The newsletter of the Fire Information Group UK (FIGUK)
Edited by Sheila Pantry, OBE
Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd
This Newsletter contains:
- News from around the World
- Diary of Events
- Summary of the FIGUK Meeting held on 21 March 2007
- Date of next meeting 12 September 2007
FIGUK website www.figuk.org.uk ... please help to promote FIGUK whenever you can...
News items from around the world
Communities and Local Government Contract signed for FiReControl project
The FiReControl project has just taken a major step forward with the signature of the contract to supply the technology infrastructure. This project is creating a national network of Fire and Rescue Service control centres which will handle all 999-calls to the Fire and Rescue Service and mobilise resources to incidents locally, regionally and nationally.
The FiReControl project will increase the resilience of the Fire and Rescue Service and its capacity to handle major emergencies by providing a linked network and automatic back-up call system. The network of nine regional control centres for England will also relay vital information to firefighters.
Alongside the contract signature, Communities and Local Government today set out their timetable for the roll out of the project, confirming that control centres are on course to start going live from 2009.
The contract with EADS Defence & Security Ltd is worth £200 million plus. EADS Defence & Security is a leading provider of defence, communications and control systems. The consortium that they lead has extensive experience of working with both the Fire and Rescue Service in the UK as well as with emergency services abroad. The new system will be based on the processes that have been developed through working extensively with members of the Fire and Rescue Services. It will provide improved functionality, bringing all FRSs up to the standard of the best current controls by providing "best of breed" proven technology.
Following formal contract signature, Phil Woolas, Minister for Local Government, said:
"The FiReControl project is all about creating a more resilient Fire and Rescue Service. In today's world of industrial accidents, terrorist attacks and large scale natural disasters we need to build resilience at national regional and local levels. Given these threats doing nothing was not an option. Automatic back-up and transfer of calls to another region in times of heavy loading or failure are essential. Current systems can mean that it can take time for a local fire and rescue control room to effect back-up arrangements in these circumstances, whereas the new system will be automatic and almost instant. The deployment of the Government's £200 million investment in the New Dimension equipment - urban search and rescue, high volume pumps and mass decontamination teams - will be made all the more effective by the new FiReControl system."
The new IT system will be phased-in gradually, to avoid a single 'big bang' handover. There will be extensive testing before handover to ensure is reliable and the decisions to cut-over to the new system will be taken by the Fire and Rescue Service.
FiReControl is a national project developed in collaboration with the Fire and Rescue Service and delivered at both regional and FRA level. Each control centre will be run by a company owned by the local Fire and Rescue Authorities in that region and whose directors are nominated by those authorities, guaranteeing local accountability. Work is underway to set up these companies and two have recently been set up - in the West Midlands and North East. The companies are limited by guarantee as not for profit bodies. The first company established was the East Midlands in November 2006.
There will be nine regional control centres, responsible for Fire and Rescue Service emergency call handling throughout England. Locations:
- NORTH-EAST - Belmont Business Park, Durham;
- YORKS & HUMBER - Paragon Business Village, Wakefield, West Yorks;
- NORTH-WEST - Lingley Mere Business Park, Great Sankey, Warrington, Cheshire;
- WEST-MIDLANDS - Wolverhampton Business Park;
- EAST-MIDLANDS - Willow Farm Business Park, Castle Donnington, Leics;
- EAST - Cambridge Research Park, Cambridge;
- SOUTH-WEST - Blackbrook Business Park, Taunton, Somerset;
- SOUTH-EAST - Kite's Croft Business Park, Fareham, Hampshire;
- LONDON - Procurement underway
Services that the technology infrastructure provider will enable the FiReControl project to deliver:
- Caller location so the location of a member of the public calling by telephone for help (whether mobile or landline) will be identified automatically saving time; this can also help to reduce the number of hoax calls;
- Satellite positioning to tell control operators which fire appliances, with the correct equipment on board, have the shortest travel time to an incident;
- Computer-aided systems to enable staff to locate and directly mobilise the nearest available appropriate resources automatically, using data-transmission, not voice messages;
- In cab displays so firefighters mobilised to an incident will have direct
access to constantly updated information such as:
- A map showing the quickest route to the incident;
- Details of known risks and hazards in the building and/or the locality;
- Floor plans and access details;
- The location of the nearest hydrants and water supplies;
- Relevant standard operating procedures for the type of incident concerned e.g. how to deal with particular types of chemical or on how to dismantle particular types of car.
