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How Is Digital Adoption Helping To Improve Fire Safety In Construction?
How Is Digital Adoption Helping To Improve Fire Safety In Construction?

As Grenfell remains a chilling reminder of the importance of fire safety in construction, new digital methods are now being adopted to guarantee the safety of end users. But how is digitization helping and how will this further advance fire safety during the wider construction process? There’s no doubt that the past five years have had a profound effect on the construction industry. Events such as the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire disaster have forced the industry to sit-up and rethink the processes it currently has in place. Campaign for a complete system overhaul The result has been a campaign for a complete system overhaul. Advocates for change, such as Dame Judith Hackitt, are now speaking at length of a ‘broken industry’ and how without major reform, the construction industry will never reach acceptable levels of safety. Yet hope is on the horizon and as is often the case with such events, they can and must serve as a catalyst for major change. Hackitt’s inquiry into building regulations and fire safety, following Grenfell, revealed a need for greater fail safes and a requirement for what Hackitt termed as ‘The Golden Thread’ of information. This is an accurate record of a building, providing a timeline of what has gone into the structure, from design to occupation and its ongoing maintenance. By having this in place, the industry can then deliver full transparency and accountability to help keep end users safe. Introduction of new building safety regulator Hackitt’s inquiry into building regulations and fire safety, following Grenfell, revealed a need for greater fail safesA further response has been the introduction of a new building safety regulator and new construction product regulator, both of which represent a landmark moment not just in fire safety, but improved levels of safety across the board. The first, which is under the Health and Safety Executive, will oversee the safety and performance of all buildings with a new, more stringent framework for higher-risk builds. The latter, (the construction product regulator), will be aimed at manufacturers to ensure that their products are safe, before being sold and that they abide by pre-determined levels of industry safety. If products aren’t deemed fit for purpose, these stricter measures will grant the regulator the power to remove products, revoke building safety certifications, as well as prosecute those who attempt to side-step rules. Building Safety Bill Speaking at the Construction Leaders’ Summit in February 2020, Hackitt explained that the Building Safety Bill and the creation of the new regulators will help the sector to change both technically and culturally, moving away from decisions that result in the ‘cheapest solution’, to one where safety and quality become paramount. Hackitt also warned that the regulators will have real bite. She said, “It will not look to see you have merely followed the rules, but check the building is safe from planning to occupation and you’ve done everything in your power to ensure this.” New laws post building regulations and fire safety review New laws have also been introduced since Hackitt’s review of building regulations and fire safety New laws have also been introduced since Hackitt’s review of building regulations and fire safety. In April of 2020, UK Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick announced a series of measures comprising of what he called ‘the biggest change in building safety for a generation.’ These were changes that applied to multi-occupancy buildings of 18 meters and above, or six stories, whichever is reached first. For buildings in-scope, a duty holder regime will apply, with a Client, Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. The contractor and designers will have to demonstrate that the building is safe and the ability of the duty-holder to choose which building control body to oversee the removal of the construction/refurbishment. To make sure the regulation is followed, there are gateway points at various stages, requiring regulator sign-off before the project can move forward. The sign-off procedure can then only take place once the right evidence is in place. Before residents are allowed to occupy the building, a full digital documentation will have to be provided which includes drawings and datasets and any design changes will need to be amended, signed-off and recorded. The need for digital adoption It’s clear that with so many changes coming into play that a new way of working is needed, with the needle pointing towards digital adoption as an answer to these issues. One of its main benefits is that it gives specifiers, contractors and residents the ability to access extensive datasets on specific fire related products. This feature plays a huge role in guaranteeing the safety of buildings and end users, by supplying them with the most up-to-date information and the latest in industry laws and regulations. If the industry is to iron-out the risk of products being ‘mis-specified’, then architects must be given a vehicle to access this information as easily as possible. Rise in use of digital tools, 3D and data Another example is the recent changes to the RIBA Plan of Work – the industry blueprint for the process management of a build. While this still remains as the ‘go-to’ map for how a construction process should take place, digital innovation continues to transform many aspects of its project workflow. This can be seen in the likes of ‘Part 3 – Changing Processes’ where the use of digital tools is helping to shift the balance away from 2D information towards 3D and data. Digital site surveys are also becoming the norm, using cloud surveys, photogrammetry, lidar sensors and the ability to mount cameras on drones, to help with the success of projects. BIM (Building Information Modeling) BIM can be used to improve the design, construction and operation of buildings, making them safer for end users Feeding into this is also the greater use of BIM (Building Information Modeling). This digital approach can be used to improve the design, construction and operation of buildings, making them safer for end users. Again, it’s a concept that has been around for some time, but the recent shift in perceptions has allowed this way of working to flourish, with three quarters of specifiers now using BIM, compared to just one in ten a decade ago. Digitization – The only way forward It’s obvious to see that shifting to digital has an immeasurable benefit to the future of the construction industry. Not only do digital tools improve standards, reduce mistakes and improve record keeping and auditing at every stage, but it also keeps costs down and drives up quality. From previous history, we’ve seen that the construction industry is notorious for dragging its heels when it comes to change, but as we’ve seen so far, the quicker it adopts this way of thinking, the quicker improvements in fire safety and compliance can be achieved. ‘Build Back Better’ We’ve heard the government talk of ‘Build Back Better’ and the digitization of the industry will hold all the keys to ensuring this is possible. If nothing else, the construction industry owes it to the victims and survivors of the Grenfell fire tragedy to make sure that all is being done to eradicate the chances of future mistakes from happening again.

