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Faults in automatic extinguishing systems are very rare

Over the weekend, there was some discussion about damages caused by automatic extinguishing systems when the suspected reason of the water damages in the Kuopio theatre is a falsely triggered sprinkler nozzle. Automatic fire extinguishing systems have proven very reliable in events of fire. A sprinkler extinguishes a fire for a fraction of the amount of water that a fire brigade has to use at non-sprinkler sites. In addition, the risk of a water damage is very small. The risk of leakage caused by an equipment failure is one case per 16 million nozzles per year.

Automatic fire extinguishing systems are designed to extinguish or restrict a fire until emergency personnel make it to the scene. The equipment reacts to an elevated temperature of a space, and the nozzle is triggered by the heat. A building with a sprinkler system requires considerably less firewater in case of a fire than a site without a sprinkler system. A sprinkler system also reduces fire and smoke damages.

Faults in automatic extinguishing systems are very uncommon. According to the statistics by FM Global, an insurance company in the United States specialising in sprinkler systems, the risk of a leakage caused by an equipment fault is one case per 16 million nozzles per year.

– The fact, however, remains that sprinklers are not triggered without a reason. In addition, not all of the nozzles in the system are triggered at the same time, but only those affected by elevated temperature, says Safety and Security specialist Lauri Lehto of the Finnish National Rescue Association.

According to American studies, in 98 percent of cases where an automatic system works, it works as it should. The reasons of inoperability are for the most part caused by human actions. The reasons include switching the equipment off or neglecting its maintenance.

The sector estimates that there are approximately 12 to 13 000 automatic fire extinguishing systems in use in Finland. These include almost 20 million nozzles installed in them. According to the statistics by the Emergency Services College, erroneous cases of operation in Finland amount to approximately 300 per year.
Very rarely are these cases caused by a faulty product. The underlying reasons may include installation-technical reasons or factors that have taken place after the introduction.
These include such conditions as the risk of freezing in winter time, or other environmental factors and changes that the placement of the nozzles has failed to take into account. One of the main reasons is inadequate equipment maintenance and servicing.

To work properly, extinguishing systems need regular maintenance for which SPEK, among others, arranges courses. ja vesisumut&culture=
The essential matter is that the extinguishing equipment is properly maintained to ensure trouble-free operation when needed.

– Maintenance and servicing prevent situations such as the one in Kuopio. Neglecting maintenance may put people in a building in a danger to life situation and cause major economic losses, says Lauri Lehto.

What is the Fire Prevention Technology Development Group?

The Fire Prevention Technology Development Group is a group of experts whose shared goal is to advance safety and to develop the service and maintenance, qualityand technical prospects of fire prevention technology. The environment is constantly developing and fire prevention must stay up-to-date to meet the new challenges.

Lauri Lehto
Safety and Security Expert
The Finnish National Rescue Association SPEK
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Compatibility of fire safety systems is important part of safety

Compatibility of fire safety systems is important part of safety

Fire prevention technology may significantly improve the fire safety of buildings. There are many great equipment configurations that communicate with each other. It is also important for the operation and maintenance of fire safety systems that the users and maintenance personnel are competent. Specialists in fire prevention technology remind us that the equipment needs to be compatible and that it requires regular maintenance to maintain safety.

The specialists in the field have set up a development group of fire prevention technology, which is concerned about the maintenance and servicing of safety systems which, as such, are in working order. Without regular checking of the operating condition, the desired operation of the equipment may be prevented.

Fire safety equipment includes, for example, fire detector and extinguishing systems. The purpose, after all, is that the various systems carry out safety measures each second and thus maintain and ensure operational continuity. This is not always the case since shortcuts are taken as early as the planning stage.

The most important matter at the planning stage is to identify the fire safety risks of the environment. Jarmo Alaoja, a member of the development group of fire prevention technology, has come across a number of equipment solutions.

– The selection and compatibility of the equipment must be based on the evaluation of the site and the suitability of the devices. This way fire prevention is not a part of its own, separated from other planning, but is easily embedded in the whole.
When a well-prepared whole is then passed on to a special designer who knows the land use and building acts, the end result is a step closer to its purpose, says Alaoja.

– With good planning and a skilled maintenance organisation, surprising and additional costs may be avoided. The problems in maintenance are often fundamental and in many ways affect the technical operational reliability due to lack of methodicalness, says Lauri Lehto, Security Specialist with the Finnish National Rescue Association.

