Wormald’s proactive stance on firefighting foam contamination

AFFF fluorine free foamAmidst growing concerns over the environmental impact of fire suppressing foams, Wormald is making changes to ensure we have solutions that limit the risk to environmental or human health while maintaining the highest standard of firefighting response.

Since the 1970s, Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFFs) have been used around the world to rapidly supress and extinguish fires. AFFFs are water-based firefighting foam products used to suppress flammable liquid fires by cooling the fire and coating the fuel, preventing its contact with oxygen.

However, in recent years AFFFs containing fluorine have been identified as having adverse impacts on the environment.  Historically, many of these foams include fluorinated surfactants such as PFOA and PFOS, which are part of a broader group of chemicals called PFAS substances. In response, Wormald has been working on migrating to more environmentally sustainable firefighting foams that are fluorine free.

In taking a proactive stance, Wormald has had its vehicle fire suppression system re-approved using environmentally sensitive fluorine free foam. This new environmentally sensitive foam concentrate is used in Wormald’s foam vehicle suppression system, and foam fire extinguishers. The pre-engineered fluorine free foam system has been approved using Solberg foam concentrate and a new Wormald fluorine foam concentrate. Both concentrates meet the performance requirements of the revised Australian Standard for vehicle fire protection, AS5062 – 2016. With only minor modifications to existing systems, such as an increase in cylinder pressure, these new fluorine foam concentrates are essentially ‘drop in’ replacements for the existing Wormald AFFF concentrate solutions containing fluorine.

Fluorine free foams have the distinct advantage that they can be discharged without the need for containment and disposal.  They also avoid the persistent, bio-accumulative and potentially adverse effects that AFFF concentrates can pose. Wormald will continue to develop solutions for customers who are looking to be more environmentally responsible in the firefighting solutions they use and store on their sites.

For more information on Wormald’s commitment to sustainable fire suppression solutions click https://www.wormald.com.au/environmental-management-fire-fighting-foam

Wormald signs exclusive agreement with Siebe Gorman

Wormald is pleased to announce it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Siebe Gorman, one of the world’s leading suppliers of respiratory equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus. Wormald is now the exclusive distributor of Siebe Gorman products in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the countries of the Pacific Islands. The new agreement brings together two of the most trusted and experienced brands within the fire protection industry, each drawing on their respective heritage and long-standing industry expertise. siebe gorman logo

The exclusive distribution agreement heralds a new era for both Wormald and Siebe Gorman with Wormald re-entering the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) market, and Siebe Gorman re-introducing its product portfolio to the Australian and other markets.

Siebe Gorman has been established for more than 200 years and has set new benchmarks in reliability, quality and innovation for the breathing apparatus industry.  Together with Wormald’s 125+ year heritage in Australia, this relationship is built on a firm foundation that will benefit the lives of those who work in fire protection and emergency services industries.

Visit Siebe Gorman and Wormald at stand #314 during the upcoming AFAC17 Fire & Emergency Management Conference & Exhibition in Sydney from September 4 to 7th, 2017 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney



A guide to the different types of fire extinguishers

By Dave Hipkins, national technical and product manager, Wormald New Zealand

fire extinguisher_blogHaving the right equipment is close at hand is vital for minimising the impact of fire. A serviced and functional fire extinguisher may mean the difference between a minor incident and devastating full scale fire.

When choosing a suitable fire extinguisher, one needs to consider which fire extinguishers will address the needs and hazards of each individual business environment.

Continue reading

Have you got the right fire protection solutions in place?

fire extinguisher_blogBy John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

A recent report from the NSW Building Professionals Board, developed in consultation with the fire protection industry, identified that the fire protection systems in many buildings are not installed in compliance with relevant standards. It also found that in some buildings, a deliberate decision was made to install a substandard system to reduce costs, creating potential fire traps.

Installing the correct fire protection solution can mean the difference between a small fire and a devastating blaze. Selecting a fire protection solution is a significant decision for a facility manager and cutting corners to save on costs is not recommended.

