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  • May 07, 2019 2:28 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from CantonRep

    Historical sites do their best to be prepared in case of an emergency.

    When area museum professionals learned a fire had broken out in the historic Cathedral of Notre Dame earlier this month, their hearts sank.

    Quickly their thoughts returned home to the institutions and treasures they have been tasked with protecting.

    Many local institutions have emergency preparedness plans, but officials admit there is only so much they can do to prepare for disasters such as fires, flooding or tornadoes.

    On May 1, museums and other organizations that preserve collections around the world will mark MayDay, an annual call to action to improve disaster readiness that encourages museum professionals to review and update disaster plans, conduct building evacuation drills, eliminate hazards and identify and label priority collections for evacuation during an emergency, among other initiatives.

    Stark County is home to more than 80 museums and historical sites ranging from the Canal Fulton Heritage House and Old Canal Days Museum, Spring Hill Historic Home and three accredited museums: the Massillon Museum, Pro Football Hall of Fame and Canton Museum of Art.

    Emergency plans are a big conversation in the museum world, said Samantha Kay Smith, director of Spring Hill Historic Home in Massillon.

    “When you see something like (Notre Dame) happening or the fire at the National Museum of Brazil, you stop and think,” Smith said. The National Museum “lost not only a beautiful building, but it was the only place that had recordings of indigenous languages. We know what we have and what the importance of it is in the future.”

    Smith, along with Kimberly Kenney, executive director of the Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton, were among peers at an Ohio Museum Association conference when they learned about the Notre Dame fire.

    “When it was announced what was happening, it was like the whole room just deflated,” Kenney said. “It was so shocking. When this happens, it brings all the issues to the forefront. What would you do if it happened to us? What happens to these treasures when they are gone?”

    McKinley Museum has an emergency plan in place, Kenney said. Like many museums and historical sites, it has a smoke detection system and heat sensors. Fire doors are between exhibits.

    Kenney’s team undergoes regular training for emergencies. Systems are tested regularly and kept up to date, she said.

    Many times, she said, the best defense is making sure staff and volunteers are aware of their surroundings.

    It is a see something, say something mentally, Kenney said. She encourages those working and volunteering in the museum to speak up if something seems out of place or they smell something.

    “We are as best prepared as we can be,” she said. “The whole museum field, we know that everything we are doing is so precious to the community we serve. We preserve the history of our community, and we take that very seriously.”

    Forging a New Plan

    At the Massillon Museum, emergency preparedness plans evolve. Museum staff is gearing up for yet another update to their plan as their multi-million dollar expansion and renovation project is nearing completion.

    The museum will create a new plan based on the new footprint of the building, Executive Director Alexander Nicholis Coon said. The process could take six months to a year to complete.

    There is a lot that goes into planning for an emergency, Nichols Coon said, and it’s more than large-scale emergencies such as fires or flooding.

    The plans require thorough examination of evacuation plans, recording where everything is stored, designation of items that could not be replaced — Nicholis Coon points out in a museum that’s everything — as well as where items can be relocated in case of an event.

    The Massillon Museum has a partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to serve as a temporary location if either collection needs to be moved off-site.

    During the construction project, which has been underway since October 2017, disaster preparedness has been enhanced, Nicholis Coon said.

    They’ve increased pest monitoring and examination of building systems. During closing procedures, staff members are checking every door and ensuring all lights and other construction equipment is powered off and unplugged.

    The extra work has increased closing procedures by about 30 minutes for the museum’s small staff, but Nicholis Coon said it is necessary to ensure the safety of the museum and its collection.

    Regularly, the museum’s security systems are checked, as well as batteries in exit signs. Regular inspections check fire suppression equipment, including extinguishers and sprinkler systems.

    During her 17 years at the museum, Nicholis Coon has seen events that have threatened the collection, but having a staff prepared to monitor and quickly respond to the threats is key, she said.

    Boilers, vents, HVAC systems, windows, ducts, and access panels in the ceiling can be potential dangers to the items preserved in the museum, she said.

