firefighter Program since 2019 When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything changed once again, Paige Davis was a vital force in helping the fire department respond to the new challenges. She has led the fire department’s Cadet & Junior Apprentice Firefighter Program since 2019. Paige is also actively involved in many department activities, including training, mentoring, and recruiting cadets, installing smoke detectors, assisting with fire prevention education, maintaining the department’s PPE inventory tracking system, and managing department technology, including Active911, group chats, and video meetings. Active member of Advisory Board She is also a member of an advisory board that is developing a 25-year plan for the department’s future. Even off-duty, Paige Davis always does what she can to help others. On May 10, 2020, her quick actions saved the life of a toddler who was wondering in the middle of a roadway, when she and her father were driving by. She is actively involved in organizations that work to strengthen and reinforce a sense of community, responsibility, and service, including 4H, FFA, and Civil Air Patrol. As an incoming high school senior, accomplished athlete, and barrel racer with world standings, she encourages others to be involved with their communities during her travels. Colonia Fire Department Explorer Program - NVFC Junior Firefighter Program of the Year, sponsored by California Casualty Colonia Fire Department’s Explorer Post The Colonia Fire Department’s Explorer Post is a vibrant, long-running program that has provided numerous benefits to the fire department and the community. The program is also the primary source of new members for the department, with many of the current members being former explorers. The explorers learn firefighting methods, equipment, and apparatus through training and drills. By participating in community service activities, these young people have become ambassadors of their community and the department, as they prepare for college and life after high school. Ohio Youth Fire & EMS Training Academy (OYFETA) For the past 11 years, the Colonia explorers have participated in the Ohio Youth Fire & EMS Training Academy (OYFETA) For the past 11 years, the Colonia explorers have participated in the Ohio Youth Fire & EMS Training Academy (OYFETA), a week-long event that takes place at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio. Taking a group of teenagers, raised in New Jersey, to a rural college campus several hundred miles away and embedding them with a similar group of teenagers from Ohio and other states, has helped them develop communication skills and behaviors expected of older young adults. Department leaders, academy staff, and parents have consistently said that attendees have returned as responsible teenagers, with improved outlooks on life and education, along with enhanced social and behavioral skills, and a recognition that effort results in success and reward. They quickly learn to behave like a firefighter, work collectively as a team, support those that fall behind, and learn from those who know more. Colonia Fire Department’s Junior Fire Academy program In addition, the Colonia Fire Department’s Junior Fire Academy program is a recruitment/community activity that highlights the OYFETA attendees. Designed to spur interest in the Explorer program, 7th and 8th grade students are invited to experience the physical skills and activities of a firefighter over two days. OYFETA graduates are paired with firefighters to serve as instructors. The success of the Colonia Explorer program has led to other fire departments seeking out their assistance, in creating or improving their own junior/Explorer programs. However, the greatest measure of the program’s success can be seen in the substantial number of former Explorers who are now in full-time fire and emergency services positions, in communities in New Jersey and across the country.
America’s first electric fire truck was in Maryland Wednesday. The revolutionary technology electric fire truck stopped by the Howard County Public Safety Training Center in Marriottsville. Completely emissions-Free The truck was developed by Rosenbauer America. It’s fully electric and completely emissions-free. The truck's batteries last about two hours, it has an on-board generator that can fully charge the truck in 20 minutes or while the truck is driving. There are three trucks being used in Berlin, Dubai, and Amsterdam. Rosenbauer America is working to get trucks in Los Angeles, Portland, Vancouver, and Miami. The company expects to make up to 100 trucks a year.
MSA Safety Incorporated (MSA), DuPont Personal Protection (DuPont), and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) are helping volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed turnout gear, through MSA and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway. Now in its tenth year, the program has provided over US$ 1 million worth of fire safety gear to assist volunteer fire departments in need. Globe Gear Giveaway In 2021, 13 fire departments will each receive four sets of turnout gear and four helmets, in order to help them enhance the safety of their firefighters. The first 500 applicants also received a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA Safety Incorporated. The latest recipients of MSA and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway are the Midland (PA) Volunteer Fire Department and Springville (TN) Volunteer Fire Department. Midland Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) Although, the MVFD has 12 sets of turnout gear, all of the sets are 24 years old and in poor shape The Midland Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) is an all-volunteer department located in rural western Pennsylvania. Serving a population of approximately 2,700 over a 2.1 square-mile-area, MVFD responds to an average of 240 calls annually. Although, the MVFD has 12 sets of turnout gear, all of the sets are 24 years old and in poor shape. Other personal protective equipment (PPE) is also either lacking or severely out of date, making it difficult to properly outfit current members and bring on new members. Providing turnout and safety gear The Midland Volunteer Fire Department receives no financial support from the local government and therefore, relies entirely on community support. They lack a facility, where they could host events, making fundraising difficult. “We are in desperate need of firefighting gear,” said Chief Joseph Ditri of the Midland Volunteer Fire Department. The donation of turnout gear and helmets from MSA and DuPont’s Globe Gear Giveaway will be a game changer for the department, by providing critical protection for their dedicated volunteers. Springville Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) Located in the mountains of rural western Tennessee, the Springville Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) protects 20 square miles and a population that can swell to 2,800, during the summer tourist season. The Springville Volunteer Fire Department’s nine volunteers are equipped with out-of-date, worn, and even torn gear that no longer meets NFPA safety standards. Every time SVFD’s volunteers respond to an emergency, they are put at risk due to their outdated gear. Furthermore, due to funding constraints, they are unable to purchase new gear without outside help. “Receiving this gear would not only allow us to continue to serve our community, but to do it in safer and more secure manner,” said Lieutenant Charles Asher of the Springville Volunteer Fire Department, adding “To know that the volunteers’ equipment will protect them and hold up to the very minimum NFPA requirement, will give them much needed relief.”