Enhancing Your Fire Detection And Suppression With Thermal Imaging
Enhancing Your Fire Detection And Suppression With Thermal Imaging

In any business, fire can cause significant damage and substantial loss of revenue, assets, or productivity due to a period of downtime. However, fires can be prevented through continuous temperature monitoring, as it can detect hot spots or rising temperatures that may lead to a fire. Temperature monitoring, in combination with effective suppression systems, can largely reduce fire risk and safeguard your teams, assets and the environment. How thermal imaging supports fire detection and suppression An effective method of monitoring temperature to aid fire detection and suppression is thermal imaging. Many thermal imaging cameras can work in conjunction with fire detection systems, by providing automatic alerts Thermal imaging cameras work by measuring infrared radiation. Invisible to the human eye, infrared radiation is detectable to thermal cameras, as it releases heat. Thermal imaging cameras measure the amount of heat (or infrared radiation) released from an object or in an area. The findings are then converted into images or videos, which show ‘hot spots’ as bright, orange-like markings, in comparison to cooler areas, which appear dark and blue-like.   Thermal imaging cameras are described as ‘non-contact’, as they have the ability to monitor temperatures from a significant distance, providing view is not obstructed. Working In Conjunction Many thermal imaging cameras can work in conjunction with fire detection systems, by providing automatic alerts when the temperature reaches or exceeds a certain limit, or increases at a fast pace. These alerts then trigger an alarm, allowing for quick response and mitigation of high temperatures, reducing the risk of a fire breaking out or spreading. The ability to detect heat or hot spots that are invisible to the naked eye, and untraceable by traditional fire detection methods, such as smoke detectors, prove Temperature monitoring can largely reduce fire risk and safeguard your teamsthermal imaging cameras to be an incredibly effective addition to any business’ fire detection system. Thermal imaging cameras can be connected with fire suppression systems, allowing you to entirely automate your response to fires, meaning you can focus on the safe evacuation of your teams. Systems can be integrated to allow your suppression solution to be automatically released if high temperatures are detected, for example. The benefits of thermal imaging Using thermal imaging to support fire detection and suppression has a variety of benefits, including: Detecting high temperatures before a fire breaks out – the fundamental benefit of thermal imaging is the ability to detect heat or monitor rises in heat before a fire begins. This allows for appropriate measures to be carried out to lower temperatures to avoid risk of a fire breaking out. It can also help to identify shortfalls in existing fire prevention measures, which may have resulted in the increase in temperature, allowing for the rectification of these issues. Detecting smaller flames – due to the ability to monitor subtle temperature changes, thermal imaging has the capability to detect and alert to small fires in early stages, which conventional smoke detectors may not be able to detect. Monitoring even in low-light – as thermal imaging cameras do not require light to be able to capture an image, they are ideal for use in low-light environments. This allows for continuous monitoring at night when facilities are unoccupied, providing 24/7 protection. Protecting in multiple ways – thermal imaging can be used not only for fire detection and prevention, but also for security purposes and equipment monitoring. Their constant monitoring will record any trespassers on-site and can be connected with security alarms to notify facilities owners or managers of a break-in. In addition, the temperature of equipment can be consistently monitored, highlighting any faults that may occur when the facility is vacant Where is thermal imaging best used? Thermal imaging cameras can be an effective form of fire detection in a variety of settings. However, they are often most suitable for use in environments which work with combustible materials, have unconventional infrastructures or have operations involving open flames: Environments working with combustible materials – many businesses, such as construction, waste facilities, manufacturing and agriculture, work with combustible materials. This increases the risk of fire, as combustible materials can easily cause a fire to begin and spread if combined with heat or other ignition sources. Thermal imaging cameras can monitor these operations consistently, to quickly detect increases in heat that could result in spontaneous combustion. Facilities with unconventional infrastructures – across a facility, there are a number of components which can present fire risk. Often, these components are in areas that are difficult to monitor on an ongoing basis. Thermal imaging cameras can monitor specific areas or pieces of equipment, such as boilers or furnaces, to continuously monitor temperatures and alert to any abnormal increases in temperature. Operations working with open flames – in facilities where open flames are used in normal operations, such as on construction sites, thermal cameras can monitor existing flames. This ensures the active fire is effectively and safely contained to one area Thermal imaging cameras are an effective method of enhancing your fire detection and suppression systems, by monitoring temperatures 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to protect your teams, assets and the environment.

