Category Archives: Fire

Swiss TS, Swissi and IWT are becoming Swiss Safety Center AG

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Wallisellen, 3 January 2018 – Swiss TS Technical Services AG, IWT AG (Materials Technology Institute) and Swissi AG (formerly the “Safety Institute”) are merging. As of 1 January 2018, these companies are being combined to form the new Swiss Safety Center AG, which is owned in full by the SVTI Group. For customers and business partners, this means that in future they will have access to an even wider range of services in the areas of technical safety and risk management from a single source, such as

  • certifications of management systems, products and people,
  • systems safety, assembly conformity, functional safety 4.0,
  • safety-related calculations, simulations and model calculations,
  • fire protection, occupational health and safety, operational environmental protection,
  • integral risk management,
  • materials technology, stationary and mobile,
  • destructive and non-destructive testing and damage analyses.

The existing, extensive training offering will also be expanded.

As of 1 January 2018, all rights and obligations of Swiss TS, Swissi and IWT are transferred to Swiss Safety Center AG. The CEO of Swiss Safety Center AG is Dr Raffael Schubiger.

Contact address: Franco Brunner, Marketing/Communications, Swiss Safety Center AG, 8304 Wallisellen franco.brunner@safetycenter.ch, tel. +41 44 877 61 39

Anti-terrorism: Do security considerations override aesthetic ones?

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We need to focus more on security when we implement anti-terrorism measures. Additionally, we need to be better at taking advantage of experiences from abroad when it comes to implementing anti-terrorism measures.

The politicians and employees at the Danish parliament, Christiansborg, are an obvious target for terrorism, and therefore work has begun on securing the area around the Christiansborg Palace Square. After several years of negotiations, it has been decided that a number of temporary granite slabs are to be replaced with granite spheres, 112 cm in diameter, in order to prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering the palace square.

The appearance and expression of the anti-terrorism measures within and around the historic Christiansborg Palace has been the subject of an intense debate, and the design considerations have been one of the reasons why permanent anti-terrorism measures have taken a number of years to implement. But the debate concerning design in relation to anti-terrorism measures reduces their effectiveness in the opinion of Jesper Florin, the head of the security department at DBI, the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

– We have to think about a lot more than the extent to which granite spheres may be suitable for the Christiansborg Palace Square or not. Terrorism is a growing problem everywhere, and therefore we need to be better at listening to the experiences of the neighbouring countries that have unfortunately already been exposed to terrorist attacks, says Jesper Florin.

Need for a national agency
Jesper Florin thinks that Denmark should gather all the agencies that possess important knowledge about terrorism, defence and security in order to be able to give the best possible advice and develop the best solutions. This could be the police, the PET (police intelligence service), the armed forces, the security industry and, of course, the city planners.

– Among others, we have the military with a lot of experience, and also the police intelligence service who collect knowledge from all around the world. Why don’t we set up a national knowledge centre for anti-terrorism measures where all knowledge is gathered in one place to the benefit of both Denmark and our partner countries? Jesper Florin asks.

Both secure and easy on the eyes
According to Jesper Florin, a national knowledge centre against terrorism could lead to more perspectives being available for more thoroughly considered anti-terrorism measures, and where the effectiveness is not necessarily an either/or when it comes to the trade-off between security and design or appearance.

– Take a look at Oslo, for example. Here, they have begun securing the entire government district by, among other things, using urban open spaces and architecture. It is effective and easy on the eyes at the same time, so it is in fact possible to reconcile security with nice design, says Jesper Florin.

In Oslo, a series of architectural and design-related elements have been merged as security elements over a larger area. Thus, flower boxes, scenic elevations of terrain, water basins and winding streets all serve as anti-terrorism measures that prevent vehicles from gaining unauthorised access to the area.

– With the terror attack of 2011, the Norwegians saw how much can go wrong, so they are determined to make adaptations. The same way, I am sure, that we would adapt to changes in Denmark, Jesper Florin says.

In Oslo, it is not just a single historic building that has been secured. Here, they have made a thorough plan that focuses on the entire government zone.

– If we are to reach the same level of security in Denmark, then it will require an increased level of cooperation between the authorities, police and private stakeholders working with security and planning, Jesper Florin points out.

Award to Brandforsk at the Swedish FPA

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CFPA E’s member in Sweden, the Swedish Fire Protection Association, has a research organisation that they have responsibility for. The organisation is called Brandforsk, the Swedish Fire Research Board. In October Brandforsk got an Award of knowledge from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).

The Award ceremony was held in Montreal, Canada, on 11th October, and the award was received by CFPA E’s director Tommy Arvidsson, who also is the chair of Brandforsk.

CFPA E has invited to a meeting

In January CFPA E will arrange a meeting with CTIF (International Association of Fire and Rescue Service), FEU (Federation of the European Union Fire Officer Associations) and Insurance Europe. The meeting is a kick off for closer cooperation and also a possibility to agree on important fire safety problems that we together would like to bring to European Commission for discussion.

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.