Tag Archives: Fire Prevention

C-TEC, WAGNER, Apollo, Vanderbilt and Kentec Electronics look to make their mark at Security Essen

Security Essen runs from Tuesday 27 September to Friday 30 September in Germany. This year, solution manufacturers C-TEC, WAGNER, Apollo, Vanderbilt and Kentec Electronics all have an array of systems to display alongside key messaging for end users, integrators and installers.

For its part, C-TEC will be showcasing its life-safety systems. Located for the first time in Hall 3, the action-packed area dedicated to fire detection and live demonstrations, C-TEC’s stand (3E14) is set to feature the company’s new CAST-protocol XFP 1-2 loop addressable fire system, the range of VdS-certified EN54-4 power supplies and its powerful 1-8 loop ZFP touchscreen-controlled addressable fire panels.

Also on display will be C-TECs popular BSI-certified conventional sounder isolator system, its new EN54-13 conventional fire alarm system solution and a wealth of other innovations specifically designed for the European market.

C-TECSecurityEssen

Charlotte Manley, C-TEC’s sales director, told Risk UK: “We’re always very excited about Security Essen as it’s a truly international show and attracts visitors from all over the world. C-TEC has invested heavily in third party certification over the past decade, and we’re certainly reaping the rewards in Europe where the demand for certified systems is exceptionally high.”

Visions Become Reality

‘Visions Become Reality’ is the slogan under which WAGNER will be exhibiting at Security Essen. WAGNER’s stand (Hall 3, Stand 3D44) will feature innovative, future-safe fire prevention solutions, including air sampling smoke detectors, extinguishing technology, fire prevention and fire risk management.

WAGNER will be unveiling the TITANUS FUSION, a new all-rounder that combines the successful TITANUS family’s many advantages, such as LOGIC.SENS smoke development patterning and PIPE.GUARD air flow monitoring. The air sampling smoke detector can be used even in dusty environments and is accurate to temperatures as low as -30° C. It can monitor areas up to 3,200 m² in size, and is available in sensitivity levels of 0.5, 0.1 and 0.015 % LT/m.

This year, WAGNER is also introducing the TITANUS MULTI SENS, a pioneering system designed for areas where specific deceptive phenomena (such as cigarette smoke, theatrical fog or dust) can trigger false alarms. This new self-teaching air sampling smoke detector can tell the difference between false alarms and real fires. Visitors can experience this innovative, multi-dimensional optical detection system live in fire experiments.

WAGNERSecurityEssen

WAGNER’s vision of employing nitrogen as an extinguishing agent gave rise to the OxyReduct active fire prevention system. The introduction of this new technology at the end of the 1990s transformed the fire prevention market, as WAGNER began offering OxyReduct active fire prevention rather than reactive extinguishing solutions.

Security Essen will be featuring the newest generation of OxyReduct models: the powerful, compact, modular OxyReduct P-Line for larger protection areas and the noise-optimised, compact OxyReduct M-Line for modular nitrogen generation at rates of 10-90 m³/h.

Apollo to showcase next generation solution

Apollo Fire Detectors, a specialist in the design and manufacture of high quality fire detection products, will be showcasing its comprehensive range of products on Stand 3B14 at Security Essen.

The new SOTERIA range is the next generation in fire detection technology and is designed to improve detection, reduce false alarms and deliver improved reliability. SOTERIA is the start of an ongoing technology innovation at Apollo. The detectors have been extensively tested by members of the Apollo in-house testing team with facilities that boast some of the most advanced private testing equipment in the UK.

Alongside SOTERIA is Apollo’s enhanced protocol named CoreProtocol, the next generation in fire loop communication from Apollo giving greater control and more loop power. The new protocol builds on the established capabilities of XP95 and Discovery; with forward and backwards compatibility and the ability to manage a significantly increased number of devices.

ApolloIntelligentManualCallPoint

As well as the introduction of new products, Apollo will have its new 2016-2017 Product Catalogue available, a crucial guide for anyone who specifies or installs fire detection equipment. The catalogue features all of Apollo’s detection equipment, system components and specialist devices suitable for a wide range of environments.