Communication technology has always been a key area of innovation for a variety of sectors, but the emergency services sector, in particular, is one of those that stands to gain a great deal. Those operating in the fire sector typically operate in noisy, dangerous conditions where communication is essential but difficult. hands-free communication From Bluetooth headsets to clunky hands-on radio systems, there have been a plethora of communication innovations in recent years designed to connect workers while keeping them safe and productive. Wearable, hands-free communication systems represent the latest frontier in this quest for safe communication Wearable, hands-free communication systems represent the latest frontier in this quest for safe, productive communication, and the pandemic has changed the communication game business of all shapes and sizes will be looking at ‘hands-free’ communication technology in a brand new light. Since the onset of the pandemic, even the most hands-on workplaces have had to practice social distancing and mask-wearing, adding another layer of health and safety onto an already complex set of rules and regulations. Where workers might once have been able to share radios and other equipment, they now need to do what they can to stay apart and not cross-contaminate surfaces. That means working hard to limit contact with surfaces, and each other. Critical communication in the fire sector If any sector is ready to lead the charge in terms of communication innovation, it’s the fire sector, which typically sees its workers operating in loud, hazardous environments, has been a driving force behind some of the greatest communication innovations of the past couple of decades and will continue to innovate to keep its workers safe and connected. According to some sources, the critical communications industry is growing at a rate of knots and will be worth more than $20 billion by 2028. That’s a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 10%, no doubt accelerated by the pandemic and our renewed focus on worker safety and the need for hands-free communication solutions. Perhaps the best way to speculate about future breakthroughs and how they will materialize is to first look back at how the emergency services, hospitals, and other sectors, have pioneered the way teams communicate. There have been countless communication breakthroughs over the years, but which ones have stood the test of time, and which ones are going to be most valuable to us as we emerge into a post-pandemic world? ‘smart PPE’ and wearable communication technology Workers in a variety of settings were able to communicate completely hands-free without removing their PPE Wearable communication technology isn’t new by any means, but its adoption and innovation have certainly been accelerated since the pandemic. While front-line and mission-critical workers carried on throughout the pandemic, they still needed to adhere to social distancing guidelines wherever possible and that also meant limiting contact with surfaces and staying in PPE. Workplaces in other sectors, when they were able to go back to the office, also faced the same conundrum. Health and safety had changed and businesses needed to adapt accordingly. Their answer? Wearable communication technology in the form of ‘Smart PPE’. By incorporating comms technology into masks, helmets, visors, and overalls, workers in a variety of settings were able to communicate completely hands-free without removing their PPE, giving them complete freedom without compromising on safety. No more pulling off visors to fiddle with intercoms, or reaching for the bulky radio that’s been passed around from shift to shift. Smart PPE makes operating in hostile environments by giving them the ability to stay in touch with their co-workers without having to interface with anything physically or share personal devices. Intelligent ‘active listening’ ear protectors Did you know that an estimated 22 million workers every year are exposed to potentially damaging levels of noise? The traditional solution would be to muffle the sound with ear guards, but that comes with its own set of problems. Communication is as much about listening as it is speaking. For workers in busy, loud, or dangerous environments, being able to hear what’s going on around you while also protecting your ears from potentially damaging sounds is crucial. Active listening headphones can protect workers from potentially damaging noises such as heavy machinery, but let through important sounds such as warning signals, radio communications, or the voices of their co-workers. That means instead of constantly taking protective ear guards on and off, or lifting a cup of the gear to hear a colleague yell something important, active listening headphones allow workers to stay alert and in-tune with their surroundings without putting their hearing at risk. Pioneering self-healing networks A perfect companion to ‘smart PPE’ but also an excellent technology in its own right, self-healing networks are designed for teams that are constantly on the move, from hospital staff to busy fire teams. They’re called ‘self-healing’ because of their ability to reconnect units that come back within range, and they stay connected even when one or more units drop off the network. Sectors like the emergency services are going to play a critical role in keeping those innovations coming A self-healing network is a cut above Bluetooth, which is typically unreliable with limited range and requires no base unit - allowing team members to roam far and wide and stay in touch so long as they’re in range. It facilitates ‘always on’ communication, meaning no need to push buttons to talk and can be voice-activated, so no member of staff has to come into contact with another or with any surface. While not invented since the pandemic, much like Smart PPE, its uptake has increased dramatically. Communication breakthroughs have been central to health and safety for several years, but as we emerge into a so-called ‘new normal’ following the pandemic, sectors like the emergency services are going to play a critical role in keeping those innovations coming.
