Category Archives: Fire

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Fire authority thanked for funding high rise sprinklers | Fire Protection Association

Retrofit sprinklers in high rises. Every tenant wish to sleep safe and people living in high rise feel happy if they know that in event of a fire they will be alerted by an alarm and protected by sprinkler.

The Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in England, where I live, has been campaigning for installation of sprinklers in high rise, tells CFPA Europe’s Director Tommy Arvidsson. Now they are also part-funding retrofitting of sprinklers in residential premises.

The housing provider Halton Housing got a £ 36,000 grant from Cheshire Fire Authority and that helped a lot to retrofit sprinklers into a 12 storey residential high rise.”

Link to read more below.

https://www.thefpa.co.uk/news/fire-authority-thanked-for-funding-high-rise-sprinklers

Fire safety in the EU

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A lot can be done for fire safety in the EU. Member states must therefore learn from each other and focus on this issue in the EU’s coming ‘renovation wave’. So argues Pernille Weiss, member of the European Parliament for Denmark’s Conservative People’s Party.

As part of the EU 2019 budget, proposals were put forward to improve fire statistics in Europe. What happened with the proposal?
- The Commission allocated money to a pilot project. This means that statistics are now being collected in this area and we can therefore identify what we need to do better. Since then, I have followed up, among other things, by hosting events in the European Parliament, where we have focused on fire safety.

What are the possibilities of joint European cooperation to enhance fire safety?
- Fire safety is basically a national matter. However, it is extremely important that we learn from each other across Europe. We are far from being equally good at protecting our citizens from fire, and we need to learn from those who do it well. Furthermore, it is important, of course, to have high standards of fire safety in the products we produce in the EU and in those we import.

What can be done to reduce the number of people who perish in care home fires?
- It’s up to member states to a great extent. It’s clear that we need national rules on how to protect not only newly built, but also older care homes against fire. A lot has happened from a purely technological standpoint and it’s important that our buildings keep apace. At the EU level, it’s very much about ensuring that the products we allow in the internal market are fire-safe.

What is happening on the subject of fire in the EU?
- The study on fire safety across the EU is a major step. In addition, the Commission has proposed a ‘renovation wave’. The purpose is to reduce energy consumption in buildings, but it’s clear that there are many of us who want to fight for fire safety to be incorporated when plans for this ‘renovation wave’ are presented.

In what direction do you see the work in this area going?
- It’s still too early to say. However, I see that there are several of us in the European Parliament who focus on fire safety, and this is a good sign. I’ve made an effort to draw attention to the issue by organising several events where politicians and industry people have met each other – because it’s important that we politicians talk to the experts.

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An extinguishing Agent Specifically developed for Lithium-ion battery fires

In recent times Lithium-ion battery fires have become no stranger to news headlines with serious incidents now being reported on an almost daily basis. In particular the transition to electric-powered vehicles has created a growing problem for fire and rescue services worldwide as electric car fires pose an increased fire threat. This threat is not only the degree of difficulty in extinguishing the fire quickly and safely but also the potential for spontaneous re-ignition several hours after the initial fire has been extinguished.

In order to fully understand this, one must first understand the process of “Thermal Runaway” which leads to the propagation of a fire throughout the whole of a Lithium ion battery pack or, in this case, potentially the whole of the vehicle.

In large scale batteries there are many individual cells which are linked together and fires normally propagate from cell to cell via the passage of heat from the external walls of the cells and from the electrical connection points which form the individual battery cells into multi cell modules and packs. As the cells reach high temperatures they eventually go into a state known as thermal runaway and this is achieved as a result of a chemical and physical process which at a cell level is not reversible since the resulting chemical reaction is exothermic.

In short it is essential to tackle a multi cell battery fire by extinguishing the fire which has been generated by the individual exploding cell and also by cooling the adjacent cells which will have been heated during the initial fire. It is frequently the case that one cell will heat several others each of which will in turn heat a number of others and the fire spreads on an exponential basis. It is therefore imperative to cool as many cells as possible in order to prevent the propagation of thermal runaway.

