First International VdS Fire Safety and Security Forum in China

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On September 6th, 2017, the first “International VdS Fire Safety and Security Forum” took place in China. The forum was organised and directed around the setting of “China Fire Expo” in Beijing, and focused primarily on topics related to fire safety and security, and first and foremost with decision-makers and disseminators from industry, politics, administration and science.

In his opening address VdS CEO Thomas Urban emphasised the extremely positive development that VdS has seen and taken note of in the Chinese market over the last 10 years. Thus VdS is now widely accepted by many representatives of the Chinese administration and is even required as a safety and security standard in some public tenders. The “International VdS Fire Safety and Security Forum” also provided an excellent platform for informing interested enterprises about the opportunities to enter the Chinese market and to promote dialogue with Chinese policy-makers and business leaders.

More information: www.vds-forum-china.de

The picture shows Lothar Sysk, VdS Chief Representative in China, with the chief magistrate of the province Hubei.

Cooperation: CFPA Europe & CTIF

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CTIF (International association of fire and rescue service) has at their annual meeting in July decided to start with endorsement of CFPA E’s Guidelines. Their “Commission Europe”, with chair Seamus Murphy, will have a important role in reading and reviewing the Guidelines, and at the July meeting they decided the procedure for endorsement.
Already in April this year Insurance Europe started with endorsement of CFPA E’s Guidelines.

Artificial intelligence for tomorrow’s firefighters

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Artificial Intelligence is more than SIRI on your iPhone and computers that can win at Jeopardy. A project where artificial intelligence assists firefighters during a call-out is running in the USA, and offers huge potential.

A firefighter enters a burning building. In addition to his fire-resistant clothing, boots, gloves and helmet, he also has a head-up-display (HUD), which presents key data in his field of vision. Moreover, his clothing is fitted with various sensors that feed the artificial intelligence that follows the firefighter with the firefighter’s position, temperature data, toxic gases and other hazard warnings. The artificial intelligence analyses the data, simultaneously collecting information from different sensors in the building and from databases with technical drawings of the structure. Based on all the data, the artificial intelligence sends instructions to the firefighter via his HUD, enabling him to navigate safely through the building.

Moreover, if there is a group of firefighters who, for example, need to fight the blaze or locate trapped occupants, the artificial intelligence can suggest ways in which the firefighters can work together to successfully perform their task.

AUDREY is here
The above example could actually become reality within a few years, as artificial intelligence is already under development. It – or should we say ‘she’ – is called AUDREY, which is an acronym for ‘Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and sYnthesis’. And the above scenarios are just some examples of where AUDREY can be employed.

AUDREY is the result of a joint project between Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), which is a part of NASA and administered by the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH), and the Department of Homeland Security in the USA. It is part of a larger project called Next Generation First Responders (NGFR), which will enhance safety for emergency services in the field through supporting and improving their focus and communication.

AUDREY is still at an early stage of development, and was tested last summer when it was fed data from various sensors and delivered recommendations to a mobile unit. And within the next year, AUDREY will be tested in real-life situations.

Firefighters’s guardian angel
AUDREY is based on a range of technological breakthroughs which will make it a possible assistant for tomorrow’s firefighters. For example, it is designed to integrate with the ‘internet of things’, where more and more everyday objects are connected to the internet, for example bathroom scales, underfloor heating systems, lighting, fridges and TVs. Even now, AUDREY is able to find the objects, gather data from their sensors and combine this data with data from the sensors which the firefighters carry as part of their equipment.

– When the firefighters are connected to all the sensors, AUDREY will in effect become their guardian angel. Thanks to the data which the sensors are registering, the firefighters will not, for example, run into a room where the floor is collapsing, says Edward Chow, manager at the JPL Civil Program Office and program manager for AUDREY.

Can observe and learn
Before data can be used, it must be filtered and processed.

– The prevalence of minisensors and ‘the internet of things’ can make a huge difference to first responder safety, how they are connected to one another and their understanding of the situation. However, the huge volumes of data are incomprehensible in their raw form and must be synthesised to usable, targeted information, says John Merrill, project manager for NGFR.

