Tall Building Fire Safety
Commercial properties left vacant or unattended throughout the pandemic are likely to have deteriorated over time, creating increasingly hazardous environments. As many businesses are now welcoming staff and visitors back into their facilities, safety has never been so important. Recent data has revealed that, despite a decline in fatal fire-related incidents since 2011, there has been an increase in incidents attended, proving that many properties still don’t have the correct fire safety...
Oshkosh Airport Products, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation Company, announced the next stops in the 2021 Road Rally featuring the revolutionary new Striker® Volterra™ ARFF hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). After the completion of stops along the Western Coast of the U.S., the Road Rally now sets off for locations in the Central and Southeast regions of the country. The events offer aircraft rescue and fire fighting crews at airports a hands-on and immersive experience to learn about the new...
Fire safety doesn’t happen by accident, it requires universal attention. With that, Karen Trigg of Allegion UK explores why the importance of working fire doors is often overlooked and why now is an opportune time to bridge the gap between fire safety education and action. Improving fire safety within UK buildings is a challenge we are all continuously facing. Irrelevant of the sector, it’s of the highest importance for any building type - from schools and hospitals to high-rise res...
Billed as the ‘Electricians’ Exhibition’ with 90+ exhibitors, free educational seminars, and exclusive on-the-day offers, ELEX is the perfect place for electrical contractors to find out about new innovations, regulations, and standards. C-TEC will be exhibiting its new CAST XFP addressable fire system, its CFP ActiV conventional fire system, and its revolutionary Hush BS 5839-6 Grade C domestic fire alarm solutions at Coventry (16-17 September) and Sandown (4-5 November). Au...
Financial assistance can be one of the biggest challenges for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. For individuals who have already graduated from high school or earned a GED, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) offers its Second Chance Scholarship contest to help. Those seeking to pursue a college undergraduate or graduate degree or trade school education – including returning military, parents returning to the workforce, etc. – are en...
It is the legal duty of the responsible person in any building to make the evacuation of disabled people equal to that for able-bodied people, as Anthony Smith, Managing Director of Vox Ignis, explains. When the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was first introduced in 1995, it gave disabled people long overdue access to goods and services, education, employment, transport and accommodation. This was, subsequently, incorporated into the Equality Act in 2010. Evacuation of mobility impaired pe...
In May 2021, sparks in a ventilator ignited a deadly blaze in the intensive care unit of a COVID-19 treatment building at an Indian hospital. Investigations into the incident later revealed a variety of gaps in the building’s fire protection measures. While incidents of this severity are thankfully relatively rare, this tragic example serves to remind us of the particular risks associated with healthcare settings. The presence of countless fire hazards, the difficulties of effectively maintaining fire protection across large and complex sites, combined with a high density of people – many of whom are very vulnerable – all serve to underline how easily a fire can bring essential services to a standstill, put lives at risk, and at worst lead to needless loss of life. The standard of fire safety in healthcare facilities is directly related to the quality and effective implementation of the fire risk assessment as well as the adequate provision of physical fire protection. At the core of many of these physical fire protection measures is the fire alarm control panel, with the most sophisticated of these capable of addressing the day-to-day challenges encountered by hospitals, clinics, care homes, and their staff. Immediate and Uninterrupted Notification of Alarm Networked fire systems can be relied upon to control evacuation procedures from a central or various locations Hospitals are complex, often combining old and new buildings and spanning tens of thousands of square meters, with numerous departments such as A&E, critical care, specialist treatment centers, operating theatres, and wards. In these settings, networked fire systems deliver the greatest benefits. Networked fire systems can be relied upon to control evacuation procedures from a central location or various locations, and can be programmed to effectively reduce the number of false alarms. They work with third-party systems to control the release of suppressants, operate smoke control systems, manage the closure and release of fire doors, link to graphical control systems, and interact with building management systems (BMS). To do all of this effectively, the fire panels installed on these sites must communicate instantaneously with one another across vast networks, with miles of cabling. These systems need to work quickly and reliably and process large numbers of changing signals in the event of a real fire situation. On larger healthcare sites, seconds count and fast systems are highly valuable in maximizing the time for verification, escape and firefighting. MxPro 5 and Axis EN The MxPro 5 and Axis EN ranges of fire alarm control panels from global fire systems manufacturer Advanced offer some of the industry’s most comprehensive and state-of-the-art networking capabilities. Advanced networks can be configured to allow the inter-connection of up to 200 panels (nodes) in a fault-tolerant configuration, relaying fire alarm signals across a complete 200-panel system in just 3.5 seconds. Using EN54-13 approved panels gives peace of mind that the system is designed and tested to continuously monitor network activity and ensure each panel performs in a fire situation. Practical Solutions for Sensitive Notification of Alarm Nurse Workstations In critical care areas such as intensive care units, patients are often immobile and likely to be connected to medical equipment. In a fire scenario, staff responsible for high-dependency patients need to be able to monitor the situation as it evolves, without causing panic and distress for those in their care. For this reason, sounders and speakers aren’t always required, and instead, fire system repeater panels can be used. Advanced offers four types of remote terminals to complement its fire panels Repeater panels, located in strategic locations such as nurse workstations, provide early notification of any fire detection events as well as system monitoring. Discreet and early notification affords staff time to prepare, and up-to-the-minute system status information enables them to make educated decisions on when it’s best to remain in place, shelter or evacuate. Advanced offers four types of remote terminals to complement its fire panels, each providing varying levels of control and functionality depending on requirements. TouchControl is a low-profile, high-resolution 10-inch touchscreen that lets users check the status of the fire system using interactive site maps and zone plans. Ideal for use in public areas such as wards and hospital wings thanks to its low-profile design, the panel complements a wide range of interiors and has the added benefit of being able to display notices and presentations when in standby mode. The screen instantly reverts to fire operation as soon as it is touched, or a fire condition occurs. Staff Paging and Deaf Alert Advanced is witnessing increasing demand from healthcare premises for discreet methods of alerting staff to fire alarm communications, particularly when they are working in areas with vulnerable patients. A radio-based messaging pager can be used to both subtly alert staff, without causing panic to patients, and to provide notification to the hard of hearing to the need to evacuate in emergency situations. This is particularly important for healthcare facilities that are required to meet legal obligations pertaining to disabilities. For example, in the UK, premises are required to ensure that they are Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant. LifeLine is Advanced’s three-in-one ESPA pager unit that delivers deaf and hearing-impaired alerts, detailed fire paging for engineers as well as instant staff paging. LifeLine provides clear and instant transmission of fire alarm alerts, information and emergency communications via personal pagers, it can be integrated into the fire system and is designed for compliance with BS 5839-1 section 18. Flashing Beacons and Strobes Flashing beacons or strobes provide another valuable way of discreetly notifying healthcare staff of a fire situation Flashing beacons or strobes provide another valuable way of discreetly notifying healthcare staff of a fire situation in cases where an audible alarm may cause issues. These visual warning devices are intended for use as part of the fire alarm system, but it is important to remember to choose those that have been independently certified to meet the requirements of the EN 54-23 product standard. Although full consideration must be given to any patients and staff who may be photo-sensitive or adversely affected by flashing lights, beacons and strobes can deliver an effective warning of a fire emergency. False Alarm Management False and unwanted fire alarms are one of the biggest issues in fire safety and building management today. They do not only leave occupants confused and troubled but can also lead to complacency and a failure to take proper action if/when a real fire occurs. They are also increasingly subject to penalty charges from fire and rescue services across the globe. A high-performance fire system should offer the flexibility to accommodate the various evacuation strategies required in healthcare settings. False Alarm Management (FAM) generally uses detection methods and human verification of alarms to help reduce the incidence of false alarms. For example, algorithms in detection heads can increasingly differentiate between false signals such as steam or burning toast and actual fires. Panels can also allow detectors to work smarter, using double knock (operation of two detectors) or coincidence (both combined smoke and heat detection elements operating) to confirm a fire. The system can respond differently to heat and smoke (with multi-sensors) and for programmable detector sensitivities. Alarm verification times and investigation delays can be programmed to operate at different times of day, allowing strategies to be configured relevant to the level of staff on duty or if the usage of an area changes. Systems can also include dedicated input devices that are manually operated when a false alarm is suspected to allow trained staff to extend an investigation period so that a local alarm signal can be verified before escalating. Advanced has published AlarmCalm – Complete False Alarm Management highlighting solutions for care homes To highlight some of the solutions to the challenges faced in care homes, Advanced has published AlarmCalm – Complete False Alarm Management for care homes. The document outlines the features of Advanced’s AlarmCalm false alarm management solution and its key components, as well as providing an overview of the areas within care homes where different false alarm strategies may be required, based on risk, building design, and resident needs. Integration with Third-Party Systems A high-performance fire system, capable of interfacing with third-party BMS, smoke damper control, sprinkler monitoring, or HVAC systems, offers the user a host of advantages. By consolidating data from HVAC, energy, security, CCTV, and life safety applications onto one system, the user gains facility-wide insight from a single workstation – benefiting from improved reporting, information management, and decision making. Against a backdrop of increasing pressures to drive down costs amongst healthcare operators without compromising protection, operational efficiencies can be gained through the integration of the fire system and BMS, thanks to the reduced requirement for additional staffing, simplified training, and fewer false alarms. BMS Interface Advanced’s BMS interface allows any MxPro 5 or Axis EN system to interconnect and communicate with independent third-party building management systems, as well as PC-based graphical control systems. This allows the fire system to be managed using existing fire or facilities management systems. In larger sites, such as hospitals, multiple BMS interfaces can be connected to an AdNet network allowing independent connections to a wide range of control systems. keeping healthcare premises compliant The fire protection requirements for healthcare premises are wide-ranging. They require meticulous planning and customization to accommodate an array of building uses, staff, and patient needs. Ensuring that the systems installed are completely reliable and fully functioning at all times has to be given the highest priority in these critical settings. Advanced continues to gather feedback from its many healthcare customers and innovates accordingly to help simplify the complex task of keeping healthcare premises compliant and their occupants safe from fire.