Vanderbilt aims to be the talk of Security Essen

Vanderbilt will attend Security Essen for the first time this year, and will be exhibiting the latest developments across all three of its product ranges: access control, intruder detection and video surveillance.

At Security Essen, Vanderbilt will feature Aliro 2 – the latest generation of its access control solution. Building on the success of its predecessor and created alongside external developers, Aliro 2 is suitable for small through to medium-sized commercial applications, boasting easy-to-use Internet-based software and intuitive mobile features.

Using the advanced Mercury firmware platform, it supports – as standard – 64 doors and 5,000 users. With additional software licenses, the system can be increased up to 1,024 wired doors, 1,024 wireless doors and 25,000 users. Integration with Aperio is one of the highlights in the new feature set of Aliro 2, but there’s “much more to come” as this new system paves the way for Vanderbilt’s future migration strategy.

VanderbiltIndustries

Vanderbilt’s SPC intrusion panel will also be featured on the stand. Vanderbilt continues to develop attractive features for this range, including its SPC Connect. This cloud-based innovation provides customers with remote access to control panels, safe in the knowledge that the process is highly secure thanks to the implementation of financial grade SSL security.

New to the video portfolio is the Eventys range, a cost-effective range of cameras and recorders that are aimed at the simple set-up and plug-and-play approach. With an intuitive interface offering “outstanding functionality” and flexibility, Eventys is perfect for small to medium-sized installations that require up to 20 cameras.

Fire detection and alarm control panel solutions

Visitors to Stand 1A03 in Hall 1 Security Essen will be able to see some of the latest fire safety products from Kentec Electronics. Its extensive range of EN, UL and FM, marine, analogue, conventional and extinguishant fire control panel solutions are the first choice for many safety critical, prestigious locations across the world.

Kentec will be exhibiting its Syncro and Sigma ranges designed for the widest, most demanding range of applications. The Sigma XT range includes status units, Sigma XT+, the Sigma XT ECU hybrid solution and Syncro AS, plus its comprehensive range of UL-listed, FM-approved Elite RS analogue addressable fire control panels, Sigma A-XT releasing panel and status units and the UL-listed Sigma A-CP annunciator panel.

KentecSecurityEssen

Show visitors will be able to see live demonstrations of the company’s all-new Taktis range of fire alarm control equipment, which combines the very latest hardware and software to produce a powerful and sophisticated control and indication system that’s both simple to use and understand.

The flexibility of the Taktis platform means that it can be reconfigured to realise many other control and indication applications, with direct integration into intelligent buildings a reality for end users.

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Xtralis’ VESDA-E VEA smoke detectors to protect new IMG Worlds of Adventure indoor theme park

Xtralis’ VESDA-E aspirating smoke detectors have been selected to safeguard IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park which is due to open in Dubai.

VESDA-E VEA is badged as the only addressable detector on the market that delivers “assured detection” through active sampling, proactive self-supervision and auto-cleaning and which offers “the highest longevity with sustained sensitivity”.

The centralised detection architecture features up to 120 sampling points per detector, coupled with auto-supervision and cleaning, in turn lowering servicing times by up to 90% and decreasing total cost of ownership for the end user.

VEA will protect the entire facility, with over 50 detectors and over 2,000 sampling points. The detectors are going to provide constant early and reliable smoke detection to ensure absolute fire prevention.

XtralisIMGWOA

State-of-the-art protection

Lennard Otto, CEO of IMG Worlds of Adventure, commented: “When we open to the public, IMG Worlds of Adventure will be an industry leader, not only in the provision of entertainment, but in all areas of operation, including guest security and protection. Ultimately, the safety of our guests is of the utmost priority. We’re delighted to partner with Xtralis in offering state-of-the art protection to ensure that our guests are offered the best and safest theme park experience possible.”

Samir Samhouri (chairman, CEO and president of Xtralis Group) responded: “IMG Worlds of Adventure is something of an architectural marvel. The fire detectors on site must ensure the best protection for visitors, personnel and the many valuable assets at the location with no operational disturbance.”

Samhouri continued: “VESDA-E VEA is transforming traditional smoke detection, delivering pinpoint addressability and unique assured detection with centralised testing and maintenance. It can now address all market segments and applications that traditional ASDs couldn’t address before.”