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INTERSCHUTZ Postponed Again to June 2022 Due to Pandemic
INTERSCHUTZ Postponed Again to June 2022 Due to Pandemic

The dates for INTERSCHUTZ have been changed, with the event now taking place from June 20 to June 25, 2022. The decision to reschedule the world's renowned trade fair for the fire, rescue, civil protection and safety/security verticals was taken by Deutsche Messe, after a process of thorough deliberation and intensive discussion with key market players. INTERSCHUTZ In a context that has affected numerous other trade fairs and events taking place all over the world, the move was driven by the latest developments in the global status of the COVID 19 pandemic. Flagship trade fairs like INTERSCHUTZ have a long-range planning horizon and require a lead time of several months" "Flagship trade fairs like INTERSCHUTZ have a long-range planning horizon and require a lead time of several months. In addition, the industries that participate at INTERSCHUTZ, either as exhibitors or visitors, are among the people most heavily involved in dealing with the current pandemic across the globe," stated Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Deutsche Messe Managing Board. International trade event He adds, "INTERSCHUTZ takes place every five years. The community of people involved in fire and rescue services as well as civil protection has been eagerly awaiting the next edition of the event. Against this background, the decision to reschedule was a difficult one. But a series of intensive discussions with our partners and exhibitors as well as representatives of key visitor target groups made clear to us that this move was unavoidable.” Gruchow continues stating, “A staging of the event in the summer of 2022 has been welcomed by all stakeholders. This is the only way we can offer everyone the necessary planning security for their trade fair appearance. A flagship fair like this one thrives on a large number of international visitors and, in particular, face-to-face encounters. Based on the current international travel restrictions, our clients would not be able to adequately prepare for such a major, globally significant trade fair." Hybrid event The pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of the fire department, rescue services and civil protection" "The auspices for INTERSCHUTZ have been excellent for a long time," said Martin Folkerts, Global Director of INTERSCHUTZ at Deutsche Messe, adding "We had already signed up a record number of exhibitors for the originally planned edition of the event in June 2020. We are confident our exhibitors will now join us in organizing INTERSCHUTZ 2022, which will be staged for the first time as a hybrid event.” Martin further stated, “The pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of the fire department, rescue services and civil protection. In addition, we expect significant increases in investment in these sectors all over the world, which will present the ideal conditions for our marketplace. More than any other event, INTERSCHUTZ thrives on personal contact and direct networking. It is the platform for the worldwide community." Firefighting technology manufacturers welcome postponement "The manufacturers of firefighting technology within the VDMA expressly welcome the postponement of INTERSCHUTZ to 2022. For us, INTERSCHUTZ is the most important international trade fair for the industry. And our expectation is that it will seamlessly follow on from the great success of 2015. We are certain that the conditions will be in place in 2022,” said Dr. Bernd Scherer, Executive management member of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) and Managing Director VDMA Fire Fighting Equipment, commenting on the new date of INTERSCHUTZ in June 2022. Scherer adds, “Our highly innovative industry will have numerous exciting new products in its program by then. And the German and international visitors will make INTERSCHUTZ 2022 the big live event of the year as we know it," INTERSCHUTZ postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic Exhibitors also appreciate the direct contact with those who ultimately use their products and services" Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (VFDB), also welcomes the decision to postpone INTERSCHUTZ until 2022. He said, "Our emergency services are and will continue to be extremely busy in the coming months. As we know, INTERSCHUTZ is always a welcome opportunity for thousands of them to obtain information, exchange experiences and network. None of this would be possible at present in this tense situation.” Dirk adds, “However, without the many visitors, including those from the non-material world, INTERSCHUTZ would not be what it has always been. Exhibitors also appreciate the direct contact with those who ultimately use their products and services. The industry needs this exchange between suppliers and users." Ensuring safety and security of People Dieter Siegel, the Chief Executive Officer of Rosenbauer International AG, also welcomed the new date set for INTERSCHUTZ to take place in the summer of 2022. Dieter stated, "Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis still has a firm grip on all of us and does not yet allow us to hold trade fairs and major events safely at the present time. However, the safety and health of people is of course our top priority as a system provider in firefighting and disaster protection.” Dieter adds, “We are, therefore, in favor of postponing INTERSCHUTZ until 2022, because we all want nothing more than an INTERSCHUTZ as we know it, an unforgettable trade show experience and a meeting place for fire departments from all over the world, without compromising on the safety of our customers, visitors and guests." The next INTERSCHUTZ international trade event is scheduled to take place from June 20 to June 25, 2022, at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds, in Messegelände, Hannover, Germany.

