Tall Building Fire Safety
The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the fire service will continue at least through 2021 and possibly for years to come. Specifically, several aspects of the pandemic have impacted the fire service long-term and have possibly changed it forever. More awareness of Health Issues For one thing, the pandemic has heightened awareness about issues of health and wellness of firefighters. In this regard, COVID-19 has been just the latest in the series of health and wellness issues surroundin...
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have been recognized nationally for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, SFRS was praised for its positive contributions to the local community and commitment to the welfare of its staff. In August 2020, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) was commissioned by the UK Home Secretary to examine how fire and rescue services are responding to the pandemic. Effective command and control frameworks...
Firefighting kit has a number of functions. It protects crew members in a wide range of situations and makes them instantly recognizable in an emergency. Replacing the firefighting kit at the right time keeps fire firefighters and rescue personnel safe and comfortable, no matter what the emergency. Call outs for firefighters According to the UK Home Office, in the last year, 28 per cent of call-outs for firefighters and rescue staff involved responding to fires, 42 per cent of call outs...
Packexe were awarded a Royal Warrant in 2016 for supplying Packexe protection film to the royal household and last year, the company added a Queens Award for Enterprise to their name. Recognized in the category of innovation for their time critical glass management tool, Packexe SMASH, Packexe have been supplying emergency teams across the globe with their innovative extrication tool for the last decade. Packexe SMASH Packexe SMASH is designed to hold glass securely in place, reducing the ris...
The new Detention Center in Crawford County, Arkansas has raised the bar when it comes to Life Safety measures. The new Crawford County Justice Center was built due to alarming overcrowding issues that endangered the safety of the inmates and staff. The new 307 bed facility is now a beacon of safety, especially when it comes to Life Safety & Fire Protection. Installing Life Safety system In February of 2018, The Association of Builders and Contractors of Arkansas awarded American Fire Prot...
First responder radio signal and communications can be significantly impacted by building construction, building size, and other factors. Because of that, it is important that emergency personnel have the ability to communicate in the event of an emergency. The good news is that there is a solution! Bi-Directional Amplification (BDA) Bi-Directional Amplification (BDA) is an Emergency Radio Communication System that provides reliable communication radio transmissions between first responders in...
Choosing the right fire suppression system can make all the difference in the protection of vital establishments and entities, including building, assets, and people. Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid The Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid is a clean agent fire extinguishant that was created as an alternative to hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) and a halon replacement. Fire protection systems using the Novec 1230 fluid are assured that: Fluid is stored as a liquid but discharged as a gas. The system will recognize a fire before it starts and will extinguish the fire in just seconds by rapidly removing heat. This works significantly faster than most water-based systems discharge. As a waterless fire suppression solution, the Novec 1230 fluid leaves no residue behind, helping to protect important documents and electronics. Novec 1230 offers the highest margin of safety for human occupancy of any clean agent solution. The Novec 1230 is not governed by any regulatory body, including the Montreal Protocol. Also, the use of Novec 1230 fluids is not required to comply with Halon 1302 phase-outs or HFC phase-downs. Appropriate for Class A, B and C fire hazards. Environmental manufacturers’ warranties are available. Faster fluid evaporation than water Novec 1230 fluid evaporates much faster than water. How much faster? Try 50 times faster! According to American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) research, Novec 1230 fluid evaporates much faster than water. How much faster? Try 50 times faster! For example, on soaking a phonebook in Novec 1230, it would be dry within 1 minute. Benefits of Novec 1230 fluid include: It is environmentally sustainable. It is close in cost to FM-200 & ECARO-25. It can replace halon fire protection systems. It has a high margin of safety. Novec 1230 is an ideal fire suppression solution for these industries: Data Centers Oil & Gas Facilities Museums Art Galleries Aviation Facilities Medical Centers Industrial Facilities Power Plants
The US federal government passed a new legislation called the ‘Tax Cuts & Job Act’. This legislation includes incentives for businesses that install new fire sprinkler systems. As fire sprinklers are the quickest way to extinguish a fire, it’s important to incentivize businesses to install one. Money should never be seen as a deterrent to keeping your employees and patrons safe. ‘Tax Cuts & Job Act’ US Congress has added fire protection as an eligible expenditure under Section 179 of the tax code US Congress has added fire protection as an eligible expenditure under Section 179 of the tax code. The Congress has also increased the cap to US$ 1 million (up from US$ 500,000) as the amount that a small business can deduct in a single year. This provision applies only to commercial structures and cannot be used for retrofitting sprinklers into residential structures. However, critical occupancies such as entertainment venues could easily be done under this provision. This change is also a permanent law and unlike section 13201 is not gradually phased out over time. Best time to install new sprinkler system With tax incentives now in place, combined with one of the best economic growth in recent times, there has never been a better time to install a new sprinkler system. When speaking with a tax professional about these tax breaks, make sure to reference the changes in Section 179 of the recently passed tax reform legislation (P.L. 115-97), for up to US$ 1 million in fire protection. What’s included in Section 179? This includes: Roofs Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Fire protection and Alarm Systems Security Systems What types of Building Types are listed in Section 179? They include: Local, Small Businesses Nightclubs Restaurants/Diners (local owner) Bowling Alleys Locally Owned Movie Theatres Main Street America-type Shops High-Rise Commercial Buildings Residential Occupancies Condos Inclusion of fire sprinklers in tax reform The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) spent many years working with the government to ensure this tax reform was completed. Vickie Pritchett, the Director of Outreach and Government Relations at the NFSA stated, “The successful inclusion of fire sprinklers in tax reform is a result of years of steadfast work to educate. Our fire service allies and others were difference makers.” She adds, “The advocate voices made a difference as we worked to bring the stories to life, so legislators would understand and support fire safety inclusion in the incentive package.”