The first step in selecting a fire protection solution is to consult a fire protection specialist to conduct a fire safety audit of the property.  This will highlight potential fire risks around the premises and help to determine the best fire protection solution for the building. Hazards will vary depending on the nature of the business or property but may include electrical equipment, kitchen or heating appliances, stored combustible assets/materials and even combustible waste material.

A broad range of fire protection equipment is available, from basic fire extinguishers or hose reels, to passive fire solutions or advanced fire detection and suppression systems. When it comes to making a decision, facility managers should consider all relevant legislative requirements and standards, the size of the building, the materials being stored on premises and the purpose of the building. A downtown office building will have vastly different fire protection requirements to a high racking storage facility site, for example.

If it’s been a while since you’ve checked you’re fire protection solutions we suggest you call your fire protection service provider or call Wormald on 133 166 .  Wormald offers inspection and testing services to businesses of all types and sizes and we are constantly advancing the way technicians service client sites.

Using technology to maintain fire solutions on mine sites

Wormald_Mining 2

By John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

A fire in a mine can pose a very serious threat.  If under prepared, the consequences can be devastating.  The hazardous nature and typical remoteness of mining operations means that fire safety equipment and systems must be kept in peak condition to ensure they work effectively in the event of an emergency.

Protecting mine sites requires many different types of fire safety systems and equipment.  The types of environments may include process plants, underground conveyors, static and mobile plants, draglines, workshops, substations, monitored control centre rooms and switch rooms.  Unfortunately keeping everything checked and maintained can be a time intensive task that can easily slip down the priority list.

In accordance with the strict requirements for the servicing of fire suppression systems and equipment as outlined in the Australian Standard AS1851-2012 “Routine Service of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment”, it is vital that maintenance of fire safety systems and equipment on mine sites is kept up to date.  This includes inspection, testing, preventative maintenance , managing defects and repairs and survey activities.

To help mine site managers keep track of their maintenance obligations, mine sites are increasingly turning to new technology.  One such system is Wormald Connect, an online portal that can centralise and manage fire safety maintenance.  This web-based online portal provides 24 hour access to fire service calls and inspections data, and provides instant visibility to any system that may need routine maintenance and servicing.  It allows maintenance schedules to be booked at any time that suits and stores data for easy analysis or the data can be exported for further analysis or record keeping. Inspection summaries can also be filtered to suit a customer’s individual needs.

Entirely web based, the Wormald Connect service is available to all Wormald clients at no extra cost and there is no requirement for you to invest in proprietary software or hardware.

For mining companies, automated maintenance technology can be particularly beneficial to keep track of multiple mine sites that may be located across different states and territories. It can help centralise fire safety maintenance and ensure every site is safe and compliant.  The portal can also provide comprehensive reporting capabilities for each location, with data accessed in real-time around the clock provided there is access to the internet.

Knowing that a mine site’s fire safety equipment and systems are well maintained and regularly tested is reassuring and while automated maintenance technology can be a valuable tool, it should be noted that technology cannot replace the role of human intuition, management and accountability. Mine site safety managers need to remember that it is their responsibility to ensure fire safety requirements are met and that they adhere to regulations and relevant standards applicable in their State.

For further information about using technology to maintain mining operations, call Wormald on 133 166 or visit www.wormald.com.au.

Protecting NZ’s marae cultural sites from fire

Marae image_lower resBy Dave Hipkins, National Technical and Product Manager, Wormald New Zealand

Maraes are sacred historical places that often contain carvings and artefacts that would be irreplaceable in the event of a fire.  As most maraes are constructed from timber and many are located in remote locations, they are particularly vulnerable to fire.

Protecting maraes from the risk of fire requires both careful planning and technical knowledge.  Consideration must also be given to a marae’s heritage buildings which in some cases can be over 100 years old.  Inadequate or improper fire protection can also expose the marae’s community to danger, lead to potential injury or, in a worst case scenario, loss of life. Continue reading

Consider the fire risks in your warehouse

warehouseBy John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

Consider the fire risks in your warehouse

The losses that can be caused by a warehouse fire are significant.  As the shift to larger warehouse storage facilities and distribution centres continues, the fire protection solutions required are becoming more complex.

