covid-news

CFPA Europe faces the COVID-19

CFPA Europe would like to express its solidarity with all those affected by COVID-19. Being safe is the essence of our mission and determines all the decisions we make. The members of CFPA Europe are well prepared in looking after the interests of its employees, customers, and communities.

Whilst we continue to take steps to ensure the health and well-being of our own people, we also continue to keep in mind the needs of all our customers across Europe.

As an organisation we are working hard to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, following various national arrangements where members have asked their employees to work remotely, cut down on travel, restrict face-to-face meetings and to minimize participation in events or non-essential gatherings.

Our members across Europe have cancelled or postponed training courses, seminars, etc. Even our yearly General Assembly and meetings of the working commissions have been postponed from late spring to the autumn.

However, even in this Covid-19 crisis, we continue to inform and contribute knowledge for a safer world. We do this through our websites, Newsletters, Magazines, webinars, and so on.

We know that the situation will continue to change and we will continue to adapt our processes and change as we need to, to help to make the world a safer place. All the contact information, our publications, members lists across Europe and general information is available on the website www.cfpa-e.eu

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Participation CFPA Europe in SICUR

The International Exhibition of Safety, Security and Fire (SICUR) took place from February 24 to 27, in Madrid. CFPA Europe has joined Cepreven (our Spanish member, visit www.cepreven.com) at its booth. Both institutions were very active during the Exhibition.

fOTO SICUR

Many visitors have been attracted to the stand and there has been much exchange of information and knowledge.

SICUR is the most important fair in the fire prevention and safety and security sectors in Spain, with 43,723 attendees, 1,344 participating companies, 651 exhibitors and 81 countries

Grenfell Tower fire update

grenfell

Flammable facade cladding, incorrect fire ventilation, no sprinkler system, dubious evacuation strategy and fire doors which only held for 11 minutes. There were problems all round when Grenfell Tower caught fire in summer 2017 and 297 people were trapped inside. The latest information about the fire has been revealed at a recent conference hosted by DBI – The Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

Two and a half years after the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower in London, which claimed 72 lives, work on the final report is still ongoing. In the meantime, new information is constantly coming to light and contributing to an overall picture of how things could go so wrong. The latest information has been presented at a conference at DBI.

At the conference, it was once again established that the fire started in a fridge-freezer in a 4th floor flat. The fire services arrived after 6 minutes, quickly extinguished the fire and were on their way back when they noticed flames on the exterior of the building. Shortly afterwards, a resident on the 21st floor of the block reported signs of fire. A few minutes later, a resident on the 14th floor reported smoke inside their flat, and immediately afterwards the fire reached the roof of the 23 storey high residential block. It can thus be concluded that the fire leapt 19 storeys in just 30 minutes.

Flammable materials
What had happened was that the fire had reached the facade via the kitchen window at the point where the fire originated and had travelled to the other side of the building and into a bedroom there. That the fire could spread so quickly was due to the fact that the kitchen window reveals were made of uPVC, which became soft and bent from the heat from the fire. This created an opening into the external wall and allowed flames and hot gases to enter the cavity between the building’s insulation and the facade panels, which were a sandwich construction with aluminium on the outside and a polyethylene core.

A chimney effect in the cavity caused the temperature to rise very rapidly. Fire stops mounted in the facade did not work, so the fire was able to move upwards. As the window sashes and frames were of flammable plastic materials, they melted and caught light, after which the fire was able to penetrate into more flats.

– No-one had imagined that a fire would enter the building from the outside. It was thought it would be the other way round, said John Briggs of Britain’s National Fire Protection Association (FPA), who has participated in the work on one of the Grenfell reports.

A string of problems
But this was not the end of the chain of unfortunate events. The ventilation system in the stairwell also failed to work as it should. Moreover, it was only designed for extracting smoke from one floor at a time, as the assumption was that a fire would only come from one flat. Subsequent testing of the fire doors in the building shows that they could only withstand a fire for 11 minutes.

– The evacuation strategy also had a role in the number of fatalities. In accordance with the so-called ‘stay-put’ policy, residents were instructed to stay in their own flats as long as they were not on fire. The flats were designed to prevent fire spread, and it was wished to avoid hundreds of residents heading down a narrow stairway while firefighters were on their way up, Briggs explained.