The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) is proud to announce a new online learning platform offering 24/7 access to CEUs and/or CPDs from AFSA educational events, including live webinars. AFSA On-Demand offers fire sprinkler contractors and other professionals the access to the best in specialty education anytime. AFSA On-Demand Featuring the most sought-after thought leaders in fire protection, AFSA On-Demand offers a superior learning experience in a unique and user-friendly format. Members benefit from access to AFSA's extensive library of content as well as the ability to earn CEU and CPD credit online. AFSA On-Demand Courses are carefully developed to offer the ultimate in convenience and flexibility AFSA On-Demand Courses are carefully developed to offer the ultimate in convenience and flexibility, as well as AFSA's proven track record for effective training. These skill-building courses are sold individually with CEUs and/or CPDs, and members have one-year from the date of purchase to complete the course. Launched in April 2020, the AFSA On-Demand platform is already populated with eight unique courses with plans to release more content! Online now are: Building Heights & Rack Storage Connecting Actual Job Costs Back to Estimating NFPA 13, 2019 Edition: Part 1 - General Updates NFPA 13, 2019 Edition: Part 2 - Seismic Bracing Update OSHA's Silica in Construction Standard Pipe Size Estimating & Quick Calculations Seismic Bracing: 2016 Edition Update Significant Changes to 2019 Edition of NFPA 20 Learning Management System (LMS) AFSA is committed to quality, excellence, professionalism, and lifelong learning" To provide the best possible experience, AFSA's Learning Management System (LMS) is designed to get people engaged with user-friendly content- anytime, anywhere, on any device. Learners can take training personalized to their needs on mobile and tablet devices, offline and on-the-go, anywhere around the world. "AFSA is committed to quality, excellence, professionalism, and lifelong learning," said AFSA Director of Education Services Leslie Clounts, adding "AFSA On-Demand exemplifies this by offering access to a complete library of educational offerings online, delivered by leaders in the field." Easily accessible anytime AFSA On-Demand is available and accessible anytime, anywhere, via PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Users can navigate content by type, event and topic; and use the sort-and-search functions to quickly find educational offerings. Additional key benefits include: Mobile-friendly: Sleek, modern design Flexible training: Refresh skills, learn new techniques and use the presentations to train teams. My Dashboard: Track session progress and receive CEU or CPD verification letters all from one convenient area. Expanding course offerings: Watch for new content to become available soon. Session previews: Comprehensive session previews with speakers' bios are now available to help members select the best sessions for their learning needs.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has announced that they recognize achievement in the volunteer fire and emergency services through its annual awards program. Nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award, Chief James P. Seavey Sr., Health and Wellness Leadership Award, Junior Firefighter of the Year Award, and Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Award are due by January 29, 2021. The NVFC annual awards program features: NVFC Lifetime Achievement Award: Sponsored by ADT, this award honors a volunteer firefighter who has served at least 20 years and has made a major contribution or achieved significant accomplishments in the volunteer fire service at the local, state, and/or national level. Chief James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership Award: Sponsored by VFIS and Ward Diesel Filter Systems, this award honors an active volunteer firefighter, EMS provider, or rescue worker who has served as a leader in creating or promoting emergency responder health and wellness programs or initiatives in areas including, but not limited to, firefighter cancer, heart health, behavioral health, and overall health and wellness. Junior Firefighter of the Year Award: Sponsored by California Casualty, this award honors a junior firefighter, cadet, or Explorer who has shown extraordinary dedication, commitment, and achievements as a youth member of the fire service. Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Award: Sponsored by California Casualty, this award recognizes a department that has an outstanding junior firefighter program. The program must have been in operation for at least one year, and departments must demonstrate creativity and community impact for the program. NVFC annual awards program These prestigious national awards are designed to highlight the accomplishments and dedication of fire service volunteers who go above and beyond in their service to their department and community. Each recipient gets a personalized award and national recognition in honor of their achievements. The recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Chief James P. Seavey Sr. Health and Wellness Leadership Award, and Junior Firefighter of the Year Award will receive a trip for themselves and a guest to the NVFC spring meeting awards banquet on April 30, 2021, in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. The Junior Firefighter Program of the Year will be honored at a local recognition ceremony so that all of their members can attend.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), in partnership with the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, launched the Psychologically Healthy Fire Departments (PHFD) toolkit to support firefighters and EMS providers and create healthy, successful departments. A new implementation toolkit is now available to help fire department leaders promote and foster health and wellbeing among their members. Maintaining a psychologically healthy fire department provides a positive work environment for responders, while also enhancing the department’s performance. PHFD: Implementation Toolkit The Psychologically Healthy Fire Departments: Implementation Toolkit delves into six categories that leaders should focus on to support well-being and high performance, including: member involvement, health and safety, member growth and development, work-life balance, member recognition and effective communication. The PHFD: Implementation toolkit examines each category along with specific actions that can be taken, special issues to consider, case studies from successful departments and additional resources. “A department that supports its members and is committed to fostering a positive work environment has a healthier, engaged, and more successful workforce,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair, Steve Hirsch, adding “This implementation toolkit will walk fire department leaders through the steps and considerations necessary to make sure they have a psychologically healthy fire department that benefits the individual, the organization, and the community.” Based on Psychologically Healthy Workplace model The PHFD: Implementation Toolkit is based on APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace model The PHFD: Implementation Toolkit is based on APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace model and was adapted to fit the unique characteristics of the fire service. Fire service leaders who understand the link between the well-being of their members and the performance and success of the department take comprehensive steps to create a positive environment that supports and promotes good health and optimal functioning. “Psychological research shows workplaces that promote good mental health and work-life balance are associated with increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and higher job satisfaction,” said American Psychological Association (APA) CEO, Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, adding “We commend the National Volunteer Fire Council for creating this toolkit and distributing it to its members.” Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals The PHFD initiative is supported by a Fire Prevention & Safety Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition to the implementation toolkit, resources include a Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals that lists local mental health providers equipped and ready to help firefighters, EMS providers, dispatchers, rescue workers, and their families. The directory is updated monthly as new providers are added and can be viewed or downloaded on the PHFD webpage. A training course to supplement the PHFD: Implementation Toolkit is also being developed.