Layout of the site

IMG Worlds of Adventure will consist of four zones including global brands Cartoon Network and MARVEL and original concepts IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure, plus 28 themed F&B concepts and 25 retail outlets.

The theme park will feature an array of adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, thrill rides and spine-tingling attractions as well as a 12-screen Novo Theatre. Set to become a must-visit international destination, IMG Worlds of Adventure will bring the best of family entertainment to Dubai’s growing leisure sector.

To offer this unprecedented entertainment experience, IMG Worlds of Adventure has partnered with over 20 blue-chip companies including Bose, Avaya, Pelco, Cisco, Microsoft and Xtralis.

As a multi-channel addressable system, the VEA detector is able to divide a protected space into sampling locations, enabling the localisation of potential sources of fire for faster incident response.

The detectors are ideal for the protection of areas facing challenges, and where the pinpoint location of fire events is essential. Detector testing and maintenance with VESDA-E VEA is both simple and unobtrusive, allowing service technicians to maintain the detectors without scaffolding or lift equipment.

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‘Security Integration moves beyond PSIM’ (by John Davies, md, TDSi)

In a guest blog for Risk UK’s readers, John Davies reviews developments that have been taking place beyond the initial hype around Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) and how the integration of physical and information security is now offering benefits in the real world.

A few years ago, PSIM – the acronym for Physical Security Information Management – became a popular ‘buzzphrase’ in both the physical and logical security sectors. In its broadest sense, the term sought to describe the increasing unification between IT security and physical security systems which really became inevitable given the increased adoption of IP services throughout the business world and, indeed, society as a whole.

In the case of physical security, this phenomenon has revolutionised the approach the industry takes to its products and services. Manufacturers, specifiers and installers have had to adapt and evolve to meet the expectations of the market (and, in many cases, the wider public).

However, the security sector as a whole has moved on and the expectation of an IP connection is now simply a basic necessity rather than a defining characteristic.

Full integration between often complex and crucial systems is now the goal of security operators and providers alike. Paradoxically, while the technology is undoubtedly becoming more and more complex, the overall goal is to provide operators and installers with solutions that are actually simpler to use and install.

John Davies: managing director at TDSi

John Davies: managing director at TDSi

Bringing together all of the elements

PSIM has been highly successful in bringing together physical and logical security systems, but the expectations placed on integration have also grown significantly. The security market now demands more joined-up physical security technology.

Common integration components include:
• Access control (physical locks and doors)
• CCTV systems
• Intruder alarms
• Firefighting systems
• Building services controls (including environmental systems and lifts)
• Centralised business systems (and Schools Information Management Systems)
• HR systems

While physical and logical security were traditionally isolated from one another, so too were many of the individual physical security and management applications. The inability of these various facets to work directly together was a frustration when it was clear that the overall management of a facility could be enhanced and made considerably simpler and more efficient by doing so.

Bringing together the various elements has been made achievable by two improvements: the ability of many security and management systems to be connected to a universal Internet connection and the development of systems and software capable of administering and simplifying the operator’s task of running multiple functions from a single portal.

True security integration has only really been made possible with the advent of systems which are highly compatible with one another (often using shared/agreed standardised protocols) and offer the ability to network these previous disparate elements. The second hurdle has been to understand the popular standards and create software systems able to bring the strands together as a whole.

Continuous surveillance and control of facilities

While security systems are traditionally used to combat intruders and protect against attacks or thefts, some organisations actually face a substantial threat from what’s sometimes termed ‘insider theft’. Modern integrated security systems can be used as an effective deterrent against such threats.

Take the example of a busy warehouse. With items being moved in and out on a rapid basis, it can be easy for a worker to remove items (especially small ones) without necessarily being noticed by colleagues or human security operators. In this example, CCTV surveillance may not be enough to detect a problem in standalone mode. However, in combination with an integrated stocktaking system and monitoring of access to the facility it’s much easier to investigate unaccounted losses and to check video footage for the missing items. Equally, it can be a powerful tool to defend the honesty of staff members where there is suspicion or doubt.

