Tag Archives: Euralarm

EUSAS and Euralarm organise conference on ‘Fire Safety and Security in the Aviation Sector’

In 2018, EUSAS and Euralarm will be running the second edition of the EUSAS-Euralarm Conference. Next year’s topic will be ‘Fire Safety and Security in the Aviation Sector’. The event is to be hosted by Airbus and will take place at the company’s facilities in Bremen, Germany on 10-11 July.

The conference will focus on fire safety and security in aircraft and at airports, as well as travellers’ safety, duly bringing together academics, innovators, executives and researchers from the European and US aviation industry, as well as from the fire and security industry.

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Other participants involved in the event are testing institutes, certification bodies and standard developers interested in engineering and fire safety and security technologies applied to the aviation sector.

EUSAS is the European Society for Automatic Alarm Systems, a European platform for promoting security and protection engineering. Euralarm is the European Trade Association for the electronic fire safety and security industry and main representative of the industrial sector towards EU institutions in Brussels.

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Euralarm announces detail of 2018 Symposium in Bucharest

Euralarm has announced the date of its next Symposium, which will take place in Bucharest, Romania on 4 June 2018. This will be the second time that Romania has hosted this event, showing the country’s commitment to European electronic fire safety and security.

Euralarm member ARTS, the Romanian Association for Security Technique presided over by Liviu Mateescu, will host the event. “Romania is a market that’s expanding,” explained Mateescu. “For next year’s Symposium, we’re aiming to achieve the largest audience for this event to date.”

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The Euralarm Symposium has become a ‘must attend’ event for professionals in the fire safety and security sectors. Every year, it brings together all stakeholders in the fire and security markets, including installers, system integrators, manufacturers, end users, facility managers and certification bodies.

Topics for the Euralarm Symposium 2018 will be announced later on this year. In 2017, the event focused on the future of fire and security services across Europe and turning the digital service market into business opportunities.

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Euralarm members in favour of revising EU’s Construction Products Regulation

Euralarm, the Trade Association representing the European electronic fire safety and security industry, has provided comments on the Inception Impact Assessment on a potential revision of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). While supporting the main objective of the CPR, Euralarm feels that, in line with the actions of DG GROWTH, a review of the document is necessary.

According to Euralarm members, the CPR hasn’t had the required effect on the competitiveness of the electronic fire safety industry. The industry depends on standardised product performance requirements and standardised behaviour, which is at odds with the CPR.

For example, alarm buttons to activate a fire alarm system are always red right across Europe and the world. Under the CPR, this isn’t seen as ‘performance criteria’ and therefore the colour could change depending on national solutions, which could well lead to building occupants being confused in fire episodes and the lives of European citizens being put in danger.

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Although the CPR’s stated objective is to help standardise test methods and ensure the European-wide acceptance of test results, thus supporting the movement of construction products across Europe, it’s also trying to cover a very wide range of products with very different characteristics and where performance criteria are less important. This has a negative effect on the standardisation of fire detection and alarm products.

Euralarm is prepared to explain the objective differences and the impact on the functionality and reliability of electronic fire safety products.

Based on initial consultations, Euralarm members favour revising the CPR (Option II of the Inception Impact Assessment), bearing in mind the successful role that standards have played in the market in terms of establishing clarity, flexibility and harmony. This is good for the European economy and its ability to participate in a global market which, after all, is all the main objective of the CPR.

Euralarm will continue to work hand-in-hand with the European Commission and, specifically, with DG GROWTH to define and implement the best possible solution.

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Euralarm outlines content of upcoming new study on false fire alarms in Europe

Fire and Rescue Services collect facts and figures during responses to alarms from fire detection and alarm systems. Now, Euralarm has reviewed the different approaches for data collection and analysis in England, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria.

A key observation is the differences noted between the examined countries. These differences hamper comparisons, although a view of the European norms would suggest the opposite. Euralarm is therefore calling for more co-operation between the stakeholders involved which would enable new insights into fire alarms in general.