The final three recipients have been announced in the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), MSA Security Incorporated and DuPont’s 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. The White River (ON, Canada) Fire Department, New Baltimore Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company (Warrenton, VA), and the Central Hardin Fire Department (Elizabethtown, KY) will each receive four sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear and four helmets to increase the safety of their members. MSA Safety Incorporated, DuPont, and NVFC team up each year to help volunteer fire departments obtain much-needed gear. With this latest round of awards, 121 departments in need have received a total of 559 sets of turnout gear since 2012 to better equip their members for response. The first 500 applicants in this year’s giveaway also received a one-year NVFC membership, courtesy of MSA. White River Fire Department (WRFD) The White River Fire Department (WRFD) protects approximately 37 square miles of rural central Ontario in addition to providing vehicle rescue services to 118 miles of the Trans-Canada Highway, the main east-west route across Canada. Serving around 1,000 residents in their municipality and a neighboring First Nations community, WRFD’s 24 volunteers respond to an average of 30 calls annually. The town of White River has seen its fair share of difficulties over the past few decades. A mill that served as the main employer closed 15 years ago, forcing some longstanding volunteers to move to find work. Although the mill has since reopened, White River Fire Department now faces the challenge of recruiting and training new members. Replacing outdated Turnout gear Due to financial constraints, the White River Fire Department is unable to purchase new gear Due to financial constraints, the White River Fire Department is unable to purchase new gear, and all of their helmets along with 22 sets of turnout gear are over 10 years old. Their fire hall and apparatus are also aging, additional challenges White River Fire Department will have to contend with in the coming years. “Despite the downturn, we have a small but dedicated group of individuals that love to work hard and make the best of what we have. We are all very proud of what we can do without the newer equipment, but we’re all anxious for some improvements,” said White River Fire Department (WRFD) Training Officer, William Moore. New Baltimore Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company New Baltimore Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, also known as Company 10, is a 35-member volunteer department in Fauquier County, Virginia. They serve a primary response area of 31 square miles, averaging over 1,000 calls per year. In addition, Company 10 responds to county-wide fire and medical emergencies as well as provides mutual aid to neighboring Prince William County when needed. As one of the busiest stations in Fauquier County, Company 10 is working towards providing two sets of gear for all of their members so that each set can be cleaned per NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) requirements without leaving responders unprotected. However, their budget is limited with an annual allotment from the county going towards all administrative and operational costs, including equipment procurement. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department also expects a lower than usual volume of community donations. The donation of new turnout gear and helmets will go a long way in helping Company 10 with its goal to sufficiently equip and protect its volunteers. Central Hardin Fire Department CHFD relies on voluntary subscriptions from the community they serve for income, so funding is not guaranteed The Central Hardin Fire Department (CHFD) serves a population of approximately 10,000 over 78 square miles of north-central Kentucky. Responding to an average of 460 calls annually, this number has been increasing every year, as have the number of volunteers, even as funding levels have not kept up. The CHFD relies on voluntary subscriptions from the community they serve for income, so funding is not guaranteed. Although they receive some funding through the state and county, it is not enough to cover all costs. Ensuring safety to life and property Due to these financial constraints, the Central Hardin Fire Department is unable to purchase new turnout gear to replace the sets that are no longer NFPA compliant as well as equip their newest members. This limits the department’s ability to protect life and property and puts the safety of members at risk. “Our department is constantly growing in size, but our income is not. Receiving this gear will have a great impact on how we can better serve our community and keep the citizens and each firefighter safe,” said Central Hardin Fire Department firefighter Amanda Medley.
Since the Grenfell tower tragedy in 2017, residential high-rise fire safety has become a top priority for tower block building managers. If a high-rise building is found to contain combustible cladding, then the standard ‘stay put’ policy is no longer considered safe, and instead a temporary ‘simultaneous evacuation’ strategy must be put in place until the cladding issue is resolved. Currently a Waking Watch protocol is the preferred option for ensuring resident’s safety, in order to coordinate a simultaneous evacuation in the event of a fire. But, due to the extremely high cost of Waking Watch, Fire Detection & Alarm systems are being used to help reduce and, in some cases, remove these costs, which can amount to upwards of £100,000 per year. After the Grenfell fire, official figures showed that there are 300 towers with ‘Grenfell-style’ Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) cladding. However, there are many different types of high-risk flammable cladding used on purpose-built blocks of flats, such as timber, high-pressure laminate (HPL) and polystyrene cladding. With more and more unsafe buildings being assessed, the scale of this issue continues to grow. Currently a Waking Watch protocol is the preferred option for ensuring resident’s safety The UK Government announced in 2018 that it would pay for the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding in councils and housing associations. However, there is no legal position stating that private landlords should not pass the cost of this work onto tenants, and with the high costs of replacement, along with mounting Waking Watch costs, private landlords are known to pass this cost to tenants in service charges. Along with the cost of cladding replacement, landlords are also charging tenants for the cost of expensive Waking Watch services. Approved fire alarm systems are fast becoming the preferred safety system, due to the reduced overall costs, as well as the NFCC (National Fire Chiefs Council) recommending these over Waking Watch services. Fire safety regulations in high-rise buildings Following the Grenfell tragedy, the Government issued notice that all buildings over 18m had to be assessed for combustible material in their external walls. Following this, in January 2020, the government also issued Advice for Building Owners of Multi-story, Multi-occupied residential buildings stating that “building owners are to consider the risks of any external wall system and fire doors in their fire risk assessments, irrespective of the height of the building” immediately, until a Fire Safety Bill is put in place. Approved fire alarm systems are fast becoming the preferred safety system In order to assess the fire risk of external wall systems of residential apartment buildings an EWS1 assessment (External Wall Fire Review) must be completed. This risk assessment form provides a ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ certificate for the building, and must be completed by a competent fire expert. Not only does an ‘unsafe’ certificate affect the owner of the building, with the need for new fire safety solutions, it also directly affects tenants, with mortgage lenders refusing to lend on a apartment until they are satisfied that the facade is safe. Until the building has completed the assessment and been deemed safe, all dwellings within the building are valued at £0, and cannot be sold. 