Visual verification: monitoring of staff movements

With a truly integrated combination of security and business/building control systems there are fresh opportunities to use these existing investments. A good example is the administration of facilities management resources. Visual verification from CCTV and security software systems can be used to monitor the movements of authorised staff as well as intruders.

A practical application for this could be the intelligent use of environmental temperature control and lighting. An integrated security system can detect the use of designated areas within a facility and intelligently manage the use of resources – and especially outside normal working hours – to reduce any wastage in unoccupied areas.

Equally, this visual verification technology could be used to monitor human and vehicular traffic around a facility and analyse any congestion or influence planning decisions.

Emergency situations and fires

Integrated systems can also play an important role with regards to the safety of people on site. Fire alarms are far from a new technology, but when used in combination with all the other buildings control systems, the combined solution can play a vital role in safety.

In the event of a fire the alarm will probably be the first system to activate. In a modern integrated system this can alert the security team and, if required, automatically escalate the warning to the emergency services.

Proactively, it can automatically restrict access to dangerous parts of the building and consult HR records or check ID restricted access logs to see who has entered and left the facility. This provides a more accurate account for the emergency services and security teams to assess the situation.

CCTV systems can then be used to assess whether people are trapped within the facility and even to investigate dangerous areas and the spread of the emergency without putting lives at risk.

Time and attendance: shift-based business models

For organisations that run strict time-keeping and shift-based business models, security systems can be used to administer accurate time and attendance recording and secure access control records when staff enter or leave a facility as well as enforce security.

It can also measure when staff visit different parts of the facility (for example the WC or food service areas) to ascertain an accurate record of the actual working patterns.

When linked to CCTV and logical access of IT systems, the HR Department or security system operators can see exactly what’s happening.

Using legacy systems and offering the best ROI

Intelligently installed integrated physical security systems can offer an attractive return on investment. First, they allow the ‘mix and match’ purchase of systems to best suit requirements and budgets. Second, they also permit the use of existing legacy systems and the inclusion of components that are either very specific to their role or, from a financial standpoint, would be problematic to replace.

A good example is the use of CCTV cameras where the best solution may be a healthy mix of modern megapixel cameras are other legacy or specific environment systems. In the past, it would have been harder to use different specifications of camera on the same network but integrated systems are specifically designed to cater for this eventuality.

Integrated systems: greater flexibility than ever before

While PSIM has undoubtedly bridged the gap between physical and logical security, the developments that have taken place since have arguably been more helpful to security operators and installers. The connection of physical security to IP-based systems was a vital development in the security industry as a whole, but the synergy between physical systems is bringing the evolution of truly self-aware solutions even closer.

Traditionally, organisations and installers dealt with a complete solution which was mutually exclusive to other solutions and offered little in the way of upgrades and evolution options. Making any changes required serious contemplation and often involved large budgetary commitments that were usually untenable.

The combination of physical security and IP systems has also radically altered the installer market. Installation specialists increasingly have to understand both IT and physical security disciplines in order to offer the best solutions for their clients. The trade-off is that, as an industry, the security sector is able to grow and offer exactly the solutions that customers require.

Those customers now have greater control over their investments and a greater confidence that it’s a wise investment in a wider economic landscape that will help achieve sustained growth.

John Davies is managing director at security solutions specialist TDSi

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Fire minister calls for smarter procurement across Fire and Rescue Services

Fire and Rescue Services across the country could save millions of pounds in taxpayers’ cash by improving the way in which they source and purchase fire-fighting equipment and clothing. That’s the verdict of the latest research published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Research findings in the 82-page Fire and Rescue Procurement Aggregation and Collaboration document highlight examples of Fire Services buying identical kit at vastly different prices, with the report stating that, across the country, the 46 Fire and Rescue Services could save millions by streamlining processes and standardising ways in which they buy clothing and equipment.

Prices for the same kit can vary by as much as 200%. For example, a fire helmet can cost between £105 and £131 but even when the same contract is used there can still be a significant price range of 66%. A typical fire protection coat can cost anywhere between £220 and £366.

The report concludes that Fire and Rescue Authorities could achieve savings of no less than £18 million from a total spend of £127 million per annum. Indeed, those savings could be even greater if applied to all purchases made by all Fire Services. On a collective basis, the Fire and Rescue Services spend an estimated £600 million each year on buying equipment and fire engines.

