Monthly Archives: November 2017

Fire Safety: Technical Cycle

seguridad-incendios

For all of those who wish to have a comprehensive knowledge of fire safety, CFPA-Europe has the “Fire Safety – Technical Cycle” course, which has a minimum duration of 15 days, corresponding to 100h of training, and is currently available in Belgium (ANPI), Denmark (DBI), Finland (SPEK), France (CNPP), Germany (VDS), Italy (AIAS), Portugal (APSEI), Spain (CEPREVEN), Sweden (BRANDKYDDSFORENONGEN), Switzerland (SWISSI) and UK (FPA).

Besides the national fire safety regulations, in the course are treated several matters that are fundamental to the understanding of fire safety in buildings, including nature and behaviour of fire, behaviour of elements of structure and materials under fire conditions, control of fire and smoke spread, first-aid fire-fighting equipment, fire detection, design, control and maintenance of fire protection systems (sprinklers and aqueous and non-aqueous systems). In the CFPA-e Fire Safety – Technical Cycle course are also addressed issues as behaviour of people, risk assessment in industrial and commercial premises and fire protection management.

With the completion of the course, are acquired skills in terms of risks identification, control of fire causes and minimization of their consequences, use and application of prevention and protection systems and techniques and the relevant regulations and standards.

We highlight the fact that the course integrates a module on practical firefighting training, in which the trainees have the opportunity to learn to use first-aid fire-fighting equipment, namely fire extinguishers, blankets and hose reels.

The course gives access to the CFPA -Europe Diploma “Fire Safety – Technical Cycle”. In order to access this diploma, trainees need to get approval in a written examination plus a case study management report presented in writing or orally. This case study is based on a simulation of a fire safety audit in an industrial or commercial premise.

The course can be attended by all those involved in fire prevention that wish to deepen their knowledge, namely safety managers, advisers, consultants, experts, consultants in fire prevention, authority staff, inspectors and insurance professionals.

London fire emphasises challenges with high-rise buildings

Grenfell Tower Fire

Classic technical challenges fighting fires in high-rise buildings probably played a part in the catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in London, in which at least 80 people lost their lives.

Exactly what happened, why and how have not yet been completely determined following the appalling fire in the Grenfell Tower flats in London on 14 July. However, it would appear that a series of universal fire safety challenges in high-rise buildings played a central role in the most serious domestic fire in the UK since the beginning of the 20th century.

One of these is the facade, which was renovated last year with a new surface and insulation on top of the existing concrete facade.

– There is still a lot we don’t know, but from the photographs, it looks as if the facade contributed significantly to the rapid development of the fire, says Anders B. Vestergaard, fire safety consultant with the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology, DBI.

The UK media have reported that the materials used in the construction should not have been used on the building. But if you know anything about building processes, you can easily imagine how they have ended up there.

Change in construction
- Maybe the architect and building consultant originally proposed panels that were more fire-resistant and made the facade safer, then during the construction process, the developer and builder changed them for a cheaper product for economic reasons, says Vestergaard and adds:

– Once that decision has been made, you tend to forget that the facade is an integrated solution and that by changing part of it, you are affecting the whole system. It’s a classic development in a construction process that can have serious consequences for fire safety.

During the renovation, windows may also have been moved to increase the light in the flats, leaving the facade insulation – which can be flammable, more exposed to fire and thus compromising the fire-safety unit of which each flat in a concrete tower block comprises.

– And if you don’t screen off the area around the windows from the flammable insulation of the facade with a fire-proof material, you’re left with a facade where fire can spread unhindered between the floors and between the facade and the flats, Vestergaard explains.

The facade is a complete system
The overall problem is that the facade is not thought of as a complete system but as individual elements. This is what happens when a contractor changes individual products in a system and it’s also the case if you imagine that fireproof materials are the only solution in a high building. Because actually, there is nothing wrong with using flammable materials for the facade of a tower block as long as the system is constructed to support its use, e.g. by encasing the flammable material in fireproof material.

– It can be difficult to get right but is certainly possible and provides options with sufficient safety, says Anders Dragsted, fire safety engineer at DBI.

