Category Archives: Security

cfpa-security-schools

New Guideline on “Security in Schools”

The managers of our community schools bear a heavy responsibility for the wellbeing, safety and security of pupils whilst in their care. Young minds are especially vulnerable if their experience of school life is characterised by a perception that their school lacks control over property and personal crime and a generally threatening environment.

Furthermore it goes without saying that the financial costs of inadequate risk management of criminal behaviour and natural hazards is particularly significant for the educational sector which, in most countries, experiences continuous budgetary pressure.  Assaults on pupils and teachers, whilst thankfully uncommon, are on the increase and the assailant is usually legitimately on the premises rather than an outsider.  The contents of schools – computers, musical instruments, video equipment etc, unavoidably invites petty theft and catastrophic loss through arson is an ever present risk.

Security risks are therefore wide ranging. The new CFPA-Guidelines “Security in Schools” (no. 8:2016/S) describe how they are manifested in schools and the sensible, practical and cost effective protection strategies and measures available to management.

cfpa-Developing-Evacuation

New Guideline on Developing Evacuation and Salvage Plans for Works of Art and Heritage Buildings

Those responsible for the safe preservation of our cultural heritage bear a heavy responsibility, particularly as the buildings and objects in their custody, or under their control, are usually irreplaceable.  Responsible custodians and conservators are generally conscious of the need to keep property safe from accident, mishandling, negligence and natural hazards and can be expected to recognise the importance of fire and security risk management but it is all too easy to overlook the need to have in readiness a current and rehearsed plan for the minimisation of loss or damage in the event of a catastrophic event such as a fire or flood.  Prompt and effective action in such a crisis greatly increases the chance of valuable property being rescued or salvaged.

The CFPA-guideline “Developing Evacuation and Salvage Plans for Works of Art and Heritage Buildings” (no. 7:2016/S) will help establishments entrusted with art and heritage property such as museums, libraries, archives, and churches plan for the safe preservation of exhibits in the event of a catastrophic event such as a fire or flood, when timely action is critical.  Adoption of the guidance will also have the incidental effect of mitigating risks to the building itself.  Others with custody of art property such as warehouses, forwarding companies, galleries and trade exhibition centres will also find the document highly relevant.

Messe Essen GmbH, Norbertstraße, 45001 Essen, Germanyhttp://www.messe-essen.de

Industry Oscar for VdS-Cyber-Security

The Innovation Award of the world’s leading security trade fair, the “Security” in Essen, is considered to be the “Industry Oscar” for special achievements in loss prevention. // VdS received the golden award in the category “Services” for their comprehensive offers in the field of Cyber-Security specially for medium-sized companies. 

The Security Innovation Award, granted by the world´s leading security trade fair, the “Security” in Essen, is known as the “Industry Oscar”. Every two years outstanding performances for optimum loss prevention are rewarded. This year, the golden and thus highest award in the category “Services” went to the emergent Cyber-Security services of VdS: the VdS-guidelines 3473, the first Cyber-security standard specifically for medium-sized companies, and the institutes´ further associated services such as the free Quick-Check, the fast Quick-Audit including attestation or the VdS-Certification of information security for companies.

Dr. Harald Olschok, Managing Director of the German Association of Security Industry (BDSW) and Chairman of the jury for the services sector, stated at the ceremony in the Essen exhibition halls: “For the Industry Oscar `Security Innovation Award´ it is not only technical finesse and innovative impulses that count. The positive consequences for people and society which result from these services are also decisive. Congratulations to the Cyber-Security Standards of VdS for our most vulnerable SMEs, they have prevailed among many high-quality entries from the USA, France and Great Britain. The VdS-guidelines 3473 make this sensitive issue for SMEs concrete and manageable.”

