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Firefighting is hot, hazardous, and let's face it, grueling work. But believe it or not, the job today has become even more challenging as firefighters must deal with increased heat loads, toxic substances and other physical challenges that make structural firefighting one of the most demanding professions on the planet. So, needless to say, being well-trained, physically fit, and safely equipped can make all the difference in the world. Evolving Technology The fact is, as heat loads and toxicity exposure risks increase due to modern synthetic construction, the ways in which fires are fought are changing as well. These shifts, combined with the revolution that’s taking place in firefighter protection technology, have led to new and exciting designs in firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) offerings. Technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits Take the tried and true SCBA for instance. Since the invention of the first breathing apparatus in the late 1910s, their primary function has been air delivery. But today, technology is providing firefighters with respiratory protection “systems” is which respiratory protection itself is just one of many benefits. Revolution Of Life-Changing Technology Consider this: the effects of technology today impact virtually every aspect of modern life. And the same is true for the fire service, as software, thermal imaging, and wireless communications capabilities become more mainstream on the fireground. In response to these new capabilities, the consensus organizations responsible for PPE performance standards (i.e. NFPA and EN) have increased standards by mandating certain electronic components for each firefighter. But performance of these components can be limited by the fact that only so many “parts” can be attached to an SCBA, or because some capabilities are simply out of reach from a budget perspective. Over time, these limitations create long-term implications when it comes to SCBA choice, because the breathing apparatus purchased today may have to be in use for the next 15 years or more. So, what are firefighters to do? Firefighters should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future It’s More Than Air Delivery Missed opportunities for more timely safety improvements – which keep up with the pace of technology – are rooted in a false assumption that all SCBA are comprised of separate, mechanical components – and that the SCBA function is only about respiratory protection. But air-delivery is not the issue because every SCBA meets the standards, and every SCBA delivers air well. Further, looking at the SCBA merely as a separate component for air diminishes its potential to serve as a revolutionary safety technology “platform.” Safety As A System Firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus To keep pace with the rapid improvements in firefighter safety, firefighters need more than the minimum performance from breathing apparatus. Instead, they should view their SCBA as the “foundation” of a safety system that equips firefighters with the many new safety capabilities that technology offers—now and in the future. I’m talking specifically about platform-type products that can be easily updated with the latest technology, as soon as it becomes available, to help protect them when their lives are on the line. Key Questions To Consider When Looking For An SCBA Include: Does the SCBA have features that allow you to see, hear, and react quickly to changing situations? Can the SCBA sizing be customized to best fit each firefighter? How many total batteries are needed for the SCBA, and how does that affect long-term costs? How well does it integrate with other systems, such as communication devices, portable instruments, etc.? Does the SCBA provide you, your team, and incident command with critical information to make effective, life-saving decisions? Can the SCBA be programmed to meet your standard operating procedures, such as audible and visual alarms at 50% remaining pressure? Is the facepiece reducing or adding to overall SCBA cost and complexity? How easily can the SCBA be updated to meet changing standards? How easily can integrated accessories or features, such as thermal imaging, be added as they are developed in the future? At MSA, we develop technologically-advanced safety equipment designed to help meet today's changing fireground dynamics. We’re committed to setting the pace for safety with continuous improvements and innovations in PPE. For today. For tomorrow. For the future.
