Tall Building Fire Safety
The fire safety industry is widely welcoming the campaign by AEI Cables to highlight the importance of using only approved cabling in signal and control equipment. The company has been advising the industry of the requirements under the revised version of the Code of Practice for Category 3 fire performance cables. The systems powered by these cables, including smoke and heat extraction systems, assist fire services in firefighting and a safe evacuation in the case of life safety. AEI Cables&r...
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has announced the expansion of its Tyco corridor sprinkler family, with the launch of the Series RFII-C Royal Flush II Quick Response Concealed Pendent sprinkler. Corridor sprinklers Along with the recently released EC-8C Light Hazard Quick Response sprinkler, the corridor sprinkler family offers the cost-saving benefits of needing fewer sprinklers at lower design pressure, compared to standard covera...
C-TEC has appointed Andy Turner as its new Business Development Manager for System Sales. With over 25 years of experience in the fire industry including nine years as one of C-TEC’s Technical Fire Account Managers, Andy has a wealth of experience and is set to play a key role in identifying new business opportunities and assisting the company’s transition into a complete systems solutions provider. Primary objective Andy’s primary objective in the newly-created role will be...
With the arrival of the July 4th holiday weekend, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds everyone about potential electrical hazards that exist aboard boats, on docks, and piers, and in waters surrounding boats, marinas, floating buildings, and launch ramps, and the need to put safety measures in place to reduce risk. Electrical Dangers While most people are unaware of electrical dangers posed by damp, wet, and water environments such as electric shock drowning (ESD), each y...
Many restaurants around the world are suffering from loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation has made fire prevention a lower priority. Fire authorities should work with restaurant owners and associations to address this issue and offer guidelines and training to increase awareness in the community. Restaurant fires account for about 6% of all non-residential building fires reported to fire departments each year, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS...
As health restrictions continue to ease across the country, Americans are looking forward to summer barbecues and evenings around the fire pit. However, these celebrations bring an increased need for safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, July is peak time for grill fires, with gas grills being involved in an average of almost 9,000 home fires per year. In the event of a fire, proper use of fire safety equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, is critical. To kee...
E-ONE®, a subsidiary of REV Group® and a foremost manufacturer of fire apparatus, is pleased to announce the major expansion of its dealer 1200 Degrees’ Techno Feu, an E-ONE dealer for more than 30 years. The $1.5 million investment at the branch in St- François-du-Lac, Quebec includes the addition of more than 12,500 square feet, increasing the facility’s footprint to almost 30,000 square feet. As a result, there are now 18 service bays and the size of its after-market parts department tripled, expanding the branch’s capacity for the selling, servicing, and maintenance of fire trucks in Eastern Canada. Preparation of strategic Affiliations “This major project at Techno Feu reflects our recent growth and prepares us for strategic affiliations coming in the next few years,” said François Proulx, President of 1200 Degrees. “With our expertise, our zeal and our credibility that dominates the market, we were able to build a complete service offering, especially accessible to municipalities across Eastern Canada. We intend to remain one of the most important Canadian suppliers in the field and this expansion allows us to achieve that.” Pandemic Support “E-ONE is excited to be a part of this major expansion with our dealer 1200 Degrees Techno Feu, who have been instrumental to our success in the Canadian market,” said Larry Daniels, E-ONE Director of Sales. “Despite the impact of the pandemic during the past year, 1200 Degrees Techno Feu has continued to move forward and invest in their future and the future of E-ONE. We are proud to support them and to continue to grow our Canadian market presence well into the future.” Sales and customers With service centers in Trois-Rivières, St-François-du-Lac and Ayr (Ontario), 1200 Degrees offers the largest specialized grouping in sales and rental of fire trucks and fire equipment in Eastern Canada. Major customers include the cities of Montreal and Toronto and the Canadian National Defence.
EconAqua™ water mist extinguishing systems combine the best of two worlds: the advantages of a sprinkler system with the benefits of high-pressure water mist technology. The system, which is based on low-pressure water mist technology, offers efficient building protection for certain risks in accordance with VdS CEA 4001 and VdS 3188. Highly Efficient And Easy To Retrofit The structure and function of EconAqua™ systems correspond to those of a classic sprinkler system. However, up to 85 % of water can be saved compared to sprinkler systems. Until now, this has only been possible with high-pressure water mist systems, which usually work with operating pressures of between 100 and 140 bar (1,450 – 2,030 psi). Quick response fine spray sprinklers are installed in the areas to be protected. In the event of a fire, only the sprinklers that are in the immediate vicinity of the seat of the fire open. The pressure drop in the pipe activates the water supply and the water is finely sprayed via the open EconAqua™ sprinklers. The system can be designed as a dry or wet system. This means it can also be used in frost-prone or high-temperature areas. The Advantages Speak For Themselves In comparison to classic sprinkler systems, up to 85% less water can be used. This significantly reduces water damages after activation. The water supply, power units, and pipe diameters can generally be dimensioned much more compactly, which leads to space and cost savings and simplifies retrofitting. In addition, the protected area of EconAqua™ sprinklers is significantly larger than that of classic sprinkler systems, at up to 16 m². Compared to high-pressure fine spray extinguishing systems, EconAqua™ systems offer higher operational safety, as the fine spray sprinklers in the low-pressure range have significantly larger outlet diameters than in the high-pressure range. This virtually excludes the risk of clogging due to contamination. It also reduces maintenance efforts. Minimum Investment EconAquaTM systems do not require expensive power units needed in high-pressure fine spray extinguishing systems Investment costs can also be decreased. EconAquaTM systems do not require expensive power units, which are needed in high-pressure fine spray extinguishing systems to provide the water at high pressure and to compensate for the small outlet diameters. The material requirements for pipes, connectors, and special components are also lower and thus more cost-effective because they do not have to be made of stainless steel. There are no special requirements for water quality, which means that fire-fighters can feed the system with water from their truck. Areas Of Application Public, office, and administrative buildings Libraries and Archives Railway stations Banks IT rooms Hotels and restaurants Churches Hospitals and nursing homes Car parks/underground garages Schools and universities Prisons Educational institutions Hostels and apartment buildings Rosenbauer is a VdS certified installer of EconAqua™ systems. By installing this system, clients can meet regulatory requirements and obtain premium discounts for fire insurance.