Equipment maintenance requires skilled personnel

Implementing the equipment according to the requirements is just a start. Maintenance is estimated to cover approximately 80 percent of the costs of acquisition and maintenance of the equipment during its lifecycle. The equipment must be suitable for the usage environment during its entire lifecycle.

– It is in particular worthwhile to examine closely the compatibility and updatability of different equipment. In the worst case, the systems start to functionally “argue” with each other. An update on one safety system suddenly affects the operation of another equipment. That is why the proper operation needs to be ensured by necessary operation tests when system is updated. In such a case, the total management of the fire prevention technology is emphasised instead of individual solutions.

It is also possible that the significant changes are performed on the structures, purpose of use, or conditions of a property. The risk exists that the systems will not work properly in the changed operating environment. The system works as it should with the old criteria, but the operation no longer meets the requirements of the site. Problems may emerge in particular when different equipment are separate with no contact with each other. Different parties manage their own segments, but no one manages the whole.

– It is not meaningful or appropriate to limit the implementation or servicing of systems just to pass inspections. The important issue is proper maintenance based on the genuine know-how by the responsible persons and understanding the importance of fire safety, says Lehto.

What is the Fire Prevention Technology Development Group?

The Fire Prevention Technology Development Group is a group of experts whose shared goal is to advance safety and to develop the service and maintenance, qualityand technical prospects of fire prevention technology. The environment is constantly developing and fire prevention must stay up-to-date to meet the new challenges.

Lauri Lehto
Safety and Security Expert
The Finnish National Rescue Association SPEK


CFPA Europe publishes first European guideline for cybersecurity in SMEs

CFPA Europe publishes first European guideline for cybersecurity in SMEs

The “CFPA-E Guideline No 11:2018 S” is based on the German VdS 10000 guideline and is available free of chargeSmall and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular often find it  difficult to adequately protect themselves against cy-bercrime and the loss of important data, since comprehensive security measures entail high costs and considerable effort. To remedy this situation, the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations Europe (CFPA Europe), an alliance of more than 20 national safety organizations, has now developed the first European cybersecurity guideline especially for SMEs: the CFPA-E Guideline No 11:2018 S, “Guideline on Cyber Security for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.” This is based on the well-known German Guideline VdS 10000 (formerly VdS 3473) and provides an ap-proach that enables small and medium-sized enterprises to protect them-selves against cyber risks in an appropriate and affordable way.The CFPA-E Guideline No 11:2018 was published by CFPA Europe at the end of 2018 and is available free of charge at

Endorsement by European insurance association

The association Insurance Europe has officially endorsed the new guideline: For the first time, European guidelines are thus now available that are specially tailored to the needs of SMEs and are supported both by re-nowned safety institutes throughout Europe and by the European insurance sector.The guideline helps SMEs to improve their information security so that they can better resist cyberattacks. This resilience can be examined and certified on the basis of the guideline in audits – and thus also verified for dealings with business partners and insurers.


VdS-FireSafety Cologne on December 4 and 5, 2019 at Koelnmesse: Registration of exhibitors is under way!

A renowned industry gathering in the center of Cologne comprising a trade fair, expert conferences, and forums on the topic of preventive fire protection

Cologne, March 7, 2019. Companies from the field of preventive fire protection can now secure their participation in this year’s VdS-FireSafety Cologne trade fair on December 4/5, 2019 (see below for contact details). With its successful combination of trade fair, themed forums and expert conferences, VdS-FireSafety Cologne offers exhibitors the perfect setting to present their latest products and solutions and to enter into discussion with specialist visitors.

Versatile opportunities for presentation on favorable terms

The heart of VdS-FireSafety Cologne is the large trade fair with its focus on technical, structural and organizational fire prevention and protection. A site with a complete booth can be booked for as little as €215/m² for the entire duration of the fair.

All exhibitors are also invited to stage live demonstrations, and particularly interesting displays can be integrated as stations of the guided tours at the fair. The exhibitors’ forum in the trade fair hall also offers an attractive platform for presenting new products, along with technical and service innovations.

Future Forum Fire Protection

Future Forum Fire Protection, another themed forum in the trade fair hall, has now been a regular feature of the program for two years. Future topics such as aspects of digitalization in fire prevention and protection are explained and discussed here – an offer that has proved highly popular and attracts further interested visitors to the fair.