Fire and Rescue Procurement Aggregation and Collaboration was funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and jointly commissioned with the Chief Fire Officers Association through PA Consulting to identify how Fire and Rescue Services currently procure, where there are opportunities to buy more efficiently and highlight a range of strategic options on how these opportunities may be taken forward.

Penny Mordaunt MP:  Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government

Penny Mordaunt MP: Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government

Best value for taxpayers’ money

Speaking about the report, fire minister Penny Mordaunt MP said: “It cannot be right that the price of the same piece of kit or protective clothing varies so much for different Fire Services. This report clearly shows that the 46 Fire and Rescue Services must come together to maximise the buying power of the £600 million they spend and realise the best possible value for money for taxpayers.”

Mordaunt continued: “In the last decade, there has been a 46% reduction in call outs and incidents, while accidental deaths from fires in the home have reached an all-time low. However, expenditure and fire-fighter numbers have remained broadly the same. The case for change, then, is compelling. Taxpayers are right to expect the most cost-effective purchases so Fire and Rescue Authorities must seize this opportunity to make changes and drive better procurement.”

Fire and Rescue Procurement Aggregation and Collaboration recommends that Fire and Rescue Authorities seize the opportunity to deliver significant potential savings by:

*agreeing a common classification of goods and services for the 46 Fire and Rescue Authorities
*producing an index of prices paid on kit to avoid paying more for the same product
*securing internal sponsorship and partnership arrangements
*managing supplier relationships and contracts on a better basis
*developing a strategy for buying common non-fire goods and services together
*developing a national procurement pipeline plan that documents existing contract periods, future tendering exercises and large-scale procurement opportunities

The report determines it’s likely that standardisation of products will deliver even greater savings. Alongside greater volumes through collective procurement, this could add to the wider economies of scale. For example, if more Fire and Rescue Authorities bought the same vehicles then they would not only save on the vehicles themselves but also on the parts, maintenance and training.

Collaboration means the same procurement is not repeated time and time again in different services, in turn saving time as well as money. All of these findings make the case for collaborative procurement stronger than ever.

Sir Ken Knight

Sir Ken Knight

The Knight Review – Facing the Future

These findings follow last year’s report by former chief fire-fighter Sir Ken Knight which highlighted the scope for finding £200 million in savings while safeguarding emergency operations and protecting public safety.

The Knight Review revealed that huge variations exist between how the 46 different Fire and Rescue Authorities operate, with the cost per head of providing a service almost double in some areas to that of others.

Sir Ken identified that the 46 Fire and Rescue Authorities across England each had their own management structures, senior leaders and operational differences. Between 2008 and 2012, total reserves held by stand-alone Fire and Rescue Authorities increased from just over £200 million to more than £400 million. Ultimately, this highlights the potential for investing in spend-to-save type projects.

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Fike’s video fire detection protects UK’s Battle of Britain heritage

The SigniFire Video Fire Detection (VFD) system from Fike Safety Technology (FST) has been deployed in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) hangar to protect some of the nation’s most valuable historic assets.

Based at RAF Coningsby, the aircraft of the BBMF are regularly seen at events commemorating World War II, British State occasions and at air displays around the UK and Europe.

Most notable among the WWII aircraft are the Spitfire, the Hurricane and one of only two flight-worthy Lancaster bombers in the world. It was therefore imperative that when the fire protection needs of the BBMF hangar were reviewed, a state-of-the-art solution was chosen to provide effective and reliable fire detection.

The new system was designed and installed by T.I.S., an integrated solutions specialist and part of Fike’s nationwide Integrator Network.

The camera-based SigniFire VFD visually detects the presence of fire or smoke at its source. Multiple cameras have been installed covering both the floor of the hangar and the roof space. The technology offers many benefits including fast and reliable response, effective protection in demanding environments, excellent value for money and the bonus of providing CCTV images for security purposes (if required). The video can aid incident response with recordings made for post-incident analysis.

The SigniFire Video Fire Detection system has been deployed in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight hangar

The SigniFire Video Fire Detection system has been deployed in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight hangar

Following a rigorous competitive tender, SigniFire was chosen for its advanced technology, resilient and redundant architecture and a field-proven reliability.