Buildings are safer today because of the fire detection and alarm systems installed within. Indeed, without these systems, fires would go undetected and spread. Exit routes would be impassable due to smoke and fire, resulting in injuries and even fatalities, aside from damage caused to the building(s).

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As is the case with any system, though, there are conditions that can lead to false alarms binding public and private resources as well as hurting the reputation of fire alarm and detection systems. False alarms can be reduced, for example, through the use of modern multi-sensor fire detectors as well as the regular application of correct maintenance requirements, making the systems reliable and dependable for building occupants.

In spite of such existing solutions, the market is lacking sufficient data that would outline the potential to reduce false alarms even more. An initial study by Euralarm in 2012 showed that data sources were missing and existing sources not comparable. Reliable details (eg data pools) on the range of false alarm difficulties and their causes are needed. At the moment, lack of such detail is hindering the development of a suitable basis upon which to define and deploy effective countermeasures.

The new study focuses on investigating data collection and analysis processes in order to achieve a better understanding of what needs to be done and, hopefully, will provide momentum for changes to be made.

Key observations

The review of the data collection process of transmitted alarms from fire detection and Alarm systems has been carried out by the Euralarm Task Group for False Alarms.

The project’s objective has been to analyse the specific methodologies by taking an empirical approach, with the aim of deriving a common understanding of the facts and figures collected during Fire and Rescue Services’ responses to fire alarms.

From the existing data pools, members of the Task Group then attempted to calculate the false alarm ratios based on four different models. In doing so, they then took the step of attempting a comparison between the investigated countries.

One of the observations of the review is that comparison of fire alarm figures in the respective countries is hampered by “missing alignment” in terms of common terminology and processes. A view towards the European norms would suggest the opposite, but the fact is that the application guidelines are national and these are the basis for any data collection. The analysed material recorded and collected by experts during responses to fire alarms is handled quite differently from country to country.

Lack of proper information leads to narrow or wrong measures being implemented, which is clearly detrimental to society and must be changed.

A fundamental understanding of fire alarms – and specifically false alarms – is a requirement for any attempts towards betterment. Since a common approach would (in principle) be possible, Euralarm proposes that the fire safety industry, Fire and Rescue Services and building owners work far more closely together on this matter.

*The full report will be published in Q4 2017

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EUSAS-Euralarm Fire Safety Conference focuses on R&D and standardisation

The results of cutting-edge research on fire safety were presented during a joint conference of EUSAS and Euralarm, the European research and Trade Associations in the sector. R&D’s potential impact on current and future standardisation work was a further point of focus for the event.

The joint EUSAS-Euralarm Conference took place on February 7-8 at the Berlin offices of Bosch Security Systems and determined to discover how cutting-edge innovation in the fire safety sector will drive the development of future standards and make buildings and people safer than they have ever been.

The event brought together 60 top specialists in the field of fire safety research, engineering and standardisation representing various European countries. Introducing the event were EUSAS chairman Professor Dr Andreas Czylwik, Euralarm president Enzo Peduzzi and, on behalf of the event’s host, Christoph Hampe.

The programme was divided into four sessions: false alarms, performance and quality testing, evacuation systems and fire safety in smart buildings.

As yet unpublished research on false alarms data gathered in Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and Sweden was presented by Dr Sebastian Festag from ZVEI, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, and Lance Rütimann from SES, the Swiss Association of Security Product Manufacturers. Both are Euralarm delegates in the Task Group on False Alarms and have derived a common approach to an empirical analysis of false alarm data.

Wolfgang Krüll from the University of Duisburg-Essen presented reproducible testing procedures for false alarms and three new testing devices which have been developed for those procedures. In parallel, statistics from Iceland were presented by Gudmundur Gunnarsson of the MVS Iceland Construction Authority.

The problem of testing a safety device’s performance over its whole lifetime was first presented by Thomas Litterst of Hekatron, including detail of a specific testing process he has developed. As demonstrated by Thorsten Schultze from the University of Duisburg-Essen, products currently on the market are largely compliant with current standard’s requirements on age limits and could potentially function correctly well beyond.