AUDREY can do this as well. It knows the different roles in connection with an emergency operation, and can thus provide relevant information to the right people without drowning all the firefighters connected to AUDREY in information. At the same time, AUDREY observes and learns during a call-out. And once it has acquired enough experience, it will predict which resources will be needed later in the call-out based on how previous incidents have progressed. Like all artificial intelligence, AUDREY is only as good as the data it receives. And the more data there is, the greater the likelihood of it being able to supply useful advice and instructions.

– Most artificial intelligence is rule-based: if x happens, then it does y. But what happens if it only receives some of the information? We use complex reasoning to simulate how people think. This makes it possible for us to provide more useful information to the firefighters than with conventional artificial intelligence, says Edward Chow.

 

06.09.17

The Exhibition for Risk Prevention and Management

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Expoprotection is the only event in France that brings together top international specialists and the most innovative equipment and solutions, combining conferences and meeting areas. Protecting employees, premises, data and the working environment of companies, local authorities and administrations: these are the objectives that bring suppliers and contractors together every two years at the Expoprotection show in Paris .

Expoprotection covers the two complementary universes dedicated to Risk Prevention and Management

– The Occupational, natural & industrial risks area
– The Security and Firefighting area

Meet us in Paris on November 7th to 9th for 3 days of networking, conferences and innovations.

https://www.expoprotection.com/GB.htm

First International VdS Fire Safety and Security Forum in China

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On Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 , parallel to the China Fire Expo in Beijing, the premiere of the “International VdS Fire Safety and Security Forum in China” is taking place. This event from VdS offers professionals from industry, public authorities, and science a variety of information, impulses and opportunities for exchange on the topic of fire protection and security.
The event aims to introduce you to current developments and the latest insight concerning the topic of safety and security through interesting technical reports and the use of concrete application case studies. At the same time, we will show you how, with VdS you can increase your chances of entering into the market, minimize risks, and save costs. Expand your network and talk to representatives of the Chinese and German governments. The event ends with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of VdS-representative office in Asia.
More information: www.vds-forum-china.de

The picture shows Lothar Sysk, VdS Chief Representative in China, with the chief magistrate of the province Hubei.

Protection against both fire and theft

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Protecting a building against both fire and theft can be a challenge. Security consultants recommend prioritising both types of security, depending on whether or not people are located inside the building.

Fire safety and theft protection are two safety and security objectives that, unfortunately, often work against one another. As safety consultant Maiken Skriver Poulsen explains, when it comes to residential buildings, fire safety is primarily about getting people out of the building, while theft protection involves keeping burglars out.

-If there is a fire, people need to be able to get out without worrying about locks, keys and codes. If a burglar breaks in, on the other hand, we don’t want him to be able to slip out of the front door with all of our property, and that is why it is not easy to protect a building against both fire and theft. If you consider the full picture and make clear choices, though, it is actually possible to do both, says Maiken Skriver Poulsen from the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology, DBI.

Are there people in the building or not?
One of the traditional pieces of anti-theft advice is to have a lock on the door that cannot be opened from the inside without a key. It is therefore recommended to avoid thumb-turn locks, as these allow a potential burglar to let himself out with all the stolen goods. If a lock requires a key – and even if the key is left in the lock – it can slow down or create added stress for residents attempting to flee in the event of a fire. That is why Maiken Skriver Poulsen recommends always considering theft protection based on two scenarios: In one scenario, there are people inside the house who may be fast asleep, and in the other scenario the entire family is away from home.

– If the house is empty, there is no reason for having a key in the lock on the inside of the door. Besides, if there is nobody home, it needs to be as difficult as possible for a thief to empty the abode. On the other hand, if there are people inside the house, we recommend leaving the key in the lock on the inside of the door and installing an alarm, Maiken Skriver Poulsen explains, referring to a burglar alarm with motion sensors or a video surveillance system with an alarm.

For businesses, the safety consultant recommends separate security systems depending on whether or not people are found in the building.

Prevention is the best protection
According to Maiken Skriver Poulsen, companies and private citizens should, however, generally implement the most effective means of burglary protection – namely, prevention.

