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17 Nov 2022
After a couple of years away, Detector Testers is soon returning to Cologne for the VdS FireSafety event. The event has become a key fixture in the German fire calendar, combining a fantastic exhibition and conference program which are both supported by leading companies from within the industry.
The DT team will be in attendance throughout the show demonstrating the latest solutions from the Solo, Testifire, and Scorpion ranges. In recent months, DT has seen record numbers of fire engineers make the switch to Testifire as they look to take advantage of the cost savings offered and increase productivity.
This will be a focus of the stand activities at VdS, so please drop by the stand and see how a switch to Testifire could benefit visitors and their business.
On Wednesday 7th December, DT will be hosting a speaker session in the Exhibitor Forum looking at the recent installations of our Scorpion solution and presenting how installing Scorpion makes for easy, compliant testing of hard-to-access smoke detectors and aspirating smoke detection systems.
The event promises to be a great success, DT hopes visitors can join them, please drop by Stand B-05 and talk with Markus, Hubert, or Alex.
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Mobile and wearable devices perform a variety of tasks for first responders, including providing awareness, communication, and data sharing. However, cybersecurity vulnerabilities of these devices may inhibit how well first responders perform their duties, and ultimately put their safety at risk. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) addresses security concerns about first responder mobile and wearable devices in publication NIST IR 8235. This article includes highlights gleaned from that report. Band 14 spectrum Equipment used by first responders may include technology designed for the general consumer and not with public safety applications in mind. There are potential repercussions if the equipment is procured without adequately considering the security and safety of first responders. These devices typically use the portion of the 700 MHz signal band designated for use by first responders, also known as the Band 14 spectrum. Mobile devices An outdated OS may leave a mobile phone vulnerable because it has not received the necessary patches Mobile devices typically use an Android operating system, although the operating system may be four or five versions behind the current one. An outdated OS allows a device to continue operating public safety applications, but it may also leave a mobile phone vulnerable because it has not received the necessary patches. testing criteria Engineers gather a series of mobile and wearable devices advertised for public safety use in their testing. Testing centered on eight security objectives – availability, ease of management, interoperability, data and application isolation, confidentiality, authentication, integrity, and a healthy ecosystem. Most mobile devices have built-in capabilities and information necessary to meet the security objectives of first responders. However, security is not automatically enabled on mobile devices. Enabling the security requires additional application programming interfaces (APIs). Testing engineers leveraged a free third-party mobile application called a Mobile Threat Defense tool to analyze potential or current vulnerabilities. Testing results A common attack uses a rogue base station as an IMSI catcher, which gathers a device’s information Testing showed that mobile devices are not able to detect a rogue/fake base station (not owned by the Mobile Network Operator), which can be used for person-in-the-middle (PitM) attacks to eavesdrop, perform a denial of service, or to gather information to track a user’s location. A common attack uses a rogue base station as an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catcher, which gathers a device’s information and can track a device from a base station to a base station. minimal functionality Examples of wearable devices include Bluetooth headsets, body cameras, and body sensors that monitor vital signs. Wearable devices are designed to have minimal functionality, which also limits their security capabilities. Wearables often do not have a screen display and require another (mobile) application to interface with the device. While Bluetooth specifications are improving and being updated, commercially available wearables still use older versions of Bluetooth, which provide minimal security. Impacting usability A device administrator can obtain information about prospective to confirm if devices have the required features Wearables can adhere to a minimum number of public safety security objectives; they are built to emphasize usability rather than security. Without proper hardening, however, a security attack could impact the usability of the device. Understanding an organization’s needs is the first step in making decisions about buying technology, suggests the NIST report. A device administrator can obtain information about prospective or current devices to confirm if devices have the required features. Security features Some devices have security features enabled automatically, but most require secure configuration to an organization’s specific needs. Public safety device administrators should consider both usability and security when applying security. Compliance monitoring First responder mobile and wearable devices should be monitored constantly to check for compliance, vulnerabilities, and other issues. Compliance monitoring will check for changes to the device configuration, such as changing the password or downloading an unauthorized application on the device. Vulnerability monitoring Vulnerability monitoring can check for concerns such as application, network, or OS vulnerabilities Vulnerability monitoring can check for concerns such as application vulnerabilities, network vulnerabilities, or OS vulnerabilities. A plan of action might be to remove a device from deployment and provide an alternative/backup device during an emergency incident, or it might be to disconnect a device’s access to a public safety resource. Best practices Best practices listed in the NIST report to guide public safety officials seeking to acquire mobile and wearable devices include: Identify public safety needs and devices Provide protection by applying security and training users Detect issues by logging and monitoring devices Respond with a prepared plan Recover by constantly improving ruggedization rating Mobile devices have advanced well and are capable of meeting most of the public safety security objectives, but there is room for improvement when it comes to capabilities such as rogue base station detection. Because of their limited functionality, wearable devices struggle to meet some of the public safety security objectives. Few devices are built with features that are specific to public safety, such as a ruggedization rating that meets the needs of firefighters.