Seven high-caliber conferences

In parallel to the trade fair and themed forums, seven separately bookable expert conferences are offered at VdS-FireSafety Cologne. These too attract many interested expert visitors to Koelnmesse. The exhibitors of course also benefit from this, as for example René Schwertfeger from T&B electronic GmbH emphasizes: “The quality of visitors is particularly important to us: Thanks to the expert conferences taking place in parallel to the fair, the genuinely interested target groups are represented here, such as fire protection officers, insurance employees, experts, and consultants.”

The expert conferences at VdS-FireSafety Cologne 2019 at a glance:

  • Structural Fire Protection (Dec 4, 2019)
  • Security and Alarm Management (Dec 4, 2019)
  • Fire Extinguishing Systems (Dec 4, 2019)
  • 46th Professional Development Seminar for Fire Protection Officers (Dec 4/5, 2019)
  • Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilation Systems (Dec 5, 2019)
  • Fire Detection and Alarm Systems (Dec 5, 2019)
  • Construction and Fire Protection in NRW (Dec 5, 2019)

Information and booking for exhibitors

Further information and registration details for exhibitors can be found at If you have any questions, please contact Wolfgang Bartmann, tel. +49 (0) 221 77 66 6471, email:

All information on VdS-FireSafety Cologne at

VdS-FireSafety Cologne_fair.jpg, caption:

The heart of VdS-FireSafety Cologne: the large trade fair with providers from the fields of technical, structural and organizational fire prevention and protection

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Numerous product innovations and live demonstrations attract an interested specialist audience to Koelnmesse.

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A crowd-puller: “Future Forum Fire Protection” in the trade fair hall



About VdS:


VdS is one of the world’s most renowned institutions for corporate safety and security. 500 experts offer a unique range of services for fire protection, security, cyber-security and natural hazard prevention.

Services include risk assessments, testing and certification, inspections, information systems for natural hazards and an extensive training program. In addition, the independent institute sets international safety and security standards with the publication of a comprehensive set of Guidelines.

The optimal protection of our partners is based on a worldwide unique safeguarding concept whose reliability builds on more than 110 years of VdS-experience, combining all core aspects of loss prevention. Decision-makers around the world rely on VdS-approved reliability and certainty.


More information at


Rely on Europe´s No.1 for Corporate Safety and Security


The CFPA Europe family is getting bigger

New members have joined the CFPA Europe. These new members bring experience, knowledge and good practices in prevention, fire safety, natural hazards and security.

The new members are:

  • The Polish Association of Fire Engineers and Technicians (SITP) from Poland.
  • Swedish Thefts Prevention Association (SSF) from Sweden.
  • Hellenic Institute for the Fire Protection of Structures (ELIPYKA) fron Greece.
  • Occupational Health & Safety, Environmental, Consultancy and Training Services (NTSS) from Turkey.
  • Occupational Safety, Fire Protection and Evacuation (Trajf) from Albania.

AIAS in collaboration with Confcommercio organizes a Seminar on Fire safety and Lithium-Ion Batteries on March 7, 2019.

When can a new technology be defined as safe?

Starting from this question, the workshop will be a moment of confrontation between experts from the public sector, the research world and the industry to analyze the state of the art of legislation and good practice applicable to fire risk in industrial processes using Lithium-ion batteries for a scientific approach to analysis and risk reduction.

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VdS Treppenlauf

Participation of VdS Schadenverhütung in a charity stair run organized by the Volunteer Fire Department of Bergheim

In 2017 two teams from VdS Schadenverhütung participated in a charity stair run organized by the Volunteer Fire Department of Bergheim, running up 16 flights of stairs 45 meters high in full firefighting gear. All money raised at this event was donated on behalf of Paulinchen e.V. a foundation for burned children. The association will use the money for such activities as maintaining the free initial contact hotline that helps victims of burn injuries, for various campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of burns and scalding, and also for the “Paulinchen” seminars, where families with injured children can get to know each other. At the end of the campaign, the vast sum of 3.333 € was donated to Paulinchen e.V.

The Volunteer Fire Department Bergheim is now one of the six finalists in the category “Social Engagement” of the Conrad Dietrich Magirus Award 2018. In an public online voting everybody can vote for his or her favorite team to reach the first place – until 27th of January 2019.  Which team made first place will be announced on the award night in Ulm on the 01.03.2019.