The Briton brand is synonymous with the best in door controls and exit hardware and Allegion announces the launch of the newly designed, end-user-focused Briton website. Following updates to their brand style, the new Briton website boasts a streamlined, modern design and concentrates on providing customers with improved functionality and a wide collection of essential resources. The website brings together the full product portfolio of Briton Door Controls and will be updated frequently to ensure users have access to the latest information in a bid to assist users throughout the product selection process. Central resource hub Adopting a user-friendly navigational system, the website will act as a central resource hub and will include detailed product listings with features and specifications details, downloadable certification information, and a refreshed set of supporting product datasheets and literature. In addition, a new automatic Door Closer Calculator and useful product selectors will further help users by recommending the most suitable products for their projects. Comprehensive door controls range Highlights include updated design, extensive product support resources, and streamlined user experience Pete Hancox, Country Manager at Allegion UK comments, “With more than 100 years of history, Briton is a trusted brand with a reputation for providing an extensive range of high-quality products that are fully certified and built to last, and we felt it was time the brand’s web presence embodied that. With that, we’ve created the new Briton website, detailed with fresh branding and one that works much harder for our customers, with improved usability and a comprehensive portfolio of the Briton door controls range.” “We wanted to make it easier for people who know and use Briton products to access the information they need throughout their journey, from product selection through to installation and maintenance. Our hub of resources is something we’re extremely proud of, and we believe it will consistently support Briton customers for years to come.” Highlights of the new website, which went live on 3rd September include an updated design, extensive product support resources, and streamlined user experience across all devices.
Allegion UK, a provider of fire safety and security products and solutions will be showcasing its flagship Briton door controls and Brio pocket door system, at the NMBS Exhibition, the UK's foremost exhibition for independent building, timber, plumbing and hardware merchants occurring from 8th-9th September at the Ricoh Arena, Birmingham. “Door controls play a fundamental role in protecting life and property by not only helping to restrict the spread of fire and smoke, but also aiding escape from a building," said Kirk Smith, Business Development Manager of Allegion. "With life slowly returning to normal following the easing of pandemic restrictions, it is now more important than ever that we work together as an industry to create safer spaces for our communities and Allegion is committed to helping to ensure that properties are safe for return with fire safety at the forefront of the mind.” Briton door controls A selection of these lifesaving products will be on display on the Allegion stand 154 For more than 100 years, Briton has built a reputation of producing high-quality, highly engineered products that you can trust and stands for the very best in door closers and exit hardware. A selection of these lifesaving products will be on display on the Allegion stand 154 and “we invite you to come along and interact with our door hardware solutions and meet our team of experts,” said Kirk Smith, Business Development Manager of Allegion. Launch of the new website Allegion will also announce the launch of their newly designed, customer end-user focused Briton website. Following updates to the brand style, the new Briton website boasts a streamlined, modern design and concentrates on providing customers with improved functionality and a wide collection of essential resources in a bid to assist users throughout the product selection process. Door control demonstration For hardware merchants, the new Brio Pocket Slide 80 System will be demonstrated. Hidden from view once installed, the universally sized pocket door kit offers a flexible, simple-to-install solution for installers, while reducing cost and valuable inventory space for architectural Ironmongers (AIs) and builders merchants. Pocket door market Show attendees can learn more and experience live demos at the Allegion stand Kirk Smith comments, ‘’The pocket door market is one of the largest door hardware markets in the UK, so it’s only logical for us to add this timeless and sleek product to our growing product portfolio. Designed with ease of use and practicality in mind, the biggest advantage of the Brio pocket door kit is its universal size." "As a ‘one-size-fits-all’ product, it removes the headache of choosing the right-sized solution for a project – making the installation process even easier.” NMBS will be offering exclusive product deals throughout the two days and show attendees can learn more and experience live demos at the Allegion stand.
Wildland fires are an increasing threat in the United Kingdom. They’re high risk, difficult to manage, and create a set of very particular circumstances for firefighters, who are battling the blaze. And with wildland call-outs measured in days, rather than hours, fire services need a kit that’s as tough as the terrain that they’re working on. Defender wildland firefighting suit FlamePro, a British manufacturing specialist of life-saving garments for firefighters, has unveiled a new wildland firefighting suit, challenging the industry by setting a new benchmark for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). The ‘Defender’ wildland suit features military-grade FR plastic hardware. It passes a heat resistance of 260 °C, even after 40 wash and dry cycles, meeting the high demands of the latest wildland standard. Superior comfort and with glow-in-the-dark tape The suit encompasses strategic paneling, which is shaped to offer easy movement for wearers Comfort and ergonomics are at the forefront of the design. The suit encompasses strategic paneling, which is shaped to offer easy movement for wearers. The precise location of the paneling also improves the breathability of the suit. This provides the much-needed airflow, so as to reduce the risk of heat stress, which the extreme conditions of wildland firefighting pose. The Defender suit also features photo-luminescent, glow-in-the-dark tape for operational effectiveness. These strips aid the location of colleagues in near, or even total, darkness. They’re visible even when you can’t see your hand in front of your face. featuring shoulder reinforcement and 3D padding Lugging heavy equipment into remote areas of land is part and parcel of wildland firefighting. Therefore, the Defender suit is equipped with shoulder reinforcement and 3D padding over the main fabric, providing added comfort for firefighters wearing a bulky backpack. The suit also includes ergonomically shaped knee panels, with reinforced fabric, to protect firefighters against thorns, gorse, and other annoying hazards that lurk in the undergrowth. Enhanced Versatility Available in red or yellow, the new Defender suit will also fit any body type, available in an industry-renowned range of 96 sizes and fits. FlamePro’s Technical Sales Manager, Reece Buchner, said “By their nature, wildland fires create a set of very particular circumstances. The remote location, the intense heat and the long duration of these emergencies, all combine to create extreme and high-risk incidents. This means that firefighters need unique protection.” Reece Buchner adds, “The only PPE that will suffice is that, which has been designed specially to protect against every one of the risks that wildland firefighting poses. Our Defender suit does just this. We’re not interested in just meeting standards, we aim to be setting them. Our military-grade materials, teamed with ergonomic design, offer the ultimate combination of protection and comfort.”
