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Innovation in the fire protection industry can oftentimes be slow to move forward, particularly when compared to other similar industries. This is because legislation, regulation, and enforcement, while all necessary proponents within the sector, can often slow the tide of revolutionary ideas. However, the ability to innovate in this industry can quite literally be a matter of life and death. The developing intricacies of modern infrastructure and the demand for more sustainable solutions must also fuel the need for innovation. Fortunately, there are many companies at the forefront of technical and digital transformation within the industry. At the NFPA Conference in June 2019, much of the chatter revolved around Smart Connected Things (SCoT) within fire protection systems. Smart Technology Smart Tech can offer more accurate, efficient inspections and testing, which on its own is capable of saving lives These systems are now being used by both building owners and service providers to determine fire protection system conditions as well as helping to perform some critical testing functions remotely - which of course has been invaluable in 2020. Smart Tech can offer more accurate, efficient inspections and testing, which on its own is capable of saving lives and protecting valuable property. For example, if a warehouse has been equipped with smart tech solutions to observe water pressure and flow rates within a building sprinkler system, users can have a real-time view of how much water has been flowing per minute. This means that should a fire break out in a particular part of the building the flow rate within the sprinkler can be routed to that specific area to put the blaze out as efficiently and as quickly as possible. Advanced Smoke Detection Fire protection brands have made huge leaps forward in their quest to develop smoke detectors which meet with the UL 268 Safety Standards for 2020. The new standard requires that all smoke alarms and detectors must meet two critical benchmarks: Increased responsiveness to the new polyurethane foam tests. Ability to distinguish the difference between smoke aerosols from accidental fire sources and smoke aerosols from cooking sources. Basically, domestic smoke detectors must be able to understand the difference between materials, based on the kinds of smoke they emit when they catch fire. Detectors must also distinguish between the smoke produced as a by-product of cooking, or a “nuisance” fire, and a real fire, which could pose a threat to human life. Smoke & Flame Video Detection The new alarms feature “TruSense Technology”, which is designed to be able to differentiate between fast and smoldering flames and common false alarms. These technologies were developed in the hope that homeowners wouldn’t just simply remove smoke alarms or batteries due to frequent false alarms. Video Image Smoke Detection technology has been around the industry for a few years now, but full video detection is now being used to supplement it, in order to further the applications of this technology. A video image will then be processed by the software that then concludes whether the clip contains smoke or flames This tech uses video-based analytical algorithms that integrate cameras into advanced flame and smoke detection solutions. A video image will then be processed by the software that then concludes whether the clip contains smoke or flames. The algorithms used to distinguish smoke and flames can utilize several different metrics, such as a change in brightness, contrast and movement. Water Mist Suppression Systems Depending on the kind of system in place, these recognition tools can even offer security and other surveillance features too. This technology is ideal in locations with large surface areas, such as power plants, stadiums, shopping centers and warehouses and distribution centers, where a fire may be particularly challenging to locate using traditional methods. Flame Video systems trace fire to its origin to make for quicker, more effective extinguishment and evacuation. A major concern for most businesses in any industry is sustainability. Water mist suppression systems are able to fight fires using significantly less water than a traditional system. The water is stored under extreme pressure and is released using specialized sprinklers and spray heads. This enables the water is able to reach a far larger surface area since the droplets are much smaller. Exit Point Technology A water mist suppression system is also designed to cool down an area where fire and smoke are present, by blocking radiant heat and eliminating oxygen from the origin point. These systems are often used in areas that see a lot of foot traffic or buildings where the possibility of water damage would be detrimental. All Fire Alarm Systems must include notification appliances, such as bells, horns and strobe lights. Technological advances use directional sound to help evacuees determine the pathway to the fire exits But the latest devices now provide verbal instruction on what to do in the event of a blaze and tell people where to go to the nearest exit. It’s highly likely that evacuation may be hampered by black smoke and smog in a real-life emergency. This obviously makes visibility limited, thereby possibly making exit signs challenging to see. The latest technological advances use directional sound to help evacuees to determine the location and the pathway to the fire exits. New Sealing Sprinkler Guidance The audible sound is specially adapted to the human ear, meaning that someone could easily determine the direction and sound. While the previous entries in this list have been about products, it’s also absolutely vital that fire safety regulations are also developed alongside these products. Not only does this ensure the protection of occupants within the building, but also the structure of the building itself. For example, The Ministry of Housing, Government & Local Government announced tweaks to the Approved Document B (Fire Safety) which went into effect last November and applied to building works that started this January. These updates apply to blocks of flats and mixed-use buildings with top floors that are more than eleven meters above ground level. The legislation change means that C-PVC sprinkler pipes now need to be sealed with only specialist and approved products. The height threshold for a sprinkler system in residential flat blocks has been reduced from 30 to 11 meters.