    Collection items are always stored away form these areas, Nicholis Coon added.

    In the new construction, designers were deliberate in many decisions, such as not adding additional restrooms in upper floors. All of the museum’s restrooms are in the basement level.

    “It was conscious decision,” she explained. “Any possible flooding could threaten the collection. With the new construction, we were very thoughtful.”

    In the new Paul Brown Museum, a dry sprinkler system was installed so that water wasn’t sitting in the pipes, Nicholis Coon said.

    Kenney said many museums choose not to place sprinkler systems in their exhibit and collection areas because they could do more harm if they are activated, especially if it is a localized fire.

    A Different Battle

    Smaller organizations, such as Spring Hill Historic Home and local historical societies that manage historical sites and artifacts, have to manage emergencies like their larger counterparts but often with less resources.

    “Most of our funding is going to keeping the lights on and providing quality content and programming for our community,” Smith said, leaving little to dedicate to disaster planning.

    Spring Hill, built around 1821 by Thomas and Charity Rotch, holds various treasures detailing the earliest days of the Kendal and Massillon communities.

    For more than 150 years, the house was home to the Rotch and Wales family, was a sheep farm and a stop on the Underground Railroad.

    While funding is limited, the house is equipped with a security system that includes heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Fire extinguishers are hidden throughout the home.

    Smith explores webinars and other information about disaster planning, but it often focuses on flooding and other natural disasters that allow some planning.

    “If Spring Hill is flooding, we have a much larger problem,” Smith joked. She said it is very difficult to plan for a tornado and even harder to find resources and funding to plan for such events.

    While disaster planning might not be a top priority, Smith said it is never far from her mind.

    “The hardest part is you can only prepare for so much,” she said.

    Losing the treasures within the four walls of Spring Hill would be devastating, Smith said, adding the Rotch and Wales family witnessed so much throughout the start of the town and often recorded what they saw.

    While everything in the home is a treasure, Smith said, if she could save anything in the home it would be the archives that contains letters, diaries, wills and other documents, as well as family photos. Some of the items have yet to be explored and documented, she said.

    Spring Hill recently received a grant from the Ohio Local History Alliance to begin to digitize the collection. Working in conjunction with the Massillon Public Library, workers will begin with letters in the collection.

    If disaster were to strike, at least a digital version of the documents would be available, Smith said.

    Under Water

    Officials from the Canal Fulton Heritage Society understand the woes of natural disasters. Frequently, the society’s Canal Fulton Heritage and Old Canal Days Museum in the St. Helena Heritage Park, finds itself flooded from rising water of the canal that runs behind the museum.

    After heavy rain last spring, the basement of the museum flooded twice. It took days to remove the water and clean up the area, said Shelia Adams, vice president of the Canal Fulton Heritage Society.

    While none of the historical pieces is stored in the basement, the area is used for meetings and as a classroom for educational programs.

    To head off flooding, the group purchased a Dam Easy Flood Barrier. It installs easily in a doorway, and with a few pumps of air creates a seal to block out water.

    The historical society recently received the product, costing close to $1,000, and installed it during heavy rains a few weeks ago. They reinstalled it again Thursday with heavy rain expected this weekend.

    “So far, we don’t know if it works,” Adams said. “But it is very important to stop the water from entering the building and destroying the foundation.”

    The historical society also maintains the Oberlin House and William Blank House — also historical sites.

    Society members are mindful of the buildings and continue to keep their insurance policies active and fire suppression systems working properly.

    While funding is limited, Adams said, they do all they can do to protect the rare artifacts and the history housed in their museums.

    “Until disaster strikes, you never think it can happen to you,” Nicholis Coon said. “The best thing is to do all this work and be prepared and nothing ever happens. Not being prepared can be devastating.”

    See Original Post

  • May 07, 2019 2:25 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from WSB-TV

    The Woodruff Arts Center says it is investigating a security breach after an unauthorized third party caused a massive network outage, affecting many of the center's operations and systems.

    The Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art were all affected by the breach.