The current system means that the level of functionality of FRS control rooms varies across the country. The 46 stand alone fire control rooms in England are not networked; they are unable to back each other up in the event of need.
- Most do not have the technology to ensure that the nearest appropriate resources to the incident are mobilised - for example across FRA boundaries.
- Around half rely solely on voice communications (i.e. they do not provide for data communications)
- Wide variation in the information available to fire control staff and firefighters when dealing with incidents
- Limited capacity or resilience to deal with major incidents
Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board publish Recommendations on the Design and Operation of Fuel Storage Sites
The Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board (MIIB) has published its 5th report, required by the investigation terms of reference into the Buncefield incident on 11 December 2005.
The report makes recommendations to address improvements in the Design and Operation of sites in the UK that store and transfer petroleum products on a large scale, and responds to the MIIB's term of reference 5 (see Notes to Editors).
The MIIB made clear in the Initial Report published on 13 July 2006, that design and operation of sites was one of its four main areas of concern in this investigation. The other areas of continuing work are emergency preparedness and response to incidents, advice to planning authorities and an examination of the HSE's and the Environment Agency's roles in regulating the activities on the Buncefield site.
On design and operations at storage sites, the paramount need is for precautions to be in place to prevent fuel escaping from the vessels in which it is contained. Further precautions are needed if fuel does escape, to prevent it forming a flammable vapour and stop pollutants contaminating the environment.
Lord Newton, the Chairman of the Buncefield Investigation Board said:
"This report challenges the industry to substantially strengthen safety standards at sites handling large quantities of fuel. It calls for a programme of revisions to guidance and standards for process safety, environmental protection and excellence in operations.
"It also calls for a more consistent response to broadly similar major hazard risks than are the case today. Specific recommendations are made for operators to rigorously assess levels of safety and reliability required in the design and operation of relevant sites. The Competent Authority needs to oversee this work and ensure it is done.
"In preparing this report we have also taken into account the work of others. In particular the Buncefield Standards Task Group has been working on aspects of design and operations, including those recommended in our Initial Report, and we welcome this initiative by the sector and the Competent Authority. Other sources have included industry specialists and experts, and the Baker Report on the Texas City incident in the USA.
"We also note striking similarities between some of our recommendations and those made last week by the US Chemical Safety Board on the Texas City incident."
Together these areas make up a comprehensive package to reduce risks to those who work on or near such sites, or live nearby, and to the communities and the natural environment that can be damaged by extreme events such as Buncefield.
The main five areas in the Design and Operation Recommendations Report are:
- The need for systematic assessment of the level of inherent safety required at sites;
- The need for high integrity systems to protect against escape of fuel;
- Preventing escalation of loss of primary containment incidents and preventing harmful substances from causing a major accident to the environment;
- Operating major hazard sites with high reliability organisations; and
- Improving culture and leadership to deliver high safety performance. Our broad aim is to catalyse improvements in the fuel storage sector so that it is continually alert to the major hazard potential of its operations.
As stated in the Design and Operations report the MIIB has noted with interest the recent Baker Report, which has a number of recommendations and findings that align with the Board's views arising from the Buncefield investigation. This particularly relates to recommendations on process safety leadership, process safety culture, performance indicators, independent monitoring, industry leadership, engineering practices, safety knowledge and industry competence.
To access the report on the Design and Operation of Fuel Sites www.buncefieldinvestigation.gov.uk
New records management guidance
Those who have to manage records will be interested in The British Standards Institution (BSI) new guide for information and records management to help organizations of all sizes and sectors operate more efficiently.
Effective Records Management. Part 4: How to comply with BS ISO 15489-1 is designed to meet the challenge of ensuring that an organization's records are credible and trustworthy, are able to provide a defence when required and provide an accurate source of information on which to base decisions for future activities.