In my latest article for TheBigRedGuide.com, I gave a detailed explanation of the differences between British and European fire safety standards. To help shed some light on this complex world, our team of fire safety experts concisely defined the Euroclass and UK standards, and explained how they differ. This article will aim to go one step further and demonstrate what architects, specifiers, and other industry professionals should be looking for when they’re selecting materials and products for a project. While each build is unique, several key factors should always be considered by those responsible for the specification of materials. Keep reading for four factors to consider. Thermal barrier usefulness This is the most important point. It’s crucial that what is specified for the final project is identical to the configuration that was tested. If it’s not, delve deeper and search for comparative data between two or three possibilities. The Field of Application in the Classification Report may cover the configuration, but that should be based on test evidence. Glassfibre insulation is Euroclass A, but it melts in a fire, completely negating its thermal barrier usefulness It should be emphasized that Euroclass B isn’t inherently worse than A, nor is Euroclass A necessarily better – it depends on the application. Glassfibre insulation is Euroclass A, but it melts in a fire, completely negating its thermal barrier usefulness. Equally, combustible material such as wood cannot attain A, as it will eventually burn due to its chemical make-up. This doesn’t make it any less attractive, or useful. As a building material - if correctly specified and fire protected – it is an entirely appropriate selection. The correct rating for each build is dependent on several factors unique to each project. Active fire protection These include, but are not limited to: The actual application requirements. This involves considering important aspects including the height of the building, and what its intended purpose will be. For example, a residential property will be in use 24 hours a day including overnight, and this will create different safety requirements compared to buildings such as offices which are usually only in use during daylight hours. Fire contribution to a system. Assessing how a material contributes to the overall fire risk the proposed system carries, and what measures have been taken to protect the structure in the event of a fire. This includes both passive and active fire protection measures. Consideration of engineering implications of each available product. This requires a careful analysis of how each potential material choice differs. For example, one product may be heavier or much harder to install than another which will impact how fit-for-purpose it really is for the project in question. How products react when they’re exposed to external weather conditions should always be carefully assessed. Some materials degrade as a direct result of exposure to the elements. Over time this will negatively impact the building, and in some cases make it far less safe and secure as the building ages. Better-Informed decision Go beyond product classification reports and hunt for test reports on proposed systems Be wary of claims about individual products. These can become null and void when they are incorporated into a larger system, as the overall fire rating will almost certainly change. This could result in the whole being significantly less than the sum of its parts, completely jeopardizing the safety of the end-users or occupants. Before you commit to a product, make sure you’re well versed in what you’re working with. Go beyond product classification reports and hunt for test reports on proposed systems. This will help you make a conclusive, better-informed decision. However, be warned, this information is notoriously hard to come by, so persistence is key. Make sure only to specify products that have been accredited by a third-party lab. Fire protection treatment Although it’s still legal for companies to self-certify materials, the practice allows for sub-standard products to become readily available on the market. Along with a third-party accredited test certificate, request CE documentation to ensure the product in question is still CE rated after its fire protection treatment. Some treatments will invalidate the CE mark on the non-treated product. The practice allows for sub-standard products to become readily available on the market There’s no denying that current safety standards are wildly complex and, even for the most experienced specifier, can take time to get your head around. Under time pressure, you need peace of mind, so it would be worth involving certified fire safety consultants from the outset. They will ensure you’re specifying certified, fit-for-purpose materials, prioritizing the build’s safety and offering clarity. Robust fire safety A collective concerted effort to thoroughly understand and select products that are tried and tested to create robust builds can only ever be a positive step. Combine this with the Government’s new building safety bill due to come into effect in August (2021), and the fact that many more companies are investing heavily into R&D to produce new materials with safety at the forefront, means the future is looking bright for construction, with robust fire safety baked into a building’s DNA as standard. Developing more state-of-the-art technology and facilities, and sourcing highly-skilled, knowledgeable professionals to ensure all bases have been fully covered, will achieve better fire-rated products and systems across the board. This is key to achieving the outcome we are all chasing - safer material choices that work as a system and deliver excellent fire protection.
Fire conditions and extrication events that firefighters arrive at today are very different from the conditions faced years ago. According to research at Underwriter Laboratories (UL), modern homes contain larger quantities of petroleum-based products and plastics that burn faster and hotter versus traditional and more natural materials. Rapid fire spread The result is more rapid and hotter fire growth with exponential increases in heat generation, smoke production and toxicity. Faster flashover and fire propagation, coupled with shorter times to collapse and shorter resident escape times, have changed what firefighters encounter in the average fire and its increased risk to their crews. On the other side, extrication calls are also on the rise, with multiple risks and an ever-present chance for fire, like with newer electric vehicles. New risks call for new and improved stationwear When the call comes in, firefighters rely on their turnout gear (TOG) for protection When the call comes in, firefighters rely on their turnout gear (TOG) for protection, but serious burn injury can occur right through the TOG. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) conducted a study that concluded stationwear contributes to overall thermal protection. However, depending upon the stationwear’s fiber content and material fabrication, it may also contribute to possible burn injuries. “Our goal at DuPont is to increase firefighters’ safety and we have dedicated years of study to ensuring what they are wearing under their turnout gear doesn’t contribute to more severe injury, as is the case with polyester and to a lesser degree, cotton,” said Jeff Fackler, North American Business Development Director for DuPont. Facing multiple thermal hazards As firefighters face multiple thermal hazards, they rely on the protective properties of their uniform to keep them safe. NFPA notes that the second leading cause of firefighter injuries in the United States is exposure to heat and smoke. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of reporting data that would help explain the severity, type and specific contributing factors, such as the clothing worn underneath the structural firefighting ensemble. Many authorities leave the choice up to the firefighters to determine what stationwear ensemble is to be worn underneath the structural turnout suit. According to the NFPA, the problem with this approach is the lack of knowledge about the risks of wearing non-certified garments, such as synthetics, and the lack of information focusing on factors that contribute to burn injuries. “We are working with DuPont to educate ourselves on how certified performance garments can help reduce risk of further injury during a fire or extrication,” said Spotsylvania, Virginia Fire Deputy Chief of Support Services, Jason Irby, adding “Stationwear is the last line of defense and the evidence is hard to ignore.” New Research in Preventing Injuries DuPont has worked to add to the level of research and discussion around how turnout gear and stationwear can help protect firefighters. DuPont scientists created Thermo-Man, a life-size manikin with 122 thermal sensors used to predict level, extent and location of potential burns of whole garments in simulated flame exposures. The goal is to test material selection and garment designs, and balance protection, mobility and heat stress. “What we found was that fire will exploit any gaps in turnout gear that may be created as the firefighter bends, climbs and crawls during the firefight,” said Jeff Fackler, adding “As a result, serious burn injury can occur right through the turnout gear, and the role of flame-resistant stationwear is to reduce the severity of