    “Upon learning of the incident, we immediately took steps to secure our systems and began working to implement enhanced security measures. Our team also began an investigation and an outside forensics firm was engaged to assist us,” the center said in a news release Friday.

    The Woodruff Arts Center said there is no evidence that anyone’s personal or financial information was released, but it has called police about the breach.

    Currently, you cannot buy tickets for any of the venues or their performances through their websites.

    The arts center said people can buy tickets at the box office for each venue or through Ticketmaster.

    “We are working to address the network outage and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our patrons and community. We remain committed to taking steps to further enhance our network security infrastructure in an effort to prevent incidents like this from happening again,” the center said.

    ...Each of the venues has also posted information about ticket purchasing and questions about the incident on their websites.

    See Original Post

  • May 07, 2019 2:21 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Stuff

    Changing expectations about what we want to see at museums is making it harder for curators to protect exhibits.

    Those involved in the sector say museums are expected to provide a "personal experience" and visitors are no longer content to stand and look at exhibits. Interactive displays are becoming the norm, as museums look to engage with visitors.

    On Saturday a woman who climbed on top of a rare $700,000 motorcycle exhibit at Te Papa highlighted the challenge facing curators.

    That led to another person coming forward after visiting the Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow exhibition at Te Papa.

    He described a child running amok with no parental supervision and aggressively pulling on a traditional flax piupui (skirt) on display.

      Te Papa spokeswoman Kate Camp said the museum covers three rugby fields and it is not possible to have staff observing everything that goes on.

    "With thousands of visitors a day there are always times when people will be in a space without staff right next to them. Most people are really sensible and respectful."

    Te Papa is a hands-on, interactive, and kid-friendly museum and the "vast majority" of visitors follow the rules and do not cause problems, she said.

    Allowing visitors to touch exhibits is a feature of Te Papa and she would not like to see that change. An exhibition opening shortly, even allows people to touch a genuine moa fossil.

    "That's an experience you're not going to get anywhere else in the world."

    Museums Aotearoa executive director Phillipa Tocker said getting the balance right between making exhibitions interesting and protecting displays was not easy.

    Visitors are now looking for a "personal experience" rather than just looking at static exhibits.

    Curators have to not only think about how people can enjoy an exhibit but also how the exhibit can be kept safe.

    A recent visit to the Waiouru Army Museum highlighted the challenge for museums, she said.

    "There was a sign saying 'our motorcycles don't jump on your children so please don't let your children jump on us'."

    In America, museums have uniformed security staff, that was not something she would not like to see here.

    New Zealand Rugby Museum curator Stephen Berg said the museum experience is changing.

    The museum has a scrum machine, which visitors are encouraged to test their strength against. The bolts holding it to the floor have been damaged twice with some visitors setting out to see how strong the machine is.

    People taking selfies and children not being supervised by parents are security issues that have to be dealt with.

    "Kids in the interactive area can become a bit boisterous, we do not throw them out, we just say 'you have had enough'."

    See Original Post

  • April 30, 2019 5:03 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Washington Post

    With a wall of red-orange flames rapidly advancing, and Notre Dame’s vast chambers reaching ovenlike temperatures, the commander of the Paris Fire Brigade made a painful choice Monday evening.

    He told his firefighters to retreat.

    Losing a beloved medieval relic would be devastating, of course, but losing human lives in a hopeless effort to save the building would be even worse.

    Jean-Claude Gallet, the commander, had a backup plan: Colossus, a 1,100-pound tanklike robot with the ability to venture into danger zones where conditions would quickly kill a person.

    Using a motorized water cannon capable of firing more than 660 gallons per minute, Colossus took aim at the stone walls of the ancient cathedral and began spraying. In an interview with the Times of London, Gallet credited the firefighting robot with lowering temperatures inside the glass-filled nave and saving the lives of its human counterparts as an even greater disaster loomed.

    “Time was against us, the wind was against us and we had to get the upper hand,” Gabriel Plus, a spokesman for the fire brigade, told the paper. “The priority we set was to save the two belfries. Imagine if the timber of the belfries had been weakened and the bells had collapsed. That was really our fear. In the beginning, it was not impossible to imagine that the cathedral structure could collapse.”

