An explosion of blue-colored smoke on Sept. 5, 2020 in Yucalpa, California, was the beginning of a large wildfire in El Dorado Ranch Park. The pyrotechnic device was essentially a smoke bomb designed to send plumes of pink or blue smoke rising into the air, designating the gender of an expected baby. The expectant dad had packed the target with a highly explosive substance called Tannerite and shot it with a high-powered rifle. The target was designed to explode in pink or blue to reveal whethe...
Apollo Fire Detectors, has launched a new market insight program to help them continue to deliver innovative fire safety products and high standards of customer service. The Apollo Advisor Network encourages customers, installers and partners to share their experiences within the industry and the challenges they face. Registration is online and captures background on their company and individual responsibilities. Exclusive training access After signing up, Advisors have access to exclusive tr...
As the demand for power increases in the UK across growing domestic and industrial markets including the nuclear industry, so the need for reliable power generation, transmission, and distribution using Medium Voltage cables has risen with it. The demands for power has never been greater, with the explosion of development in towns and cities across the UK and the growth of industrial development and technology reliant on consistent supplies. Medium voltage cables As the incidence of non-...
It makes perfect sense that a horrific wildfire season would come in the year 2020 on the heels of a pandemic. Dozens of major fires burned across North America in September, including 85 large uncontained fires and six contained fires across 12 states. Active fires have burned more than 3 million acres already, and 41,417 fires have burned almost 5 million acres year-to-date. The severity of the wildfire season is on track to surpass the 10-year average. Better understanding wildfires Globa...
Should firefighters and other first responders be exempt from requirements that they wear face masks to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? The City Council of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, seems to think so. They are proposing an amendment to exempt first responders from complying with the city’s face mask ordinance. Amendment to Exempt first responders from face mask rule Specifically, the proposed amendment states, “Exempted from the requirements of the ordinance r...
The biggest risk of property damage and injury from wildfires comes at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is defined as areas where structures and the built environment begin to intermingle with wildland vegetation. More and more such areas are being created as humans move near wildland areas to take advantage of their natural beauty and privacy. As a result, fire departments are fighting more fires along the interface, and there is a greater need for citizens living in these areas to be...
Retention has long been a challenge for many volunteer and combination fire and EMS departments, yet little research has been done on the subject. volunteer fire service retention Thanks to support from a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has conducted a study to identify institutional drivers that cause volunteers to leave, the differing perceptions between leadership, current volunteers and former volunteers and what can be done to positively impact retention. The research was conducted in three phases over the course of several months in 2019 and 2020 The research was conducted in three phases over the course of several months in 2019 and 2020. The first phase included interviews with current and former volunteers as well as department leadership. SAFER work group feedback This was followed by a synthesis session and feedback from the NVFC’s SAFER work group, which consists of representative from several national fire and emergency service organizations. The final phase was a quantitative survey of over 1,000 current and former volunteers as well as current department leadership. “We know that many volunteer fire departments struggle with retaining volunteers, but much of our knowledge about why volunteers leave is based on anecdotal evidence,” said NVFC Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Lee, who oversees the organization’s SAFER grant. Improving volunteer retention rate Sarah adds, “With this research, we now have data to back up the hypotheses. We also have a better idea of what areas to focus on to help departments overcome the challenges and improve their retention rates.” Some of the key findings from the quantitative research include the following: There is a disconnect between why former volunteers say they left a fire department versus what current leadership thinks are the reasons why volunteers leave. Current volunteers who have considered leaving but did not said their main reason for staying was their desire to give back to the community and help people. When asked what could have a positive impact on volunteer retention, both current and former volunteers cited mentorship programs, giving out awards/honors to members when they reach service milestones, conducting stay interviews with volunteers who have lapsed attendance and conducting exit interviews, when a volunteer leaves the department, as among their top choices. The majority of department leadership (74%) said their department either had a general sense of retention but no specific way of measuring it or no clear definition of retention at all. NVFC’s ‘Make Me A Firefighter’ campaign The NVFC will use the data from this research to develop tools and resources designed to help departments better understand and meet the retention challenges they face. The research was conducted as part of the NVFC’s ‘Make Me A Firefighter’ campaign, a SAFER-funded program that helps volunteer and combination fire departments recruit and retain volunteers. The campaign includes a department portal filled with free tools and resources to help departments increase their staffing and a public site where prospective volunteers can find a local fire service opportunity.
