VdS_2540

VdS updates Guidelines for safe control and indicating equipment

VdS 2540 for reliable CIE comprehensively revised – including precise performance characteristics for risk minimisation in the control and activation of alarm valve stations and in fault monitoring.

Cologne/Germany, April 6th, 2021. The “brain” of every fire alarm system: control and indicating equipment (CIE). This is where all information from the monitored areas comes together, where processes such as alarming, clearing an object and, above all, the triggering of connected extinguishing systems are coordinated. VdS has been testing these devices since they were first used in Europe – and is bundling the experience gained over all this time into the product Guidelines VdS 2540.

The compact publication (16 pages) has now been extensively revised. “New features include a separate test for degraded transmission paths”, explains Frank Schäfer, VdS product manager responsible for the update.” And as a direct customer request, we have now also specified requirements for the switchover valves for the triggering of alarm valve stations, and added performance characteristics for fire brigade indication panels. This makes it easier for manufacturers to produce high-quality CIE; while installers, operators, insurers as well as authorities can fully rely on its safe application.”

The new VdS 2540 are provided free of charge by Europe’s largest and oldest testing institute for fire protection technology. You can find the “Requirements and test methods for control and indicating equipment” at www.vds-shop.de/en.

Caption 2540: VdS compresses loss prevention experience from thousands of laboratory as well as on-site tests in the product Guidelines 2540, “Control and indicating equipment”. Aim: Reliable risk minimisation as well as safeguarding for manufacturers, installers, operators, insurers and authorities.

About VdS:

VdS is one of the world’s most renowned institutions for corporate safety and security. 500 experts offer a unique range of services for fire protection, security, cyber-security and natural hazard prevention.

Services include risk assessments, testing and certification, inspections, information systems for natural hazards and an extensive training program. In addition, the independent institute sets international safety and security standards with the publication of a comprehensive set of Guidelines.

The optimal protection of our partners is based on a worldwide unique protection concept whose reliability builds on more than 110 years of VdS-experience, combining all core aspects of loss prevention.
Decision-makers around the world rely on VdS-approved reliability and
certainty.

More information at vds-global.com

Picture of blue and purple fireworks during the night - a nice photo for backgrounds

Fireworks for scientific purposes

For many people, beautiful fireworks are the highlight of the annual New Year’s Eve festival and thus the start of a successful new year.

Many people are unaware of the dangers and the correct handling of pyrotechnic articles. Even products that have no (or a fake) CE mark pose an enormous risk. The experts from the IBS – Institut für Brandschutztechnik und Sicherheitsforschung in Austria are constantly confronted with the negative effects of pyrotechnics in administrative proceedings, in the determination of the causes of fire and explosions as well as in court proceedings. A series of pyrotechnic tests was carried out to empirically obtain well-founded technical principles and to determine the legally accepted risks for body and life as well as for property.

In addition, it is currently being discussed across Europe to cancel fireworks for New Year’s Eve this year. The main reason is certainly to avoid crowds – but also that the hospitals are not burdened with injuries caused by firecrackers. That is exactly the subject of the series of experiments.

Pyrotechnic categories

Various products of classes F1, F2, F3 and F4 as well as non-approved and illegal products were tested as part of the test series. F1 and F2 are commercially available and may be used by consumers for entertainment purposes according to the Austrian Pyrotechnics Law (PyroTG 2010).

The F3 category contains professional fireworks, “which represent a medium risk, intended for use in wide, open areas outdoors and whose noise levels do not pose a risk to human health”.

In Austria, category F4 includes the larger fireworks.
These are “fireworks that pose high risk, are only intended for use by persons with the appropriate specialist knowledge and whose noise level does not endanger human health” (Pyrotechnics Law 2010).

A minimum age of 18 years and an official permit are required for categories F3 and F4. In addition, the user needs specialist knowledge in form of a pyrotechnic pass for the relevant category. Safety and usage regulations are prescribed in the approval notice.

Risk analysis and security measures

The improper use of pyrotechnics is prohibited according to the Pyrotechnics Law and poses an enormous risk. The setup of the measuring equipment and the test procedure can lead to unexpected reactions and explosions close to the ground. For this reason, a very extensive hazard and risk analysis was carried out for the tests. The resulting dangers were identified, and appropriate safety measures were taken. Over 100 ignitions were carried out during the tests.

Exit speed

Top speeds of up to 85m/s could be measured for sho-boxes, which is approx. 300 km/h. For bullet-bombs, the measured values were significantly higher at approx. 123 m/s, i.e. approx. 440 km/h.

Recoil and impact energy

For products that emit special effects, there is also a resulting recoil. This recoil can represent a major source of danger in certain cases, for example when burning down on boats, on poor ground or with defective launchers.

It was also crucial to determine the impact energy at head height. I.e. when a person bends over the product. The results of the individual products partly exceeded all expectations.