During the latest redesign of the Rosenbauer Rescue Stairs not only the operation has been overhauled, but the CAN bus system has also been implemented from scratch. A reduction of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) was achieved by using controllers from TTControl which are certified for safety purposes. The risk and hazard analysis showed that there are safety requirements up to performance level d, as defined in ISO 13849. Simplified Architecture Based On Safety Certified Electronics With the new architecture, Rosenbauer achieved to put all safety features in one single TTControl ECU, which features the redundancy internally. Safety requirements like tilting and leveling are programmed by two independent developer teams, one team at TTControl in Brixen and another team at Rosenbauer in Leonding. On the ECU the multitasking real-time system SAFERTOS® is operating both developed algorithms in parallel. The safety algorithm stops the Rescue stair all at once. The application algorithm takes care that the machine never moves to a position where the safety algorithm would need to take control and warns the user in advance on the display. TTControl ECU combined with the SAFERTOS® guarantees the freedom of interference As the TTControl ECU combined with the SAFERTOS® guarantees the freedom of interference, the non-safety relevant application software can be maintained and deployed on the same controller without the need to repeat all the safety certification on every new software version. As the products are varying greatly based on the final customer, this is an important feature to reduce the maintenance efforts of the complete software. Reduction of ECUs With this safety architecture, Rosenbauer achieved a reduction of ECUs from six units of three different types to three units of identical type. Another reduction of electronics was performed on the hydraulic valves. The previous generation featured a valve manifold, where each valve had a small electronics module integrated, which was controlled via an individual PWM signal. Now the complexity of the system was reduced by eliminating the electronics on the valves and using two outputs for each valve instead. The TTControl ECUs have everything on board for this purpose. They have sufficient outputs and each PWM output is capable of measuring its current. The accuracy of the current measurement is sufficient for moving the valve in every position via current control without a sensor on the valve. Only actuators with position control are equipped with sensors, while all-speed control is performed without sensors. Software Development On A Virtual Model In this project pioneering work was done in the way of application software development at Rosenbauer. A virtual model was created for the whole hydraulic system, with two PWM signals for each actuator as an input. All sensor signals were measured on the real system, and used as outputs like hydraulic pressures, end positions of the actuators, CAN signals, and current values. This model was used in two ways: On one hand, it was deployed by automatic code generation onto another TTControl ECUs to enable the safety software development team to perform software tests without traveling to the rescue stairs. All relevant characteristics of the 33 ton and about 1million EURO rescue stairs were put in one controller. The software development started on the desk as well, but nobody knew how it would behave on the machine On the other hand, the model was used to develop the application software. Therefore, the hardcoded current and position controllers from TTControl were imported into Simulink. In this way, externally delivered code pieces and the model of the mechanics were operating in one PC simulation, independent of the production status of the machine and with no hardware at all. Testing on the machine Before this model-based approach, the software development started on the desk as well, but nobody knew how it would behave on the machine. The real work started at the point of time when the programmer sat in the machine. With the new method, the programmer knows that the application software is functional and must search the differences or the missing test case during the commissioning only. It turned out that everything working in the simulation also worked in real life, as the tricky part of finding correct resting positions and keeping the first and last stair of the mainframe telescope in a flat position. Efficient Software Testing From Office With the simulation, the development iterations can be driven to a maximum and the programmer gets off all the external influences. A machine of this size can be run only outside, so the programmer is exposed to the weather and to the noise of the diesel engine. For each iteration, the software needs to be downloaded to the controller, and interesting variables must be monitored and plotted for each iteration. In practice, the days get longer and are extremely stressful, as it usually takes very long until all IO checks and mechanical and electrical installations are 100 % finished. The delivery date never changes, but all the other processes take longer as planned, which must be compensated by the extra working hours of the programmer. With the simulation, the software development and testing can be done efficiently in the office, decoupled from noise, stress, and bad weather conditions. The quality and the possibility of maintenance of the generated software are much better this way. Software design The embedded code generator gives the programmer the possibility to concentrate on the software design At the software development itself, MATLAB/Simulink/Stateflow and the embedded code generator give the programmer the possibility to concentrate on the software design. The hard work of writing the code after drawing the Stateflow diagram is automated by the code generator. Even if it turns out during the commissioning that there was a wrong assumption in the model, adding an extra state or transition is only a matter of drawing and has no big impact on software that is already programmed. Another advantage of the model-based design is that the drawings of the software can be understood by the customer service and other stakeholders, who are no programmers. The self-speaking drawings in Simulink/Stateflow can be exported to HTML and published to everyone as in-depth documentation of the software.
Volunteer firefighters who are also National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) members have one final chance to enter and win a personalized MSA Safety Incorporated’s MSA Cairns XF1 Fire Helmet. This is the last of three helmets that will be given out in 2021. MSA Cairns XF1 Fire Helmet The jet-style design of the Cairns XF1 Fire Helmet reduces snag hazards, provides a personalized fit, and houses its own integrated light module. Plus, the soft goods are removable, washable, and replaceable, helping firefighters align with cancer awareness programs, as written by the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. Approvals include NFPA 1971-2018 Structural Firefighting and NFPA 1951-2013 Rescue and Recovery. To be eligible to enter, applicants must be an active U.S. volunteer firefighter and a member of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC). Interested individuals can learn about member benefits and join on NVFC’s official website. One recipient will be randomly selected to receive the helmet. The entry period is open now through September 30, 2021.
In their daily lives, fire personnel must be brave, forward-thinking, and strategic when tackling fire emergencies. However, the most crucial part of a successful fire operation is the communication between the crew, the central command center, and the people in need of rescue when in mission-critical, and often life-threatening situations. Whether this location is a large-scale wildfire, a high-rise building or even a house, continuous connectivity can be the mitigating factor on success or failure when it comes to ushering people to safety. It was estimated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that US fire crews respond to a fire situation every 24 seconds across the nation. Still the number of fire-related fatalities has dropped significantly when compared to figures from the 1970s. Of course, this is due to the more robust communications systems and high-quality fire equipment available today, but all of this relies on stable and fail-proof connectivity. Unwavering connectivity can prevent fatalities If fire personnel are to provide an effective and real-time response to any fire safety emergency, they require constant visibility and communication at all times. Any operation interruption, faltering connection, or unreliability can cause panic, uncertainty, and even danger. Furthermore, a robust, mobile connection allows for direct correspondence to control rooms, which can facilitate additional equipment, vehicle, and team members to be deployed. An unreliable connection presents hurdles to fire personnel as it restricts access to vital information and applications, which will inevitably hold firefighter crews back from receiving real-time data that is essential in critical situations. Most importantly, new technology is emerging, aiming to minimize firefighter danger and increase the overall visibility of sites. The more powerful the applications are, the more bandwidth is required to support them. If a network has insufficient bandwidth capacity, real-time access to files, such as on-scene video, critical communications, and aerial imagery, may not be possible. In addition, on-the-move visibility is essential in providing firefighters with the inclusive situational awareness they require when dealing with a range of life-threatening incidents, whether this be sprawling wildfires, vehicle accidents, or domestic fire situations. The wireless mesh that enables critical communication Rajant Corporation has worked with many emergency personnel and equipment providers in helping them communicate reliably with its Kinetic Mesh® wireless network. Comprised of multi-frequency network nodes that solidify the connection, the network allows for complete mobility and range, enabling fire crews to communicate wherever they are without the threat of interrupted connection. It is paramount with any public safety operation that a wireless mesh is fast in transmitting real-time data and completely secure from any cybersecurity threat. In addition to providing complete mobility, the network can support innovative equipment and wearable technology that can significantly increase safety and security in mission-critical situations. An example of this is Rajant’s partnership with communications provider Vorbeck. Equipped with Rajant’s ES1 BreadCrumb® wireless radio, the wearable Vorbeck HD4 communications harness facilitates live streaming of video, voice, and data to personnel in ‘hot zones’, these being hard-to-network areas or places with no network infrastructure. As the network can work peer-to-peer with all other Rajant BreadCrumb nodes, this extends the range of connection tenfold, keeping personnel safe and protected as they undertake their life-saving duties. It is paramount with any public safety operation that a wireless mesh is fast in transmitting real-time data and completely secure from any cybersecurity threat. In life-threatening situations that fire personnel may face, communications need to be received without the risk of interference or latency. Rajant BreadCrumbs can be configured with multiple radio transceivers and radio frequencies, including 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 4.9 GHz, and 5 GHz with low-power consumption. Multi-frequency capabilities help avoid interruption, increase speed, and allow an array of applications to run simultaneously. Ensuring comprehensive connectivity when fighting the California wildfire In October 2019, the heat from the sun combined with winds gusting through the foothills of El Capitán Canyon in California sparked a bush fire in the desert. During the blaze, the climate in the Canyon was considered “critical fire weather” with its dry grass and wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour. Emergency services and crews from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, California Fire, the U.S Forest Service, and other agencies were immediately dispatched to contain the blaze before it spread. Rajant and its technology partner Dejero were enrolled after a planned public safety demonstration locally. Both companies quickly shifted to an urgent, real-life challenge. Following this, Rajant’s BreadCrumbs and camera systems were mounted to bulldozers enabling critical local data transmission, while other situational data and mapping could be revived in the field. From a tactical response truck, Dejero was able to bridge from the field to the command post over cellular and SAT networks, during the actual emergency situation. Significantly, this allowed the firefighters manning the bulldozers to communicate in the valley, which normally is not possible. Data was then sent from the bulldozers, straight to the truck, and transmitted via the Internet connection, whereby the command control center could receive the video feed in real-time. With Rajant and Dejero providing the connectivity needed, the operation was a success. While four hundred and twenty acres of land had burned, no structures were damaged, and, most importantly, no one was injured. By utilizing a Kinetic Mesh network, fire personnel ensure the safety of their teams. Whether they’re fighting a blaze in a house, a high-rise building, or in a vehicle, a fully mobile, rapidly deployable, and redundant wireless connection allows firefighters to fully focus on saving lives.