Only at 2:35 a.m. – one and a half hours after the fire services were called out – did the fire control centre change tactics and began to ask residents to leave the building when they rang the emergency services. At 8:00 a.m. the last surviving resident was evacuated.

Investigations have shown that at least the smoke alarm system worked as it should.

Would a sprinkler system have helped?
One of the subsequent questions has also been whether sprinkler systems would have made a difference. Here the experts behind the reports are somewhat in doubt.

– If a sprinkler system had been able to put out the fire before it reached the facade, this may possibly have been sufficient to control the fire. But, if all four sprinkler heads were triggered, there would only have been water for three minutes. In addition, to activate a sprinkler system, there would have to have been more flames and much higher temperatures than was the case, Briggs noted, observing that:

– As the fire services had already arrived after six minutes, sprinkling would have made no difference.

After the accident, sprinkler systems were installed in all high-rise buildings in England. This took nine months and cost 9 million pounds.

Government denies responsibility
The official report indicates that there is strong evidence that the building’s external wall construction did not meet the requirement for adequately preventing fire spread in relation to the height, use and location of the building. The British Government has thus commissioned a second report to define the regulatory changes needed to prevent similar accidents. However, the government denies any responsibility and refers to incompetence among those involved as the cause of the disaster. According to John Briggs and the FPA, however, the problem is that building legislation is out of date.

– We have not had a proper review of UK building regulations for more than 15 years. Modern building methods mean you can build pretty much what you want, because the building legislation does not compel you to do so in a specified safe way. No-one checks that the components for preventing fire spread are made properly, and the legislation does not touch on how to produce them, Briggs said, stressing that construction players will not change until they are forced to do so.

The final report with recommendations for changes is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Atene 7

1st Conference for the fire protection of sctructures, 7-8 Feb 2020, Athens, Greece

Organized by the Hellenic Institute for the Fire Protection of Structures (EL.I.PY.KA.)

The 1st Conference for the Fire Protection of Structures, Athens, Greece, organized by the Hellenic Institute for the Fire Protection of Structures (EL.I.PY.KA.) took place at Eugenides Foundation during 07-08/02/2020, It was attended by more than 500 delegates from all over Greece and abroad. Among attendees were engineers, executives from Greek ministries, state organizations and Fire Brigade, who had the opportunity to follow 23 presentations from an international panel. Among presenters, were several academics, internationally acclaimed scientists, certified fire engineers, fire safety researchers and consultants, Fire Brigade officers, audit and consulting engineers and risk assessment and certification organizations’ executives.

Deputy Minister of Environment & Energy, Mr. Dimitri Economou, saluted the Conference and so did the representative for the General Secretariat for Spatial Planning and Urban Environment.

Atene 6

The conference covered important issues on fire protection in Greece as well as the international view with presenting participants from Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Cyprus and Singapore, as well as representatives from EURIMA and CFPA-Europe.

Presentations raised the issue of fire protection regulation in Greece, commented on its legal dimension and the role and capability of local fire testing laboratories, shared best practices regarding external façade systems of buildings, steel structures and fire resistant doors and also examined the critical issue of Wildlife-Urban Interface (WUI). Furthermore, other presentations gave instances of European and global experiences. Interesting points were made regarding building evacuation policies, compliance with fire protection requirements for building facades and the role of fire engineers in a modern context of Fire Safety in Structures. Dr. Amaya Osacar, member of the Fire working group of EURIMA, stated the importance of the role of architects in a holistic approach of building design that takes into account fire protection early on the building design.

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On behalf of EL.I.PY.KA. Dr. Yiannis Kontoulis, Chairman of the Board of Directors, presented the Institute’s vision, aims and proposals for a sustainable and safe development in construction, through an applicable model of fire safety audits, specifications, studies, construction approaches and systems & personnel certification, including the necessity of enrichment for the existing Regulatory Framework and creation of an effective control mechanism. The conference also presented proposals by EL.I.PY.KA, regarding a methodology for checking Existing Buildings’ compliance with Fire Protection Regulations, as well as a comprehensive proposal for the creation of evaluation standards, linking the Market needs and experience with the studies and training of new engineers.

