Category Archives: Fire

Protection against both fire and theft

window-brake

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

MEFSEC

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.

FGR_0495 reduit

 

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

mobile-detektorer

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.

London Fire Statement from the CFPA-I

Upper_Grenfell_Tower

The Confederation of Fire Associations-International (CFPA-I) extends its deepest sympathies to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and expresses high praise for the work of the emergency services who have been working extremely hard and tirelessly to manage this terrible situation.

This was a devastating fire. As details emerge, we understand there was a refurbishment including exterior cladding and a communal heating system. We are hopeful that the pending investigation will reveal all of the factors that led to this tragic and avoidable loss of life.

The quick fire spread seen in the Grenfell Tower fire is eerily similar to that seen in other similar high-rise fires that have occurred throughout the world, including Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Although the details of the construction of the building are not yet known, reports have indicated that a composite metal cladding with foam insulation was used in the recent refurbishment. At this time, it is not known whether the external cladding had been tested and approved in accordance with the most current fire safety standards.

CFPA-I remains deeply concerned that there are many high-rise buildings around the world that have flammable materials installed with the potential for external fire spread.

It is the view of CFPA-I that building regulations and associated guidance in many locations have not always included safeguards to prevent the use of materials and methods that have poor fire performance capabilities. Even in the absence of strong governmental oversight, architects, engineers, contractors and building owners must embrace fire protection as a fundamental and essential consideration. This includes the proper balance of active and passive fire protection measures, and the on-going inspection, testing and maintenance of all fire and life safety systems.

Many insulating materials are available for use in building construction and their fire performance characteristics can range from being non-combustible to very flammable – it is a matter of choice, and clearly some choices are safer than others.

While we must wait for a full investigation into the cause of the fire and the reasons for such rapid fire spread in this tragic incident, CFPA-I and its member organisations will continue to campaign for improvements in fire safety legislation and in ensuring the safety of the public and our built environment.

This includes:

  • Appropriate alarms, training and evacuation procedures
  • Smoke detection and alarm systems in all residential buildings
  • Controls on the use of flammable façades
  • Proper design, installation and maintenance of fire doors
  • Proper design, installation and maintenance of fire and smoke barriers and the protection of structural components
  • Fire sprinkler protection for all residential and high risk buildings
  • Regular updates of building regulations
  • Initiatives to ensure full compliance with fire and life safety regulations
  • Robust programs for the inspection, testing and maintenance of fire protection systems.

For further information, contact:
Steven Ooi, Chairman:  stevenooi@jayasarana.com
Hatem Kheir, Vice-Chairman: kheir@link.net

A rare self-ignited fire

Røjdrupvej 6 Hobro hus brændt ned foto: Hans RavnIn December 2016, a pyrophoric fire broke out in a house in the Danish town of Hobro – something you only see every few years. According to a researcher in timber, we know very little about pyrophoric fires, because it is an extremely difficult subject to research.    

It was a tragic and extremely rare event that befell the Olesen family in December 2016. Their house was burned to the ground as a result of a self-igniting fire, or pyrophoric fire, to use its scientific name.

– In the burnt-out house in Hobro, we investigated all other possible causes of the fire, but in the end we had to conclude that it was a pyrophoric fire, explains DBI fire investigator Søren B. Mortensen, who investigated the cause of the fire in question.

Normally, pyrophoric fires are something you only see every few years in Denmark.

Long-time effects
Researcher in Timber, Emil Engelund Thybring from the University of Copenhagen explains that pyrophoric fires start when timber is converted into coal after having been exposed to a heat source, for example, a wood-burning stove or hot-water pipes, over an extended period of time.

– Through the effect of heat over many years, the timber dries out and the polymers break down causing chemical changes in the timber which is then converted into a kind of coal. In the presence of oxygen, the chemical reactions generate heat, which can raise the temperature. This can result in a self-perpetuating rise in temperature, causing the timber to smoulder, says Emil Engelund Thybring.

He explains that the lowest documented temperature that is able to cause this chemical change is 77 degrees. By way of comparison, the temperature of hot water in a water pipe is typically around 80 degrees.

Rarely happens
However, according to Emil Engelund Thybring, there has not been much research carried out into pyrophoric fires. The term has been in existence for more than 100 years but, back in the 1990s, many people still believed that pyrophoric fires were a myth.