Effective Records Management. Part 4: How to comply with BS ISO 15489-1
Philip Jones and Robert McLean
This new publication explains the requirements of BS ISO 15489-1:2001 and the range of options available so that an appropriate level of compliance can be selected. It suggests approaches that can be adopted to build a portfolio of evidence, which demonstrates compliance to the degree that is required.
The authors have included tips on how to implement some of the standard's requirements, based on their combined 50 years of professional knowledge. There are sample forms with guidance notes for completion to help make the workbook clear and easy to use.
BSI order ref BIP 0025-4
To find out more information about BS ISO 15489-1 visit BSI.
News from the Local Government Association
The Local Government Association (LGA) has published the following:
Fire and rescue in 2017: rising to the challenge - a consultation document from the LGA.
2007, 8 pages
Fire and rescue: a shared vision towards 2017
2007, 12 pages
Aviation Safety Database Enhanced to Assist Research in Fire and Cabin Safety
Worldwide action on the targeting of risks to aviation safety is set to be improved, following enhancements to an international safety database which focuses on aircraft fire and cabin aspects of accidents.
The database is part of the work of the Cabin Safety Research Technical Group (CSRTG). The group's membership includes the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as well as other European states, the US FAA, Transport Canada and the Australian, Brazilian, Japanese and Russian authorities.
New data from the Aviation Safety Network, a service of the Flight Safety Foundation, has been added to the existing database that now holds information on 3,368 accidents involving public transport aircraft (19 seats and above plus cargo aircraft) dating from 1967 to 2005.
The database is maintained, on behalf of the CSRTG, by R G W Cherry and Associates, a UK safety consultancy. The database is freely available and may be downloaded from www.fire.tc.faa.gov/cabin.stm.
Workshops on the use of the database will be held at the Cabin Safety Research Technical Group (CSRTG) International Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference in Atlantic City, N.J., Oct. 29 to Nov. 1, 2007.
CIPFA Statistical Information Service
The following website containing a range of fire and rescue service statistical information, which may be of interest to FIGUK Members
It is the CIPFA Statistical Information Service at www.cipfastats.net which contains a huge database of fire and rescue service statistics.
You need to register/log in first then go to the "Our services" link (a small link just under the site's main banner) select "Statistical Information Service (CIPFAstats.net)" and under site directory select "public protection". You then go to Fire and Rescue Services, where you will find details of all the fire and rescue authorities going back several years. It covers the whole of the UK.
FIREINF moves to new software and hosting service
FIREINF, arguably the world's premier collection of related validated, authoritative information aims to help all those seeking such information. Emphasis is on all aspects of fire, emergency and preparedness management principles, health and safety, fire risk assessment, practices and research.
FIREINF has moved onto the Head Software International Ltd software and hosting services. Anyone wishing to have a 15 day free trial of FIREINF or OSH UPDATE or IRISH OSH UPDATE should register at www.sheilapantry.com/interest.html
For those organisations that do not subscribe to a range of journals/magazines this is one way of ensuring that the latest news, developments and trends are available.
One of the databases - from the British Standards Institution - contains references to over 4000 fire and fire related standards.
Contact: Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd, 85 The Meadows, Todwick, Sheffield S26 1JG, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 1909 771024 | Fax: +44 (0) 1909 772829 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.sheilapantry.com | www.oshworld.com | www.shebuyersguide.com | www.oshupdate.com | www.fireinf.com
Fire website gateway
CLG has launched a new 'website gateway' to help the public and businesses access fire safety information and risk assessment material. The new website's address is www.fire.gov.uk
The project is financed by DCLG but CFOA and LGA have been heavily involved in its development. Third sector organisations and other public bodies who work with some of the people most vulnerable to fire hazard are also encouraged to team-up with local fire and rescue services through the gateway.