For comparison: If you hit the pressure cell with a mallet weighing 1 kg by hand with maximum force, this generates an impact energy of approx. 500 kg. Values (in this case pressure on the ground) of up to 6300 kg could be measured with firecrackers.

Additional information:

YouTube Channel
Austrian Pyrotechnics Law 2010 (national law)

VdS-FT_Livestream

VdS Expert Conferences in Livestream

“Digital is better” was already sung by the band Tocotronic. Well, that’s not always true, but for conferences in the middle of a pandemic, there’s a lot to it. Many participants, but also speakers, are not allowed or do not want to travel at the moment. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether, when and how the government will tighten restrictions. For this reason, we have been offering almost all VdS-Expert Conferences as live streams for several months now.
For the expert conferences in December, which under normal circumstances are part of the VdS-FireSafety Cologne, we went one step further: They were held exclusively online, as the travel situation was extremely uncertain. The exception was the two-day advanced training seminar for fire prevention and protection officers, which could be booked as both a face-to-face and an online event.

01_VdS-Fachtagung

Almost 1000 participants at the seven conferences! Of these, only 45 attended in person.

The feedback from our online participants is consistently positive. This is not least due to the above-average technical and organisational effort we put into the Training Centre: Whenever possible, all speakers and moderators are on site at the Training Centre in order to be able to present a uniform lecture format with the best technical possibilities. The speakers give their presentations standing in front of real cameras, and only a few of them are connected to a laptop. The interaction between moderator, speaker and participants takes place via the carefully supervised chat. This creates a real exchange online, and the participants confirm time and again that the conference atmosphere really comes across.

20201102_MAPEU27

EU FireStat – CLOSING DATA GAPS AND PAVING THE WAY FOR PAN-EUROPEAN FIRE SAFETY EFFORTS

Today’s fire statistics are problematic and we all know it!

When fires statistics are available they can give us general trends and indications, however the direct comparison between counties is yet not possible. This is mostly due to different terminologies, undefined data, mixed fields (structure fires, vehicle fires, wildfires etc.), lack of common methodologies, non-existent uncertainties, etc.

For example, Canada counts a fire fatality as a result of injuries leading to death within one year and one day after the fire incident. While, the UK and the USA, do not fix any time limit for recording a fire death. In other countries, “death within 48 hours after fire” is regarded as a fire death. Then there are countries that do not include fire deaths resulting from arson and other countries like in France that only report fire fatalities at the location of the fire – either those discovered by rescuers, or those declared dead after unsuccessful resuscitation attempts, excluding fire fatalities that occurred at the hospital or during transport of casualties to the hospital.

Another example is when comparing France and Italy, we find that for a relatively similar population and fire fatality per 100.000 inh., the number of injuries are completely different, leading to a questionable difference in either definitions or data reported or both.

One would then ask, how can we properly use their outcome for decision making? Well, we can’t…

To provide relevant information regarding the national fire safety situation – at least for number of fires, fire fatalities and fire injuries – fire statistics will have to be internationally improved through common terminology, common methodology, and common training and qualification of the persons reporting data from fire scenes.

This is where our project plays an important role:

EUFireStat is a 17-month project financed by the European Parliament and commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). This project is carried out by a consortium composed of nine international fire safety institutions:

  •  Efectis – Consortium leader in the project
  • Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung (BAM)
  • Centre for Fire Statistics of CTIF (CFS-CTIF)
  • Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology (DBI)
  • Lund University
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh
  • The European Fire Safety Alliance (EuroFSA)
  • Vereinigung zur Förderung des Deutschen Brandschutzes (VFDB)

Closing data gaps

The aim of this project is to collect and analyse existing fire data in buildings from the 27 EU countries and some international countries of interest (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Russia, the USA and The UK) then to propose common definition and methodology to the European Commission.

The project started in August 2020 and since then we have been gathering information from countries of interest and in particular on fields collected, how they are defined and how they are used. We reached out to different stakeholders (authorities, fire services, statistic institutes, insurance, and academics). We also sent out a survey to the authorities on what type of data they believe would be helpful for decision making, for improving regulations and prevention campaigns.

Paving the way for pan-european fire safety efforts

As it was expected, the main challenges encountered at the beginning of the project was to find the appropriate persons of contact, but we were positively surprised by how well the different persons we contacted were helpful and eager to help us gather data from their country! Unfortunately, there were some countries where it was difficult to find data, such as Portugal, where most data seems to be focused on forest fires, which is outside the scope of the project. While other countries simply do not have definitions like in France. In other cases, it was difficult to find interlocutors, like in Spain.

While there are many challenges we need to face in this project, we believe that the ongoing work that we will help the fire safety community ask the right questions and hopefully to overcome some of its difficulties for the future.

Finally, on behalf of the consortium, I would like to thank all the interviewed persons and the stakeholders for their valuable input, support and commitment to the project.