Some of CFA’s most experienced and distinguished CFA members have been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in recognition of their outstanding service to the community when the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honors List was announced. With more than 250 years of combined service between them, CFA’s seven recipients have contributed across bushfire management and community fire preparedness, incident management and operational command, training and development, and welfare and wellbeing. The recipients hold experience with CFA during some of the state’s most severe disasters including Black Saturday, Ash Wednesday, and the 2019/20 bushfire season, as well as making contributions and positive change to their local community and the wider organization. Australian Fire Service Medal Recipients This year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors List includes two of CFA’s highest-ranking firefighters, Deputy Chief Officers Alen Slijepcevic and Garry Cook, who has been commended for their contributions to bushfire management, incident management, and firefighters’ welfare and wellbeing. The 2021 CFA Australian Fire Service Medal recipients also include: Peter Baker, Grovedale, for more than 50 years of dedicated and exceptional services to CFA, initially as a volunteer and since 1983 as a staff member, where he has made a significant contribution to improved community safety and emergency management in Victoria. Brian Petrie, Gembrook, for his exceptional dedication and leadership throughout more than 50 years as a volunteer and as a career staff member, where he has distinguished himself as an outstanding leader, trainer, and mentor. Lesley Read, Seymour, for her contribution not only as a volunteer with Hilldene Fire Brigade for 18 years but for her dedication to the welfare of all CFA members through the Peer Program. Peter Solly, Rainbow, for more than 50 years of sustained exceptional service to CFA and the communities of Wimmera most notably as Group Officer of the Rainbow Group. Stephen Walls, Campbells Creek, for his exceptional contributions to the advancement of fire and emergency management for more than 40 years. Authority Comments CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan and CFA Chief Executive Officer Natalie MacDonald congratulated the deserving recipients on their meaningful contributions and outstanding achievements. “CFA is incredibly proud of its volunteer firefighter and operational staff, and it is amazing to see some of our members recognized with the highest fire service medallion in the country for their dedication to making Victoria stronger and safer,” Chief Officer Heffernan said. Ms. MacDonald concurred: “We are fortunate as an organization to have so many amazing people who devote a large part of their life to the protection of lives and property in their communities.”
Much has changed in the nearly four decades since the America Burning report was issued in 1973 and revisited in 1980. The number of fires and fire deaths in the United States has reduced dramatically and that progress has unfortunately led to fire safety taking a back seat to other social concerns that seem more pressing. To understand the headway that has been made and the challenges that remain, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) commissioned the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the association’s affiliate, to examine the current state of fire safety in the United States. The new seminal report, Fire in the United States Since 1980, Through the Lens of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, is expected research to be a key document with valuable insights that will help to advance fire and life safety. Residential Fires - Focus Homes have consistently accounted for the largest share of reported structure fires While the report references success in several occupancies such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and hotels, the main focus that emerged from the study is residential fires. Homes have consistently accounted for the largest share of reported structure fires and most of the civilian fire deaths and injuries. And although there have been fewer fires in the U.S. than in past decades, statistically, if a home fire is reported, occupants are more likely to die today than 40 years ago. In fact, research shows that: Every 24 seconds, a U.S. fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the country Nationwide, a civilian dies in a fire every 3 hours and 10 minutes In the U.S., a home fire injury occurs every 43 minutes Report Highlights The 63-page Fire in the United States Since 1980, Through the Lens of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem report shows, in part, that: The most successful recipe for fire safety in the built environment has been the implementation of fire safety technologies through mandated codes and standards NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™ elements – government responsibility, development and use of current codes, and an informed public – have had an obvious impact on the fire experience Approaching fire safety as a system, and not individual bits and pieces provides an opportunity to unravel the complex and ongoing fire safety challenge for society Smoke alarms are a huge success story Cooking remains the leading cause of home fires and injuries Smoking has been the leading cause of home fire deaths for roughly four decades Fire deaths of children under fire have dramatically declined, but there has been little change in older adult death tolls States with higher fire death rates correlate with larger percentages of people who have a disability; are current smokers; have incomes below the poverty line; live in rural areas; or are either African American, Black, Native American, or Alaskan Native Wildfire is becoming the dominant type of fire that causes catastrophic multiple deaths as well as large losses The new study analyzed fire data and other research from the past 40 years to provide a snapshot of what has influenced safety. Additionally, catastrophic multiple-death fires and fires in the wildland/ urban interface (WUI) were looked at because they have the potential to cause significant human loss. Authority Comment NFPA will continue to advocate for the protection of people and property “Increasing the understanding of what has impacted fire safety can help identify what needs to be done to further reduce death and destruction,” NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley said. “Year after year, we see nearly 3,000 home fire deaths in the U.S., one of the most advanced countries in the world, and the problem is markedly worse in countries that don’t have a fully developed fire and life safety ecosystem yet. As a global authority committed to eliminating loss due to fire, electrical, and other hazards, NFPA will continue to advocate for the protection of people and property as we have for 125 years. But we cannot do the work alone. We need all of the elements of the Ecosystem working to connect the dots on safety.” Components of benchmark Research As the report name suggests, the new benchmark research was conducted with the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem in mind. NFPA introduced the Ecosystem in 2018 so that professionals, practitioners, and the public had a framework that identified the key elements that play a critical role in the fire, life, and electrical safety. The eight components are government responsibility, development and use of current codes, referenced standards, investment in safety, a skilled workforce, code compliance, preparedness, and emergency response, and informed public. When all the Ecosystem elements work together, the result is a fully functioning system that can benefit everyone. If one or more of the components fails, the system breaks down and tragedies can occur.
Direct Security is a comprehensive security solution installer providing complete fire and security systems across the UK. With their head office in London, and covering the London and the South East area, Direct Security recently won contracts to install new fire alarm systems for a major housing association including NHS keyworker sites adjacent to two major hospitals. Richard Gates, Project Manager at Direct Security says: “Our recent contract wins meant we needed a dependable fire systems partner to ensure we delivered on those sites with the right systems and on time. Partnering with Eurotech Fire gave us the confidence that everything would be fulfilled and took the stress away of sourcing large amounts of equipment at once.” Approach Direct Security were able to achieve comprehensive fire system designs and installations for their clients Covering multiple sites across London, Uxbridge, and Surrey, Direct Security was responsible for the design, supply, installation, and commissioning of new fire alarm systems as recommended by the fire risk assessments. Using the Evotech range of addressable panels alongside Euro-fi intelligent wireless optical smoke detectors and wireless heat detectors, Direct Security were able to achieve comprehensive fire system designs and installations for their clients that were compliant and suited for the locations. Solution The Evotech range is a very versatile range of open protocol fire alarm control panels, using the most advanced microprocessor technology to provide a control system of extremely high integrity. Evotech can be configured to suit all types of systems, from the most simple, to the highly complex, and can host up to 240 devices. Its fully integrated and secure network provides an intelligent interface for building control. With a large graphic display and ergonomic button and indicator layout, the Evotech control panels are simple and straightforward to understand for installers, commissioning engineers, and end-users alike. Authority Comments Richard concludes: “Michelle and the team at Eurotech have gone over and above to ensure we cater to our client’s every need, without any delays or issues arising. Their level of attention to detail and quick responses has ensured we’ve been able to deliver on our contract on time with no hassle. We’ve only been using Eurotech for 3 months but we already know we’ve found the perfect fire systems partner for the future.” Michelle Agius, Managing Director at Eurotech, says: “It’s great that Direct Security has chosen to invest in us as their new fire systems partner. Richard and the team provide impeccable life safety system solutions and we’re delighted to be able to assist them with fulfilling their client’s requirements.”
