Watch: Your questions answered about the FIA s fire detection and alarms qualification

Installer training The Fire Industry Association (FIA) officially launched its new qualifications in fire detection and alarms at FIREX 2017. The FIA had earlier in the year shone a light on why a clearer career path is so needed in its latest Market Conditions Review. Good engineers are almost impossible to find, was one comment submitted by a survey respondent.

Your letters and questions about the new fire detection and alarm qualifications from the FIA are answered in the video below. What topics do these courses cover? What s new? Are the old FIA training courses obsolete? Watch the interview with Martin Duggan of the FIA below to find out the answers to these and other questions.

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Shocking levels of neglect and complacency among responsible persons reported by fire installers

More than a third of installers report that up to 80% of sites they visit don t comply with fire safety regulations, research from Hochiki Europe has revealed. Based on feedback from installers across Europe, the survey also found that more than 60% of respondents attended sites at least once a month where the responsible person for fire safety was unknown. Almost a third (32%) regularly encountered buildings with poorly positioned or outdated life safety equipment.

Asked about systems maintenance, 70% of installers got the impression their customers generally saw the upkeep of life safety systems as merely a tick-box exercise , with just 11% believing they recognised it as a potentially property- and life-saving process. Two in five (40%) installers say their customers are not even aware of their legal obligations regarding system maintenance. On average, 55% of fire detection logbooks and 64% of emergency lighting logbooks were not up to date, despite these being legal requirements. Top 5 maintenance and emergency lighting issues Asked what the most commonly encountered fire safety maintenance issues were, installers most frequently cited the following: Change of building/room use without correctly altering the fire system (50%) Inadequate logbook records (43%) Original installer didn t install the best system for the environment (40%) Detectors need cleaning (32%) Detectors need replacing (26%) The top five emergency lighting maintenance issues, meanwhile, were: Broken/faulty lamps (44%) Inadequate logbook records (42%) Inadequate emergency lighting signage (39%) Batteries not charged in emergency lighting units (35%) Inadequate lux levels (25%) Having a correctly designed safety system installed by a qualified engineer in a building is vital when it comes to protecting lives, said Tracy Kirk, general manager of sales and marketing for Hochiki Europe. This being said, a fire detection device or emergency lighting unit can only safeguard occupant safety if it is in working order. This year s installer study has resulted in some stark findings for the industry and sheds light on serious gaps in terms of our customers attitudes towards life safety in Europe. It s clear that there needs to be an increased focus on educating duty holders throughout our built environment on how important it is to look after life safety systems. Those with the responsibility of system upkeep should also ensure they are up to speed with the latest legislation and regulations to keep building occupants safe. Hochiki Europe offers training courses and technical information to support building owners and facilities managers in understanding their legal obligations and how to protect assets and building occupants.

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EU Construction Products Regulation has failed to boost competitiveness of European fire industry, says Euralarm

Products standardisation The EU s Construction Products Regulation (CPR) should be reviewed, according to Euralarm. The trade association representing European electronic fire safety and security manufacturers believes the CPR has not boosted the competitiveness of the electronic fire safety industry as hoped. The CPR, it says, is at odds with the industry s need for standardised product performance requirements and standardised behaviour.

For example, alarm buttons that activate a fire alarm system across Europe and the world are always red. However, under the CPR, this is not seen as performance criteria , so the colour can change depending on national solutions. This could confuse building occupants jeopardise lives, Euralarm argues. The CPR s stated objective is to help standardise test methods and foster Europe-wide acceptance of test results in order to facilitate cross-border movement of construction products. However, it also covers a very wide range of products with very divergent characteristics and less reliance on performance criteria. This adversely affects standardisation of fire detection and alarm products, Euralarm believes. Based on initial consultations, Euralarm members favour revising the CPR (Option II of the Inception Impact Assessment) with the aim of facilitating standardisation and boosting the export prospects of European manufactuers.

Euralarm is working with the European Commission and DG GROWTH formerly the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs to define and implement the optimum solution to these challenges.

Founded in 1970, Euralarm represents more than 5,000 companies and organisations within the European fire safety and security industry, lobbying for greater cross-border standardisation for the benefit of both the industry and safety of citizens.

Upcoming FIM Expo to feature BS 5839-1:2017 revisions and future of qualifications in fire detection and alarms

FIA seminars The next FIM Expo will take place on Wednesday 4 October at the Glasgow Science Centre. Organised by the Fire Industry Association (FIA), the annual free event features two fire-safety seminars and the latest life-safety products from leading fire detection and alarm manufacturers. One seminar will explore the implications of revisions to BS 5839-1:2017 ( Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises ).

The other looks at the future of qualifications in fire detection and alarms. Both seminars are CPD-accredited and free to attend. The event is relevant to installers or maintainers of fire detection and alarm systems, anyone managing such systems in commercial premises or architects or other professionals specifying fire protection systems to be installed in buildings. We are absolutely delighted to present FIM Expo, said Kat Schabowska, the event coordinator. It s a fantastic place for like-minded individuals to meet, exchange ideas, network, and learn more about new products from a wide range of manufacturers. New products are being released onto the market all the time and this is a great way to come and see them first-hand and discuss how these new products might work for you. View the full exhibitor list here or visit the events section on the FIA website to register.

10 top tips for the maintenance and testing of fire detection systems

FPA Infozone John Briggs, head of training and risk at the Fire Protection Association (FPA), is delivering a seminar on Defining competency during day two of FIREX 2017 Wednesday 21 June between 12:00-12:50 in The FPA Infozone. Briggs has also put together the following tips for the maintenance and testing of fire detection systems, which offer a digital foretaste of the kind of high-level education to expect from the FPA Infozone at FIREX International 2017. Get your free badge now.

1. All You need to ensure that whoever does your maintenance and testing that it is done by a competent person.

2. Fire detection systems BS5839 is the standard that maintenance companies comply with to carry out maintenance on fire alarm and detection systems.

These checks are normally done quarterly. However, there are also user checks in this standard that the owner or user of the system must complete on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

3. Emergency lighting There is now no requirement for the six monthly test in emergency lighting tests BS5266-8.

4. Dry risers The guidance says that dry risers should be tested each year. This is a full pressure test.

5. Fire log book It is important to record all maintenance carried out on fire systems in the fire log book.

6. Fire doors Remember, fire doors are only part of the door SET which is the doors, the frame and the door furniture.

7. Fire extinguishers A subcontractor will inspect your extinguishers annually, according to the contract you may have in place, but you or the user are required to carry out and record monthly checks.

8. Fire stopping When fire stopping, it is important to label what has been done and keep a record of the materials used.

9. Escape routes You must show record that you have checked on a regular basis that escape routes are clear and unobstructed at all times.

10. Ducting Make sure the fire detection system in any ducting or voids can be serviced properly. John Briggs, head of training and risk at the Fire Protection Association (FPA), is delivering a seminar on Defining competency during day two of FIREX 2017 Wednesday 21 June between 12:00-12:50 in The FPA Infozone. FIREX International takes place between 20-22 June 2017 at London ExCeL. Get your free badge now. Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry. It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas. From the brand new Drone Zone, the ARC Village, ASFP Passive Protection Zone, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and more, it s all under one roof so you ll never miss a beat.

Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June