that injury. In short, what you wear underneath your gear really does matter.” Stationwear made from Thermo-Man and Nomex Findings showed that garments made with Nomex will not melt, drip or support combustion, compared to 100% cotton DuPont tested stationwear garments using Thermo-Man to analyze and predict the levels of thermal protection that it provides. Stationwear made with Nomex brand fiber is compliant with NFPA 1975. Findings showed that garments made with Nomex will not melt, drip or support combustion, compared to 100% cotton, and Nomex helps reduce the predicted burn injury by 50%, when exposed to a three-second flame. Firefighters carry, pull, lug and climb with hundreds of pounds of hoses, ladders and other heavy gear. They have to crawl, squat, roll and duck in split-second decisions about their safety. More and more, they face challenges in extrication situations, where the chance of fire is high. Occupational Athletes Just like professional athletes, their gear has to be both comfortable and performance-based to allow freedom of movement, breathability and injury prevention. Associate Professor at the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology at UW-Milwaukee Dr. Kyle Ebersole has been studying the unique physical demands of firefighters for over a decade. “Firefighters and first responders are occupational athletes,” explains Kyle Ebersole, adding “Their job has some extraordinary physical and psychological demands.” Performance-enhancing sportswear Performance-enhancing sportswear like you see in the NFL or the Olympics is relatively new to the sports world. However, DuPont has been working on performance fibers for decades that help first responders perform at their best and help reduce the risk of injury. Stationwear made with Nomex fiber cools more effectively due to lower moisture pickup and evaporative resistance. The air permeability helps enable more heat and moisture vapor transmission and increases both cooling and breathability. Enhanced comfort and protection for firefighters This means more comfort and protection to firefighters in wildfire situations, structural rescue and vehicle rescue This means more comfort and protection to firefighters in wildfire situations, structural rescue and vehicle rescue situations. They can fight the fight longer with better performance and less risk of exhaustion. In the sports world, it’s well known that what you wear has a major influence on how your body and muscles move during various levels of activity. For athletes and firefighters alike, “The reality is if you become injured, you can’t work,” said Chief Jason Irby, adding “If I can help my team by providing stationwear that reduces thermal heat, allows them more time to fight a fire or work on getting someone out of a vehicle and it helps prevent burns closest to the skin, it makes total sense.” Technical advances and smart fabrics Technical advances and smart fabrics are making stationwear more comfortable and affordable, while allowing for better body heat regulation and adding protection against injury – helping give extra peace of mind to first responders. “They shouldn’t have to worry if their stationwear and gear is going to protect them,” said Jeff Fackler, adding “And with stationwear made with Nomex, they don’t have to.”
Back in Indianapolis for the first time since 2019, FDIC International 2021 offered a full slate of conference sessions, hands-on training and equipment exhibitions. Attendance was down, but everyone appeared happy to be back at the show, after cancellations and delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Masking compliance was low, despite continuing concerns about COVID-19 and the Delta variant. There was little social distancing. In many respects, the show seemed back to normal. A highlight of the event was the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s (NFFF) 9/11 Stair Climb. It’s a way for attendees to honor and remember those in the fire service community, who gave their lives in the 9/11 tragedy. Hundreds of FDIC participants paid tribute by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. MSA’s LUNAR hand-held device on display As always, safety was a huge theme at the FDIC exhibition, including development in hand-held tools As always, safety was a huge theme at the FDIC exhibition, including development in hand-held tools. MSA Safety displayed the new LUNAR hand-held device that helps keep firefighting teams connected, combining direction and distance information with thermal imaging to help find separated teammates and decrease response time. LUNAR uses cloud technology to increase fire-scene management capabilities for incident commanders. LUNAR can be used as a stand-alone device or as part of an MSA SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) system. Thermal imaging with edge detection identifies hot spots and ventilation points, so as to simplify navigation through low-visibility environments. Tethered drone and Reveal FirePRO X thermal camera FotoKite (Perspective Robotics AG), which has a joint development agreement with MSA Safety, featured a tethered drone that hovers over the site of an emergency, in order to provide networking capabilities through the tether for better connectivity. Seek Thermal offers the ‘smallest and lightest’ thermal imaging camera, available for US$ 799 and seeks to bring the benefits of thermal technology to every position on the fire team. The Reveal FirePRO X can now be charged using a four-station charging dock priced at US$ 399. The compact size makes the FirePRO X easy to carry and manage, while its high resolution and fast frame rate ensure superior images. Teledyne gas detection systems exhibited Teledyne displayed a range of gas detection systems, starting with the simple Protégé ZM carbon monoxide meter that can clip onto pockets, helmets, and EMS bags. A new product is the Gas Laser, a hand-held device that can quickly scan common venting points from a safe distance, in order to identify the presence of dangerous explosive gas. Teledyne recently acquired FLIR and the combined companies will provide a spectrum of imaging technologies and products spanning X-ray through infrared and from components to complete imaging systems. FDIC International’s Innovation Hub focused on new technologies coming to the fire service Innovation Hub FDIC International’s Innovation Hub focused on new technologies coming to the fire service, featured in a presentation theater on the show floor. Leading the initiative was SafeTech, a College Station, Texas-based non-profit organization, whose mission is to bring new technologies to first responders and armed forces. One featured company was Tracks North America, which provides unmanned vehicles with fork-lift capabilities. Another was Infysort, which makes superabsorbent pellets – ‘hyper-blown polypropylene sorbent nanomaterial’ that can absorb 50 to 60 times its weight in oil. Hale Products SAM control system HURST Jaws of Life demonstrated eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater power extrication tool The SAM control system, by Hale Products, is gaining in popularity, offering computerized/integrated water flow controls that manage a fire truck’s pump, tank, intakes and discharges using touch-screen display for simplified interface. The new SAM Smart Nozzle allows firemen to control flow from the end of the fire hose. HURST Jaws of Life demonstrated eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater power extrication tool that can withstand salt water. The Lifeline Firehose provides a source of continuous breathable air coming from the nozzle of a fire hose. The patented coupler design enables the continuous air supply, which can also be used to power air tools. Seeking to help small and medium fire departments replace paper documentation, incident management systems offer low-cost digitization. Environmental awareness From Rosenbauer A topic among fire apparatus companies is idle reduction systems designed to shut off the main engine in a fire apparatus when not needed, eliminating loud diesel engine noise and exhaust, while maintaining power for lighting and air conditioning, for example. It is a reflection of growing environmental concerns among fire manufacturers. For example, Rosenbauer’s Green Star system makes idle reduction easy, using electronic controls to shut down the chassis engine on-scene (if the fire pump is not engaged or no aerial operations under way), and starting a diesel-driven Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumpers The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service in Madison Pierce launched their Volterra platform of electric vehicles. The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service in Madison, Wisconsin. At FDIC International 2021, the Pierce booth included an electric vehicle technology kiosk and took attendees through the electric fire truck’s attributes. CMC Rescue Rope and Harness Systems CMC Rescue Inc. demonstrated rope and harness systems for rescue operations, including special duffle bags and access packs for easy transport of harnesses. The CMC Clutch is now available in 13 mm and 11 mm models, for hauling, lowering, ascending, descending, belaying and deploying twin-tension rope systems. The CMC Triskelion 10-foot tripod features rapid deployment, for example, over a hole where a rescue is taking place and is certified to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards.