– It is a difficult subject to research because it can take many years for the timber to be affected so much that there is a risk of it catching fire. It has been documented that the chemical changes in the timber can occur as a result of the timber being affected by heat for anything between three months and 15 years, and there has never been any thorough research over such a long period of time. Furthermore, pyrophoric fires require the ideal combination of oxygen and low humidity, says Emil Engelund Thybring.

A pyrophoric fire, whereby timber self-ignites, occurs very seldom. Over the last 20 years, fire investigator Søren B. Mortensen has investigated between 2,000 and 3,000 fires, and only a few times has he concluded that the cause of the fire was a pyrophoric fire. Prior to the fire in Hobro in December, the last time DBI had come across a case in which timber had self-ignited in this way was five years ago.

Half a century of prevention!

50 years marked by the consequences of the tragedy of the department store “A l’Innovation” in Brussels,

50 years of commitment for ANPI,

50 years of collaboration between the fire brigades of Brussels (today called SIAMU).

Nowadays, by its actions, ANPI asbl is the reference in Belgium that brings together all the actors of  fire prevention (Federal Public Services, representatives of industries, insurance companies, engineering offices, prevention officers).

ANPI is became a source of inspiration in Europe and all over the world.

To celebrate its  50th anniversary, all the ANPI team invites you to join us on Monday 22 May 2017 in Brussels.

Please confirm your attendance before May 15, 2017 through   http://kalahari-registration.be/anpi/  and find enclosed program of the day and roadmap.

Invitation NL  |  Invitation FR

Many fire protection systems are faulty

sprinkler

Approximately 70% of automatic fire alarm systems and more than 50% of sprinkler systems in Danish companies and public institutions are faulty when they are inspected. That is the result of an analysis conducted by the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology, DBI, on the basis of figures from 2015 and 2016.

DBI inspects fire protection systems once a year and finds many different types of faults in the process. A new analysis conducted by DBI shows that only a very small percentage of the faults are so critical that the systems have to be discarded. However, less critical faults can also be serious enough in themselves. For example, faults in automatic fire alarm systems can lead to false alarms and delays in raising the alert, while faults in sprinkler systems can result in a fire spreading to areas not protected by a sprinkler system much more ferociously.

– The faults seldom mean that a system fails completely in the event of a fire, but delays can have serious consequences and false alarms contribute to undermining users’ confidence in alarm systems, says Anders Frost-Jensen, Director of Infrastructure & Quality in DBI.

Errors in orientation plans
Around half of the faults are actually administrative errors, DBI’s analysis shows, and it is orientation plans of the building and the system in particular that are lagging behind.

– If the orientation plans are wrong, it could take the fire brigade quite a long time to find the right room or area when the alarm goes off. Time is the crucial factor when it comes to the development of a fire and the safety risk. And if you have forgotten to fit detectors in a room following a refurbishment, the fire will be detected much later than it should be, explains Anders Frost-Jensen.

Work pressure and increased complexity
The 70% is the highest number of faults and errors that DBI has recorded in its statistics up to now, and the figure has been rising sharply in recent years. However, a third of the faults can be classed as installation faults which, according to the DBI Director, are partly due to work pressure on the part of the installers and partly due to increased complexity in the buildings.

– Buildings are constructed differently nowadays and different systems often have to be integrated with one another. That makes it difficult to assess whether the systems have been installed correctly, says Anders Frost-Jensen.

Market surveillance for the smoke alarm devices: Summary of the results

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60 different references of smoke alarm devices have been tested in the frame of market surveillance processes from several countries. The samples have been tested at ANPI according to EN14604 for 6 requirements: battery removal indication, marking and data, directional dependence, initial sensitivity, fire sensitivity, and sound output.

The results have been statistically analysed along 2 axes: requirements and claimed certification scheme. The results provide the occurrence of noncompliances to the requirements. It appears that 33% of the sampled products are not compliant for at least 1 requirement, that 19% of the products have a problem with fire detection, that products which claim at least one voluntary mark certification yield significant better results by a factor 2 to 4 than these claiming CE only.

Complete Article in English

Complete Article in French

Complete Article in Dutch