    The machine’s heroic role in defense of Notre Dame may be remembered as the beginning of a new era of robotic firefighting. Over the last decade or so, experts say, various countries and organizations have begun developing machines that fight fires and gather information, potentially offering a sophisticated new tool in a fire department’s arsenal. The machines keep people out of harm’s way and provide an alternative to the age-old practice of hauling a heavy, unwieldy fire hose into a cluttered building.

    Colossus is far from the only robotic firefighter available for action.

    In China, video has emerged of firefighting robots taking part in drills alongside human firefighters. Howe and Howe Technologies — a company that specializes in creating military vehicles and robots — has developed several firefighting robots that are designed to operate in industrial environments using foam or water.

    Lockheed Martin’s Fire Ox, a robotic firetruck that can be controlled using a “game style controller,” was designed to fight wildfires or structure fires, Myron Mills, who helped develop the vehicle, told Bloomberg News in 2014. The U.S. Navy has also begun experimenting with a 5-foot 10-inch humanoid robot to fight fires. The Terminator-like machine was designed to throw propelled extinguishing agent (PEAT) grenades and handle a fire hose, according to CNN.

    The Colossus robot is deployed “with the Paris Firefighter Brigade and with many other French or foreign Regional Services of Fires & Rescues,” according to Shark Robotics, the French company that created the machine. The robotics company’s website doesn’t reveal the robot’s price tag, and the company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    Shark Robotics says the Colossus — which is 2.5 feet wide and 5.25 feet long — can carry 1,200 pounds and be operated from almost 1,000 feet away. Controlled using a joystick, the machine is waterproof and fireproof and can even withstand thermal radiation, according to the company. It can crawl up stairs.

    The machine’s lithium ion batteries can last for up to eight hours, and the robot can be equipped with cameras, sensors and a smoke-extracting fan.

    Brian Lattimer, the vice president of research and development at the safety engineering and consulting firm Jensen Hughes, said operating in dangerous environments is only part of the appeal of firefighting robots. In the near future, he said, robots will be equipped with sensors that allow them to see through heavy smoke and steam, locating obstacles and identifying “hot spots” that can be targeted with water.

    Right now, he said, one of the downsides to robots is they operate best in open environments — like a warehouse or a spacious cathedral. Over time, he said, the machines will be equipped with increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence that will allow them to operate with more autonomy, presumably as the machines become more agile.

    “The goal will be for firefighters to be in the loop with these robots to assist and evaluate the hazards so they can plan an effective response,” Lattimer said. “Eventually, we’ll have collaborative teams of robots — in the air and on the ground — that will work closely with people and reduce the risk to human life.”

    See Original Post

  • April 30, 2019 4:58 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Telegraph

    Dozens of climate change activists laid down on the floor in the Natural History Museum as part of a 'die-in' protest as Extinction Rebellion demonstrations entered its second week.

    At least 100 protesters are said to be inside the London museum in an event to raise awareness of what they claim is a 'sixth mass extinction'.

    Police were called to the landmark.

    A Natural History Museum spokesman said: "The peaceful protest was supervised by Museum staff to ensure the safety of visitors and allow them continued access to the galleries. It took place without incident."

    The latest protest comes as police confirmed more than 1,000 people have been arrested during an entire week of climate change protests in London.

    Waterloo Bridge was reopened overnight having been occupied by Extinction Rebellion activists since last Monday, Scotland Yard said.

    Demonstration sites at Oxford Street and Parliament Square were also cleared on Sunday, while a sanctioned protest continues at Marble Arch, according to police.

    The Metropolitan Police said 1,065 people had been arrested in connection with the demonstrations by 10am on Monday, while 53 of those had been charged.

    Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott was one of the activists arrested as police moved to clear Waterloo Bridge on Sunday evening.

    Mr Stott, who is now studying for a degree in psychology, told the Telegraph he had spent several hours in custody before being released at around 4am yesterday morning.