The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 95 years, has announced “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety™” as the theme for Fire Prevention Week 2021, October 3-9. From beeps to chirps, this year’s campaign works to better educate the public about the sounds smoke alarms make, what those sounds mean, and how to respond to them. “Smoke alarms have played a leading role in reducing fire death rates over the past 40 years, but we still have more work to do in maximizing their effectiveness,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. Smoke Alarms According to the latest NFPA “Smoke Alarms in the U.S.” report, working smoke alarms in the home reduce the risk of dying in a reported fire by more than half. However, almost three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms (41 percent) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (16 percent). People tend to remove smoke alarm batteries or dismantle alarms altogether resulting in tragic consequences Missing or non-functional power sources, including missing or disconnected batteries, dead batteries, and disconnected hardwired alarms, or other AC power issues, are the most common factors when smoke alarms fail to operate. “People tend to remove smoke alarm batteries or dismantle alarms altogether when the alarm begins to chirp as a result of low batteries or the alarm is no longer working properly, or when experiencing nuisance alarms,” said Carli. “These behaviors present serious risks to safety that can have tragic consequences in the event of a fire.” Addressing the know-how This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety,” helps people better understand the reasons smoke alarms may sound and provides the know-how to effectively address them. The campaign also addresses special considerations for the deaf and hard of hearing, along with information about carbon monoxide alarms. “Giving people the tools to properly respond to alarms sounding – whether it’s an actual fire or simply time to change a battery – can make a life-saving difference,” said Carli. Key messages When a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm sounds, respond immediately by exiting the home as quickly as possible. If your alarm begins to chirp, it may mean that the batteries are running low and need to be replaced. If the alarm continues to chirp after the batteries are replaced, or the alarm is more than 10 years old, it is time to replace the alarm. Test all smoke and CO alarms monthly. Press the test button to make sure the alarm is working. If there is someone in your household who is deaf or hard of hearing, install a bed shaker and strobe light alarms that will alert that person to fire. Know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm – three beeps for smoke alarms; four beeps for carbon monoxide alarms.
After years of Brexit negotiations and an ongoing climate of prevailing uncertainty, businesses across the UK are still adjusting to the realities of life outside the European Union. Following the end of the UK’s transition period with the European Union, at the end of last year, the United Kingdom is no longer subject to European laws. However, for many companies, the last-minute nature of the Brexit negotiations mean that they remain unclear on what has actually changed in practical terms, particularly with regard to the day-to-day rules and regulations that govern how they do business. Post-Brexit workplace safety rules Workplace safety rules are likely to be a major source of questions in many cases Workplace safety rules are likely to be a major source of questions in many cases. Have any rules changed as a result of Brexit? Do any of the fire safety standards that were previously in place need to be amended now that EU standards no longer apply in the UK? And is it likely that the UK’s fire safety laws might change in the near future, to reflect the country’s newfound legislative independence? Here, we will explore the answers to these questions, in order to provide you and your business with an insight into what aspects of fire safety might change due to Brexit - and what elements are almost certain to remain the same. What has already changed? In truth, the reality is that so far, very little has changed in terms of how workplace safety regulations are implemented and enforced in the United Kingdom. Although many of the current rules around occupational safety and fire prevention were previously derived from EU directives, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 has since transposed all of those regulations into UK law, in order to provide as much legal continuity for businesses and communities as possible. Amendments to the supply of new work equipment By enshrining these former EU rules as UK law, the British government is now able to enforce them directly, as well as gaining the ability to adapt or remove them unilaterally in the future. Thus far, the most notable change affecting fire safety standards are the amendments to the manufacture and supply of new work equipment, which have altered the processes that are involved in certifying the safety and quality of equipment, which are used in the workplace. UK-specific UKCA standard Post-Brexit, newly-manufactured equipment will be tested and marked as per new UK-specific UKCA standard Previously, any gear purchased for workplace use needed to bear European CE marking to affirm its conformity to international standards. However, post-Brexit, newly-manufactured equipment will be tested and marked according to the new UK-specific UKCA standard instead. In practice, the impact of this change will not be significant for the time being. Products that conform to relevant European product supply legislation and correctly bear the CE marking will be treated as satisfying the requirements of the relevant UK legislation, until December 31st 2021, and will therefore not require UK marking. This is only likely to change after this date, if future regulatory evolution causes the UKCA and CE standards to diverge. What might change in future? At present, the vast majority of UK legislation on fire prevention and general workplace health and safety, remains in close alignment with EU standards, partly in order to maintain an international consensus on best practice, and to facilitate economic cooperation. However, the stated purpose of Brexit was to provide the UK government with scope to amend and create its own standards and regulations, and as time goes by, it becomes more likely that we will see increasingly significant changes to how fire safety is regulated. For example, in recent months the government has pledged to make a number of updates to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, following a series of inquiries and consultations prompted by the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017. The proposed move could usher in the following changes for all regulated buildings in England, both residential and commercial: When carrying out a fire risk assessment, there will be a new requirement for any person engaged by the responsible person (RP) to undertake any part of the assessment to demonstrate competence. RPs will be required to record their completed fire risk assessments, and the identification of RPs will also be recorded. Penalties for failure to comply with fire safety regulations will increase. Steps will be taken to improve the effectiveness of consultation between building control bodies and fire and rescue authorities on planning for building work, as well as for arranging the handover of fire safety information. As such, businesses should be keeping a close eye on any moves by the government to update its approach to fire safety regulations, and make sure they are ready to make these changes as and when they are needed. What will remain the same? The UK has always been committed to maintaining high standards when it comes to fire safety Although a certain amount of regulatory change is to be expected in a post-Brexit UK, it is also important for businesses to be realistic about what is always likely to stay the same. The UK has always been committed to maintaining high standards when it comes to fire safety, and there is no reason for any organization to allow these standards to slip in the wake of Brexit. No matter what happens in future, you will always be expected to fulfill the following responsibilities: Carry out regular fire safety risk assessments to identify potential fire hazards within your workplace, and then create a plan to eliminate, minimize or manage these risks. Make sure your workplace is properly equipped with fire detection systems and equipment, and maintain them regularly to keep them in proper working order. Keep your fire exits and escape routes clearly marked, well-lit and unobstructed at all times. Invest in fire extinguishers, fire blankets and other equipment to ensure you are able to contain any fires that break out. Provide appropriate training for all of your staff on procedures they should follow in case of fire, including fire drills, as well as getting their buy-in to create a company culture where fire risks are managed and dealt with proactively. Political circumstances may change, but the core principles of workplace fire safety will always remain the same. As such, the best way to ensure your business is properly equipped for the future is to hold fast to these timeless principles, using them as a foundation for future changes and advances as the reality of post-Brexit trading slowly takes shape.