Dräger, a pioneer in medical and safety technology, is launching its ‘Health for the Firefighter’ campaign to support fire services in driving the cultural changes that are required to protect firefighter health. Impact of exposure The launch follows a survey of UK firefighters that found considerable concern over the impact of exposure to contaminants on long-term health. Some 84% admitted they were concerned about the risk of cancer – a disease highlighted in some scientific reports to be the cause of death within the service. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) reports that nearly two out of three (61%) firefighter line-of-duty deaths between 2002 and 2017 were caused by cancer. Embedded carcinogens in any equipment can easily be absorbed by the men and women using it. Robust hygiene processes We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor" The survey by Dräger also found that more than two thirds (68%) of firefighters fear the impact of COVID-19 on their long-term health, a point picked up by Brian Hesler, Consultant and Specialist Advisor at Draeger Safety UK and former Chief Fire Officer for the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service: “The COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing fears over cancer, have highlighted the critical importance of hygiene, and a significant cultural change is required. We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor that proves their hard work and value, to understanding that clean and well-maintained kit supported by detailed and robust hygiene processes that mitigate every contact with contaminants are essential. One firefighter surveyed said ‘they had always been a bit blasé about invisible contaminants’. This has got to change.” Detailed hygiene processes The Health for the Firefighter campaign will support the fire services in helping to communicate and provide training on the importance of detailed hygiene processes; from the handling and storage of masks and breathing apparatus (BA) equipment through to the subsequent cleaning of the kit after an incident has occurred. It will also provide bespoke workshop solutions that guide the potentially contaminated kit from entering the station, to washing and drying processes through to leaving the station to be used again. In addition to providing detailed advice for manual washing processes including on detergent use and drying techniques, Dräger is the first company in the Emergency Services space to launch specialist BA and mask cleaning equipment and dedicated solutions, including mechanical washing systems that provide complete consistency in washing temperatures, the amount of detergent used, speed and temperature of drying – which can all work together to disinfect contaminants and to protect the longevity of the kit. Mechanical equipment washing However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment Support also encompasses logistical support for installation, the ongoing maintenance of equipment and the quantity of stock required. The survey revealed the most important factors in combating firefighter concerns over contaminants were the cleaning of masks with 97% rating this as very or extremely important, closely followed by the cleaning of BA equipment (95%) and cleaning of PPE (94%). While manual cleaning of equipment is still generally the norm within UK Fire Services, the survey revealed three quarters (75%) believed that mechanical equipment washing would improve their health, and 80% agreed that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic more emphasis should be placed on cleaning equipment and hygiene control. However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment. Responsibility to innovate solutions “There is obvious concern over cleaning of equipment following the pandemic,” adds Brian. “One surveyed firefighter said ‘they clean to the best of their ability’ – the point is that a person’s ability should not be a factor in the cleaning process.” “Consistency has to be key and manufacturers of medical and safety technology products have a responsibility to innovate solutions that support change. We are not here to tell brigades how to operate, rather to provide a range of solutions that support them and their firefighters’ health.”
BAFE and the FIA announced the acquisition of the FIA AO by BAFE FireQual Ltd. BAFE strongly believe this will be a significant opportunity for the fire industry to develop an exciting range of accredited qualifications to meet the demand for quality assurance of individual skill and expertise required by the industry. This necessity was heightened by the Grenfell tragedy and its subsequent reports outlined by Dame Judith Hackitt and the Competency Steering Group. Dame Judith Hackitt stated: “The lack of a coherent approach to competence levels and experience required – or professional qualifications where these may be necessary – and how these qualifications and experience should be evidenced so that they are clearly understood by all those operating within the system.” - 5.2 Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report. Board of Directors FireQual will operate as a separate wholly-owned subsidiary of BAFE, with its own Board of Directors, and will be led by a newly appointed Qualifications Manager who has a wide experience at a senior level in the qualifications sector. The FireQual Board currently is made up of Chairman Lewis Ramsay - former Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Scottish Fire & Rescue, Pauline Traetto - previous Executive Director of BRE Academy, Douglas Barnett - Chairman of BAFE and Stephen Adams - BAFE Chief Executive. For full clarity FireQual will only offer exams and qualifications – neither BAFE nor FireQual will be delivering any training. FireQual will be working with licensed training organizations (including the FIA) who will offer the approved syllabuses to their learners. BAFE consider this separation from training and exams/invigilation, as currently operated at BAFE with the BS 5306 fire extinguisher exam, is important to deliver independent quality assurance of this process. Certification Bodies Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, commented, “There are natural synergies that will occur along with the BAFE ethos of Third Party Certification for companies delivered through licensed [UKAS Accredited] Certification Bodies. We believe that the introduction of accredited qualifications will only enhance the BAFE company schemes. These are not to be thought of as one or the other however, BAFE will continue to monitor company assurance of specific service competency which holds important value. FireQual will develop qualifications for individual expertise for specific services, whether the candidate works for a BAFE Registered Company or not.” Following the acquisition, the FIA AO will continue to deliver their exams until FireQual has established the necessary systems and delivery processes. FireQual aim to make this transition as quickly as possible with all the requirements for OFQUAL and the equivalent standards in Scotland and Wales under way. Fire safety industry qualifications FireQual will take the opportunity to contact a wide range of organizations that currently deliver training across all aspects of fire safety to consider the application of the new range of qualifications that we will be reviewing. FireQual welcomes any approaches to consider how this should develop and looks forward to collaborating with the industry to progress the future of individual qualifications for the fire safety industry.
In October 1993, the American Heart Association appointed the Task Force on Automatic External Defibrillation. The task force was charged with conducting a conference on automatic external defibrillation, evaluating research needed for broader community use of automatic external defibrillators, and overseeing evaluation of the feasibility and desirability of their use by healthcare professionals and the lay public. In December 1994, a conference on public access defibrillation was held in Washington, DC. More than 300 persons attended, representing science, industry, the healthcare professions, law, and the federal government. During the meeting the participants reached a consensus on the general proposition of greater public access to defibrillation and the need for broad-based clinical research, public and professional education, and legislative reform. improving emergency cardiac care Following the conference, members of the task force, with input from others in the field of emergency cardiac care, wrote this statement, which was approved by the AHA Board of Directors in June 1995. Early bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and rapid defibrillation are the two major contributors to survival of adult victims of sudden cardiac arrest. The AHA supports efforts to provide prompt defibrillation to victims of cardiac arrest. In public access defibrillation, the technology of defibrillation is accessible to the community Automatic external defibrillation is one of the most promising methods for achieving rapid defibrillation. In public access defibrillation, the technology of defibrillation and training in its use are accessible to the community. The AHA believes that this is the next step in strengthening the chain of survival. Public access defibrillation will involve considerable societal change and will succeed only through the strong efforts of the AHA and others with a commitment to improving emergency cardiac care. broad public support Public access defibrillation will include: Performance of defibrillation by laypersons at home and by firefighters, police, security personnel, and non-physician care providers in the community. Exploration of the use of bystander-initiated automatic external defibrillation in rural communities and congested urban areas where resuscitation strategies have had little success. The AHA can also play a major role by: Increasing public awareness that defibrillation improves the rate of survival from an often-fatal condition that each day affects 1000 Americans. Ensuring that objective, current research data are used to guide implementation of these changes in performance and teaching of CPR. Working with medical manufacturers, legislators, and governmental agencies to promote safety and efficacy, reduce cost, and update training requirements to facilitate implementation of public access defibrillation. Broader use of automatic external defibrillators should also lead to readiness tests and features that deter both misuse and misapplications. Meaningful change will occur only with the broad public support that has traditionally characterized the AHA’s efforts in the fight against heart disease and stroke.
