North Wales training equipment manufacturer wins Queen’s Award for enterprise

Ruth Lee Ltd reports on being honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade

Based in North Wales, Ruth Lee Ltd is one of 220 organisations nationally to be recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Announced on April 21, Ruth Lee Ltd has been recognised for its excellence in International Trade, specifically for Outstanding Short-Term Growth in overseas sales over the last three years.

The business currently employs 30 people and was set up in the early ’90s and has gone on to become a world leader in the design and manufacture of training manikins for industries such as the emergency services, armed forces, lifeguards, maritime and health and social care. Exports represent 70 per cent of the total business and this is growing over-proportionately year-on-year. Ruth Lee Ltd currently sells to more than 50 countries, through a network of more than 40 distributors and has sent manikins to every continent on the planet.

Ruth Lee’s Managing Director, Paul McDonnell, said: “We are absolutely thrilled and proud to share this news during difficult times. Our export success is built upon strong foundations of quality and customer service – our international customers know and trust us to deliver the best possible products for rescue, safety and manual handling training. We work with a fantastic network of distributors across the world to supply manikins to organisations dedicated to improving their safety and training standards. We must thank them for their continued dedication to training.

“Most importantly, though, I must thank our outstanding team here in Corwen. I am proud of the hard-work and dedication shown by everyone – it is this which makes Ruth Lee Ltd the success it is today. We are over the moon to be awarded one of the highest business accolades in the country and will continue to work hard to prove that Wales is a key player when it comes to international trade.”

Now in its 54th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years. Ruth Lee Ltd has been invited to celebrate its award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners in the summer. Applications for Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2021 open on the first of this month.

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Free drone training for the emergency services

UK commercial drone expert, COPTRZ reports on providing free drone training courses for personnel within the emergency services throughout the Coronavirus crisis

Access to the COPTRZ online training portal, COPTRZ ACADEMY, will be free to workers within the emergency services. This includes all aspects of the CAA accredited PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) course qualification that can be completed remotely.

This continual learning platform enables emergency services professionals to continually develop and grow within a cloud-based ecosystem. Each week new resources including masterclasses, webinars and live videos will be delivered to academy members by industry experts from around the world.

Drones are already playing an integral part of the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak around the world, providing vital non-contact services such as inspection and dispersion of crowds, public broadcasting and the supply and delivery of vital equipment and materials.

Testing has also begun by some suppliers for wider drone uses within virus outbreak prevention solutions, such as body temperature measurement and spraying disinfectant.

Sam Denniff, COPTRZ UAV Strategist for Public Safety, said: “We want to support our emergency services in any way possible during these challenging times. Whether it’s increasing the capability of a current UAV team, or creating a team for the first time, we see it as essential that the emergency services are utilising the available drone technology for public safety, health, and order. Further to our ability to provide remote training, this is another step that COPTRZ are taking to make it easier for them to do so.”

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UKFSC 2020 postponed until 2021

Due to the the Coronavirus pandemic and the requirement for people around the world to minimise contact with others in efforts to contain the spread of the virus, the UKFSC committee reports on taking the difficult decision to postpone this year’s event and roll it forward to next year

As the world recovers and things begin to get back to normal, the biggest and potentially the best United Kingdom Firefighters Sailing Challenge (UKFSC) in its 17-year history will be missing a year for the first time and will be held next in 2021.

The planning and organising carried out by the committee will not go to waste. UKFSC 2021 will take place from Monday May 10 to Thursday May 13, 2021. The committee, with much appreciated cooperation from Sunsail, Fairview, Cowes Yacht Haven and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, has been able to ensure everything has been re-arranged for next year.

The UKFSC would also like to thank our Sponsors for 2020, WH Bence, EMILYRobot, Domestic Sprinklers, and Coldcut Cobra for their support at this time.

The event has continued to grow year on year. There are now more people taking part, more yachts being chartered, and more money being donated to charitable causes than ever before. The committee hopes that competitors and sponsors alike understand how the difficult circumstances faced this year have led to this postponement and feel able to continue to attend and support the event in 2021.

Dates: May 10-13

The yachts may be collected on Sunday evening for practice on the Monday if booked in advance. Many crews take advantage of this opportunity as the racing becomes more competitive each year.


Sunsail Port Solent Hampshire

Racing takes place in The Solent off the Isle of Wight on the UK’s south coast. Overnight marina berthing is in Gunwharf Quay on Monday and West Cowes Marina on the Tuesday and Wednesday.


There are two types of yachts; the brand new Sunsail Jeanneau 41.0s and the Fairview Beneteau 37s. Both are well equipped, fast and fun offshore yachts which crew up to ten and eight respectively. The 41.0s are designated as the Spinnaker Class the Beneteau 37s are the White Sails Class with a genneker option. Both are fast but forgiving and provide opportunities for those with less experience to get involved and gain experience alongside more seasoned sailors. Changing conditions on the racecourse will create opportunities for crews on both types of yacht.

Sponsors and Supporters

The growing list of sponsors supporting the event includes two Platinum Sponsors – EMILY and Bence. Coldcut Cobra is now a Silver sponsor and we have Checkmate Fire, Domestic Sprinklers and Terberg as Bronze sponsors.