'Unsafe' certificates Buildings that have been awarded an ‘unsafe’ certificate through the EWS1 assessment will need to implement temporary fire safety measures while the cladding is being removed. The key purposes of this guidance, outlined by National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) in May 2018 and then reviewed in October 2020, are: early detection of a fire, warning of building occupants, and management of the evacuation. The measures state: In order to prevent tenants from being removed from their homes, ‘Stay Put’ must be temporarily replaced by a ‘Simultaneous Evacuation’ strategy until the building has been remediated. Temporary protection measures must be introduced to ensure the safety of residents; either a 24/7 Waking Watch or a common Fire Detection & Alarm system designed to BS5839 Part 1 category L5 specification. Fire safety solutions Waking Watch is the quickest and easiest way to fulfill the requirements from the NFCC guidance. This solution requires a trained fire marshal or warden to patrol the building 24/7 and alert residents in the case of a fire. They will also be responsible for carrying out the Simultaneous Evacuation strategy and assisting residents’ evacuation. While the Waking Watch solution works well as an immediate solution to fire safety, the mounting costs of this fix means that it is unsustainable in most situations, with tenants facing unaffordable increases to their monthly rent in order to cover the costs. For example, reports into Raphael House, near Essex, show how a five-person 24-hour patrol costs £50,000 per month. This cost is split between the 154 flats, resulting in average costs of more than £300 a month for each resident. Issues with Waking Watch In addition to the cost, there are other issues associated with Waking Watch, including: Patrols cannot cover all areas of the building at all times No fire detection system within the flats themselves Not a long term solution The alternative solution to fire safety in high-rise buildings, as per the NFCC guidance, is to install a Fire Detection & Alarm system designed to BS5839 Part 1 category L5 specification. Although the upfront cost of these systems tend to be higher than a Waking Watch initiative, the overall expenditure, given the cost and time it takes to replace the cladding, far exceeds the cost of a fire alarm system. NFCC compliant fire alarm systems An NFCC compliant fire alarm system ensures early detection of fire and alert to residents. The BS5839 Part 1 category L5 systems do not replace the mains wired smoke alarms required in each apartment, but instead are installed in the common areas of the building in order to provide additional cover for these communal areas. These fire systems should be: Designed in accordance with BS5839, Part 1, category L5 Heat detectors should be installed throughout the building next to the windows that overlook an area of the external wall, including within the dwellings. An immediate evacuation signal should be triggered by the operation of any single heat detector. Installation of a new common area fire alarm system should not cause any further damage to the compartmentation or have an adverse effect on other provisions in the building. Comparison (Waking Watch vs Fire Alarm Systems) Cost: The government has outlined the average cost of Waking Watch in England as £17,897 per building per month, with the hourly rate per person undertaking Waking Watch duties ranging from £12.00 to £30.00 per hour. A total of £644,292 over 3 years. Additional charges for equipment, facilities, accommodation and services can also be applied. A suitable fire alarm system is likely to cost around £65,000 over the course of 3 years, for installation and yearly recurring costs. This means, over this period, installing a fire alarm system will save a total of £579,292. Long term solution: While both Waking Watch and a Fire Alarm System are considered short term solutions, many fire alarm systems can be adapted for future use once the cladding issue has been resolved, providing suitable infrastructure is created at the design and installation stage. Alerting the whole building at once: A Fire Alarm System is a more time efficient solution to detecting a fire than Waking Watch. The system is able to alert the whole building at the same time, allowing for the simultaneous evacuation protocol to be followed in a more time efficient manner. The NFCC states in their Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance... “NFCC strongly recommends that where a change to a simultaneous evacuation is deemed appropriate and will be required for medium to long periods of time that a temporary common fire alarm system is installed. This is because a temporary common fire alarm, when designed, installed and maintained appropriately is a more reliable and cost-effective way to maintain a sufficient level of early detection. An appropriate communal fire alarm and detection system will generally provide more certainty that a fire will be detected and warned at the earliest opportunity rather than rely on using trained staff.” With many residential high-rise buildings needing additional protection due to flammable cladding, and the excessive cost of Waking Watch, now is the time to consider a Fire Alarm System to keep residents in high-rise buildings safe.
With Grenfell inquiries continuing to uncover a number of fire safety issues, it’s clear that decision makers must learn from critical mistakes in a bid for better fire safety standards. Karen Trigg of Allegion UK highlights the key lessons that must be taken from Grenfell to help ensure a disaster of this magnitude never happens again. On the 14th June 2017, UK witnessed a tragedy. A myriad of critical issues, whether the result of mistakes, oversights or neglect, led to the largest fire disaster in modern memory - Grenfell Tower. Since then, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has taken steps to uncover what went wrong that morning. But equally important is identifying and learning from the fire safety issues that were in play that day, so as to help ensure an incident like this never happens again. Taking Responsibility With that in mind, decision makers, construction companies, installers and manufacturers are amongst those that, in reviewing the reports, can make clear, steadfast plans to help improve fire safety for everyone. For that, a change in education towards fire safety - and the various solutions that make it possible - must be at the forefront of one’s activity. Because in reality, one is not just talking about ancillary products here, but lifesaving solutions. In November 2020, it emerged that Grenfell Tower suppliers were aware their cladding was dangerous In November 2020, it emerged that Grenfell Tower suppliers were aware their cladding was dangerous, with an inquiry citing, “These companies knew their materials would burn with lethal speed”. Despite the inquiries still bringing issues to light years later, it’s important to move forward on the critical topics that have already been identified. safety hardware manufacturers Aside from cladding, from the viewpoint of fire safety hardware manufacturers, two other key issues stood out from the reports; the failure of compartmentation and flat entrance doors failing to close. Combined, these themes proved fatal. Compartmentation in particular is crucial to containing the spread of fire from one area (in this case, apartments) to another, giving building occupants a safe space and protection from the fire. Commonly, over a building’s lifespan, compartmentation can become compromised with a number of different retro-fitted products. With this, installers (who may not be fully aware of the importance of fire protection) can potentially leave holes where there were none before, thus giving fire and smoke a place to breach the defenses the building once had. On this occasion, learning from the fire doors - which also play a critical part in compartmentalization - is key. ineffective fire doors As stated in Phase I of the Grenfell Inquiry, “The performance of fire doors in the tower, in particular, whether they complied with relevant regulations, their maintenance and the reasons why some of the self-closing devices do not appear to have worked.” In the same section of Phase I, it was made clear that ineffective fire doors allowed smoke and toxic gases to spread throughout the building at a quicker rate than they should have. The market has developed to offer solutions designed to meet the many needs of a building and their users The absence of effective self-closing devices in part led to the failure of compartmentation and was therefore a reason why the doors failed to perform their essential function. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that fire doors (when operating with fully functional hardware) play an essential role in preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke and toxic gases and are a key factor in preserving effective compartmentation in buildings. delayed closing mechanisms With this information, questions must be asked as to why there was an absence of effective self-closing devices? There could be many reasons as to why there was a lack of self-closing devices, for example, the doors being too difficult to open, or perhaps closing too quickly and were thus removed. Yet the removal of those devices is never the true answer and instead it puts residents at risk. Today, the market has developed to offer solutions designed to meet the many needs of a building and their users, including those with delayed closing mechanisms that can ease access and egress. Yet it’s key to remember that fire doors and their accompanying hardware are there to save lives and property in the event of a fire and can only do so if the correct solutions are present and correctly installed. fire safety education The lessons taken from Grenfell must further prompt an area which is still not as good as it needs to be - fire safety education. It’s fundamental to ensure facility managers, installers and residents all understand the importance of fire safety solutions - from why they’re there to how they operate. The installation process is paramount, too. There are common issues with installation that simply must be ironed out. Aside from this, stricter guidelines need to be implemented as a way of preventing fire incidents such as Grenfell Commonly, the speed to which installers are required to work isn’t leaving enough time for door closers to be fully adjusted and therefore suit the environment in which it’s being fitted. To combat this, suppliers must do what is necessary to support installation - from supplying self-adhesive templates to improve efficiency, to offering spring adjustable door closers which are perfect for time-impaired installers. preventing fire incidents Aside from this, stricter guidelines need to be implemented as a way of preventing fire incidents such as Grenfell. Fire safety solutions such as door hardware are accompanied with certifications but should stricter guidelines be in place for those installing them? Furthermore, when it comes to testing, should higher risk buildings not be treated in the same vein as the everyday vehicles where regular servicing and MOTs are required to ensure they continue to perform? These, amongst others, are the questions that must continue being asked. Finally, a push for improved competence across the board is key. From the product design stage right through to constructing, inspecting, assessing and managing and maintaining all public buildings, including higher risk residential buildings as Grenfell once was. Only when key mistakes are learnt from, and competent bodies placed in the overseeing of refurbishments or new builds of high-risk residential buildings, can everyone truly feel that they are one step closer to complete fire safety
From a 48-storey fire in the UAE, to a 200-firefighter-strong blaze at student accommodation in the UK, several high-profile, high-rise fires continue to keep the focus of utilities, regulators, developers, and public associations everywhere on actively seeking ways to reduce the risk of fire with innovative materials. Statistics show that the majority of fire related fatalities occur in a domestic setting between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Protecting high-rise residential buildings from fire, where occupancy rates are high but the reaction to danger is lower (while asleep), is a critical engineering challenge. Fire risk assessment While most recently built high rise buildings will be equipped with risk safety provisions such as wet or dry risers, protected staircases, sprinklers, and communications systems as standard, thousands of post-war, purpose-built flats require careful risk assessment and improvement. What was acceptable at the time of build may no longer meet today’s standards or may have been affected by changing environmental factors such as the encroachment of neighboring buildings. While the fire safety legislation adopted in 2006 has driven improvements that seek to address these types of issues While the fire safety legislation adopted in 2006 has driven improvements that seek to address these types of issues, its application has sometimes been problematic, with varied results from site to site. A fire risk assessment is the first step in evaluating the risks posed and identifying options to reduce the potential for a devastating event. Potential fire risk Electricity substations, which are often located in the basement or adjoining a high-rise building, will often be identified as a potential fire risk due to the proximity of a source of a fuel – mineral oil – to a source of heat and sparks. This concurs with the findings of the MIDEL Transformer Risk Report 2020, where respondents identified fire risk as the second most important consideration when assessing transformer risk overall. Mineral oil is widely accepted as the most flammable of the insulating fluids used within a substation’s transformers, but has persisted in its use due to its price point. A mineral oil fire will burn ferociously, producing thick, black smoke, impeding evacuation by reducing visibility and potentially jeopardizing ground floor and basement exits. Fire suppression systems At their worst, there are documented cases where transformer fires have caused loss of life and significant damage to the environment. They are certainly not a risk to be ignored. In newer buildings, the use of mineral oil in a transformer needs to account for the substation to be constructed to the latest fire safety standard – reinforced concrete or brickwork with a minimum four-hour fire containment rating. The fire risk can be mitigated in a completely different way once mineral oil is eliminated from the equation In addition to fire suppression systems involving significant civil engineering works, these measures do not eliminate the risk of fire by preventing it but are necessary to contain a fire once one starts. Additionally in older buildings, where the retrofitting of concrete reinforcements or a complete relocation of the substation would be expensive and technically challenging (if not impossible), the fire risk can be mitigated in a completely different way once mineral oil is eliminated from the equation. Enhancing fire safety One pioneering UK utility is leading the way in mitigating transformer-related fire risk. Following the fire at Grenfell in the UK, the utility considered that any element of risk was no longer acceptable and so undertook a sizeable and substantial review of its property portfolio. It subsequently identified over 100 residential sites where upgrades could be made to further enhance fire safety and the safety of residents. Many of these higher-risk units are located in embedded substations in the basements of the high-rise apartments that rely on them for electricity. The units range from 500kVa to 1000kVa. After exploring the options, the utility embarked on an extensive program of corrective upgrades at a scale never seen before in the UK. Minimizing fire risk One long-term and economic solution to reduce transformer fire risk stood out; replace the mineral oil in each transformer with a fire safe alternative. Synthetic ester fluids are a K-class rated fire-safe and biodegradable alternative to mineral oil, and it is increasingly being chosen by power utilities and end users to minimize fire risk. The significantly higher fire point makes it the ideal choice for improving the safety of transformers The contract for the utility’s schedule of upgrades was awarded to MIDEL Service Partner Grosvenor Oil Services who opted to use MIDEL 7131, a synthetic ester transformer fluid, that has a high fire point of 316°C, far exceeding that of mineral oil (180°C). The significantly higher fire point makes it the ideal choice for improving the safety of transformers located in residential and high-rise buildings. High-Rise buildings The retro filling technicians leveraged their experience of MIDEL’s ester liquids to the benefit of the project - and the safety of residents. For each site, the technicians inspected the condition of the transformer before draining it of the mineral oil and flushing it through. Once completed, the transformers were retro filled with the fire safe synthetic ester and tested. Replacing mineral oil has several benefits beyond the peace of mind it brings to residents in high-rise buildings. For one, it significantly enhances the sustainability of substations: ester fluids are biodegradable and non-toxic – in the event of a leak, it does not pose a threat to the environment or to people that come into contact with it. Unexpected power outages Ester fluids also keep the transformer in better condition for longer, by reducing the impact that water ingress has on components such as the insulating paper. Because of this benefit, ester-filled transformers require less frequent quality testing (once every five years, rather than once every 12 months). Sites are also better protected against unexpected power outages due to failure Subsequently, this reduces utilities’ maintenance burden as well as increase uptime. Sites are also better protected against unexpected power outages due to failure. Finally, it offers the ability to safely increase transformer load, a benefit that became particularly fortuitous when the COVID-19 lockdown significantly increased domestic property electricity demand. Fire-Safe materials While pioneering, this utility is not alone in its efforts. Utilities across the UK are turning to the benefits of fire-safe materials to reduce the potential for transformer fires in high-rise buildings and higher-risk locations such as hospitals, schools, and shopping centers. The benefits and the process of retro filling is well-established, and with many more people expected to work from home for the foreseeable future, there is not a moment to waste to ensure that the thousands of transformers that supply domestic power are fire safe, sustainable and reliable.