Fire conditions and extrication events that firefighters arrive at today are very different from the conditions faced years ago. According to research at Underwriter Laboratories (UL), modern homes contain larger quantities of petroleum-based products and plastics that burn faster and hotter versus traditional and more natural materials. Rapid fire spread The result is more rapid and hotter fire growth with exponential increases in heat generation, smoke production and toxicity. Faster flashover and fire propagation, coupled with shorter times to collapse and shorter resident escape times, have changed what firefighters encounter in the average fire and its increased risk to their crews. On the other side, extrication calls are also on the rise, with multiple risks and an ever-present chance for fire, like with newer electric vehicles. New risks call for new and improved stationwear When the call comes in, firefighters rely on their turnout gear (TOG) for protection When the call comes in, firefighters rely on their turnout gear (TOG) for protection, but serious burn injury can occur right through the TOG. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) conducted a study that concluded stationwear contributes to overall thermal protection. However, depending upon the stationwear’s fiber content and material fabrication, it may also contribute to possible burn injuries. “Our goal at DuPont is to increase firefighters’ safety and we have dedicated years of study to ensuring what they are wearing under their turnout gear doesn’t contribute to more severe injury, as is the case with polyester and to a lesser degree, cotton,” said Jeff Fackler, North American Business Development Director for DuPont. Facing multiple thermal hazards As firefighters face multiple thermal hazards, they rely on the protective properties of their uniform to keep them safe. NFPA notes that the second leading cause of firefighter injuries in the United States is exposure to heat and smoke. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of reporting data that would help explain the severity, type and specific contributing factors, such as the clothing worn underneath the structural firefighting ensemble. Many authorities leave the choice up to the firefighters to determine what stationwear ensemble is to be worn underneath the structural turnout suit. According to the NFPA, the problem with this approach is the lack of knowledge about the risks of wearing non-certified garments, such as synthetics, and the lack of information focusing on factors that contribute to burn injuries. “We are working with DuPont to educate ourselves on how certified performance garments can help reduce risk of further injury during a fire or extrication,” said Spotsylvania, Virginia Fire Deputy Chief of Support Services, Jason Irby, adding “Stationwear is the last line of defense and the evidence is hard to ignore.” New Research in Preventing Injuries DuPont has worked to add to the level of research and discussion around how turnout gear and stationwear can help protect firefighters. DuPont scientists created Thermo-Man, a life-size manikin with 122 thermal sensors used to predict level, extent and location of potential burns of whole garments in simulated flame exposures. The goal is to test material selection and garment designs, and balance protection, mobility and heat stress. “What we found was that fire will exploit any gaps in turnout gear that may be created as the firefighter bends, climbs and crawls during the firefight,” said Jeff Fackler, adding “As a result, serious burn injury can occur right through the turnout gear, and the role of flame-resistant stationwear is to reduce the severity of that injury. In short, what you wear underneath your gear really does matter.” Stationwear made from Thermo-Man and Nomex Findings showed that garments made with Nomex will not melt, drip or support combustion, compared to 100% cotton DuPont tested stationwear garments using Thermo-Man to analyze and predict the levels of thermal protection that it provides. Stationwear made with Nomex brand fiber is compliant with NFPA 1975. Findings showed that garments made with Nomex will not melt, drip or support combustion, compared to 100% cotton, and Nomex helps reduce the predicted burn injury by 50%, when exposed to a three-second flame. Firefighters carry, pull, lug and climb with hundreds of pounds of hoses, ladders and other heavy gear. They have to crawl, squat, roll and duck in split-second decisions about their safety. More and more, they face challenges in extrication situations, where the chance of fire is high. Occupational Athletes Just like professional athletes, their gear has to be both comfortable and performance-based to allow freedom of movement, breathability and injury prevention. Associate Professor at the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology at UW-Milwaukee Dr. Kyle Ebersole has been studying the unique physical demands of firefighters for over a decade. “Firefighters and first responders are occupational athletes,” explains Kyle Ebersole, adding “Their job has some extraordinary physical and psychological demands.” Performance-enhancing sportswear Performance-enhancing sportswear like you see in the NFL or the Olympics is relatively new to the sports world. However, DuPont has been working on performance fibers for decades that help first responders perform at their best and help reduce the risk of injury. Stationwear made with Nomex fiber cools more effectively due to lower moisture pickup and evaporative resistance. The air permeability helps enable more heat and moisture vapor transmission and increases both cooling and breathability. Enhanced comfort and protection for firefighters This means more comfort and protection to firefighters in wildfire situations, structural rescue and vehicle rescue This means more comfort and protection to firefighters in wildfire situations, structural rescue and vehicle rescue situations. They can fight the fight longer with better performance and less risk of exhaustion. In the sports world, it’s well known that what you wear has a major influence on how your body and muscles move during various levels of activity. For athletes and firefighters alike, “The reality is if you become injured, you can’t work,” said Chief Jason Irby, adding “If I can help my team by providing stationwear that reduces thermal heat, allows them more time to fight a fire or work on getting someone out of a vehicle and it helps prevent burns closest to the skin, it makes total sense.” Technical advances and smart fabrics Technical advances and smart fabrics are making stationwear more comfortable and affordable, while allowing for better body heat regulation and adding protection against injury – helping give extra peace of mind to first responders. “They shouldn’t have to worry if their stationwear and gear is going to protect them,” said Jeff Fackler, adding “And with stationwear made with Nomex, they don’t have to.”