As historically large wildfires continue to burn across California, Oregon and Colorado, Morneau Shepell has opened its 24/7 crisis support hotline for anyone affected by the ongoing devastation. "During this time, we offer our deepest sympathies to all who've lost loved ones, been displaced by or are battling, the hundreds of wildfires across the states," said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer. "The resiliency shown by all communities, families, and firefighters is truly humbling, and we want to do our part and offer emotional support to help people as they deal with these natural disasters." A crisis or traumatic event can trigger overwhelming emotional responses. When calling the crisis line, individuals receive crisis counseling support and/or referral to community resources.
Carl Bryan, Managing Director WAGNER UK, offers CPD accredited training as part of the Fire Industry Association (FIA) online training on 10 September 2020. For one hour he will talk about the fire prevention solution with oxygen reduction. He will explain the technology behind and the advantages of using a hypoxic environment as a fire prevention solution. Participants will also be informed about the key considerations when specifying, designing and operating such systems. Interested parties should book the training course online on FIA’s official company website. The FIA offers industry-recognized courses and qualifications for fire safety professionals. According to their own admission, more than 35,000 professionals have increased their skills through FIA trainings. The learning courses cover all aspects of fire protection and cover Fundamental Qualification, Advanced Qualifications as well as trainings and courses.
The majority of fires within the UK take place within the home; with that in mind, it is highly advisable to regularly update and practice exit strategies in the event of an emergency. In order to raise awareness of fire safety in our communities, it’s important to be clear on what the most common causes of household fires are. Electrical appliances Electrical items are a major culprit of home fires. This can easily be avoided by ensuring a PAT test is carried out each year. It’s crucial to replace damaged or frayed wiring around outlets and to dispose old or faulty appliances. Never overcrowd electrical outlets and only use extension cords when necessary. Overwhelming units by ‘daisy chaining’ extensions to fit more appliances leads to higher chances of an electrical fire. All electrical appliances should additionally be repaired or installed According to the London Fire Brigade, around 60 percent of fires in the home begin in the kitchenby a certified professional. It’s also worth keeping an eye on sockets and fuses that blow for no reason. Flickering lights and scorch marks on sockets or plugs are easy signs which can alert you to unsafe environments. A common habit is to leave electrical items unattended overnight on ‘standby’ mode, this should always be switched off when not in continual use to avoid overheating. Whilst personal home assistant devices are meant to be in constant operation, be sure to look out for hot plugs and turn off outlets when you will be out of the house for extended periods of time such as holidays or weekends away. Smoking materials, lighters and matches The festive season sees a 12% surge in call-outs compared to the monthly average and over the last three years, fire crews dealt with 2,300 fires on Christmas Day alone. When celebrating the festivities try safer alternatives such as battery-operated or LED candles. Faux candles are a great substitute, particularly if you are living with young children. Always let hot matches cool in a metal or ceramic dish or run them under water for extra precaution. Keeping matches nearby lit candles or leaving lit candles unattended overnight are palpable dangers within the home. When celebrating festivities, try safer alternatives such as battery-operated or LED candles Space heaters Portable heaters are the cause of many UK home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Half of those fires occur because objects are kept within three feet of the heater getting far too hot and catching alight. Keeping flammable items at the recommended distance is essential warding off potential fires. Refrain from covering heaters or air vents with dry or damp washing, even if you have installed a fireguard. While some space heaters utilize a self-timer or sleep feature, be sure to manually switch off the heater when it’s not in use. By assuming the heater will automatically turn itself off, you leave yourself at risk as the heater may malfunction. Additionally, as self-timers only control the product itself and not the outlet, the plug still may be at risk of overheating. Cooking According to the London Fire Brigade, around 60 percent of fires in the home begin in the kitchen. It is crucial to be aware of your safety whilst cooking, with some points to always consider: Try not to leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill – if you leave the kitchen turn off the heat Do not cook whilst under the influence of alcohol or medication that can cause drowsiness Be aware of loose clothing that can easily catch fire, take care not to lean over a hob and always keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker In the event of loose clothing or a cloth catching fire; practice the stop, drop and roll rule – don’t run, lie down on the ground and roll in heavy fabric or a fire blanket to smother the flames Keep the oven, hob, extractor fan and grill as clean as possible – built up fat and grease can ignite and cause fires Use spark devices to light gas cookers, they are far safer than matches or lighters as they don’t have a naked flame. Ensure toasters are kept clean and not placed under kitchen cabinets Never place anything made of metal in a microwave When cooking on the stove-top, use the fan or open a window to disperse any smoke and avoid accidentally triggering any fire alarm If water or food spillages occur whilst the hobs are on and in use, turn off the heat, remove any pans, and let it cool before using any cleaning equipment Preventing spreading To prevent fires from spreading, it’s important to check hidden electrical outlets, particularly those behind large pieces of furniture such as television stands or couches – be sure to keep enough distance between the object and the outlet to prevent crowding. Check these out of sight outlets once a month to ensure there are no obvious signs of scorch marks. It is also a good idea to ensure you add an outlet inspection to any checklist before leaving on holiday. Good fire safety precautions can be practiced as part of your daily routine. Ensure you keep a torch and phone by your bed in case of a fire during the night. Install a dual alarm that uses long-life lithium batteries on every level of your home (including the basement). Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working properly and ensure you take the time to replace batteries every year for complete peace of mind. Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working properly and ensure you take the time to replace batteries An exit strategy If you find yourself trapped with no feasible exit to safety, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone and place bedding around the bottom of To prevent fires from spreading, it’s important to check hidden electrical outlets, particularly those behind large pieces of furniture the door to stifle smoke. Call 999 when possible and open the window to let your presence be known. If you’re on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through a window. Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully – don’t jump. If you can’t open the window break the glass in the bottom corner and make jagged edges safer by cushioning glass with a towel or thick blanket. Don’t make the mistake of investigating what’s happened in the event of a fire or rescuing valuables. If there’s smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. In the event of having to open a door, check if it’s warm. If it is, don’t open it – it is likely the fire is on the other side.