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Raman Chagger from the Building Research Establishment in England also showed that optical smoke detectors developed in the 1980s function perfectly in modern environments.

Another matter is the mechanism of drift compensation, making up for the aging of a device and the build-up of dirt on sensors, which has the potential to delay the detection of slowly developing fires. That’s according to Florence Daniault from the Wagner Group.

Evacuation systems was the third topic. It was discussed by Dr Karl Fridolf from WSP, an engineering services group, who exposed the theoretical framework of human behaviour in situations of fire, and how behavioural aspects could be better considered in safety design.

Video fire detection and its influence on evacuation was presented by Dr Tjark Windisch from Bosch Security Systems. On the day, Dr Windisch called for greater efforts when it comes to standardising video fire detection.

The final topic, smart buildings, was first discussed by Raman Chagger from the perspective of visual alarm devices. He demonstrated how the product standard together with suitable guidelines in a code of practice needs to be based on more solid research.

Dr Peter Harris from United Technologies Corporation showed how favouring interoperability and data sharing in smart buildings could bring about ‘context-aware smoke detection’.

In a final presentation, Marc Chenevoy from Euralarm highlighted the difficulties inherent with standardising interoperable systems in smart buildings, but reported on positive progress being made within European standardisation bodies.

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Europe is the world’s top tourist destination… but are tourists safe?

Worldwide, tourist travel is on the rise. Indeed, international tourism actually dwarfs any other type of leisure business in terms of growth. One of the global regions benefiting the most from this trend is Europe: the world’s first tourism destination.

Central to the dynamism of European tourism is accommodation: hotels, B&Bs and online-rented space, but due to a loose legislative framework for safety, which is rapidly becoming obsolete as our habits as tourists evolve, hotels might also become European tourism’s Achilles’ heel.

Of all the dangers posed to a tourist’s safety in a European hotel, fire remains the biggest. Currently, the legal basis on the matter is a 1986 EU Council Recommendation on fire safety in hotels. Since EU Recommendations are, by their very nature, non-binding legal acts, this has resulted in mainly localised and incomplete measures. Fast forward 30 years later, and it’s clear that the Recommendation has had limited effect on hotel safety in Europe: a fact acknowledged by hotel federations and consumer associations alike.

The main issue is that local self-regulation resulting from the EU Recommendation hasn’t guaranteed an even level of safety across the EU. Enforcement varies considerably from country to country, and even from city to city, including in the same region, and largely depends on the size of the hotel. All-too-often, small hotels are less well scrutinised, and somewhat more ill-equipped than bigger ones to deal with fires. Local laws frequently link the number of rooms with compliance to the Recommendation.

Global trends

An analysis of global trends in tourism shows that, as our tourist habits evolve, the risk resulting from the current situation increases: more and more travellers choose to go ‘off the map’ opting for smaller hotels rather than big chains. This new type of tourist also tends to visit exactly those countries where safety in hotels is less controlled.

Add to this the relatively unregulated development of increasingly popular online ‘homestay’ networks, such as Airbnb, and you have a flammable cocktail. The situation seems to be calling for a fast reaction.

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The most recent attempt to initiate binding legislation on tourism accommodation safety arose in October 2015. A Resolution of the European Parliament called for a consistent European approach around risks related to fire. Reactions to the Resolution from various Brussels-based influencers highlighted a novel situation. All parties involved – ie consumer associations, hotel federations and Euralarm, the European Trade Association representing the electronic fire and security industry – now seem to agree that a legally binding EU Directive would be the right solution to address the issue.

Industry-led survey

Unfortunately, the initiative derailed due to a lack of reliable supporting data. The exact level of risk existing for the flows of tourists travelling to and inside Europe remains a question mark.

Outside of empirical observations, statistics on safety in tourism are notoriously hard to come by, with reputational issues hampering self-reporting. An EU Commission-initiated data collection programme launched in 2008 resulted in a blatant failure.

