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INDUSTRIAL

FIRE JOURNAL F O R P R O F E S S I O N A L S P R OT E C T I N G L I V E S , A S S E T S A N D I N F R A S T R U C T U R E W O R L D W I D E First quarter 2018 issue no.111

Strength in numbers Collective emergency response for Sohar Port

Life sciences London's Natural History Museum achieves milestone in fire-risk management

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10 Storage tank protection Creating a mutual-aid system for Sohar Port & Freezone.

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14 Pumps Have you got the real deal? Plus, how to build a recordbreaking pump in months.

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lndustrial Fire Journal, ISSN 0964 - 9719 (USPS 021-884), is published quarterly March, May, September, December, by Hemming lnformation Services, a division of Hemming Group Ltd, 8 The Old Yarn Mills, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3RQ. UK. The US annual subscription price is $80. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Worldnet Shipping lnc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to lndustrial Fire Journal, Worldnet Shipping lnc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA Subscription records are maintained at Hemming lnformation Services, a division of Hemming Group Ltd, 32 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SS, UK. Air Business Ltd is acting as our mailing agent.

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40 Organisational risk management The Natural History Museum receives PAS 7 certification. 44 Suppression & prevention Oxygen-reduction systems are put to the test. 47 Data centres Q&A with a system designer and installer; the changing demands of IT protection; hybrid system makes inroads.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL are not necessarily those of Hemming Information Services. IFJ is in no way responsible or legally liable for any statements, picture captions, reports or technical anomalies made by authors in their commissioned articles.

52 Detection news New requirements from UL; spot the new self-aligning beam detector; world's smallest flame sensor. 54 Passive fire protection Environmentally-friendly fire protection for transformers; microcapsules mixed with paint result in innovative fire protection.

© 2018 All Rights Reserved Industrial Fire Journal (ISSN 0964-9719)

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32 Hazmat & training Training for wide-area gas plumes as well as gas releases in confined spaces has never been so accessible. 36 PPE Deep-cleaning technology could help save lives.

Annual Subscription: Europe £40.00 or €60 (incl. p&p); rest of world £50.00 or US$80.00 (incl. p&p). Send all subscriptions, changes of address and correspondence to address above.

18 Foam Lastfire Group goes large; VS Focum in profile; protecting the new energy sources; TOP Assay explained; filtering PFASs out of water. 30 Vehicles BMW takes delivery of turbine-aided technology.

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News, events & comment

Front cover: Sohar Port & Freezone, with permission.

FIRST QUARTER 2018 < INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL <

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NEWS

comment Leveraging new technology to tackle modern threats seems to be a reoccurring theme in this innovation-packed issue, which includes the increasing use of turbine-aided firefighting vehicles in the automotive sector; the opportunities offered by high-tech hazmat training equipment; and new deep-clean CO2 technology for fire-fighting PPE that promises to prevent some occupational health-related diseases. But with new technology also comes new challenges, as can be seen from our report on Lastfire’s large-scale testing on C6 and fluorine-free foams. Amongst the group’s conclusions is that no new-generation foam can be considered as a straightforward ‘drop-in’ replacement for any concentrate previously in use, meaning that all new foams must be fully evaluated as regards hardware compatibility and application technique. Technology that is also being showcased in this issue relates to legacy contamination issues from fire-fighting foam, particularly as regards identifying the scale of the problem and finding future solutions. Ian Ross and colleagues discuss the TOP Assay method, which is capable of uncovering approximately 10-100 times more PFAS in a sample that was previously thought to be present using standard analytical procedures. You can also read how a group of clever young scientists and engineers based in Imperial College London’s Translation & Innovation Hub are developing adsorbent material that removes the PFASs from water faster (and more cheaply) than other current methods.

Jose Maria Sanchez de Muniain, Editor

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BetteR pRepaReD next tiMe

Senior financial executives at major US companies with operations in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have admitted incomplete preparations in the wake of last year’s hurricanes. According to the survey commissioned by FM Global, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the respondents said 2017’s hurricane season had an adverse impact on their operations; of those impacted; 62% admitted they were 'not completely prepared' to deal with the effects of the hurricanes; and 67% said they would make changes to their risk management strategy going forward. In addition, as a result of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, 57% said they will put in place or enhance their business continuity or disaster recovery plans; 40% will invest more in risk management, property loss prevention, and/or reassess their supply chain risk management strategy; and 25% will reassess their insurance coverages or their insurers. Market research firm ORC International conducted the study, speaking to 101 senior financial executives at Fortune 1000-size organisations in October through to November 2017.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA bANS AFFF

help with calculating ex

a ban on fluorinated fire-fighting foams became effective in South australia on 30 January following the amendment of the Environment Protection (Water quality) Policy 2015 under the Environment Protection act 1993. South australia is the first state in australia to ban what it describes as potentially hazardous fluorinated fire-fighting foams to protect its waterways and groundwater. The ban highlights the increasingly tough stance being taken on aFFFs in australia. In July 2016 queensland published a new operational policy for fire-fighting foam with highly restrictive management requirements – not an outright ban on aFFF. Suoth australia's ban applies to all applications of fluorinated fire-fighting foams – not just PFOa and PFOS-containing foams – within a compliance period of two years for non-handheld applications. For portable extinguishers the ban takes effect upon re-charge/re-fill or within two years of commencement of the policy, whichever is earlier. Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter commented: “This ban on fluorinated fire-fighting foams will effectively negate further environmental and human health risks associated with their use and provide the community and industry with certainty around the use of these products.” Hunter said that the EPa would work directly with industry needing to transition through licensing, guidelines and the development of environment improvement programs. “Considerable work is also underway nationally, led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, in the management of legacy contamination from fluorinated fire-fighting foams,” he added.

Software that accurately calculates the gas cloud volume Vz for the classification of hazardous areas has been updated and improved with a new version. Quadvent was designed to assist organisations that routinely handle or stores flammable gases meet the UK’s Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. These regulations stipulate that areas where explosive atmospheres may occur must be identified and classified. The tool uses a scientifically-based mathematical model of a flammable gas jet to provide realistic estimates of hypothetical gas cloud volume (Vz) releases in ventilated enclosures or outdoors. According to the Health and Safety Executive, the new version offers a number of benefits when used as an alternative to the method described in BS EN 60079:10-1 (2009). The realistic Vz estimates in Quadvent 2 save the capital and maintenance costs of unnecessarily protecting electrical and non-electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas; it uniquely calculates Vz both for ventilated enclosed areas and for outdoors; it can realistically estimate the natural ventilation rate of a building; and it now includes a model for buoyant gas releases and pressure liquefied gases, such as LPG. The software is sold as an annual licence and is supplied electronically as a downloadable installation package.

✜ INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL ✜ FIRST quaRTER 2018

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NEWS

costly clean-up A lawsuit over groundwater contamination in Minnesota has been settled for US$850 million. The legal action was launched in 2010 by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, alleging widespread water contamination caused by the dumping of millions of pounds of industrial waste containing perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the ground and water in the east metropolitan area of the Twin Cities, which comprise the cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, for more than 40 years from the 1950s.

The settlement was announced on 20 February 2018, the day the jury trial was scheduled to start hearing the case. 3M has denied any liability and said it was ‘proud of its record of environmental stewardship’ and that it does not believe there is a ‘PFC-related public health risk’. The money is described as a grant for a ‘water quality and sustainability fund’. In a statement, 3M said this would fund projects to support water sustainability in the Twin Cities East Metro region, including delivery of water to residents, enhancing groundwater recharge to support sustainable growth, and habitat and recreation improvements. Swanson was seeking up to US$5 billion in damages from 3M to clean up the resulting groundwater pollution in Minnesota. 3M denied the State’s claims. 3M began manufacturing PFCs in the 1950s for use in its stain-repellent Scotchguard product. The chemicals were later sold to another company to make fire-fighting foam. The use of aqueous film-forming foams containing perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoro-octane sulfonate (PFOS) in fire fighting and fire-fighting training activities has led to numerous cases of ground and water contamination around the world, particularly in the US and Australia. 3M sold the fluorochemicals to DuPont, which used these in its non-stick Teflon finish for kitchen equipment and other products. Last year, DuPont and Chemours, a DuPont spin-off company, agreed to settle more than 3,500 personal injury lawsuits relating to a PFOA leak in Ohio and West Virginia for US$671 million. PFOA is a PFC compound that has been linked to certain types of cancers and thyroid disease.

The new Central Terminal B of New York's La Guardia International Airport is to include integrated building automation and fire/life safety systems from Siemens. The Desigo Fire XLS-V fire alarm panel with voice capability will be at the heart of the fire alarm system, operating both in Terminal B and the central plant. The Desigo CC integrated building management platform will monitor the building automation, allowing for dynamic control of the facility's systems and respond to the needs of the terminal's operations.

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FIRST quarter 2018 ✜ INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL ✜

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NEWS

assisting businesses in georgia A manufacturing disaster assistance programme has been launched in the US state of Georgia, north of Florida, to help companies prepare for natural disasters. The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GAMEP) is seeking eligible manufacturers located in the state’s coastal areas to assess their preparedness and develop operational solutions to minimise the impact of future hurricanes and other natural disasters. The US$173,859 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology funds the GAMEP’s Manufacturing Disaster Assistance Program (MDAP), which was developed to address the needs of Georgia manufacturers. The funds for the two-year effort are targeted towards those with operations in coastal Georgia in Camden, Chatham, Charlton, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh counties. It also includes Coffee County, which was severely impacted by flooding during 2017’s Hurricane Irma. The counties are home to 408 manufacturing facilities that employ 23,000 people. As part of the offering, GAMEP will leverage its expertise and resources at Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as its local, state, and federal economic development partners, including the Technical College System of Georgia and the MEP network, amongst others. For more information visit gamep.org.

pipe innovation for tunnel A 4.2 km firewater system made with special resin has been installed in a new multi-level road tunnel in the city of Maastricht, southeast Netherlands. The tunnel carries the A2 highway, the most important north-south road connection in the country. The reliable firewater system was required as safety precaution in the event of a tunnel fire or a major traffic incident. Project engineers had discarded conventional steel pipes in favour of stainless steel, due to the risk of corrosion inside the pipes. However, the cost of these was found to be unacceptably high by the constructors Ballast Nedam and Strukton. In addition, there was a risk of corrosion pitting of the welds and there were availability issues regarding steel pipe raw material, which could have affected the timing of the project. Versteden, a manufacturer of fibreglass piping sysytems, came up with an integrated solution for this challenge, consisting of a 125mm-diameter composite pipe network (ISO 14692 standard), installed inside the tunnel’s emergency tubes. The 4.2km of piping is made of a novel Atlac resin formulated and supplied by Aliancys through its distributor Euroresins.

Arrester development

FNC has developed a new generation of flame arresters and breather valves with a new and patented construction concept. Flame arresters are safety devices that are used on a pipeline or at the end of the line to block any fire or explosion passage. Two types are normally used; while deflagration flame arresters are designed to block fire travel along a pipeline, detonation flame arresters are designed to defuse a sudden explosion or impact in the pipeline. The new range from FNC comprises a Tornado-type deflagration flame arrester that has been tested and approved both in a stand-alone version and in a version integrated within breather a valve. According to the manufacturer the new concept of flame arresters results in a much lower pressure drop; easier assembly without risk to of damaging parts; and easier maintenance. The unit is also lighter and more compact, plus it has been designed to forestall wrong assembly. A new inline detonation version is currently undergoing final testing and FNC says it expects a positive outcome, with market availability predicted in Q2. The company is also introducing new modular-type breather valves that provide better flow performance and that can be adjusted to various configurations, which avoids the use of oversized valves.

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✜ INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL ✜ FIRST quarter 2018

NEWS IN BRIEF A report by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive on fire and explosion issues of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico recommends eliminating reliance on human responses for gas detection. The Deepwater Horizon incident: fire and explosion issues, deals with the residual risk of blowout and the minimisation of risks from fire and explosions should blowout occur. Among the report’s conclusions are that manual responses to gas detection are often much less reliable than automatic systems; significant risk reduction would be achieved by improving the reliability of detection systems. FM Global’s Hot Work Permit app has been updated to maintain consistency with Loss Prevention Data Sheet 10-3, Hot Work Management, so that variable fire watch and monitoring times are now automatically calculated based on user inputs. The app was launched in 2015 to enable users to conduct, track and monitor hot work from mobile devices while maintaining consistency with FM Global data sheets and engineering standards. It enables users to create hot work permits and complete precautions checklists; set up sites to manage multiple hot work locations; and collect, filter and export permit and site data. An emergency lighting testing system that is operated via the cloud is now available as an Android app. Lux Intelligent by Advanced is an addressable, automatic test system that shows all emergency lighting is compliant and functioning, with no engineer intervention required. It can be used with both new-builds or retrofitted onto existing wiring and luminaires, with all test reports accessible at any time and automatically shared with relevant contractors or maintenance partners. The system was previously only available on iOS and desktop versions. The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers has warned against the use of strain-hardened type 304 stainless steel bolts in hydrocarbon systems that are exposed to the marine/ coastal environment and/or wet deluge testing. According to a safety alert, a number of these bolts failed unexpectedly at an offshore facility during a pneumatic leak test of gas piping exiting a test separator. The failure has been attributed to chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking in the bolts, a condition to which these types of bolts may be more sensitive when in aggressive environments. The Association for Specialist Fire Protection is to launch a passive fire protection training programme in April – the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland. The Foundation Course in Passive Fire Protection has been developed in response to demand from organisations operating in the passive fire protection sector, and the content embeds current best practice. Each training course is suitable for all involved in the construction industry from designers and specifiers to contractors and specialist installers; courses are also suitable for building owner occupiers and enforcement agencies. Further qualifications are planned later in the year aimed at team leaders or supervising installers working in passive fire protection roles as well as technical sales staff. A UK guide to joint industry, regulator and union groups that work in the high-hazard process sectors has been published by the COMAH Strategic Forum. The document has been published to encourage industry, regulators and trade unions to work more collaboratively; to share knowledge; to tackle common problems; and to reduce the risk of harm. The nine-page guide includes a diagram explaining how different groups and forums interact in the high-hazard sector in relation to the COMAH Strategic Forum. An overview of the sector trade associations and industry/regulator interface groups is also provided.

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Fire & Rescue is the ONLY international publication SOLELY aimed at senior fire officers, ARFF officers and rescue teams. The global thought-leading quarterly magazine provides a platform for fire and rescue professionals to exchange views, knowledge and best practice, while also delivering the latest industry-relevant information and product updates. Fire & Rescue is considered as the world’s most progressive fire service publication and has been successfully informing and educating the fire and rescue community for over 26 years.

Why advertise in Fire & Rescue? • To ensure your products/services reach key decisionmakers within the active firefighting and ARFF industry • In order to promote products/services to senior fire service and rescue personnel, including chief fire officers, assistant chief fire officers, training officers and ARFF and SAR leaders worldwide.

To Advertise call Kelly Francis +44 (0)20 7973 4666 www.hemmingfire.com


Intern F

EVENTS 2018

23-28 April, FDIC International, Indiana Convention Centre, Lukas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, USA

from Aalto University, Finland on the handling and overpressure and ventilation of modern building fires. Other topics to be covered at the event include fire dynamics and chemistry, education, forensics, structural fire safety, offshore fires, residential fires, rescue service management, health and the environment, risk and innovations, decision-making, evacuations, and many more. Registration is now open and will close on 1 May 2018. To register visit http://www.conferencemanager.dk/NFSD2018/nordic-firesafety-days-2018.html.

11-14 June, NFPA Conference and Expo, Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, Las Vegas, USA The FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) International provides comprehensive training for firefighters and brings together suppliers to showcase the latest tools and technology designed to save lives. The week-long event is one of the largest annual gatherings of fire professionals worldwide and offers visitors the opportunity to see live demonstrations of the latest innovations that influence fire service safety and performance, as well as participate in a range of classroom sessions, workshops and hands-on training. Almost 800 exhibitors and 33,000 delegates from all over the world attended FDIC International in 2017. A new summit and pavilion has been added for 2018 focusing on emerging technologies. Running for three days, this will cover topics such as virtual and augmented reality, smart cities, robot-assisted emergency response and smart technologies. Classroom sessions will address various topics within subject areas such as incident command, strategy and tactics, leadership and management, and health and wellbeing, and there are a number of HOT evolutions sessions where delegates gain hands-on experience of skills such as extrication, tactical emergency care and forcible entry. The event will also feature awards, outdoor demos and a number of challenges and special events and entertainments. For more information visit www.fdic.com.

7-8 June, Nordic Fire & Safety Days, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

The annual Nordic Fire & Safety event brings together the region’s fire and safety community to discover the latest insights and research from the Nordic universities and research institutes. The 2018 conference will be hosted by Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway, and is organised by Research Institutes of Sweden in collaboration with NTNU, and the Technical University of Denmark, Luleå University, Lund University, Aalto University, University of Stavanger University College Haugesund and Iceland University as well as VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Simo Hostikka

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< INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL < FIRST quarter 2018

The NFPA’s fire, electrical and life safety event will run over four days in June, featuring an exhibition and education sessions and concluding with the NFPA technical meeting. The education sessions cover a vast range of subjects, including updates on new or proposed NFPA standards and discussions or overviews of proposed changes. Expert speakers will also address issues related to community risk assessment, high-rise fire risk and protection, exterior materials, fire safety in health care settings and industrial facilities, emergency preparedness, electrical safety, energy storage systems, and the health, safety and wellbeing of firefighters, among many other topics. Running alongside these sessions is a three-day exhibition bringing together suppliers providing the products and services required to comply with codes and standards in the design, construction and running of buildings. This year, an interactive annex focusing on suppression will offer hands-on learning opportunities, in-depth information about codes and standards, and the opportunity to meet with NFPA technical staff. A panel of experts in active shooter and hostile event response will also share their experiences and discuss the lead-up to the creation of NFPA 3000, Standard for preparedness and response to active shooter and/or hostile events. This will include an overview of the standard. In addition to the more serious elements, the NFPA will be hosting games and prizes at its booth, and a US$1,000 cash prize will be drawn each day. For more information visit the event website https://www.nfpa.org/ training-and-events/by-type/conferences/conference.

