Tag Archives: Schools

Kentec set to showcase latest UL-approved Taktis fire panel at Intersec

Life safety control systems manufacturer Kentec is showing its UL-approved, next generation Taktis UL 16-loop analogue addressable fire panel on Stand 4-A24 at Intersec 2019 alongside a suite of extinguishant panels and accessories designed to make end user customers’ lives easier.

The Taktis UL 16L extends the current Taktis UL fire panel to provide up to 144 zone indications. It supports more than 2,000 detection devices and can network up to 128 panels, making it ideal for the largest sites such as Data Centres, schools, hospitals, multi-site retail outlets/supermarkets, critical infrastructure and major commercial and industrial facilities. The panel has been approved by UL to UL-864 10th Edition.

Exhibited for the first time is the Fire-Cryer Plus voice sounder and visual indicator. An accessory to the Sigma XT, Sigma XT+ and Syncro XT+ extinguishing control panels, the solution provides clear and concise messaging to building occupants as an alternative to electronic sounders/bells and strobes. System-specific messages are provided including first stage alarm, second stage alarm, gas release imminent and gas release confirmation as well as hold button activation.

KentecTaktisULRed

Also on display will be the Ockular software solution, providing building managers with complete control over fire detection and monitoring. Ockular software enables the creation of a 2D site map of any site or building to monitor fire safety and detection, and automatically switches to an area where a fire device has been activated to allow immediate viewing and investigation of an event.

Visitors will also see how Vizulinx, a sophisticated yet easy-to-use fire alarm management solution, enables building managers and service providers to monitor fire systems remotely while also being able to integrate with other systems (such as Building Management Systems, for example). It passes on the detail of fire system events via e-mail and SMS message format using a standard IP connection. Integration with other systems is achievable via Modbus or BacNET protocols.

Kevin Swann, managing director of Kentec, stated: “Intersec will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase how our systems are helping to protect sites within a wide variety of sectors in the Middle East and globally. With the Taktis UL 16L, our panels have the capability to protect the very largest sites and infrastructures. Our suite of complementary products, including Fire-Cryer, Vizulinx and Ockular demonstrates that the customer is at the centre of everything we do. It’s our job to ensure fire safety is made as efficient, practical and effective as possible for our customers.”

KentecTaktis4SlotPanel

Kentec’s robust and easy-to-install Sigma A-XT, Sigma XT and Syncro XT+ ranges will be on display at the show, demonstrating the company’s long-established extinguishing capabilities.

Intersec 2019 takes place on 20-22 January in Dubai and will attract more than 1,000 exhibitors from well over 50 countries, as well as upwards of 25,000 trade visitors.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk Xtra

Kentec’s next generation Taktis fire panel for larger sites takes centre stage at Security Essen

Kentec is showcasing its life-critical control systems at Security Essen 2018*, with the company’s next generation Taktis 16-loop analogue addressable fire panel taking centre stage on Stand A28 from 25-28 September.

The Taktis 16L extends the current Taktis fire panel to provide up to 144 zone indications. It supports more than 2,000 detection devices and can network anything up to 128 panels, making this solution ideal for larger end user sites such as schools, hospitals, multi-site retail/supermarkets, critical infrastructure and major commercial and industrial facilities.

Also on Stand A28 and launched this year will be Kentec’s Ockular software solution, giving building managers complete control over fire detection and monitoring. It enables the creation of a 2D site map of any location or building to monitor fire safety and detection, and automatically switches to an area where a fire device has been activated to allow immediate viewing and investigation of an event.

Skyscrapers in New York City, midtown Manhattan, USA

Visitors will also see how Vizulinx, a sophisticated yet easy-to-use fire alarm management solution, enables building managers and service providers to monitor and control fire systems remotely. It passes fire system events via e-mail, SMS, Modbus and BACnet message format using a standard IP connection.

Kevin Swann, managing director of Kentec, commented: “We’re looking forward to demonstrating to visitors how Kentec’s products have been conceived, designed and manufactured with both the end user and installer in mind. Taktis 16L takes us to an exciting new era where the panel can be used to protect the very largest sites and infrastructures, while Vizulinx and Ockular have been developed to ensure that fire detection management is highly efficient, practical and effective.”