– It may also be that all materials in a facade system are approved individually but become a completely different product when they are put together. Normally products are tested individually but not the system as a whole, as it should be, he adds.

Evacuation
Another well-known challenge with tower blocks is evacuation. In connection with Grenfell Tower’s recent renovation, a system was installed that, in case of fire, was supposed to keep the stairwell free of smoke by creating an overpressure. This was a really important feature as the stairwell was the only escape route for the residents as well as being the only way in for fire fighters. It has not yet been ascertained whether or not the system worked but overpressure ventilation systems are generally difficult to work with.

– In Denmark, overpressure ventilated stairwells have become more common over the past 15 years because higher buildings are being built. This is often a requirement when a building is over 22 metres high, as emergency service ladders cannot reach higher, making safe evacuation via the stairwell even more important, explains Lise Schmidt, fire safety engineer at DBI.

Advanced systems
An OPV (over pressure ventilation) system works in the way that a stairwell becomes pressurised if there is a fire on one of the floors. The OTV system blows air into the stairwell and creates an overpressure. On each floor, it is possible to release pressure via an opening to a shaft. When the door between a smoke filled floor and the stairwell is opened, the airflow from the stairwell forces the smoke away from the stairwell and the release in pressure ensures that the smoke is released out into the open. If smoke is only registered in the stairwell, the system will not usually start as this will spread smoke into the stairwell and to all other floors.

– OTV systems are very automatic and must be finely adjusted to ensure that the pressure does not get too high, otherwise the doors to the stairwell may become difficult or even impossible to open, explains Lise Schmidt.

In recent years, more advanced systems have been developed where the airflow into the stairwell is more constant, and a safety valve or damper in the stairwell ensures that the pressure does not become too high.

The campaign “K-EINBRUCH“ – punning with an abbreviation of “kein Einbruch” – no intrusion

einbruch

Why such a public campaign?

In view of the high figures of intrusion the item protection against intrusion is a special focus in the work of the police criminal prevention. Aim is to sensitize people to see for a self-dependent, effective intrusion protection. With co-operation partners from the insurance associations, the industry and installer companies the police therefore initiated in the year 2012 the nationwide public campaign “K-Einbruch”. The Federal Minister of the Interior, Dr. Thomas de Maizière had the courtesy to act as patron. Ms. Kristina Vogel, as cyclist twice Olympic winner and federal police officer is ambassador of the campaign. The figures of the last years showing steadily raise of intrusion attempts substantiate that prevention measures and prevention by appropriate behavior and the proper security techniques are effective measures. This may definitely be explained by ameliorations in security measures against intrusion in private households. The campaign, therefore, tries to attract also those circles for which intrusion wasn’t subject yet.

Core of the campaign is the web presence www.k-einbruch.de. This offers besides others product neutral information of the police on intrusion protection, an interactive house with clues how to protect ones home as well as information on government aid of intrusion protection. In the category “Partner” website visitors may find the K-EINBRUCH network which is steadily amended. Associations being listed with their logo and links on co-operation partners and companies support the initiative and advise on their own websites the campaign. Vice-verse, this network leads to the websites of the co-operation partners.

The day of the intrusion protection

tagdes

A further essential element of the campaign is the „Day of the intrusion protection“. Themed on “One hour more for more security”, this yearly event takes place the day as central European summertime ends and clocks are reset to wintertime. Citizens should benefit from the hour such way gained to read up on intrusion protection and to reflect on how to realize security recommendations in their own course of life. Local police stations as well as the partners of the campaign point to the high figures of home intrusion with a variety of activities and information performances.

 

The „K-EINBRUCH“ Media

In order to give the campaign a corporate identity and to reach recognition a logo with close resemblance to the police seal was developed. For the advertisement of K-EINBRUCH posters, postcards, stickers, information leaflet, announcements and link banners were produced which all partners may use. Partners highlight the day of the intrusion protection with an eye catcher, a striking graphic teaser. The motive of the campaign – a room being obsessed by a burglar, where the open patio door was sprayed with the note “door was tilted” – underlines the experience of the police that burglars often seize the favorable occasion. The note “door was tilted” here is a pointer on careless behavior of citizens and is aimed to create more consciousness to one’s individual responsibility and to engage oneself with the issue intrusion protection.