– A survey conducted by the Danish Insurance Association shows that burglars most often break in at the ground level through a window, so this is naturally an area that requires extra attention. The good, old-fashioned tricks are also still effective, such as keeping laundry on the clothes line and rubbish in the bin, says Maiken Skriver Poulsen, and concludes:

– All experiences show that the thief will select houses where it looks like nobody is home. You should therefore always be sure to turn on a light, have cars parked nearby, keep a free line of sight to the house from the street and neighbouring houses, and post clearly visible signs to let people know the alarm is on.

Middle East Fire, Security & Safety Exhibition and Conference

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MEFSEC (Middle East Fire, Security & Safety Exhibition and Conference) is a leading Fire, Safety and Security show scheduled from the 3rd-5th December – 2017; and takes place at Cairo International Convention Centre (CICC) in Egypt. We aim to serve as a powerful business platform for innovations and the latest trends in the fire, safety and security sector. With rising concerns and attention on security measures across the region, MEFSEC’s renewed strategic focus will change the dynamics of the fire and security business.

50th Anniversary ANPI – 22 may 2017

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50th anniversary of the Fire at the Innovation

Commemoration in collaboration with Inno.
After the pain, hope is born, and with him the courage to work for a better protection against the dangers.

The awareness of politicians and rescue services in our country has helped to develop standards for fire prevention and to promote the coordination of the emergency services.

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TRIBUTE COMMUNICATED BY THE KING & QUEEN Of BELGIUMTo the families of victims, survivors, firefighters and the honorable assembly, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Fire of Innovation, we express our profound sympathy to the families of the victims and the survivors of this tragedy:

It is above all to you that our thoughts directly go this day.
We also wish to pay tribute to the firefighters who, through their courage, have prevented even heavier human losses.
We salute the participants of the seminar of this afternoon and all the efforts made to improve the fire safety in our country

The King – The Queen

 

Half a century of prevention for ANPI!
ANPI that was set up in the aftermath of this tragedy, is today, 50 years later, the reference for fire prevention in Belgium. ANPI brings together the actors of fire prevention (SPF, fire departments, representatives of industries, insurers, consulting firms, specialists in prevention).
To remember the victims of the fire and celebrate the anniversary of the fire prevention initiative, ANPI brought together nearly 200 people at a commemorative ceremony and conferences over “22 May 1967, the fire of Innovation, still lessons to be learnt to guide the evolution of rules and technologies”. Subject was developed among others by Cécile Jodogne, State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region, main representatives of sectoral federations, Brussels fire brigade, etc.

Information Security: It depends on the right measure

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Customers, partners, legislators and lawmakers are increasingly forcing companies to ensure IT-Security protection. While the international IT- Security standard ISO 27001 has been consistently implemented in several large companies, the complex catalogue of measures poses significant challenges for SMEs (small/medium-sized companies). However what options do SMEs have in the organisation of IT-Security? The most important principles are summarised in the CFPA “Protection of Business Intelligence” guide, which raises important aspects of Cyber-Security. VdS Guidelines 3473 go even further – developed specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises, they implement the fundamental requirements of the ISO standard at only 20% of the costs.

Nearly 60% of organisations in Germany have been victims of a cyber attack over the past two years. This was announced by “The Alliance for Cyber Security”. According to the auditing firm KPMG, the number of victims of e-crime has doubled since 2013. In companies, this risk is well known: 89% of those responsible see a high or very high risk for German companies to suffer from a cyber attack. However, few people fear being hit themselves. They therefore only use inadequate security measures and only react when it is too late. The fact that a separate position is created that is exclusively concerned with IT security tasks is very rare – in 85% of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees this is not the case. The consequences of an attack are devastating and range from business or production losses to financial losses or image damage.

Challenge IT-Security
However whether from entrepreneurial self-interest or due to the demands of customers, contractors and legislators and lawmakers: SMEs are increasingly forced to ensure IT-Security. Against this background, a number of well-known institutions and bodies now involve themselves with the subject of Cyber-Security. One example is the CFPA Europe, which has developed a comprehensive guide with the “Protection of Business Intelligence”, in which the essential parameters for the implementation of information security in companies are presented. And CFPA Europe is working on the development of further common guidelines and also on harmonized training courses on this topic. In addition, a large number of CFPA members are now discussing the topic, as a glance at various publications shows.