13-14 June, Fire Sprinkler International, Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden The Fire Sprinkler International event is dedicated entirely to waterbased fire-fighting systems and combines a conference and exhibition over two days to showcase the latest technology, products, equipment and services alongside insight and innovation in waterbased fire suppression. The event is designed to provide a forum for delegates to engage with fire sprinkler professionals and the wider fire community, share experiences and best practice, and gain expert insight into the latest techniques and technologies. A packed conference programme features 40 speakers from 12 countries and combines plenary sessions and break-out workshops along with time built in to visit the exhibition. Keynote speakers include Lou Gritzo, research manager for FM Global discussing the latest research learning, and Zachary Magnone from Johnston Controls on exterior fire protection for high-rise buildings. Workshop topics cover everything from water mist and foam systems to performance-based design, BIM and seismic protection, standards and quality assurance, care homes, corrosion protection, high-rise buildings and cultural heritage. For more information and details of how to register, visit the event website at http://firesprinklerinternational.com.

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Intern Fire Journ 216x303 Ly Bdx Casa SST 18.qxp_26-02-18 28/02/2018 14:57 Page1

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storage tank protection

Strength in unity Building collective emergency response and mutual aid in Oman, by Gaby van Melick and Arie van den Berg.

W

ith the Emergency Response Upgrade Programme having framed an ambitious vision of safety, work is now underway to implement a system of collective emergency response at the Port of Sohar in Oman. Sohar is a deep-sea port that belongs to one of the fastest growing port and free zone developments in the world. Around 230km northwest of Muscat, Sohar Port and Freezone is strategically located outside the Strait of Hormuz and within major global trade routes between Europe and Asia. It is home to logistics, petrochemicals, metal and food clusters that feed downstream industries with iron and steel, plastics and rubber, ceramics and chemicals; over one million tonnes of sea cargo are handled each week, and over 2,600 ships a year. Not only will it soon be home to the country’s first terminal dedicated to the handling of agricultural bulk, but also to an expanded refinery, with Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries (Orpic) increasing its capacity at the port from 120,000 to 180,000 barrels per day. Sohar Port and Freezone is managed by Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), a 50:50 joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam and the Sultanate of Oman. To advance the provision of high-quality emergency services to an unprecedented, future-proof level, Sohar is currently creating a collective emergency response organisation that covers the entire port. This structure is to be

As well as fuel products, the refinery in Sohar produces significant volumes of naphtha and propylene, which serve as feedstock for an adjoining aromatics and polypropylene plant.

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backed by a system of mutual aid for large incidents, using valuable lessons from other mutual aid systems all over the world, most notably the Unified Industrial and Harbour Fire Brigade in Rotterdam. The project is supported by the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Authority and Centre for Industrial Safety and its partner Kappetijn Safety Specialists. It started because it had gradually become apparent that industrial growth in the Sohar Gateway was exceeding the progress of the establishment of scalable safety infrastructure. Following two notable incidents, the Orpic fire incident of April 2013 and the Sohar scrap steel fire incident of May 2014, a government committee had assigned Sohar Port and Freezone with providing a solution, and to upgrade the level of industrial safety for the Sohar area, and by extension other areas in Oman. As SIPC is a joint venture that includes the Port of Rotterdam, there was a natural close cooperation and knowledge exchange with the Dutch authorities specialised in industrial safety. A first step was bringing in experts from the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Rotterdam Safety Authority, to jointly provide a series of comprehensive expert reports with a wide range of recommendations. The result was the Emergency Response Upgrade Programme (ERUP) in 2014, which aims to set up a sustainable framework for regulated safety, integrated risk management and reliable emergency response in the Sohar industrial port area, scalable to serve future growth and fit other areas in Oman. The main resolutions to be adopted to improve the level of industrial safety were presented to, and approved by, several government bodies in 2015. It was also decided that ERUP should serve as the blueprint for the development of industrial safety management systems in other national ports. Currently, however, all energies are focussed on Sohar. Since 2015 several quick wins have been realised, such as periodic audits based on a Seveso format and the execution of various exercises and drills in the harbour. The time had come, however, to take a leap and address the port’s suppression issues in a holistic manner. The aim is to reduce

< INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL < FIRST quarter 2018 Read our e-magazine at www.hemmingfire.com


2018 INDUSTRIAL FIREFIGHTING SYMPOSIUM OCTOBER 23-25, 2018 | BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, USA Please join fellow industrial fire professionals for this 3-day symposium which will feature in-depth discussions on new advancements in industrial firefighting, big water flow systems, the latest in superior foam concentrates as well as understanding how to employ proven tactics on large scale storage tank and process fires.

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First quarter 2018 < INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL <

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storage tank protection

Over one million tonnes of sea cargo are handled each week at Sohar Port.

THE AUTHORS

Gaby van Melick is a consultant in the field of emergency and crisis management at Kappetijn Safety Specialists, specialising in helping public and private organisations prepare for larger incidents and crises.

Arie van den Berg is an experienced duty and hazmat officer in the Safety Region RotterdamRijnmond as well as a senior employee, industrial safety, specialising in emergency response.

An intimate knowledge of each company's site is crucial for achieving a high-quality emergency response.

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fragmentation and create true operational strength, especially as regards large industrial incidents, whilst also addressing each company’s credible risks. In part driven by the adoption of the best-practice principles of Seveso III, some companies on site already had their own dedicated mobile emergency response capacity to address incidents. The only refinery in the port, Orpic had been thoroughly investing in its firefighting capacity over the last few years. Oman has no specific law concerning industrial safety, with National Civil Defence resources focused on building/vehicle fires, traffic accidents and rescue operations. While true industrial emergency expertise and related equipment are scarce, especially near Sohar, Oman’s Civil Defence is formally designated to respond to incidents in the port’s common area and to provide back-up for large incidents. The safety programme recognised that as an industrial port, Sohar required a strong emergency response capacity built around an integral risk profile of the entire port area; one with a deep understanding of the origins, development and impact of industrial incidents, and of the corresponding requirements for experience and specialist equipment. To meet the special demands Sohar is building a high quality, cost-efficient, two-fold, scalable system. At its core there will be a joint port emergency-response organization located within the port, providing reliable and quick firststrike capacity for all incidents throughout the port. Sohar Emergency Response Organisation (SERO) will have sufficient capacity to independently handle the majority of incidents, those relatively limited in scale, which are roughly estimated at 95%. The organisation will be tasked with handling the credible, normative scenarios of the companies in the port, as per the companies’ risk profiles, and as such equipped with a variety of specialist high-capacity vehicles and equipment, and staffed by responders thoroughly schooled in the local context as well as industrial incident response. In contrast to the other member companies Orpic, which holds the largest risk profile in the port by far, will retain its resources, as they are tailored to its extraordinary scenarios. Orpic will receive back-up through SERO, in a similar model to that used in

Rotterdam’s refineries, and reciprocate with back-up for SERO when necessary. For the few incidents where SERO’s resources are not sufficient, Orpic together with Civil Defence will form a mutual-aid system that will be used to meet the requirements of large and prolonged incidents. Crucial to the new system is that the mutual aid agreements drafted include much more than just a tacit agreement to ‘help each other out’. The aim, instead, is to create a solid, well-rehearsed system with uniform standard operating procedures covering alarm and dispatch; command and control; scaling; uniform communications; and protocols. Expertise, vehicles, equipment and staff should also be interchangeable to ensure proper interoperability, as an effective collective response is not (only) about abundant resources, but about allowing different ER organisations to properly connect. Strength comes through numbers and unity. Tasks, vehicles, equipment, PPE, and training of the responders are being designed to fit the integral risk profile of the port. One strategically placed emergency response station will provide guaranteed ER capabilities in the port within six minutes. The station is to be manned by a dedicated six-person fire-fighting crew and a two-person EMS crew; it includes a small emergency call and dispatch centre with an operator on call 24/7 to process incoming emergency calls and alarm the required operational units. To address the port’s broad variety of industrial and non industrial incidents the station will be equipped with an ambulance to provide direct emergency medical care and transport to the nearest hospital/care facility; a high-capacity fire truck (8,000l of water, over 4,000l of foam); a general purpose fire truck (pumper) to provide standard firefighting and rescue capabilities; a hazmat vehicle; and a tank trailer with foam in supplement for more specialist industrial incidents involving dangerous substances; hazmat/chem-suits to provide additional protection alongside standard protective clothing and PPE. The availability of foam-equipped tugs combined with training in maritime firefighting and rope rescue will also enable emergency response at incidents taking place on vessels and the shore-sea interface, as well as in confined spaces or at great heights/depths. Additionally, a duty officer will be on call 24/7 to provide the required coordination in case of large and complex or prolonged incidents. Equipped with his own vehicle, he will have a 15-minute response time, outside office hours. Teams of no less than six crew members are to be used, either six to man the pumper truck, or two to man the industrial truck with the remaining four firefighters manning the pumper truck in back-up capacity. The same principles will apply to incidents that require the hazmat vehicle or tank trailer. As intimate knowledge of each member company and site is crucial to deliver high-quality response, a close interaction between SERO and all member companies will be required. This will include sharing information on individual sites and processes, the substances handled, their risks, scenarios, and the safety provisions. This facilitates the creation of plans of attack, disaster plans etc to handle the normative scenarios per site. While the main response station includes a training ground for small technical exercises, whenever possible the ER personnel will train throughout the port. Yearly, each mutual-aid member site will host six fire-fighting exercises and three extensive orientations, topped off with an annual drill involving gas/fuel and objects at an external hot-training site. More importantly, quarterly large-scale exercises involving all mutual-aid partners will test collaboration

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processes. Regarding the structure of SERO, Sohar authorities and companies will govern the new response capability; the execution of the required services will be outsourced to a specialist service provider. While the latter carries all liability, Sohar Industrial Port Company will monitor the key performance indicators and the execution of the service level agreements, infrequent deliberation with a tenant committee. The service provider ensures the high-quality performance, even in the start-up phase, through a mix of experienced foreign, industrial firefighters and related personnel, and locally knowledgeable firefighters and personnel. Knowledge build-up and transfer will be an integral part of phasing out foreign employees. The contribution model is shaped by the principle of solidarity mixed with a risk-based component; all participants pay a basic fee with an add-on depending on the risk profile of each company. Thus, in the end, companies with a higher risk-profile will pay more. As regards the future, it is worth bearing in mind that the value of scalable, collective emergency response is not geographically limited to Sohar Port. Provided the operational strength remains sufficient, response time standards are being met, and additional fire stations are built, vehicles bought and education for speciality tasks is followed, SERO could provide emergency response services to neighbouring companies as well as the entire Sohar Gateway. It would also enable increased operational strength to fight large incidents, benefitting the region as a whole as well as the individual companies in it. When it comes to mutual aid/public-private partnerships, as proposed here, a major challenge is that the close cooperation required, in the end, boils down to relationships and trust between the intended partners, as well as long-term commitment. It’s about sharing responsibilities, organising together, governing together and paying together. Parties need to get to know each other because there is a dependency on others and in the system. Neighbours must trust each other enough to come to each other’s aid when necessary, and to the extent that no additional resources are required individually. It’s not about creating surplus capacity by investing more, but about pooling individual resources for more quality and capacity for less. Such trust, close interaction and mutual understanding is not a given, especially between diverse parties that might also have partially differing interests. It takes time and commitment to build. An important cornerstone in the process is agreement upon the contribution model: how to allocate costs over different partners. When building but also when maintaining the PPP, even when circumstances change (eg partners enter or leave, risks or stationary provisions change) there needs to be continuous commitment to the contribution model. Summarising, in close deliberation with – and support from – the local stakeholders, Sohar is building a strong, collective emergency response system that honours the risks and interests inherent to an industrial port. No more fragmented incident response by individual companies, but a system that greatly furthers the safety level of the integral port and its direct surroundings. Measuring up to international standards and best practices, the system is scalable, transferable, and capable of providing a showcase structure for other Omani industrial areas. As of January, there is an underlying master plan specifying the main concept for the emergency response system to be built. The next steps are getting all parties to sign a memorandum of understanding and to get on with actually creating SERO and the mutual-aid system. The latter two will be done by appointing a project officer that will further develop the system proposed, mainly the soft requirements, and draft the tender. The draft MOU states that the aim is for SERO to become operational in two years' time.

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pumps & pump controllers

Which is the real deal? Pump manufacturer Tsurumi is warning that buying pumps from non-reputed companies risks purchasing inferior products that contain fake internal parts.

"U

nfortunately, it is very difficult for many users to recognise the quality of an aggregate simply by looking at it,” says Tsurumi product manager Stefan Himmelsbach. He says that pump purchasers should not just focus on pumping quantity and delivery, but also consider the internal components that are hidden within, as

these dictate the ability of a pump to withstand the loads it is subjected to. Düsseldorf-based Tsurumi has released this image showing a real Tsurumi pump next to a forgery, on the left of the photo, from the Far East. Himmelsbach admits even experts cannot tell the two apart at first glance. While the manufacturer takes

compact fire pumps Armstrong Fluid Technology introduced its new line of compact fire pumps to the Middle East during this year's Intersec exhibition in Dubai. According to the manufacturer, the new Fireset Horizontal Split Case fire pumps offer superior flow performance and incorporate features for ease of installation and maintenance. Last year the company enhanced the Fireset range with two new models aimed at installations that require between 1,893lpm and 3,786lpm (500-1,000gpm). The entire series now offers a performance range of 1,893-15,142lpm (500-4,000gpm). The HSC Fireset pumps bear a tilted parting design where the casing of each pump splits at a 15°-angle, minimising turbulence at the impeller eye. The angled split also keeps suction and discharge centrelines fully aligned, enabling easier pre-piping on site. The HSC Fireset range is compatible with both electric motors (50Hz and 60Hz) and diesel engine-drivers. To optimise performance in terms of both flow and head, the pumps’ impellers have been engineered across the entire Fireset product range, which also includes the Vertical In-Line and Vertical Turbine Diesel and Electric Fire series. The compact HSC Fireset range has been designed to save space in the mechanical room and to be easily installed and maintained in confined areas. Both right and left-hand configurations are available with electric-driven pumps and the range’s standard design means it can suit piping configurations. As the suction and discharge centrelines are fully aligned, piping can be completed prior to pump delivery. In addition, the narrow distance between suction and discharge flanges results in easier installation and maintenance in tight spaces and retrofit installations The new HSC Fireset pump models also incorporate standard common parts such as packing and glands for fast and cost-effective routine maintenance throughout their lifecycles.

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< INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL < FIRST quarter 2018 Read our e-magazine at www.hemmingfire.com


pumps & pump controllers

legal steps to prevent copies entering the market, it admits that these steps are difficult when the copies look so identical to the originals that they cannot be identified as fake in the first place. However, price is often an indication that they might not deliver what they promise. To identify suspect products, Himmelsbach recommends that buyers first take a close look at the nameplate on the pump. “All pumps marketed in the EU must have a nameplate." As a minimum requirement, the plate should state these five points: name of manufacturer; machine designation; type (if necessary with serial number); year of construction; and CE marking. “Lots of discounters from abroad are not aware of these requirements,” he explains. Providing the wrong information or not providing some of it is no small error. If there is no CE logo, for example, the pump is simply not approved, which raises questions on the reliability of other data such as the electrical output. “Some buyers are not aware that they will be liable in the event of an accident,” adds Himmelsbach. Electrical equipment is a particularly sensitive area, starting with the cables. “We and other reputed manufacturers use cables that have been certified by the VDE and are safe”, emphasises Himmelsbach, who recommends looking at the identification on the cable sheath for any indications of certification and quality assurance. He makes reference to VDE’s website, which identifies manufacturers and distributors that have been found to be counterfeiting or making unauthorized use of the VDE mark (www2.vde.com/de/ institut/missbrauch/seiten/default.aspx). In addition, it cannot be assumed that even well-known pump manufacturers will always opt for quality products and parts in the ‘hidden’ components, says Himmelsbach. As an

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example he points at the slide ring seals on the pump shaft, which are absolutely vital for its function. Although Tsurumi purchases double interior versions of these from the leading manufacturer of these parts, the company has found 1:1 copies of these seals in low-cost pumps. “They look very similar; however they are made of inferior materials… The inherent risks are enormous.” He concludes: “If reliability, accident protection and service are important, always opt for a reputed supplier of brands”.

Check the nameplate to ensure all the required information is present – and plausible.

FIRST quarter 2018 < INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL <

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pumps & pump controllers

High pumping capacity The world record for the highest pumping capacity fire engine has been broken with the aid of Darley’s new 2ZSM, a water pump whose design was conceived, developed and manufactured in a matter of months. The High Flow Industrial Apparatus manufactured by Pierce is not only the new Guinness World Record holder for the highest pumping capacity fire engine; it is also the first application of the Darley 2ZSM water pump, a pump designed to provide industrial firefighters with a more effective tool for tactical fire control and suppression. “With an ever increasing need for water, an industry-leading flowrate was the design target. The aim was providing a product that adequately supplies water and other suppression agents, in order to cool industrial structures, suppress fire and provide additional means for firefighter safety in the event of an incident,” explains engineer Kyle Darley. Considering that the new world record has been broken with a flow rate of 21,785.04lpm (5,754.9gpm), from draft, the mission would appear to have been comprehensively accomplished. The creation of the highest performance vehicle-mounted fire pump of all time was a daunting task in itself, but adding to that challenge was a highly unforgiving timeframe: just six months from ideas to validated product. “This was necessary due to a customer order driving demand. Essentially, the customer needed to understand the pump’s input requirements – horse power and speed – to obtain an NFPA rating. This had to be completed in advance of the finished apparatus design. As a result, Darley had to expediently process the development,” says Darley. How the challenge was handled was in no small part aided by the company’s well established culture of cross-departmental collaboration. “From machine operators to pump test technicians,

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< INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL < FIrst quarter 2018

many of whom are active members of the fire service, to engineers and on to the executives, virtually everyone at Darley has a hand in developing the finest pumps in the fire service,” says Darley. The engineering team, programming team and production team began the process by coming together to establish a systematic approach that would enable the 2ZSM pump components to be designed and then manufactured on their very first production run. No small feat, considering that the development and prototype phase included components with features and designs that had never before encountered in the company’s manufacturing processes. This stage took place over the course of two months, with all three groups heavily involved in the design, pre-planning, and final planning phases. “As the innovative designs moved through the manufacturing process, you can bet the entire team was there to ensure everything went according to plan,” remembers Darley. ”The continual communication, especially in the development process, enabled the rapid change and agile development.” It was not an easy task to engage hundreds of people in the design of the new product, recalls Darley, but the end result was worth it when the Pierce High Flow – which carries a 2ZSM pumps – was unveiled in autumn of 2017 at the Texas A&M (TEEX) industrial fire school. “Its true beauty was a spectacle for all to see. The pump had a stream profile that was tighter, longer, and more controllable than many seasoned operators have ever seen.”