Last year saw a 14 per cent increase in fires in England, according to UK Home Office statistics. And while around three million fire doors are installed in the UK every year, a lack of understanding during operation, maintenance and management of fire doors is still apparent. In this article, David Hindle, Head of Door Closer Sales at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, will address this issue. Importance of fire doors Fire doors are often the first line of defense in a fire, yet even after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, fire door hardware remains a significant area of concern. In May 2018, an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by dame Judith Hackitt, have been published. The review highlighted a range of issues, but the message stood clear, the UK’s current approach to fire safety in buildings is not functioning as intended and a new, holistic approach to fire safety is required. Review of fire inspections In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors In all fire inspections, there is a responsibility from the building owner to include checks on the fire doors. However, there is no legal requirement for them to complete any recommended upgrades or repairs, or to prove that they have done so. This represents a major problem, as doors that do not perform to the required standard could compromise a building’s safety and put occupants at risk. Ultimately, this could lead to liability being assigned back to the building owner or facilities manager. Need to maintain fire safety standards Fire safety is only properly maintained if standards and checks are carried out throughout the lifecycle of the product and building. This is best addressed through regular inspection, maintenance and the replacement of products when required. A review by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme revealed the most common fire door faults, ranging from missing fire or smoke seals, to unsuitable hinges and damage to the door leaf itself. Any one of these issues can render a fire door useless and can seriously impede a door’s capability to protect people from harm. Door leaf and frame maintenance Fire door hardware is often not afforded the attention it requires and is left mismanaged throughout its service life. So what needs to be done to ensure fire door hardware is working as expected? Naturally, the door leaf should not be damaged, warped or twisted, and it is vital to ensure the fire door closes correctly around all parts of the frame, with no distortion between the stiles, top and frame. Gaps between the door and leaf must not be greater than those specified in the manufacturer’s installation instructions or fire certificate data sheet, typically around 3 to 4mm all the way round. Importance of door closers A door closer ensures a fire door returns to its fully closed position and the door seals correctly in the door frame A door closer ensures a fire door always returns to its fully closed position and makes sure that the door seals correctly in the door frame, when not in use. There are three steps to ensuring these components are working correctly. First, open the door fully and check that it closes without dragging across the floor. Next, open it to approximately 5-10 degrees and again check that it fully closes, engaging any latch or seal. Finally, check the door closing speed is approximately five seconds from a 90 degree angle, ensuring the door does not slam shut. Intumescent fire and smoke seals Fire and smoke seals should be in good condition, fit the full length of the door and be secure in the groove. If seals are badly fitted, damaged or painted, then they must be replaced with exactly the same size and intumescent material that was originally specified. If the smoke seals have to be replaced, then they should be fitted in one continuous length, if possible. To ensure hinges are in good condition, check for visible wear, dark marks or stains around the hinge knuckle that could indicate wear and impending failure. Hinges must be strong enough to carry the door mass, plus robust enough to work efficiently no matter the level of usage. The hinges should be firmly screwed into the door and frame, ensuring that the seals at the top and sides of the door are not damaged or missing at any time. Intumescent pads should also be used with hinges, as these are required for the door to get its appropriate fire rating. Locks and lever handles To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use Wiping any metal dust deposits off the handles will help ensure that the latch-bolt is engaging smoothly and completely into the keep during use. To measure a handle’s condition, one needs to ensure the lock lever fully returns to a horizontal position after use. If it does not, the lever may, at best, need adjusting or lubricating. At worst, it may need replacing, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Again, ensure the lock case is protected by intumescent material. Maintaining record of fire door inspection No matter the component, a record of inspection and maintenance should be kept for all door hardware. Furthermore, those responsible for ensuring the fire safety of a site should encourage others to report any issues with any of the door components. Faults should be fixed as soon as possible, using the correct and fire-rated components. To check the compatibility of components, always consult the fire certificate data sheet or contact the manufacturer.