The fire sprinkler system in your building is a critical safety measure and, when needed, it can save lives. Still, even the best systems can malfunction, and sprinklers do occasionally fail. When they do, they can drench the interior of your building, damaging everything from furniture and personal belongings to drywall and building materials. As a property manager, dealing with fire sprinkler failure can feel overwhelming. What do you do next? Where do you start? And why did the sprinkler system fail in the first place? In this post, we’ll discuss the common causes of accidental discharge, and what to do if it happens to you. Reasons for Fire Sprinkler Systems Failure Today, all building fire sprinkler systems must meet NFPA 13 standards. These National Fire Protection Association benchmarks define safety requirements for components and installation, and help ensure that sprinkler systems are well maintained and ready to perform. Still, fire sprinkler systems can fail. Here are a few of the most common culprits: Aging parts Building renovations (collisions with construction equipment, displacement or disturbance, etc.) Incorrectly placed heating systems that activate sprinklers Vulnerable pipes that freeze and cause sprinkler heads to burst Corrosion Fire sprinkler malfunctions can be incredibly problematic, causing extensive damage to your building Regardless of what causes the sprinklers to discharge accidentally, fire sprinkler malfunctions can be incredibly problematic, causing extensive damage to your building and requiring costly repairs from a water damage repair contractor. 5 Things to do if Your Sprinklers Fail There are no flames in your building, but your sprinklers are soaking everything in sight. You have to move quickly to avoid even more damage. Stay calm and follow these five steps: Get everyone out Even if there’s not an active fire in the building, water poses its own set of dangers. To avoid problematic slip and fall conditions, get everyone out of the area immediately. Move them to a safe location outside the building, preferably one you’ve agreed on in a previously established evacuation plan. Shut off electrical equipment Water and electricity are a deadly combination. To avoid electrical shocks, shut off all nearby electrical equipment and appliances, and then, turn off the building’s main power supply, as you exit the building. Turn off the water main Instead of wasting time shutting off broken sprinkler heads individually, go to the building’s main water supply immediately and shut it off at the valve. This will stop all water flow and prevent additional water damage. Take photos of the scene Once it’s safe to re-enter the building, document the scene. Use your smartphone to take photos of broken sprinkler heads or anything else you believe may have caused the accidental discharge. Additionally, take photos of the damage the sprinklers caused to floors, walls, personal belongings, and more. These photos can help response specialists understand the cause of the malfunction and may streamline your insurance claims process. Contact a restoration specialist Even if your water damage looks minimal, you’ll need to contact a skilled water damage restoration expert, like the Chicago-based maintenance and service company, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. Accidental sprinkler discharges soak drywall, destroy carpets and textiles, and lead to dangerous mold and mildew growth, which can happen just 24-48 hours after water exposure. Prevent worsening damage and the dangerous conditions by contacting a sprinkler repair specialist right away. Cleanup and water damage restoration services Using your documentation, your insurance company will work to determine the cause of the sprinkler failure Using your documentation, your insurance company will work to determine the cause of the sprinkler failure. This can be a lengthy process that takes weeks or even months. As that happens, your cleanup team will focus on providing water damage restoration services. Typically, fire sprinkler water damage involves ‘blackwater’- a dangerous mixture of sediments and other contaminants that leave behind an unpleasant smell and a film that can destroy belongings. To reclaim your space, the water damage restoration service will focus on extracting the remaining water, drying the space to prevent mold and mildew formation, and decontaminating all surfaces. This is a critical step that you can’t afford to rush. Work with the best water damage cleanup company you can find to ensure positive results. Protecting Your Sprinkler Systems in the Future While it’s impossible to completely avoid every accidental discharge, there are certain steps you can take to safeguard your sprinkler system. Proper maintenance, for example, allows you to avoid preventable issues that could lead to malfunction. You should also take care to keep all remodeling and construction work away from sprinkler heads and systems to avoid accidental damage. These are simple tips, but they can help keep your building and tenants safe and dry - both now and in the future.