Translation in an emergency setting is a challenge that first responders face on a daily basis. For example, London Luton Airport’s Fire Service would previously have to find a member of staff or a passenger that could help them translate, which is not always possible. As a last resort, the service would carry around a large flipbook containing numerous medical questions in a multitude of languages, but this did not solve the problem of understanding any responses. AI-Powered Language Translation Device Now they have a more instant device to provide a faster and easier way to communicate. It’s called Pocketalk, an AI-powered language translation device designed for instant and accurate two-way conversations at the touch of the button, even in noisy environments. Pocketalk supports 82 languages, addressing 90% of the world’s population. It has been used as an emergency communications tool to break down barriers between first responders like fire service staff and healthcare practitioners and their service users/patients. Quick, Easy, Calm Firefighters can use Pocketalk to communicate quickly, easily, and calmly with people at the scene of an emergency. It helps them to overcome language barriers and achieve a range of goals – from assessing injuries of people who don’t speak English as a first language to asking them for more information about an emergency situation. Organizations face a growing challenge to meet changing communication needs. For example, among the United Kingdom’s increasingly diverse population, around one in ten people do not speak English as their first language. In areas like London, this figure is around one in five people. Emergency Services Donations Healthcare providers including five UK ambulance services received donations and are using Pocketalk Following an announcement earlier in 2020 that 500 Pocketalk W devices were being donated to emergency services providers in Europe to help them deal with COVID-19, London Luton Airport’s Fire Service was one of the organizations to apply for units. Healthcare providers including five UK ambulance services - North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Avon Valley Community Responders, St Johns Ambulance (Norwich), St Johns Ambulance (Greater Manchester), and Special Ambulance Transfers – also received donations and are using Pocketalk. The parent company, Sourcenext, has an interest in language learning, which is where Pocketalk came from. The product vision was simple –to make it easy for people who speak different languages to understand each other. Pocketalk is now helping to break down language barriers all over the world. Awareness & Usefulness The best way to increase awareness of Pocketalk and its usefulness in an emergency situation is to get the devices in the hands of service users, the company says. “During the start of the COVID pandemic, we wanted to help people by donating devices to emergency services teams,” says Tomoaki Kojim, Senior Managing Director of Sourcenext Corp. “This, in turn, has helped these teams to understand exactly how it can be of benefit in an emergency —namely, by providing quick and accurate language translations, without the need for an interpreter (in person or on the phone).” Two-Way Communication Pocketalk helped to open up two-way communication quickly and save time for medical emergencies For the London Luton Airport Fire Service, Pocketalk devices have helped to open up that two-way communication quickly. In medical emergencies, time can be crucial – Pocketalk not only helps them to save time but also to get a detailed account from the patient or any witnesses to an incident. It has also helped with general communication from the passengers, some of whom are distressed when trying to find the correct gate or which bus to catch as they leave the airport. No Language Barrier London Luton Airport Fire Service has not had to change any of its procedures after implementing Pocketalk, but they have been very happy to retire their translation book. It also reassures them that language is not the barrier it used to be when dealing with people during their working day. For them, implementing Pocketalk devices has been easy, and all operational members of staff at the fire station have had a short training session on how to operate the Pocketalk devices. The fire service has also loaned its spare device to passenger services assistants at the airport to help them with any potential communication issues. One challenge to implementing the device could be getting staff to learn how to use it and practice with it in training situations, so they can really rely on it in an emergency. That said, “Pocketalk is easy to use and does not take long to master,” says Kojim.
Technology and innovation are shaping the future of the fire industry. During 2020, TheBigRedGuide.com published many articles touching on research, development, and new technologies. This roundup will review some of the most popular articles, including links to the original content. Thermal Imaging & Augmented Reality (AR) Combining thermal imaging and augmented reality (AR) enables firefighters to see through smoke, in effect enhancing their vision in the life-threatening environment of a fire. AR capabilities can be deployed in a visor attached to a helmet, and an affixed thermal camera captures the images. The most recent prototype of such a product is a robust helmet design that withstands rough treatment. The system also includes software processing that augments thermal images to enable firefighters to see the outline of objects more clearly, thus enabling their detection in the field. Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) The fire research program at the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) in Missoula, Mont., enhanced firefighter safety by improving metrics for determining firefighter safety zones and escape routes, improving and modernizing determination of fire danger, and developing systems and applications such as the Wildfire Safety Evaluator (WiSE) and WildfireSAFE to facilitate the use of these metrics by wildland firefighters. The program has also pioneered the development of metrics for scenario planning and assessing wildfire risk to communities. Internet of Things (IoT) The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding the variety of technical capabilities deployed in the interest of public safety, and smart cities are leveraging IoT data to provide insights and improve operations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is promoting technology development through its Science and Technology Directorate’s SCITI (pronounced “city”) solutions lab. SCITI stands for Smart City and Internet of Things Innovation. Crowd Management & Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has developed a computerized tool to provide data Crowd management can be critical in a fire emergency – or in almost any other emergency situation. The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has undertaken a project to develop a computerized tool to provide data and situational awareness about crowds based on computer vision analysis of the video. Crowds have become an unusual occurrence during the COVID-19 pandemic, but sooner or later, life will be returning to normal. When it does, the safety consequences of poor crowd management will again become top-of-mind for many in the emergency response fields. Complexity Of GPS Coordinates A solution to address the complexity of GPS coordinates in an emergency situation, “what3words” is an easy way to identify precise locations using a unique combination of three words. The benefits of what3words for fire and emergency services agencies are already being realized. what3words addresses are shorter, easier to understand over the phone, and built-in error prevention technology allows emergency services to immediately verify the location and correct mistakes. Drones For Firefighting And Fire Prevention Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are expanding their usefulness in the arenas of firefighting and fire prevention, whether in a downtown business district or in fire-prone wildlands. Among other benefits, drones can provide situational awareness, guide emergency response, and perform dangerous duties while keeping fire personnel safe. Drones provide a new solution for extinguishing fires in high-rise buildings, which can occur beyond the reach of fire nozzles and rescue ladders. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Students and faculty at Hongik University are developing AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms The fire service worldwide collects a lot of data, and a university in Seoul, South Korea, is researching how to crunch the numbers using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the probability of fires more accurately and to direct fire departments’ assets where they will do the most good. Students and faculty at Hongik University are developing AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms into a model that can predict the probability of fires and enable authorities to take action to make the city safer. The project has used the Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, a Web portal for data scientist developers. The researchers ran various ML modules until they were able to predict fires with 90% accuracy. Firefighters Health Wellness, mental toughness, and psychological self-care for firefighters are available in the palms of their hands; in a smart phone app. Fire and police agencies can provide their officers access to these and other self-help tools in an app that reflects each agency’s identity and design choices. Employees can be assured that the use of the app is totally confidential. Tracking Exposure Tracking firefighters’ exposure to smoke and cancer-causing materials is important when it comes to assessing liability claims, worker's compensation, and coverage for occupational health claims. Tracking and documenting exposure data for firefighters is easier than ever using the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) Exposure Tracker App, developed by the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) as part of the NFORS Analytics Data System.