Across the country, law enforcement officers are finding it increasingly difficult to respond to the near overwhelming number of calls coming from security alarms. Police departments commonly define a false alarm as a call, which upon investigation, shows no evidence of criminal activity, such as broken windows, forced doors, items missing, or people injured. While false alarms bog down police, they can also negatively impact customers and integrators. End users can expect hefty fines for false alarm responses, and when these customers receive large bills from the city, many turn to installers, dealers, and even manufacturers expecting them to accept the responsibility and pay the check. What First Brought The Issue Of Alarm Verification To Your Attention? It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight I’ve been aware of the problem of false alarms for about 5 years. I believed audio capture, through microphone deployment, could be an active part of the solution when used as a second source for indicating ‘out of the norm’ activity and as an equal component with the video surveillance technology. In 2015, I found similarly minded security professionals when introduced to the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response. After reading PPVAR’s paper on ‘Audio Verified Alarms Best Practices; [April 2015],’ I knew that the Partnership was on to something important. In our lives, two of the five senses we count on day-in and day-out are sight and sound. It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight. What Is The False Alarm Rate? In 2016, the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported that over 98 percent of all alarm calls in the United States were false. This number is obviously staggering, and something we need to work towards correcting. Why Did This Issue Resonate So Strongly With You? When I first investigated this issue, I was sure that the security industry would have already recognized this and was acting to ensure improved alarm verification, preferably through a combination of audio and video technologies. However, I quickly saw that this was not the case, or even close to the norm. I have questioned the rationale behind the lack of adoption and found the deployment of audio is often hindered by the concern of privacy. I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio As CEO of Louroe Electronics, I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio. I’ve had to reassure many security personnel and customers how the law supports the use of audio in public places as long as there is no expectation of privacy. By dispelling fears with facts around deploying and implementing audio sensors, customers can confidently include audio in their surveillance systems and gain a more effective security solution. Who Is Affected By This? Truth be told, everyone from the end user to the manufacturer is affected by this issue. Not to mention the strain this puts on law enforcement who are tired of ‘wasting time’ and effort out in the field on these nuisance alerts. When an end user receives a check for their false alarm, many of them will immediately blame the integrator and or the monitoring center for a faulty set up and management and expect the integrator to remedy the situation, including carry the burden of paying the fines. The integrator, on the other hand, will turn to the manufacturer, assuming faulty equipment and installation instructions; therefore, looking for reimbursement for the cost. What Is The Average False Alarm Fee? It depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for responseIt depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for response. According to the Urban Institute, fees generally range from $25-$100 for the first offense, rising as high as a few thousand dollars per false alarm if a location has a large number in a single year. What’s worse, in extreme cases, alarm systems may even be blacklisted by the police dispatch center if they have raised too many false alarms in the past. Why Do You Believe Audio Is The Ideal Technology For Secondary Source Verification? Video surveillance has been the main option for security monitoring and alarm validation for decades, however industry professionals are realising that video alone is not enough. Video only tells half of the story, by adding audio capture, the responsible party gains a turnkey solution with the ability to gather additional evidence to verify alerts and expand overall awareness. In reality, audio’s range is greater than the field of view for a camera. Sound pickup is 360 degrees, capturing voices, gunshots, breaking glass, sirens, or other important details that a fixed camera many not see. How Would A Secondary Source Verification System Work With Audio? Using a video monitoring solution equipped with audio, the microphone will pick up the sounds at the time a visual alert or alarm is triggered. If embedded with classification analytics, the microphone will send alerts for specific detected sounds. The captured audio, and any notifications are immediately sent to the monitoring station, where trained personnel can listen to the sound clip, along with live audio and video from their station. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response From here, an informed decision can then be made about the validity of the alarm, along with what the current threat is at the location. If the alarm is in fact valid, the information is then passed along to the law enforcement within minutes. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response. It also provides more information in a forensic evaluation. Are There Any Additional Resources You Would Suggest Looking Into? Yes, we would suggest looking into the following to see a few different perspectives on the matter: NSA Support For 2018 Model Ordinance For Alarm Management and False Alarm Reduction Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response Support for the Term “Verified Alarm” and Prioritising Verified Alarm Responses Urban Institute Opportunities for Police Cost Savings without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), promoting safety comes from a joint effort of knowledge, preparation, oversight and vigilance. The ‘Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem’ includes eight elements, as listed by NFPA, and weakness in any of the eight creates conditions that foster risk. A recent NFPA report includes examples, drawn from current events, that illustrate the importance of each element of the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem. Government responsibilities Citizens expect their governments at all levels to create a regulatory environment in which laws, policies and spending priorities are dictated by public safety needs. Safety laws were unenforced and/or code violations slipped through the cracks in several recent incidents. Five children died August 11, 2019, when an overloaded extension cord running beneath a couch caught fire in an Erie, Pennsylvania, private home operating a daycare. In Washington, D.C., on August 18, 2019, a 40-year-old man and a 7-year old boy died in a fire. The single-family home was filled with code violations and was likely operating as an illegal rental. Development and Use of Current Codes The latest codes and standards establish minimum levels of safety to protect people and property The latest codes and standards establish minimum levels of safety to protect people and property, and they must evolve to reflect the changing world. Flames consumed Notre-Dame de Paris on April 15, 2019, and it appears the historic cathedral was not following current codes developed to ensure heritage sites can be enjoyed by future generations. There was no layered protection through alarms, sprinklers, and compartmentation, for instance. In another example, data analyzed from the 2018 Camp Fire wildfire, which destroyed much of Paradise, California, demonstrates the value of building codes. Among 350 single-family homes built after a stronger building code came into force, just over half were undamaged. In contrast, only 18% of the 12,100 homes built before the 2008 building code changes escaped damage, according to data analysis by publisher McClatchy. NFPA Referenced Standards Providing guidance to designers, installers, facility operators, and enforcers, referenced standards are a fundamental part of life safety. Fires are a regular occurrence in buildings under construction, renovation and demolition, despite standards aimed at preventing them. From 2013 to 2017, there was an estimated average of 3,840 fires per year in structures under construction. NFPA’s Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations requires site operators to mitigate fire risks. Noncompliance was also a major factor in the 2017 Grenfell fire in the United Kingdom. The aluminum cladding that wrapped the outside of the high-rise apartment building, which did not follow referenced standards, contributed to the disaster. Investment in Safety Money and resources must be allocated to reduce losses from fire and related hazards Money and resources must be allocated to reduce losses from fire and related hazards. A lack of fire sprinklers in a 25-story high-rise apartment building in Minneapolis contributed to deaths and injuries when a fire ripped through the building in November 2019. Five people died and three others were hospitalized. Investment in the form of fire sprinklers would have also made a difference in containing a massive fire in North Shore, Wisconsin, at the Bayside apartment complex in March 2019. One hundred people were left homeless. Skilled Workforce and Code Compliance Ongoing training and professional development maximize skills of people who work in the fire and life safety fields. Personnel lacked familiarity with the fire suppression system recently at a warehouse distribution center for a British online supermarket. Their decision to shut off the sprinkler system for five minutes enabled the fire to grow beyond containment capabilities, costing the company over $120 million and 400 jobs. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The places where people live and work are only as safe as the code compliance in place before, during and after construction. Firefighters in Natick, Mass., had to battle a massive blaze in a strip mall from the outside. They could not douse the fire from inside the building because of ‘hidden void spaces,’ created through multiple non-compliant remodels of the 100-year-old structure. Preparedness and Emergency Response The alert system also lets people know the actions they should take to stay safe Prioritizing and investing money in preparedness and response capabilities before, during and after an emergency helps first responders meet community needs. Australia’s 2019 bushfire season benefited from lessons learned after the horrific Black Saturday fire in 2009, where 173 people were killed. A centralized wildfire alert system now communicates to the public the location of the fire and provides an estimate of when it might reach a new location. The alert system also lets people know the actions they should take to stay safe. The new warning system likely saved lives in the 2019 wildfire season. Informed Public Education People take extra safety measures if they have the information they need and understand the risks and consequences. The Honolulu Fire Department created a provocative ad campaign showing a young child, comfortably in his bed. The narrator explains that he is not sleeping but dying as smoke fills the home with no smoke alarms to wake the family. Such messages help to educate the public about the dangers of fire and needed prevention.