    He said: "I was released under investigation so will have to wait to see if I am going to be charged, but I do not regret my actions for a moment.

    "Because of my public profile through my Olympic achievements I feel very strongly that I should use that platform. It is a privilege I have been given and I think I have an obligation to get involved in this campaign."

    Mr Stott said he had always felt very close to nature through his sport, but said he had become more involved in environmental issues after he retired from international canoeing.

    He said: "Once I retired I had more time and I began learning more about global warming and other issues. I believe there is a moral legitimacy about what we are doing. I realise that these actions are causing disruption and I am sorry that it has come to this, but the collapse of civilisation, which is what we are talking about, will cause an awful lot more disruption."

    The London 2012 canoe slalom champion was carried from the bridge by four officers at around 8.30pm as he shouted about the "ecological crisis".

    Members of Extinction Rebellion are suggesting temporarily ending disruptive tactics to focus on political negotiations as they enter their eighth day of campaigning.

    A spokesman said there would be no escalation of activity on Easter Monday, but warned that the disruption could get "much worse" if politicians are not open to their negotiation requests.

    The group will no longer hold a picnic on the Westway by Edgware Road Underground station, which would have stopped traffic on the busy A-road on the last day of the long Easter weekend.

    Instead, at Marble Arch, the only police-sanctioned protest space, activists will meet to "vision what's going to happen in the coming week", an Extinction Rebellion member said, as she introduced Swedish activist Greta Thunberg to the stage.

    The 16-year-old was met with cheers as she told a crowd of hundreds that humanity was at a crossroads.

    Earlier on Sunday, in what the group later said was an internal memo intended to garner feedback from members, Farhana Yamin, the group's political circle co-ordinator, said they would shift tactics to "focus on political demands".

    She added: "Being able to 'pause' a rebellion shows that we are organised and a long-term political force to be reckoned with."

    See Original Post

  • April 30, 2019 4:47 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from BGR

    The National Archives Museum in Washington DC is more than 80 years old and houses everything from important presidential papers to some of the nation’s founding documents, like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Which is why it would have been a monumental loss to the country if the arsonist who tried to burn the museum down Thursday night had succeeded.

    Grainy security footage the museum released on Friday showed someone wearing dark clothing and what looks like a hood appearing to set a container down along the side of the building that faces Pennsylvania Avenue, light it on fire and then run off. The museum suffered some minor damage, and while the suspect is still at large no one was hurt and the museum overall is fine.

    “Security officers discovered the blaze and unsuccessfully attempted to put it out, but a fire department responded and was able to extinguish the flames,” the National Archives said Friday in a statement posted to its website. “Facilities staff are cleaning the area today … The incident is under investigation by multiple agencies, including the NARA Office of the Inspector General.”

    The statement goes on to note that anyone who might have information is asked to contact the NARA OIG hotline at 1-800-786-2551 or by visiting

    According to the National Archives recap of its history, the museum was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt, and its major holdings date back to 1775. The records on file include slave ship manifests, as well as the Emancipation Proclamation; plus “captured German records and the Japanese surrender documents from World War II; journals of polar expeditions and photographs of Dust Bowl farmers; Indian treaties making transitory promises; and a richly bound document bearing the bold signature ‘Bonaparte’ — the Louisiana Purchase Treaty that doubled the territory of the young republic.” In other words, anyone who cares at all about the country’s past should be glad Thursday night’s attempt at destroying the museum didn’t work.

    See Original Post

  • April 23, 2019 2:43 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Artsy

    Roughly 90% of the priceless artworks and artifacts housed in Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral were saved from Monday’s disastrous fire due to firemen and other emergency personnel perfectly executing emergency contingency plans established for such an occasion. The contingency plan involved prioritizing objects for removal and incorporated such tactics as forming a human chain to safely remove them.