Drones give Incident Commanders an aerial view, increasing their situational awareness of fires and helping them to develop tactics to tackle them. Station Officer Lee Newman details how the technology was implemented by London Fire Brigade and the continued benefits. Identify external risks The Grenfell Tower fire has resulted in revisions to several operational procedures and the introduction of new equipment within the Brigade. A few months after the fire, the Brigade was tasked with setting up a trial to test the feasibility of having a drone capability to identify external risks and assess building stability at incidents, providing essential safety information that could facilitate ongoing internal firefighting operations. Implement the use of drones The Brigade implemented the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 Working with partners who had an existing drone capability, as well as drone experts, the Brigade began work to implement the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 as a trainer and reserve drone. In the summer of 2018, an Emergency Services bespoke course was run by Essex Police to train the Brigade’s team of drone pilots, who were all PfCO qualified within one week. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational. Working of the drones On its first day of being available for incidents, the team received an order to attend a 15-pump fire at a leisure center, which was under renovation. They were asked to confirm if there were cylinders on the roof of the building and immediately put the drone to use. The team flew and relayed the camera footage onto a large screen that was fitted into a van provided for the trial. The drone footage was able to identify, to the Incident Commander’s satisfaction, that the cylinders were actually rolls of asphalt due to be laid on the roof as part of the renovation. If the drone concept could have proven its use in one job, this was it. The information from the drone allowed the Incident Commander to decide not to make it ‘cylinders confirmed’ and saved a lot of unnecessary extra appliance movements. Applications of drone Since that first callout, the team has been to around 300 incidents of six pumps or more, including persons in the water, fires, and various missing people’s incidents both in London and into other counties, assisting police forces. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational Drone inventory The Brigade’s drone capability inventory includes a Matrice 300 with an H20T dual thermal and optical camera; a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual with multi attachments; a Mavic Air 2 and a Yuneec 520. The Brigade also has a Teradek live streaming device and multiple tablets for receiving the streamed footage. The Brigade operates with two Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs – plug-in hybrid SUVs – and has split the drone equipment into two, with one vehicle carrying the drone and batteries, and the other carrying all the support kit and ancillaries. Working in dark conditions The drones are permitted to fly up to 400 ft above ground level or higher in an emergency and can fly as fast as 50 mph. They also can act as a loudspeaker to give instructions or reassurance and shine a bright spotlight in dark or low light conditions. 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service. The team is working closely with its blue light partners, including the: Metropolitan Police Service, several search and rescue teams, and a host of fire services surrounding the capital, as well as giving advice to other upcoming drone teams around the UK. Use of drone in future The Brigade’s drone capability has been molded to how it sees the future and what it holds in the way of drone use. For example, the Brigade has developed a capability to drop water rescue aides to people at water incidents, which helps to keep them afloat long enough to be rescued. The drone can also be used alongside the swift water rescue teams to provide situational awareness of hazards and the resulting risks during the rescue phase. Delivering fire escape tools The Brigade also invested in fire escape hoods in late 2018 and has already demonstrated how one might be delivered via a drone to a balcony above the height of an aerial appliance while using the Mavic Enterprise 2 to relay instructions via the loudspeakers. These possible new uses are pushing the boundaries of the Brigade’s original concept and demonstrate how London Fire Brigade works to stay ahead of the curve.
Rental storage units represent a serious and unpredictable risk for firefighters. For example, hundreds of rented units at a three-story, self-storage warehouse in Manchester, United Kingdom, were recently destroyed by fire. Fire in rental storage units There were 125 firefighters and 25 fire engines called to the scene. There were no injuries, but hundreds of customers lost thousands of dollars in stored goods in the fire. Notably, the facility was not protected by a sprinkler system, which no doubt contributed to the scale of the loss. The Manchester fire is far from the first to start in a self-storage warehouse. In 2017, a fire destroyed most of a self-storage building, as well as several other businesses in Tottenham, in North London. There were 20 fire engines and 140 firefighters involved, who spent hours extinguishing the blaze. One person was injured. Self-storage warehouse fires In 2018, a self-storage warehouse in Croydon, in south London that housed 1,198 rental units In 2018, a self-storage warehouse in Croydon, in south London that housed 1,198 rental units was destroyed in a large fire. At the height of the fire on New Year's Eve, the whole of the four-story structure was ablaze, and there were 120 firefighters on the scene. There were no injuries. When the new four-story replacement facility was opened, the owners decided to include sprinklers in the rebuild, although they are not required by building regulations. Lesson learned. In 2019, a storage warehouse in Bedfordshire was destroyed by a blaze that spread from a plastics factory next door. Lack of barriers between units Fires in self-storage buildings provide unique challenges. There may be little separation between the various units, so a fire can spread quickly. Lack of barriers between units makes it less likely a fire will be easily contained. Furthermore, the contents of each unit are unknown, and some units may contain large quantities of furniture, tightly packed together and including flammable materials. In fact, the contents of any given storage building could literally be anything, which leaves firefighters perpetually uninformed about what they are dealing with. The resulting large fires burn for a long time, create a lot of smoke, and can challenge the resources of the fire service, as past incidents in the United Kingdom illustrate. Proactive use of sprinklers in rental storage units Sprinkler systems help to control fires, by allowing fire crews more time to access and extinguish a fire Sprinklers are a useful tool to slow the spread of fires in self-storage warehouses, and one that is not always deployed. Sprinkler systems help to control fires, by allowing fire crews more time to access and extinguish a fire. Proactive use of sprinkler systems can minimize damage and avert the worst outcomes in the case of self-storage fires. In fact, a viewing of overall United Kingdom fire statistics reveals that 95% of fires can be controlled or even extinguished by the operation of fire sprinklers. Importance of fire sprinkler systems Fire sprinkler systems make buildings more resilient to the impact of fire, by automatically controlling or even extinguishing it, before the fire service arrives. Sprinkler systems have an operational reliability of 94%, evidence suggests. The Business Sprinkler Alliance (BSA) seeks to highlight the true cost of fire and to increase the number of business premises that have automatic fire sprinklers. The BSA is driving a culture change to ensure that sprinklers are understood and accepted, as the norm in UK business buildings. Whether it’s in a self-storage building, a car park or an office, uncontrolled fire knows no limits. Proactive use of sprinkler systems can provide a level of control by delaying spread of a fire until firefighters can begin to play their important role.
Fire and EMS departments are eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) of their costs, related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A streamlined project application process eases the burden of applying for the program, but support documentation is required. Tracking costs For COVID-19 recovery Many departments do not apply for the money because they perceive reporting requirements as too difficult, and record-keeping as too big a challenge. To help, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) provides simple Excel worksheets for tracking costs related to COVID-19 response and recovery. Customizable worksheets capture common reimbursable costs as they are spent. Departments seeking reimbursement should submit a project application online at the FEMA Public Assistance Grants Portal (no paper submissions are accepted). FEMA’s Public Assistance Program The mission of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is to provide assistance to State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal governments The mission of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is to provide assistance to State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal (SLTT) governments, and certain types of private nonprofit (PNP) organizations so that communities can respond quickly to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President. A submission request for public assistance must provide complete and accurate documentation of expenses and usage, including standardized Incident Command System (ICS) forms, Public Assistance Grant forms, verifiable receipts, personnel costs sheets and apparatus sheets. Applications submitted via jurisdiction serviced Applications are submitted through the jurisdiction serviced. Additional documents include supporting plans, assignments, activities and shift records (payroll), pay policy receipts for purchases and rental equipment, and a copy of the service agreement/contract with the jurisdiction. Some activities may be eligible for funding through both FEMA and other federal agency funding sources for COVID-19, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Public assistance cannot duplicate funding from another federal source. Public Assistance program Some activities may be completed through direct federal assistance. If an applicant does not have the capacity to directly complete the activity or oversee activity completion through contract or mutual aid, the Applicant may request that FEMA or another federal agency directly conduct the activity. The assistance FEMA provides through its Public Assistance program is subject to a cost share, with the federal share not less than 75% of eligible costs.