Dr. Robert Reinermann, CEO of VdS, explained at the ceremony: “Germany is the country most affected by cyber-crime worldwide. Economic damage caused by digital attacks in Germany alone is estimated at 45 billion Euros per year, 1.6 percent of the gross domestic product – and the number of attacks is growing rapidly all over the world! Particularly endangered are the often highly innovative, but unfortunately mostly poorly secured SMEs. Again and again cybercriminals gain access to patents, processes, plannings, prices, often to all sensitive corporate data. Digital knowledge theft threatens the survival of many small and medium enterprises. That’s why we offer to SMEs the guidelines VdS 3473 about digital securing with well-known practicality and easy tips for implementation for free. ”

The guidelines VdS 3473 contain all relevant information about the organisational and technical implementation of information security and provide the usual practical assistance, at a cost which is optimally manageable for SMEs. According to a study of the Alliance for Cyber-Security the guidelines VdS 3473 are already among the top 3-standards in the implementation of management systems for information security. All information on the comprehensive range of Cyber-Security services of VdS, Europe’s No.1 Institute for Corporate Security, can be found at www.vds-global.com .

 

Caption Gold: Handover of the Golden Security Innovation Award for the VdS standard for optimal Cyber-Security in the SME sector by Jury Chairman Dr. Harald Olschok, Managing Director of the German Association of the Security Industry (right): with the trophy VdS CEO Dr. Robert Reinermann, with the certificate VdS Manager for Cyber-Security, Markus Edel.

FireSafetyWeek

Fire Safety Week in Finland

The week starts on November 26th with the event A Day at The Fire Station and during the week people are encouraged to conduct their own fire drill, download a mobile app to promote fire safety measures and participate in Nordic Fire Alarm Day on December 1st. This year’s theme is “You ain’t losing anything”. 

The aim of Fire Safety Week is to improve fire safety of the whole country. Organized for the fifth time, with the theme “You ain’t losing anything”, this year’s aim is to show that improving fire safety is about small things which make a big difference.

– You won’t lose anything by taking care of your fire safety. Doing small improvements like checking the battery of your smoke alarm or discarding dodgy electronic wires are small acts but they can save your life, says Elias Kivelä, Campaign Coordinator at SPEK.

Fire Safety Week also raises the awareness on the relation of substance use and deaths caused by fire.

– 70 % of those who die because of fire are intoxicated. A particularly bad combination is smoking and drinking. Once intoxicated, the ability to act is slower than normal and accidents happen more likely, reminds Kivelä.

A Day at The Fire Station is a popular event especially in families with children. This year over 360 fire stations are participating in the event all over Finland providing visitors a glimpse to what it is like to be a firefighter.

– In fire stations people can try on firefighters’ gears, test how to use fire extinguishers and see how to exit from a burning room. A bit older participants can also test if they would pass the physical firefighters’ test, explains Kivelä.

Companies, daycare centers, schools and homes are encouraged to conduct a DIY Fire Drill not only during the week but all year round. Those who participate by registering their fire drill are eligible to win a 2,000-euro cash prize. The week ends with The Nordic Fire Alarm Day on December 1st.

– Every day there is a fire in eight houses. Our main goal is of course to reduce this number but also to promote skills that are needed in case fire occurs. Last year in all residential fires there were 440 cases where the smoke alarm wasn’t functioning and in 862 cases there were no smoke alarm at all even though having one is mandatory by law. Fire drills are also important so you know what to do if something happens – our aim is to have 100,000 registered fire drills, states Kivelä.

Since 2014 the campaign has included an app, “Kipinä” (spark), which guides the user through their own fire safety drill. It also reminds the user to check the functioning of their fire alarm on a monthly basis.

See two short videos of Fire Safety Week:

Check you smoke alarm – YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ohnycCkhgI

Learn the fire exit – You ain’t losing anything – YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJBtqnpw8Vk

Thomas Urban new VdS Managing Director

 

VdS_Managing-Director-2

Europe’s no 1 for corporate security and safety expands top management: Thomas Urban, to date head of the Security department, now supports CEO Dr. Robert Reinermann as Managing Director.

Thomas Urban has since 2008 led the security department at VdS. In addition to this responsibility he will now also provide support to CEO Dr. Robert Reinermann at senior management level. In his new position Urban continues to be responsible for the security department and will additionally take over the running of the fire protection laboratories and the new business of GeoExpertise. A native of Brandenburg, Urban is a graduate electrical engineer and joined VdS in 1999 as a test engineer for intruder alarm systems.