International standard is complex and expensive
The most widely known and probably the most extensive directive for Cyber-Security in larger enterprises is the internationally recognised standard ISO 27001. However, the expense, effort and resources required with ISO 27001 are significant – from risk analysis to the elaboration of the abstract standards contained in the standard, up to the implementation of the concrete measures. For SMEs the certification is therefore usually associated with too high a cost and is therefore hardly achievable. Against the background of this complexity, the statistics presented at the outset do not surprise us that companies know the risk of an attack but do not adequately protect themselves. The lack of security measures is not an expression of carelessness, rather a consequence of the overwhelming demands of IT security.

Free risk analysis as a first step
To encourage and help especially SMEs to deal with this complex topic, in several countries questionnaires are available to raise the awareness for the most important risks. A tool to carry out a first risk analysis has been developed for example by CEPREVEN, the Spanish CFPA Europe member, and it is offered online for free. More information is available at http://www.cepreven.com/cuestionario-ciberseguridad.
The German CFPA Europe-member VdS has also worked on the topic and developed a system to support SMEs with regard to cyber-security.

VdS 3473: The solution for the SMEs
One way to easily implement IT-Security is VdS 3473. This standard developed by IT experts, is oriented to ISO 27001 and implements 80% of the ISO standard at only 20% of the cost. The special strength of the VdS 3473 guidelines is in the consideration of the organisational level. Topics such as personnel, responsibilities, accesses, etc. are adequately covered and small and medium-sized enterprises are neither overburdened organically nor financially. It is not without reason that VdS 3473 is one of the top three standards for the implementation of an information security management system, according to a BSI Cyber-Security survey.

VdS Quick-Check
How do companies actually implement the VdS guidelines? The first step towards IT-Security is an individual risk analysis. On the basis of the guidelines 3473, VdS offers a free Quick-Check, which can be carried out online by the company without any additional preparation. The check includes 39 questions, which can be answered within 20 minutes. The aim of the test is to determine the individual degree of protection. In the end, companies receive two evaluations: a compact and a more detailed report. The special features of the Quick-Check are the concrete recommendation measures for immediate action and their implementation.

Quick-Check for production environments
The previous VdS-Quick-Check focuses on the field of office communication. With a second test, VdS offers an analysis tool for companies that use industrial control and automation systems in their production, so-called Industrial Control Systems (ICS). These are often not taken into account when dealing with Cyber-Security. They are at a high risk as a result of the rapid growth in communications connections within the scope of industrial 4.0 projects. The Quick-Check for ICS therefore focuses on criteria such as very high availability requirements, aspects of remote maintenance and cooperation with manufacturers.

VdS-Quick-Audit systematically covers existing security gaps
The test is followed by the Quick-Audit. The security measures implemented on the basis of the Quick-Check results are analysed in detail. The later report shows in detail what measures are to be taken, covers existing gaps and provides comprehensive suggestions for optimisation. These instructions can be implemented by companies with their own professional personnel, such as IT staff or information security officers, or by the support of VdS-approved consultants.

Certificate for customers and insurance companies
If all improvement measures are successfully implemented, companies will obtain a corresponding confirmation in the form of a certificate. With this they generate trust with their customers and partners. In addition, the certificate has yet another advantage: in order to safeguard the residual risk that remains despite comprehensive measures, companies should conclude a Cyber-Policy. Cyber-Insurance is already common practice in the USA and is also gaining in importance in Germany, especially in the face of the increasing risk potential. The certificate is used by the insurance company to assess the risk and provides more favourable policies for those companies which are proven to comply with the directives.

Just like Quick-Check and Quick-Audit, the VdS certificate is also based on the guidelines 3473 and is thus tailored to the requirements of SMEs. In order to obtain the certificate, auditors examine the necessary documentation and prove for themselves on the spot of the correct implementation of the measures. The VdS certificate has a validity of three years – however, annual, less extensive re-audits are provided. The certificate can later be used as a basis for certification in accordance with ISO 27001.