Having the proper fire safety and chemical-protective equipment is imperative where risk of hazardous chemical exposure is great With businesses still facing the effects of the economic crisis with budget cuts, safety remains a key concern when it comes to finding cost-effective solutions without compromising public safety. One type of incident which many businesses are not properly equipped for is hazardous chemical exposure. Ian Hutcheson of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics highlights the importance of having the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for chemical protection and states that such preventative measures can be achieved, even with budget restrictions. While the full-scale media hype about the "Global Financial Crisis" may be behind us, the follow on effects, such as continued tight budgets and reductions in government spending, are here to stay for the foreseeable future. The UK Government recently announced a major spending review with the aim of saving £83 billion over four years. As part of this, 192 QUANGOs will be abolished including Firebuy, the professional buying organisation for the Fire and Rescue Services. This focus on decreased spending means that now, more than ever, departmental budgets are being stretched and every purchase highly scrutinised to ensure the best possible cost efficiencies are achieved. But it is essential that a reduction in spending does not negatively affect public safety. Challenges for Fire and Rescue Services in responding to hazardous chemical exposure Recently, the UK's Audit Commission released a report entitled Business Continuity in the Fire and Rescue Services which investigated the plans the Services currently have in place to ensure that public safety can be upheld during short- and long- term disruptions (such as those caused by transport problems or adverse weather). Overall, the report found that many fire and rescue services have good business continuity management plans, but they cannot cope with every situation indefinitely. Advances are being made in the development of chemical-protective equipment that both improve quality and decrease total costs One area of particular concern was that, during these periods of disruption, less than a third of all Fire and Rescue Services could guarantee the availability of the sophisticated fire safety equipment needed in cases of hazardous chemical exposure. Fortunately, chemical incidents are infrequent but it is paramount that public safety is given priority and maintaining a robust, compliant arsenal of chemical-resistant personal protective equipment is essential to being readily equipped for an emergency situation. Chemical protective suits reflect advancements in PPE There is, however, some good news for both the concerned public and those with stretched departmental budgets: advances are being made in the development of chemical-protective equipment that both improve quality and decrease total costs. This means that more Fire and Rescue Services will be able to fit equipment essential to chemical protection into their tight budgets. One such advancement is the availability of limited-life chemical-protective suits. These suits meet safety standards and fit the same application areas as their reusable counterparts, but offer both a smaller upfront purchase price and reduced total cost of ownership. These lower costs are achieved through minimal recertification, inspection, maintenance and storage expenses. Hopefully, decision makers will embrace the advances in chemical-protective equipment to ensure our fire services are readily equipped for all emergency situations. Ian Hutcheson - Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics
North America’s largest fire event, FDIC International, brings together more than 34,000 fire industry professionals this month (April 8-13) at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. First constructed in 1928, FDIC continues today in its original tradition of providing a forum for networking about the most vexing issues and sharing the most promising solutions to concerns that face the fire service. FDIC provides opportunities to learn new techniques, train alongside world-class leaders, and advance discussions among the most influential firefighters in the industry. FDIC allows practitioners and those who support the industry an opportunity to discuss frankly the latest developments in equipment and support and collaborate on how those new advancements can be best used. 27 Interactive H.O.T Sessions FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions“FDIC is steadfastly dedicated to its fundamental principle of providing a non-ideological, non-affiliated and openly inclusive environment for sharing and collaborating among all members interested in the mission of the fire service,” says Chief Bobby Halton, Editorial Director, Clarion Fire Rescue Group, and Educational Director, FDIC International. “Whether their interests lie in operations, medical or fire, in administration, in the production and distribution of equipment, or the advancement of codes and standards, all opinions and worldviews are accepted and debated with the utmost respect and dignity.” FDIC offers many opportunities for learning and training, starting with its 27 interactive Hands-on Training (H.O.T) sessions, 78 pre-conference workshops and more than 200 conference sessions. FDIC’s immersive learning experience extends to the exhibit hall floor and outdoor demonstration area where attendees can see and try the latest products, equipment, services and technology from over 800 exhibiting companies. “FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters,” says Halton. Events Co-Located With FDIC New this year, iWomen is co-locating their event at FDIC, which includes 14 timely classroom sessions spread over two days, as well as networking events geared at sharing challenges and insights in a supportive environment. Also, the Institution of Fire Engineers United States of America Branch is co-locating their AGM annual meeting and educational update at FDIC. And the National Fire Heritage Center has partnered with FDIC to promote the center, conduct its annual meeting and introduce the annual inductees into the Hall of Legends. FDIC is more important than ever to the fire service industry because it is now and will always be of the firefighters, for the firefighters, and about the firefighters FDIC’s new MATCH! Program is a customized meeting experience that connects attending decision makers, who have an immediacy to purchase, with exhibitors whose products or services match their sourcing needs and interests. These VIP attendees can make the most efficient use of their time by accessing innovative matchmaking technology and a personal program manager to assist them with meeting scheduling and recommendations. Exhibitors At The Event FDIC’s Mobile App is a visitor’s guide to searching the exhibitor list, navigating the exhibit hall and seeing a full schedule of sessions and events. FDIC’s new parking partner, Gate Ten Events and Parking, allows visitors to reserve their parking space ahead of time. Large exhibitors headlining the Exhibit Hall include Pierce; Rev Fire Group, E-ONE, KME, Ferrara and REV Ambulance; 3M Scott Fire and Safety; and HME Ahrens-Fox. Other large exhibitors include Honeywell First Responder Products, Drager, Globe by MSA, Rosenbauer and Spartan Motors. Here are some of the timely themes covered at this year’s conference: Current updates on the development and implementation of science-based strategy and tactics Information and practices on mental health and wellness Leading advances in firefighting technology and managing an integration of technology into the decision-making process during operations Review of recent sentinel events in the fire service from actual participants Analysis of accident investigation from members of NIOSH and the CDC Updates on current research into toxicity in the environment and equipment Current thoughts on decontamination procedures presented by researchers and practitioners The value of belongingness as a tool for health and wellness, suicide prevention, a detailed examination of the sociotechnical interface and firefighting’s role going forward The complex political and operational dilemmas faced in the wildland urban interface Recruitment and retention for the volunteer fire service Networking Opportunities Abound The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turnAt FDIC, networking starts the moment attendees arrive in town. The event takes over the city, and there are chances to network with peers everywhere they turn. Formal networking events are also organized, including the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, Courage and Valor 5K Fun Run, Comedy vs. Cancer, IFD Open House and Pumper Pull, Stop Drop Rock ‘n’ Roll and more. “We want individuals to walk away feeling inspired by new ideas, tools or techniques they’ve learned in sessions or new products or services they’ve sourced on the show floor that ultimately keep them and their communities safe,” says Halton.