“I am looking forward to also in this new role continue the successful cooperation with our customers, partners and associations and to further advance our common desire for optimal safety and security,” explains Urban. “Primary objective remains of course to keep the core promise of VdS: maintaining quality standards as measured by efficient loss prevention. The VdS brand will continue to represent the symbol of confidence in the effectiveness of safety and security technologies and services. “

Dr. Robert Reinermann, who as of now functions as spokesman for the company management, says: “VdS has grown rapidly in recent years and has firmly established itself as Europe’s leading institution for corporate security and safety. To continue organising the expanding business operations with the usual efficiency, we have now strengthened our top management. I am looking forward to contributing, together with top experts like Thomas Urban and our entire team worldwide, to even stronger and more successful loss prevention.”

Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link to be the world’s largest and safest immersed tunnel

Femern-tunnel-overviewAt 18 kilometres-long, the coming connection beneath the Fehmarn Belt will be world’s largest immersed tunnel for trains and cars. Meanwhile, the combination of design and preparedness will make it the world’s safest underwater passageway.  Construction is set to begin as soon as the German permits are in place, and contracts with the developers have been signed.

An immersed tunnel of such length places huge demands on safety. That’s why safety systems and contingency plans are an essential focal point of the tunnel’s design. Safety has been an integral part of the project ever since the first sketches were made back in 2008, until now, when bids for the tunnel’s four large main contracts are being scrutinised by experts and consultants from the project developer, Femern A/S.

– The entire Fehmarn Tunnel is designed with safety in mind. To extent possible, the starting point is naturally to prevent anything at all from going wrong. But should something go wrong anyway, a comprehensive rescue apparatus will be there to intervene in any conceivable situation, says Kim Smedegaard Andersen, a contract director and civil engineer for Femern A/S.

The Construction Act for the project, and thus the environmental regulatory authorisation, was passed by the Danish Parliament on 28 April. Construction can therefore begin as soon as the contracts have been signed and the German permits are in place. According to the project’s schedule, this should happen at some point in 2015.

Tunnel safer than open land
The tunnel consists of five tubes: two for trains, two for cars and one emergency corridor. The roadways have double, one-way lanes, and each has an emergency access lane.

When the tunnel’s design and general safety measures are brought together, we see one of the safest tunnels capable of being built today. As such, the risk of a serious accident on the railway or roadways in the tunnel is actually smaller than on a similar stretch of motorway or railroad on open land.

– This is documented by the risk calculations that Femern A/S has had done by our advisors. The calculations are supported by analyses from the Norwegian Highway Authority and the Norwegian research institute SINTEF, which have shown that the risk of serious accidents in modern tunnels is typically half that of similar stretches of open road, says Andersen, and continues:

– Part of the explanation for the high level of safety is that the traffic isn’t bothered by rain, wind, fog, snow or falling leaves, which is the case outside of the tunnel, and which means there aren’t as many people pulling off the road.  There’s also the safety concept and the tunnel’s design, which are based on valid Danish, German and European norms and standards, as well as on the latest international expertise on tunnel safety. For example, the Fehmarn Tunnel only receives traffic in one direction, so that drivers do not face oncoming traffic or collisions.

24-hour surveillance
– One of the most important elements of the safety concept is, however, the fact that the tunnel is monitored on a 24-hour basis, and that the emergency response team is close by, which means we can quickly get an overview of the situation and act immediately in the event of an accident, says civil engineer Finn Ennemark, who is the project manager for safety and emergency preparedness at Femern A/S.

As soon as a fire is detected, a series of systems are activated by the tunnel’s safety personnel. First off, the powerful fans are set in motion so that the smoke is controlled and blown out in the direction of travel. The tunnel is also cleared of traffic and closed off with barriers to prevent additional cars from entering it while the emergency response efforts are underway.

Because only few accidents are expected – no more than 2-4 per year – we’re considering the possibility of stopping traffic in both directions if we have an accident. This way, if necessary, our emergency response team will be able to move in from both sides of the tunnel, both via the emergency lane in the affected tunnel, as well as from the opposite side of the other tube.

Fire insulation
The walls and ceiling of the tunnel will be fire-insulated, and the entire tunnel can be fitted with a fire-extinguishing system that is activated directly from the control centre to help keep a fire under control until the fire brigade and emergency response team arrive at the scene.