Given the fire service’s mission to fight fires, it is sadly ironic that there are arsonists in our midst. Admittedly, it’s a small number when compared to the multitude of firefighters who work tirelessly to achieve their mission. However, firefighter arsonists can have a huge negative impact on the credibility of the fire service, the public perception of firefighters, and even on morale in the ranks. In reality, hundreds of arrests each year in the United States of firefighters are charged with arson, defined as the willful and malicious burning of property. Although reporting is scant, arsonist firefighters are typically white males between the ages of 17 and 25. But what would motivate a firefighter to start a fire? The simple answer: There is a range of motivations, and all firefighter arsonists do not fit neatly into a single profile. One motivation is a desire for the adrenaline rush that comes with active firefighting. Adrenaline Rush Some firefighter arsonists fit a pattern of starting with small fires and progressing to larger ones Firefighters who are bored by hours of inactivity might be lured by the excitement of a fire even if they have to create it. The excitement and competitiveness of a fire can be a tempting motivation during long, slow periods in a firehouse. Some firefighter arsonists fit a pattern of starting with small fires and progressing to larger ones. The progression might be from a trashcan fire to a dumpster fire to an automobile fire to an abandoned building fire and finally to an occupied building fire. Each step in the progression heightens the stakes and the resulting adrenaline rush. Hero Complex Another motivation is the “hero complex.” Drawn to the recognition for saving lives and property, a firefighter might be tempted to create a situation in which that recognition can occur. A “vanity fire” might be set by a firefighter so they can be the first to warn others, rescue someone, or otherwise display their firefighting skills to colleagues and the public. Other Motivations Other motivations might be vandalism, revenge, or monetary incentives. In the case of wildland firefighters, for example, a fire might be set to elicit more working hours (and extra pay). Peer pressure might also be a factor if other young firefighters are setting fires. Hearing stories of past heroism by older firefighters might motivate younger firefighters to resort to arson to become more active and involved in firefighting. Training exercise Training fires should comply with all the relevant NFPA standards, documentation, and paperwork There is a fine line – but it must be well delineated – between arson and setting a fire for a controlled burn or another training exercise. In the latter case, clear documentation and transparency must be deployed. Training fires should comply with all the relevant NFPA standards, documentation, and paperwork. Arson with good intentions, such as providing a training exercise, will not help to avoid prosecution. zero-tolerance policy If an intentional fire does not comply with the requirements of a controlled burn, it constitutes arson, and there should be zero tolerance. Starting any fire, no matter how small, is arson. Accomplices of arson can also be charged and prosecuted. Fire service leaders should enforce a written, communicated, and affirmed zero-tolerance policy that clearly states that fire setting is not acceptable. Education Fire departments should educate firefighters about the definition of arson and its consequences so that there is no margin for misunderstanding. Firefighter arson destroys the faith people have in firefighters and erodes the foundation of the fire service. After an arson incident, the firefighter’s former colleagues are left to deal with the aftermath while salvaging their reputations and that of the department. Retention and recruitment can suffer. preventive approach Some recruits may not be aware of the seriousness of arson, especially regarding a low-risk target Conducting background checks on firefighter recruits is one step departments can take, although evidence suggests that firefighters usually become arsonists after they join the fire service. Another preventive approach is to instruct firefighters about the seriousness and repercussions of setting fires and about the potential for boredom on the job. Some recruits may not be aware of the seriousness of arson, especially regarding a low-risk target such as a dumpster or vacant building. toolkit Fire chiefs and department leaders should always keep lines of communication open so that members feel safe to come forward with any information about arson, even anonymously. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) works with the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to promote an understanding of the historical and contemporary scope of the arson problem. They provide a “toolkit” designed to help departments implement measures to prevent firefighter arson and navigate an incident’s aftermath. The toolkit includes sample documents such as press materials, sample standard operating guidelines, checklists, etc.