Rosenbauer Launches RDS Connected Fleet, The New Vehicle Management System For Pre- And Post-Operational Briefings
Rosenbauer Launches RDS Connected Fleet, The New Vehicle Management System For Pre- And Post-Operational Briefings

What is the status of the operational fleet? Which vehicles are ready for operation? What condition are they in? Where are the vehicles now? What and how much operating and extinguishing agents (water, foam, etc.) do they have on board? RDS Connected Fleet RDS Connected Fleet provides this and all other information required to prepare for operations. Connected Fleet is the further development of the proven service for fire vehicle management system with new hardware, user interface and functions. It not only provides real-time information on the ‘state of health’ of an operational fleet, but also logs all vehicle-related data including error messages for post-operational briefings. Fire departments, therefore, have a complete overview of their vehicle fleet at all times and can manage it digitally with Connected Fleet in an easy, quick and efficient way. Full operational documentation of the fleet Connected Fleet produces complete operational documentation for each vehicle Connected Fleet produces complete operational documentation for each vehicle. As soon as it leaves the station and until it returns after an operation, the data is recorded and evaluated. In addition to driving parameters such as speeds, brake actuations, engine speeds, distances traveled and live positions, etc., this also includes information such as when the warning devices were switched on, when the vehicle arrived at the operational site, when it left the installation position or the defined area of operation (geo-fencing), when firefighting work began and how much water or foam and what pump pressure was used to extinguish the fire, to name a few. Automated service planning and management Connected Fleet monitors the technical condition and operational readiness of the vehicle at the same time. Any malfunctions, faults or defects that occur are recorded in real time, described in detail and pro-actively reported to the vehicle operator. Service planning and management is also largely automated with Connected Fleet providing information on upcoming service dates, for example, the next maintenance date for the built-in pump or portable pump, creating lists of defects and documenting maintenance work in the process. The various operating manuals will be stored in Connected Fleet. High-performance telematics modules New, high-performance telematics modules form the interface in the vehicle that docks onto the CAN-Bus. They serve as Connected Hubs for GPS and internet and open up the possibility of setting up a secure WLAN and improving remote services (e.g., remote diagnosis). The Connected Hubs are already integrated in new Rosenbauer vehicles, and there will be a retrofit package for older models. A separate module is available for third-party vehicles and vehicles without CAN-Bus, as well as for vehicles that are to be retrofitted with a GPS connection (e.g., to display the live position). Intuitive user interface and software Connected Fleet can now be used with all common web browsers and mobile operating systems The software and the user interface (UI) were also revised. Connected Fleet can now be used with all common web browsers (Chrome, Safari and Firefox) and mobile operating systems (iOS, Android). It is consistently intuitive to use. The operating routines have been simplified, the interactive design (User Experience/UX) optimized for smartphones and the symbol language of the new Rosenbauer control system RFC LCS adopted. This ensures a uniform operating environment from vehicle control to fleet management. The software can also be used without hardware, for example, to keep a logbook. Enhanced security in data traffic The latest encryption techniques ensure the greatest possible security in data traffic. In addition, the data is hosted on the cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure and, therefore, in Europe. This also ensures a higher speed. In addition, GPS and error messages are now sent with priority and are always available in real time. Numerous fire departments have participated in the development of Connected Fleet, tested the range of functions and, above all, contributed their feedback to the optimization of the user interface. Integrated digital solutions into the fleet First and foremost the Vienna professional fire service, which has been using the Rosenbauer vehicle management system for many years now to manage a fleet of some 80 vehicles. Live operation of Connected Fleet will start on December 15, 2020. All development partners will switch to the new system this year and all other existing customers from January 2021 onwards free of charge. Further digital solutions are in the works and will be available in the course of the coming year to continually simplify the daily work of fire departments.