Hundreds of sensors and devices operating across an entire city – all connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) – combine to provide useful and actionable information for a variety of functions – including public safety and fire protection. Even as IoT sensors and devices monitor buildings to provide vital information, computer systems transform sensor data into intelligence. Communication advances are ensuring that intelligence is shared when and how it is needed. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) divides smart firefighting technology into three categories – environmental (smart buildings or robotics), operational (communications), and personnel (PPE sensors or biometrics). Fire departments in smart cities can fuse and apply data captured from various smart sensors, computing technologies, building control systems, municipal grids, firefighting equipment, mapping information, and apparatus systems to inform budgeting, planning, operations, tactics, and outreach, says NFPA. Here are some ways that smart cities can provide information and insights to enhance fire safety and protection for residents. Perpetual monitoring of building conditions, including temperature sensors, to alert to possible fire dangers Intelligent building platforms can use artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze building systemsIntelligent building platforms can use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to analyze building systems, track fire inspections, gather pre-incident data, etc. Smart building intelligence (SBI) platforms can also share and analyze municipal data records for new construction project permits, fire hydrant malfunction, street closures, and event planning, among other information. Faster notification of fire events, which contributes to faster response IoT devices that monitor buildings in smart cities can detect fires more quickly, compared to traditional smoke detectors. Heat-proof sensors communicate where and when a fire starts, its intensity, nature, and patterns of spread. Providing more information to enable firefighters to be more effective Improved information flow enhances the capabilities of incident command centers, expands computer-aided dispatch, and provides better situational awareness for firefighters working on the scene. Knowledge of what’s happening on the ground enables streamlined approaches to firefighting and evacuation, enabling “Know Before You Go” smart firefighting. Routing traffic to clear the way for fire and emergency personnel Correlating response plan information with intelligent traffic management systems and collision avoidance technology can help prevent accidents involving emergency and civilian vehicles. For example, all civilian vehicles in a given area may be rerouted to avoid traffic mishaps. Protection and monitoring of fire personnel, including in dangerous environments Integration with personal safety devices and fire suit technology enables tracking of firefighters to provide incident commanders better visibility into where individual firefighters are working to battle a blaze. Radio-frequency identification tracks firefighters’ locations in real-time. Acoustic transmitters provide locations of firefighters who have not moved for a predetermined period of time. Sensors may soon provide additional information, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide pressure, volume flow rate, heart rate, gas pressure, body temperature, etc. Smarter fire prevention equipment, such as smart sprinklers, that can facilitate fire response Sensors interface with a sprinkler device and wirelessly transmit status information to a database used by facility managers and inspectors to identify problems. Sensors even enable sprinklers to spray high-pressure mist into flames at the hottest point in a room. Measuring the volume of water that has been flowing through a sprinkler system reflects real-time progress in fighting a fire and informs when and how to send in fire personnel. Automating fire response, including use of drones A drone could be launched as soon as an incident response is dispatched, and then fly to an incident site to provide real-time situational awareness via video streaming from the sky. Communicating vital intelligence to firefighters, when & how they need it Fire safety and protection is just one aspect of the many uses that can benefit from the connectivity and intelligence of smart citiesInnovations in technology such as Next Generation 911 and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) public safety network ensure effective communication among firefighters. Low-power Wide Area Networks (WANs) and wireless networks transmit a wide range of data to firefighters as needed, using mobile data terminals, tablets, smartphones, or computers. Systems provide more data-rich information in real-time, such as closed-caption video streams or data from IoT devices. Public safety answering points (PSAPs) provide access to cloud-based computer-aided design (CAD) platforms, advanced location information, and data from devices such as phones, wearables, connected cars and homes, and transportation apps. Fire safety and protection is just one aspect of the many uses that can benefit from the connectivity and intelligence of smart cities, although its impact on saving lives is among the most profound.
Award-winning Taktis fire panels, manufactured by Kentec Electronics, a foremost manufacturer of life-critical control systems, are protecting students and property at the University of Nicosia (UNIC)’s new state-of-the-art student residences in Cyprus. The integrated fire system was installed by Kentec Installation Partner (KIP) Glosec Dragon, a Cyprus-based business specializing in the design, installation, and maintenance of security, surveillance, hazard prevention, and hospitality systems. About UNIC Residences The UNIC student residences have been designed to set a new standard in modern student living. They consist of two separate complexes, SIX and TRIANGLE, which provide a multitude of dining, relaxing, and entertainment options including, a cafe, a mini-market, gym, TV rooms, and games areas. Split between six, 12-story distinctive towers, SIX comprises 307 luxury student residences and is protected by two, highly-sophisticated Taktis eight-loop addressable fire panels. TRIANGLE complements SIX with an additional 147 modern and spacious rooms, with one six-loop Taktis panel installed. Across both SIX and TRIANGLE’s fire protection systems are 578 heat detectors, 530 sounder bases, 94 call points, and 339 optical detectors. Three Taktis Vision Repeaters provide information on the status of the fire alarm system in key positions across the residences via large, full-colour, touch-screen graphical displays. Solution - Taktis Fire Panels Taktis includes a full suite of graphics, communications, analytics, and remote management tools Taktis provides an expandable solution, which includes a full suite of graphics, communications (copper and fiber), analytics, and remote management tools. Multiple protocols can be supported on each panel to give installers and end-users maximum choice in their systems’ design, and the scalable nature of the product provides the highest level of futureproofing and networking capabilities. A 7” full-color resistive touch screen display and a clear, uncluttered intuitive interface make it easy to use even for those with minimal or no training, essential in the event of an emergency. Right System For the Project Stathis Ierodiaconou, Managing Director of Gloss Dragon says the business has worked with Kentec for more than two decades and developed a trusting relationship: “Our experience with Kentec meant we knew Taktis was the right system for the project’s scope and needs. The project required that remote monitoring was possible from one control room to cover both SIX and TRIANGLE residences. It also needed to be an expandable system, which can grow as the development grows.” With Glosec Dragon also installing and maintaining a suite of other CCTV, wireless access control, intercom, parking, and energy-saving systems, Stathis says integration was essential: “Taktis is easy to install, integrates with other systems well and customer feedback has been good.” Ensure Fire Safety System Anastasia Christodoulou, Manager, at UNIC Residences, says student safety is paramount: “We required complete assurance that our fire protection system is providing the utmost protection. We were assured that Taktis does just that and that its advanced integrative capabilities mean a futureproofed and user-friendly system.” Costas Constantinides, Head of International Development at Kentec, says Taktis was the ideal choice for this development: “The highly-powerful and sophisticated Taktis panel was chosen to ensure the fire safety system had the required reliability, scale and flexibility to protect large numbers of students at such a prestigious development.”