The adoption of electric fire apparatus is accelerating their footprint in the industry. Fire departments from Los Angeles to Madison, Wis., from Portland, Ore., to Mesa, Ariz., have embraced the technology of electric and hybrid vehicles in the fire industry and are demonstrating the practical capabilities of this new generation of technology for the fire service. Sustainable commitment More municipalities worldwide are committing to sustainability and climate goals. Furthermore, truck producers in general are converting to electric drive systems. In the future, there will be fewer chassis available with conventional drivelines, making it necessary for fire trucks to go electric. Electric fire apparatus An electric fire engine is an innovative tool that will help reduce noise and harmful diesel emissions Electric fire apparatus made a big splash at recent trade shows, notably FDIC International in the United States and INTERSCHUTZ in Germany. An electric fire engine is an innovative tool that will help reduce noise and harmful diesel emissions and provide a flexible tool for firefighting and rescue operations from a technologically advanced platform. At INTERSCHUTZ, Rosenbauer presented a complete range of electric emergency vehicles, from municipal fire trucks including fully electric aerial ladders to Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles. fully electric fire truck A fully electric fire truck currently going into service in Los Angeles is the result of 10 years of research and development, with the Los Angeles City Fire Department working closely with Rosenbauer America to address the challenges and obstacles of deploying the truck within the city’s system. Two more Rosenbauer electric trucks are being demonstrated in fire departments in the U.S. and Canada, and another truck is coming next year. Rosenbauer projects that half of all vehicles they deliver to fire departments should be electrified by 2030. Addressing the issues with an electric truck Training and operations must be considered when replacing a traditional apparatus with a new electric truck Issues such as training and operations must be considered when replacing a traditional apparatus with a new electric truck. One change is more space available on the electric truck for equipment storage, says Rosenbauer. The City of Madison, Wis., Fire Department is deploying an Enforcer Volterra Pumper from Pierce Manufacturing Inc. The apparatus uses an “electro-mechanical infinitely variable transmission” that can switch imperceptibly between the electric and diesel modes. Fine-tuning the design The Volterra pumper will work on the front lines at Station 8, the city’s busiest fire station. Madison Fire Department worked with Pierce to “fine-tune” the design. The department seeks to have their electric trucks “mimic” the operation of the older trucks. In Madison, the city’s fleet manager is driving a push toward electrification throughout the vehicles used by the city; the Pierce apparatus enables the fire department to deliver on that expectation. The city anticipates buying two or three additional electric fire trucks in the next year or so. E-One Vector fire truck Additional features include a battery storage solution that offers a safer, lower center of gravity and regenerative braking EV Fire Group announced the all-electric E-One Vector fire truck last August and debuted it in multiple presentations on the FDIC International show floor in April 2022. The customizable Vector features a long electric pumping duration that allows four hose lines to be used for four hours on a single charge. Additional features include a battery storage solution that offers a safer, lower center of gravity and regenerative braking. cost-savings and efficiency Mesa, Ariz., is the first city to order the Vector, with delivery expected this year. The rig supports the City of Mesa’s Climate Action Plan, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. They expect the new rig will demonstrate potential cost-savings and efficiency of electric vehicles throughout city operations. In developing Vector, REV Fire Group worked closely with customers to identify their needs and fine-tune the product based on feedback. Volterra platform Oshkosh provides a Volterra platform for a hybrid ARFF vehicle, which is debuting at airports Pierce Manufacturing and Oshkosh Airport combined efforts to introduce the Volterra platform of vehicles for the fire and emergency market. Oshkosh provides a Volterra platform for a hybrid Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle, which is debuting at airports across the United States. Innovative fire suppression technology The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) meets the emergency response needs among airports. The first Striker ARFF deployment is at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Available on 4×4 and 6×6 chassis platforms, the Striker Volterra delivers superior chassis performance, advanced safety systems, innovative fire suppression technology, reliability, and durability.
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