COVID-19 has shaped and altered the fire protection industry in recent months, and the Fire Industry Association (FIA) in the United Kingdom has published a survey report on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The survey, conducted by FIA, sought to gain a greater understanding of how organizations have been impacted by COVID-19 and of the impact on the wider fire industry now and in the future. Resilience is a recurring theme in the FIA report. At the time of the survey (when the United Kingdom was just past the coronavirus peak), a total of 81% of respondents expected they could continue operating under current circumstances for three months or more. Roughly a fourth expected their business could continue for six months (23.4%), and another quarter of respondents expected they could last a year (23.4%). alternative learning models Although not offered as an option in the survey, some respondents commented that they could last longer than a year. It is unclear whether answers were provided before or after respondents had made organizational changes to adapt to COVID-19. The companies surveyed by FIA appeared to be adaptable as well as resilient. In short, COVID-19 has changed how organizations work. More than 50% planned flexible working (55.9%) and/or remote working (50%) initiatives More than 50% planned flexible working (55.9%) and/or remote working (50%) initiatives. Other adaptation approaches include restructuring (45.4%), alternative learning models (36.9%), cross-training and knowledge transfer (33.3%), and reskilling or upskilling employees on new ways of working (32.1%). continuous professional development The United Kingdom’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has allowed companies to keep their staff whilst they assess the impact of COVID-19 and not be forced into premature decisions on redundancies. Outside the survey, the FIA reports seeing many companies within the fire industry demonstrate their flexibility by engaging with the association’s new online training and exams. More than 450 fire professionals have been trained online since April 1, and over 100 online exams were completed since June 1. Over 2,000 fire safety professionals have embraced online continuous professional development (CPD) sessions from FIA as a way to invest time when not on the road or visiting customers. high financial impact The largest group of FIA survey respondents (47.6%) observed that COVID-19 had a high financial impact on their business, and another 39.3% noted a moderate impact. Only 10.7% saw a low financial impact on their business. COVID-19 has also had an impact on the management, retention and hiring of staff. Some 40% of survey respondents said they had placed 25% or less of their staff on furlough. Required access of fire professionals to customer premises was an issue during lockdown, and in the FIA survey However, at the other extreme, 27.7% reported they had placed 75-100% of staff on furlough. In the middle, 13.8% reported they had placed 25-50% on furlough, and 18.5% reported the number at 50-75%. On the optimistic side, 57.6% of respondents expect 75-100% of workers to return from furlough. Another 28.8% expect only 0-25% of employees to return from furlough. Required access of fire professionals to customer premises was an issue during lockdown, and in the FIA survey. fire safety professionals Some 72.5% of respondents reported they require access to customer premises. As the lockdown progressed, 75% saw improvement in access to customer premises. About 46.4% of respondents reported that 50% or more of site visits have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. Arguably, even more site visits would have been cancelled or postponed if fire safety professionals had not been classified as key workers. The survey included respondents from the Fire Detection and Alarm (FD&A) sector (41%), as well as Fire Risk Assessors (26%) and the Extinguishing sector (13%). An “other” category (20% of respondents) included Housing Associations, Local Government, Insurers, and Quality and Competency Approval Bodies. There were 84 respondents.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend toward working from home has accelerated. New technologies are now making it possible for 911 dispatchers to work from home, too, whether to ensure social distancing or to supplement operations during evolving emergencies. The computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems offer web-based interfaces and mobile capabilities that enable public-safety answering point (PSAP) operators to work from anywhere. Other technologies that are paving the way for dispatchers to work from home include the cloud, virtual private networks (VPNs), and faster data speeds. Remote emergency dispatchers An innovative implementation in Alexandria, Virginia, involves remote emergency dispatchers using equipment including a laptop, headset, smartphone, mobile hotspot, mobile router with computer-aided dispatch and other hardware. The city uses the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) network, provided in partnership with AT&T. A dedicated, secure and reliable connection ensures operation for public safety, everyday functions, and/or for emergency communications. In Alexandria, hotspots and smartphones powered by FirstNet enable 911 dispatchers to take calls In Alexandria, hotspots and smartphones powered by FirstNet enable 911 dispatchers to take calls and handle CAD operations from their homes and remote locations. The dependability of the FirstNet connection is critical; relying on a dispatcher’s home Internet service could be risky if it loses connectivity. Initially hesitant because of concerns about the unknown, Alexandria’s Director of Emergency and Customer Communications was spurred into action by the COVID-19 crisis. Emergency Communications Centers They had tested the system in January. During the first month of implementation, remote workers only answered non-emergency phone calls before beginning to handle 911 calls. The approach helped with social distancing in the midst the COVID -19 crisis, during which dispatchers could not work together as usual in close quarters. To ensure social distancing, dispatchers worked from two different Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) – one primary and one a backup location – in addition to some dispatchers working from home. There was also a fourth ‘isolation’ team, comprised of two fire dispatchers, two police dispatcher and one call telecommunicator – staying and working remotely in a nearby hotel for 10 days in a row. Deciding whether to allow dispatchers to work remotely depends on factors such as employee performance, operational effectiveness and available tools, according to experts. Careful evaluation of these factors ensures a successful implementation. Home-Based operators Technology requirements include a VPN and a dependable, high-speed internet connection In addition to providing flexibility during a global pandemic, remote dispatchers can help departments augment their regularly scheduled staff members more quickly. Dispatchers who can work immediately from home are not delayed by the practicalities of getting to work. Staffing can be augmented immediately rather than several hours from now – an essential consideration during a developing emergency. Technology requirements include a VPN and a dependable, high-speed internet connection. Connectivity might especially be a problem in rural areas, where operators are also more likely to need to travel a long distance to work. There might also be legal issues, such as access to confidential databases. There might also be concerns about discipline of home-based operators and challenges when it comes to working together cohesively as a team. In the end, though, such questions are about ‘how’ a home-bound dispatcher scenario might be managed rather than whether it is feasible. The changing situation during the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the technical hurdles have been overcome.