Adapting workspaces to operate safely during a pandemic presents complications, not least of which is making sure that the measures taken to protect employees from infection do not undermine fire safety. In the course of altering a building to prevent infection spread, there are risks of introducing new life safety hazards and compromising emergency preparedness. As buildings adapt to new occupancy standards and requirements, it is critical that any protective measures do not interfere with operation of life safety systems. Might temporary partitions or barriers block escape routes during a fire emergency? Social distancing measures might entail blocking emergency exists and disrupting the flow of occupants looking to vacate a building. It is also important to avoid blocking firefighter access and facilities. Fire Safety Partitions Temporary partitions could block smoke exhausts, sprinkler systems or other elements of a life safety system Temporary partitions could block smoke exhausts, sprinkler systems or other elements of a life safety system. Call points and detectors should remain unobstructed. Partitions should not be installed too closes to any smoke detector. If installed more than 12 inches from the ceiling, partitions serve as walls that can obstruct the flow of smoke and heat, thus causing sprinklers to malfunction, for example. Another consideration is the need to ensure fire safety systems are operating as intended when buildings reopen after being unoccupied for an extended period. Appropriate inspection, testing and maintenance procedures should be followed, including sprinklers, alarm systems and portable fire extinguishers. During the various lockdowns, routine system maintenance might have been postponed or cancelled. Adapting emergency and evacuation procedures Building occupants should be educated on how they need to adapt their emergency and evacuation procedures in light of any COVID-19 related changes. Building owners and managers should also consider any new fire dangers, for example, might storage of large quantities of combustible items such as hand sanitizer constitute a fire hazard? Maintaining social distancing can undermine the ability to vacate a building rapidly during a fire emergency. Obviously, if there is a real fire, the imminent threat of injury or death takes precedence over the goal of preventing infection by a (less likely) disease. In general, because rules have changed, the uncertainty might slow down evacuation. What is the impact of lower occupancy on a building’s emergency procedures? Despite fewer occupants, there should be efforts to ensure enough trained people are on site to carry out evacuation. Fewer employees and staggered work schedules could require additional fire wardens or fire marshals. More training may be needed. frequent fire drills Larger outside assembly areas may be needed to avoid crowding and/or close proximity during a fire drill What about fire drills? How do you weigh the benefits of being prepared to evacuate versus the risk of infection if social distancing requirements are ignored? Do distancing requirements apply as people move through a fire escape? How much more complicated do these questions become in a high-rise building? What about the use of elevators? Larger outside assembly areas may be needed to avoid crowding and/or close proximity during a fire drill. In the event that social distancing rules are breached during a fire drill, should additional quarantine or contact tracing procedures be implemented? fire safety arrangements At the end of the day, most of these hurdles can be overcome. However, they should not be ignored. Careful consideration of the broad impacts of COVID-19 safety measures on life safety ensures that building occupants remain safe from either calamity. As businesses reopen, adequate fire safety arrangements must be a part of the new normal.
Vimpex has supplied Agrippa wireless acoustic fire door holders to hold open fire doors at the HQ of one of England’s largest housing associations to provide an easy and effective method of infection control, while not impacting on fire safety. A COVID-secure risk assessment identified the need to reduce the touching of fire door locks and door handles at the organization’s administration offices by staff and visitors. “Reducing the spread of germs and bacteria has never been more critical. We identified self closing fire doors that need constant handling to open them as having the potential to spread the virus. The Agrippa door holder provides an excellent, hygienic and legally compliant solution to holding open internal fire doors, supporting infection control without compromising fire safety." ensure social distancing While preventing door handle contact, the Agrippa door holder also increases room ventilation Vimpex’s Agrippa wireless acoustic fire door holders offer the perfect wire-free solution to legally hold fire doors open, using digital wire-free technology to uniquely ‘listen and learn’ the sound of a specific fire alarm. This ensures the holder’s releasing trigger reacts only to the precise sound of the fire alarm rather than extraneous loud noises, so false activations are virtually eliminated. While preventing door handle contact, the Agrippa door holder also increases room and building ventilation while improving visibility and accessibility to ensure social distancing is maintained. fire door holders The Agrippa fire door holder is the perfect solution to legally hold open fire doors in schools, care homes, hotels and office buildings, as well as many others. It is recognized by UK Fire and Rescue Services and the London Fire Brigade, suitable for installation to BS 7273-4 Standard Actuation (Category B) and conforms to EN1155, and is CE marked.