Testing phase at RAF Coningsby

The testing phase at RAF Coningsby created an unusual problem, as Mark Wilson (head of contracts for T.I.S.) explained. “Due to the nature of the environment and the priceless value of the assets held in the hangar we were not allowed to light real test fires for the commissioning of the system. On that basis we developed a unique artificial flame and smoke simulator. At the time of testing both the original fire detection system and the VFD were operational. These tests demonstrated SigniFire’s excellent fast response to the initial presence of both smoke and flame.”

Unlike conventional fire detection systems, SigniFire doesn’t use traditional forms of smoke, heat or flame detection. Instead, it works by automatically analysing video images at the point of detection in each video fire detector, looking for tell-tale characteristics that indicate the presence of smoke and/or flames.

Distributing the video processing to within each fire detector camera delivers improved resilience and, with the use of fire resistant cable, allows the system to be BS 5839 certified. Video is recorded by way of NVR and monitored remotely on a touchscreen SpyderPanel. SigniFire is also connected to a newly installed addressable fire alarm system in the building.

An aircraft hangar creates one of the most demanding environments for VFD, with day/night light changes, slow moving aircraft, bright sunlight and constantly opening hangar doors. The application of video exclusion zones and double-knock triggers on both flame and smoke detection ensures false alarms are minimised and that the BBMF hangar has reliable and effective protection around the clock.

In addition, LED white lighting has been installed next to each camera to ensure minimum illumination at all times.

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‘Fire risk management systems should be formalised’ urges FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council

In the wake of prominent multi-fatality fires, organisations have spent considerable sums of money on fire safety but not necessarily achieved an improved level of fire safety assurance. Having spent a number of years undertaking fire risk assessments on the same portfolio of buildings, Ben Bradford states that it’s noticeable some organisations are beginning to wonder if the current practice is sustainable.

It has been almost nine years since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 prompted many organisations to undertake fire risk assessments within the premises under their control. Several have spent significant financial resources on consultant fire risk assessors (a person who carries out and documents the significant findings of a fire risk assessment) only to discover that, although the advice they received may have been offered with the best of intentions, it was not wholly appropriate. Indeed, it may also have differed from the advice of a ‘competent’ fire risk assessor.

At the same time, the fire industry has itself spent a considerable amount of time in the last few years deciding how to define a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment and also how to tackle the ‘cowboy’ market. It would appear that, at long last, there’s now at least a ‘defined’ competency criterion for fire risk assessors and guidance for those charged with delivering fire risk assessment programmes on how to seek the services of a competent fire risk assessor.

Following a recent enforcement review around the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which was undertaken by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is now committed to promoting the use – and acceptance – of recognised professional certification and accreditation for commercial fire risk assessors.

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk assessments are the very cornerstone of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, yet the value of such an assessment – even when conducted by a competent fire risk assessor – is largely dependent on the organisation’s ability to manage the outcomes.

A fire risk assessment is a means to an end but not the end in itself. When reviewing the high profile prosecutions that have hit the headlines over the past few years, one quickly realises that failure to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment (under Article 9) is not the only compliance obligation imposed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. There are numerous other duties by which the responsible person is bound.

Cost of fire at an all-time high

Enter the concept of ‘fire risk management’. With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. Rather, it encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire.

In today’s global and interconnected marketplace, issues such as Corporate Social Responsibility and reputational risk are extremely prominent. News headlines travel fast via both traditional and new media forms. The cost of fire is at an all-time high and, in these tough economic times, organisations need to be frugal with finite financial resources. In essence, they require to build resilience and ensure that fire risk assessment programmes deliver the intended outcomes.

Many organisations have a policy in place setting out an overarching statement of intent (signed by the CEO) and firmly establishing the ‘What’ and ‘Why’. Less common, yet essential, is the Fire Risk Management Strategy – a document which defines an organisation’s fire risk management system and method of implementing the overarching policy, and which firmly establishes the details of ‘How’, ‘When’ and ‘Who’.

These two pieces of documentation form the backbone of an organisation’s fire risk management system (a set of interrelated or interacting elements within an organisation designed to establish policies, objectives and processes to achieve those objectives and manage fire risk) and are generally underpinned by operational procedures.