The product lifecycle of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is approximately ten years, during which time technology inevitably advances considerably in terms of digitization and ergonomics. Increasingly pertinent in the last decade, and especially since the Pandemic, has also been how kit can be designed for ease of cleaning to ensure firefighters are protected from harmful carcinogens as well as bacterial and viral infections. When we surveyed UK firefighters as part of our ‘Health for the Firefighter campaign’ to understand their concerns about exposure to carcinogens and COVID-19, we learned the vast majority (84%) admitted they were concerned about the risk of cancer, while more than two thirds (68%) fear the impact COVID-19 might have on their long-term health. Unequivocal statistics that warranted action in our technology design. Proven support infrastructure The SCBA product lifecycle allows time for medical and safety technology manufacturers, such as Dräger, to take advantage of technological developments, and thoroughly test and future proof them. It also enables us to utilize our direct relationships with the UK fire services, not only to accommodate day-to-day feedback, but also to learn from our support of major incidents such as Grenfell and the Salisbury poisonings. The SCBA product lifecycle allows time for medical and safety technology manufacturers Following Grenfell, for example, we saw the critical importance of reducing the weight and size of kit to allow for greater ease of movement, as well as how critical it is to have the equipment underpinned by a resilient and proven support infrastructure. AirBoss, Dräger’s latest SCBA offering represents a digital progression, where telemetry and connectivity provide the information, and enable the integration and communication required to further firefighter health and wellbeing. This decade’s launch is no longer a product, but a connected solution. Providing vital information Digitalization is critical. Dräger offers the only operationally-proven telemetry solution, providing vital information which is automatically communicated between the wearer of the BA set and the Entry Control Point – without the need for either team to stop what they are doing to send communications. These signals include manual and automatic distress signals, team withdrawal signals, cylinder pressure, time to whistle and time of whistle. This system also provides comprehensive data regarding the firefighters’ condition in relation to their SCBA, proving invaluable to those responsible for monitoring and directing BA crews. A new feature, unique to Dräger’s AirBoss, are ‘Buddylights’ fitted to the backplate, which use digital data from the set to provide immediate and highly-visible signaling to firefighters of their team’s cylinder pressures and physical condition. AirBoss, Dräger’s latest SCBA offering represents a digital progression Providing comprehensive data The optional Dräger Web client enables workshop, management and command staff to utilize the data created on scene wherever they are, and at any time. Reporting can also be customized for multiple purposes from user or device history to synchronized overviews of complete incidents. The ability to create incident reports on evidential and tactical levels provides comprehensive and valuable post-incident analysis tools for debrief and training purposes, or in case of any investigation or inquiry. For future developments, Dräger is working with partners in the UK looking at solutions for location and tracking of firefighters and providing comprehensive data regarding the firefighter’s condition at an incident. The latter includes information such as body core temperature, heart rate and other vital statistics to allow external teams to monitor the early signs of heat stress and other physiological strains. Reducing physical stress Another critical focus is ergonomics. Improved wearer comfort has been achieved through working with medical experts in this field and shifting the center of gravity relationship between the human body and the set, creating a ventilated space by the SCBA backplate. AirBoss’ new Type 4 Nano cylinder provides a continued reduction in cylinder weight AirBoss’ new Type 4 Nano cylinder provides a continued reduction in cylinder weight, which can also reduce full life costs to the service, as the Nano has an unlimited life. These improvements reduce physical stress on the firefighter which in turn reduces the risk of strain-related injuries and fatigue when wearing the set operationally as well as extending the working duration due to reduced physical exertion. With AirBoss, the weight is carried by the legs and pelvis rather than the back. Improving personal comfort This not only improves personal comfort, but also enhances mobility within confined spaces and while descending ladders and stairwells. In an industry where a split second can be the difference between life and death, these advancements are crucial. On a practical level, the Dräger AirBoss has also been designed to be ‘snag-proof’, ensuring that all attachments are neatly connected or integrated to mitigate any risk of snagging or entanglement. Alterations have been made to maximize cleaning practices, including the introduction of smoother, non-absorbent, water-repellent surfaces to make equipment easier to wipe down and decontaminate. Numerous attachment points have also been included so kit can easily be dismantled for optimum cleaning – both mechanically and by hand. To this point, some fire services are moving towards mechanical washing systems, which provide complete consistency in washing temperatures, concentration of detergent, speed and temperature of drying. Vehicle charging systems The Dräger AirBoss solution is centered around four pillars: usability; safety; serviceability and connectivity Recognizing the financial pressures which the fire services are under, the AirBoss system is designed to enable fire services to maximize the significant investment already made into their SCBA and telemetry. With a modular design, AirBoss is backward compatible with existing Dräger PSS SCBA and Telemetry, enabling elements of the existing set to be upgraded over a period of years. This reduces the requirement to purchase a full suite of new equipment including telemetry, pneumatics, electronics, integrated communications, cylinders and vehicle charging systems. Overall, the Dräger AirBoss solution is centered around four pillars: usability; safety; serviceability and connectivity. These pillars, which support utilizing digitalization, improved ergonomics and ease of cleaning, are how we intend to protect our firefighters’ health and wellbeing, both today and as our future-proofed technology advances to meet the needs of tomorrow.
Electric bikes and scooters are a newly popular way to travel through urban environments. However, the nifty devices come with a fire risk that could be deadly. In London, firefighters have responded to more than 25 fires, involving e-bikes or e-scooters in recent months, some of them significant incidents with serious injuries. Lithium-ion batteries pose fire risks The fire hazards of e-bikes and e-scooters stem from their use of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can erupt into flames. Complicating the problem is use of unauthorized or third-party batteries that may not be safe. E-bike conversion kits are available to convert standard bikes into e-bikes, but they include only the motors and control gears. Batteries must be sourced separately, often over the internet and by cost-conscious buyers, who may not consider safety issues. Cheaper batteries may be faulty. Using trusted batteries and proper storage Firefighters urge residents to use only trusted batteries and to store them correctly Damaged batteries are also problematic. Spare batteries should not be knocked around, which can increase the likelihood of damage to the cells. Firefighters urge residents to use only trusted batteries and to store them correctly. In one recent incident, a first floor flat in Brixton in south London was badly damaged, after a fire was caused by a fault in the lithium-ion battery pack of a mountain bike that had been converted into an e-bike. In another incident, five people were taken to hospital, after a fire at a flat in Southwark in Central London, caused by the failure of a battery in an electric scooter on charge. In the United Kingdom, anyone over 14 years old can ride an ‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’ (EAPC) without a license and with no need to register, pay tax or ensure the bike. Parameters for e-bikes in the UK The bike must meet certain requirements, such as displaying the power output and motor manufacturer, showing either the battery voltage or the maximum speed of the bike, and having a maximum power output of 250 watts. The electric motor should not be able to propel the bike, when it’s traveling more than 15.5 mph. Assuming a bike (or vehicle with more than two wheels, such as a tricycle), meets the requirements, it is classified as a normal pedal bike and can be ridden on cycle paths, and anywhere else where pedal bikes are allowed. E-scooters for emission-free transport E-scooters are stand-up, electrically powered scooters that are becoming more popular in urban environments E-scooters are stand-up, electrically powered scooters that are becoming more popular in urban environments, providing individual and emission-free transport. In a city like London, e-bikes are a familiar sight. Riders may store and charge their e-bikes in communal areas or hallways, when they are home. This practice heightens the fire danger, because any fire that erupts is likely to block an escape route and trap occupants within the building. Avoiding unsafe mixing of batteries and chargers The London Fire Brigade’s Fire Investigation team has seen incidents involving multiple batteries and chargers for a number of bikes at one property, which has resulted in the unsafe mixing of batteries and chargers. Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to failure, if charged incorrectly, which may be a contributing factor in some incidents. Batteries can get warm during use and should be allowed to cool down, before attempting to re-charge. They should also be charged on hard, flat surfaces, in order to allow heat to dissipate. Chargers and batteries should not be left unattended or while residents are asleep. Installation of smoke alarms is advisable in areas where e-bikes or e-scooters are being charged.