Immediate evacuation is often the appropriate response in case of a fire emergency, but correctional facilities are built on the premise of keeping inmates inside. Such is the apparent conflict, when it comes to responding to a fire in a prison, jail or correctional facility. Fire safety challenges The unique characteristics of a correctional setting present challenges in case of fire. For example, how can locked doors be consistent with the need for easy egress in case of fire? Because doors along a likely exit route are locked, guards or other personnel must be stationed along the exit route and trained to perform evacuation procedures. Rather than moving prisoners outside the facility, the usual strategy is ‘protect in place’, that is, to direct inmates from an area impacted by a fire to a safer area, somewhere else inside the facility. Placement of smoke detectors and sprinklers Another common precaution to promote fire safety is placement of smoke detectors and/or sprinklers Another common precaution to promote fire safety is placement of smoke detectors and/or sprinklers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require such devices be installed and regularly tested in a correctional setting. However, the devices must be located strategically to minimize tampering by bored or frustrated prisoners, and/or protected by stainless steel coverings. Sadly, sprinklers are often employed by prisoners as an anchor from which to hang themselves. To offset the problem, sprinklers can be specially designed to release, when certain poundage of pulling force is applied, although the solution adds costs. Fire incidents in smaller areas in prisons Correctional facilities are constructed primarily of concrete and steel, which are not conducive to fire or its spread. Therefore, fires in correctional facilities are often contained to smaller areas. In fact, the majority of fires occur inside the cells, often deliberately set by inmates. Many likely go undetected and unreported. An inmate might set a fire to draw attention, to exact revenge or intimidation, to protest overcrowding or living conditions, or even to commit suicide. Setting a fire may even be seen as a means to relieve stress or boredom for the inmates. A fire may also be accidental, for example, it might occur from smoking in bed. Most fire incidents inside cells involve ordinary combustibles, such as clothing, books, or trash items, in other words, they are a Class A fire. Other sources of fires in prisons include clothes dryers, cooking, and electrical and heating malfunctions. Dry chemical fire extinguishers can be used to tackle these Class A, B, and C fires. Electronic and control mechanisms for fire safety Correctional facilities deploy electronic and control mechanisms for fire safety Correctional facilities deploy electronic and control mechanisms for fire safety, in order to be able to open and close doors, and to provide immediate detection of a fire point or zone. However, the controls for these systems must be kept in a secure location, and someone onsite must be able to maintain the systems, in case they need to be repaired or reprogrammed. Early fire detection and notification enables control of inmates during fire response. Prison officials should also be trained on how to use self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment. Maintaining fire equipment and systems Maintaining fire equipment and systems is also necessary. However, documents recently released by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice point to on-going lapses in fire equipment maintenance in correctional facilities. Issues such as rotten fire doors and missing fire extinguishers in U.K. prisons had gone unaddressed for months or years. More than 400 basic fire safety repairs had not been completed, even six months after they were first identified. Backlog of repairs in prison buildings The National Audit Office identified a £1 billion backlog of repairs needed to prison buildings in England and Wales and a £315 million one-time allocation to tackle outstanding maintenance work, which was deemed too small to make a dent in the backlog. According to a report in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Prison Service took 1,100 cells out of use, after a fire safety review and then brought 700 of the cells back into use within weeks.