The Finalists for the „Special prize for social engagement 2018” are
Volunteer Fire Department Waltershausen (Germany)
SDIS 45 du Loiret (Orléans, France)
OSP Ochotnicza Straż Pożarna Lubin (Poland)
Volunteer fire Department Bergheim (Germany)
Chuncheon Fire Department, Gangwon Fire & Rescue Service (South Korea)
Youth Fire Brigade Langenthal (Germany)

Link for the Online Voting:

VdS Brandschutztage 2018 in der Kölner Messe ©VdS/Martin Rottenkolber

VdS-FireSafety Cologne 2018 with a multifaceted programme and numerous visitors from home and abroad

New exhibitor and visitor record, fully booked expert conferences, perfect networking opportunities

Cologne, December 5th, 2018 – For many fire prevention and protection professionals, VdS-FireSafety Cologne is the most important industry event at the end of the year. This was once again confirmed by the 7th VdS-FireSafety Cologne, which took place at the Cologne Exhibition Centre on December 4th and 5th, 2018. More than 100 exhibitors presented product innovations and live demonstrations at the major international trade fair, and a total of 3,300 visitors came to find out about current developments in the industry in the exhibition hall and at the expert conferences held at the same time. They also took advantage of the numerous networking opportunities.

Well-filled themed forums

The themed forums in the exhibition hall, to which all visitors had free access, were very popular. For the second time, the Future Forum Fire Protection was presented, this year with the motto “Today Vision – Tomorrow Everyday Life”. In the mornings of both days, experienced experts gave lectures on innovation topics and answered the questions of the trade fair visitors. In the afternoons, universities and manufacturers presented current findings, solutions and trends on the same stage.

Fully booked expert conferences

The seven high-calibre expert conferences that took place parallel to the trade fair in the halls of Cologne Exhibition Centre were also extremely popular, many of them fully booked. Among other things, the new conference “Security and Alarm Management – From Planning to Intervention”, which dealt with the convergence of fire prevention and protection, security services and optimally integrated emergency response, the compact seminar “Construction and Fire Protection in Northrhine Westfalia” on the new state building regulations, which will soon come into force, and the two-day international conference “Fire Extinguishing Systems” with case studies from Germany and abroad were available for selection. The internationally oriented programme also attracted many guests from abroad to Cologne Exhibition Centre; for example, the expert conferences were booked by visitors from 20 different countries.

Major trade fair and launch of international campaign

More than 100 exhibitors presented innovations and trends from various areas of preventive fire protection. Siemens presented its new international “Protection matters” campaign for the first time at VdS-FireSafety Cologne. It deals with the interlinking of the various fire protection professions (detection, alarm and evacuation, extinguishing, building and hazard management), which ideally are planned together from the outset. Siemens offers a comprehensive portfolio as well as planning aids that considerably facilitate the integration of the professions (more on this at “We used VdS-FireSafety Cologne to present our brand-new campaign, because here we meet an interested audience of experts in a very targeted manner. The feedback from the visitors was very positive. We are particularly pleased that the market perceives us as a driver for digitalisation in fire prevention and protection,” says Carsten Meißner of Siemens.

Live demonstrations and tours of the trade fair

At VdS-FireSafety Cologne there was a large variety of live demonstrations of the latest fire prevention and protection technology. These included, for example, a sprinkler system with foam admixture by FireDos and sprinkler demonstrations by Minimax Polska, in which the functionality of alarm valve stations and the spray patterns of sprinklers could be observed. VdS demonstrated original test equipment from the VdS fire detection laboratories: a rotating device in accordance with EN 54-12 for testing optical smoke detectors and a smoke box in accordance with EN 54-20 for testing aspirating smoke detectors.

The new offer for a total of three trade fair tours was also gladly taken up, during which interested visitors were shown selected product innovations and live demonstrations.

VdS-FireSafety Cologne 2019 on 4th and 5th December

Also next year VdS-FireSafety Cologne will not be missing from the calendars of industry professionals. Once again, it will take place at Cologne Exhibition Centre on 4th and 5th December 2019.

Further information on VdS FireSafety Cologne:

VdS Brandschutztage 2018 in der Kölner Messe ©VdS/Martin Rottenkolber

Full halls, satisfied faces: 3,300 visitors came to VdS-FireSafety Cologne 2018 to find out about the latest trends in fire prevention and protection.

VdS Brandschutztage 2018 in der Kölner Messe ©VdS/Martin Rottenkolber

Innovations were presented and many products demonstrated live at the more than 100 stands at the trade fair of VdS-FireSafety Cologne 2018.

VdS Brandschutztage 2018 in der Kölner Messe ©VdS/Martin Rottenkolber

Many of the expert conferences at VdS-FireSafety Cologne 2018 were fully booked, for example the expert conference “Fire Extinguishing Systems International” with simultaneous translation German/English.

