It is often said that in order to shape the future you need to look back and understand the past. A colleague of mine recently asked: "when and what was the last great innovation in firefighting foam?" I have to admit, I had to think about the question and before I could answer he stated: "Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in the early 1960s, at a time when vacuum tubes and black-and-white television were considered advanced technology and John F. Kennedy was the U.S. President." This time period is considered the last significant innovation in firefighting foam - nearly some fifty years ago. So it got me thinking about the advancements in firefighting foam and where does the future of firefighting foams lie.
Modern design techniques offer advanced structural fire engineering and modelling that can benefit all concerned, with accurate prediction of the performance of steel for today's modern buildings and the fire performance measures required to protect them. However, over-assumptions to save costs can result in compromised fire protection.
As the use of intumescent coatings to protect structural steelwork from the effects of fire in buildings grows the understanding of the technology and its correct use needs to intensify.
Oxygen-reduction fire prevention is a revolution in fire safety, and the world's latest technological innovation in fire prevention. It has the unique ability to create an environment of breathable, controlled oxygen-reduced air that prevents fire ignition. Oxygen-reduction systems prevent fire proactively instead of suppressing a fire after it has started and damage and business interruption has occurred.
According to the latest Fire Statistics issued by the U.K. Department for Communities and Local Government, fire and rescue authorities attended 154,000 fires in England between April 2012 and March 2013. This is 31 percent fewer fires than in the same period the year prior. In addition, there were 14 percent fewer fire-related fatalities during this same period. While this reduction is unquestionably good news for the population at large, the official figures only record those incidents that municipal fire services have been called upon to intervene. The statistics do not record the thousands of smaller fires that start every year and are personally managed through the use of a fire extinguisher.
- Who is Responsible?
The answer to the question regarding who is responsible for maintaining the fire protection system once installed appears to be quite obvious and simple. Most codes, including reference standards such as NFPA 25 and NFPA 72, clearly state that the owner is responsible for maintaining the fire protection systems and that the owner may delegate that responsibility, in writing, to the occupant if the owner is not the occupant.