KentecEssen2

From the extinguishing side, Kentec’s robust and easy-to-install Sigma XT and Syncro XT ranges will be on display.

*Security Essen attracts more than 1,000 exhibitors and 42,000 trade visitors each year

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk Xtra

Veracity set to join partners at BETT 2017 as education sector demands reliable and long-term storage of HD video

Veracity – a leading provider of innovative and intelligent solutions that solve real-world IP video challenges in transmission, storage and display – has just announced its inaugural attendance at the BETT Show.

The BETT Show takes place between 25-28 January at London’s ExCeL, and is the largest education technology event in Europe. By partnering with Kingsfield Computer Products Ltd on Stand G372 and Kent CCTV & Data Ltd on Stand E370, Veracity will show visitors from schools, colleges and the further education world that choosing to use higher definition cameras to record in much greater detail is now perfectly possible by dint of using the company’s award-winning surveillance storage product COLDSTORE.

Depending on the environment and the use of open platform cameras, it’s also possible to reduce the systems’ overall total cost of ownership by recording direct to COLDSTORE from the cameras, cutting out the additional hardware, VMS licence and energy costs of NVRs.

alastairmcleodveracitynew

Alastair McLeod: Group CEO of Veracity

“No longer need you worry about reducing the recorded resolution from your cameras to conserve hard disk space,” explained Alastair McLeod, Group CEO of Veracity, to risk and security managers operational in the education sector, “or recording in high definition for short periods only. Security teams looking after retail centres are already realising the benefits of being able to record continuously in high definition, enabling them to retrospectively interrogate CCTV footage in greater detail than previously possible.”

McLeod added: “COLDSTORE’s recording design, which uses only two hard disk drives at a time in a mirrored overlapping pair sequence, extends the life of those disks considerably and reduces system energy consumption by around 90% when compared to similar-sized RAID systems.”

Veracity’s transmission products will be available for visitors to view. These include the industry-benchmark HIGHWIRE family of products, enabling the latest IP cameras to be installed over legacy coax networks without re-cabling and associated business disruption.

Also of interest will be the POINTSOURCE Wireless solution, which enables security installers to locally view IP cameras on a smart phone during installation

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News, Uncategorized

ASSA Abloy offers fire safety advice on door closers for end users

Fire safety breaches can result in hefty fines and jail sentences. With this in mind, ASSA Abloy UK is offering end users salient advice on door closers in relation to fire safety.

According to Atomik Research, 45% of those responsible for fire safety within their organisations say they wouldn’t know how to spot a suspect fire door.

Door closers play a critical part in fire and smoke protection. ASSA Abloy UK’s DC700G-FM Free-Motion door closer is the first door closer for door widths of up to 1,400 mm that combines a free-swing function with Cam-Motion technology, allowing users to operate fire doors with the same low forces as non-fire doors. This replicates the absence of a door closer, but offers reliable closing in the event of a fire.

Ideal for providing barrier-free access, the DC700G-FM Free-Motion door closer satisfies BS 8300, helping towards meeting the requirements of Approved Document M of the Buildings Regulations and The Equalities Act 2010 for building owners, users and visitors.

The product is also suitable for use in schools, hospitals or residential care homes where the young, elderly or infirm may struggle in dealing with the forces associated with conventional door controls.

assaabloydc700g-fmdoorcloser

David Hindle, head of door closer sales at ASSA Abloy UK, said: “Shaftesbury Care Group Ltd has recently been hit with a hefty fine and costs totalling £410,000 due to fire safety failings at a care home. This serves as a stark warning to businesses that failing to carry out fire safety responsibilities can have detrimental consequences.”

Hindle added: “It’s essential that those responsible for fire safety within organisations ensure the correct door closers are installed. Door closers on fire and smoke protection doors can be a complex matter, since they must present the user with the lowest possible opening forces, while still retaining a high closing force in line with legislation.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News, Uncategorized

Fire risk assessments in schools: could we be sleepwalking into a disaster?