The discussion that followed brought forward the importance of the initiative and the role of EL.I.PY.KA. All participants made a pledge to follow up on this effort, both with the organization of a subsequent conference and of course with the presentations in other Greek cities.

In conclusion, the success and dynamism of the first conference of EL.I.PY.KA, as well as the Institute’s contribution to the Fire Safety discussion until now, has shown its ability to coordinate the ongoing effort and to continue being a reliable partner for all parties sharing the common goal to reduce and prevent the loss of life and property because of fire.

 

vds-expertconference

International VdS conference „Fire Protection Systems“ in Bucharest, Romania, April 29th 2020: The programme is ready to be downloaded!

Cologne, January 2020. The programme of the second international VdS-conference on fire protection systems, April 29th, 2020 in Bucharest (Romania), can now be downloaded as PDF-file from www.vds.de/firero. At the conference, international experts from industry and fire protection organisations will present an overview on current technology and developments as well as numerous solutions based on practical experience. The participants can look forward to the following topics:

  • Automatic fire protection systems from the point of view of fire
    brigades
  • Sprinkler systems: new developments in the guidelines VdS CEA 4001 for planning and installation
  • Major fire and reconstruction of a medium-sized sawmill
  • Operational readiness of water extinguishing systems
  • Automatic water extinguishing systems from view of installer
  • Planning and installation of water mist systems
  • Water mist protection of an underground mass transport system

In addition there will be an exhibition at the conference site where international companies will present their current solutions, among them Siemens, Salzgitter Mannesmann, Viking and FireDos. CFPA Europe will also be present at the exhibition! At the evening of April 28th a get-together with possibilities to visit the exhibition takes place.

The conference will be held in cooperation with ROFMA, the Romanian Facility Management Association.
Conference languages are Romanian and English with simultaneous translation.
Registration for exhibition and conference is now open.
More information on the conference at www.vds.de/firero.
For exhibitors: please mail to fachtagung@vds.de

ANPI is proud to announce the publication of its Technical Report about the possible developments and uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in fire and intrusion protection systems

What place for fire and intrusion protection systems against artificial intelligence?
A seminar and a technical report to take stock…

by Information & Media Centre, ANPI – National Fire and Intrusion Protection Association, Belgium

A technical repor

In the coming decades, we may face technological risks of various origins, and the development of artificial intelligence (AI) could be part of it, as an ally or as an adversary. In response, the security sector must examine these potential risks in the context of analytical efforts, forecasting programs, risk assessments and uncertainty management. This can involve significant policy and coordination challenges, but given the high stakes, security actors must take reasonable steps to take full advantage of the potential benefits of these technologies while minimizing the risks.
ANPI has published a technical report to take stock of the importance of AI for fire and intrusion protection systems. This report aims to give a first image of what AI is and what its challenges and possibilities are. Definitions are given, notably through standardization activities and regulations, at international and European levels. Possible applications, or those already under development, are outlined in various areas of security. Due to the uncertainty and opacity of AI systems, the focus is put on risk management, in designing a technology that should combine robustness, trustworthiness and ethics.
This technical report is published in French and Dutch and will be available through ANPI’s e-shop on,www.anpi.be, in paper and electronic PDF format – 20 pages.
References:
– ANPI Technisch Dossier DTD 168: Welke plaats voor beveiligingssystemen tegenover artificiële intelligentie?
– ANPI Dossier Technique DTD 168 : Quelle place pour les systèmes de protection face à l’intelligence artificielle ?

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A seminar…

On the occasion of the publication of its new Technical Report, ANPI organized a study day on December 6, 2019 intended to raise professional awareness of the challenges among company security managers, decision-makers, technical and building managers, security and intervention services, etc.
This seminar aimed to give a more distinct picture of what AI is, and what the challenges and opportunities are for the sector. It provided a better view of the foreseeable impact of AI in the area of security (fire and intrusion) and helped to explore possible avenues.
Speakers (from left to right):
– Florian Vandecasteele, firefighter and engineer at Architects for business & ICT, shed new light on current AI research in the usage of information techniques, in particular BIM tools, video information and thermal image footages to support fire forecasting and fire behaviour analysis;
– Jelle Hoedemaekers, ICT Standardisation Expert at Agoria, the Belgian technology sector federation, presented the international AI standardisation landscape, the ISO working groups and activities, focusing on the Risk Management developments;
– Yannick Gillet, Specialist in AI and robotics, provided an initial insight on the AI functioning and capabilities;
– Benoît Stockbroeckx, Head of Division of ANPI Laboratory, insisted on the upcoming AI developments in fire and theft protection;
– Hervé Jacquemin (absent on the picture), Professor of law at the Namur University, gave a focus on certain legal questions raised by the use of AI (liability, contract, etc.) in industrial and technical settings.