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is the first fire service in North America to purchase a pre-series vehicle based on the Concept Fire Truck (CFT). The electric fire truck from Rosenbauer will be delivered in the first quarter 2021 and put into practice as part of a comprehensive test operation. CFT Technology In addition to its driving characteristics and safety features, the truck made an impression with its ergonomics and high functionality during the initial demonstrations last December. A sworn workforce of around 3,500 makes the LAFD one of the largest fire services in the US. It operates a fleet of 1,300 vehicles and responded to approximately 500,000 emergency calls last year, including 4,100 structure fires. Pre-series vehicle based on the CFT will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt hours The LAFD and the City of Los Angeles are setting a clear example for sustainability and climate protection with the decision to use CFT technology. The purchase was made through Velocity Fire Equipment & Sales, which acts as a prime contractor and represents Rosenbauer Group in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. Fully Electric Operation The pre-series vehicle based on the CFT will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt hours. This enables fully electric operation for roughly two hours and covers around 90% of all applications. A 200-kilowatt range extender is integrated for longer application times. The fire truck will be adjusted to meet the needs of the LAFD in terms of usage and loading, without limiting the flexible vehicle architecture in the process, and is designed to meet all standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “I am excited that we are the first Department in North America to order this cutting-edge fire engine,” says LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. “The electric fire engine is an innovative tool that will help reduce noise, harmful diesel emissions, and provide a flexible tool for firefighting and rescue operations from a technologically advanced platform. We are looking forward to evaluating in a real-world environment once it hits the streets of Hollywood next year.” Meets All The Safety Standards “The future fire truck is fundamentally different from the vehicles which are in service at the fire stations today. It is multi-functional, fully connected and its flexible interior can be used as a fully featured command center. Its floor can be lowered facilitating minimum boarding and working levels. Electric engines reduce noise and pollution. We will develop a production-ready fire truck that meets all the safety standards" “I am particularly delighted to receive the order from the Los Angeles Fire Department, which really is a fantastic vote of confidence,” says Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International. “Together, we will develop a production-ready fire truck that meets all the safety standards of the NFPA and can seamlessly be brought into real operation further down the line.” Municipal Firefighting Vehicles Rosenbauer’s Concept Fire Truck was first presented to the public in 2016. As a fire truck of the future, it anticipates major mega-trends such as climate change, demographic change and urbanization, as well as the challenges that these entail for fire departments. The use of electric drives enables a completely new kind of vehicle architecture that is 100% tailored to these future scenarios and sets new benchmarks in terms of functionality and ergonomics. The main application area for innovative CFT technology at the moment is municipal firefighting vehicles, but it will also be applied to other types of vehicles further down the line. Rosenbauer estimates that the number of vehicles with technology similar to CFT will rise to around 3,200 by 2030; up to 400 such vehicles could already be in service in Northern America by 2025.
Batesville Fire Department was dispatched to a single-vehicle rollover MVC. Unknown Injuries and Unknown entrapment during the 3 minute response time they received a radio transmission that one subject was trapped in the rear of the vehicle. After stabilizing vehicle Batesville Fire utilized Amkus’ brand new ION Spreader and ION Cutter. From time of arrival until the subject was being transported to the hospital was 10 minutes. This was the first extraction with Amkus’ new ION tools and they worked flawlessly. People involved in providing the assistance to incident are Chief Brent Gleghorn, Captain Brandon Magness, Lt. Donald Richardson, Driver Mark Owens, and Relief Driver Howard West.
telent, a specialist in the effective operation of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA) are marking a milestone moment this year as their collaborative partnership enters its 19th year, with the contract now secured until 2024. Integrated Risk Management Plan Serving five metropolitan boroughs – Sefton, St Helens, Knowsley, Wirral and Liverpool – community safety and life-saving operations are top priorities for MFRA. Information Communication Technology (ICT) services are crucial to the day-to-day running of operations and must be developed, aligned and continually reviewed to ensure they can support the delivery of the Authority’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) which prepares for various incidents and is a statutory requirement of all fire services. Since 2001, telent has delivered a range of vital ICT services and introduced multiple innovations, including an Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)-based service catalogue to ensure that Merseyside can easily alter the services it receives according to changing needs. ITIL-based service catalogue Our relationship with telent means we have a partner that we can rely on in the most demanding of circumstances" At the heart of the contract, telent runs a service desk for MFRA, handling more than 650 IT incidents per month, with 75% of issues fixed by telent remotely, bringing significant cost-savings to Merseyside. “Our relationship with telent means we have a partner that we can rely on in the most demanding of circumstances,” said Phil Garrigan, Chief Fire Officer at MFRA. “As well as having a deep understanding of the blue light sector, telent brings a flexible approach to its service delivery which has proved invaluable to us as we work to keep up with the fast-paced technological changes across the business sphere. Ultimately we know we have a highly-trusted partner in telent and look forward to working with the team for years to come.” ICT life-cycle management services More recently, telent has made additions to the ICT Service Catalogue which include providing ICT life-cycle management services for National Resilience Fire Control (NRFC) and the introduction of MFRA ICT cloud-based services to deliver in-house apps on frontline appliances. The National Resilience is responsible for deploying and co-ordinating National Resilience equipment and supporting individual fire and rescue services to minimise the impact of major emergencies. “What comes with an ICT Service Catalogue is the ability to have a Service Level Agreement with clearly defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and I am pleased as telent continues to meet those KPIs,” said Ed Franklin, Head of Technology at MFRA. “The Service Catalogue also provides the flexibility to easily adopt new services as our requirements evolve or new technology solutions become available.” According to the Home Office, MFRA attends more primary fires per thousand population than any other fire and rescue service in the UK. It is committed to attending all life risk incidents within 10 minutes on 90% of occasions.