Government statistics show a steady downward trend in fires in schools from approximately 1,300 incidents in 2000-2001 to 700 in 2011-2012. However, we shouldn’t become complacent – arson in schools still accounts for nearly 180 fires every year. The Fire Industry Association’s technical manager Philip Martin explains the fire risks facing modern schools and what can be done to keep these locations safe.

Schools are changing places. They’re facing budget cuts and increasing demands to accept students of all abilities. For their part, secondary schools are being pressured into concentrating more on vocational studies, which could suggest an increase in laboratory and workshop activities.

Budget cuts could result in a reduced investment in fire safety measures, just as there’s an increase in the number of vulnerable people and hazards. It’s a potentially dangerous combination.

We need to bear in mind that fire safety legislation, which requires a fire risk assessment to be carried out in all schools throughout the UK, is focused on life safety. However, the biggest concern for many school governors may be the risk of arson. The life safety fire risk assessment isn’t concerned with property protection, but any measure taken to preserve life will tend to protect property.

The Fire Risk Assessment

The first question you should consider when carrying out a fire risk assessment is: ‘How can a fire start?’ The answer naturally falls into one of two groups: accidentally or deliberately. Not all hazards can be eliminated but they can all be managed. The Government’s guidance on educational premises covers this quite thoroughly.

When considering measures to prevent arson it helps to use your imagination. Stand outside the premises when it’s locked and empty and ask yourself how you would start a fire. Remember, most arsonists come prepared with nothing more than a lighter. That bin full of paper or pile of timber against the wall will start to look very appealing.

The life safety fire risk assessment isn’t concerned with property protection but any measure taken to preserve life will tend to protect property

The life safety fire risk assessment isn’t concerned with property protection but any measure taken to preserve life will tend to protect property

We need to think about physical security and removing or securing combustibles away from the school buildings, particularly away from overhanging eaves. We then need to think about intruder alarms and CCTV, both as deterrents and response mechanisms. Finally, we need to consider fire detection and sprinklers. BB100 offers some very sound advice on these matters.

As the fire risk assessor, you will need to look at the physical fire safety measures, the hardware and the management of fire safety, the software. Oddly, the hardware is probably the easier to assess as you can see and touch it. The software can be a puzzle.

You may have detailed procedures and comprehensive records but you need to be confident that they will work if put into practice. It could be useful to ask members of staff specific questions about what they’re supposed to do and what they would actually do. Ask them direct questions about what they know in relation to fire safety and who is responsible for what on site.

Taking responsibility: who’s in control?

This raises another question: ‘Who’s in control?’ Getting everyone in academic institutions to work together can be difficult. However, to make the premises safe someone has to take control, both generally and in an emergency. Legally, the organisation has to appoint an individual or individuals to be responsible for all aspects of fire safety. If more than one person is given responsibility, they should be co-ordinated and share information between them. Everyone in the organisation must be clear about their part in maintaining fire safety.

It may seem obvious that fire protection equipment such as fire alarms, extinguishers and emergency lighting should be serviced on a regular basis. Also needing a system of inspection and maintenance are elements such as fire-resisting walls, floors (ceilings) and doors, along with fire exits, extract systems (such as cooker hoods), ducts (especially fire dampers in ducts), fire safety signs and notices, fixed electrical systems and portable appliances (to name but a few).

Much of this maintenance isn’t costly or time-consuming. A simple walk around can be sufficient for inspecting and maintaining systems, and could be combined with a check on security systems and general housekeeping. There are two key points to note. Maintenance has to be planned and it has to be recorded. A simple logbook can help. The FIA has developed a new logbook which is available from FIA member companies.

Philip Martin: technical manager at the FIA

Philip Martin: technical manager at the FIA

The management of fire safety also needs periodic review looking at various aspects such as who is responsible for the management system, staff training, procedures (and not just the emergency procedures), records of maintenance supplier contracts and, of course, the fire risk assessment itself.