We would be happy to speak with organisations interested in sponsoring the event this year or in future years.

Additionally, lots of other organisations support the event with donations of goods and services to help raise money for the UKFSC charitable causes, in particular, Elliot Brown, Nomad Sailing, Latesail, Coast, Niton 999, Elvis and Kresse, WAHSA, ISC Solutions, The Beer Emporium and Firesport UK.

The combined efforts of these organisations, the event participants and the UKFSC committee has enabled over £115,000 to be donated by UKFSC to charitable causes. This is something UKFSC is very proud of and we hope we are making a positive difference to the lives of the beneficiaries receiving these donations.

New this year as a way of generating more income for charity donations, UKFSC has branded merchandise available via Please take a look and see what is on offer.

If you would like to find out more about UKFSC, or you would like to help organising, or sponsoring, or you want to have a go at sailing this year please make contact through any of the links below, a committee member will answer your query or put you in touch with someone who can.



Twitter: @ukfiresailing Tweet about us using hashtag: #UKFSC2020

Facebook: United Kingdom Firefighters Sailing Challenge



Misting technology outperforms sprinklers

Testing undertaken by fire suppression specialist Plumis shows that sprinklers can take up to a minute longer than Automist to activate in response to certain fires. The company reports

In the latest detailed analysis of fires attended by fire and rescue services, published by the Home Office, figures show that cooking appliances were by far the largest ignition category for accidental dwelling fires and non-fatal casualties from accidental dwelling fires. These appliances accounted for 48 per cent of these fires and 51 per cent of non-fatal casualties 2018-19.

To understand how better to tackle these types of incidents, Plumis conducted tests at the Burn Hall at the Fire Protection Association to see how different fire suppression technologies measure up. From the testing, Plumis has published a video showing how sprinklers perform in comparison to Automist Smartscan against a challenging oil fire.

The results found that the traditional sidewall sprinkler activated after one minute and 49 seconds in comparison to the Automist Smartscan, which took just 55 seconds. Once activated, the Automist Smartscan was able to successfully put the fire out in one minute and eleven seconds. However, it took the sprinkler one minute and 45 seconds, which is just over half a minute longer than the misting suppression system.

High-pressure water mist, as used in the Automist Smartscan, is highly effective in protecting people and their homes against fires caused by deep fat fryers and is regarded as a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to sprinklers – using ten times less water to achieve the same result.

“The Home Offices’ report shows that in 2018-19 there were 253 fire-related deaths with 77 per cent of these occurring in dwellings and the majority of which, were caused by electrical equipment misuse, mainly cooking appliances,” said Yusuf Muhammad, co-founder of Plumis.

“With home cooking appliances, like chip pan fryers, being a common denominator in the cause of most accidental fires, we wanted to clearly show that there are faster systems available, which also cause less damage and can be used in most homes. When the Automist Smartscan detects a fire in a kitchen, it triggers a pump which drives mains water through the unique nozzle unit, quickly filling the room with dense fog, as shown in the video, which is able to suppress the blaze.

“While traditional thinking says that you should not use water to extinguish an oil fire, because bulk water sinks below the oil and boils, ejecting burning oil into the room, the very fine droplets produced by the Automist Smartscan are small enough to be carried by thermal air currents. This means that rather than sinking below the oil, they are drawn into the flame, successfully suppressing the fire directly.”

The testing follows a series of contract wins for Plumis with Lambeth Council to pilot its misting system in an array of housing schemes.

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Critical communication for firefighters

Hytera, a global leader in two-way radio communication, reports on the importance of fireground communications

When it comes to the public fire brigades’ services, the equipment used is generally governed by a set of national regulatory and operational requirements that vary slightly between countries.

Among these essential safety measures that must be adhered, is ensuring that the communication tools used are not only suitable for the extreme conditions – but can also be relied upon during critical situations.

This reliable communication is essential both for calls coming through to the fire station, to ensure that the appropriate fire appliances and crews are dispatched, through to the handheld devices that the firefighters use to communicate with their fire station when they are heading to incident to ensure clear communication and optimised management of incidences.

UK FRSs deploy a mix of both TETRA and Digital Mobile Radios (DMR) digital radios and some analogue radios. This mix might seem a little surprising at first, but Simon Bingham, senior account manager at Radiocoms Systems, which has supplied radio equipment to almost all of the UK’s fire and rescue services over many years, explains why this is.

“What happens in a typical fireground set up is that once the 999 call is made and the incident is booked into the system, the call goes to the fire station and the appropriate fire appliances and crews are dispatched. The fire appliances are equipped with TETRA mobile radios, which use the UK’s nationwide Airwave emergency services communications network.

“On the way to the fire or incident, the firefighters use the Airwave TETRA network to talk to each other and to the dispatcher in the command and control centre and to collect information on the incident on the way to the fire,” explains Simon.

However, once the firefighters are at the scene of the fire, they then rely on their hand portable two-way radios whilst managing the task at hand. It is at this stage that having durable and fall-proof solutions is most essential.