AEI Cables has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to supply low voltage power and fire performance cables to the prestigious Sky City project at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). The supply of the cables for power, control and fire performance for the commercial and retail sector of the site starts in September and will continue, until early next year. AEI Cables will work in partnership with its long-term Hong Kong distributor, Fordex Electric Company Limited for the project located at Chek Lap Kok No.3. Supply the cables Sky City forms a core part of the strategy to expand and transform HKIA into a major aviation hub Stuart Dover, General Manager of AEI Cables, said “The need for cables which offer the highest levels of fire performance for an international airport of this kind cannot be underestimated with large numbers of people moving about. We are proud to be chosen to supply the cables for such an iconic world-class project.” A major integrated commercial development, Sky City forms a core part of the strategy to expand and transform HKIA into a major aviation hub. The complex will feature retail units, entertainment facilities, dining space, hotels, and office towers across approximately 25 hectares of land at the north of the airport island. Firetec Total Fire Solutions Using the very latest in technology and science, AEI Cables’ Firetec Total Fire Solutions range offers enhanced fire performance cabling, accessories, and technical support from its distribution facility at Washington, Tyne, and Wear. Applications for Firetec include residential and commercial buildings, shopping malls, airports, and protected buildings ensuring that fire alarms, sprinkler systems, building monitoring, and security systems can continue to operate in a fire. All AEI Cables’ products are supplied with approvals from independent bodies including BASEC and LPCB covering design, manufacture, and supply. It also holds approvals from organizations including Lloyds, the MoD, Network Rail, and LUL and works to international standards around the world.
Home to 250 children and 66 childcare specialists, Rublik Kindergarten is located in the borough of Tõrvandi in Tartu County. Since 1969, children in the Kambja municipality have delighted in discovering the magic of learning and playtime with friends in the spacious building. In 2020, the decision was taken to completely revamp the Kindergarten and equip it with brand new technical systems including a state-of-the-art fire alarm system. BK Eesti, C-TEC’s official distributor in Estonia and a member of BK Group, the biggest wholesaler of security solutions in the Baltics, partnered with Pristis AS to recommend CAST XFP to the project’s general building contractor. Project checked and verified Janek Mesipuu, Sales Manager at Pristis AS said, "We specified CAST XFP as it is a powerful yet simple and reliable solution for small and medium-sized buildings that require high levels of security and fire protection." “As CAST is soft-addressing, our engineers were able to program over 230 detectors, call points, sounders, and other devices at the panel so eliminating the need to walk around site and physically program each device. This was, therefore, a very smooth and timely installation. The entire project was fully checked and verified before being handed over to local fire department inspector and building owner/manager.” Reliable and configurable fire alarm system CAST gives management and staff at Rublik Kindergarten complete peace of mind Said Alari Nahkur, BK Eesti Estonia’s Area Manager, "More and more Estonian installers are finding that CAST is the best option to offer building owners a safe, reliable and easily configurable fire alarm system. CAST’s instantaneous reception and transmission of changes detected in devices is ingenious as it allows fast recognition of alarms and faults so prompt action can be taken." “Fire safety and security must never be comprised especially in a building housing children, our greatest national treasure. CAST gives management and staff at Rublik Kindergarten complete peace of mind." UK Designed CAST is C-TEC’s own UK-designed and manufactured ‘distributed intelligence’ addressable fire detection and alarm system. Certified to all relevant EN54 product standards, including EN54-13, CAST is also fully compatible with ENVISION, C-TEC’s powerful new remote access, data management, and system testing software.
Award-winning Taktis fire panels, manufactured by Kentec Electronics Ltd., a globally renowned manufacturer of life-critical control systems, are protecting students and property at the University of Nicosia’s (UNIC) new state-of-the-art student residences, located in Cyprus. Integrated fire system The integrated fire system was installed by Kentec Installation Partner (KIP) Glosec Dragon Ltd. (GLOSEC), a Cyprus-based business that specializes in the design, installation and maintenance of security, surveillance, hazard prevention and hospitality systems. The UNIC student residences have been designed to set a new standard in modern student living The UNIC student residences have been designed to set a new standard in modern student living. They consist of two separate complexes, SIX and TRIANGLE, which provide a multitude of dining, relaxing and entertainment options including a cafe, mini-market, gym, TV rooms and games areas. Taktis addressable fire panels Split between six, 12-storey distinctive towers, SIX comprises 307 luxury student residences, and is protected by two, highly-sophisticated Taktis eight-loop addressable fire panels. TRIANGLE complements SIX with an additional 147 modern and spacious rooms, with one six-loop Taktis fire panel installed. Across both SIX and TRIANGLE residential complexes, the fire protection systems include 578 Apollo heat detectors, 530 sounder bases, 94 call points and 339 optical detectors. Additionally, three Taktis Vision Repeaters provide information on the status of the fire alarm system in key positions, across the residences via large and full-color, touch-screen graphical displays. Full-color resistive touch screen display Taktis provides an expandable solution, which includes a full suite of graphics, communications (copper and fiber), analytics and remote management tools. Multiple protocols can be supported on each panel to give installers and end users maximum choice in their systems’ design. Also, the scalable nature of the product provides the highest level of future proofing and networking capabilities. A 7 inches full-color resistive touch screen display and a clear, uncluttered intuitive interface make it easy to use, even for those with minimal or no training, which is essential in the event of an emergency. Fire system integration with CCTV and access control Stathis Ierodiaconou, Managing Director of Glosec Dragon feels the business has worked with Kentec for more than two decades and developed a trusting relationship. Taktis is easy to install, integrates with other systems well and customer feedback has been good" Stathis said, “Our experience with Kentec meant we knew Taktis was the right system for the project’s scope and needs. The project required that remote monitoring was possible from one control room to cover both SIX and TRIANGLE residences. It also needed to be an expandable system, which can grow as the development grows.” With Glosec Dragon also installing and maintaining a suite of other CCTV, wireless access control, intercom, parking and energy-saving systems, Stathis stated that integration was essential. He explains, “Taktis is easy to install, integrates with other systems well and customer feedback has been good.” Flexible fire safety system Anastasia Christodoulou, Manager, at UNIC Residences, believes that student safety is paramount. She said, “We required complete assurance that our fire protection system is providing the utmost protection. We were assured that Taktis does just that, and that its advanced integrative capabilities mean a future-proofed and user-friendly system.” Costas Constantinides, Head of International Development at Kentec, believes the Taktis panel with EN54-13 certification was the ideal choice for this development. He said, “The highly powerful and sophisticated Taktis panel was chosen to ensure the fire safety system had the required reliability, scale and flexibility to protect large numbers of students at such a prestigious development.”