Vermiculite Dispersion extinguishing agent

A new eco-friendly water based extinguishing agent made and developed from the natural mineral Vermiculite (Aqueous Vermiculite Dispersion) is now available in the fire protection market specifically developed for protection against Lithium-ion battery fires. When applied directly to the cells of a battery in a thermal event AVD quickly extinguishes the flames, the water cools the system, the high surface area mineral platelets interrupt the free radical chain reaction and a refractory film forms which impedes oxygen diffusion to the fuel source. The relatively high viscosity AVD coats the battery; as the water evaporates, the viscosity of the AVD rises quickly further reducing the flow away from the fire source. The AVD quickly forms in to a gel-like structure with water trapped in macroscopic pores. Initially it is the pore water that continues to cool the system and the AVD can be seen to ‘boil’. It is this ability of AVD to trap water close to the source of the fire that enhances its cooling effect.

Another advantage of AVD is that as it dries it forms a thermally insulating film which reduces the risk of thermal runaway propagation to adjacent cells. The non-combustible vermiculite film also coats the packaging of adjacent cells reducing the combustible loading of the system.

Environmentally friendly

Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that is exempt from REACH regulations. It is chemically and physically inert, only releasing steam when exposed to raised temperatures. It is also non-toxic to humans, plant life and animals so there is no concerns that with the clean-up process needing to be managed under regulated processes

Lithium Battery Fire Classification and chemistries

Lithium-ion battery fires have no fire classification of their own and they cross the boundaries of several existing categories from A to C. The Lith-Ex portable extinguisher range (containing AVD) has been tested and certified to EN3-7 Class A in order to meet European regulations. The extinguishing agent, AVD can also be applied via fixed systems for large scale industrial applications such as energy storage facilities. The agent is equally effective on varying different battery types and chemistries making it an extremely versatile agent considering the primacies of the natural mineral the cooling effects remain the same

For more information www.avdfire.com

cfpa-grenfell-tower

A case study that cost many lives

The Grenfell Insulation was sold at a discount for refurbishment, and the discount was worth almost £ 41,500. In April 2015 the manufacturer had discussed using Grenfell as a “case study”. However, the insulation material was not in the original architects’ specification for the refurbishment and the project manager for the refurbishment did not know that Celotex insulation was flammable.

The Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 caused 72 deaths and 70 others were injured.

Read more: https://www.thefpa.co.uk/news/grenfell-insulation-sold-at-discount-for-refurbishment

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Slovenian Fire Protection Association and EU Projects

European projects of Slovenian FPA Slovenian Fire Protection Association (SZPV) is working on European projects in scope of Interreg and ERASMUS+ programmes since 2017. SZPV gained first experience in project FIRESKILLS (project no. 2017-1-TR01-KA202-045607) with partners from Turkey, Denmark and Italy, working on education of firefighters on preventive precautions and emergency procedures on fires in historic buildings.

In 2018, work on project FIREEXPERT started, in scope of programme Interreg Slovenia-Austria, and is stil going on. Due to COVID-19 pandemic situation the project is prolonged and will end in January 2021. The focus of the FIREEXPERT project is to create an industrial research expert and innovation center (livinglab) for the construction and building material industry – supporting research and development in the field of fire engineering.

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Photo: Testing of Ultra-High Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC), Fire Laboratory ZAG, Ljubljana, June 2019.

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Cooperation in project Fireskills lead to an invitation to another ERASMUS+ project. The Danish firebrigade from Frideriksborg envited SZPV to work in project INCLUSIVE EMERGENCY. Four fire brigades from Denmark, Spain, Finland and Slovenia (from Frederiksborg, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Turku and Kranj) and four other organisations from these countries (Spanish Fundatión Marcelino Champagnat, Danish national association for autism Landsforeningen Autisme, Turku University of Applied Sciences and non-governmental organization Slovenian Fire Protection Association) are developing the first open and multilingual e-learning platform for firefighters on emergency planning and response when involving individuals with disabilities.

Photo: Visit of historic underground flour watermill, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain, December 2019.

Photo: Visit of historic underground flour watermill, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain, December 2019.

