Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
July 1, 2021

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FIREX Connect

FIREX Connect Day 1: Debating guidance and standards in the evacuation of tall buildings

The first day of content for FIREX Connect (23rd June) saw the likes of Aico, Kentec, Securiton and Fireco showcase their latest solutions for fire safety professionals, while the afternoon played host to a lively debate, with experts discussing current guidance and standards on the evacuation of tall buildings.

While thousands of fire safety professionals had already been engaging with the FIREX Connect platform earlier in June to book meetings with suppliers and reconnect with fellow industry professionals, 23rd June played host to the first of two days of exclusive, dedicated content sessions for the sector. The morning’s sessions covered several new innovations from leading vendors, while the afternoon focused on guidance, procedures and standards for the evacuation of tall buildings – a topic very much in the spotlight at present.

The morning kicked off with headline sponsor for FIREX Connect, Aico, presenting on its Ei1000G SmartLINK Gateway. Said to be an innovative solution for landlords, the device provides access to real-time data insight into the status of the smoke, heat and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm systems across an entire housing stock. The team was on hand to explain how Aico’s wireless technology uses built-in GSM data connections to report events including the activations of alarms and alarm head removals, which can be viewed remotely from the SmartLINK cloud portal – also on show.

Next up was Kentec, showcasing its Sigma ZXT fire extinguishant control panel. The company provided an overview of the latest generation, which includes an updated version of the status unit and indication units, as well as a host of ancillary products and confirmation that it is backwards compatible with existing systems. Within the Tech Talk, Kentec’s Product Manager also covered exactly how the panel works, including the different alarm and activation alerts.

Securiton AG followed. The company manufactures and develops a broad range of fire detection systems and technologies to ensure efficient alarm release in dangerous situations. The first product showcased was the FidesNet ASD networking solution, which allows customers to visualise, operate and connect multiple SecuriSmoke aspirating smoke detectors in a network. Securiton then provided an overview of its heavy duty ASD 535 for extreme environments, alongside several of its accessories.

The morning sessions concluded with Fireco, as Business Development Manager, Pete Davies, showed attendees the company’s products that offer wireless installations with hardwired compliance. The focus of the Tech Talk was an overview of the legislation related to fire door release mechanisms, as well as Insite, Fireco’s new remote monitoring software. Insite is said to provide real-time monitoring for Fireco Pro range devices via its cloud-based software, and supports in ensuring building managers maintain the ‘Golden Thread of information’ for the facility.

Evacuation of tall buildings

The headline act of the afternoon took the form of a panel discussion. Sponsored by Securiton AG, it focused on the current guidance on the evacuation of tall buildings, including an assessment of BS 8629:2019 and what fire safety professionals and building owners/managers need to know. Gerry Dunphy, Event Director for FIREX International, was joined by an expert panel, comprising:

  • Russ Timpson, Managing Director, Crisisboardroom & Tall Buildings Fire Safety Network
  • Richard Clark, Senior Fire Engineer, National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) Building Safety Programme Team
  • Andy Scott, Chair of BSI FSH/12/5 fire alarm devices and Director, C-TEC

The topical discussion kicked off with Andy Scott explaining BS 8629 for Evacuation Alert Systems, a standard that is legally required in Scotland for new residential buildings over 18m, but that is also expected to be included in the Building Regulations in England in due course (not currently a legal requirement). Questions related to the standard followed the short presentation, with Andy and Richard Clark providing attendees with excellent insight into why it was introduced, further details and what involvement the fire and rescue service have had in its implementation.

The ‘Stay Put’ strategy for multi-occupied high-rise residential buildings, whereby residents are told to stay in their own flat if a fire was to break out in another flat in the building, with compartmentation and ventilation measures engineered to stop the fire from spreading, has come under significant scrutiny since the events of Grenfell Tower in June 2017. The panel was therefore asked to provide an explanation of the theory behind the strategy, why it has been the primary form of response to fires in tall buildings since the 1960s in England, and how this compares to other countries across the globe.

Attendees were also treated to a presentation from Russ Timpson, entitled: “Where does evacuation transit to rescue?” Russ presented on the current ‘fire safety reality gap’, and highlighted the modern challenges involved with planning and changing fire evacuation strategies, such as challenges from social media and the role human behaviour plays in simultaneous evacuation.

Other topical highlights included a discussion around Waking Watch and temporary alarm installation guidance, while the panel answered myriad questions from the attendees watching live.

The session is now available to watch below…

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The eBook also features an exclusive foreword from the Fire Industry Association's Ian Moore, and a look at how the sector embraces systemic change in attitudes to risk and safety.

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