Local governments in the U.S. are embracing electric and hybrid vehicles in a big way, and many states have implemented incentives to promote adoption of the futuristic technologies. However, fire department vehicles and apparatus are yet to embrace the transition, largely because vehicles were not available that both meet the needs of firefighters and provide environmental advantages. However, fire vehicle technology is farther along the electric and hybrid path than some people realize. Electric and hybrid vehicles for the fire service are making their way into the market and may be deployed soon in a neighborhood near you. Zero-Emissions pumper Oshkosh Corp., which includes Pierce Manufacturing, has introduced the Volterra platform of electric vehicles for the fire and emergency market. The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service with the Madison, Wis., Fire Department, making it the first electric fire truck in service in North America. The Volterra pumper is serving front-line duty at Station 8, the City of Madison’s busiest fire station. The department is made up of 14 fire stations serving 100 square miles and a population of more than 250,000. The Volterra electric vehicle configuration weighs 42,000 lbs., seats six, has a 1500 GPM single-stage pump, 500-gallon water tank, 150 cu ft of compartmentation plus ladder storage, and a hose capacity of 1000 feet of 5-in hose. Pierce Manufacturing and Oshkosh Airport Products have introduced the Volterra™ platform of electric vehicles for the fire and emergency market Infinitely variable transmission An Oshkosh parallel-electric drivetrain with an electro-mechanical infinitely variable transmission allows zero-emissions operation when powered by onboard batteries. An internal combustion engine provides uninterrupted power to the pumping system or drive system. The first Striker ARFF will be delivered to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport Fire Department Oshkosh also provides a Volterra platform for a hybrid Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle, which is debuting at airports across the United States. The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) meets the growing emergency response needs among airports of all sizes in an environmentally conscious way. Firefighters will be able to experience the technology first-hand. The first Striker ARFF will be delivered to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) Fire Department in late summer 2021. Advanced safety systems Available on a 4x4 and 6x6 chassis platforms, the Striker Volterra performance hybrid delivers superior chassis performance, advanced safety systems, innovative fire suppression technology, reliability and durability. In April, Rosenbauer America’s Revolutionary Technology (RT) concept truck made its national debut in Washington, D.C., displayed for members of the Senate and firefighters based on the district. The viewing was held as Congress considers an infrastructure and jobs plan. “The Rosenbauer RT is the fire truck of the future,” says John Slawson, CEO and President of Rosenbauer America. “Build from the ground up using advanced materials and technologies, the RT is the safest fire truck on the roads today – for firefighters, for communities and for the environment.” The fully electric apparatus features a high level of safety, excellent driving dynamics and maneuverability and is fully networked. Rosenbauer's Revolutionary Technology (RT) fully electric fire truck visits Engine 3 in Washington, D.C. Auxiliary equipment chargers The RT’s electric drive is powerful and noise emission-free. The electric drive train ensures that almost no fuel is combusted while driving. Lighting and auxiliary equipment chargers are also powered by the batteries. A local power grid can be created with up to 14 kW operated simultaneously via the power outlet. A built-in range extender (REX) comprises a small diesel engine powering a large generator Conceived as a multi-purpose vehicle, the RT is a pumper first and foremost, a connected mobile command unit, and a vehicle for assistance in wildland fires. A built-in range extender (REX) comprises a small diesel engine powering a large generator. Volvo Penta developed the electric driveline for Rosenbauer’s RT fire truck, which is also being tested in fire departments in Berlin, Amsterdam and Dubai. Pioneering electric drivelines “After many years of successful collaboration with Rosenbauer, we are proud to be pioneering electric drivelines and partnering with them on this revolutionary project,” says Paul Jansson, Chief Product Manager at Volvo Penta. “This is our first industrial OEM partnership in the area of electromobility, and it’s a big step toward creating a new product platform of the future.” The new fire truck aims to respond to global megatrends such as climate change, shifting demographics and urbanization – and their impact on the work of fire departments. Firefighters responding to a call need a vehicle capable of high speed, rapid acceleration hard braking and maneuverability.
Previously, the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department dried their hoses using an inclined hose drying system, in which the fire hoses are suspended between the ceiling and the floor at an angle of 30°. Not only was this laborious, the drying result was also not ideal with the hoses sagged in the middle or hung together at the edges and therefore, still remaining wet. Wintersteiger Drytech drying locker The Wintersteiger Drytech drying locker for fire hoses is a special solution that was implemented especially for the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department. Chief Fire Inspector and Fire Chief Markus Auer at the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department said, “The most important advantage is obviously the cost. A drying tower would have been a significant investment. We were looking for another solution when we stumbled upon the Wintersteiger drying lockers for clothing online. Wintersteiger were very helpful and converted the locker to suit our needs.” Fast drying time Another advantage of the drying locker is the fast drying time, as the hoses are dry in just a few hours Another advantage of the drying locker is the fast drying time, as the hoses are dry in just a few hours. Until now, the hoses had to be hung up for a week, until they were dry. A timer clock is used to set the drying time. In the summer time, when severe weather conditions mean that the hoses need to be used more often, the shorter drying time is a big bonus. “The hoses are rolled up tightly and placed in the drying locker. Once they are dry, the hoses just need to be tensioned and put away,” explains the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Chief, Markus Auer. Energy efficient condensation drying The energy consumption is very low as the drying locker uses condensation drying. With this method, the moisture is extracted from the material, cooled on copper tubes, and discharged from the locker into a separate container as condensation. Ventilation systems are therefore not necessary. The drying locker uses approximately 60 % less energy than conventional drying solutions.