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The latest news from Slovenian agency of ERASMUS+ projects is that new project in which SZPV will work together with other five partners from Slovenia, Croatia and Czech Republic, was granted. The project title is SKILLED TO BE A FIRE EXPERT. Three universities (from Ljubljana, Zagreb and Ostrava), one specialized Croatian company, providing fire protecting engineering services and two non-governmental organizations – Majaczech from Bile Policany and SZPV from Ljubljana, both members of CFPA-E, will prepare an online learning platform for fire expert trainers. More information will be available after kick-off meeting of the project in October 2020.

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Fire Statistics in England

The Home Office in England has released the latest fire and rescue incident statistics, for the year April 2019 to March 2020. FRS’s (FRS = Fire Rescue Services) attended 557,299 incidents in this year, a 3% fall compared with the year before. 153,957 of these incidents were fires, a 16% decrease, and it is interesting to see that it has been a fall in all types of fires. The statistics also show that there were 243 fire related deaths in 2019/20, and the year before it was 253. The number of fire related death is the lowest number of fire-related deaths in the annual series. 28% of the incidents that the FRS came to prove to be false alarms.

Security in a Corona-virus crisis

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For most of us, the Corona-virus crisis meant keeping distance and working from home. But, what impact has the crisis had on areas such as terrorism and cybercrime? See the Danish trends here. 

Cybercrime
The Corona-virus crisis has facilitated the ‘work’ of cybercriminals, who have been exploiting the current situation to create various scams.

– There have been numerous cyberattacks, particularly at the beginning of the crisis. Perpetrators analysed the context and adapted their language and wording to match the tone of the authorities. They tried to get people to log on to fake sites using e-mails that looked like they came from the authorities and were important and correct, says Anja Kivac, Project Manager at the security department of the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology (DBI).

Clever use of the right language combined with our hunger for news about the Corona-virus resulted in more people than usual clicking on false links. But working from home is also part of the explanation.

– Things are done in a particular way in the workplace, and at the dining table at home, you don’t feel as if you’re at work, so you drop your guard. When you’re in an unfamiliar situation, you’re more likely to make mistakes, e.g. click on links that you wouldn’t normally click on. At the same time, many people have had their children at home, which can also be distracting, says Anja Kivac.

The same applies to mobile phones where fraudulent text messages have become rampant. Lots of people have ordered more parcels than usual and have, therefore, been more susceptible to text messages about parcel collection. When the person clicks on the link, it turns out to be malicious.

– As many people have not been on the company’s network, but their own, it is primarily private individuals who have been affected, and not companies as a whole. In general, however, the authorities have been quick to detect and warn the public about threats from e-mails and text messages, says Anja Kivac.

Burglaries
It has not just been in the digital world that the Corona-virus has had an effect. Burglars also accepted the advice to stay at home, albeit probably less willingly than everyone else. In Denmark, burglary rates have fallen by a quarter compared to the same period last year. As someone known to the police said during questioning:

– It’s hard to find a house where there isn’t someone at home.

Terrorist threat
On 20 March, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, PET, issued a new assessment of the threat from terror against Denmark, and this remains at a serious level.

– During a crisis like the Corona-virus, terrorists who may be planning attacks against our country are still out there. But society’s focus changes during a crisis. The intention of terrorism is to attract attention and hit symbolic target or populations. Many public places have been closed and gatherings have been limited, so one would imagine that they are saving their energy and will hold off carrying out terrorist attacks until the crisis has passed, says Jesper Florin, head of the security department at DBI.

However, there has been a slight increase in terrorist-related propaganda online, as many people have been at home and searched for information and knowledge. Various terrorist organisations have tried to exploit this by increasing the flow of information in their online forums.

Container puts out inextinguishable fires in electric cars

 

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The lithium-ion batteries in electric and hybrid cars present a challenge to the emergency services if the cars are involved in a traffic accident or burst into flames.  Now, the emergency services in Denmark have developed their own solution.