The Middle East’s US$1.9 billion fire safety systems and equipment market will see solid growth over the next six years, with new government regulations around life safety and fire protection along with large-scale infrastructure investment among the key market drivers. A November 2018 report by analysts 6Wresearch estimates the Middle East market for firefighting systems, fire detection & alarm systems, and emergency exit & lighting, will be worth US$3 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of nearly eight percent. The report stated the regional market witnessed a slight decline during 2014-2016, however from 2017 demand has picked up, aided by recovering oil prices and government economic diversification initiatives aimed at reviving the construction sector. Passive fire-rated products Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event Additionally, revised fire and life safety codes, such as those rolled out by the UAE Civil Defence in 2016, has helped growth in passive fire-rated products in new buildings and infrastructure, while adding further impetus to the retrofitting segment, where newer systems in line with current regulations are replacing older systems. 6Wresearch’s report was published ahead of the Intersec exhibition, the world’s leading trade fair for security, safety, and fire protection, taking place from 20-22 January 2019 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Fire & Rescue exhibitors Fire & Rescue is the second largest of seven show sections at the annual three-day event, where more than 1,300 exhibitors from 59 countries are set to take part in the show’s 21st edition early next year. More than 350 of those will be in the Fire & Rescue section, including the biggest names in the global fire and life safety business such as UAE-based powerhouses NAFFCO and Concorde Corodex Group, Honeywell from the USA, Japanese-headquartered Hochiki, Drager from Germany, and Turkish fire truck manufacturer, Volkan. Future fire safety trends All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out" Eaton Corporation is another headline exhibitor in the Fire & Rescue section and is one of many companies at Intersec 2019 positive about the current and future fire safety trends in the regional market. Frank Ackland, Eaton’s Middle East Managing Director said the regulations set out by the UAE Civil Defence for example, offer a much higher standard of regulation than has ever been seen before: “Eaton provides emergency lighting and fire detection systems for buildings and we’ve noted an increase in the levels of regulation that are being adhered to – not only to the set standard but also above in many cases." "All those involved in the construction process are placing greater importance of meeting, and exceeding, the standards set out. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done, and this is where we see a significant investment in retrofitting also taking place in the UAE, in order to make older buildings safer and in line with current regulations.” Fire and emergency lighting Eaton will showcase a wide range of products from its fire and emergency lighting divisions at Intersec 2019, including its adaptive evacuation exit luminaires which provide commercial buildings with the potential to redirect occupants to safety by adjusting the directions displayed according to the threat. Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), provide vital peace of mind to buildings such as hospitals and military bases" Ackland said all Eaton’s solutions are designed with safety at the core, adding, “This is not limited to our life safety division products, and we’ve have noticed there’s a much greater emphasis placed on how power solutions can keep a building safe and mitigate risks caused by power fault or failure." "Our uninterrupted power systems (UPS), for example, provide vital peace of mind to buildings, specifically those where critical power is a necessity such as in hospitals and military bases. They also to ensure the continual safety of data and information that can be lost to public cyberspace within a split second of a power failure.” Emergency mobile solutions Concorde Corodex Group is another regular Intersec exhibitor and will showcase in 2019 its UAE-made emergency mobile solutions, such as fire trucks, ambulances, special vehicles, and hydraulic platforms, along with its static fire equipment, including pumps, cabinet extinguishers and fixed suppression equipment. Starting out as a two-man show with big ideas and a lot of hard work in 1974, the company now has two factories in the UAE with 1,500 people and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most trusted exporters of life safety and fire protection solutions. Intersec Future Security Summit will be raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more Life safety and fire protection Mohanned Awad, Concorde Corodex’s Regional Director for Business Development, said much of this is thanks to its UAE roots, “In the UAE, the natural status of our customers and partners is to be early adopters,” said Awad. “Our partners always request to think ahead of the curve; they don’t want to just solve the problem but to be able to prevent the problem and be two or three steps ahead of the problem." "We’re very fortunate to have such demanding requirements locally, because we’ve been able to take that know-how and expand it through other markets that we serve, such as Asia, MENA and the CIS. It’s forced us to think out of the box and put considerable investment in research and development capabilities and to bring on board many key people who have experience.” Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE Awad said Concorde Corodex Group, and its brand Bristol, plan to showcase at Intersec 2019 something that’s never been seen before in the UAE – if it arrives on time: “It’s a new technology that may have been seen in other places but not in the UAE, and will take up a big footprint outside the fairgrounds,” he said. “It will definitely be an eyebrow raiser.” Commercial and hospitality sectors Intersec 2019 is organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East and returns with key government supporters such as Dubai Police, Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Municipality, and the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA). Andreas Rex, Intersec’s show director, said the commercial and hospitality sectors are other key verticals driving demand for fire safety systems and equipment, adding, “The big growth, particularly in the UAE will come over the next two years as delivery of the Dubai Expo 2020 looms, while throughout the Gulf region, large scale infrastructure investment will steer the market toward solid growth." Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets" "Intersec, situated at the heart of it all in Dubai, presents the ideal opportunity to access these markets and beyond, where thousands of engineers, system integrators, contractors, industry professionals and decision makers will seek solutions for their various projects.” Fire Safety and Protection Conference Intersec’s other show sections comprise Commercial Security, Safety & Health, Homeland Security & Policing, Physical & Perimeter Security, Information Security, and Smart Home & Building Automation. The annual showpiece returns next year with a revamped conference line-up, including a three-day Intersec Future Security Summit raising key issues on artificial intelligence, security integration, emergency preparedness and response, data protection, IoT and much more. Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals Returning is the SIRA (Security Industry Regulatory Agency) Forum, with the latest updates in security law and industry regulations in Dubai, while a one-day Fire Safety and Protection Conference will involve authorities, fire chiefs, engineers, fire fighters and emergency response professionals. Popular event features Returning popular features in 2019 include the Drone Zone, an Outdoor Demo Area, a Smart Home Pavilion and the Safety Design in Buildings Pavilion. More than 150 exhibitors will be participating for the first time, while Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, and the USA comprise the 15 country pavilions. Intersec 2019 is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and supported by the Dubai Police, Dubai Police Academy, Dubai Civil Defence, SIRA, and the Dubai Municipality.
Standards are being set with fire and rescue services in the UK adopting escape hoods to protect trapped and injured people from toxic smoke during evacuation at fires. Latest figures show in the year 2017/2018 firefighters attended 717,890 incidents in the UK, with 213,464 being fires. Fire related fatalities totalled 401 and there were 5113 non-fatal fire related casualties requiring hospital treatment. The London Fire Brigade is the first in the UK to carry the PARAT 5550 to protect members of the public from toxic smoke at fires. The fire service will be rolling out approximately 600 fire escape hoods across 102 fire stations in London over the next few months. Fire Escape Hoods Assistant Commissioner Richard Mills from the London Fire Brigade said: “Smoke from fires is extremely toxic and can render people unconscious within a few breaths. These hoods filter out four of the most dangerous gases, including what we call the ‘toxic twins’ of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.” Fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities “Rather than having to carry out every rescue as fast as possible, fire escape hoods will provide firefighters with vital extra time to consider their priorities and plan the safest exit route. We’ve worked closely with the Fire Brigades Union to introduce these fire escape hoods as part of fire fighting kit.” Fire-Related Gases With standards being set in the London region, Dräger is committed to assisting fire brigades around the UK and Ireland with adoption of fire escape hoods. The PARAT 5550 from Dräger is a fire escape hood packaged in a flame-retardant holster that has been specially designed to be carried without restricting freedom of movement of the firefighter and ready to be used whenever it is needed. The fire escape hood offers people who are trapped in fires protection from toxic fire-related gases as well as particles and vapours for a minimum of 15 minutes.