You can read more about the project and download the latest reports on our website: https://eufirestat-efectis.com/

If you are interested in learning more and contributing to the project, please reach us at: EU.FireStat@efectis.com

Written by Mohamad El Houssami, PhD – Fire safety engineer at Efectis France and member of the EUFireStat consortium

A robotic arm can save facades

robotarm

Facade fires are a challenge that has been debated greatly in recent years. But now there is a new solution that uses existing technology to combat these dangerous fires in a new way.

A fire breaks out in an apartment in a high-rise building. It spreads and quickly breaks through a window. The flames spread through the broken window pane and threaten to ignite the facade, with the risk of further fire spreading. This is a well-known issue that has received a lot of attention in recent years – not least after the fire in Grenfell Tower in London.

But shortly after the window has been broken, an arm horizontally shoots out of the building. There is a nozzle on the arm, which directs itself towards the fire in the window, and sprays water onto the facade. That’s the idea behind Spraysafe, a solution developed by Johnson Controls.

– It combines detection on the facade with a nozzle that automatically ejects from the facade. There are several infrared detectors on the facade, and using triangulation, the solution calculates where the fire is and where the nozzle must direct its spray. The smart thing about the solution is that it uses well-known technology to deal with a current issue, says Lars V. Roed, Fire Safety Engineer at DBI – the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology.

Undergoes full scale testing
Spraysafe can help to tackle a challenge faced by high-rise buildings. Because height makes it difficult for emergency services to fight a facade fire. At the same time, the solution can react faster than the emergency services and begin fire-fighting immediately after fire has been detected on the facade.

The testing institute, Thomas Wright-Bell International Consultants, has tested the solution according to SP method 5483, which investigates its range and ability to aim the water jet at the fire. Furthermore, it has been fully tested in a set-up that is identical to the Swedish SP Fire 105 standard, to investigate the effect of the solution in the event of a fire. The results were presented at a Society of Fire Protection Engineers conference in Malaga last year.

Alternative to replacing the facade
The tests show that the solution can prevent a fire from spreading along a facade. However, this does not mean that the solution is ready for use in construction. This depends on the regulations of this field in each individual country.

– But it looks interesting. Especially if the solution can be retrofitted to facades. In such a case, it may serve as an alternative to replacing a facade that is identified as a fire hazard. This is something that has been discovered about many facades in the UK, among others, after the fire in Grenfell Tower, says Lars V. Roed.

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Fire protection in the course of the BIM (Building Information Modeling) application: start of the standardization in Germany

A working committee (VDI 2552 Sheet 11.6) at the Association of German Engineers (VDI) is starting works on the standardization of BIM application for fire protection. In particular, the information exchange requirements of those involved in fire protection for structures, such as the local building permit authority and fire brigade, planners manufacturers and installers of fire protection products and system, and insurers, are being systematically prepared. In this connection, the fire protection concept and individual fire protection measures are considering. Typical characteristics of the information exchange requirements include

  • tasks and role of a responsible person or party for a specific sub-process, e. g., planner,
  • process input, and output, including content, level of detail of the information and
  • time and addressees of the information delivery.

These specifications are intended to enable comprehensive coordination in the digital common data environment for BIM projects (CDE) and map the building information required for fire protection in the digital twin of buildings and their whole life cycle. The working committee will also examine whether the available open data format ICF (Industry Foundation Classes) according to ISO 16739, can fully cover the concerns of fire protection. If necessary additional specifications are to be defined in collaboration with ICF experts.

Landlord

Landlord got prosecuted for ‘serious’ fire safety breaches

In Reading, England, a landlord got prosecuted because he did not meet the required standard of accommodation, and the council fines the landlord £ 66,000. The occupants were left “vulnerable to becoming trapped in the event of a fire”.

The court ruling is a warning to all landlords who are not ensure they comply with rules, or take action to protect their tenants.

Read more:

https://www.thefpa.co.uk/news/council-fines-landlord-66-000-over-serious-fire-safety-breaches

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Condolences for a member of the CFPA Europe family

CFPA Europe’s former chair Alain Georges from Belgium, died on 26 December as a result of cancer.
He was only 74 years old. It was in the 90th Mr Georges was chair for CFPA Europe, in total six years.
We are deeply sorry about the loss of Alain Georges, and our hearts go out to his family.
know-your-building

75 Anniversary Year

CFPA Europe’s member in UK, the Fire Protection Association, has a campaign, called “Know your building” as a part of their anniversary.
This campaign aiming to achieve:
- Fire sprinkler systems to be a regulatory requirement for commercial buildings such as care homes, schools, hospitals and healthcare premises
- For all businesses to have a fire strategy as part of a robust business continuity plan
- For third party certification to be regulatory requirement for all fire safety services and products.
Read more about the campaign on www.thefpa.co.uk/know-your-building