CDS achieves RISQS status – offering assurance to rail and transport providers

Fire detection and life safety specialist CDS has achieved nationally-recognised Rail Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme status – which qualifies the company to work with rail and transport providers across the UK.

CDS joins around 4,000 other specialist suppliers whose capabilities, processes and quality have been verified by a team of rail industry specialists.

Holding an RISQS certificate means rail and transport providers are assured of the supplier’s quality, ability and commitment to health and safety, and it also mean supply chain risk is reduced.

Assessors for the scheme, whose buyers include Network Rail and Transport for London, scored CDS against 20 criteria covering the supply, design, installation, maintenance and overhaul of fire detection and extinguisher systems.

CDS’ certification follows the signing of a significant rail fire alarm service contract.

CDS bid manager Nigel Smith said: “Having RISQS status showcases our ability and commitment to health and safety while working on rail sites, and the quality of work that we deliver.

“Having become a verified member means that we will now be able to deploy engineers to our customers’ rail sites to supply, install, commission and service their fire and life safety systems. And it opens the door for us to work with other rail and transport providers all over the UK.”

Consider human and financial cost of fire during National Sprinkler Week

Facilities managers at commercial, educational and public sector premises are being reminded of the essential role of sprinklers in saving lives and protecting property during National Sprinkler Week this week.

The week, which kicks off on May 16, is one of a number of awareness campaigns promoted by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of ensuring such systems are in place, compliant and regularly maintained.

Figures show that commercial fires cost the UK economy around £2 billion a year, with the Department for Communities and Local Government putting the cost of a fire fatality at around £1.65 million.

Research carried out by the NFCC and the National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN), shows sprinklers extinguish or contain 99 per cent of fire outbreaks.

CDS has been designing, installing, commissioning and maintaining sprinklers, usually as part of a wider fire safety system, for more than 30 years for commercial, public sector, health, education and large-scale residential organisations.

While sprinklers are a legal requirement for some large commercial premises, they are not obligatory in many cases, including schools.

The NFCC, which says around 1,500 fires a year break out in schools across the UK, has been calling for legislation to make them obligatory in new and refurbished schools for several years.

It says the rate of schools being fitted with sprinklers may have fallen from 70% to as low as 15% of new builds, with the Association of British Insurers saying the most expensive school fires cost around £2.8 million to rectify.

CDS MD Simon Abley suggests sprinkler systems are ideally used in tandem with other fire safety measures.

‘We are concerned by the number of schools who either do not have monitoring in place or have monitoring in place that doesn’t comply with regulations. With arson attacks predominantly taking place when the school is closed those without an early warning system will not know the building is on fire until often hours after the blaze starts and the alarm is raised by a member of the public who sees it out of their window in the middle of the night,” he said.

“We are now seeing some schools choosing the latest technology which means fire alarms can be monitored away from the premises and in accordance with British Standards. Such products use 4G networks or the internet, with the signals transmitted to a remote monitoring centre.”

CDS installs multi-panel fire safety system at category C prison

Installing a fire safety system in a live prison environment requires not only the technical expertise to carry out work with minimum disruption under strict security protocols, but also absolute trust in every single engineer involved.

CDS’ long history of working in highly sensitive environments such as police stations and prisons is one reason it was selected to install a multi-panel Gent Vigilon network system at one of 55 category C prisons in England.

The networked system, which reports back to a central control room, means the sprawling prison’s 400 inmates, along with visitors and staff, are now protected in the case of a fire outbreak anywhere in the buildings.

CDS assisted with the technical design, supplied, installed and commissioned the system which offers the security team a total overview of the site, enabling them to identify the precise location of any alarm activated.

CDS’ other law and order clients include Leicestershire Police, a contract which requires every member of the team involved to be DBS checked to an enhanced level, and go through a stringent police vetting process, which is obligatory for all police officers and for the constabulary’s outsourced service providers.

As well as giving the force confidence that those entering their premises are squeaky clean, it means CDS customers from other industry areas, such as healthcare and education, can be reassured that the people with whom they come into contact are honest and trustworthy.

CDS managing director Simon Abley says trust is paramount when it comes to dealing with all its clients, with sectors such as policing having even greater sensitivities to manage.

“As a service provider to Leicestershire Police Authority, our engineers are required to work in a variety of different police premises that might including sensitive locations such as custody suites where people may be experiencing difficult, challenging situations. It is essential that our personnel respect and observe the highest levels of confidentiality in the course of their work.

“The stringent police vetting process requires all CDS engineers to submit details about their homes, family and lifestyle. Anyone failing to attain the highest level of integrity would not be considered for a position in our service team.”