Captura de pantalla 2020-01-14 a las 11.05.13

 

Who is ANPI?

ANPI, the Belgian National Fire and Intrusion Protection Association, is a permanent information tool for safety and security professionals: prevention consultants, manufacturers, installers, users, fire departments and authorities. The purpose of ANPI is to promote its activities through its 5 Divisions: Information, Regulation and Standardization, Laboratories, Certification and Inspection.
Website: https://www.anpi.be/en
Contact: Delphine Rasseneur, communication manager – ANPI, Information & Media Centre dra@anpi.be
ANPI asbl/vzw
Granbonpré 1
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Belgium
T: +32 (0)10 47 52 11
F: +32 (0)10 47 52 70
info@anpi.be

Fire and explosion in battery compartment in Norwegian hybrid ferry

Brand-på-hybridfærge

In October, the Norwegian hybrid ferry “Ytterøyningen” was hit first by a fire and then an explosion. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but the incident has resulted in increased focus on other hybrid ferries which are in operation.

In the early evening on 10 October 2019, fire broke out in the battery compartment on the Norwegian hybrid ferry “Ytterøyningen”, which runs the route Sydnes-Halsnøy south of Bergen. The fire department and the police were alerted, and the fire was declared under control a couple of hours later. 15 people were on board, of which two needed to be checked by a doctor due to suspicion of smoke inhalation.

However, at 7:00 the next morning, the ferry was shaken by an explosion in the battery compartment which was so powerful that the car deck was pushed up. Now, a couple months later, there is still no official accident report from the Norwegian authorities of the incident, so the cause of both the fire and the explosion are still unknown. Still, several experts have come forward with some general assessments.

– The battery pack on Ytterøyningen was just under 2,000 kWh, which according to DBI’s experts in lithium-ion battery-fires suggests that the fire was not in the battery itself. This is because fires in much smaller batteries can take several days to extinguish. Therefore, the fire probably started somewhere else and then spread to parts of the battery compartment, says Carsten Møller, who is a business developer at DBI, the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

Disconnected BMS
In addition, yet another unanswered question is whether thorough ventilation of the battery compartment was initiated after the fire was extinguished, since a damaged battery can leak explosive gases. Even minor physical damage on the battery can develop, posing problems over time, since chemical reactions in some of the materials can occur.

– However, this is usually not a problem, since the battery management system (BMS) normally alerts in good time, e.g. of gas formation and increases in temperature, says Carsten Møller.

Still, after the fire, it has now emerged that Ytterøyningen’s battery pack was not in use or connected to the management system during the two weeks prior to the incident.

– Large batteries are to be handled in accordance with the so-called SoC rule (State of Charge) if they are not connected to a battery management system, which in practice means that the battery must be discharged to a certain level. Therefore, the question is also how much the battery was discharged during the period when it was not connected to the battery management system, says Carsten Møller.

New recommendations
While a clarification of the cause of fire is being prepared, the Norwegian Maritime Authority recommends that battery packs on ships must always be connected to a battery management system, also even if they are not used for a period of time.

Whether the incident has consequences for some of the other hybrid ferries in operation is difficult to predict as long as the cause of the fire is still unclear. Work is currently being done in Norway on a conversion of the country’s many small ferries to battery power. Thus, 60 ferries are expected to run on battery power by the end of 2021.

First-aid-extinguishing-is-also-an-Environmental-Achievement

First-aid extinguishing is also an Environmental Achievement

First-aid extinguishing saves lives and property. Last year fire brigades were dispatched to 5414 building fires, 20 per cent of which were put out with first-aid extinguishing. Eleven per cent of building fires were curbed by first-aid extinguishing. First-aid extinguishing can also be seen as an environmental achievement because it prevented 1,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Last year 18 people would have sustained more severe burn injuries if the fires would have spread freely, without first-aid extinguishing. Individual initiative helped save EUR 85 million worth of property. These figures are based on the estimates of Emergency Services College.