About VdS

VdS is one of the world’s most renowned and prestigious institutions for corporate security and safety, specialising in fire protection, security, cyber-security and natural disaster prevention. The services include risk assessments, on-site inspections, certifications of products, companies and professionals, and a comprehensive training and publication programme.

The VdS seal of approval enjoys an excellent reputation in professional circles and among decision-makers. VdS clients include industrial and commercial businesses in all industries, leading international manufacturers, system houses and professional specialists, as well as risk-conscious banks and insurers. More information at

VdS – Inspected. Approved. Safe.


Active participation of CFPA in European exhibitions

Two exhibitions:


This late autumn there have been to big exhibition where CFPA Europe has been present. Expoprotection where in Paris 6-8 November and Director Tommy Arvidsson worked together with our member CNPP and CFPA E had also one side in their booth. Many visitors got interested to hear and learn more about CFPA E.


Here is Patrick Hebbelynck (right) from CNPP talking with professors Barbara and Milovan Vidakovic, both from DITUR our member organisation in Serbia.

VdS FireSafety

In the beginning of December CFPA Europe joined in the booth with our member in Germany, VdS, at their international conference and exhibition in Cologne. It was very big even with even with approximately 1000 people participating the conference every day.

At the VdS-FireSafety the CFPA was represented by 4 speakers from 4 CFPA-members on quite different topics (From Grenfell Fire to Sprinkler systems and oxygen reduction systems up to Cyber security) – it shows the competency of our members:

  • John Briggs, FPA: “Grenfell Tower: Fire in high rise building in June 2017 – Could a sprinkler system have prevented or significantly reduced the impact and growth of the fire?”
  • Miguel Vidueira, Cepreven: “A real case: Efficiency problems with an existing sprinkler system due to a bad manufacturing of the pipework”
  • Heike Siefkes, VdS: “Oxygen reduction systems – determination of riskspecific oxygen concentrations“
  • Anja Kivac, DBI: “Social Engineering – Threat for the Human Firewall”


Here is John Briggs (left) from FPA-UK talking with Miguel Vidueira from Cepreven-Spain while Tommy Arvidsson between both reviews marketing material.

Organisations from East Europe

On 16 November CFPA Europe’s Director Tommy Arvidsson met people from ECEUFIRE, the East Central European Fire Corporation, at a meeting host by our member organisation in Slovenia, SZPV. Besides discussions about their co-operation, there was also plenty of time to talk about CFPA Europe.


Here Tommy is making a presentation and Mateja Gris, Slovenia, Gábor Marlovits, Hungary, Horia Mihai Nicolescu, Romania, and Milan Hajduković, Slovenia are listening.

In Ljubljana CFPA Europe and Gašper Golob head of SZPV also had a possibility to meet Slovenian Insurance Association.


VdS warning: Millions of video cameras vulnerable to hacking


Dangerous access to nine million video cameras: Precisely the insecure cloud functions that the police and VdS have been warning against for years enable tampering with the surveillance systems of hundreds of end manufacturers. // Developers can find precise help for secure remote access in the guidelines VdS 3169, available free of charge.

The police and VdS have been warning for years against the often extreme vulnerability of insecure cloud solutions – even for components used in the security sector. The most recent example: video camera parts from one of the world´s largest manufacturers of this type (based in eastern China). Hack attempts by the Viennese IT security consultants SEC Consult revealed fast access options for nine million cameras currently in use. Program manipulations were also easily possible.
A particular problem is that although these components are used by more than a hundred end manufacturers, they are usually not listed anywhere. By the way, the botnet “Mirai” (perpetrator caught and convicted), which in 2016 paralysed large parts of the Internet including Twitter, Spotify and Netflix, drew its attack strength to a large extent from hacked components of this very manufacturer.
Sebastian Brose, Head of Product Management in the VdS Business Unit Products & Companies, explains: “Since then, optimisations have mostly not taken place. Many institutions all over the world which are highly interesting for criminals are using these vulnerable components. Hackers will not only see everything that happens there quickly and easily, but can also use the gap to enter other systems on site and misuse them as attack tools. Users of VdS-approved systems do not have such problems – after all, these are exactly the things we are testing for.”
The problem often arises because remote access via app has been made possible. Developers can find important help for a secure implementation in the free guidelines VdS 3169en (simply enter “3169en” in the search field on ).

Caption Hack: Even cloud solutions used in the security sector are often far too easily attackable. Latest example: Nine million video cameras that are easy to hack because of an unsafe component.