Hush ActiV, C-TEC’s innovative new BS 5839-6 domestic fire alarm system, is providing first-class fire protection at a luxury apartment block in Bolton. Ensures fire protection Set in stunning landscaped gardens in Horwich, a small town on the edge of the West Pennine Moors, Swallowfields is a collection of 28 contemporary new-build apartments featuring spacious living spaces and high-specification fittings. Each dwelling has been equipped with Hush ActiV smoke detectors, heat detectors, and sounders, all connected to a Hush ActiV controller to reduce false alarms and ensure the highest levels of fire protection. Extra layer of safety Said Adam Baxendale of Lansafe Ltd, whose specialist fire division completed the project, “Recent fires, Grenfell in particular, demonstrate how absolutely vital enhanced fire protection is in residential developments. Hush ActiV offers another layer of safety, protection, and reassurance for residents in addition to the C-TEC ZFP touchscreen-controlled addressable fire system we installed to provide LD1 coverage throughout the building.” BS 5839-6 Grade C system Hush ActiV constantly interrogates the status of the system’s power supply and reports any faults to the main Controller As a fully-monitored BS 5839-6 Grade C system, Hush ActiV constantly interrogates the status of the system’s wiring circuits, battery, and power supply and reports any faults to the main Controller in the apartment so the resident can take appropriate action and contact the responsible person. Said Adam, “Hush ActiV gives building management and residents, particularly those living in houses of multiple occupations, peace of mind. Our client was delighted with the solution we provided.” User-friendly Hush ActiV’s accessibility was also a key factor in its specification at Swallowfields. Residents are provided with easy-to-use detection, alarm, silencing, and test facilities at a light-switch level so they can test their own devices, be alerted to system faults, and hush any false alarms. The fact that the Controller’s HUSH and TEST buttons can be operated whilst standing or sitting in a wheelchair at floor level means that the elderly and disabled can also test the system easily, therefore, facilitating full compliance with the Equality Act. Said Adam, “Resident safety has to be everyone’s top priority and Hush ActiV is a superb way of ensuring people are protected and feel safe. It’s easy-to-install, user-friendly and, as a BS 5839-6 Grade C system, provides outstanding levels of fire protection.”
Keeping the power on in Africa is key to the continent’s economic success and the well-being of its people. It’s a 24/7/365 job largely performed by Eskom, which produces approximately 60% of the electricity on the African continent and is the 10th biggest power generating company in the world. And it carries with it enormous responsibility, not least of which is the prevention of fire at its power stations, which could lead to death, injury and the destruction of the facility, says Brendon Cowley, New Business Director of C3 Shared Services, a pioneer in the design and implementation of intelligent video, fire and perimeter security solutions. For this reason, in 2012, Eskom approached C3 Shared Services, whose list of blue chip clients includes various mines and national key points, to upgrade its Mpumalanga power station, a vast entity with a generating capacity of 2100 megawatts of electricity and an impressive average availability of 92.07% over the last three years. early warning system “Our mandate was to supply Eskom with an early warning system that would detect not only smoke or steam but also flames, so that in the event of an emergency we would be able to evacuate staff in the quickest possible time,” Cowley explains, adding that while all Eskom’s power stations are strongly committed to safety, the Mpumalanga facility has taken “two steps into the future”. Often, it’s not the actual fire that endangers lives but the suffocating smoke caused by the fire" The problem with most of the many detection systems on the market today is they’re are activated once the fire is blazing and consuming its surroundings, the resultant smoke being the alarm trigger, he explains. “Often, it’s not the actual fire that endangers lives but the suffocating smoke caused by the fire, which makes it very difficult to evacuate people.” “Most smoke detectors are limited in that there must be smoke to trigger an alarm. In large areas, the height and volume of the air flow can severely hamper a sensor’s ability to detect smoke.” smoke detection system These were all factors taken into consideration when C3 designed the new system for the Mpumalanga Power Station, the result of is a bespoke video-based fire and smoke detection system comprising nearly 400 cameras. “The cameras are programmed to detect and react to flames, which is critical for a power plant as it cannot afford downtime caused by fire damage,” explains Cowley. “The system’s early warning technology gives staff time to react to the fire before it gets out of hand by pinpointing the specific location of the fire.” Able to detect the presence of flames within their various view fields, the cameras have a built-in intelligence that picks up fire light reflected by other objects which might be in the path of the blaze. avoiding false alarms These zones are set to detect specific events such as fire, smoke, and motion The system’s on-screen event display signals, which look similar to CCTV footage, include details of the fire while highlighting flames, smoke, steam, and/or reflective heat with blue and red blocks, in keeping with the workings of video analytics. Each camera can be configured with multiple detection and exclusion zones within its field of view. These zones are set to detect specific events such as fire, smoke, and motion. The activation of a zone can also be linked to a time schedule, so for example, an area that releases steam at certain periods of the day can be defined and linked to a schedule, thereby avoiding false alarms, says Cowley. Because each algorithm runs independently on the camera, operators have wide-ranging flexibility concerning video flame and smoke detection options. Facility managers can easily adjust the sensitivity settings to low, medium, high, and even ultra (smoke only), or even turn off an algorithm altogether. identify the cause of the fire And for post-event investigation purposes, the visual footage allows security managers to identify the cause of the fire, even if the camera is destroyed. Additionally, notes Cowley, the system offers an intruder detection component, making it a valuable asset for security and operational managers. “Our video-based fire detection camera system has proved to be extremely reliable in the field, saving our clients time and money, not only in terms of reduced downtime but also the costs associated with repairs to damaged equipment and facilities. It’s a powerful and effective alternative to conventional fire products.”
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?