Category Archives: Fire

The importance of cyber-security in the digitalization age

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Meeting with AIAS – Vodafone, Unione Confcommercio – Communication Police

The evolution of media and social networks, the distributed information and the internet are a concrete help for business, but can represent a menace for confidential information and for the internal data concerning customers.
The risk leakage of uncontrolled leakage of information that can be confidential or even strategic for the business development, due to cybercrime actions made with traditional or new and sophisticated systems, can be fatal for the business survival. Companies hit by cybercrime have to compete on the market in unfavorable conditions, as their competitors already know which are their intentions and their customers profile. So, unexpected failures arise, and apparently inexplicable copies of products and/or ideas migrate to the competitors.
The aptitude to undervalue the risk, the behavior to consider security as a cost and not an investment and the distrust towards the technologic approach can give aid to the attack to the immaterial patrimony of little and medium size companies.

The meeting took place on April 18, in Milan.

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Clarity for GDPR compliance in 20 minutes: With the free VdS-Quick-Check

On May 25th, every company and every authority in the EU must have implemented the extensive “General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)”. VdS now supports those institutions with a free Web-Quick-Check for the fast determination of their GDPR compliance level – including, where necessary, practical implementation assistance.

Despite its far-reaching requirements, the EU´s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be fully implemented until May 25th by every company processing personal data and every public authority in the EU member states (and, at current negotiation status, also the UK).
Therefore VdS has now supplemented its range of data protection services for the practical management of these EU requirements with a free Internet-Quick-Check. On the basis of 26 questions, specifically small and medium-sized businesses as well as smaller authorities can quickly determine their individual level of GDPR compliance. The convenient VdS-traffic-light-system immediately shows any need for action. Included in the evaluation is also precise assistance for any subsequent improvements that may be necessary.
Markus Edel, head of VdS Cyber-Security, explains: “In the new Web-Quick-Check, we have compressed our core support functions for the necessary GDPR implementation – allowing a fast self-analysis of the compliance level in all relevant fields of action.”
The new tool is provided free of charge on vds-quick-check.de/en.

Cause of multistorey carpark fire in Liverpool still unclear

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Never before have 1,400 cars been engulfed by flames in a multistorey carpark. But this is what happened in Liverpool in December 2017. The question now is, what was the reason for the violent fire spread and what effect will the fire have on parking facilities in a number of European countries?

On 31 December, fire broke out in a car in a multistorey carpark in Liverpool. The carpark was a concrete building open on all sides – very much like the ones we know in Denmark. What is totally unfamiliar is the way in which the fire developed. Despite a prompt alarm call, a call-out time of eight minutes and 21 emergency response vehicles during the time of the action, the firefighting forces were unable to prevent the fire from spreading between cars and the storey deck, causing the write-off of all 1,400 cars plus the building. Questions are now being raised as to how this could happen.

– We know of similar fires in multistorey carparks in various locations abroad, but at the worst this has meant five or six destroyed cars and in a few cases more extensive fires, but nothing comparable to the fire in Liverpool. This is an unprecedented case and ought not to be possible, says Ib Bertelsen, Customer & Relations Director at DBI, the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

Explanations sought
In particular, the rapid fire spread is a matter of surprise.

– Naturally, sprinklers would have retarded fire development, but this was presumably a fully legal building of conventional construction. However, it is possible that difficulties in response tactics played a role, Bertelsen says, with the following explanation:

– When a car fire is reported, a reduced response team is sent out in the first instance, because it is ‘just’ a car fire. And it may be hard for the fire crew to access the scene of the fire.

Another possibility is that petrol and other flammable liquids leaked from the damaged cars and contributed to the rapid and violent fire spread. The local fire force estimates that the temperature was up to 1,000 degrees.

– That’s a lot, and we don’t yet know the specific circumstances, but even so, it is surprising that the situation could go so badly wrong in a properly constructed building. It will be very interesting to hear a likely explanation of why things developed as they did, Bertelsen says.

May change dimensioning
Once the explanation has been determined, the next question is whether this will have consequences in other countries.

– If there is no reasonable explanation, then, to the extent we have similar buildings in Denmark, we ought to be thinking about how we dimension our buildings and what scenarios we are dimensioning them for, Bertelsen says.

And maybe not just multistorey carparks will be subject to change – depending on the explanation from Britain.

– To a certain extent, you can compare them with large open-air carparks. Obviously, conditions are completely different in a building, but the cars are just as tightly spaced in an open carpark.

[NEW GUIDELINE] Photovoltaic systems: Recommendations on loss prevention

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PV modules mounted on buildings are on the one hand exposed to the weather, such as wind, snow, hail and temperature fluctuations, and on the other hand joined with adjacent building constructions, which may be thereby affected with regard to their protective functions, e. g rain or fire protection.

This guideline does a run-through the main system hazards and makes some recommendations on prevention measures to be considered during the phases of design, installation and operation.