The focus now is on a survey led by the industry, rather than the EU. Among others, Euralarm has asserted its readiness to help with new data collection efforts. The organisation has also offered to provide support and expertise to the EU Institutions and the CEN-CENELEC European standardisation platform for the development of the relevant legislation and necessary standards needed to improve fire safety in hotels.

Progress in European legislation and standardisation is often slow unless the issue makes it to the news headlines. In 2004, after a number of tunnel fires with resulting casualties, the EU Commission was forced to publish a Directive on tunnel fire safety. Should we wait any further before adopting a Directive on tourism accommodation safety?

Time to act

Any failure to act quickly could lead to another cost for Europe. As tourism is now more globalised than ever, competition becomes fiercer, and parts of the world with more stringent and well-established regulations for safety in tourism accommodation might hold a key advantage.

In the United States for example, a Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act has been in place since 1990. Potential future incidents resulting from poor regulation could hit Europe’s tourism industry particularly hard. Its reputation as a safe destination has already taken a blow due to recent terrorist attacks.

Tourism is one of the engines of the European economy and an important source of jobs. Eurostat reports that one-in-ten non-financial enterprises in Europe belong to the tourism industries, and that these 2.2 million enterprises employ an estimated 12 million people. That’s more than one-in-five of individuals employed across the services sector.

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Newest Euralarm member WAGNER Group brings strong innovation expertise in fire protection

Following a unanimous decision of the Board, Euralarm has now formally welcomed its newest member the WAGNER Group. The company will join the Fire Section of Euralarm, which activities cover fire detection, notification, evacuation, extinguishing controls and smoke and heat ventilation.

WAGNER will now benefit from Euralarm’s services in terms of representation among European institutions and standardisation organisations and the monitoring of relevant legislative and standardisation issues, and will have access to its extended network of national associations and major companies in the electronic fire safety and security sector.

WAGNER Group is a leading provider of integrated fire protection. Its products are often considered a benchmark in the sector. The company is an experienced provider of comprehensive and individual services ranging from consulting and solution development to system installation and support.

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Over the years, WAGNER’s innovations have given the market significant impetus. As a logical consequence, the German-based company also brings its expertise and knowhow into important standards committees including DIN, CEN and ISO.

WAGNER is also actively involved in drafting national and international guidelines with, for example, VdS and the BSI.

Headquartered in Langenhagen near Hannover in Germany, WAGNER’s worldwide presence extends beyond Europe to China, Dubai, Singapore and the United States.

Enhanced competitiveness and harmonisation

WAGNER will be represented in the Euralarm Fire Section by Dr Ing Oliver Linden, the company’s product manager. Following the completion of a doctorate in safety engineering and fire and explosion protection, Dr Ing Linden spent several years working as a researcher, with a special focus on the development and testing of multi-criteria fire detectors before moving into product management.

His responsibilities in terms of the company’s product portfolio and special tasks have increased steadily across a 12-year career with the business.

“WAGNER acknowledges Euralarm’s important role as the European fire and security industry’s representative and balancing partner to standardisation and testing bodies,” said Dr Ing Linden. “Having participated in its work for many years, WAGNER decided to permanently engage with Euralarm’s activities specifically in relation to matters of fire safety, contributing towards reduced trade barriers as well as enhanced competitiveness and harmonisation of the European market. As WAGNER’s representative, I would like to thank Euralarm very much for the warm welcome.”

Euralarm president Enzo Peduzzi commented: “We’re happy to now count WAGNER among our members. Euralarm is now even more representative of the electronic fire safety and security sector.”

Euralarm represents the electronic fire and security industry, providing leadership and expertise for industry, the market, policy-makers and standards bodies. Its members make society safer and more secure through systems and services for fire detection, intrusion detection, access control, video monitoring, alarm transmission and Alarm Receiving Centres.

Founded in 1970, Euralarm represents over 5,000 companies within the fire safety and security industry. Euralarm members are national associations and individual companies from across Europe.

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