Fire Safety: Technical Cycle

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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

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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

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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.

[QUICK CHECK] Cyber-Security – A Solution for Small and Medium Sized Companies

Eye on technology background.

A huge number of small and medium size enterprises are highly successful in their branch. The one major condition to gain success is the deliverance of excellent products and service. A second necessity for an effective market presence, especially nowadays, is the use of a high grade and dependable IT infrastructure. And this second mainstay for every company is threatened by specialised criminals. Criminals aiming on data, know how or the mere disturbing of company operation modes to bring harm as an end in itself.

To fight this thread large companies often rely on international standards as ISO 27000. However, this is unconvertible for many smaller market participants. The goal is, to reach the best effect with an affordable method. The so called IT Quick Check, VdS Schadenverhütung (German provider of security tests and certifications) has developed, is offering a solution that is customised for SMEs.

The Quick Check is an internet tool everyone is invited to use totally free of charge. The interested company or person is asked to answer 39 questions related to the company’s internet environment and security. The results of the questionnaire are presented in a pdf the user may download. Every question is rated – is the given solution already good, acceptable or should it be enhanced – and amended with useful hints and explanations. Of course the data used for the Check is treated strictly confidentially.

➡  Start Quick-Check for Cyber-Security

The Fire Sector Summit 2017

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Join FPA at the leading industry conference for key decision makers and influencers in the fire sector on 10-11 October at Aviva Headquarters, London. This year’s event will feature three streams of workshops: Heritage, FRS Interest and Social Housing.

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CFPA-E Chairman appointed Vice-Chairman of CFPA-I

Jesper Ditlev Administrerende direktør, DBI Jernholmen, Hvidovre

The Confederation of Fire Protection Associations – International (CFPA-I) convened earlier this month for their triennial General Assembly. During the proceedings, representatives from over a dozen nations unanimously elected Mr. Jesper Ditlev of Denmark as Vice-Chairman. Mr. Ditlev had previously served as Treasurer of CFPA-I, and he looks to help lead the organization through a strategic transformation slated to take place during his three year term.

CFPA-I is a leading global fire protection organization bringing together associations from around the world to address the myriad issues in fire and life safety. Mr. Ditlev brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in this area, having spent over twenty years in the industry. Graduating from University of Aalborg in 1990 with a Masters in Civil Engineering, he has become an expert in building technologies, risk assessment, and business development. Mr. Ditlev has risen through the ranks of the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology (DBI), and was promoted to CEO in 2009. He has since overseen the continued expansion of the institute, which stands as one of the most important life safety bodies in Europe.

Chairman of CFPA Europe
Mr. Ditlev has played an essential role in CFPA-I for years, while also leading its partner organization CFPA-E. He spearheaded a multi-year transformation of CFPA-E, expanding its membership and streamlining its administration. As CFPA-I Vice-Chairman, he will surely leverage the experience gained through his time at the helm of DBI, and as leader of CFPA-E.

During this year’s General Assembly, Mr. Ditlev helped to unveil the strategic plan for the future of CFPA-I. With a renewed focus on outreach and research, CFPA-I’s administrative operations to Cairo and begin bolstering the organization’s social media presence. The members of CFPA-I welcome Mr. Ditlev’s vision in this time of transition and look forward to reaping the rewards of his leadership in the months to come.

On behalf of CFPA-I, congratulations, Mr. Ditlev. Best of luck in your endeavors.

 

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