Fire drills will prove that the evacuation strategy works. Government guidance recommends that such a drill is carried out at least once a year and, preferably, every term. To be effective the drill needs to be planned, people informed and the drill monitored to avoid unnecessary risks (such as accidents on stairs).

The results of a drill can give valuable information on planning, training and the effectiveness of the facilities like alarms and escape routes.

Occasionally, a full evacuation isn’t desirable for safety reasons. In this instance, some form of simulation or desk top exercise may be sufficient – but only in exceptional circumstances.

Safe escape for everyone?

Naturally, schools should be open to students of all abilities. The premises should be adapted to ensure students can get into the premises and access all its amenities.

However, everyone must be able to get out in an emergency. We need to consider people with mobility and sensory impairment as well as those with intellectual and emotional impairment and how they may respond in an emergency. Think about both the hardware and the software when you ask yourself these questions…

*Can we use lifts in an emergency?
*Do we have procedures in place?
*Do we have properly trained and equipped staff?
*Can individuals with special needs be accommodated within the general evacuation procedure or will they require a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)?

Guided by Government, the Fire Risk Assessors Competency Council (a stakeholder group supported by the fire safety industry) drafted a set of competency criteria and signposted ways of assessing the competency of fire risk assessment organisations

Guided by Government, the Fire Risk Assessors Competency Council (a stakeholder group supported by the fire safety industry) drafted a set of competency criteria and signposted ways of assessing the competency of fire risk assessment organisations

In the past, schools used to employ simple fire alarm systems comprising a few call points and bells. False alarms were rare and the consequences minor. Now, most buildings will have an alarm system with automatic fire detectors, mostly smoke detectors that will often be monitored by operators at an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Smoke detectors respond equally to the smoke from fires as well as dust, steam and smoke from burning toast in the staff room, for example, which has led to more false alarms.

The FIA has a website dedicated to false alarms. Visit: http://www.fia.uk.com/en/cut-false-alarm-costs for more information.

Understanding your Fire Service

Over the last few years, the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) across England and Wales has been under severe pressure to reduce costs. Stations are being closed and the number of fire fighters reduced. Automatic calls to the FRS are frequently ‘challenged’ and, depending on where you are, an automatic signal relayed to the FRS via an ARC would be classed as ‘unconfirmed’. This may result in fewer fire fighters attending on an initial basis, with the crew arriving at normal road speed (no sirens or flashing lights) – or, in some cases, not at all.

It’s important that you find out about your local FRS’ policy. Also, give the ARC instructions to call key holders as well as the FRS. When the premises are occupied, someone should make a 999 call rather than relying on the ARC in the event of a real fire.

Most people assume the fire brigade will rescue everyone and save the building. This needs to be examined a little more closely. Legally, and morally, if we are responsible for premises and the people on/in them, that responsibility includes being able to get everyone to safety in an emergency. If fire fighters have to rescue people it indicates we have failed.

We should not have to rely on the brigade to evacuate people, and that includes those with special needs. Moreover, they – ie the brigade – will not risk fire fighters’ lives trying to save your property. This means that once a fire becomes established in a building the brigade will tend to attack the fire from outside. Sadly, this often results in the total loss of the building.

Listen to the experts

Many hold the view that, in all but the simplest of premises, a lay person – even supported by the Government guides – wouldn’t have the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out a thorough fire risk assessment. Many Boards of Governors and local authorities are so concerned about this that they only use consultants to do the work. Whether they use a staff member or employ a consultant, how do they know the assessor is competent?

Guided by Government, the Fire Risk Assessors Competency Council – a stakeholder group supported by the fire safety industry – drafted a set of competency criteria and signposted ways of assessing the competency of fire risk assessment organisations. These two documents are available on the FIA’s website at: http://www.fia.uk.com

The FIA maintains a strong position, advocating that anyone carrying out work of a specialised nature should work for an organisation which is third party accredited to a UKAS-accredited scheme such as BAFE SP205.

Could we be sleepwalking into a disaster? The answer very much depends on you. We haven’t had a fatality in a day school in many years. Let’s keep it that way.

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News