Cars can burst into flames a long time after they have been damaged. They can be exceptionally difficult to extinguish. They can flare up again and again. They emit combustible and harmful gases.  Water is contaminated and damaging to the environment due to chemicals. Yes, the batteries in electric and hybrid cars present numerous challenges when you look at it from the point of view of the emergency services. This is the conclusion of a new report from the Swedish organisation RISE, which has taken a closer look at lithium-ion batteries in vehicles.

The numerous factors specific to electric and hybrid cars present the emergency services with a number of challenges, which the emergency services in Copenhagen are now tackling. They have designed a container specifically for handling damaged electric and hybrid cars.

– We are seeing more and more electric and hybrid cars in the municipalities we cover. And, it would appear that there will be many more in the future. That is why we must be able to deal with the chemical fires they can cause, says Michael Kim Andersen, Deputy Director of Emergency Services in Copenhagen.

A well-equipped container
The individual cells in a lithium-ion batter can be damaged in the event of a traffic accident or if there is a fire in the car. This can result in the development of heat in the cell, which then spreads from cell to cell – also known as thermal runaway.  A chemical fire in a lithium-ion battery can develop very quickly with shooting flames and harmful flammable gases. Heat can develop several hours after an accident has occurred, and if one cell has thermal runaway, the heat from that cell can cause the neighbouring cell to develop heat too. This way, a single cell can start a chain reaction which can cause the battery to burst into flames a long time after an accident has taken place. The effects of heat from, for example, a fire, can result in the same effect in a cell.

– Batteries are difficult to extinguish, and they can burst into flames again several hours later – in some cases, right up to a week later.  We can’t close roads and motorways for several hours, so if it isn’t possible for us to extinguish the fire in the battery, we may have to remove the car. That’s why we have developed a container for that very purpose, says Michael Kim Andersen.

The container is constructed in such a way that you lift or tow an electric car into it, place the container on the bed of a tow truck and remove the car.  The container has nozzles in the floor and on the walls which can be used to both extinguish any flames and cool the battery – which more often than not, is located under the car – to hamper the development of heat. The water for the nozzles flows round a circuit, which reduces water consumption significantly and makes it easier to collect the water later and send it for cleansing if it has been contaminated by chemicals from the battery. In addtion, there are installations with inert gas in the container.

– A fire in an electric car battery is a chemical fire and does not require oxygen. Therefore, inert gas has no effect on the battery but is intended for the other parts of the car. Indeed, the development of heat from the battery can potentially cause the cabin to burst into flames. And since it’s a confined space – at least until the windows burst – the water can’t get in there. Therefore, inert gas is required to smother the flames, explains Michael Kim Andersen.

Extended period of isolation required
With the container, the procedure in the event of an accident with an electric or hybrid car will be more or less the same as an accident involving conventional cars. It is cleared up quickly and the traffic can keep flowing. However, an electric car can’t be taken to a car breaker or a workshop where it is placed indoors next to other cars, which a fire could potentially spread to. Instead, it can now be left in the container until the risk of it flaring up has subsided.

– We are in dialogue with other authorities to determine where we can put the container when it contains a damaged electric or hybrid car. It must be kept in an isolated and closed area where it can remain undisturbed for a time, says Michael Kim Andersen.

Requires extra vigilance
The container is the only one of its kind in the Nordic region, and the interest in it is high from neighbouring emergency services, who can requisition it on an equal footing with other cars and from abroad. However, it doesn’t meet the challenges presented by electric and hybrid cars on its own. Poisonous gases from the batteries mean that special procedures are required when the fire brigade arrive at fires in electric cars.

– If there is a fire in an electric or hybrid car, we are acutely aware that the smoke may contain hydrogen fluoride, which is extremely harmful. Even small doses can result in water in the lungs. Therefore, we also take the precaution of using fresh air breathing apparatus from a greater distance than we would in a normal car fire, says Michael Kim Andersen.

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FEU and CFPA Europe have this summer signed a new MoU

FEU, the Federation of the European Union Fire Officer Association, and CFPA Europe have this summer signed a new Memorandum of Understanding, MoU. It extends five years ahead and replaces an earlier agreement.
Since new year, CFPA Europe has a corresponding MoU with CTIF, the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services.