An Advanced fire alarm control panel has been selected to protect Marsham House, a high-end apartment building in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. Installed to ensure the safety of the 50 luxury apartments at Marsham House is a four-loop MxPro 4 panel covering all public areas and the underground car park of the six-storey building. Hertfordshire-based Amida Fire – responsible for the installation, integration, programming, commissioning and handover of the fire system – specifically sought approval from the main contractor to use an Advanced solution. Addressable fire panel In designing the system, Amida Fire has focused on ensuring false alarms are minimized. The MxPro 4’s confirmation filter has been used in the basement areas of the building so that both heat and smoke need to be detected before an alarm is confirmed as genuine, thus avoiding unnecessary evacuation. In designing the system, Amida Fire has focused on ensuring false alarms are minimized Michael Draper, Director, at Amida Fire, said: “The specification we received for the fire system at Marsham House contained some very particular requirements. Advanced has been our go-to choice of addressable fire panel for over a decade because of its versatility in a wide range of applications. We were confident that once again Advanced would meet all the criteria and so specifically requested that it be installed.” Extract control system Helping to ensure residents’ safety, the MxPro 4, with built-in printer and zone indication, was integrated with the building’s AOV system, BMS, basement air intake and extract control system. It also works seamlessly with the building’s access control and lift systems and is linked to a central monitoring station. Amanda Hope, UK Business Development Manager, at Advanced, said: “The power and performance of our fire alarm control panels mean they easily and effectively integrate with a wide range of third party systems – from smoke control and ventilation to BMS and remote monitoring, among others.” Alarm management solutions Repeated false alarms cost money, cause panic and distress and lead to complacency" “Repeated false alarms cost money, cause panic and distress and lead to complacency. However, Amida Fire’s project at the high-spec Marsham House is a fantastic example of how Advanced’s built-in false alarm management solutions can be applied to simplify the complex process of designing effective false alarm management systems.” 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 the Berkeley Hotel to Abu Dhabi International Airport and Las Vegas’ Golden Nugget Casino. Intelligent fire systems Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
The fire alarm control equipment from UK manufacturer, Advanced, has been installed at the core of a wireless fire detection system protecting Leuchie House in East Lothian on the Scottish Borders. As part of an upgrade to the existing radio fire system at the classical Georgian mansion house in North Berwick which operates as a respite center for people with multiple sclerosis, an Advanced 4-loop MxPro 5 fire panel has been installed alongside the latest EMS wireless FireCell equipment. Fire detection systems The MxPro 5 was selected to protect the five-storey, 18th century building and its residents, thanks to its compatibility with EMS FireCell XP detection – one of the most advanced cable-free fire detection systems available on the market. Responsible for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the fire system at Leuchie House is Galashiels-based Safe Services, who required a solution capable of delivering seamless protection whilst keeping disruption to the fabric of the building at a minimum. As a listed building, retaining a radio fire system was agreed to be the most suitable form of protection to safeguard the features of this period property. Installing cabling would have been intrusive to the décor and difficult and costly to achieve in the more inaccessible areas of the site. Multiprotocol fire system The MxPro 5 fire panel was the obvious choice for installation at the core of this wireless fire detection system Graeme Millar, Fire Systems Technical Engineer at Safe Services, said: “Having worked with Advanced products for many years, we were confident that we could rely on its solutions to perform as required. Now that Advanced supports EMS wireless FireCell detection, the MxPro 5 fire panel was the obvious choice for installation at the core of this wireless fire detection system, effortlessly ensuring protection across all five levels of the building.” The MxPro 5 is the unbeatable multiprotocol fire system. Approved to EN54-2, 4 and 13, it offers four protocols, Apollo, Argus, Hochiki and Nittan and a completely open installer network that benefits from free training and technical support. 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. Protecting historic buildings MxPro 5 panels are backwards compatible with existing MxPro 4 networks and include a host of features including AlarmCalm for complete false alarm management and reduction. Neil Parkin, Sales Manager for the North, said: “Advanced offers a wide range of solutions to help our customers overcome the common problems encountered when protecting historic buildings.” The fire protection now in place at Leuchie House makes great use of the versatility Advanced offers" “The fire protection now in place at Leuchie House makes great use of the versatility Advanced offers – minimizing aesthetic impact, supporting a diverse range of detection options and supporting the fast and safe evacuation of buildings.” 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 to Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Intelligent fire systems Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management and reduction systems.
Ampac Queensland, the Queensland State branch of Ampac, has been successful in obtaining the order for the Grafton Prison for a total of 64 networked Firefinder Plus Panel, computer graphics, and 366 Wagner Aspirated Systems. This is the largest prison to be built in Australia. Ampac Queensland is proud to be working with their customer, Triple M and fire systems installer, Interfire Systems. Firefinder Plus Panels delivered It’s a slice of countryside nestled in the Clarence Valley, in the Australian state of New South Wales that will soon be home to 1,700 criminals. The newly renovated Grafton prison will have a ‘campus-style’ layout and tablet computers for inmates The newly developed Clarence Correctional Center, located 12km south of Grafton, in Australia, will be a state-of-the-art development and correctional facility for men and women that will also mark a significant shift away from the traditional prison model. With no bars on the windows, the newly renovated Grafton prison will have a ‘campus-style’ layout and tablet computers for inmates to use for financial and technical tasks, such as checking their finances and undertaking training programs. The Clarence Correctional Center The new Clarence Correctional Center at Grafton prison will house up to 1000 maximum-security male prisoners and 300 maximum-security female prisoners, alongside another 400 minimum-security male offenders. Along with rehabilitation, high-tech security and surveillance are also a focus of the US$ 700 million prison development budget plan. The correctional facility project is due to be completed by mid-2020. The prison is being developed by the New South Wales State Government, in partnership with a consortium that includes John Holland, Serco, John Laing, and Macquarie Capital.
Everyone at Alberta is appreciative of the work being carried out by all Medical and Support Personnel at Mater Dei. They know that every single moment of their time is dedicated to saving lives and it is because of this that they should have the best tools to ensure a better use of their skills. Hikvison together with local authorized partners, Alberta have donated a Hikvision Temperature Screening Solution so that key workers can monitor the elevated skin-surface temperature of hospital visitors without the need for unnecessary physical contact.
Keeping workers safe is one of the most important concerns of any employer. Occupational accidents or work-related illnesses have an enormous impact on families and communities, as well as incurring significant costs to businesses. ISO 45001:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems is the world’s first international standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S). It provides a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and enable organizations to create better, safer working environments. Existing management processes It is applicable to all organizations, regardless of size, industry or nature of business and is designed to be integrated into existing management processes. Clark Contracts Ltd is a privately-owned main contractor with six operating divisions: Construction, Fit Out, Small Works, Retail, Maintenance and Manufactured Joinery. The company works throughout the UK, employing over 250 employees and is committed to driving continual improvement across the business. Gordon Cunningham, Managing Director, prides himself on best business practice and believes that having ISO 45001 certification is a crucial part of ensuring the safest possible work environment for employees. “We have always maintained a strict H&S management system,” explains Gordon, “So when ISO 45001:2018 became available, we felt that due to the continued expansion of the business and a desire to continually improve, we would obtain certification.” International quality standard ISO 45001 helps users to manage risk as a business process rather than as a standard approach" “Having first achieved certification to the international quality standard ISO 9001 with BM TRADA in 2000, followed by environmental standard ISO 14001 in 2010, we felt it was a natural decision to maintain the 18 year relationship and achieve ISO 45001 certification under BM TRADA.” “ISO 45001 helps users to manage risk as a business process rather than as a standard approach. It enables organizations to control their OH&S risks and improve their performance by implementing effective policies and objectives, which then allow for continual improvement as the business grows and develops. “The benefits of implementing ISO 45001 are clear,” says Gordon. “Having accreditation to this new standard provides our employees with a safe and healthy working environment, as well as helping to streamline processes and deliver efficiencies, saving time and money.” Improved staff morale As well as reducing the number of workplace incidents, further benefits of the new standard include reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, leading to increased productivity; reduced cost of insurance premiums; creation of a health and safety culture, whereby employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own OH&S; and enhanced reputation and improved staff morale. Gordon adds, “We are dedicated to continually improving occupational health and safety for our employees and ensuring the safest possible work environment. We are delighted to be one of the first construction companies to achieve the new international standard.”