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pumps, pump controllers & foam

A new line of FM-approved foam concentrate proportioners were introduced by Firemiks during Intersec Dubai in January 2018. The dosing units are piston pump-type models with a 3% dosing rate; FM approval has been secured for 450, 800, 1,200, 1,800, 2400 and 3,200lpm flow rates. The proportioners use a dosing system that requires no external energy, as the main water flow itself is the driving force that powers the unit and achieves the stable dosing rate. The more water that goes into the system the faster the water motor and the foam pump rotates, and the more concentrate is pumped through to mix with the

water. No calibration or balancing is required, nor electricity or combustible energy. The dosing system can be used wherever there is a waterdriven fire-fighting system; it is simply positioned in a suitable location between the main pump/hydrant and the discharge device(s) and connected to an atmospheric foam container. A significant feature confirmed by the FM-approval is the inbuilt safety margin when over-speed occurs, for example on activation of a dry-pipe fixed system. The five sizes 450-2,400lpm have been tested for 40% of overflow for three minutes at start-up without damage: eg overflow capacity for the 1,800lpm-unit translates to 2,520lpm. The 3,200lpm units have been tested with 25% overflow, equating to 4,000lpm, for 10 minutes without any damage. The viscosity range for the FM-approved line is 1-1,800cP (centipoise) at 60rpm, or 3,500cP at 30rpm, with Brookfield viscometer spindle #4. In addition, the Firemiks units can be equipped with a dosing return valve, a feature that enables regular testing of the unit by measuring the volume of concentrate returning to the foam tank, ie there is no need to waste the concentrate or clean up afterwards. This feature is beneficial for the environment and lowers maintenance costs for the end user.

Large-scale foam testing Lastfire coordinator Niall Ramsden reveals the take-home conclusions from large-scale testing carried out for the development of best-practice standards in fire-hazard management for storage tanks.

D

Testing with the 10m-high storage tank revealed issues not highlighted in earlier research with a low-level tank.

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uring the testing programme extinguishment of an 11m-diameter tank was achieved with new generation foams of both fluorine-free and C6 ‘high purity’-type using both system pourer and monitor application and foam solution rates exactly in accordance with NFPA 11 minimum figures and guidance. Despite this, one conclusion is that no new-generation foam can be considered as a straightforward ‘drop-in’ replacement for any concentrate previously in use; this is because all new foams must be subject to a full evaluation of compatibility with system hardware and application technique and not just fire test performance prior to acceptance. Lastfire Group has completed the most extensive series of independent end-user managed large-scale tank fire foam performance testing for more than 35 years. The tests were part of a project that aims to develop future policies for fire-fighting foam selection and application, taking into account environmental issues as well as fire performance. The research exercise was partially driven by the efforts of manufacturers to introduce new generation foams, some with high-purity C6 fluorosurfactant base and some with fluorine-free formulations. Although C6 fluorosurfactants have been used for many years by some manufacturers in their formulations, the formulations on the market today are to some extent new and therefore considered by Lastfire to be largely unproven in a field where large-scale tank fires are relatively few and far between.

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The objectives of the tests were:

• To develop a snapshot of current capability of a representative

• •

selection of the new generation foams, particularly to assess if they could be considered absolute “drop-in” replacements with equivalent performance capability and without the need for system or application equipment modifications. To form an overall view on whether or not modifications to current practices of foam application are required with new foam formulations to achieve acceptable performance, or if more efficient usage of resources can be gained with different application techniques. To revalidate the Lastfire test protocol against the ‘real-life’ performance of new generation foams. A study in 1993-7 resulted in a critical foam performance test to simulate tank fire application. This was validated against proven foams that had performed well in real incidents at typical standard application rates. To validate the industry-accepted strategy for large bund fires using a section-by-section approach. Although a recognised practice described in standards such as NFPA 11, the principle of applying foam to large bund areas is relatively unproven in real incidents, although it has been used in some cases. To assess the accuracy of typical foam concentrate proportioning devices with the new generation foams. This to determine if new generation foams are true drop-in replacements for existing systems. To develop a preferred vendor list for companies that recognise Lastfire requirements and commit to working with the group to gain knowledge and improve tank fire-fighting efficiency.

A total of four fluorine-free foams and two C6-based products were tested, with the assistance of a small number of suppliers who helped fund the work through a contribution towards the fuel costs: Angus International, Auxquimia, Bio-Ex, Dr Sthamer-Hamburg, and Tyco. Representative samples of C8 fluorosurfactant foams previously available and used extensively at facilities were included in the initial test series, as proven reference samples for comparison with newer types. The first series of tests was carried out at the test facilities of FER, a

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FOAM

Further research is required before full confidence can be established in the new generation of foams.

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Lastfire member that operates the emergency response capability at the MOL refinery in Szazhalombatta, near Budapest, Hungary. These tests consisted of standard Lastfire tests and small (~4.5m2) and large (~20m2) simulated bund spill fires (IFJ third quarter 2017, issue no. 109). Application rates consistent with Lastfire testing were generally used, representing 50-60% of typical NFPA 11 design application rates. Different devices using simulating non-aspirating, aspirating, medium expansion and CAF application were used. The second series of tests took place at the facilities of GESIP in Vernon, France, in October. These involved application of foam using standard rates as per NFPA 11 guidance, with proprietary equipment including aspirated and non-aspirated monitors, a fixed system pourer and a compressor-driven CAF unit onto a 100m2 (~11m diameter), 10m-high tank fire. Sufficient fuel depth was used to ensure that foam applied forcefully from ground level equipment did not penetrate through to the water substrate. Prior to the test there was much debate about whether a real-life situation using a high tank or a less realistic tank at low level should be used. Recognising that all the earlier work had been executed at low level, so the base performance level of different foams had already been established, and also wishing to represent real-world conditions as much as possible, the decision was taken to use the high tank. This was undoubtedly the correct decision as it highlighted some issues that had not been identified with the earlier work, including that dropout rate is very much dependent on the foam type as well as the application equipment. Thus, these larger scale tests represented true-life situations although relatively short pre-burn times were used, due to on-site environmental constraints. Drones were used to record the test fires and the resultant records proved extremely useful in analysing the data to a much greater degree than other records would have allowed. Their use demonstrated the critical role they could play in real incidents, by enabling a more efficient application of foam and better monitoring of fire control and extinguishment. Although the full report and test results are currently only available to Lastfire members and the participating providers of equipment, concentrates and services, the main conclusions drawn from the work can be shared. The project showed that the Lastfire test continues to be relevant to all foam types for assessing the performance of foams using different application devices; however, some modifications and clarifications will be made to a new issue of the protocol. None of the new generation foams should be considered as a straightforward ‘drop-in’ replacement for any current foam concentrate being used. Even if appropriate fire performance can be shown for the specific hazard, it is still necessary to

check that the concentrate is compatible with the proportioning systems and other system components. From the samples tested, some concentrates of both C6 and fluorine-free formulations demonstrated adequate levels of fire performance for bund-spill fires and small-tank fires using standard NFPA application rates, although generic conclusions cannot be drawn from this. The performance capability is very specific to the particular formulation and also to the type of application equipment used. There are different levels of performance within each generic type of foam. It is not possible to state, for example, that all C6 foams demonstrate better performance than all fluorine-free foams or vice versa. This emphasises the need for batch testing. There is no reason to doubt that adequate performance can be achieved for larger tanks than those tested but the flow capability over longer distances still needs to be checked. Strictly speaking, this statement applies to all new-generation foams, but it is recognised that fluorosurfactant-based foams are less likely to have an issue with this than fluorine-free types. The sectional application approach to bund fires can be effective, but responders should be made aware of potential edge/hot object sealing issues and the need for constant monitoring and top-up of any areas controlled when the main application is moved to other areas. It is important to note that full environmental data for foam types is required prior to developing strategies for application, containment, remediation and disposal; all foams have some environmental effect. With the current state of development of fluorine-free foams in particular, it is not possible to draw generic conclusions about the environmental effects of a particular foam. Current standards do not give sufficient emphasis to the importance of the combination of foam type and the application device as regards performance and foam quality. It is important to get this combination right to optimise overall performance. There is great scope for developing more efficient systems achieving similar performance to those designed in accordance with current standards. NFPA 11 has set up a task force to look at the issues of fluorine-free foam, which Lastfire considers to be a great opportunity to develop performance-based standards in the future. CAF application, if engineered correctly, can be very forgiving of foam concentrate quality. It should be noted that the application rates used with CAF were in the order of 30-40% of those used with conventional equipment. Lastly, detailed performance-based specifications are critical to achieving appropriate long-term performance and to managing foam stocks correctly. Such specifications require environmental data and materials compatibility data, as well as fire performance standards appropriate to the hazards. There is still considerable work before full confidence can be established in the new generation of foams, and before specific sites have sufficient information to make informed decisions on foam selection and management. Lastfire, with an ambitious two-year time scale in mind, will further develop typical performance-based specifications that can be modified to suit specific site operating conditions and requirements, as well as test the new generation foams over longer flow distances. A series of small-scale tests will be also be used to determine the effect of properties such as expansion and drainage time with new generation foams and to assess effectiveness on other fuels. Lastfire will continue to focus on the outstanding issues that must be addressed before finalising best-practice guidance on sustainable policies for the future. For further information contact the project coordinator: info@ lastfire.org

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Our employees fight fire and so do our products My name is Magnus. I am working with product development at Fomtec. This picture is from a fire test in Sweden. Follow us if you want to find out more about me, the Fomtec way and all our products.

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Foam

Focus on foam For VS Focum in Gijón, north Spain, focussing on producing foams for special applications has become part of the company’s philosophy. Managing director Manuel Acuña speaks with Jose Maria Sanchez de Muniain about some of the challenges involved.

S Manuel Acuña, MD, VS Focum.

ince the company’s inception in 2002, VS Focum has quietly been researching solutions for the challenges posed by some of the most hazardous fuels known to man. The result is a range of over 50 fire-fighting foam concentrates, many of which have been designed with highly specialist applications. These include an AR-AFFF 1% low-viscosity foam for use with seawater, and which carries IMO certification for heptane, acetone and isopropyl alcohol and is certified ICAO Level C pass with seawater; a high-expansion foam to protect engine rooms in ships, which is designed to perform best with

seawater; and a 0.3% wetting agent that breaks down quickly to avoid the inconvenience of stable foams.

Is the market for special application foam  buoyant? Yes, it is, and in fact next week we are receiving a delegation from Japan who have been testing our high-expansion, seawater foam for use in machine rooms in ships, and who wish to become our sole distributor for that application. The demand is increasing and in a sense, it has to, because environmental requirements are increasing around the world and companies that do not adapt will not sell foam. We have the advantage that, as a small company, we do not face the bureaucracy of a larger entity. Rather than presenting a pre-project plan to seek approval for funds and laboratory resources, I just speak to the colleague sitting next to me.

What are the main market drivers for developing  new fire-fighting foams?

Extinguishing test using 5,000 litres of kerosene and 3% Silvara 1 fluorinefree foam. Top: a fire on 5,000 litres of heptane is extinguished with fluorine-free Silvara APC1.

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< INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL < FIRST quaRTeR 2018

First is the environmental legislation of each country. For example, in Ireland, the clients do not want anything to do with fluorine-containing foam; in Australia they also have limits on other ingredients and they require the TOP Assay to be carried out [see page 26]. The second driver is having to comply with the various norms that dictate the level of application of the foams, whether UL-162, EN-1568, Lastfire, IMO, ICAO or MIL Spec. The third relates to the requirements of foams for specific applications, which can be quite sophisticated when added to the drivers already mentioned. We developed a foam for underground mining with worldwide acclaim. The foam had to be highly heat resistant, highly concentrated, applied at 0.3%, and at only 2 bar of pressure from a hand-held lance.

What is the normal chain of supply for specialapplication foams? First is the final client, then the fire engineer, and then the company that designs the foam delivery system, be it a high-expansion system or a monitor that delivers 20,000lpm. The engineer will request a quote for a type of foam whose characteristics will depend on factors such as the delivery system, the hazard, and the stipulated norms.

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Foam

You have over 50 concentrates on the market, of  which ten are AFFF – why so much choice? In some cases it is related to budget, where customers wish to comply with the minimum requirements of a norm. Other times it may be a change has had to be made to an existing foam. An order for a large quantity of foam may come in, for example, with a specific freezing point due to climatic reasons; in which case the foam characteristics have to be adapted. Although we already have a foam that we believe will work for any hazard at 1%, using seawater and fresh water, it may not make economic sense for a fire department in a region with no high-hazard storage facilities to buy large quantities of it.

How long does it take to develop a new foam? It depends very much on luck and, to an extent, on imagination. Sometimes, a foam is formulated on the basis that it has to perform in a certain way due to its ingredients. If it performs as planned, different formulations and various percentages are then tested, on the assumption that it is highly improbable that the crest of the curve has been reached on the first attempt. However, we often find out that the optimum point is reached at the very beginning, as happened with our fluorine-free, 0.5% Newtonian foam Silvara ZFK. We tried for two years to improve it without success. Today, it is used extensively all around the world, especially in Australian mines, where it was tested against many other formulations. The human factor is actually important in this, as many failed projects with high budgets have proven. Collaborations between industry and universities can work very well, both in terms of mixing and synthesising molecules.

How is a new foam developed for a special  application? The first step is identifying the problem. It is a bit like a game of chess, where different pieces are sacrificed in order to win the

game. For a certain application, perhaps the freezing point or viscosity are not important, or it is possible to use the concentrate at 6% because it is a large fixed system, or it is only for foam that uses fresh water. Then we begin with small-scale simulations, comparing the results against an existing product on the market. If the new foam succeeds where the existing one fails, we move on to the next step; if not, we go back to the drawing board.

What are you working on at the moment? We recently had a request from Australia for a fluorine-free foam that could be applied from the bottom of a tank, under the surface of the fuel. This means that the foam experiences pressure from the fuel and is at risk of being contaminated by it. The problem of fluorine-free foam is its low oleophobicity, which means it may become so contaminated that it does not extinguish the fire on the surface of the fuel. To overcome this hurdle without fluorine is a challenge that requires either synthesising a molecule or finding interactions that make the foam resistant to hydrocarbon contamination. And [doing this] this whilst taking into consideration that these interactions may be harder to achieve with seawater.

How do you differentiate yourselves from other  foam formulators? The company has credibility because we aim to find solutions. I remember a well-known petrochemical firm requesting a quote for production and storage facilities in Libya. I went to see them and explained why the fluoro-protein foam that they had requested was not recommendable for their facilities, but the engineers on site did not want to change, even after I spoke with them. In the end, however, they gave us the order because, in their words, the other foam manufacturers had gone to sell foam but we had come to solve problems. That is our philosophy.

The drive for alternative energy sources to fuel traditional coal-fired power stations is leading to some interesting fire-protection challenges, writes David Owen

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he right combination of foam proportioners and foam monitors are providing fire protection in the highly challenging applications of two very different power stations. Wood pellet biomass and household waste have become the go-to fuels for some of the existing coal fleet and the new breed of energy from waste plants respectively. With each fuel presenting its own demands, Hawkes Fire has provided engineered solutions for two such recent projects. A power station in northeast UK is about to start generating energy using wood-pellet biomass transported by ship from the USA and linked by rail and road from the docks. The biomass is stored on site in six 30m-diameter concrete silos that are around 20m in height. On this scale, only an inerting gas could make inroads into the body of the biomass. However, another measure was required to provide an oxygen-depleting cap; foam. The challenge was that mixing wood-pellet biomass with high quantities of water has undesired consequences. The biomass swells to many times its original size and can form a hard crust that makes post-fire operations very arduous. Very dry foam, however, can solve the problem. The final solution was to combine a foam proportioner from Firedos with a high-expansion foam generator from Angus Fire mounted at the top of the silos (see image on the right). The system uses very little water and depends only on local water supplies both to drive the proportioner and to drive the foam-expanding generator. The low flow-demand of the high-expansion generator also meant that the water tanks could be reduced to less than 100m3 in size, and pump sizes down to only 500lpm. A combination of nitrogen and high-expansion foam was, however, not the best solution for the main power station on the Isle of Man, which uses energy from large inventories of household waste tipped into deep concrete bunkers. The facility was completed in 2004 and now processes all of the island’s 60,000 tonnes of domestic and commercial residual waste, producing 10% of the island's electricity.

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At the site, waste collection vehicles discharge their waste into the bunker where the waste is mixed to ensure an even burn in the furnace. Waste is loaded by crane into the feed hopper; then goes down the feed chute into the furnace, where it is dried and burned at temperatures of 1,000°C+. For applications such as these, NFPA 850 gives guidance on the use of remote control monitors, where foam is sometimes introduced to act as both a wetting agent and as an extinguishant for inadvertently tipped flammable liquid. As the volume of water or water/foam required for this type of waste fire is significantly higher than in the case of wood-pellet biomass, monitors capable of handling 1,000lpm are the preferred size. Working with Nobel Fire Systems and Suez Isle of Man, Hawkes Fire installed a foam proportioner coupled with electric remote control monitors, all from Firedos. The equipment was supplied with capabilities for both wireless or wired joystick controllers, giving the operators a targeted and safe response. In this application, the same foam proportioner can be used to deliver foam solution to other areas in the facility that are protected by both foam-enhanced sprinklers and foam deluge systems. These are just two examples of applications where innovative foam proportioning and smart foam/water monitors can deliver targeted fire suppression in high challenge fire scenarios. David Owen is business development manager at Hawkes Fire.

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PFASs and the TOP Assay New methods to measure poly- and perfluoroalkyl substance (PFASs) in firefighting foam and the environment, by Ian Ross, Erika Houtz, Erica Kalve, Jeff McDonough, Jake Hurst and Jonathan AL Miles.