Rosenbauer Launches A New Forest Firefighting Vehicle
Rosenbauer Launches A New Forest Firefighting Vehicle

Rosenbauer presents a new forest firefighting vehicle. It meets both category 3 of EN 1846-2 for all-terrain firefighting vehicles and specific requirements for the protection of the vehicle crew, as defined for example in the French standard NFS 61-517 or NFS 61-518. This includes a thermal self-protection system and a driver's cab equipped with a rollover cell. With its compact dimensions, low center of gravity, and single tires, the all-wheel-drive vehicle is ideally suited for use in rough terrain. The special firefighting equipment on board makes the extinguishing agents extremely cost-effective and efficient. Plus, the crew can fight the fire using a turret mounted on the bumper and controlled from the cab without having to exit the vehicle. Robust, Lightweight, Superstructure The new forest firefighting vehicle is built on a 2-axle chassis from Renault with a total permissible weight of 14 tons. The all-wheel-drive can be switched and the 6-cylinder diesel engine (Euro-6) has an output of 206 kW (280 hp). With a length of 6,900 mm and a wheelbase of 3,350 mm, the vehicle is extremely compact and maneuverable. The large under axle clearance and a tipping angle of 25° increase off-road capability. Flexible And High-Strength Body The firefighting body consists of two parts, a tank module made of polypropylene and a pump room module behind it made of a self-supporting aluminum sheet/profile construction. The flexible and also high-strength body provides optimum load distribution and lateral stability for operation under off-road conditions – the consistent use of lightweight materials ensures a high loading capacity. Water Tank And Additional Equipment Equipment can be housed in three spacious compartments with dust-tight roller shutter closures The vehicle water tank has a capacity of 3,500 l (500 l of which is for the self-protection systems); the separate foam tank holds 100 l. The additional equipment required for forest firefighting operations (fire swatters, firefighting backpacks, backpack sprayers, and more) is housed in three spacious equipment compartments with dust-tight roller shutter closures. Two are located on the sides of the vehicle; another is installed across the entire width in the rear. The built-in pump, foam proportioning system, and rapid intervention hose reel are also accessible through this compartment. Firefighting Equipment For Forest Firefighting The firefighting equipment of the new forest firefighting vehicle consists of the combined NH25 normal/high-pressure pump and the direct injection foam proportioning system RFC Admix Variomatic. The pump has a capacity of up to 2,500 l/min at 10 bar (FPN 10-2000) and up to 400 l/min at 40 bar (FPH 40-250). In high-pressure operation, the supply of extinguishing water on board can be used very sparingly because the fine atomization causes more water to evaporate than under normal pressure, thus achieving a high extinguishing effect. In addition, the kinetic energy of the firefighting water allows it to be driven deep into the forest floor, which means that even hot spots can be extinguished efficiently. RFC Admix Variomatic The RFC Admix Variomatic also produces wetting agents, light, medium, and heavy foam, and the proportioning ratio is infinitely variable between 0.1% and 6%. With the smallest proportioning quantity, the surface tension of the firefighting water is reduced to such an extent that it can penetrate deep into the flammable material and an excellent extinguishing effect can be achieved with minimal water consumption. Firefighting Foam The foam compound is injected directly into the pressure outlets and thus the water pump remains free The suffocating effect of firefighting foam is used at higher proportioning ratios. The foam compound is injected directly into the pressure outlets and thus the water pump remains free of foam compound and does not have to be flushed after each use. In addition, water and other mains water or foam can be discharged simultaneously at one outlet or several injection points can be operated with different proportioning ratios. Crew Safety A system of spray nozzles protects both the crew cab and the substructure of the vehicle. The water for this comes from a secured tank segment and is pumped by a separate, electrically driven pump. If the vehicle is trapped by fire during a forest fire, this system allows the crew to drive over a burning fire border and reach safety. Driver Warning System The Rosenbauer DWD Driver Warning System enhances off-road driving safety. This measures the vehicle inclination as well as the axial lateral and longitudinal forces and alerts the driver with visual and auditory signals if the vehicle is at risk of tipping over. A rollover cell made of high-strength steel is also integrated into the cab structure to protect the crew in all situations. High-Performance LEDs The vehicle is also equipped with a light package consisting of high-performance LEDs and a front cable winch with a tractive force of 5,400 kg. An optional fresh air system which creates an overpressure in the cabin to prevent the penetration of fire gases can also be installed. We also have our own protective devices for the battery and electrical equipment. Manufacturing Details The vehicle is being built at Rosenbauer's Linares Forest Fire Competence Center in Spain. It is built to meet, in particular, the technical and tactical requirements of French, Spanish, and Portuguese fire departments. It combines everything that is necessary for efficient and safe forest firefighting.

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