Diary of Events
22-24 May 2007 - RoSPA Safety and Health at Work Congress and Expo
National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK
Contact: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Edgbaston Park, 353 Bristol Road, Birmingham B5 7ST, UK | Tel: +44 (0)121 248 2000 | www.rospa.com
21-24 May 2007 - FIREX 2006 International Fire Expo
National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK
23 May 2007 - FABIG Technical Meeting - Managing Explosion Risks.
The Institution of Structural Engineers, 11 Upper Belgrave Street, London, SW1X 8BH
Contact: Julia Hodge, FABIG, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1344 636546 | Email: email@example.com | www.fabig.com
24 May 2007 - FABIG Technical Meeting - Managing Explosion Risks
Hilton Aberdeen Treetops, 161 Springfield Road, Aberdeen, AB15 7AQ UK
Contact: Julia Hodge, FABIG, UK | Tel: +44 (0)1344 636546 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.fabig.com
24-26 July 2007 - Americas' Fire and Security Expo 2007
Miami Beach, Florida, USA
7-8 November 2007 - RE07: Annual Conference: Fire Related Research and Developments
The Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh, UK
Contact: Fire Service College | www.fireservicecollege.ac.uk/up-coming-events
21-23 November 2007 - Fire India 2007 exhibition and conference
Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, India
Contact: Mayur Lalit, Services International B 9, A-Block, Local Shopping Complex Naraina Vihar, New Delhi 110028, India | Tel: +91 11 25770411 / 0212 | Cell: +91 9312 393 789 | Fax: +9111 25778876 | Email: email@example.com | www.fire-india.com
Abbreviated Minutes of the FIG (UK) Meeting on Wednesday, 21 March 2007 held at IHS, Bracknell
- John Roy, IHS
- Amanda Collicutt, Fire Service College and John Roy, IHS.
- John Roy (IHS), Penny Morgan, Wendy Ross (Royal Berkshire FRS), Anna Wesson (DCLG/DfT), Sally Walsh (JH Burgoyne & Partners), Amanda Collicutt (Fire Service College), Gail Parlane (LFEPA), Nigel Herring (Bureau Veritas), Simon Hayes (FPA)
- Stephen Lloyd (BSRIA), Lis Riley (Hawkins & Associates), Sheila Pantry (Sheila Pantry Associates, Ltd), Jackie Green (Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service), Brian Saville, (West Yorkshire Fire Service), David Lane, (Lane, Jefferies & Associates) , Dr Roger Berrett, (Roger Berret Associates) , Helen Griffiths (Institution of Fire Engineers), Norman Simmonds and Jim Mann, Fire Service Inspectorate - both now retired)
The meeting welcomed Anna Wesson from Communities (DCLG is to be spoken of "as CLG or Communities") who has taken on the fire specialist role now that Tony Timmons has moved to the Food Agency.
FIGUK's behalf John Roy thanked Julie Caulfield of IHS Marketing for her organisation of the meeting and the goody bags provided.
Membership various people and organisations had been contacted.
Simon Hayes explained that Joanne Pepper had been the replacement FPA representative but had recently left and he was now the contact. He is based at Moreton-in-Marsh and his background is in IT but he is interested in the information management issues he was hearing about in FIG.
Norman Simmonds had sent a farewell e-mail before leaving DCLG (as had Jim Mann). The Fire Information Service has been suspended and there is no decision as to the reference material that was held by the Inspectorate and no dissemination of future plans to any interested parties.
Research Event 2006 although there was no poster stand Gail had updated the FIG leaflet and both the LIRC and IFE stands carried the information and post-its for delegates to pick up.
Accounts were circulated for the end of year 30th September 2006. The auditor recommended that the same year end each year of 30th September be used to audit the accounts. Gail Parlane proposed this action and Penny Morgan seconded.
All agreed to continue to use the same accountant Linda Earl in 2007.
Membership - new recruits
Discussion centred on raising awareness, the perceived and actual benefits of membership and what marketing tools we should use to aid recruitment. Gail agreed to check any copyright issues (a LFEPA colleague had helped design it) so that the new leaflet could be converted into pdf and put onto the website. (NB Now on website)
Awareness raising of FIGUK is very important. Could be raised at seminars, conferences and exhibitions attended by FIG members.
The campaigning role of FIG in highlighting issues - such as the need for a fire archive, digitisation and retention of fire information resources - was talked of and it was decided that there should be an update of the report presented to Government on the loss of resources.
It was noted that Jack Sullivan of Valiant had joined FIG UK.
AC / PM / SP to co-ordinate this.