    Insurance adjuster and director of fine art at Sedgwick, Michel Honore, was in charge of assessing damage to the cathedral’s treasures. Honore told Reuters:

    The plan itself worked perfectly and was adhered to the letter and that is why the contents lost is not as severe as might have been feared. [. . .] One of the first items to come out was the crown of thorns and the remnants of the crucifix. They were on the top of the list and they were taken out in priority in strict application of the plan.

    Artworks saved from the blaze are being housed at the Louvre while damages are assessed. As for what caused the cathedral to go up in flames, the leading belief is that an electrical short-circuit started the fire. Investigators, however, are not yet allowed to search Notre Dame’s interior due to safety hazards.

    See Original Post

  • April 23, 2019 2:40 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management

    ​The Notre Dame Cathedral fire’s destruction impacts the cultural arts community, as well as the world at large. While this iconic structure and Paris’ symbolic center took centuries to build, a fire on 15 April horribly damaged the medieval Catholic cathedral in a matter of hours. 

    While firefighters focused on containing the fire’s spread, frantic rescue efforts were launched by the culture ministry and others to safeguard the cathedral’s masterpieces and relics. These irreplaceable artifacts include the cathedral’s renowned 18th century organ (with more than 8,000 pipes), and the crown of thorns said to have been worn by Jesus during his crucifixion—one of the world’s most priceless relics, which was brought to Notre Dame in August 1239. The ministry is transferring other works across Paris to the Louvre where they will be dehumidified, protected, and eventually restored.

    Although currently considered an accident related to renovations, an ongoing investigation aims to determine the cause of the fire. In the meantime, however, security practitioners should ask if best practices were in place to prevent and respond to the incident.

    Frédéric Létoffé, the co-president of a group of French companies that specialize in work on older buildings and monuments, spoke to The New York Times and said Notre Dame had fire detectors that functioned continuously and was equipped with dry risers—empty pipes that firefighters can externally connect to a pressurized water source. 

    Létoffé added that the cathedral did not have automatic sprinklers in the wooden framework of its roof, where the fire started, and that its attic space was not compartmentalized with fire-breaking walls, which could have prevented a blaze from spreading.

    Notre Dame’s rector, Monseigneur Patrick Chauvet, said on 16 April that fire monitors routinely inspected the cathedral. “Three times a day they go up, under the wooden roof, to make an assessment,” he told radio station France Inter.

    The Notre Dame fire is not a unique incident. Several cultural heritage sites around the world were either completely or partially destroyed by fires, including The National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in 2018, La Fenice opera house in Venice in 1996, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in 1994, and Windsor Castle in Windsor in 1992. 

    Not only cultural institutions but all facilities should have a risk management plan in place. Risk can be defined as “the chance of something happening that will have a negative impact on our objectives.” Security professionals must consider both the chances of happening and expected impact. The impact of risks can be expressed in terms of the expected loss of value to the heritage asset.

    Although terminology is often interchanged, there are five basic steps in the risk management process: 

    1. Identify the risks (potential causes)

    2. Analyze the risks (probability of occurrence)

    3. Evaluate the risks (magnitude, priority)

    4. Solutions (select best options)

    5. Monitor (risk management is an ongoing process)

    Security managers of cultural properties should consider the following questions as they conduct their risk analysis and develop their risk management plan: 

    1. What are the possible imminent risks to a cultural property?

    2. What are the risks of highest probability?

    3. Which of those are expected to cause greater and wide-ranging damages?

    4. Do damages differ from one cultural property to another?

    5. Do these damages suddenly occur or are they accumulative over time?

    6. How can these damages be well understood and assessed for sound decision making relevant to mitigation and prevention?

    7. What are the priorities, given available human capital and budgets?

    To mitigate the risk of fire at their respective institutions, security professionals need plans in place for minimizing legacy loss and finding ways to protect valuable cultural heritage. Particularly in the cultural environment, they need to strive to find innovative ways to prevent fires and avoid, where possible, fire-fighting techniques that might cause inadvertent destruction of the artifacts they are seeking to protect.