With fire insulation, all critical constructions will be protected against high temperatures so that they can maintain the load-bearing capacity for which they were originally designed. For example, concrete constructions can withstand large-scale fires with temperatures of up to 1,350 degrees over several hours.

In addition to limiting the fire itself, it is important to keep the development of smoke under control, so that people can quickly flee to a safe and smoke-free area. The tunnel is therefore equipped with powerful ventilation systems which ensure that smoke is blown out in the direction of traffic.

It has not been determined, however, whether the tunnel will be equipped with systems such as sprinklers or water mist extinguishers. Recent experience, tests and technological development has actually shown that such systems depend on the nature of the tunnel and the other safety systems that have been installed in it.

– Water mist and sprinkler systems can keep temperatures down, reduce smoke, keep fires from spreading and limit damages to the construction. Theoretically, however, they can also reduce visibility and be somewhat superfluous if we instead plan on very rapid fire-extinguishing and rescue response measures. So, it’s a matter of accounting for several factors which determine whether we end up deciding to install this type of system, Andersen explains.

Building on experiences from the Great Belt and Øresund projects
The tunnel is being constructed with inspiration from the Øresund and Great Belt tunnel tubes. The two connections, which began their operations in 2000 and 1997, respectively, have proven to be very safe. After nearly 33 years of combined operations, there has not been a single fatal accident in either of the tunnels.

– We’re continuing to build on the positive experiences from Øresund and have added a few elements to our design that can further reduce the risk of accidents, says Ennemark and goes on to clarify:

– For example, we’re establishing emergency lanes along the entire length of the tunnel on both of the double-lane pipes for roadways.  There will also be small pull-off areas with access to the technical components that require maintenance. This allows us to prevent constrict or detain traffic on the roads.

Not a Mont Blanc concept
Discussions concerning tunnel safety often focus on the two serious tunnel fires, which occurred in the Alps in the Mont Blanc Tunnel, in 1999, and in the Gotthard Road Tunnel, in 2001. The tunnel concept behind the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, however, is very different.

First, both of the tunnels in the Alps had two-way traffic on in the same tubes, with no extra tubes for emergency response teams and without a sufficient number of emergency lanes. Secondly, rescue efforts in the Mont Blanc Tunnel were complicated by insufficient coordination between the emergency response workers on the French and Italian sides of the privately-operated tunnel.

As a result of the two accidents, the requirements for tunnel safety have generally become more stringent, which can be seen in certain aspects of the Fehmarn Fixed Belt Link. In the efforts to develop an optimal safety and rescue concept, Femern A/S has, among other initiatives, worked with drills and simulations in close coordination with the authorities and emergency response personnel from both Denmark and Germany.

Not everything is solved just yet
Shortly before the start of construction, there are still a few loose ends to see to. The German and Danish emergency response and rescue authorities have therefore established a common steering committee and a number of related working groups. For example, one of the working groups is exploring whether physical fire and rescue teams should be established near the tunnel openings on both sides of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link.

Because there are no nearby hospitals on either the Danish or German side, a helicopter landing pad and other safety measures must also be established.

Before the tunnel opens, Femern A/S is obligated to develop a detailed emergency rescue and response concept in collaboration with the relevant authorities and rescue services to ensure that solutions have been found for all pending matters.

– The Safety concept and all the details will continue to be polished along the way, all the way up to the day of the tunnel’s opening. Before then, we will have found solutions to every existing problem, and we will have also conducted full-scale drills in the completed tunnel. Only then will the final model be approved by the Danish and German authorities, Ennemark concludes.

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Safety concept built on four pillars:

•    Accident prevention
24-hour staffed video surveillance and regular road patrols that deploy if e.g. a car breaks down will help prevent accidents. The tunnel’s design also plays a role. Among other features that have been incorporated, there is a slight incline down in the tunnel’s road so that brakes on lorries, campers and other large vehicles do not overheat.

•    Minimising consequences
Any accidents will be picked up by the surveillance cameras, after which an emergency response team will be deployed. Traffic can be stopped and the tunnel can be emptied of vehicles with the use of road patrols and a computer-controlled traffic control system with appertaining signage and broadcast connections to car radios and other outlets. Other systems monitor the air quality and temperature inside the tunnel. Emergency lanes have also been established throughout the tunnel, along a specially-designed crash barrier that cars skid along with if they crash. Drivers can also use emergency telephones and fire-extinguishing equipment until help arrives.