In Paris, visitors will find not only the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, but also the largest fire brigade in Europe. With its 8,500 firefighters, the Paris Fire Brigade is, in fact, the third-largest urban fire brigade in the world, only topped by Tokyo and New York City. Paris Fire Brigade The Paris Fire Brigade is a part of the French army, and each firefighter joins the fire brigade for a period of 5 years. The safety of the firefighters is high on the agenda. It is of utmost importance that the fire brigade is equipped with the best possible fire gear, combining the utmost comfort with the highest degree of safety for the firefighter. A prismatic reflective tape, ORALITE FTP 2100, was selected for offering the highest degree of visibility It is, therefore, no surprise that when the Paris Fire brigade, back in 2017, were looking to upgrade their fire garments, they selected ORAFOL (Orafol Europe GmbH) as their supplier of the reflective trim. A prismatic reflective tape, ORALITE FTP 2100, was selected for offering the highest degree of visibility. Sioen is the manufacturer of fire safety garments. ORALITE FTP 2100 reflective tape Jean-Philippe Roy, Business Development Manager for ORAFOL, explains “Paris Fire Brigade was very determined to offer their firefighters the most visible tape available in the market place today. They carry out dangerous tasks in difficult working conditions, and they must be able to fully trust that they are as visible as possible in all conditions. ORALITE FTP 2100 met their high standards.” He adds, “Being a metalized prismatic tape, it provides the longest distance visibility available. In addition, the fact that the tape is also fluorescent means that it is also exceedingly visible in daytime or smoky conditions.” High-quality safety garment for firefighters Paris Fire Brigade sets forth a very good example for other fire brigades globally in that they have made the deliberate choice of a high-quality solution for their firefighters. No compromises have been made. Jean-Philippe Roy further said, “The thing is that many reflective tapes do meet the law regulated requirements. But meeting the regulation is simply not enough, it is not a guarantee of 24/7 visibility of the firefighters. And when a fire brigade specifies a tape, the risk is that they will just specify regulation compliance, and choose the tape offered at the lowest cost,” Roy explains. EN ISO 20471 standard specification The specification for reflective components on PPE, EN ISO 20471, sets forth the minimum reflectivity for the tapes The specification for reflective components on PPE, EN ISO 20471, sets forth the minimum reflectivity for the tapes. Yet, at the same time, the same specification allows for a drop in reflective performance of 70% in wet conditions. This is exactly why being specification compliant is not enough. It is necessary to carefully evaluate the working conditions that the users will be subjected to and select the best possible reflective tape based on this. Prismatic reflective tapes Jean-Philippe Roy concludes, “Prismatic reflective tapes remain highly reflective also in wet conditions, whereas glass bead tapes see a significant drop. This is simply due to the technologies working in different ways. Fire fighters work in wet conditions a great deal of time, so here a prismatic tape is really the only kind that truly makes sense.” The prismatic tapes from ORAFOL are the preferred choice for many major fire brigades around the world, including also the New York City Fire Brigade.
The Vizcaya Provincial Council in Spain, has invested seven million euros in its fire prevention, firefighting and rescue services. Almost 25 percent of the existing fleet will be replaced by new trucks, which will enhance efficiency and improve rapid response. The 15 new vehicles include six heavy-duty urban fire trucks, three heavy-duty large-tank pumpers, three first-response trucks and three automatic turntable ladders, all fitted with Allison fully automatic transmissions. Heavy-duty urban fire trucks VEICAR built the bodywork for nine of these vehicles, including the six heavy-duty urban fire trucks, which have already been delivered. The bodywork is mounted on a SCANIA P 410 B chassis with 4x4 traction and Allison 4000 Series transmissions with retarders. These trucks have water and foam tank capacities of 4,200 and 200 liters respectively. They are equipped with roof boxes that can be accessed from the ground, eliminating the need to enter the truck to access tools. An LED lighting mast provides supplementary lighting and a further feature is a monitor that provides a joystick-controlled flow rate of 4,000 liters per minute from the pump cabinet. Large-tank pumpers The Vizcaya Provincial Council’s order of three large-tank pumpers is also based on the SCANIA P 410 B chassis The Vizcaya Provincial Council’s order of three large-tank pumpers is also based on the SCANIA P 410 B chassis. The vehicles share the same features as the six heavy-duty urban fire trucks, including Allison 4000 Series transmissions with retarders. They have larger water and foam tank capacities of 9,000 and 300 liters respectively. Like many other vehicle bodybuilders, VEICAR has full confidence in the benefits of Allison fully automatic transmissions. The company has worked in close cooperation with Allison since 2009. Allison fully automatic transmission Rather than using the automated manual transmissions that come as standard in this SCANIA model, VEICAR opted for a fully automatic transmission with torque converter, in this case, an Allison 4000 Series model with retarder (GA866R in SCANIA nomenclature). “The vast majority of our fire trucks are equipped with Allison automatic transmissions. We consider them an indispensable firefighting tool as they maximize vehicle performance, and greatly improve acceleration, reliability and safety,” said Carlos Prieto-Puga González, CEO at VEICAR. Faster acceleration and increased torque Carlos Prieto-Puga González adds, “In addition, their superior acceleration and maneuverability are beyond question, which is vital when there is not a second to be wasted. Most urban firefighters prefer them because they provide greater safety. And if that weren't enough, the vehicles reach the final years of their service life in better condition.” Allison transmissions are designed to offer increased torque and up to 35 percent faster acceleration. When fire trucks respond to emergencies, they are heavily loaded, so the optional retarder has been incorporated to provide high braking capacity, enabling the vehicles to slow down quickly at intersections. Optimum maneuverability on varied terrains Allison transmissions have demonstrated exceptional reliability and durability in the most demanding conditions" “Allison transmissions have demonstrated exceptional reliability and durability in the most demanding conditions and are the transmission of choice for firefighting fleets around the world. As regular users of these transmissions, we have no doubts whatsoever. As bodybuilders, we are always much happier when vehicles are equipped with Allison,” said Prieto-Puga González. Allison automatic transmissions provide optimum maneuverability on soft ground and in tight spaces, greater control on steep grades, smoother driving, better starting capacity, and faster acceleration. This makes it possible to reach higher average speeds and save fuel. Prieto-Puga Gonzalez adds, “A two- or three-minute head start can be crucial. Not losing power during gear shifts means smoother, more continuous and consequently more effective acceleration. It also improves maneuverability and saves time, which, along with the reliability of the transmission, means greater safety for firefighters. These great benefits are even more extraordinary when we consider that Allison transmissions reduce fleet maintenance costs.” Featuring Chelsea 870 power take-off “The easy maneuverability of the vehicles simplifies the drivers' work. They don't have to shift gears and can concentrate fully on the job and the road when traveling at high speed. And with Allison, vehicles can include up to two power take-offs (PTOs) to keep hydraulic equipment working correctly, even while the vehicle is in motion,” said Trond Johansen, European Key Fleets and Market Development Manager at Allison Transmission. “The Chelsea 870 power take-off incorporated into the transmissions has allowed us to fine-tune the entire unit to achieve the best possible onsite fire pump performance,” concludes Prieto-Puga González.