Fires also constitute a threat to the environment. However, thanks to first-aid extinguishing 1,400 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide and 60 fewer tonnes of small particles were emitted into the atmosphere compared to fully developed fires. These estimates were compiled by comparing the average emissions of fires vis-à-vis the fires which were put out by first-aid extinguishing.

– Even if the numbers are not exact, they clearly demonstrate an impact. First-aid extinguishing makes a great difference, both in environmental and human terms, says Johannes Ketola, Data Systems Designer at the Emergency Services College.

Still, there is room for improvement. Last year there were 200 building fires in Finland where nobody even attempted first-aid extinguishing, even though there were people and fire extinguishers at the site.

First-aid extinguishing is a civic skill that everyone can learn. AS1 permit first-aid extinguishing courses are organised around the country; the Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK) is responsible for their development and quality.

– Decisive action, without endangering oneself, is indispensable when fire strikes. The most important thing is to save those in danger, says Heli Hätönen, Head of Development at SPEK.

– Learning the skills needed for first-aid extinguishing is a good, practical way to ensure the safety of people and property. Even though a fire is a frightening experience, it is much easier to spring into appropriate action to extinguish it after having received training.

Benefits-first-aid-extinguishing-2018

21.2.2019
Johannes Ketola
First-aid extinguishing statistics
Data Systems Designer
Emergency Services College

Heli Hätönen
First-aid extinguishing training
Head of Development
The Finnish National Rescue Association, SPEK

Link to original

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The popular annual Vds-Fire Safety exhibition took place on 3rd and 4th December 2019 at the Cologne Exhibition Centre

The event is a well-established meeting and networking venue for all sections of the fire prevention and protection industry. Vds-Fire Safety 2019 is a combination of trade fair, themed forums and expert conferences.

CFPA Europe has very actively participated in the exhibition, particularly at the Vds stand. CFPA-E presented their good practices exchange, training courses, guidelines, educational standards, and conferences in a number of member countries.

This has been the biggest event yet, in terms of participants and conference attendees. A record number of visitors and exhibitors attended. More than 3800 visitors and 130 exhibitors from 20 countries gathered to update their experience, establish contacts., network and attend innovative technical demonstrations of equipment and systems. The conferences were very well attended and generated huge interest.

Visions for the future – Development of Fire Safety

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Fire Prevention Technology Development Group

Link to Annual Report 2018

Our operating environment and circumstances are constantly changing. With the evolving environment and technology, people working and living must be able to observe the changing environment in new ways.

Change always happens, but can be prepared for. Even if we try to predict the future, the problem is that tomorrow’s future will no longer be the same as it was before. We think we are anticipating the future, but it is following our actions and has taken another step forward.

Anticipating the operating environment is the key to use. Through our behaviour, we can try to influence what kind of future we might be facing, for example, in the next decade. This in turn requires strong cooperation and efforts to develop the sector so that we all have a parallel vision of the future.

Construction and technology, which are both linked to fire prevention technology, are also in constant development. Even here in Finland. We inevitably face new challenges and problems that need to be solved.

Hopefully the various actors can conduct a dialogue on the solutions that have been found and the stumbling blocks that preceded them, as joint learning and exchange of information also open the way for joint development.

Over the past year, the development group has supported the work of study projects with its expert activities, and will continue to be fully involved in similar projects.

It has already been strongly highlighted at this stage that fire safety is seen as an evolving factor in general, but the challenge lies in attitudes rather than technical solutions.

In domestic construction, there are many old-fashioned attitudes to fire prevention. New options are seen as enablers in the construction industry, but at the same time new technology is being shunned.

The often repeated arguments are based on the operational uncertainty of new technologies and the lack of common practices. This is where the development group has the potential to have an impact.

It is advisable to think about how we can develop activities together between various actors in order to focus on the present and the future, and where we can find answers, rather than the existing problems.

Lauri Lehto

Safety and Security Advisor

The Finnish National Rescue Association, SPEK