Given the large global consumption of hydrocarbon fuels across all sectors, the associated risks are constantly expanding. The Allianz Global Corporate Specialty study cites fire and explosion as the largest causes for loss claims filed globally from 2013 - 2018. Fire and explosion Furthermore, fire and explosion are among the top 10 global business risks in 2021. More than 100 major fuel explosions have been reported, since 2019 around the world, most of which were avoidable. The risks are driving an expanding market for fuel explosion prevention systems, although the warning and mitigation solutions previously available in the market offer limited respite. An innovation is the ATOM Explosion Prevention System, by ATOM Alloys, headquartered in Dubai, UAE. ATOM Explosion Prevention System The technology is compliant to NFPA 69 standards and is tested and certified by international agencies The system works with a passive protection module inside fuel containers that does not allow any deflagration to escalate into an explosion. By containing the fire, the system actively prevents loss, reduces disaster risk and gives mitigation systems more time to work better. The technology is compliant to NFPA 69 standards and is tested and certified by international agencies. A range of products has been developed to suit contemporary industry requirements, helping to upgrade to higher standards of explosion safety and to enable efficient transfer and storage of fuels. “At the heart of most fuel explosions sits an unprotected fuel container,” said Ajit Tharoor, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ATOM Alloys, adding “The first fuel tank explosion triggers additional explosions in fuel tanks within the vicinity, thereby multiplying the effect. Our disruptive technological innovation addresses the safety of that unprotected fuel container.” Passive protection module for fuel containers By equipping every fuel container with a passive protection module that is explosion resistant, the technology makes liquid fuel storage and transport tanks explosion resistant. By resisting explosion, ATOM shifts the safety steps from mitigation to hazard prevention. It has multiple product applications, from a jerry can to fuel tankers to bulk storage, which create an ecosystem of safety. Technological innovation to protect workplace and residences “The technological innovation can protect every workplace and residence that uses fuel, from hospitals and malls to schools and industrial complexes, and convert them into zones safe from fuel tank explosion,” said Ajit Tharoor. He adds, “Any explosion wreaks damage and destruction on the business, the community and the environment, but fuel tank explosions can be prevented. For us, it is our purpose, to bring top level explosion safety to everyone who uses fuel.” For firefighters, an explosion prevention system complements their mission and adds another layer of safety, by providing specific advantages, such as: Explosions have a ‘domino effect’ and such incidents generate immense pressure on the firefighting force, in terms of response time, resources and manpower. Resisting explosions without any human intervention can reduce such pressures on the forces and contain the level of damage. At a practical level, in the event of a fire, a protected fuel tank can be accessed easily by firefighters for extinguishing the fire and even decanting fuel from the tank. The explosion prevention system enables industries and communities to equip and take more responsibility themselves, in the prevention of disaster incidents, thus helping firefighting forces to optimize their efforts and work better. Once an explosion is prevented, the safety risks faced by a firefighter are far less, when compared to when they have to handle an explosion, and there is more time to handle fire mitigation interventions. An explosion-resistant retrofit can protect fuel tanks of vehicles that move in explosion hazard spaces. This could be particularly useful for fire vehicles. Innovation in materials science and fire dynamics The technology draws on innovation in materials science, design engineering and fire dynamics. A passive protection module works on the three principles of thermal conductance, flame quenching and structured packing. Made from the intervolving of a reticulated alloy mesh, the patented module works by its passive physical presence in the Deflagration to Detonation Transition (DDT) stage. The ATOM Explosion Prevention System works towards preventing an explosion from happening Fire protection and mitigation systems Unlike the mitigation systems that work after an incident, the ATOM Explosion Prevention System works towards preventing an explosion from happening. It is also different from warning systems, as it works without the requirement of any triggering sensors, chemical reaction or human intervention. While fire protection and mitigation systems have been developed in recent years that address explosions mostly in controlled environments, the tested, proven and certified solution provides a range system of explosion prevention solutions for liquid fuel storage, at industrial scale with cost effectiveness. Additional features of durability, slosh resistance and industrial customization have been incorporated. Specialized sector-based solutions ATOM can be applied at a ready-made product level or as customized process-based integration to existing systems Specialized sector-based solutions have been developed. Essential service providers – data centers, schools, hospitals, hotels, civil defense organizations, etc. are today required to maintain a high level of energy resilience (fuel storage) to avoid service disruption and business interruptions. Such fuel storages are high risk with great volumes of fuel. ATOM can be applied at a ready-made product level or as customized process-based integration to existing systems. Some examples are fuel tankers for the oil and gas industry, mobile fullers for the fuel delivery business, marine fuel tanks for the maritime industry and storage tanks for industrial and civil uses. The defense industry is one of the highest consumers of fuel, and it is required to maintain energy resilience banks as well as store and deliver fuel to militarized/border territories. This places huge demands on supplementary storage and transportation of flammable fuels. Explosion risks faced by defense sector The explosion risks faced by the defense sector are also the highest due to their operations in conflict zones, the presence of highly explosive ammunition in their spaces, and the threats of war, sabotage, and vandalism. Dedicated products for the defense sector include jerry cans, skids, mobile containers, barrels, smart fuel stations, marine fuel tanks and underground built tanks, among others. The explosion prevention system has been granted the Explosion Resistant verification mark by the Underwriters Laboratory. Following successful trials for military application, ATOM has been awarded four patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is registered in PCT countries (most major industrial countries). Explosion prevention system The system has been tested by the Southwest Research Institute, USA and certified by the VCA Dangerous Goods Office, UK The system has been tested by the Southwest Research Institute, USA and certified by the VCA Dangerous Goods Office, UK, Underwriters Laboratories, USA, Bureau Veritas, France, and Emirates Industrial Lab, UAE. It is compliant with NFPA 69, Chapter 14, 2014; ASTM F3429/ F3429 M20; United Nations Rec. on Transfer of Dangerous Goods, Ch. 6.1; IMDG Code and ICAO Technical Instructions. The system has also been registered with WIPO and is in the PCT Registration, Foreign National phase, and the company is a member of the National Propane Gas Association. Asset protection “Every explosion generates damaging effects on the environment in addition to business interruption and losses. The adoption of an explosion prevention system helps organizations and governments fulfill their commitments towards environmental protection, climate change and safety,” said Ajit Tharoor. He adds, “The presence of the system reduces fuel evaporation loss, thereby reducing emission/air pollution. Further, ATOM helps businesses protect their assets, workplace, staff from risks and losses and reduces disaster risk for communities and the environment.”