This guideline is available for free download here

[NEW GUIDELINE] Demountable / Mobile flood protection systems

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According to loss experience losses caused by flooding can be significantly limited by preventive measures. In this context especially stationary protective measures have proved successful. Mobile protection systems can complement or replace stationary protection systems because of operational or areal constraints.

To establish appropriate protection measures the existing hazards must be identified and analyzed as well as the associated risks assessed. The relevant objectives, e. g. the height of protecting wall, are to be defined object-related and depending on the legal requirements and risk assessment.

The guideline “Demountable / Mobile flood protection systems” shows the available systems in the market and their features, and does a run-through the functional characteristics to be considered when choosing a system for mobile flood protection. Some advice for the selection of the type of system is given, based on previous operational experiences. Quality assurance measures required to the systems are also included in the guideline.

This guideline is available for free download here

 

CFPA Europe at SICUR

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President Tore Eriksson from CTIF and Donald Bliss from NFPA is here visiting CFPA E’s exhibition corner. To the right Mirna Rodriguez and Tommy Arvidsson.

SICUR 2018 was held 20 – 23 February in Madrid. SICUR is the International Security, Safety and Fire Exhibition and it was organised by IFEMA. Cepreven, who is the Spanish member of CFPA Europe, had a big showcase and in one part of that booth also CFPA E could inform about our activities and work. There was also a conference and the Director for CFPA E Tommy Arvidsson and the Chair of our Marketing and Information Commission Mirna Rodriguez had a presentation with the title “Fire Prevention in Europe”.

This year version of the exhibition exceeded SICUR 2016 and the exhibition area was 24% bigger and it was much more visitors. “We got many visitors to our corner, and some people stopped for half an hour because they were very interested and impressed about the work that we are doing in CFPA Europe”, said Tommy Arvidsson as a reflection after the days in Madrid.

Both progress and challenges have appeared during the drafting of a European facade test

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It is not perfect, but it is a big improvement. A draft proposal has been put forward for a common European standard for testing building facade systems, and even though it has some flaws, there are grounds for optimism.

The discussion surrounding a common standard for the fire testing of facade systems in Europe is not new. And recent events have fuelled the debate. This is both due to the fire in Grenfell Tower in London and also a draft proposal for a common standard that RISE (Research Institute in Sweden) has developed in collaboration with a consortium. The draft proposal has been ordered by the European Parliament, among other reasons, due to industries wanting to simplify access to the European markets by having a common standard for testing and classification.

– It is a difficult process, and it took ten years to develop the SBI test. But fires involving facades in one way or another increase the pressure on the political system to take action, says Anders Dragsted, who is a fire safety consultant at the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

That pressure has so far resulted in a draft proposal for a common testing method and interpretation of the test results for facade systems. It is based on the British BS 8414 and the German DIN 4102-20 facade system tests, and it also investigates factors such as falling material and smouldering fires. The first draft came out in August, and representatives from all member states were asked to provide comments on it.

– There are several positive elements. For one thing, the scope of application is widespread. The draft covers all types of facade systems except curtain wall systems, which have their own standard. This makes it easier, since then you don’t have to develop several different tests for different types of facade systems. It is an advantage for the manufacturers and for the buyers of facade systems since they only need to familiarise themselves with a single system. The same applies to the testing institutes, who only need to use one type of equipment and one method to test the facade systems, Anders Dragsted explains.

More tests than necessary
The draft proposal suggests two test variants: one with a ‘medium’ fire impact and one with a ‘large’ fire impact. Additionally, the draft covers tests with and without open windows in the facade system, which gives a total of four different test variants. Based on the spread of the fire and whether there is a smouldering fire or falling materials and on the variety of the test, a tested facade system is given one or more classifications. However, it is not all test variants that allow for unlimited access to the market in all EU member states.

– The various countries will have their own requirements on what classification is needed. This means that the manufacturers must find out in advance what classification a country requires and make sure that the tests are conducted with the correct configurations. At least two tests will need to be conducted in order to obtain all the classifications that the draft proposal contains, says Anders Dragsted and continues:

– The ideal solution would instead have been if the draft proposal suggested using a single test configuration with a single type of fire impact. The facade system could then be assigned an appropriate classification, depending on the results of the test. That would mean that a single test would have been sufficient, he says.

Outdoors testing is less than satisfactory
The draft proposal also suggests that the test is conducted outdoors. This may lead to problems for countries with strict requirements for companies’ environmental impact, as their testing labs presumably will not be allowed to make outdoors tests after taking into account neighbours and the environment. This means that the environmental regulations of the various countries will lead to unfair competition between the test institutes across the EU.

– Furthermore, the draft proposal requires that there is virtually no wind, which is extremely rare in Denmark. The temperature must be between minus 10 and plus 40 degrees Celsius at the time of the test. Tests on either end of that temperature scale will be different. If there is direct sunlight, this will impact the test, and so will the moisture of the material. And if you cannot document that the facade systems are exposed to the same impact each time, this is not satisfactory, Anders Dragsted notes, and adds:

– Even though there are flaws and parts that might be improved in the draft proposal, it will, however, still be a big step in the right direction.

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.