“In a typical house fire, you’ll have a team outside damping down the fire, spraying water and so on, and breathing apparatus (BA) teams working in pairs, who are counted in and out of the building by the entry control officer. They use two separate radio channels: a BA channel and an incident channel. The National Operational Guidance (NOG) for the Fire Service provides a standardised channel plan,” says Simon.

All of these communication solutions have to work together seamlessly for the firefighters to work safely and efficiently during the extremely time critical situations their job entails.

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Hot works fires in Wales

CE Safety, the health and safety training provider, reports on fires reported in the construction industry in Wales caused by hot works

According to figures from Fire and Rescue Service in South Wales, there were three fires in buildings under construction caused by hot work. Two incidents were caused by soldering and one by welding. There were no injuries reported.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that there was one fire incident in a building under construction. There were no casualties or fatalities recorded. The fire was caused by industrial equipment (welding/cutting equipment).

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service recorded 13 incidents related to ‘welding equipment’ within various property types.

The causes were also divided into:

  • Careless handling – due to careless disposal
  • Combustible articles too close to a heat source (or fire)
  • Natural occurrence
  • Negligent use of equipment or appliance (heat source).

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that there were no injuries reported.

Hot works refer to any task that requires using open flames or applying heat or friction which may generate sparks or heat. More specifically, it is defined by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in BS 9999 as: ‘Any procedure that might involve or have the potential to generate sufficient heat, sparks or flame to cause a fire’. Examples of hot works include welding, flame-cutting, soldering, brazing, grinding and the use of other equipment incorporating a flame.

Hot works pose a particular threat within the construction sector as the cause of multiple fires in buildings. The most common examples of hot works and those that can pose significant risks without proper safety precautions are:

  • Brazing and soldering
  • Gas/electric welding cutting apparatus
  • Grinding wheels and cutting discs
  • Thawing pipes
  • Open flames, blow lamps and blow torches
  • Bitumen and tar boilers
  • Hot air blowers and lead heaters.


Gary Ellis from CE Safety said: “A variety of industries, construction, in particular, may require hot work to be carried out in their premises as part of routine work activities. It is also frequently carried out as part of contractual work, which is common in construction. However, no matter who does it, they must know what kind of hazards hot work presents and how to prevent it from causing harm.”

The fire hazards posed by hot works:

  • Flying sparks are the principal risk posed by hot works and they can easily get trapped in cracks, pipes, gaps, holes and other small openings, where they could potentially smoulder and cause a fire to break out.
  • The debris and residue which hot work creates, such as flammable swarf, molten metals, slag, cinder, and filings, are often combustible.
  • Hot works can cause pipes to substantially heat up and easily transfer, through the process of conduction, to another flammable surface and cause a fire.
  • Failure to remove flammable materials or substances from a surface before commencing work means that they could easily become hot and cause a fire.
  • In certain environments, there may be potentially explosive vapours or gases in the air which are highly combustible and could ignite if exposed to hot works. In a similar vein, hot works could generate fumes which, in turn, create an explosive atmosphere.


Ellis added: “The consequences of these hazards can be severe and costly for any business. Injuries can result in workers taking time off work, while a serious fire could damage a building irreparably. Both of these could even lead to legal consequences under certain circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how to implement appropriate safety controls.”



Fire panel receives certification from VdS

Kentec Electronics report on achieving EN 54-2 and 4 VdS approval for Taktis, its most powerful and sophisticated analogue addressable fire panel

The approval will enable the business to expand its global operations into the central European market. As one of central Europe’s leading independent testing institutions, VdS certification is required for manufacturers to sell and install fire safety systems in Germany and other central European markets such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland, where the UK’s LCPB certification is not recognised.

Kevin Swann, Managing Director of Kentec, says the accreditation offers a competitive advantage that reinforces the company’s long-established reputation across Europe: “This accreditation adds to our EN-54 approvals and creates assurance and confidence within the German market that our fire panels deliver the highest standards of fire protection. Our products are already proven in more than 90 countries worldwide, and this latest certification is yet more evidence of the quality of our systems in design and performance.”

Taktis is available in 2-8 loops and the 8-16 loop panels provide a flexible and expandable complete solution (including a full suite of graphics, communications – copper and fibre, analytics and remote management tools). The latest 16 loop variant extends the current Taktis fire panel to 16 detection loops to provide up to 144 zone indications. It supports more than 2,000 detection devices and can network up to 127 panels, making it ideal for the largest sites such as schools, hospitals, multi-site retail/supermarkets, critical infrastructure and major commercial and industrial facilities.

Multiple protocols can be supported on each panel to give installers and end-users maximum choice in their systems’ design, and the scalable nature of the product provides the highest level of futureproofing and networking possibilities.

A key feature of the whole Taktis range is its ease of use. A 7” full colour resistive touch screen display and a clear, uncluttered intuitive user interface makes it easy to use even for those with minimal or no training, essential in the event of an emergency. The display can also be customised with client branding and logos.

Kevin adds that with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic it is more important than ever to ensure manufacturing businesses do everything they can to keep the supply chain as straightforward as possible.