Tag Archives: Fire Safety

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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BAFE issues updated fire extinguisher servicing competency scheme document

BAFE has released the documentation for the revision of its fire extinguisher maintenance/service scheme (SP101). This is now available via the BAFE website (www.bafe.org.uk/sp101-2017), with the revision coming into effect from 1 October 2017.

In April last year, after a lengthy consultation period, BAFE launched the review of its fire extinguisher maintenance (SP101/ST104) scheme with the creation of a scheme revision group chaired by Dave Russell. Over the last year, which has included a public consultation, changes have been made to update, enhance and strengthen the scheme.

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The revised SP101 scheme continues to provide the best assurances to the industry and its customers of what defines a quality provider of fire extinguisher services in today’s market and also updates and strengthens the role of the fire extinguisher technician.

A BAFE-registered fire extinguisher technician has always been the defining way of acknowledging that a competent person is working on a given premises. This has now been enhanced further by including additional technical competence to the revised sections of BS 5306: Fire Extinguishing Installations and Equipment on Premises as well as requirements for having training in asbestos awareness and Health and Safety procedures.

The technician competency portfolio used by the BAFE assessors has also been reviewed, ensuring that all technicians who gain the esteemed BAFE Diploma continue to be the best in the industry. Passing the BS 5306 examination is only the first step in demonstrating understanding of the relevant standards to work competently in the field.

The scheme now also offers a dual route option. When the revised scheme goes live in October, organisations can gain third party certification via an ISO 9001 or a Management System route.

Both routes use the same audit criteria for fire extinguisher competencies, however, offering peace of mind for those individuals specifying a certified, competent provider that a BAFE-registered company with proficient technicians is an assured quality decision.

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Evolution launches dedicated retail security website

Evolution, the integrated fire and security business, has launched a dedicated website for its recently-introduced specialist retail division.

The website (evoretailuk.com) is an easy-to-use, simple to navigate showcase for the company’s retail expertise, demonstrating both ‘traditional’ and ‘next generation’ products and systems to protect assets before, during and even after they leave a store.

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Philip McKelvey, head of retail sales at Evolution, has explained to Risk UK that the website will be expanded as the division grows.

“We can provide best advice and consultancy on all aspects of security, working with the latest products and technologies from the UK and Europe,” said McKelvey. “Our current range of RFID tags and labels will be constantly updated to include anti-counterfeiting measures. These will all be highlighted and promoted online.”

Evolution’s new retail division is based in Chelmsford.

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Chubb launches new website to help UK employers manage business risk

Chubb Fire & Security has launched a new website featuring the same products and services, but with a redesigned approach towards customer focus. With a fresh look and feel, the new site allows users to more easily access the services they require, ensuring a better customer journey.

The website, which can be found at www.chubb.co.uk, has been developed to showcase Chubb’s capabilities in the fire safety, security and community care sectors as well as provide easy access to ChubbmySite, the portal for fire and security customers.

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The new responsive platform consolidates multiple legacy websites and enables site visitors to rapidly request a service visit, find product information or pay invoices. It also provides a summary of relevant Codes of Practice and British Standards to help customers understand their obligations as they seek to comply with the latest legislation and Best Practice.

“The new website provides a platform that demonstrates our commitment to putting customers at the heart of everything we do,” stated Andy Johnston, head of marketing and communications. “The website also enhances our ability to explain Chubb’s capabilities to anyone looking for professional fire, security and community care solutions and services.”

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Advanced set to showcase array of fire safety systems at ISEC Ireland 2017

Fire safety systems developer Advanced is showcasing its technology at ISEC Ireland in Dublin next month. The company will be located at Booth E2, where industry experts will be on hand to answer any questions attendees might wish to ask.

“Advanced has a well-established reputation for quality, performance and ease-of-use in the Irish fire systems market, and we work with some of the best professionals in the industry to achieve this position,” said Neil Parkin, Advanced’s regional sales manager. “We’re delighted to be attending ISEC. It’s a very focused show in a territory that’s very important to us.”

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Products on display will include MxPro multiprotocol fire panels, TouchControl touchscreen remote control terminals, the AlarmCalm false alarm management system, Lux Intelligent emergency lighting testing systems and the QuickZone conventional and twin-wire fire panels.

Running on April 26 and 27, ISEC is Ireland’s premier fire and security expo. Visitors include installers, facility managers, electrical contractors, consultants and engineers from both north and south of the border.

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Chubb Systems set to showcase fire and security solutions at Data Centre World

Chubb Systems will be showcasing its smart security management software – along with the company’s extensive range of fire safety and security solutions – at Data Centre World on 15-16 March at ExCeL, London.

Chubb Systems will be demonstrating its powerful fire and security management system – ADACS – which collates data from multiple channels, enabling Data Centre operators to manage fire safety, security, building controls and power supplies from a single platform.

The feature-rich ADACS platform presents real-time information to control access privileges, monitor fire detection and suppression systems and manage CCTV and monitoring systems installed within the Data Centre.

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Chubb works with Data Centre operators to tailor solutions to help protect people and assets and assist in safeguarding Data Centre uptime. “We use our expertise and the latest security and fire technology to create secure, reliable and compliant solutions,” said Graeme Heanan, managing director at Chubb Systems. “These solutions provide a first line of defence and early warning of any problems, preventing a small incident from becoming a major issue and limiting downtime to an absolute minimum.”

Visitors to Data Centre World will also be able to view Chubb’s cabinet access management system (CAMS), a safe and secure solution for the management of cabinets and racks. The CAMS allows only authorised personnel access to allocated cabinets and supports compliance with a full auditing capability. Permissions are administered via the Chubb ADACS system, in turn giving direct control over access rights.

Chubb’s comprehensive approach includes the design, installation, maintenance and monitoring of intrusion detection systems; high-performance video surveillance systems linked to a 24/7 CCTV monitoring centre, advanced access control and fire detection systems (gas fire suppression systems and high-pressure water mist).

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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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