•    Several escape options
The tunnel is designed so that the distance to the nearest emergency exit is no more than about 50 metres away. In the event of an accident, signs and speakers lead people to safety, and there is access from all of the tunnel tubes to secure neighbouring tubes, where the pressure can be increased to a level higher than that in a tube affected by fire to prevent smoke from penetrating.

•    Fast and effective emergency response
In partnership with the relevant Danish and German emergency rescue and response authorities, Femern A/S is currently developing a safety and emergency response concept for the completed tunnel, which will ensure a fast and coordinated rescue response from both the Danish and German sides.

Futurologist: New materials may lead to improved fire safety

forsker

The technological development of new materials, components and systems in the construction sector will likely make the future more fireproof.  Such is the outlook of futurologist Klaus Mogensen of the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies.

The development of materials will lead to new building components and construction principles, says futurologist Klaus Mogensen, who has conducted several studies in the area.

But what impact will this development have on fire safety? According to Mogensen, this is a difficult question to answer, but most signs indicate that the technological development of new materials will make the world more fireproof in the future.

– Let me give you an example: The future will bring window panes that will make interiors darker or lighter either upon direct sunlight or at the turn of a knob. This will obviate the need for curtains and thereby reduce the risk of fire, because home fires can begin with the curtains catching fire, says Mogensen, whose research results are included in a report entitled ‘Future Materials and Fire Safety’, which was conducted by the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies and commissioned by DBI.

Another example, however, may point to an opposite trend. The future will bring more robots that perform everyday tasks such as vacuuming and babysitting.

– In general, electronic equipment with rechargeable batteries, such as those used in a robotic vacuum cleaner, can be seen to increase the risk of fire, regardless of how well the appliance is designed. And there’s no doubt that we will continue to see many more electronic appliances in our homes and offices. What will it mean for fire safety if the pictures and posters we hang on our walls are replaced by integrated screens? Or what effects will there be if books and newspapers disappear because more and more people read content on their tablets and smartphones?, Mogensen ponders.

Only a mild interest in safety
Mogensen is convinced that new technological possibilities are what drive the development of new materials and components in the construction sector – and not the wish for greater fire safety, which is a lower overall priority.

In fact, most people who live and work in Danish buildings are not very interested at all in fire safety, the futurologist points out. A majority of them simply assume that their buildings are safe – and that surely a fire will never break out in their homes or businesses.

– It’s just like with cars. Fuel consumption, design, top speed and extra gadgets mean much more. Safety comes in relatively far down on the list, says Mogensen, who calls this means of prioritisation a ‘human characteristic’, because we generally don’t wish to worry too much.

That is why so many cyclists ride around without helmets, even though everyone knows that a helmet would increase one’s personal safety.

Uncertainty about new materials
Two exciting technological trends in the area of new materials are tailored composite materials that are both lightweight and durable, and the use of phase-alternating materials in walls and other constructions that can reduce a building’s energy consumption.

However, it is difficult to say what actual significance these trends will have for fire safety. The new materials will typically be flammable to a certain degree, unlike concrete, brick and other materials commonly used today. That said, wood is also flammable, and yet we have learned to use the material effectively in terms of fire safety, such as by treating it with fire-retardant impregnation.

– The question is whether the existing testing methods and regulations for fire safety work optimally when it comes to fundamentally different materials, such as composites, carbon nanotubes or nanocrystalline cellulose, Mogensen wonders aloud.

– It’s also necessary to consider the effect of the increasing number of active systems we have in our buildings. Temperature-controlled oven light windows or window panes can reduce the need for mechanical ventilation and cooling, and this, in turn, will bring down the risk of fire. But what is the impact of having such solutions if a fire actually breaks out? What is the impact of having more intelligent types of sprinkler and alarm systems? Can nanomaterials generate poisonous gases? What is the risk posed by the many chargers we have for our electronic equipment? Should we really have a low-voltage power supply in all buildings, instead of the current 230-volt standard? I don’t think we’re thinking enough about fire safety in relation to new technology and new materials, responds Mogensen to his list of questions.