Various pieces of information from Members:
Late news from Lis Riley of Hawkins - long time FIGUK member has given notice to leave Hawkins after 12 years service. Lis will be leaving on 22 June 2007 to join Huntingdon Life Sciences. We wish Lis every success in her new post. She will also completing her information studies this year and graduates late Summer... so double congratulations!
Anna Wesson explained that the CLG Library had amalgamated several libraries into one but that a further building move was possible. Sue Westcott, the Head Librarian, had moved into an IT role and interviews were taking place for her replacement.
Penny Morgan asked Anna Wesson what has happened to the original Home Office Fire Information Collection and suggested that if it had been passed on to CLG and if there is a shortage of space there that the Fire Service College Library and Information Resource Centre should be offered any stock before it is thrown away.
Wendy Ross said her role was now as an IT trainer, including information skills training.
Amanda Collicutt gave the dates and venue of the Fire and Rescue Conference Fire & rescue 2007 as 22-24 May 2007 at the NEC Birmingham - this combines the previously autumn FIRE exhibition and Conference with Fire Expo; inFIRE Conference to be held on 14-18 May 2007 at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada on the theme Beyond Borders - Partnerships; Research Event (RE07) 7-8 November at Fire Service College; Fire Service College open day 8 September which was also the National Heritage open day. The Library & Information Resource Centre (LIRC) would be participating in the Open Day.
Amanda outlined her initial idea of a presentation and discussion forum session at RE07 on the issues surrounding the continuing availability of fire information, digitising, archiving and her discussions with Helen Griffiths of IFE about presenting their progress and plans on the Virtual Fire Academy as part of that forum. Amanda invited partners from FIGUK to aid developing this idea for RE07 and Penny Morgan agreed to participate on the day.
The Centre of Excellence concept at/for the College is continuing to be developed and is at Consultation phase.
Gail of London Fire Brigade said that the move of the London Fire Brigade library is projected for the end of September
Simon of the FPA gave an account of some of the current projects of the FPA e.g.
- The FPA has been doing a lot of risk management work.
- FPA are working to integrate their Fire database with the government gazetteer so that loss adjusters can easily identify buildings for which they are assessing loss.
- FPA is assessing navy sprinklers for the MOD
- FPA is conducting a project on how feasible it would be to report fires over the internet, given that a fire would rapidly shut down internet access
- There will be a national database of all FTL1s (this prompted discussion on how the confidential personal information will be dealt with. Wendy said Berkshire Brigade keeps 2 parallel sets of digital information - the internal version has the full data including personal information but the externally available version does not include that information.)
During the general discussion that followed Sally explained that the Trading Standards Institute website makes available the last six months of PRNs (Product Recall Notes). It was agreed that Sally will draft a letter to TSI asking them to put their full archive of all PRNs on their website and that FIG members will have an opportunity to sign this letter.
It was unanimously agreed that FIG grant honorary membership to Colin Simpson in recognition of his work for the Fire profession (proposed Penny, seconded Nigel)
Sheila Pantry sent a note for Members
- Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd have cancelled arrangements with OVID/SilverPlatter, for their software and hosting services and have transferred all their electronic information onto the Head Software International Ltd software and hosting services. Anyone wishing to have a trial of FIREINF or OSH UPDATE or IRISH OSH UPDATE should register at www.sheilapantry.com/interest.html
- EurOhse2007 Conference - Spring into OSH will take place on 19 April 2007, Imperial Hotel, London.
- New book will be published in May 2007 by FACET Publishing - Managing Stress and Conflict in Libraries by Sheila Pantry OBE BA FCLIP see www.sheilapantry.com/press/press11.html
- During the general discussion that followed Sally explained that the Trading Standards Institute website makes available the last six months of PRNs (Product Recall Notes). It was agreed that Sally will draft a letter to TSI asking them to put their full archive of all PRNs on their website and that FIG members will have an opportunity to sign this letter.
- It was unanimously agreed that FIG grant honorary membership to Colin Simpson in recognition of his work for the Fire profession (proposed Penny, seconded Nigel)
11.00 am on Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at the Fire Service College, Moreton in Marsh.