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Image: Shutterstock

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lass B firefighting foams that contain fluorosurfactants, also known as poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), have been available since 1964. The term PFASs refers to a class of approximately 3,000 individual compounds that include both long and short carbon-chain compounds known, for example, as C8, C6, C4; many PFASs present in fire-fighting foams have been largely undetectable until introduction of a new analytical tool, the Total Oxidisable Precursor (TOP) Assay. The TOP Assay analytical tool can assist organisations in their commercial and operational planning when considering the long-term environmental management and potential liabilities from PFASs, highlighted by emerging environmental regulations. PFASs have historically been (and continue to be) used extensively to suppress liquid hydrocarbon and polar solvent fuel-based fires during fire training and emergency response, to protect fuel storage facilities with above-ground storage tanks, in sprinkler systems in some warehouses, aircraft hangars and for use in fire suppression systems in shipping. The foams that contain PFASs include aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), film forming fluoroprotein foam (FFFP), and fluoroprotein foam (FP). Alcohol-resistant versions of these foams are also available. Over the past decade, an increasing number of PFASs have become chemicals of emerging concern to environmental regulators. Their presence in the environment at relatively high concentrations is frequently linked to the use of Class B fire-fighting foams containing PFASs. These foams were used historically without awareness of the potential environmental and human health impacts of the PFASs they contain. In the last few years, however, there has been increasing concerns as some PFASs are being discovered in drinking water supplies. In 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency adopted a long-term health advisory level of 70 nanograms per litre (ng/L), or parts per trillion (ppt), for the sum of PFOS and PFOA detected in drinking water. These extremely low

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standards are similar to concentrations considered acceptable in drinking water in other countries and individual US states. In New Jersey, an enforceable maximum concentration limit for PFOA of 14 ng/L in drinking water has been recommended with the state considering a recommended MCL of 13 ng/L for PFOS. Considering other industrial applications of PFASs, use of these foams for fire training and in emergency response are among the most environmentally dispersive of all activities. These foams have often been applied repeatedly or in large quantities to the ground surface in many locations, creating potential legacy contamination issues. C8-compounds, such as PFOS (perflurooctane sulphonic acid) and PFOA (perflurooctanoic acid), have been the initial focus of environmental regulations in many countries; however, many environmental regulators internationally are now focusing on some of the other chain length PFASs. The C6 compound, PFHxS (perfluorohexane sulphonic acid) is now regulated in Australia, Germany, Texas and New Zealand. There are environmental regulations considering the C6 compound, perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), in Germany, Texas, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, and Sweden; and the C6 compound 6:2 fluorotelomer sulphonate in Germany, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden. It is clear that regulations considering many PFASs beyond PFOS and PFOA are evolving quickly. In some jurisdictions, the use of PFAS-containing Class B foams has already been restricted significantly, with a recent ban on PFAS-based foams announced in South Australia in February and similar restrictions progressing in the state of Washington in the US, where State Senate Bill 6413 was passed in February this year. Owners and operators of high-hazard facilities that require the use of PFAS-containing Class B foam products may need to consider the environmental liabilities associated with the continued or historical use of these foams. Additionally, training and use of some PFAS-containing Class B foams may still be an ongoing activity at high-hazard sites.

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foam

it is known that the toxicity of some polyfluorinated fluorotelomer precursor compounds has been observed to be greater than that of the PFAAs they eventually form. In the face of this uncertainty, the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy has recently published a PFAS National Environmental Management Plan which highlights that the precautionary principle should be applied to managing uncertainties considering PFASs. The precautionary principle states that when there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage a lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. How the precautionary principle will be applied to the uncertainties pertaining to precursors is yet to be defined.

TOP Assay

Testing PFASs in foams Current PFAS testing methods are geared towards relatively few compounds, primarily perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), such as PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS and PFHxA, which are the main focus of current regulations. However, Class B fire-fighting foams contain many other types of polyfluorinated compounds that vary by manufacturer. These are often proprietary foam formulations, meaning their exact chemical content is not public knowledge due to its commercial value. Therefore, most of the chemical identifications and structures of polyfluorinated compounds in these foams are not definitively known. The proprietary polyfluorinated compounds are generally termed as precursors to PFAAs because they ultimately biotransform in the environment and in higher organisms to become persistent PFAAs. Several hundred proprietary precursors have been identified either as components of Class B foams or as their environmental breakdown products in soil and water. The concentration of the majority of these precursors cannot be determined, in samples of soil, groundwater or firefighting foams using conventional analytical methods (ie techniques that currently measure PFAAs), so they remain hidden. From an environmental risk assessment perspective, knowing the exact chemical structure of these precursors is important as it allows testing to determine toxicity, whether they bioaccumulate or biotransform, and how mobile they are in an aquifer. Regulatory values that restrict chemicals to prevent human health effects are typically based on animal studies. These animal studies define a concentration below which there are no adverse health effects observed and then an extrapolation of that information informs a safe exposure value for humans. The largely unknown properties of these variable precursors add a general uncertainty when attempting to assess risks they potentially pose to the environment and human health. Therefore, more work is needed to understand the environmental risks posed by the many precursors. However,

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One powerful new tool to measure the concentration of total PFASs (both known PFAAs and proprietary precursor PFASs) is an indirect measurement technique known as the TOP Assay, which was developed at the University of California, Berkeley. TOP Assay is designed to chemically convert all precursors in a sample into PFAAs. This method uses oxidative conditions that remove the proprietary part of the molecule, but leave the perfluoroalkyl group intact. This results in the generation of PFAAs which are used as a measure of the presence of the hidden precursors. By measuring PFAAs in the sample before and after chemical conversion, the concentration of precursors can be indirectly measured. In this way, the TOP Assay provides a conservative estimate of the concentration of total PFASs versus the limitations of the standard analyses. Since publication of the TOP Assay in the academic literature in 2012, TOP Assay has been made commercially available at laboratories in the UK, Europe, North America, and Australia. In 2016, the State of Queensland, Australia, became the first jurisdiction to codify the use of TOP Assay in the certification of firefighting foams. TOP Assay has gone from a research method to a well-established analytical method with a high reliability. Arcadis is currently assisting the State of Queensland with guidance on detailed interpretation of the TOP Assay output data and data quality objectives to ensure consistent use across multiple commercial laboratories and consistent application across jurisdictions. As awareness of these hidden precursors is growing, approaching this issue using tools that provide insight into the total potential mass of PFASs at a site, seems likely to become more important over time for managing long-term latent liabilities. It is clear that environmental regulations are progressing to consider the full extent of PFASs and not just PFOS and PFOA. Commercial decision-making on managing risks and liabilities associated with historical and ongoing use of Class B fire-fighting foams containing PFASs may need to consider future-proofing their long-term management plans in light of the reality that all PFASs are being viewed by regulators as potentially causing permanent environmental damage.

Ian Ross PhD, Erika Houtz PhD, Erica Kalve, Jeff McDonough, Jake Hurst, and Jonathan AL Miles PhD all work at Arcadis

This article is a summary of Methods for Evaluating Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) released to the Environment from Firefighting Foam Use, a paper published in hemmingfire.com. To read the full, referenced version, visit: www.hemmingfire.com/news/fullstory.php/ aid/3081/Methods_for_evaluating_poly-_and_perfluoroalkyl_substances__ PFASs__released_to_the_environment_from_firefighting_foam_use.html

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foam

A clean solution A biomaterial that transforms PFAS-contaminated water into discharge-grade water up to ten times faster than current technology is being developed at breakneck speed in London.

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he solution is being developed in the basement of the Translation & Innovation Hub building of Imperial College London by Customem, a company that was initially established to tackle challenging pollutants using bio-based solutions, and which is currently staffed by a group of eight young scientists and engineers where the majority happen to have PhDs. Standing in the small lab that Customem shares with a number of other science-based organisations, CEO Henrik Hagemann explains how the company is using its few metres of allotted space to develop and test its innovative solution against existing technologies. The company is working with two European airports that are currently undertaking or initiating on-site remediation work on fire-fighting foam-contaminated water. “You can see here 20 different variations of our product, which have been optimised. We do comparative studies to show how they perform against whatever technology is being used at the airports, using the same water and under the same conditions,” says Hagemann. Some of these contaminated water samples have been taken at different stages of their plant treatment. “Some competing solutions right now are good for C8s, but not very good for C4s, which are very volatile. In those cases we recommend they keep their kit, but we take some samples and report on how many C4s and C6s we can capture. In other cases it’s a matter of a company being interested in seeing our performance against other products.” The test rig in front of us consists of small columns with glass beads, glass wool and the Customem granules, through which water is pumped at low pressure. A sample of the resulting

Customem CEO Henrik Hagemann (centre) with members of his team at the Translation and Innovation Hub of Imperial College London.

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filtered water, which amounts to around five litres per day, is then sent for analysis at an independent laboratory. "Data from testing with the new granules has been highly encouraging," says Hagemann, especially considering that the types of contaminants being taken out of the water include PFOA, PFHS, PFBS, with different carbon chain lengths ranging from eight to four. “Due to the optimisation element of the capture technique, we are looking at up to 98% removal even at parts per billion. Compared to the current solutions, we also see much faster capture – which makes sense from a scientific perspective – more than 10 times faster capture than activated carbon.” He adds that the resulting water is clean enough to fulfil the water discharge regulations of any country around the world – even Germany, where the PFOS limit is 20 parts per trillion and total PFAS limit is 230 parts per trillion. The secret of the granules lies not in the biomaterial they are made of, which is a mixture of non-food constituents that includes cellulose, but in the chemistry involved in optimising their performance. It is around this chemistry that the company’s two patents are based. "One of the benefits of the technology," says Hagemann, "is that the granules can be customised not only based on the carbon chain length of the contaminant, but also on what he calls ‘competing species. Let’s say an airport or fire training centre has a lot of iron [in the water]. They can buy a good resin, but it may get equally spoiled by the iron as it will be by capturing PFAS. We can optimise [the granules] to capture PFAS and not bind the iron, so the adsorbent material is not wasted.” Another unique aspect of the technology is that at the end of the process the chemicals adsorbed by the granules can be selectively ‘unclicked’, leading to a solution of concentrated PFOA, for example. “The waste is actually quite important and many solutions fall short in the destruction part. Mainly for PFAS it’s a full supply chain of capture, concentrate and destroy. What we do is design the concentrate element of this to be compatible with different destruction platforms. We can tailor the concentrate step to the destruction step. In the first case, we do the simplest thing possible, which is taking the chemicals, unclicking them, and getting a volume of concentrated PFAS. In some cases this is 100 times smaller than normal volume, and this can be taken away for liquid incineration. The benefit is that if you have a concentrate, in a second phase you can destroy it by oxidisation or, eventually, other methods such as enzymatic digestion, which is very low energy in terms of sustainable

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foam

supply chains.” The resulting concentrate could also be reused, and indeed chemical refining companies have already been in touch with Customem, interested in collecting the concentrate for further use. Sitting in a small meeting room in the basement, Hagemann explains why the company decided to concentrate on fluorochemicals. At the start of the company’s development two and a half years ago, it was looking for a suitable focal point for its desire to remove micro-pollutants using its specialist knowledge. A year and a half later, Customem began noticing a trend. Companies from the textiles sector had been in touch regarding PFAS. Then the team noticed that PFAS was being mentioned in different settings, and that its presence was being identified in the furthest reaches of the earth. “We then saw the Dupont lawsuit striking in, with US$670 million, and that people were being exposed to these chemicals. So we decided to take on the challenge of binding the most non-stick chemicals you can find. A big scientific challenge that is highly invigorating when you see the impact it could have,” he says. The company has since received enquiries from the US, Germany, UK, Singapore, India and Scandinavia, mostly involving airports, military air bases and fire training centres concerned with historical contamination as a result of training with fire-fighting foam. With interest in the company growing, Customem is looking forward to moving to bigger premises where larger scale testing can be undertaken with volumes of water ranging from 500-1,000 litres per day. In April, the technology is travelling to a water engineering company in Germany that is interested in validating Customem’s data in their facilities. The company specialises in the design and construction of waste treatment kits, and has done so across five continents. “After external

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validation we would like to run a field trial, whether at an airport or a fire training college, where we can put our kit alongside whatever technology is there, and then we can get a report of its continuous comparative performance,” says Hagemann. As for its first full-scale deployment, the company is confident enough in its technology that it is prepared to risk a deliverable-based payment system. “We want to have a system where payment is received when it fulfils the success criteria. We are taking a bet on our performance,” says Hagemann. In terms of cost, Hagemann estimates the Customem technology to be 37% less expensive than existing technology, when considering total cost of ownership, which includes the tanks, the media, regeneration and disposal. The system can be run on active-carbon tanks or using standard steel tanks; it can also be installed on a mobile unit with an electrical pump and hoses. Having recently secured €1.4 million (US$1.7 million) from the EU’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, Hagemann believes that the company is in a good position to move to the next phase of an ambitious journey that seeks to make a significant difference. “PFAS is one of the world’s hardest-to-capture industrial chemicals and they are now found in the blood of 98% of EU and US citizens: this means we are creating a smarter future where our kids will not grow up and live with hazardous PFAS in their blood,” says Hagemann.

The adsorbent granules are made of non-food biomaterial that includes cellulose.

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VEHICLES

Turbine power Vehicle manufacturers are joining the chemical sector in investing in cutting-edge fire response using turbine-aided mobile water-mist/foam units.

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Aircore on a Dodge Ram in BMW's site in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Top: Aircore on an MAN chassis at Audi's plant, also in Mexico.

MW’s new production facility due to open in Mexico next year will be protected with a turbine-aided fire-fighting vehicle. The technology uses a high-performance turbine to place water mist or foam on a fire from as far as 80m away. Ventilation pushes out smoke and carries the water mist/ foam to the fire, which lowers the temperature and controls gas emissions, extinguishing the fire. The droplets produced by the mist cannon are smaller than those made by conventional monitors, consequently they have larger surface areas which transfer heat away better. In addition, as the fine mist also has a lower rate of deposition, the droplets can better reach inaccessible areas of the fire source. The new technology was introduced by Magirus and EMI in 2014 and is available in two options, a remote-controlled unit and a vehicle-mounted unit. The Aircore TAF is a remote-controlled fire-fighting robot that is designed to access the fire ground without putting firefighters’ lives in danger. A wide range of add-ons that include winches, forks, GPS or a rail kit are designed to make the robot as versatile and flexible as possible. One of these robots has already proved itself on the fire ground in Wacker Chemie’s plant in Burghausen, Bavaria, Germany. In July 2017, a fire developed in the chemical production site following a leak of a corrosive, flammable liquid that combusted immediately. The robot’s built-in camera system was used to target the fire directly, without

endangering firefighters. Following its successful deployment another robot was purchased. The other option available is the Aircore Truck, which has the turbine and fan mounted on a truck chassis and which can be raised to 50° and lowered to -20°. The drive is electric or electro-hydraulic and needs only 25kW of drive power – an advantage in terms of the reduction in requirements for the chassis. When mounted on an Iveco Daily 4x4, the Aircore becomes a highly manoeuvrable off-road vehicle with a variety of tactical advantages. The Aircore that arrived in San Luis Potosí, Mexico in January ready for deployment at BMW’s new plant is mounted on a Dodge Ram, and will be ready to fight fires when production starts there next year. BMW’s Aircore Truck is not the only turbine-aided vehicle being used for protecting car production facilities in Mexico. In 2015, an Aircore fire-fighting truck based on an MAN chassis was welcomed at Audi’s plant in San José Chiapa, Puebla, where the Audi Q5 began production in 2016. Turbine-aided fire-fighting units have also been supplied by Magirus and EMI to Miro refinery in Germany, Ilva Steel in Italy, Evonik in Germany and Italy as well as a number of municipal brigades in South Korea, Italy, China and Turkey. According to the manufacturers, it is not just chemical, industrial, petrochemical or automotive sectors that could benefit from the powerful technology; it could also be used effectively in forest and tunnel fire-fighting and even terrorist attacks.

LONG JOURNEY TO GHANA Ghana’s largest airport has received three Oshkosh Striker 6x6 ARFF vehicles. Their arrival at Kotoka International Airport in Accra was celebrated with a rollout ceremony during African Airshow 2017, the first annual aerospace and aviation exhibition in West Africa. The three Oshkosh Striker vehicles had undertaken a 10,000km, month-long land and sea journey to reach Ghana in September last year. The trucks carry the Snozzle high-reach extendable turret, which comprises a hardened carbide steel tip, a perforated nozzle and an infrared camera. Each vehicle is also equipped with all-wheel independent suspension for a smooth ride and off-road capabilities. The firefighting system includes an 11,356-litre water tank, a 1,590-litre foam cell, and a 249kg dry-chemical system for multiple agent fire suppression capabilities. According to IATA, the world's top ten fastest-growing air passenger markets in percentage terms will be in Africa. Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Central African Republic, Benin, Mali, Rwanda, Togo, Uganda, Zambia are all expected to grow by more than 8% year-on-year over the next 20 years, doubling in size each decade. Africa as a whole will see an extra 192 million passengers a year for a total market of 303 million passengers by 2035.

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HAZMAT & TRAINING

Invisible hazmat

Hazmat training in confined spaces is about to go the next level of realism thanks to technology making its way from the chemical warfare training sector.

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n September this year a new device will be unveiled that can simulate specific levels of different gases’ concentrations and interact accordingly with handheld gas detection simulators to provide better training realism in confined-space scenarios. There may be a plethora of regulations governing the operation of hazardous industrial and process facilities, which range from Seveso III and COMAH to DSEAR and Atex

Directives, but with so much emphasis on prevention, how can operators prepare for the possibility of a hazmat release such as a gas plume? Such training aids are on offer and under constant development by Argon Electronics, a hazmat/CBRNE specialist that provides simulator training technology for military and emergency response sectors worldwide. Argon Electronics first became involved in hazmat simulators in the late 80s, when the UK fire service was looking for ways of moving away from radiation training involving live sources. The use of real radioactive materials was not only becoming regulatory burdensome but, in addition, it was found that their use also distracted students from additional aims set out in the exercises.