    As evidenced by the scores of Parisians and tourists who watched, cried, sang, and prayed for Notre Dame during the fire, cultural heritage is not just about monuments or traditions, but about the people who identify with the underlying culture. When security professionals understand this concept, they can help reduce invaluable losses and effectively manage the economic consequences.

    See Original Post

  • April 23, 2019 2:32 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from IFSEC Global

    The Notre Dame blaze has been described as a “wake-up call” for the guardians of the Palace of Westminster, with restoration works on the crumbling structure not due to start until the mid-2020s.

    MPs and peers voted last year to vacate the venerable building while a multibillion-pound programme is carried out.

    But the fire that ripped through the 850-year-old Parisian cathedral on Monday, devastating the roof and causing the spire to collapse, will surely have spooked those responsible for protecting historic buildings the world over.

    Fires in heritage buildings are at once enormously costly in cultural and financial terms and uniquely vulnerable to myriad fire risks. Often built hundreds of years ago, any fire engineering they might have is unavoidably bolted on rather than built in from the outset.

    This article collates advice on this fiendishly complex issue from the Fire Protection Association, Fire Industry Association and Devon and Somerset FRS – as well as a characteristically ill-informed suggestion to avoid from the current occupant of the White House.

    Blame game

    The Notre Dame blaze, believed to have begun just below the roof, is believed at present to have been accidental.

    Some officials have suggested extensive renovation works taking place at the cathedral might have been involved – with one expert in fire science noting a long history of churches, synagogues and temples going up in flames while under repair.

    A lengthy, complex investigation will also examine the suitability of fire prevention systems and frequency and thoroughness of maintenance work at the cathedral.

    A spokesman for Notre Dame insisted fire detectors had been installed “all over”, together with a computerised security system equipped with 24-hour surveillance.

    Round-the-clock fire safety patrols have saved the Palace of Westminster from catastrophe countless times in recent years. Forty fires broke out, and were promptly extinguished by wardens, between 2008 and 2012 alone.

    Given an ageing electrical system and lack of fire compartmentalisation experts have warned that fire could spread quickly and unpredictably through the neo-gothic building’s maze of shafts and corridors.

    “Heritage buildings offer a unique challenge to the fire risk assessor and fire engineer,” according to an article on the Fire Industry Association website. “Historic buildings seldom have any significant fire engineering in them and are frequently used for a purpose completely different to their original intent. Often they are open to the public, which means we have to concentrate on means of escape.”

    Older buildings also often have hidden voids and cavities supported by dry timber construction through which fire can travel undetected.

    Firefighters also face formidable challenges if fire breaks out.

    Said Paul Bray, community safety protection manager at Devon & Somerset FRS: “The challenges of fighting a fire in a terrace of ‘heritage’ or buildings of substantial age are substantial. The fact that the fire is hidden also makes it almost impossible to tackle internally and externally without a major dismantling of the building fabric.

    How to mitigate fire risk in heritage buildings

    So how can you mitigate fire risks in heritage buildings?

    Said Paul Bray: “Even with the most attentive fire prevention and protection measures (such as fire alarms and fire separation), it cannot always be guaranteed that a fire will be contained and prevented from causing destruction. It can be significantly reduced through by the development of a comprehensive pre-survey of the impact on surrounding buildings during the construction phase.

    “We therefore advise that a full set of records, drawings, photos and other information is stored and is made available to us for use in any heritage building in the event of a fire. This would contribute to forming the basis of how the service will deal with each building in the event of a fire.”

    Devon & Somerset FRS notes that there is no standardised format for recording or presenting the findings of a fire risk assessment. However, those responsible for protecting heritage buildings should always produce and regularly review clear and comprehensive documentation. Once the risks are identified and assessed, they can then set out to reduce them.

    The Fire Risk Management in Heritage Properties handbook from the Fire Protection Association (published 2014) provides comprehensive guidance and advice on managing the risk of fire, fire risk assessments and complying with legal requirements. Aimed at all employees of heritage, traditional or listed buildings, it balance the imperative of preserving historic aesthetic features with the requirements for fire safety.