Global FM service provider Atalian Servest has won a contract with the University of Edinburgh to maintain its fire alarm and associated life safety systems. The three-year contract is worth a base cost of £250,000 per annum. Atalian Servest will service over 250 buildings within the historic City of Edinburgh, some of which are Grade-A listed. Premises include prestigious lecture theatres, libraries, seminar buildings and student and family accommodation. The contract will include maintenance of disabled person refuge communication systems and remote monitoring telephone line systems, supporting the safety of staff, students and visitors at the university. Enhancing student experience The University of Edinburgh offers undergraduate degree programmes, and postgraduate taught and research programmes to more than 14,000 students; it is globally recognised for its research, development and high-quality teaching. Daniel Dickson, CEO of Atalian Servest UK & Ireland, said, “Our fire and security team are excited to support such a prestigious university and a global leader in education, and look forward to strengthening our partnership throughout the contract and beyond.” Heather Fleming, Building Services Engineer at the University of Edinburgh, said, “Atalian Servest has been a key partner, delivering other contracts and projects for several years. We welcome the fire and security team to enhance the experience of our stakeholders, students and visitors alike. The company provides the highest level of customer service, innovation and quality.”
The National Fire Chiefs’ Council has called for all residential buildings with four floors or more to be installed with sprinkler systems after a huge fire tore through student flats in Bolton, United Kingdom last month. Fire sprinklers in Tall buildings But a Freedom of Information request from The Argus revealed 44 council-owned housing blocks in Brighton and Hove which are four storeys or taller do not have sprinklers installed. This is a worrying discovery as two of the 44 buildings had sprinklers systems approved last September. However, despite funding of £300,000 from Brighton and Hove City Council and East Sussex Fire and Rescue service, the installation of fire sprinklers has been delayed due to ‘feedback from residents’. Sprinkler installation program “For a sprinkler installation program to be successful, the residents must be consulted. Although, not all residents are in favor of installing a sprinkler system; despite sprinklers being paramount in preventing another tragic disaster similar to the Grenfell Tower fire,” says an East Sussex Fire Brigade Union Spokesman. Whilst firefighters on the frontline understand the importance of sprinkler systems in assisting to prevent the rapid growth of fires, sprinkler systems should not be viewed as a ‘golden bullet’. There is no replacement to a properly funded and resourced fire and rescue service.
Gent by Honeywell installs its new S-Quad Visual Alarm Devices (VADs) in Leamington Spa’s renowned entertainment venue, the Royal Spa Centre. The popular purpose built theatre and cinema, owned by Warwick District Council, recently upgraded its entire fire detection and alarm (FD&A) system to a fully integrated Gent Vigilon Compact solution, that incorporates more than 50 S-Quad VADs throughout the multi-use building. Visual Alarm Technology Warwick Council had expressed interest in the use of Gent’s new technology during the initial meetings with Gent approved System Integrator, Fire Safe Services Ltd. Steven Dowell, Fire Safe Services Ltd said: “The existing FD&A system had a three minute delay utilizing beacon only devices. As the Royal Spa Centre is a public building that is in continuous use, Warwick Council felt it was important to use the latest visual alarm technology to protect the hundreds of visitors, its employees and the historic building.” Triggering Key Individual “The innovative solution we installed incorporated Gent’s brand new S-Quad VADs with voice sounders and we programmed the system to keep the three minute delay. During the first alert, the specific solution was set to trigger key individual beacons throughout the building to act as a staff alert.” The new S-Quad VADs meet all of the requirements of the latest EN54-23 standards “After the three minute delay, or in the event of a second device being activated, the system was then programmed to give a full evacuation signal, so all of the VADs will activate and the sounders would be used to advise occupants to leave the building.” The new S-Quad VADs meet all of the requirements of the latest EN54-23 standards and have been designed to help alert occupants in noisy environments and the hard of hearing. Reducing Valuable Installation Time The devices combine Gent’s renowned sensor, sounder and speech technology with high efficiency EN54-23 certified visual alarms. As these functions are incorporated into one single device, S-Quad continues to provide the most cost-effective option and helps to reduce valuable installation time. Neil Towers, Business Manager, Gent by Honeywell said: “We are delighted that there has been another successful installation of our unique S-Quad visual alarms. We’re confident that the outstanding performance of the new S-Quad range will match the quality of performance taking center stage at the Royal Spa Centre. Our solution will ensure that every visitor can be safe and protected and enjoy the diverse range of entertainment the venue has to offer.”
Round table discussion
Welcome to our Expert Panel Roundtable, a new feature of TheBigRedGuide.com. We will be asking timely questions about the fire market and seeking out experts in the field to provide responses. Our goal is to promote a useful exchange of information on a variety of topics and to create a forum for discussion of important issues facing the fire service and market. For our first question, we look to the year ahead and ask our panelists: What trends are likely to change the fire market in 2020?