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HAZMAT & TRAINING

A field or table-top exercise can be planned easily using a map or images of an industrial site. The company subsequently developed training simulators that helped students focus on their own radiation exposure without taking attention away from other aims of the exercise, such as victim rescue. Steven Pike, founder and managing director of Argon, explains more: “With radiation simulators they were able to go into an area and their meters would alarm; if the victim was trapped in a vehicle with a radioactive source, it could be that the rescuer could not walk directly to the vehicle 30m away and keep below safe levels of exposure. However, a survey might reveal that walking around the back would expose them to a tenth of the radiation that they would receive otherwise, and they could translate that to spending ten times more time with the victim to try to get them out. This aspect was always difficult to exercise without using some form of radioactivity simulation.” The simulation technology was further developed in the

context of chemical warfare and toxic materials, which led in 2008 to Plume Sim, a simulator package that works with either replica gas or radiation monitoring equipment for field and table-top exercises. In summary, the system enables the instructor to plan a field or table-top exercise on a laptop by using a map or images of an industrial installation. Parameters are selected for the activation of the simulation instruments in the field, which include the type of substance; whether from a single or multiple sources; plus a range of environmental conditions such as variation of wind direction and speed. If students are deployed in the field with GPS-enabled simulation detector units, the instructor can monitor their locations and the levels of agent being displayed in their handheld simulators, in real time. The entire exercise is recorded for assessment and validation of contingency plans.

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HAZMAT & TRAINING

Multigas Sim turns mobile devices into gas detectors for the duration of an exercise.

Since the release of Plume Sim the equipment has been enthusiastically taken up by military forces around the world, the latest contract being with the US Marine Corp, which took delivery of the Plume Sim in early 2018. In 2016 the company developed a new version of Plume Sim that was more targeted at the training budgets of high-hazard industrial organisations and municipal responders: Plume Sim Smart. Plume Sim Smart offers similar capabilities to Plume Sim, but replaces simulator devices in the field with mobile phones. Plume Sim Smart’s app turns a mobile phone into a lookalike gas detector for the duration of an exercise. In table-top mode, the top half of the screen is the simulated detector, the bottom half is the game pack controller. “The instructor has a laptop that is typically hooked to a projector, so the students can see a map of the area,” explains Pike: “The instructor can disable the view of the plumes, and can just reveal the wind direction and pattern. The students then manoeuver themselves around the area, or the commander instructs them where or how to deploy. If they happen to be in the area with a release, they will get the appropriate readings on their phones.” Following the exercise, the instructor can show the nature of the plume, its direction, and any sensitive buildings in its path such as hospitals. “You can save the exercise so that if any questions arose about training for this type of event, it is just a question of getting the file out.” Using mobile phones has some unexpected benefits in that it enables field exercises to take place truly offsite, in the middle of a city, without causing alarm. “If you are looking to practice reporting back and checking readings in towns, it would not go down well to have people walking down the street in PPE carrying a meter of some description. With Plume Sim Smart it’s just people walking down the street looking at their mobile phones – same as half the population.” The natural progression in this type of training is to

transition from table-top mode, which allows people to experience how the system functions, to field exercise mode with full PPE. “If there is a training environment it is logical to dress up people in PPE, when all the stresses associated with PPE can come into play, such as using the actual radio comms system. In many countries bands have been squeezed to fit more radio traffic, which has led to less bandwidth available for speech. If you are in PPE and stressed, with ambient noise, there is more scope for unclear communications. People come under psychological stress and they may misinterpret or forget processes. This type of exercising is valuable because it allows people to fail, and then hopefully there is more chance of everything working out when the real incident happens,” says Pike. A new multigas simulator that works with Plume Sim Smart is currently in development for use in confined spaces and multi-level buildings. The threat could be gas escape or a number of dangerous devices secreted somewhere in a building. The hardware is the same as currently available both for chemical warfare training and the toxic industrial response training. “The instruments can be set to emit a signal that represents either a specific substance or set to present a low level of oxygen or an explosive atmosphere in a confined space. As responders enter into that environment, the readings on the display will vary accordingly; for example if limits are breached alarms are activated in their PID detectors.” The new multigas simulator is designed to overcome the constraints posed by interference to communications inside a building, where GPS technology is limited, explains Pike. The new technology will also be highly configurable so that instructors can decide whether single or multigas sensors are used. The multigas simulator is expected to be in the market later this year.

MIXED CONNECTION – TOXIC RESULT The Chemical Safety Board has released a new safety video detailing key lessons from the 2016 chemical release at MGPI Processing Facility in Atchison, Kansas. The toxic release resulted in over 140 reported injuries, and approximately 11,000 members of the public forced to evacuate or shelter in place. The release occurred on 21 October during a routine delivery of sulphuric acid: the delivery driver was escorted to a loading area and an operator unlocked the sulphuric acid fill line for the driver to connect with the truck’s hose. The sodium hypochlorite line was also unlocked and the two lines, which were close together, looked similar and were not clearly marked; the driver inadvertently hooked the sulphuric acid hose to the sodium hypochlorite fill line. As a result of the incorrect connection, thousands of litres of sulphuric acid from the tanker truck entered the facility’s sodium hypochlorite tank. The resulting mixture created a dense green cloud that travelled northeast of the facility until the wind shifted the cloud northwest towards a more densely populated area of town. The CSB’s newly released safety video, Mixed connection: toxic result, includes a 3D animation of the incident, as well as interviews with a CSB investigator and CSB chair Vanessa Allen Sutherland. In the video, Chairperson Sutherland says: “Delivery and 34

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unloading operations may be perceived as simple compared to other processes at chemical facilities, but because these activities can involve large quantities of chemicals, the consequences of an incident can be severe. Our case study on the MGPI incident stresses that facilities must pay careful attention to the design and operation of chemical transfer equipment to prevent similar events.” The CSB video notes that chemical distribution takes place on a massive scale in the US. According to a study by the National Association of Chemical Distributors, more than 39.9 million tonnes of product were delivered to customers every 8.4 seconds in 2016 – resulting in many opportunities for incidents like the one at MGPI to occur. The video can be viewed on the CSB’s website and Youtube.

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PPE – decontamination

The PPE detox A decontamination concept that uses liquid CO2 could significantly reduce firefighters' occupational exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. Tommy Verminck tells Ann-Marie Knegt how the system could save lives.

C Ultra-fine particles can become trapped in PPE, increasing a firefigher's exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals.

ancer is the leading cause of work-related deaths in Europe, and firefighters are particularly at risk. When tests revealed that PPE was partly responsible for firefighters' exposure to toxic chemicals, Tommy Verminck's career took an unexpected turn. The former head of the national procurement programme for all Belgian firefighting PPE is now heading up a new system of PPE decontamination using liquid CO2 that could be a game changer in terms of reducing a firefighter's risk of developing work-related cancer. Decontex is already in use in 20 safety zones in the Benelux region and is gaining momentum elsewhere in Europe. Verminck is convinced of the system’s benefits and importance. "This will improve the protection of workers, provide employers with more legal protection, and save hundreds of thousands of lives over the next 15 years." It is a bold claim, but one that Verminck says is backed by science. Marianne Thyssen, the European Commissioner for

BEFORE

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Employment, Social Affairs, Skills, and Labour Mobility, issued a press notice in May 2016 about occupational disease. This stated that not only is cancer the number one cause of work-related deaths in Europe, but that 53% of all work-related deaths are in reality cancer-related. Emergency responders make up a major part of occupational cancer diagnoses, and this is the target group of Decontex. "Emergency responders, including firefighters, never really know what they are going to be exposed to, as opposed to people working in a factory with known risks," says Verminck. "Their only form of protection is their PPE." Firefighters are especially at risk. A biomonitoring trial of 100 firefighters in Antwerp in 2011 looked at levels of VOCs (volatile organic components) and PAKs (polucyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) by taking urine samples before and after an incident. "Researchers noted the expected rise of VOC levels to 37% and the rise in PAKs to 85% after a fire. However, they also found an increase of 28% in VOCs and 68% in PAKs during RTCs and rescue scenarios where there was no fire," explains Verminck. These alarming results prompted researchers to look deeper, consulting leading professors at the Universities of Ghent, Antwerp, and Brussels, who came up with a concerning theory. Toxic chemicals can enter the body in three ways: via the digestive system, via inhalation, and via the skin (percutaneous). At the time of the trials, the percutaneous route of toxin absorption was not well known, but the professors suspected that the raised levels of toxins revealed by the tests were caused by percutaneous absorption of particles contaminating firefighters’ clothing. This prompted the Brussels Fire Service to carry out further testing. Firefighters dressed in turnout gear sat in a room for four hours. They did not respond to any incidents. They were tested before and after the four-hour period, and the results showed a 48% rise in toxins in their urine. This confirmed the AFTER suspicion that contaminated PPE was part of the problem. ‘These results caused quite an upset within the Belgian fire service and led to a much greater

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PPE – decontamination

The quality control system idenifies garments that need to be repaired and replaced.

awareness of how to wear and maintain PPE properly," says Verminck. "The onus shifted to protecting the firefighter, and we developed a premium maintenance model." Boxes are supplied to Decontex clients in the fire service that are either carried on special decontamination units or on conventional fire trucks. After an incident, firefighters deposit the contaminated garments in the boxes – all garments are RFID-chipped by Decontex and linked to a management system. The box is scanned using a smartphone app and the nearest Decontex driver is dispatched to collect it, either directly from an incident or from the station. "We have our own vans in Belgium, France and parts of The Netherlands," says Verminck. "We also have a contract with DPD, whose drivers will get a pop up on their in-cab screen when they are in the vicinity. The boxes are transported to one of our decontamination centres, where they are opened in a clean room and a specialist carries out triage." This triage involves a visual review of the state of the garments. "Do they simply require decontamination or do they also need repairs? Based on this assessment, the garments are then sorted into bags for either visual contamination, damage, or non-standard contamination/ hazardous materials. Then we put the garments through the decontamination process."

The development of Decontex Decontex as a company is the result of a project financed by the Flemish Government, called Innovation and Business, involving detergent producer Christeyns, Electrolux, Procter & Gamble, the University of Ghent, and certification institute Centexbel. In total, more than €1 million (US$1.24 million) was invested to develop the decontamination process, which is based on NASA technology. This technology was orginally sold to three companies, including Electrolux, and other the partners became involved at a later stage. The result is the Deco2fire technology used by Decontex. "The machine we have developed is relatively large," explains Verminck. "It weighs five tonnes and has a small drum with a 20kg capacity. This has space for around four fire suits and a couple of sets of gloves. The clothing is placed in the drum and is sucked into a vacuum. The drum is pressurised with CO2 gas, and because CO2 molecules are very small they can penetrate the fibres. As the machine increases the pressure, the CO2 liquefies and breaks the forces attaching the dirt and toxins to the garment." Then the drum begins to turn very slowly, at one revolution per minute, and the CO2 is filtered until all dirt and toxins are

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gone and the garment is completely decontaminated. "What we have created is an ultimate level of decontamination for firefighting garments," says Verminck. "The EN 469 standard for firefighting PPE includes no information about how to decontaminate garments. NFPA1851 does, but we have based the system on the Reach regulations, which contain guidelines on Substances of Very High Concern. For textiles, these guidelines are defined in the Oeko-Tex standard." Oeko-Tex consists of four different classes: Class 1 textiles for babies and small children; Class 2 textiles, for example for use in underwear, that come into direct contact with skin; Class 3 for textiles that have no or minor direct skin contact, such as jackets; and Class 4 for furnishing materials. Decontex is focused mainly on Class 3 clothing. A firefighting suit has multiple layers – an outer shell, a membrane, a thermal barrier, and a lining. If cleaned only with water, the garment will still contain high levels of contaminants. Tests on a two-year-old suit from Antwerp’s fire department revealed a volume of toxins six times higher than permitted by the Oeko-Tex standard. The suit had been in several fires and cleaned using water. "Water only really cleans the outer layer and doesn’t do anything for the rest of the garment," Verminck explains. There are other unintentional benefits to CO2 cleaning, as it also eliminates microorganisms. "Tests carried out in a Dutch laboratory using our CO2 method showed that the PPE is cleaned to the standard required for use in operating theatres. Some might argue that you do not need that level of cleanliness for firefighting. However, I believe that it is a positive side effect that has the potential to avoid a whole host of other issues." Those other issues include C8 and C6 fluorocarbons, chemicals that are often used to coat the outer shell of firefighting PPE for water and chemical resistance. In a conventional PPE wash cycle at 85-90°C, these can enter the water system. "These chemicals are bad for the environment and detrimental to human health and they also reduce the breathability of PPE. Therefore, we have created an impregnator called Imprecco. This substance can be diluted in liquid CO2 and only coats aramid fibres, not viscose or natural fibres. This means the suit is only coated on the outside. This has several advantages. The PPE maintains its breathability and there is no need to dry it." Garments that do not need to be dried last significantly longer, which is important because PPE is expensive. "This method also has a much reduced impact on the environment, because the contaminants are disposed of as hazardous waste and 98% of the CO2 is recycled. Decontex also inspects garments for damage before they are returned, and has developed an automatic quality control system. This records data about each garment and informs fire services when PPE needs to be repaired or replaced. At a time when concern is growing sharply about firefighters’ exposure to toxic chemicals during the performance of their duties, as well as the dangers posed by PPE itself, Decontex offers a glimmer of hope. Contamination will remain an issue – there is no getting away from the realities of a firefighter’s occupational exposure – but initiatives such as Decontex are for the first time offering fire services realistic and effective methods of mitigating those risks and putting the health and wellbeing of their firefighters first.

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FIRE INVESTIGATION

Eye of the storm Fire investigator Richard J Meier uses a real-life incident to highlight how severe weather conditions can trigger a complex chain of events leading to fire and explosion.

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n Sunday, September 10, 2017, at approximately 11pm, an explosion occurred on the first floor of a group home for people with learning difficulties in Florida, which resulted in one fatality. That evening, Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm, was passing over the area. Sustained winds topped 160kph, with gusts measuring even higher. The storm tore roofs from homes, uprooted trees and snapped utility poles and power lines across the state. Prior to the explosion, the surviving residents and neighbours reported several events happening at the house. Multiple flashes and bangs were reported at the same time as the power line parted and grounded, around 9pm. At the same time, the home lost power and the fire sprinkler in the first floor laundry room activated. Residents were unsure if they smelled gas in the home. Due to the weather, the residents were effectively trapped. Approximately two hours later, the explosion occurred. A few days later an examination of the scene revealed varying degrees of damage throughout the home. This included pushed walls and cracked drywall. Fire sprinklers had activated in several locations on the first floor even though fire damage was limited to a small area behind the clothes dryer in the laundry room. Heat damage was evident in various locations on the first floor, and no broken windows were observed. All signs pointed towards the occurrence of a low-order explosion, and a fuel mixture at the low end of the flammability range. The fire damage behind the dryer in the laundry room suggested the fuel for the explosion was the gas used in the home. The minimal explosion damage and lack of significant fire damage indicated a relatively low-pressure event. The lack of damage to a rear door combined with damaged screen on the rear porch indicated the door was open during the explosion. Analysis of the evidence revealed several pin-sized holes in the corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) flex line connecting the gas dryer to the house gas system. This type of damage is common during lightning strikes, but lightning is extremely rare during hurricanes. Charring around the power receptacle for the dryer was also noted during the examination.

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On the outside of the home, damage was noted to a fire sprinkler riser, a vertical steel pipe in the yard, and the fire and security alarm systems. It was confirmed that a high voltage power line had fallen from poles near the house during the storm. The power lines ran next to the home, transitioning from overhead to underground lines. Nearby in the yard was a vertical riser from a sprinkler supply line connected to the home: ostensibly this was for connection to another home to be built at a future date. Examination of the riser revealed multiple arc strikes had recently occurred. After the examination and analysis, it became clear what had happened to cause the explosion. High winds blew down the power line, which then came into contact with the sprinkler system’s water supply line. One or more power surges knocked out the power to the building; burned holes in the CSST line supplying gas to the clothes dryer; and also caused the laundry room sprinkler to activate, although how the frangible bulb broke is still being worked out. The sprinkler water partially scrubbed the odorant from the fuel gas, preventing the occupants from properly identifying the source of a gas odour. A candle or lighter provided the ignition source for the fuel gas. While this incident occurred in a residential setting, it could just as easily have occurred in a commercial or industrial one. We can all be the victims of extreme weather, and the consequences of that weather as well.

About the author

Richard J Meier is founder of Meier Fire Investigation, a company that provides fire and explosion investigation services to attorneys, insurance companies and industry. Prior to starting his own company, Meier was a senior staff expert with John A Kennedy and Associates, the world’s oldest fire investigation company. He also spent 24 years as a design and manufacturing engineer designing, building, and troubleshooting a wide range of products and equipment.

The clues that revealed how the incident progressed.

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RISK MANAGEMENT

Hope and fire On the day that it received its PAS 7 certificate for organisational fire-risk management, Jose Sanchez de Muniain was invited to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the world-renowned Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London.

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Visitors to the Natural History Museum are welcomed by Hope, the 4.5-tonne skeleton of a blue whale.