VdS Cyber-Courses are positioned in line with business practice
In order to firmly establish information security within the company, qualified employees become a decisive key factor. The necessary knowledge is provided by various VdS courses, which focus on different target groups. This includes courses for the information security officer, in which the participants learn how to interlink the necessary safety and security measures in such a way that the necessary level of protection within the company is defined and achieved with as little effort as possible. The course includes the teaching of theoretical knowledge as well as practical exercises and concludes with an examination. In addition, VdS offers courses on the VdS 3473 guidelines, for first-aid in the event of IT loss or damage, as well as a course on Cyber Security for insurers.

Conclusion
When implementing an information security management system, the question now is not whether it is necessary, but rather how it can be implemented. The reason for this is the complexity of ISO 27001, which presents small and medium-sized enterprises with insurmountable challenges. The difficulty, therefore, is to find the perfect measure of information security management. The ideal procedure takes into account the organisational business areas without overwhelming SMEs: VdS Guidelines 3473 are therefore the ideal standard for small/medium-sized businesses. The path to comprehensive protection leads through the free Quick-Check, the following audit and finally the certificate. In this way, companies achieve higher IT-Security, minimise the risk of financial losses or image damage, while still meeting the demands of customers, partners, legislators and lawmakers.

For more information on the VdS Cyber-Security standard, please visit www.vds.de/cyber
The free VdS-Quick-Check is available at www.vds-quick-check.de
The VdS courses on Cyber-Security are summarised at www.vds.de/lehrgaenge/cyber0/

Mobile detectors to prevent construction site fires

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Expensive fires at construction sites may become a thing of the past with mobile, wireless detectors.  The technology is already on the British market and is now on its way to the Danish market, too.   

When renovating a building such as an old mansion, one of the first steps is to remove all of the fire safety installations. Next, a group of workers comes in and maybe alters the old electrical installations and often performs hot work. It is almost as if one is actively seeking to start a fire.

In the future, however, it will be possible to protect renovation and construction work with a fire-safety system that uses mobile detectors to pick up heat, smoke or gas to protect a building from fire while the project is underway. In Denmark, several companies have introduced new solutions to the market, and GearTeam is one of them.

– The product comes from England, where, just like Denmark, they have had problems with fires and accidents at construction sites, says Jesper Løvbo, the CEO of GearTeam.

A simple and effective solution
The solution was developed in a collaboration between an English construction company and an electronics producer, and it was therefore designed to address the challenges found at construction sites.

– The system consists of a call point and detectors that are connected wirelessly and can be mounted with two screws. This means that they are easy to use and move around at the construction site, which is always expanding and transforming. The design is simple and is focused on user-friendliness, so that the people at the building site can set them up on their own and connect them to the basic unit located in the foreman’s office. The units run on batteries that have a lifetime of three years, explains Jesper Løvbo.

The call point and detectors can be separated and connected by the hundreds. The basic unit controls the various secondary units, sends messages to the foreman and developer in the event of the alarm, and it can also indicate exactly where in the building an alarm is triggered so that the fire department knows where to go. The individual units detect both smoke and heat.

– In this way, they are better than the fire guards that are required the day after hot work, because the guards cannot see a smouldering fire in the underlying construction. By pressing a button on the detectors, the people at the site can also issue an evacuation alarm, Jesper Løvbo says.

Furthermore, the detectors are able to function with other systems. For example, when building out or on, they can communicate with the ABA system in the existing building so that people inside can also be evacuated in the event of a fire. The system can also communicate with access-control systems at the building site so that barriers automatically go down in the event of an evacuation.

Huge potential in the technology
The hope is that the new solutions are able to improve safety at Denmark’s construction sites, which have traditionally been plagued by fire and accidents.

– We have had big fires at construction and renovation sites here in Denmark. Not only do they delay the project, but they also result in huge damage costs that we naturally would like to avoid. We believe the mobile detectors may be able to prevent some of the damage, says Peter Dræbye, a risk engineer for the Danish insurance company, Codan Forsikring.