A major fire can quickly bring a business to a standstill with loss of goods and equipment, building damage, smoke damage and subsequent downtime just some of the outcomes when fires are not quickly contained. With the right solutions in place, the risk of minor mishaps or serious incidents can be averted or reduced. Designing a fire protection system requires expertise in fire behaviour and fire protection – both of which Wormald has developed through decades of experience.

In a warehouse environment, it is often the simple things that are overlooked.  Forklifts and containers blocking fire exits, missing or neglected fire extinguishers, a lack of exit lights, the accumulation of flammable debris, and overloaded electrical outlets are all common hazards that can be easily rectified.  Continue reading

Small business owners urged to conduct fire safety audit

SME Safety Security AuditFire can have disastrous consequences for business with many owners spending years trying to recover which is why it is important for business owners to carry out a fire safety audit of their premises to help protect against the risk of fire.

Wormald recommends that properties are checked annually to ensure that fire safety equipment is maintained and emergency processes in place to help reduce the risk of fire and its physical, emotional and financial impact.”

To conduct a thorough fire safety audit, Wormald Security recommends taking a systematic approach.  Business owners are advised to:

Locate a fire safety checklist from a trustworthy source such as their State police department or local fire service. Wormald also hosts security and fire safety factsheets online.

  1.  Conduct a risk assessment and survey the property for potential hazards. Move through the property from front to back, starting at the entrance, reviewing each space or room. It’s a good idea to contact a fire protection specialist to assist with the property audit.
    • Assess all entries to the premises, including through parking areas and emergency exits, and check they are secure.
    • Common fire hazards include electrical equipment, machinery, office equipment, paper refuse such as boxes and recycling bins, and kitchen appliances. Research conducted by Wormald found that the most common causes of workplace fires are electrical hazards (29 per cent) and machinery (27 per cent).
    • Check electrical equipment is working correctly and organise a professional to repair any faulty or exposed wires
  2. Ensure appropriate measures are taken to reduce the threat of fire:
    • Ensure main entry and exit points are well-lit and free of clutter for easy evacuation
    • Ensure all fire protection equipment is positioned correctly and maintained according to Australian Standards
    • Keep sprinkler heads free from obstructions such a boxes or cartons placed to close the sprinkler heads
    • Equip kitchen areas with a fire blanket and the correct fire extinguisher
  3.  Ensure every member of staff knows what to do in the event of emergency. For example, all occupants should know where fire protection equipment is located and how to use it.

To ensure the correct fire safety and security measures are taken, it’s advisable to contact a security or fire safety specialist. To ensure nothing is overlooked, property audits should be carried out during the day as well as at night. Business owners are also encouraged to consult a specialist to assist with an audit and help ensure the business is compliant with standards and legislation

To access the Wormald small business fire safety checklist click here.

How much do you know about smoke alarms?

By Garry Kwok, national manager of Wormald Australia’s Technical Services Group

In our last blog post John Lynch encouraged householders and businesses to think carefully about fire safety during the winter months.  Installing smoke alarms is one important fire safety measure – there’s no doubt that smoke alarms can save lives and, in the event of a fire, they can assist in providing the precious time needed to act or escape. But while a smoke alarm may seem like a generic product there are actually different types to choose from.

It’s important to take time to carefully select and purchase the most suitable smoke alarms for your building. For use in Australia, smoke alarms should be ActivFire listed to be compliant to Australian Standard, AS3786–1996. In New Zealand smoke alarms should also be compliant with AS3786 or other applicable Standards (UL 217, CAN/ULC S531, BS 5446 Part 1, EN 14604 or ISO 12239).

There are two main types of smoke alarms – ionisation and photoelectric – both of which work in different ways. Continue reading