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chieving the PAS 7 certification has enabled the NHM’s complex eight-building site to substantially reduce the risk of fire by joining up the many processes and procedures that revolve around fire safety. Since the introduction of the scheme in March last year, the Natural History Museum has become the first organisation of its type to achieve this certification, and only the second in the UK. PAS 7 provides a fire risk management system that operates at organisational level, particularly where the safety of multiple sites is managed by a single person. It comprises an auditable formal procedure to reduce the risk to life, property and assets from the risk of fire. During the visit I am being hosted by Paul Murray, fire safety manager at the NHM, who for the last two years has been striving to achieve PAS 7 certification. We are standing in the massive main hall of the NHM under the 4.5-tonne skeleton of the largest animal that has lived on earth, the blue whale. Last year, Hope, the blue whale skeleton, replaced the massive cast of Dippy the diplodocus, which had been in place since 1979. I have to admit that it is difficult to talk about fire protection whilst touring a site that is filled with so many treasures of the natural world, but I persevere. Murray explains that the Natural History Museum is a research facility first and a museum second, contrary to belief. In fact, most of the 14.8-acre site is taken up by storage and research; the museum, as large as it is, is just ‘taped on’. [At the time of writing, NHM scientists hit world headlines with the news that Mesolithic Britain’s natives had skin pigmentation usually associated with sub-Saharan Africa.] So what are the challenges here? Fire hazards vary, but the main issues revolve around the thousands of litres of denatured alcohol stored on site, the liquid nitrogen facilities,

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and the electron microscopes it houses. The site consists of eight interlinked buildings that range in age from 1881 to 2008; around 80 million specimens are here, of which 79 million are not on display in the public galleries. Understandably for such a remarkable, world-famous site, fire safety is taken very seriously and the NHM contains around 5,400 point detectors, 62 beam detectors, 50 fire curtains, sprinklers in one basement, and air sampling in the Tank Room. In 2016 the previous closed-protocol fire alarm system was replaced with an Advanced MX Pro system and XP95 detection heads, all installed by Pacific Fire & Security. The London Fire Brigade are regular visitors, and indeed Murray notes that they are scheduled to come next day for a meeting with the NHM’s salvage team. As we dodge around groups of children and students, I wonder what it takes to evacuate the 12,000 visitors that could be on site at any point of the day. "If a signal is received from a call point or heat detector, the system goes into alarm and the entire site is evacuated. When the signal comes from a beam or smoke detector there is a five-minute investigation period. If the alarm isn’t ascertained in that time, the buildings are evacuated. Each building on site also presents its own challenges," comments Murray. “I think we are going to replace the beam detectors for self-aligning units because the building has an iron frame with cladding, and it moves as the temperature changes. You can hear it at night,” comments Murray. Fire incidents and false alarms are low, a fact that Murray ascribes to very good contractor control. Nothing can be carried out without a hot-work permit and alarm isolation. In addition, false alarms due to system faults in the previous alarm system have been ironed out by the new system, which took just six weeks to install. He is also highly conscious that

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RISK MANAGEMENT

each time there is an evacuation, the museum loses revenue. “We had five evacuations last year, and 12 the year before that. Their reduction is a tangible saving.” Another important factor in the low number of incident is the NHM’s strong safety culture. “This is a lifetime’s work for many people, so they buy into the safety culture and go that extra mile,” says Murray. He joined the NHM in 2014 and his first project involved ensuring a full fire risk assessment for all the buildings was undertaken. The idea of PAS 7 certification, he says, had been in the NHM’s radar for some time and it was the natural way forward. We meet up with Dave Weaver, lead auditor from MMRA, the first certification body to be accredited by UKAS to assess and award Certification to PAS 7:2013. He reviewed the NHM’s PAS 7 management system in a process that is not dissimilar to ISO 9001. He has not only visited this site, but also an additional NHM storage facility in Wandsworth, southwest London. The smaller NHM museum in Tring, Hertfordshire, will be visited at the next audit. Dave Weaver explains that as part of the auditing process he sampled the fire risk management system, which included reviewing the processes for both the fire risk assessments and the hot work permits, and how these were managed across the sites. “I wasn’t here to check fire-fighting equipment, that is the fire-risk assessor’s role. My job is to make sure that the process works. My main attention during the certification assessment is in the processes which manage the PAS 7 management system.” PAS 7, he explains, brings together in one place all the multiple fire-safety related activities that in large organisations typically take place in silos. “It brings it together so that the fire manager or whoever is in charge can review it all and take corrective or preventive action," says Weaver. I ask whether it means more paperwork. “No it doesn’t, it just means the paperwork is collated in one place,” clarifies Murray. Weaver expands: “One of the things that I noticed are improving are hot works permits. Before, it was a paper trail, multiple carbon copies of different coloured paper, with the fire officer receiving the fifth one down that was barely legible. Now there is an electronic system that automatically issues the permit, with a copy to the fire officer.” With four or five hot permits issued per day, under the previous system it was not unusual for attempts to be made to bypass the process. The ease of the new system, however, has taken such

temptations away. “We are such a diverse establishment that I cannot have oversight of everything. A benefit of the system has been to draw together everything under a single strategy,” says Murray. Achieving the PAS 7 certification, explains Murray, took two years, including the initial fire risk assessment and a subsequent gap analysis, but this was mainly because he was ‘plugging the holes’ more or less single-handedly. The ‘holes’

The spirit of preservation extends to historical fire-fighting equipment in non-public areas.

Left to right: Dave Weaver, lead auditor, MMRA; Paul Bardsley, head of MMRA; Paul Murray, fire safety manager, NHM; Sir Mike Dixon, director, NHM. (Photo: Lucie Goodayle, NHM)

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RISK MANAGEMENT

Only 1 million of its 80 million-strong collection of specimens are on show in the public galleries. he refers to mainly related to adjusting information flows and formalising the new processes to fit the requirements of the standard, which was the main hurdle. At this stage we arrive in the NHM’s Tank Room, which houses an 8.6m-long giant squid called Archie that was donated in 2004 and is preserved in the longest pickles jar I have ever seen. The preserving liquid is methylated spirits, so I have to turn the camera off to avoid a possible ignition. As there are around 480,000l of the 70% ethanol, the Tank Room is fitted with an air management system that changes the air three times an hour; ethanol detectors in the ducting can also

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activate a purge if ethanol vapours are detected. In total, the museum contains around 27km of shelving full of glass jars including, in front of me, specimens collected by Charles Darwin on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s, which helped formulate the theory of evolution. In November this year MMRA will visit again to see what has been improved, what has been addressed, and what has been actioned. Weaver explains that certified organisations are obliged to carry out their own internal audits and reviews of PAS 7-related aspects. “I can chase up aspects of those and see what has been done.” Weaver believes that interest in PAS 7 is rising; MMRA is in discussions with eight other organisations of varied natures, ranging from mobile phone companies and banks to universities and even the administration offices of a nuclear power station. As we move between buildings, Murray points out some historical fire-fighting equipment that, rather in keeping with the place, has been left alone rather than evicted; an old hose reel cabinet, old risers and connectors. In the archive rooms, he says, there are ‘lovely’ patent leather fire-fighting buckets, as well as the fire helmet of the fire warden of the NHM during the Second World War. We reach Murray’s office and he shows me the over-arching risk management strategy document that was audited under PAS 7. The document covers strategy until 2020 for each building, outlining what the NHM aims to achieve and how each department contributes. It shows where all related documents are, outlines planning and objectives (such as unwanted alarm reduction), resources, communications between departments and the role of different departments, and how each building is used. The document is not the same as the guidance document for the local fire brigade. “We have standard procedures for them and every area is mapped, indicating access and escape routes, storage capacities and stairwells. Information includes compartmentation and minimum resistance of fire doors. “They are two separate documents; one tells you how the buildings work, the other how the organisation works. They go hand in hand,” concludes Murray. Walking out under the gigantic mouth of Hope the whale and through the crowds of happy children and adults, it becomes poignantly clear that keeping an institution like this free of fire is not just crucial for the people inside the building, but for the rest of mankind too.

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suppression & EXTINGUISHING

Searching for LOCs Large-scale fire tests of oxygen-reduction systems by FM Global have shown their effectiveness but the results come with a note of caution, writes Jose Sanchez.

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Above: two-tier rack storage in the enclosure. (Image: FM Global.)

he results in the report published in January by FM Global are at odds with the oxygen levels that are stipulated by some international standards. ORSs are fire prevention systems that are designed to create an environment that does not support ignition and propagation of fire. It does this by limiting the concentration of oxygen in a protected space, usually through the introduction of nitrogen. As the technology has evolved over the last ten years, so have related standards including EN 16750 that was published in September last year, and VdS 3527 that was last revised in 2015. FM Global carried out the large-scale tests because the results of previous small-scale tests had been markedly different to industry-accepted standards. The point of difference is the limiting oxygen concentration (LOC), which is defined as the lowest O2 concentration that can support combustion for a given fuel. “One standard that was at the time of the tests, VdS 3527, which is available internationally to determine this minimum oxygen concentration, appeared quite high to us at more than 15%. Our own tests of 2007 had already looked into the situation and found that the concentration was significantly lower. We wanted to understand what should be the actual concentration,” says Sergey Dorofeev, vice president research area director, FM Global, who was responsible for the report. The latest tests were designed to simulate current ORS applications in engineering practice as closely as possible. Five standard commodities were tested, arranged in rack storage. A constant mix of nitrogen/air was flowed in, with oxygen concentration rising in 2% steps from 9% to 17%. A

premixed flame was used as an ignition source, replicating a heat source from electric arc or hot work, and therefore not sensitive to oxygen levels. “We looked at a variety of ignition sources that are typical of what we have in an insured location such as a warehouse, which is either electrical, hot work or arson. According to our statistical analysis the percentage of open flame ignition was very low. The type of energy of this ignition source is standard for other protection systems such as water mist or sprinklers and we want the protection level for all our systems at the same level,” explains Dorofeev. The LOC for fire propagation was obtained for each of the five class of commodities, both with and without a sustained igniter. For cartoned Class 3, cartoned unexpanded plastic and cartoned expanded plastic, the LOC was 11.1% with a sustained ignition. The LOC from VdS’ standard was 15% for the same material. For plastics, the LOC was found by FM Global to be 13%, compared to VdS’ 15.9%. The LOCs obtained by FM Global were generally lower than the O2 concentrations recommended by the VdS standard, but closely match FM’s previous small-scale tests. Why the two organisations should have such different results, suggests Dorofeev, may be down to the different configurations of arrays. VdS has a vertical piece of a tested material that is open to heat losses due to radiation, which prevents ignition and flame spread. In FM Global’s tests, the pieces of tested material are facing each other through a narrow flue, which helps to trap radiation in the flue and facilitates ignition and flame spread. In addition, larger dimensions of the tested samples in FM Global’s tests facilitate ignition and flame spread. As a result of the tests, Dorofeev says he is optimistic about

Fire development for Class 3 commodities with 11.4% oxygen. (Image: FM Global.)

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suppression & EXTINGUISHING

this relatively new fire protection technology, but cautiously so. Firstly, because of the crucial need for maintaining oxygen concentration sufficiently low as to avoid flame spread. “Secondly, we need to understand the reliability and functionality of the system. We need to understand if we can rely on it in the same way as other protection systems that are out there, such as water mist, sprinklers and gaseous protection systems. That analysis is yet to be carried out.” A whole variety of aspects need to be considered, he adds, such as potential room openings, oxygen level sensors, suitable alarm system, and that personnel entering the room are trained to enter oxygen-depleted spaces. “If all these elements come together then I’m happy that it will be a good option for

protection,” he says. Asked whether the test results may discourage companies from taking up the technology, Dorofeev recognises that the levels of oxygen required for fire protection point to its use in unoccupied spaces only. “Maybe it would be of interest to customers that have valuable storage that they want to protect from water damage. Or unoccupied machinery that is in a closed envelope and not normally attended by anyone. We like to have options for clients to choose the best method of fire protection." Looking to the future, Dorofeev estimates that that the first FM-approved oxygen-reduction system may be introduced in the next two years or so.

Reliable and proven The ignition thresholds set by VdS for oxygen-reduction systems have proved themselves, writes Heike Siefkes.

T

he test methods developed by VdS for the determination of ignition thresholds have not only been confirmed in discussions with experts from all over Europe during the development of EN 16750, but they have provided reliable results that have proven themselves in real installations. Before the first VdS-approved system for oxygen reduction systems was issued, suitable test methods for determining the ignition thresholds had to be found. Initial discussions and experiments on this subject took place in 2003. A first approach was to use the test method according to ISO 4589-2, Determination of the combustion behaviour by the oxygen index. However, it quickly became clear that the resulting concentrations were not suitable in oxygenreduction systems. Therefore, test scenarios with solid and liquid fuels were developed in order to determine the corresponding ignition thresholds. Over the years, tests have been carried out with different materials and the test requirements have been repeatedly modified. The test scenarios described in VdS Guidelines 3518 and EN 16750 have been developed from this. The room fire tests with the corresponding combustible material are practicable and reproducible and the determined ignition thresholds have proven to be safe. Since no one-to-one large-scale tests were chosen for the selected test scenarios, a scaling method as used in the recognised Cup Burner Test is always necessary, or a safety margin must be taken into account. An essential part of the discussions about suitable experiments was also the ignition source to be used in the efficacy tests. The heptane pan known from ISO 14520 was not possible because it cannot burn in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere. Thus, a source of ignition had to be found, and one that was independent of oxygen or which brought the necessity for it. Here the acetylene-oxygen burner has proven itself to be an effective way of setting up a defined ignition source in order to ignite the fuel. Due to the oxygen-reduced atmosphere in the protective area, fire propagation is also reduced in the event of a fire development, for example, due to faults in electrical systems or hot surfaces. Against this background, there is no need for a large ignition source.

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Another important aspect in determining the inflammation limits is the evaluation of the experiments. During the first tests, the course of the fire or the rate of burning was assessed. However, it has been shown that criteria such as ‘flame off’ or ‘no glow nests’ provide comparable results, which are also reproducible for different materials. In summary, it can be said that test methods for the determination of ignition thresholds have been slightly modified over the years, but it has been shown that these tests provide reliable results that have proven themselves in real installations. These test methods were also confirmed in discussions with experts from all over Europe during the development of EN 16750.

Heike Siefkes is product manager for gas extinguishing systems at VdS Schadenverhütung, a fully owned subsidiary of the German Insurance Association (GDV).

Palette of commodities after ignition using an acetylene-oxygen burner.

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suppression & EXTINGUISHING

Safely parked? Following the severe fire that occurred at the Liverpool Echo Arena multi-storey car park (MSCP) an Alert setting out the benefits of sprinkler systems has been aimed at organisations that own, commission, design, construct or maintain multi-storey car parks.

T The Liverpool Echo Arena multi-storey car park fire destroyed up to 1,400 vehicles. (Photos: Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.)

he Liverpool fire has provided compelling evidence that fires in MSCPs are not always extinguished rapidly; and steps should be taken by fire engineers and structural engineers, as well as by owners and managers of similar facilities, to consider the potential impacts of fires in car park structures on both life and property. The fire in northwest England on 31 December 2017 gutted the seven-storey building and resulted in the destruction of up to 1,400 cars. The latest Alert was released by Structural-Safety, an organisation that works with the industry on safety matters concerned with the design, construction and use of structures, and which is sponsored by The Institution of Structural

Clean actuation An actuator designed for clean-agent systems with operating pressures of up to 300 bar was introduced by TLX Technologies during Intersec in Dubai. The high-pressure supervised latching actuator has been designed to meet industry standard NFPA 2001, Sec. 4.3.4.1, which is required on all cleanagent fire extinguishing systems to ensure proper installation of the actuator. This is provided to the technician via a visible and an audible check, which confirms the actuator has been installed correctly. It also meet the requirements of UL 864, UL 2166, UL 2127 and FM 5600. TLX’s patented component allows for fully-engaged installation detection and is tailored to systems with operating pressures of 300 bar. The actuator’s internal supervisory feature eliminates the need for additional components or electrical connections. Performance characteristics for the solenoid include ultra-fast response and the ability to be reset throughout its lifespan. The actuator has a full metal enclosure with factory-installed wiring of a six-wire standard. The high-pressure actuator has a firing-pin force of 500N minimum with a firing current of 0.5Amps. Interfacing options including connection, thread, and pipe size are available to meet the dimensional differences of specific suppression systems. Stroke requirements and pin stick-out can also be customised. This high-pressure actuator operates in a temperature range between -20°C and 55°C, and is designed to freely rotate for easy installation. The manufacturer also offers an optional manual actuation assembly and reset-tool attachment.

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Engineers, The Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Health and Safety Executive. The Alert aims to draw attention to the fact that similar events could occur again, and all those in the car parking business must be aware of the risks. It sets out some specific steps that should be considered in the management of existing MSCPs, rather than wait for formal guidance. This includes ensuring the existence of a fire safety management plan, fire alarm systems, and a person responsible for fire and life safety. Liverpool Echo Arena MSCP had a substantial reinforced concrete frame that withstood the fire, although there were collapses of some of the concrete floor slabs. In other circumstances, the consequences could have been far worse. The Alert outlines some of the research that has been conducted into the effectiveness of sprinkler systems in car parks, including a 2010 report by BRE, the result of a three-year project. Amongst its findings, BRE’s Fire spread in car parks stated concerns regarding new and emerging risks from modern cars and alternative fuels. As regards global evidence on the effectiveness of sprinklers controlling fires in car parks, it said: “the incidence of fatalities and injuries is zero and the property loss is around 95% lower than that of an uncontrolled fire”. The National Fire Chiefs Council’s current position in relation to car parks, points out the Alert, is that consideration should be given to installing sprinklers in open-sided car parks to protect property, including the fabric of the building. The NFCC also strongly recommends that enclosed car parks should be fitted with sprinklers, as is common in [continental] Europe and recommended by NFPA 88 in the USA. Basement car parks, and in particular those with associated accommodation above them, should also be fitted with sprinklers; as well as automated car parks due to the extra density of fire loading created by stacking cars in carousel or racking systems. As a recent example of the benefits of sprinklers, the Alert points out that in February 2018 a vehicle caught fire on the 7th floor garage of the 100-storey John Hancock Centre in Chicago; the fire department extinguished the fire and officials said the sprinklers in the building contained the fire until crews arrived.

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DATA CENTRE PROTECTION: Q&A

Secure IT Chris Wellfair reveals some of the challenges, technologies and trends in the selection, installation and maintenance of fire-protection systems for data centres. What type of fire protection projects are you involved in? We undertake a wide range of data centre projects from new commissions of modular and containerised data centres to smaller micro data centre installations and refurbishments. In all the data-centre builds we have conducted over the past two years, clients have opted for Novec fire suppression.

Why Novec 1230? There are a couple of reasons for this in my opinion: first is the limited number of gas suppression bottles that is required compared with a system such as Inergen, which will require a vast number of suppression bottles and in many case a separate room to site them. Quite often this simply is not practical, but also as data centres are invariably built reusing old rooms, or there is limited footprint space for the data centre. Even if you had the room for it, would you want to pay for an additional storage unit just for the gas suppression bottles?

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DATA CENTRE PROTECTION: Q&A

Chris Wellfair is projects director at Secure IT Environments. Previous page: design-and-build project carried out by Secure IT Environments for the data centre in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England. The other consideration is the preventative maintenance costs, which for systems such as Inergen can be very expensive, simply because of the complexity of the equipment involved. It is these hidden costs that can often catch people out.

Are there any other trends as regards fire suppression systems? Until fairly recently data centres have always been protected by gaseous fire suppression systems but I have seen a very slight upward turn towards water mist as it is a very poor conductor of electricity, does not flood your building, has a significant reduced re-fill cost over gas and does not require the room to be sealed for the system to work. However, it should be said that clients are still nervous of this type of fire suppression and still tend to opt for the gaseous type system.