Back in Indianapolis for the first time since 2019, FDIC International 2021 offered a full slate of conference sessions, hands-on training and equipment exhibitions. Attendance was down, but everyone appeared happy to be back at the show, after cancellations and delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Masking compliance was low, despite continuing concerns about COVID-19 and the Delta variant. There was little social distancing. In many respects, the show seemed back to normal. A highlight of the event was the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s (NFFF) 9/11 Stair Climb. It’s a way for attendees to honor and remember those in the fire service community, who gave their lives in the 9/11 tragedy. Hundreds of FDIC participants paid tribute by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. MSA’s LUNAR hand-held device on display As always, safety was a huge theme at the FDIC exhibition, including development in hand-held tools As always, safety was a huge theme at the FDIC exhibition, including development in hand-held tools. MSA Safety displayed the new LUNAR hand-held device that helps keep firefighting teams connected, combining direction and distance information with thermal imaging to help find separated teammates and decrease response time. LUNAR uses cloud technology to increase fire-scene management capabilities for incident commanders. LUNAR can be used as a stand-alone device or as part of an MSA SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) system. Thermal imaging with edge detection identifies hot spots and ventilation points, so as to simplify navigation through low-visibility environments. Tethered drone and Reveal FirePRO X thermal camera FotoKite (Perspective Robotics AG), which has a joint development agreement with MSA Safety, featured a tethered drone that hovers over the site of an emergency, in order to provide networking capabilities through the tether for better connectivity. Seek Thermal offers the ‘smallest and lightest’ thermal imaging camera, available for US$ 799 and seeks to bring the benefits of thermal technology to every position on the fire team. The Reveal FirePRO X can now be charged using a four-station charging dock priced at US$ 399. The compact size makes the FirePRO X easy to carry and manage, while its high resolution and fast frame rate ensure superior images. Teledyne gas detection systems exhibited Teledyne displayed a range of gas detection systems, starting with the simple Protégé ZM carbon monoxide meter that can clip onto pockets, helmets, and EMS bags. A new product is the Gas Laser, a hand-held device that can quickly scan common venting points from a safe distance, in order to identify the presence of dangerous explosive gas. Teledyne recently acquired FLIR and the combined companies will provide a spectrum of imaging technologies and products spanning X-ray through infrared and from components to complete imaging systems. FDIC International’s Innovation Hub focused on new technologies coming to the fire service Innovation Hub FDIC International’s Innovation Hub focused on new technologies coming to the fire service, featured in a presentation theater on the show floor. Leading the initiative was SafeTech, a College Station, Texas-based non-profit organization, whose mission is to bring new technologies to first responders and armed forces. One featured company was Tracks North America, which provides unmanned vehicles with fork-lift capabilities. Another was Infysort, which makes superabsorbent pellets – ‘hyper-blown polypropylene sorbent nanomaterial’ that can absorb 50 to 60 times its weight in oil. Hale Products SAM control system HURST Jaws of Life demonstrated eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater power extrication tool The SAM control system, by Hale Products, is gaining in popularity, offering computerized/integrated water flow controls that manage a fire truck’s pump, tank, intakes and discharges using touch-screen display for simplified interface. The new SAM Smart Nozzle allows firemen to control flow from the end of the fire hose. HURST Jaws of Life demonstrated eDRAULIC 3.0, a new underwater power extrication tool that can withstand salt water. The Lifeline Firehose provides a source of continuous breathable air coming from the nozzle of a fire hose. The patented coupler design enables the continuous air supply, which can also be used to power air tools. Seeking to help small and medium fire departments replace paper documentation, incident management systems offer low-cost digitization. Environmental awareness From Rosenbauer A topic among fire apparatus companies is idle reduction systems designed to shut off the main engine in a fire apparatus when not needed, eliminating loud diesel engine noise and exhaust, while maintaining power for lighting and air conditioning, for example. It is a reflection of growing environmental concerns among fire manufacturers. For example, Rosenbauer’s Green Star system makes idle reduction easy, using electronic controls to shut down the chassis engine on-scene (if the fire pump is not engaged or no aerial operations under way), and starting a diesel-driven Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumpers The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service in Madison Pierce launched their Volterra platform of electric vehicles. The first Pierce Volterra zero-emissions pumper has been placed in service in Madison, Wisconsin. At FDIC International 2021, the Pierce booth included an electric vehicle technology kiosk and took attendees through the electric fire truck’s attributes. CMC Rescue Rope and Harness Systems CMC Rescue Inc. demonstrated rope and harness systems for rescue operations, including special duffle bags and access packs for easy transport of harnesses. The CMC Clutch is now available in 13 mm and 11 mm models, for hauling, lowering, ascending, descending, belaying and deploying twin-tension rope systems. The CMC Triskelion 10-foot tripod features rapid deployment, for example, over a hole where a rescue is taking place and is certified to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards.
There are often vehicles in a fire department’s fleet that are highly specialized and unique. Firefighters have fond memories of these vehicles and cherish the missions on which the devices provided critical assistance. The volunteer fire department in Windischgarsten, Upper Austria, has one such unique small firefighting vehicle in service. It is built on a very special chassis – a Pinzgauer – from Austria. New Or Old Vehicle Since a replacement for the Pinzgauer was scheduled, the fire department members thought about the tasks that needed to be fulfilled by this vehicle. Ultimately, they decided that repairs and modernization would be sensible in order to extend the life of their Pinzgauer. Rosenbauer enjoyed contributing the experience and skills to the realization of a one-of-a-kind firefighting vehicle Two and a half years ago, Rosenbauer was contacted by the Windischgarsten volunteer fire department through Rosenbauer-Service and invited to an inspection meeting, which they were of course very glad to attend. The fire department wanted to completely refurbish their Pinzgauer. Any corrosion had to be removed from the body and chassis, and lighting equipment had to be renovated or enhanced in order to improve the safety of the emergency services and to facilitate the tasks at the scene of an emergency. The signal system needed to be brought up to date and the necessary equipment renewed and installed so that the intended operational tasks could still be managed by the fire truck. The Perfect Partner After discussions and brainstorming with the fire department, the offer was finalized. In spring 2021, the time had come: after the chassis had been overhauled by a specialist company, the vehicle arrived at Rosenbauer and got down to work. New shutters, roof boxes, equipment compartment devices, LED lighting both in and around the vehicle, new cabling, and supply facilities; all of this was implemented according to the wishes of the customer and fully utilizing our vast experience. Eventually, Rosenbauer was able to hand over an appreciable vehicle to the Windischgarsten fire department, which will once again meet the operational requirements for years to come. Rosenbauer thoroughly enjoyed contributing the experience and skills to the realization of a one-of-a-kind firefighting vehicle.
Previously, the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department dried their hoses using an inclined hose drying system, in which the fire hoses are suspended between the ceiling and the floor at an angle of 30°. Not only was this laborious, the drying result was also not ideal with the hoses sagged in the middle or hung together at the edges and therefore, still remaining wet. Wintersteiger Drytech drying locker The Wintersteiger Drytech drying locker for fire hoses is a special solution that was implemented especially for the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department. Chief Fire Inspector and Fire Chief Markus Auer at the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department said, “The most important advantage is obviously the cost. A drying tower would have been a significant investment. We were looking for another solution when we stumbled upon the Wintersteiger drying lockers for clothing online. Wintersteiger were very helpful and converted the locker to suit our needs.” Fast drying time Another advantage of the drying locker is the fast drying time, as the hoses are dry in just a few hours Another advantage of the drying locker is the fast drying time, as the hoses are dry in just a few hours. Until now, the hoses had to be hung up for a week, until they were dry. A timer clock is used to set the drying time. In the summer time, when severe weather conditions mean that the hoses need to be used more often, the shorter drying time is a big bonus. “The hoses are rolled up tightly and placed in the drying locker. Once they are dry, the hoses just need to be tensioned and put away,” explains the St. Georgen Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Chief, Markus Auer. Energy efficient condensation drying The energy consumption is very low as the drying locker uses condensation drying. With this method, the moisture is extracted from the material, cooled on copper tubes, and discharged from the locker into a separate container as condensation. Ventilation systems are therefore not necessary. The drying locker uses approximately 60 % less energy than conventional drying solutions.
Fire missions, rescue missions, work missions: the new L32A-XS 3.0 turntable ladder from the Dresden fire brigade is not only equipped for one, but for a wide variety of purposes. Compact dimensions, very good maneuverability and at the same time high performance - these are the characteristics of the XS turntable ladders Rosenbauer since their market launch a few years ago. The concept of the turntable ladders with tilting jib was continuously developed by Rosenbauer. In the current 3.0 version, the vehicle impresses with its sophisticated technology, many possible uses, simple operation and extremely high safety standards. Aluminum safety platform The L32A-XS 3.0 for the Dresden fire brigade is built on a Scania chassis with a Euro VI engine and 280 hp. On top of this is an aluminum safety platform with integrated lighting, six equipment rooms and two additional storage compartments. The maximum working height is 32 meters; the cage floor height when fully extended is 30.3 meters The heart of every turntable ladder is of course the ladder set: In this case it consists of five parts including a tiltable cage arm, is controlled by a CAN bus system and is equipped with a 3D load measurement system so that all loads and forces acting on the ladder can be permanently monitored view has. The maximum working height is 32 meters; the cage floor height when fully extended is 30.3 meters. Power supply system The HR-500-MF rescue cage is the ideal tool for rescue operations of all kinds thanks to the removable multifunctional column, four entrances and stretcher mounts. For firefighting from the cage, it is also equipped with a RM8 water cannon with a capacity of up to 2,000 l / min. In addition, a wide variety of electrical devices can be used in the rescue cage thanks to the power supply system (230 V / 400 V). A lifting eye with a lifting capacity of up to four tons is attached to the lower ladder for work or rescue operations, and a load of 600 kg can still be lifted and moved at the top of the ladder. The tilting jib of the L32A-XS 3.0 means that the range of applications for the turntable ladder is enormously expanded. Main control station The M500 main control station is covered and equipped with an inclinable backrest For example, the rescue cage can also be perfectly placed on the side of the roof ridge facing away from the street, if necessary. And underground operations, in which the rescue cage is brought below the level of the vehicle, are also possible. In keeping with the Rosenbauer tradition, when designing and equipping the L32A-XS 3.0, care was taken to ensure that operation was simple, intuitive and safe. The M500 main control station is covered and equipped with an inclinable backrest in order to offer the operator a good view and appropriate comfort during longer-term operations. In addition, one can fall back on various assistance systems that make operation significantly easier: the automatic return of the ladder set to the ladder rack, the automatic return function (ARF), the target memory system TMS, which enables the same rescue cage position to be controlled automatically and repeatedly or the vertical rescue system VRS, with which vertical movements of the ladder set are made much easier. Raising rescue cage For example, when one raises the rescue cage on a facade and bring it into position. The entire lighting of the L32A-XS 3.0 is made with LED technology and ensures a very good view and thus more safety when deployed in the dark. There are also two powerful LED floodlights on the rescue cage, with which the area of use can be perfectly illuminated. In a nutshell: The L32A-XS 3.0 is an extremely well-equipped and versatile vehicle which, thanks to the multitude of possible uses, is an indispensable part of the Dresden fire brigade's fleet.
