New surprises at Intersec 08

Published:  11 April, 2008

The Middle East’s largest security and safety event attracted over 800 exhibitors from 53 countries. Visitors had to battle both torrential rain and city-wide road closures to attend, writes Jose Sanchez.

The rumours started on the first day of the show. President Bush would be visiting Dubai next day as part of the Middle East Peace Tour. Road closures would be ubiquitous as part of the security measures. Monday would be declared a national holiday. There would be no show!
As it turned out the show did go ahead even if visitors and exhibitors alike had to make their own way across a ghost city (no cars on roads) on foot to the exhibition hall. They were greeted by a number of unmanned stands and of course, visitors were somewhat thin on the ground too.


However, the two days on either side of Bush’s visit were busy and eventful – not least because the last day of the show saw the worst torrential rain in years, carpeting the city with floods that highlighted the importance of installing adequate drainage on roads, even in the middle of a desert.


The most spectacular part of the trade show came courtesy of the Dubai Civil Defence, who wanted to demonstrate the best techniques in rescue and evacuation. For this purpose, they set up a four-storey tower, deployed a rescue helicopter, and enlisted the help of Eric Hooper, MD of Escape Chute Systems.


Australian company Escape Chute Systems makes emergency evacuation chutes that can evacuate at the rate of 25 people per minute - or 360 persons at ground level in 15 minutes, irrespective of height.


Inside the training tower – which was set up outside the conference building – some trapped casualties at the top were crying for help.


Crowds of visitors stepped outside despite the wet and windy conditions to witness the rescue helicopter negotiate the skyscrapers and hover above the training tower. All were suitably impressed by the brave firefighters who then abseiled down to the rescue. The demonstration ended with an aerial platform vehicle fitted with one of Eric’s escape chute deploying along the tower, allowing each evacuee to quickly descend to safety, and if necessary any casualty to be accompanied by a firefighter.


Among those exhibiting at the show were Ron Krisanda, President of Tyco Fire & Security in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Neil Harrington, Director of Strategic Accounts for ADT Middle East.


Tyco has been in the Middle East for almost 15 years with a head office in Abu Dhabi. “As the security side of the business continued to grow we decided to launch ADT as the security arm of Tyco, so we could make a distinction between the two areas of fire and security. There are lots of products in the Middle East, but it is about finding a turnkey solution, and we are a global business that can support customers though our connections,” commented Neil Harrington.


Tyco Fire & Security UAE has been registered as a business in Abu Dhabi since 1995, and exhibited at the show since its inception. “There has been momentous growth in fire detection here with the growth of high risk industry. Access control, too, has followed very much the development of European and American technology in this part of the world, and we can satisfy both sets of standards' requirements.” Harrington added that although there are no legislative committees in the Middle East, standards are adhered to from the US and Europe.


Among the new products being launched in the region was a new access gate control system. Impressively, the system scans both the face and the iris, matching the two together for optimum security. "It is very different to other products out in the market – up to 40 people per minute can be scanned, and it is aimed at areas with high footfalls, like Jebel Ali and, possibly, refineries."


The added benefit of the system is its sheer speed;  a person being scanned need only look up at a scanner mounted on a doorway to be screened, and that is without even slowing down their walking speed.


The mood of optimism for the future was prevalent throughout the show, and exhibitor Helmut Zepf, Director Sales & Marketing Europe of well known FR fibre manufacturer PBI Performance Products,  explained why.  “Dubai is among the fastest growing regions of the world and they want to be the best and buy the best, so the time is right for presenting high quality equipment. And for PPE and high quality materials such as PBI Gold this applies too.”
However, it is a market where companies wanting to make an impact cannot pay lip service, added Helmut. “You have to go many times to the Middle East because it is all about finding the right partner who knows the key people and to build up trust and confidence.”


Unsurprisingly when it comes to PPE the hot climate of the Middle East very often favours the lighter turnout gear that is EN 469 approved, rather than the heavier NFPA-certified bunker gear.

  • Operation Florian

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