    The Fire Industry Association wrote that “The fire industry understands the sensitivity needed to preserve the aesthetics of historical buildings and has provided solutions compatible with these environments.

    In an article covering Fire Detection and Alarm, Emergency Lighting and Signs, it continued: “Above all, it is most important that heritage premises, like any other commercial building, comply with UK fire safety law to protect the staff, visitors and structure itself from fire.”

    FIA on alarms: The BS 5839-1 “Code of Practice takes a broad brush approach and doesn’t give specific advice for heritage buildings. Neither the law nor the Codes of Practice say how fire detection and alarm systems can be installed and remain sensitive to the historic nature of these buildings. We clearly don’t want red cables or conduit visible on lovely facades and wireless systems offer an obvious solution.”

    FIA on emergency lighting: “It is worth bearing in mind that required emergency light levels have increased dramatically since the late 1990’s. Regrettably, enforcers and installers were slow to realise this, which means that most emergency lighting systems in heritage building are lamentably poor.”

    FIA on signs: “Operators of heritage buildings are often tempted to put extinguishers out of sight. Most people see extinguishers every day in workplaces and public buildings and, for the most part, develop a blind spot to them. If you’re tempted to hide them, you must still indicate their location with signs.”

    Fire systems manufacturer Advanced Electronics has published a brochure aimed at specifiers, installers and persons responsible for fire safety management.

    Fire Systems for Historic and Heritage Sites offers advice on assuring orderly, safe evacuation and eliminating unwanted alarms to minimise visual or auditory disruption to the experience of tourists and visitors.

    Advanced systems are installed in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul; Durham Cathedral; The Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle; Iona Abbey; the Natural History Museum and Trinity Episcopal Church, Rhode Island.

    Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service developed Guidance and a Guidance Note providing information on fire safety precautions and management for historic buildings and damage control/salvage of priceless artefacts.

    Marking the one-year anniversary of a fire that destroyed the UK’s oldest hotel – the Royal Clarence Hotel – Protection of historic buildings from fire emphasised the importance of conducting regular fire-risk assessments.

    (In the wake of the Royal Clarence Hotel blaze, fire safety consultant Alan Cox posed a series of questions that need answering if lessons are to be learned.)

    Devon & Somerset FRS cited the following risks as warranting close attention when mitigating fire risks in heritage buildings:

    • Sources of ignition and fuel
    • Potential for fire to spread through the building
    • Adequacy of the fire alarm system
    • Means of access and escape
    • In rural areas: Water supplies and access for fire appliances
    • Any valuable contents you wish to prioritise...

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  • April 23, 2019 2:28 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from WNPR

    According to a new study, there's been a rise in the number of fatal workplace shootings that are unrelated to robberies. Workplace shootings aren't uncommon, but they don't always make headlines unless multiple people are killed. 

    It was 1998 when a Connecticut Lottery employee shot and killed four of his co-workers, angered by his salary and not receiving a promotion. Meanwhile, the controversial term "going postal" reflected a series of fatal shootings at post offices across the country by employees.

    "Workplace homicides really peaked in the mid-1990s and have been slowly declining over the last two-plus decades," said Dr. Mitchell L. Doucette, a health sciences assistant professor at Eastern Connecticut State University.

    Doucette and a team of researchers wanted to identify whether or not the causes of workplace homicides remained the same in recent years. They used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from 2011 to 2015. Law enforcement deaths were excluded from the analysis. During that period, there were 1,553 firearm workplace homicides. Many of the shooters were armed at the time of the incident.

    "What we see more recently now is that these crimes are more often committed as part of non-robbery events," he said. "This includes things like arguments, both arguments between employers and employees, arguments between customers and employees, as well as other types of crimes [like] intimate partner violence, mass shootings and other types of circumstances."

    Prior to this study, mass shootings weren't included as a type of workplace homicide so incidents like the 2010 Hartford Distributors shooting where the gunman killed eight co-workers and then himself, would've been excluded.

    Doucette is in the process of looking at state-level data to determine if states with less restrictive handgun laws have higher rates of these types of fatalities.

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