Two seven-story residential apartment buildings in the cultural and social hot-spot of Cardiff Bay are now protected by evacuation alert systems from UK manufacturer, Advanced. The EvacGo panels have been installed to meet the criteria set out in the BS 8629 Code of Practice for the design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in England and Wales. Audible warning in emergencies Situated in Cardiff Bay’s Tiger Quay development, Roath House and Queen Alexandra House are a mix of 73 social and market-rented one and two-bedroom apartments managed by Trivallis, one of Wales’ largest housing associations. Trivallis appointed Cardiff-based, Tremorfa Ltd, to complete the installation, requesting that Advanced’s EvacGo solutions be installed to ensure both residential buildings met the BS 8629 recommendations. With all Advanced evacuation alert systems custom-manufactured to reflect each building’s evacuation zones, Advanced supplied two EvacGo systems to Tremorfa complete with a 1-loop card, expandable from four to eight evacuation zones. The two systems were installed alongside a combined total of 63 sounders to provide an audible warning to building occupants in the event of an emergency. BS 8629 requirements Graham Smart, Fire & Security Installation Manager, at Tremorfa Ltd, said, “Having installed Advanced solutions for several years, we knew we could depend on its evacuation alert system to meet the requirements of the BS 8629 code of practice.” “The systems in both apartment buildings are now performing as required and we will be completing the installation of further EvacGo systems at Trivallis’ properties.” EACIE for fire and rescue EACIE must operate independently of fire detection systems and be designed to support any evacuation strategy Evacuation alert control and indicating equipment (EACIE) is now strongly recommended in England and Wales for all new tall residential buildings – and is mandatory in Scotland. The EACIE must operate completely independently of fire detection systems and be designed to support any evacuation strategy chosen by the fire and rescue service. Evacuation alert systems Ken Bullock, Business Development Manager – Evacuation Alert Systems, said, “We are seeing a rapid growth in interest in evacuation alert systems from local housing authorities and private landlords eager to ensure that the safety measures installed in their tall residential buildings meet the latest regulations.” “EvacGo has been built using our industry-leading MxPro 5 fire panel technology and, in developing our solution to meet the BS 8629 Code of Practice, we have consulted with fire industry experts involved in developing the standard.” “Both Trivallis and the residents of Tiger Quay can now rest easy knowing that they have the latest and most sophisticated fire evacuation equipment installed in their homes.” New Code of Practice BS 8629:2019 is the new Code of Practice for use by fire and rescue services in England BS 8629:2019 is the new Code of Practice for the design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in England. In place since November 2019, this code of practice recommends the installation of a dedicated evacuation alert system intended for the sole use of the fire and rescue services and separate from the building’s fire alarm system. New high-rise residential developments are among the buildings being prioritized for evacuation alert systems installed. Although not yet a legal requirement in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, EACIE installation is already mandatory in new buildings containing flats over 18 meters in Scotland and is considered best practice by several fire and rescue services.
In Paris, visitors will find not only the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, but also the largest fire brigade in Europe. With its 8,500 firefighters, the Paris Fire Brigade is, in fact, the third-largest urban fire brigade in the world, only topped by Tokyo and New York City. Paris Fire Brigade The Paris Fire Brigade is a part of the French army, and each firefighter joins the fire brigade for a period of 5 years. The safety of the firefighters is high on the agenda. It is of utmost importance that the fire brigade is equipped with the best possible fire gear, combining the utmost comfort with the highest degree of safety for the firefighter. A prismatic reflective tape, ORALITE FTP 2100, was selected for offering the highest degree of visibility It is, therefore, no surprise that when the Paris Fire brigade, back in 2017, were looking to upgrade their fire garments, they selected ORAFOL (Orafol Europe GmbH) as their supplier of the reflective trim. A prismatic reflective tape, ORALITE FTP 2100, was selected for offering the highest degree of visibility. Sioen is the manufacturer of fire safety garments. ORALITE FTP 2100 reflective tape Jean-Philippe Roy, Business Development Manager for ORAFOL, explains “Paris Fire Brigade was very determined to offer their firefighters the most visible tape available in the market place today. They carry out dangerous tasks in difficult working conditions, and they must be able to fully trust that they are as visible as possible in all conditions. ORALITE FTP 2100 met their high standards.” He adds, “Being a metalized prismatic tape, it provides the longest distance visibility available. In addition, the fact that the tape is also fluorescent means that it is also exceedingly visible in daytime or smoky conditions.” High-quality safety garment for firefighters Paris Fire Brigade sets forth a very good example for other fire brigades globally in that they have made the deliberate choice of a high-quality solution for their firefighters. No compromises have been made. Jean-Philippe Roy further said, “The thing is that many reflective tapes do meet the law regulated requirements. But meeting the regulation is simply not enough, it is not a guarantee of 24/7 visibility of the firefighters. And when a fire brigade specifies a tape, the risk is that they will just specify regulation compliance, and choose the tape offered at the lowest cost,” Roy explains. EN ISO 20471 standard specification The specification for reflective components on PPE, EN ISO 20471, sets forth the minimum reflectivity for the tapes The specification for reflective components on PPE, EN ISO 20471, sets forth the minimum reflectivity for the tapes. Yet, at the same time, the same specification allows for a drop in reflective performance of 70% in wet conditions. This is exactly why being specification compliant is not enough. It is necessary to carefully evaluate the working conditions that the users will be subjected to and select the best possible reflective tape based on this. Prismatic reflective tapes Jean-Philippe Roy concludes, “Prismatic reflective tapes remain highly reflective also in wet conditions, whereas glass bead tapes see a significant drop. This is simply due to the technologies working in different ways. Fire fighters work in wet conditions a great deal of time, so here a prismatic tape is really the only kind that truly makes sense.” The prismatic tapes from ORAFOL are the preferred choice for many major fire brigades around the world, including also the New York City Fire Brigade.
Inmarsat partner and emergency telecommunications NGO, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has deployed to western Germany, following torrential rain that has caused the country’s worst flooding in half a century. Rescue operations With thousands of people forced to leave their homes, roads completely destroyed and entire towns devastated, rescue operations began immediately, but were hindered by phone and internet connections going down in some affected areas. To ensure that communities could be contacted and rescue needs ascertained, and coordinated, TSF sent a specially designed vehicle to the most affected areas, offering telecom support to people on the ground, including relief organizations. The areas most in need were identified as the Ahrweiler’s district and the town of Euskirchen. Inmarsat satellite lines and IsatPhone 2 phones Deploying Inmarsat satellite lines and six IsatPhone 2 hand-held satellite phones in Ahrweiler meant that local firefighters and emergency responders involved in the rescue missions, including the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), were able to regain communications.
Round table discussion
New tools and technologies are emerging that augment the efforts of the fire market to prevent and fight fires. Modern firefighting is benefiting from an ongoing sea change in technological capabilities, spanning equipment, electronic components, greater connectivity and firefighter monitoring, to name just a few. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What technologies will have the greatest impact on the fire industry in 2021?