The practice of fire risk management within our built environment is a much broader discipline than many give it credit for. It’s often delegated to the Health and Safety manager or the security manager within an organisation and, while I’m not suggesting that all companies should have a dedicated fire specialist responsible for fire risk management, they must acknowledge that fire safety is not just a sub-discipline of Health and Safety.

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

Fire risk management is a discipline in its own right with its own set of competencies. It does not always sit neatly in the Health and Safety Department due to the need for interaction with property, estates or facilities management functions. The old adage about ‘Jack of all trades’ most certainly applies. Too many fire safety manager roles are advertised with the essential qualifications stated as a NEBOSH Diploma, which merely emphasises the confusion often found in organisations regarding the scope of the Health and Safety manager’s role.

When undertaking fire risk management system audits, my experience is that those organisations recognising fire risk management as a discipline in its own right – regardless of which department the function sits – are in a far better position to maintain governance over organisational fire risk than those that do not.

Competency criteria to be considered

The Fire Sector Federation has recognised that, having established the Competency Council and published the competency criteria for fire risk assessors, the next logical step is to consider the competency criteria for those actively engaged in fire risk management.

Following an initial meeting of key stakeholders, organised jointly between the Fire Sector Federation and the Fire Industry Association, there’s now a proposal afoot to reform the Competency Council and really tackle this issue.

Some organisations have formalised their fire safety policy, strategy and procedures and are now in the process of gaining fire risk management system certification via a third party certification body. Those organisations that already hold certification of their Health and Safety management system to OHSAS 18001 or business continuity management system to ISO 22301 are well placed to integrate their management systems and streamline the internal or external audit process.

Fire risk management system certification via a UKAS-accredited third party certification body will provide a means to reduce the burden on enforcing authorities and significantly support the Primary Authority (or Fire Authority) partnership schemes.

Fire risk management is evolving (both as a discipline and a practice) as an integrated or holistic approach to understanding and managing the risks posed by the threat of fire which enables an organisation to optimise its underlying processes and achieve more efficient results.

Those responsible for fire safety in organisations would do well to consider formalising their fire risk management system, and not focus solely on the process of documenting fire risk assessments.

Ben Bradford BSc MSc MBA CEng FCIBSE FRICS FIFireE is a member of the FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council and the founder/managing director of BB7

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Independent review on firefighters’ conditions of service opened by the Government

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt has launched an independent review to ensure that firefighters’ conditions of service support their front line work of preventing fire and protecting the public.

The review will be led by Adrian Thomas, an expert in the field of personnel management and staff resourcing. Thomas will now consult extensively with fire and rescue authorities, firefighters and representative bodies and report back in February 2015.

A report written by former fire chief Sir Ken Knight – entitled: ‘Facing the Future’ and published last year – outlined how improvements could be made to front line services if firefighters’ conditions of service were reviewed.

This review will consider whether the current Terms and Conditions are conducive to building the fire and rescue service of the future and look at national arrangements for agreeing conditions around:

*management practices and crewing arrangements
*collaboration and integration with other emergency services
*the use of on call firefighters
*clarity of process in the fair recruitment and remuneration of chief fire officers and fire officers

Penny Mordaunt MP

Penny Mordaunt MP

Official national statistics show that fire deaths in England have continued to fall, with 5% fewer deaths than last year continuing a trend that has witnessed a near 40% drop since 2004.

The figures also show that, last year, fire and rescue services attended 170,000 fires – the second lowest number of fire incidents ever recorded.

Launching the review, Penny Mordaunt MP commented: “Firefighters put their lives on the line every day and deserve a workplace that’s fully focused on fire prevention and protection. We have a responsibility to each and every firefighter to make sure their conditions of service, some of which are decades old, fully support the challenges modern firefighters face every day.”

Mordaunt added: “This review will involve a massive piece of evidence gathering, in particular from firefighters themselves as they have the expertise and ideas to take the service forward. I hope as many firefighters as possible will contribute. The process will give fire chiefs an up-to-date assessment of the workplace around which they can then implement lasting improvements so that firefighters may continue to serve the needs of their communities to the best of their abilities for years to come.”

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