What about detection? More clients are now incorporating VESDA [very early smoke detection apparatus]. The key benefit of this system is that they can detect smoke before it is visible to the human eye. Today, most optical smoke detectors are sensitive enough to cover most situations in a data centre but I have seen an upward trend for VESDA. In addition, clients still use optical smoke detectors that are strategically positioned within the raised access floor, celling or suspended ceiling and work as first- and second-stage alarms.

What has been the most challenging project so far? Generally, if the data centre and the associated fire suppression system has been designed correctly the installation is straightforward. When installing a system into a ‘traditional room, ie not modular or containerised, one of the challenges is to pass the integrity test. This ensures the gas will remain within the room for a minimum of 10 minutes. Unfortunately, in many cases service entry ducts are not sealed and general partitioning has only been installed up to the underside of the suspended ceiling, leaving an open space in the ceiling void for the gas to egress. Therefore, these all need to be sealed using intumescent fire sealer or fireboard.

How does fire protection rate in data centres as a priority? IT teams spend a lot of time on protecting their data centre from the risks of downtime and justifiably so – but fire

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protection is not constantly reviewed in the same way cyber security is, for example. The risk of fire deserves careful attention from both the data centre and facilities manager within a company. If a fire occurs, after ensuring all personnel are safe the next step is to ensure that equipment suffers minimal damage. Major fires may be rare, but even minor ones can cause significant disruption. Therefore, in the majority of DCs, we install Novec systems, which has taken over from FM200 as the halon replacement of choice. FM200 is now monitored under Kyoto Protocol due to its high global warming potential and to be avoided at all costs. Novec 1230 fluid has zero ozone depletion potential and the lowest atmospheric lifetime of the halocarbon alternatives. It is not only a long-term sustainable solution but meets today’s regulations and those expected in the foreseeable future. These environmental factors matter greatly, not just because of the green credentials of those organisations, or the requirements of their partners, but because they make for a much more cost-effective solution. We are also seeing a trend towards better remote monitoring and management across the data centre, and this also has an impact on all the safety features that are built into the environment.

What are the main considerations for a customer considering installing or upgrading their fire systems? The primary goal in any data centre is to minimise operational interruptions and to protect people and property effectively. Fire safety is therefore a long-term investment to ensure the business continuity of any data centre. When installing any fire prevention solutions, consideration should be taken for the following: • The room is a sealed environment ensuring it will pass the fire suppression integrity test. This is not just about doorways, windows and walls, it includes all service entry ducts, slab to slab walls, holes in walls etc. • If you have a raised access floor or ceiling void ensure this is calculated into the volume of fire suppression gas required, whichever system you use. It can make a significant difference to the requirements depending on the structural layout of your data centre. • Within a data centre if the client has cold/hot aisle containment, ensure that this enclosed area is suitably protected, with its own dedicated fire suppression. • Ensure that the data centre fire control panel is linked back to the main house alarm, as well as to the remote monitoring solutions used by the IT team. • Ensure you have a way of extracting the fire suppression gas into the atmosphere in the event of an incident. It won’t be possible to access the room until such time as the gas has cleared. Remember minimising downtime and risks to life is our key goal. Managing spent gas is a key part of achieving that. • Ensure you have pressure relief vents installed as part of your fire suppression system, it is critically important. • Develop a maintenance and test schedule with your designer – and stick to it. Effective proactive maintenance and testing will ensure your system is ready when you need it most.

Secure IT Environments is a UK-based company with a long history of delivering data centre solutions to the country’s National Health Service and Ministry of Defence, as well as commercial, education, hosting, and retail sectors throughout Europe.

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DATA CENTRE PROTECTION

Hybrid IT Fire protection is adapting to meet rapidly evolving trends in data centres, writes Ian Kelsall.

B Ian Kelsall is application specialist for fire protection at 3M.

ig data and the internet of things are driving a new world of hybrid IT where the fire-protection safety margins provided by halocarbon alternatives come into their own. As new sensors and smart technologies within the internet of things are developed, more and more data is captured. In an increasingly complex environment, real-time analytics can offer huge benefits. Machine-to-machine interactions are becoming more common and require immediate and critical decisionmaking, which is driving an increase in computing capability at the edge of the network. By carrying out analytics at the edge, companies are reducing some of the difficulties associated with needing a permanent connection to the cloud. When processing predictive maintenance data from a ship or oil platform at sea, for example, edge computing can help conserve bandwidth and increase operating reliability to deliver the information required. However, moving away from the cloud may not always be a good thing; IoT devices can capture much more than just real-time data and businesses are constantly looking for ways to measure, analyse and exploit big data in new ways. Consequently, businesses want to remain connected to the computing power of the cloud for big data analytics and to store all the data being captured. Directly connecting critical processes and high-value data to the public cloud comes with security risks and a potential loss of data. A new emerging trend to address some of these challenges is hybrid IT, which offers businesses a mixture of ‘on-premises’ data storage and analysis for secure and critical information, combined with the scale of the public cloud for less critical data storage and analysis. As IoT continues to grow and new streams of data are added,

Sapphire systems use Novec 1230 fire protection fluid for total flooding applications. Top: hybrid IT mixes local and cloud IT processing. (Image: Shutterstock.)

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the amount of processing and storage space required will also continue to grow. It is estimated that the amount of data produced worldwide will grow from 16.3 Zettabytes (16.3 trillion gigabytes) to 163 Zettabytes by 2025¹. Managing this expansion of data will drive data Hybridcentre operators to look at innovations in delivering higher performance at higher densities. Higher power-per-rack requirements could deliver this without the need for more space, but with increased demands on power and cooling, which will need to be managed closely to minimise the risk of overheating. The business costs of data outages have long been discussed and are estimated at $8,851 per minute, with the average shutdown (partial or total) lasting 95 minutes². The consequences of these outages are typically business disruption, loss of earnings and/or impact on end-user productivity. The growing use of IoT technology in sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, utilities, healthcare and consumer vehicles demonstrates not only the adoption of the technology but also the widespread risk and impact to ‘business as usual’, should downtime occur. All of this is prompting an alternative way of thinking about fire protection, particularly for ‘mission critical’ applications. Water sprinklers have been used for years as an effective solution against structural fires; however, deluging a server or control room with water can result in equipment destruction and interruptions of service. Water-mist systems, a newer form of aqueous technology, discharge a fine spray of microdroplets in a mist form, suppressing a fire with less damage and clean-up than a traditional sprinkler system. However, water in any form is still water and can cause short-circuits, irreparable damage and loss of data or process control. Gaseous fire-fighting systems have been used extensively in the protection of critical processes for some time, and for many years halon was seen as the ‘gold standard’. However, in 1994 production of halon was banned due to its impact on the stratospheric ozone layer and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) became widely used as clean agents. Since then, the established concerns over the high global warming potentials (GWP) for HFCs themselves have meant that this replacement solution is also unsustainable. The Montreal Protocol — the same international agreement that led to the global ban of halons — has been expanded to cover substances with high GWP. The Kigali Amendment, ratified in 2016, specifically targets HFCs for phase-down³. There are two main groups of gaseous extinguishing agents

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DATA CENTRE PROTECTION

that offer an environmentally sustainable alternative without concerns of ozone depletion or GWP – inert gas systems based on nitrogen and argon, and alternative halocarbons such as Novec 1230 fire protection fluid. Inert gas extinguishing systems have a neutral impact on the environment since natural resources are used as the extinguishing media. Novec 1230 fluid is also an environmentally sustainable solution with zero ozone depletion potential and a global warming potential of less than one, due to a five-day atmospheric lifetime. Inert gas systems displace oxygen in the atmosphere until flames can no longer be supported and the fire is extinguished. This requires a large volume of gas (approximately 40% of the room volume, depending on regulation) to be introduced within two minutes of release. To facilitate inert gas systems, it may be necessary to construct specialised storage areas to safely contain large volumes of gas at high pressures (300 bar), plus over-pressure vents, to release over-pressure to an outdoor space or into an isolated shaft. Halocarbon systems such as Novec 1230 fluid offer the same clean and sustainable protection as inert gas systems. Yet because they are stored as a liquid, the systems take up much less room, typically requiring 80% less space than an inert gas system. This offers a significant benefit in applications with restricted space, such as smaller edge datacentres or server rooms close to the supported application. Such systems are also kept at low pressure (typically 25 or 42 Bar), reducing the

need for specialised storage. Halocarbon systems do not displace oxygen but rely on cooling to extinguish incipient fires. Both inert and halocarbon agents should be installed as part of a fire protection solution that has full system approval following testing of the whole system against internationally recognised standards (ISO, CEN, NFPA). For halocarbons, this approval should ensure discharge and reach of design concentration in less than 10 seconds, extinguishing in 30 seconds or less, and a hold concentration of 10 seconds. Using a halocarbon agent which hasn’t undergone extensive testing, or a system from a non-approved supplier, is a risk that many guardians of mission-critical facilities are, understandably, not willing to take. Novec 1230 fluid has the highest margin of safety amongst all clean agents, due largely to the low design concentration required to extinguish a fire. As demands for data processing and storage increase and additional IT equipment is installed, a high margin of safety may mean that adjustment of the amount of extinguishant used is not required if the design concentration remains at a safe level in the reduced room volume. It is clear the data centre market is evolving at a rapid pace to accommodate technology trends. The consequence of downtime cannot be underestimated but, fortunately, there are fire protection systems that can meet the challenge of ‘always on, always connected’, even in the event of a fire.

References [1] ‘What will we do when the world’s data hits 163 Zettabytes in 2025?’, Cave, A, www. forbes.com [2] ‘Cost of data centre outages’, Ponemon Institute, 2016 [3] UNEP Ozonaction factsheet http://www. unep.fr/ozonaction/ information/ mmcfiles/7809-eFactsheet_Kigali_ Amendment_to_ MP_2017.pdf

Combined IT With a new NFPA standard currently out for consultation for hybrid fire extinguishing systems, Jose Sanchez looks at the benefits of combining water and nitrogen for extinguishing fires in data centres.

W

ith no need for room integrity, Victaulic’s Vortex system brings a safety margin that, compared to gaseous systems, increases with the age of the infrastructure housing the data centre. Victaulic’s Vortex is hybrid technology that extinguishes the fire with nitrogen and water mist. It uses two types of tanks, one set filled with nitrogen and a much smaller tank filled with water. On discharge, nitrogen enters the piping at low pressure (25psi), but as it travels through the emitter at the nozzle it reaches supersonic speed, which creates shock waves as the gas hits the special foil at the nozzle. On a separate line, water droplets are deposited at 5psi onto the shock waves, where they are atomised to 10 microns of size. The tiny water droplets are then entrained in the nitrogen molecules, resulting in a homogenous suspension of nitrogen and water. The fire is attacked in two ways. Firstly, the nitrogen lowers the oxygen content in the room to a level at which humans can still safely breathe but fire cannot exist, at around 14%. Secondly, the droplets cool the room to the extent no flashbacks can occur. The efficiency of the system was recognised in 2009 when Vortex was FM-approved as the world’s first-ever Class 5580 hybrid (water and inert gas) fire extinguishing system. “Unfortunately as it was tested according to their FM5560 standard for water mist, the applications listed in this

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standard do not include data centres or electrical rooms,” says Cedric Verstrynge, Victaulic Vortex specialist (EMEA-I). The technology has also been recognised under NFPA 750 Standard on water mist fire protection systems, and NFPA 2001 Standard on clean agent fire extinguishing systems, even if its hybrid nature means it has never sat fully comfortably there. At the time of the introduction of the Vortex hybrid technology in 2003, extinguishing options were limited to water mist and gas, the latter option requiring a fully enclosed room to be effective. “The way Vortex is designed, our emitters create room integrity by flowing a hybrid mist of nitrogen and water, which will maintain itself in the room even with permanent openings. The reason that this is important is that clean agents systems need a completely sealed room, and the slightest opening can lead to a system that does not have right retention time to hold and extinguish the fire,” explains Verstrynge. Another benefit of the hybrid technology is that it operates at a relatively low pressure of 1.7 bar, slowly filling up the room with mist, in stark contrast to the initial ‘blast’ of a gaseous system which could potentially damage equipment. “So no pressure relief dampers are necessary,” adds Verstrynge. As a pre-engineered system, Vortex is scalable to any sized data room, down to around 17m3. Roughly around 60% of Verstrynge’s installations using

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DETECTION

Vortex are either data centres or electrical room-related applications, with the remaining 40% in stainless steel pickling lines, turbines, generators and machinery spaces. Verstrynge is currently working on five live data centre/ server room projects in EMEA-I, plus three industrial applications. In a market that is dominated by clean agent and inert gases, the main challenge for the acceptance of hybrid technology lies in the fact that it is so new. “A lot of people still need to get comfortable with the idea, and many don’t want to introduce water in an electrical room, which is something we acknowledge,” says Verstrynge. Half the battle is explaining that the nitrogen cuts the droplets into a diameter of 10 microns, which results in no electrical conductivity and therefore no risk of equipment damage. “We have done the testing but the game changer is when people see the discharge happening live in our demo room in Belgium, which has a server cabinet and laptop. After discharge, people walk in through the mist but it doesn’t even wet their clothes.” On the subject of equipment damage following discharge, Verstrynge is also highly aware of the well-reported instances of damage to hard disks due to the noise emitted by nozzles discharging extinguishing gas. The company carried out tests in 2011 to make sure its nozzles would not do the same: “Testing carried out by one of our competitors showed that 110db was the limit for avoiding damage. Here in Belgium, I measured 105db on Vortex emitters at the emitter aisle, and only 90db at 2m distance away from the emitter. This is because the nozzles block the sound shockwave, which is

assisted also by the low pressure of the system. In contrast, a clean agent system discharges in up to two minutes, at a high pressure.” The noise issue is already on its way to disappearing, he adds, due to the newer solid-state drives that do not incorporate the mechanical moving parts that are susceptible to soundwaves. On the subject of competition, I ask Verstrynge whether there are any instances where a Vortex would not be the best solution for a data centre. If the servers are already in an enclosed room, then he admits that it is difficult to promote an extinguishing system that does not require one. “Technically speaking it would still work but other systems might become more attractive. Price-wise I would still be in favour of Vortex because, over time, a room loses integrity. After ten years, walls become more brittle or create natural ventilation and then it becomes costly to still have an effective fire extinguishing system. And that is without considering the possibility that over time openings may be made in the room, behind the false ceiling for example, which nobody is aware of. That is the sort of safety factor you have with a Vortex.” The hybrid technology is on its way to gain further recognition by the NFPA. In December last year, NFPA 770 Standard on hybrid (water and inert gas) fire extinguishing system was proposed. It is currently open to the public for comment and, all being well, the new standard could be fully implemented at the next NFPA publishing cycle due in 2021. Once the NFPA standard has been secured, Verstrynge believes that Vortex will be able to gain wider recognition from the market as well as gain further application-specific approvals from organisations such as FM Global and LPCB.

DETEC TION N EWS Up to date with UL New requirements for smoke alarms and smoke detection systems have been announced by UL. UL standards 217 for smoke alarms and 268 for smoke detection systems have been updated with new criteria aimed at reducing nuisance alarms, keeping up to date with the latest technology developments, and addressing new fire conditions. The company has also announced the opening of a state-of-the-art smoke detection laboratory north of Chicago, Illinois, US. The updated standards are the result of UL’s research for the National Fire Protection Research Foundation that identified different smoke characteristics for fast-moving and smouldering polyurethane foam fires, as well as much reduced average escape times from homes as a result of changes in layout, construction, and materials. In addition, as NFPA research shows that nuisance alarms are the most common reason why smoke alarms are disconnected, UL also researched data on smoke characteristics during normal cooking activities in order to develop more responsive alarms that don’t trigger during cooking. This has led to new test requirements for cooking alarm tests. In total, there are more than 250 technical updates to the standards, consolidated into around 50 lab tests. These tests can be carried out at UL’s new 74m2 testing facility, which features an airtight, climate-controlled smoke room that manages humidity, air pressure and thermal equilibrium and is equipped with automated

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testing technology. Manufacturers have until 2020 to test their products against the revised standards. David Mills, UL project design engineer, said the business is running extra shifts at the new facility to fulfil demand for testing in advance of the deadline.

Speedy alignment A smoke beam detector that self-aligns in one minute has been launched by FFE to make advanced smoke detection more accessible and easier to install. Designed to provide a simple, one-person installation solution for the protection of large commercial and public spaces, the Fireray One is engineered to ensure accurate beam alignment without expert knowledge or experience. Beam detectors are ideal for large-area smoke detection because of their high coverage area per unit and simplified installation and maintenance. They work by sending out an infrared light beam measured by the receiver. Smoke in the air obscures this light and if enough smoke is present, an alarm is triggered. The Fireray One detector overcomes common issues such as false alarms caused by building settlement by realigning the beam. It can adjust for lens

< INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL < FIRST quarter 2018

contamination to ensure the correct signal is received throughout its installed lifetime, and is suitable for use in areas of high condensation; as a condensation heater raises the ambient temperature of the detector lens, it is difficult for condensation to form. The new detector is said to fill the gaps in protection left by spot detectors and standard beam units in structures with increased sunlight penetration due to high ceilings, large skylights or glass atriums. Patented light-cancellation technology means the Fireray One can be installed in these buildings without risk of false alarm. The unit’s compact design means it can be fitted discreetly into its surroundings without compromising a building’s aesthetics. FFE managing director Oliver Burstall said the Fireray One offers a simple solution to a very complex problem faced by thousands of building fire officers and architects around the world.

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Detection in miniature The world’s smallest pyro-electric flame-sensing module has been developed in South Korea using the Ezpyro sensor from Scottish infra-red sensor manufacturer Pyreos. The Trueyes TF100 module provides highly-sensitive flame detection at up to 35m yet measures only 16mm by 16mm. It will be used in cameras, thermal imaging equipment, motion detectors and IoT devices to add flame-sensing capabilities. It has a field of view of more than 90 degrees, quick response times and low power consumption. Devices fitted with the Trueyes module are aimed at homes, factories and warehouses across China, Japan and Korea. Pyreos launched the Ezpyro sensor chip in May 2016 as the world’s smallest pyro-electric sensor with a digital interface. It can be used in applications ranging from flame and gas detection to motion sensors in wearable devices. Do Hyung Kim, vice president and co-founder of Trueyes, said: "The Ezpyro solution from Pyreos not only allows us to build a very small flame sensing module, but also enables a flexible platform to tailor the TF100 module to meet the specific requirement of the different end user applications." Andrew Wallace, CEO at Pyreos, added: "Whilst this particular application doesn’t fully utilise Ezpyro’s low-power capabilities, the small size and the programmability of the device ensures that end customers can optimise their products to meet their requirements." Pyreos, which used to be part of Siemens, grew its revenues by 50% in 2017 thanks in a large part to major growth in markets in Asia and the US. The company has seen almost GBP7 million (US$9.7 million) in inward investment since 2015, most recently securing GBP1.7 million (US$2.3 million) in funding from a syndicate of new investors and existing shareholders. In September 2017, Pyreos was also awarded a UK£950,000 (US$1.3 million) grant from Innovate UK to move forward with the development of its next generation of devices.