FlamePro, a renowned British manufacturing specialist of life safety garments and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for firefighters, has been awarded a £4 million contract by Capita, to provide its firefighting PPE for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), across the next decade. Firefighting PPE tender The competitive tender, part of Capita’s contract with the MOD, saw four different PPE providers bid for the contract, with FlamePro being appointed to provide its full ensemble of Personal Protective Equipment, alongside a total garment care package. FlamePro was awarded the Ministry Of Defence’s PPE contract, due to its high-quality products FlamePro was awarded the Ministry Of Defence’s PPE contract, due to its high-quality products and the company’s dedication to providing support and expertise on Personal Protective Equipment care, use and maintenance. The contract includes a multi-million pounds initial roll out, with a total value of £4 million over 10 years duration. New fabric technologies and designs Nathan Bricknell, the General Manager at FlamePro, said “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this contract with Capita. It marks a key milestone for the company. Over recent months, we’ve worked with our partners to develop brand new fabric technologies and designs, including a 3D woven structure and new moisture barrier membrane, to ensure our PPE is the most advanced on the market.” Nathan Bricknell adds, “Our brand new structural fire suit has set a new benchmark across the whole industry. This, teamed with our shorter-than-average lead times, stands us in great stead to deliver top-quality products and service on this contract.”
FCC Environment is one of the waste and resource management companies. With activity throughout Europe, Africa, North and South America, FCC is one of the world’s largest environmental services companies, they provide a range of services, from collecting business and municipal waste of recycling and processing, and the generation of green energy from waste. Fire protection systems AFS provides turnkey fire protection systems for FCC Waste Recycling sites in the UK, each project typically includes; aspirating detection, custom designed to resist false alarms in harsh environments, flame detection, sprinklers, deluge. On these projects AFS act as principle contractor and principal designer, providing a complete solution, including site accommodation, health and safety management (CDM) mains supplies, builders’ works, ground works as well as the provision of fire protection systems.
A fault-tolerant network of fire alarm control panels from Advanced has been selected to protect the 3Ts Redevelopment program at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. 36 four-loop MxPro 5 fire panels, 46 repeater panels, and two custom-built AdSpecials panels from UK-manufacturer, Advanced, are to be installed at Brighton’s 3Ts hospital redevelopment as part of phase one of the program. Phase one involves the construction of a 13-storey building with two basement levels, located on the main Royal Sussex County Hospital site. Incorporating all the functions of a modern hospital, the building will include a three-storey atrium reception, outpatient departments, operating theatres, wards, a teaching facility, and administration facilities. MxPro 5 fire panels The three-phase building works will deliver improved accommodation for more than 40 wards and departments, supporting the Trust’s role as a regional center for teaching, trauma, and tertiary care at Royal Sussex County Hospital. The new facilities meet the highest clinical standards and offering patients a modern, spacious care environment. The Essex-based firm will install Advanced’s pioneering MxPro 5 fire panels alongside bespoke sprinkler indication Taking a lead role in the cabling, first and second fix for the fire system throughout phase one of the project are EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd. The Essex-based firm will install Advanced’s pioneering MxPro 5 fire panels alongside bespoke sprinkler indication and ventilation override panels, all linked to approximately 5,000 Hochiki devices. High-performing protection Chris Goddard, Project Manager at EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd, said: “The 3Ts redevelopment project represents a massive healthcare investment for Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and, once completed, will offer an improved experience for thousands of hospital patients each year.” “Configuring protection across a site of this size can often appear daunting, however, the MxPro 5’s ease of installation and scalability will help to make the challenge of implementing protection effortless. As long-term users of Advanced, we’re confident that its solutions will be capable of delivering high-performing protection across the hospital’s large number of zones, many with their own complex cause and effect requirements.” BMS integration Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager at Advanced, said: “We’re proud to be supplying our partners, EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd, with the equipment required to ensure that the valued healthcare staff, patients, and these state-of-the-art facilities will be protected by a cutting-edge fire system for years to come. “The fire system will include BMS integration and a custom graphics package to provide visual representation of the fire system to end-users. The custom-built sprinkler indication and ventilation override panels will be a showcase for the fantastic design and manufacturing work done by our in-house AdSpecials department.” “ As work progresses on the redevelopment of Royal Sussex County Hospital, Advanced’s high-speed, fault tolerant networks, that are renowned for their resilience, will come into their own, with the expansion of the fire detection system across phases two and three of the project.” Multiprotocol fire system solution Once complete, the two new clinical buildings of phase one and two will cover the front half of the hospital site Phase two of the development is a seven-storey building extending the functions of the first building, with stage three being a smaller delivery and service area to improve site management. Once complete, the two new clinical buildings of phase one and two will cover the front half of the hospital site. MxPro 5 is the fire industry’s pioneering multiprotocol fire system solution and was recently certified by FM Approvals to the EN 54 standard. It offers customers a choice of four detector protocols and a completely open installer network, backed up by free training and support. MxPro 5 panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format, or easily configured into high-speed networks of up to 200 panels covering huge areas. Ease of installation and configuration, as well as its wide peripheral range, make MxPro 5 customizable to almost any application. Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma PLC, protects a wide range of prestigious and high-profile sites across the globe, from London’s Shard and Lloyds building to Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Hagia Sophia historic site in Turkey.
Round table discussion
Ensuring the health and wellness of firefighters is a burden shared among equipment manufacturers as well as the fire departments and individual firefighters. Thoughtful design of equipment and other products used in the fire service can be a positive factor as firefighters and other first responders face dangerous situations every day. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What steps can we take to better ensure firefighter health and wellness?