Buying into wireless Argus Security and its UK distributor Sterling Safety have been acquired by Halma in a move designed to strengthen the company’s position in the infrastructure safety sector. Argus is an Italian manufacturer of wireless fire safety systems such as fire detectors, call points, and beacons. Sterling Safety Systems is its exclusive distributor in the UK operating under the Hyfire brand. The existing management teams will continue to operate the companies, which will be managed as a single Halma business. Argus’s wireless products are installed in new construction projects as well as refurbishments and are ideal for events and temporary structures. They are installed at facilities at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in the UK each year as well as in the Cirque du Soleil travelling circus tent (pictured).

Permanent UK structures protected by Argus products include Claridges, Coutts Bank, and Eton College. "The global demand for wireless fire systems in commercial and industrial applications is increasing rapidly. The acquisitions of Argus and Sterling will further strengthen our fire businesses’ wireless capabilities and accelerate future product development," said Halma chief executive Andrew Williams. "There is an excellent strategic fit with our existing portfolio as we move towards increasingly connected and integrated fire safety systems in buildings.’

Bridging security and fire Security-registered firms in the UK will now be able to gain fire detection and alarms certification thanks to a partnership between the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board and the Fire Industry Association. The project was launched in January 2018 and will run for six months. It is designed to offer SSAIB companies a route to third-party certification under the BAFE SP-203 scheme for fire protection systems installation. Companies that sign up with SSAIB on the BAFE SP203-1 scheme will gain probationary membership of the FIA for one year, including access to the organisation’s training resources to help prepare for the SSAIB audit and meet the requirements for certification. The FIA is a fire protection trade association in the UK with more than 700 members. It is actively involved with shaping standards and influencing legislation in fire safety and is a major technical resource for the industry. The partnership with SSAIB is a result of a long-standing effort to find ways the two organisations can work together to improve standards across the industry and assist SSAIB security customers already involved with fire detection but which do not yet have third-party certification. SSAIB chief executive Alex Carmichael described the initiative as a great opportunity for companies that want to branch out into fire detection and alarms certification. "The wealth of knowledge that the FIA can pass on will definitely help towards understanding what is needed to meet the standards and gain certification." FIA membership manager Chris Tilley said: "We hope SSAIB-registered firms will take this opportunity to be part of something bigger as we all strive to raise the standards and professionalism of the fire industry. For anyone who would like further guidance, we can also offer the consultancy services of our compliance manager Kevin Stearns through our Route to Certification scheme." To register for the joint venture between SSAIB and the FIA, contact FIA membership manager Chris Tilley at ctilley@fia.uk.com and quote the reference SSAIB1.

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Installed and verified The effectiveness and quality of firestop systems can be assured through FM 4991 and UL/ULC qualified-contractor programmes, write Aedan Gleeson and Ben Urcavich.

I Aedan Gleeson, president of Gleeson Powers, is chair of the FCIA accreditation committee; Ben Urcavich, president of Performance Firestop, is an incoming FCIA board member and a member of FCIA’s accreditation committee.

Top: firestop products become systems when they are installed according to the listing and manufacturer's installation instructions. Right: annual management system reviews are required. (Images: Performance Firestop.)

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n construction product manufacturing, companies have embraced the quality concept and ISO 9000 third-party independent audits for compliance with a management system; while the quality of products might have improved from ISO 9000 audited processes, what about the installation and inspection of installed products? The FCIA has focused on quality of firestop installation for fire and life safety through the ‘DIIM’ acronym, which stands for proper Design, Installation, Inspection and Maintenance/ management, Installation and inspection are why FCIA collaborated with FM Approvals to build the FM 4991 Standard for the approval of firestop contractors; UL to build the UL/ULC Qualified firestop contractor programme, and the International Accreditation Services to build the IAS AC 291 Accreditation criteria for special inspection agencies. As regards ‘design’, this is the manufacturer’s investment in testing at leading laboratories such as UL, FM Approvals, Intertek and others. ‘Installation’, however, focuses on the firestop contractor company and the process or management system used to have firestopping installed to the tested and listed firestop system and manufacturers’ installation instructions. ‘Inspection’ covers both self-inspection and inspection by a speciality third-party independent inspection agency, which could also participate in quality-focused programmes such as IAS AC 291. ‘Maintenance/management’ of firestopping and fire-resistance-rated and smoke-resistant construction is an ongoing issue that needs attention by building owners and managers. Some hire this work out to professional firestop

contractors who perform barrier management services, while other building owners perform their own annual survey required by their fire code. A management system of some kind is needed to make the ‘I’ for ‘installation’ work according to the FM 4991 or the UL/ ULC requirements. Both of these require that an individual at the company take and pass an exam based on the FCIA Firestop manual of practice, systems selection/analysis, and the FM 4991, UL/ULC QFC programmes. Once passed, and the company becomes FM 4991-approved or UL/ULC-qualified, a designated responsible individual is appointed by the company to manage its firestop operations. Both the FM 4991 and UL/ULC QFC programmes require a management system, which comprises a company-specific set of procedures for system selection/analysis, communication of the tested and listed system, and manufacturers’ installation instructions for workers. Also included is a material purchasing, control and handling system with appropriate measures for inspecting the contractor’s completed firestop assemblies, as well as procedures for record keeping. Every step of the company’s firestop operations is part of the management system, documented in the quality management system manual: which is also the firestop company’s competitive advantage. There are several key areas that need required documented processes and are audited for verification by FM or UL/ULC: • Estimates, proposals, decisions, job start: as with any project, the firestop contractor needs procedures for how a project begins, including the acquisition of plans and specs, firestop systems and manufacturers’ installation instructions and safety data sheets. • Employee training and education: the company needs to show proof of education and that the company’s DRI meets continuing education requirements. • Systems selection and analysis: selection takes place during the estimating process and reviewed as the project proceeds. The systems, which are also used as a project record, are shared with the firestop contractor’s installation personnel and the third-party speciality inspection agency. • Communicate systems to field: systems are communicated through work orders. Common among all FM 4991-approved or UL/ ULC-qualified firestop contractors is that prior to requesting an engineering judgment, analysis is carried out of tested and listed systems from other manufacturers. • Purchasing and material controls: the contractor needs to use the materials as stated in the tested and listed systems. Expiration dates, installation temperature limitations, installation

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passive fire protection

instructions and Safety Data Sheets need to be understood. A purchase order system, material receipt inspection and rejection procedures need to be in place. • Systems installation protocol: installation of the tested and listed system design parameters and the manufacturers’ installation instructions must be followed. • Variance procedures: variance or non-conformance needs to be recorded and corrective actions documented. • Documentation: the FM 4991-approved or UL/ULC QFC programmes require the firestop contractor to maintain records for seven years, which includes life-safety drawings, specifications, tested and listed system designs, engineering judgements and materials used. • Project closeout: a critical part of any project, it describes the process where documentation is passed from the firestop contractor to the building owner and manager. Documentation of firestop systems – and all fire-resistance-rated construction elements – is needed to maintain the fire-resistant-rated and smoke-resistant assemblies for the building lifecycle. • Management system review: this should be carried out at least annually via a self-audit and review of the programme. • Audit process: the FM 4991-approved or UL/ULC-qualified firestop contractor’s management audits are typically 1-1.5 days’ long. In addition to the initial audit, there are annual audits to verify that processes are still working as they did at the time of the initial audit. Following an office audit, the FM or UL/ULC auditor visits a project site with the contractor to check processes. These schemes are meant to provide a benchmark level of quality for the general contractors, building owners and managers, fire marshals and building code officials who design and approve the systems used in structures. • FM 4991 approved or UL QFC audit prices: these

organisations charge between US$7,000 and US$12,000 depending on the time and travel it takes to complete the initial audit. In both cases, the annual audit is around US$3,500 per year. Many contractors have stated that they have recouped some of this investment through the efficiencies gained after reviewing and documenting their operations. • Manufacturers’ programmes: these are not equal to the FM 4991 Approved or UL/ULC programmes because they are not third-party operated. In addition, manufacturers’ programmes vary greatly. In summary, manufacturers’ programmes are not equal to the FM 4991 approved and UL/ULC qualified firestop contractor programmes. A specification that says, ‘either FM 4991, UL/ULC QFC firestop contractors or manufacturer accredited,’ is a specification that will not draw a consistent level of quality assurance from the prospective installation companies. There is a reason for differences between the companies that just ‘fire caulk’ everything and those who understand the systems-oriented aspects of firestopping. With the cost of labour at about 80% of the application, the choice is clear. Why use any company other than an FCIA member, FM 4991-approved or UL-qualified contractor that gets the installation protocol to the tested and listed system and manufacturers’ installation instructions? After all, this industry is about, and dedicated to, improving fire- and life-safety in buildings worldwide. The full version of this article was first published in Life Safety Digest (Winter 2017), the official magazine of Firestop Contractors International Association. For more information about the FCIA’s activities visit www.FCIA.org.

INTUMESCENT FIRESTOP SYSTEMS Mixed-, cable- and pipe penetration sealings Joint seals with movement capability

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passive fire protection

Cool transformers

An aging power infrastructure coupled with a lack of capital investment are pointing towards an increased risk of incidents involving transformer fires.

W

ith one of New York’s main utilities transferring to fire-safe, biodegradable ester oils for its electrical transformers, what is stopping the rest of the energy sector from moving away from mineral oil? According to M&I Materials, manufacturer of the Midel range of transformer oils, investment in electrical power grids is not keeping pace with society’s demand for power; the number of new transformers – vital cogs in the electricity transmission machine – has been in decline. Barry Menzies, managing director at Midel, points towards skyrocketing costs as a key factor. The average transformer cost has risen by 5.5% annually for around 20 years, equivalent to a 100% increase in the cost of a transformer every 20 years. Consequently, rather than upgrading transformer lists, the focus has moved to component replacement and maintenance. “But growing with this risk of transformer failure is an even greater threat: transformer fire. The impact of such a blaze can go far beyond asset failure and loss – with power outages, evacuations of the surrounding areas and even risk to life in urban areas.”

Pole-mounted transformers can be retrofilled with ester oil. Top: substation on fire.

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< INDUSTRIAL FIRE JOURNAL < first quarter 2018

The volumes of cooling fluids installed per year in transformers are not insignificant, estimated by Midel at around 1.5 million tonnes globally. A standard pole-mounted transformer may only contain 100-200 litres of oil, but the larger transformers often found in cities can require 100 to 200 tonnes of oil each. This oil flows through small channels inside the paper-sheathed copper coils that surround the steel core of transformers, absorbing the heat that is then transported away through natural convection of the liquid. Low-cost mineral oils, which have a fire point at around 170°C, are by far the most widely used fluid for insulating and cooling transformers, but there are safer options. Midel developed synthetic ester oils around 40 years ago as an alternative to the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) fluids that were formerly used, which were toxic, bio-accumulative and non-biodegradable. Natural ester oils made from soya and rapeseed followed, 25 years later. In contrast to mineral oils, ester oils have a high fire point in excess of 300°C; are classified as Readily and Fully Biodegradable (IEC 61039); and FM Global-approved as Less Flammable Transformer Fluids. “If lightning strikes, any vapour from the ester oil will burn out in a few seconds but the heat will not be enough to raise the liquid temperature sufficiently sustain a fire. With a mineral oil any fire will cause it to burn and become self-sustaining,” comments Menzies. As ester oils have such high flammability temperatures, transformers can be operated at higher loadings, meaning more power for the same space. Cost savings can be achieved with new substations in urban areas where land costs are high. Menzies says, “If you want to upgrade an existing substation or add another transformer, with these types of oils you don’t need as much space between transformers as you would with mineral oils. In some of the world’s largest cities, we are seeing an increasing adoption of Midel for just this reason.” For distribution-sized transformers, of up to 66kv, a straight swap between mineral oil and ester oils is possible and, indeed, done regularly. Transformers with higher voltages, however, require a specific design. There are other compelling reasons to consider the

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passive fire protection

swap. Synthetic esters have a high moisture-absorbing capability, which can increase the lifetime of transformers. By drawing moisture away from the cellulose sheaths that separate the copper wiring, the sheaths do not become brittle. “The ageing process is significantly reduced; the age of the cellulose can almost be taken out of the equation of an ageing transformer.” Menzies points at Pacific Gas and Electricity Group in California, which manages 1.5 million transformers, all with ester oils. “They justified the change on doubling the life of their transformers, as well as the safety and environmental benefits.” Given all these benefits, what is stopping all utilities from moving away from the traditionally used mineral oil? Cost is

certainly one of the factors, says Menzies. “Depending on whether a synthetic ester or a natural ester is used, they will increase the cost of a transformer by ten to 15%. Secondly, it is about people’s attitudes to risk. Thirdly, some organisations are put off by having to manage two liquids on their maintenance systems, which could run to many thousands of transformers.” Menzies estimates that ester oils currently account for only 3% of the market for transformer cooling fluids. As a next generation of engineers takes charge, it is hoped that a more innovation-friendly approach both to fire safety and the environment will lead to that share to increase in tandem with a decrease in fire incidents.

Painting for fires

Microcapsules filled with fire extinguishing clean agent that can be mixed with paint have been launched on the world stage.

T Olegs Muraskins, CEO of New Innovation Technologies Company.

Microcapsules are 50-80 microns in diameter.

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he microcapsules are between 50 and 80 microns in diameter and can be combined with almost any paint to provide fire-extinguishing capability wherever it is applied. The capsules, which are made out of a moistureresisting polymeric shell, contain perfluoro(2-methyl-3pentanone) heptafluoro isopropyl pentafluoroethyl ketone, a gaseous fire suppression agent that is better known as the 3M-branded Novec 1230. The new technology, called Microcapsules, is being introduced by New Innovation Technologies Company (NIT), a Latvian firm that was founded at the beginning of 2017. NIT has unique worldwide partnership agreement and distribution rights. According to company founder and CEO Olegs Muraskins, these microcapsules are already being used in Russia, Latvia and South Korea in a wide number of applications. Microcapsules on flexible composite sticking plates are used to protect electrical cabinets up to 65 litres in volume. In paint, they are found on electrical components in trolleybuses and trams, in engine and battery compartments on yachts, and inside the electrical cable ducts of buildings. “The advantages of this product are the possibilities of its application in those areas where standard fire safety systems cannot be so effectively used or generally applicable. As one

microcapsule does not exceed a size of 50 to 80 microns, it can be applied with a paint spray gun in a very thin layer. Advantages also include the ability to autonomously extinguish the fire at the initial stage, in seconds,” says Muraskins. The development of this product began over 20 years ago by Russian scientists from St Petersburg and was finally patented in 2014. The main goal of its inventors was to create a product that would prevent fires caused by a short circuit in the electrical circuits in electrical outlets, electrical cabinets with expensive equipment, system units, and server stations. Muraskins says that the clean agent-containing microcapsules have been tested under laboratory conditions by the manufacturer. “Testing showed that the casing in which the gas is placed is able to withstand a temperature not exceeding 120-130°C; in 100% of the tests, the extinguishant was released at higher temperatures.” The addition of paint or varnish did not affect the properties of the capsules, he says, “which makes Microcapsules to be a very attractive product for protecting objects in small rooms or places where the usual temperature does not exceed 120°C.” Application-specific tests have also been carried out using microcapsule-coated law enforcement riot shields; in this instance, the paint extinguished the fire caused by the incendiary mixture within 5-20 seconds. How the new product will be embraced on an international stage – and in which applications – remains to be seen; Muraskins regards its sheer novelty as the main hurdle. “But we have not encountered any obstacles in recognising the effectiveness of the product, as the companies engaged in fire extinguishing systems find it highly unique and innovative.” If NIT succeeds, painted with Microcapsules could become a standard coating for electrical boxes around the world.

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Dynax REACH ad final.pdf

1

10/30/17

7:23 PM

All Green for REACH 2020 ...3 Years Early! C6

C6 AFFF

FluoroSurfactant C

M

Y

CM

PFOA Impurity

PFOA-Related Impurities

Dynax C6 Fluorosurfactants since January 2017

<12.5 ppb

<500 ppb

REACH EU Regulation effective July 2020

<25 ppb

<1000 ppb

CY

CMY

K

C6 AFFF Concentrates for EN / UL Performance

C6 Fluorosurfactants

MY

PFOA Impurity

PFOA-Related Impurities

6% C6 AFFF 3% C6 AFFF 1% C6 AFFF

~0.25 ppb ~0.50 ppb ~1.50 ppb

~9 ppb ~18 ppb ~54 ppb

REACH EU Regulation effective July 2020

<25 ppb

<1000 ppb

AFFF Foam Solutions from C6 AFFF Concentrates will have a PFOA impurity level of ~15 parts per trillion (ppt). 15 ppt = 0.015 ppb = 0.0000000015% — 15 ppt correlates to 15 seconds out of 32,000 years!

Why Wait? European Commission Regulation (EC) 2017/1000 (June 13, 2017): This new REACH regulation states that PFOA and PFOA-related substances (in products such as C6 Fluorosurfactants, C6 AFFF Foam Concentrates and C6 AFFF Foam Solutions) “shall not, from 4 July 2020, be used in the production of, or placed on the market in a concentration equal to or above 25 ppb of PFOA including its salts, or 1,000 ppb of one or a combination of PFOA-related substances.”


INDUSTRIAL

FIRE JOURNAL F O R P R O F E S S I O N A L S P R OT E C T I N G L I V E S , A S S E T S A N D I N F R A S T R U C T U R E W O R L D W I D E First quarter 2018 issue no.111

Strength in numbers Collective emergency response for Sohar Port

Life sciences London's Natural History Museum achieves milestone in fire-risk management

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Industrial Fire Journal 1st Quarter 2018  
Industrial Fire Journal 1st Quarter 2018