There are many daily risks faced by buildings and their managers, with electrical fires being one of the most common and dangerous. Commercial fires impact occupant health, property and the business itself – with 25% of businesses who suffer a fire never reopening. Given the often-unpredictable nature of electrical fires, businesses must invest in the latest technologies to prevent irreparable damage. It is the responsibility of the consultant engineer to show leadership and initiative in improving safety to protect the business, its employees and its most valuable assets. Engineers must look beyond simply tackling overloads and short circuits and examine a range of connected solutions that can stop a fire before it even has a chance to begin. This drastically reduces the cost of damages and repairs, while giving building operators unrivalled visibility. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit, from the switchboard to distribution. A centralized system for equipment monitoring and detection provides building managers with all the information they need to keep fire risk under control, and therefore protect staff, property and business. Electrical fire risk awareness During the design and implementation phase, the consultant engineer’s role is traditionally to respect and master the local standards. They should ensure all components and parts of the circuit comply with the latest wiring rules, electrical and building codes. Yet for enhanced safety they should also be willing to look beyond the standards of the day. Given the often-unpredictable nature of electrical fires, businesses must invest in the latest technologies to prevent irreparable damage Today’s regulations do a good job of protecting buildings from the dangers of short circuits and overloads, mostly by mandating the use of circuit breakers. However, consultant engineers should also be aware of the risks posed by circuit deterioration and mistakes made during the installation. Loose cabling and faulty insulation or connections – even something as small as an untightened screw – can significantly increase a circuit’s fire risk. It’s up to consultant engineers to know their market and provide solutions that go beyond the minimum to detect and prevent electrical fires. Why electrical engineers must go the extra mile A stitch in time saves nine. While tackling overloads and short circuits is crucial, engineers must go further, examining a range of connected solutions that can stop a fire before it even has a chance to begin. Acting pre-emptively can drastically reduce the cost of damages and repairs and provide building operators with unrivalled visibility of their facility. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit, from the switchboard to distribution. A centralized system for equipment monitoring and detection will provide the building manager with all the information they need to keep fire risk under control. Connected protection is crucial at every level of the circuit For optimal protection, organisations should employ smart, connected solutions that detect fire and the risk of fire at every level. This means additional protection for the switchboard and the circuit at all levels of the electrical installation, underpinned by a centralised system for monitoring and pro-active action. Using Residual Current Devices (RCDs) against insulation faults triggered by earth leakage currents exceeding 300mA, is a familiar solution. Engineers now have access to more effective earth leakage protection solutions with the same footprint as a classical overload and short-circuit protection. Products can now also offer permanent earth leakage current measurement which, when connected to a monitoring system, allows pre-alarming and monitoring during the time of any drift in the insulation. Identify switchboard vulnerabilities Unprotected electrical switchboards are especially vulnerable to fire risk. The equipment is susceptible to rodent infestation and internal overheating, issues that can often go unnoticed until it is too late. The IEC 61439-2 Low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies – Part 2: Power switchgear and control gear assembly’s standard addresses these risks, making compliance a must. However, fulfilling these design and manufacturing rules for switchboards does not eliminate the risk of connection failure. A critical sequence of events can occur. First, increasing electrical contact resistance accelerates further deterioration. This increased resistance induces a rise in temperature – high temperatures deteriorate the connection surface even more. The more deteriorated surface leads to a further increase in contact resistance, and the resulting thermal runaway will cause complete connection failure. Fire, flash-over and explosions become a real risk. Enhanced electrical fire prevention Moreover, final circuits should be protected by an arc fault detection device (AFDD) for enhanced fire prevention. Final circuits should be protected by an arc fault detection device (AFDD) Circuits age unevenly and unpredictably, so persistent monitoring and predictive maintenance are key to limiting fire risk. Cloud analytics can help provide asset health analytics to interpret the status and history of your most critical assets, with preventive notifications and 24/7 support. Fire prevention must be a top priority when assessing all the safety and risk-management of a building. In the case of electrical fires, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, establishing the right approach before crisis strikes will be invaluable. Connected solutions across the entire circuit are an effective solution for consultant engineers to defend buildings from the often-underestimated dangers of faulty installation and ageing components. In short, smart electrical fire prevention provides peace of mind for engineers, facility owners and occupants alike.
During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to protect the supply chain of food, including supermarkets and convenience stores in cities around the world. On average 3,740 fires occur in food and groceries stores in the US annually, including supermarkets and convenience stores, according to a report published by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Structure fires in mercantile properties were responsible for the loss of 12 lives and more than $600 million indirect property damages, and this doesn’t account for the cost of business interruption and the effect on the reputation of the store. Many stores haven’t been able to recover after a fire. The report estimates that a single fire may cost $46,000 on average, which in hindsight is considerably higher than investing in a fire detection system. The most common causes of fire in supermarkets It’s important to look at the data from two different perspectives. The first is the number of fires by cause, and the other is to quantify the property loss by cause. The report estimates that a single fire may cost $46,000 on average Fires caused by cooking equipment , including stores with kitchens and warming and portable equipment, account for 21% of incidences, but only for just 7% of total property damage and four civilian deaths (firefighter and first responder deaths are registered on a different report). On the other hand, electrical distribution and lighting equipment malfunctions and defective wiring account for 15% of the total of fires in a given year, but caused $165 million in property loss, or 27% of the total recorded on the report. It is also important to mention that intentional fires are the third cause reported, accounting for 11% of the total fire incidences and 20% of the property loss highlighted in the report. Occupation, materials and risks The kind of store poses a significant variety of risks associated to the type of occupation, the number of occupants and the materials stored and available in the shopping areas. It’s possible to find combustible materials of diverse nature and propagation speed. Cardboard and paper wrapping can be found in all store areas, including book and magazine stands. Cleaning products, oils and fatty products might have a high propagation speed. All of this, surrounded by different kind of plastics, immensely increase the level of risk. Overall, combustible liquids caused 41% of the civilian deaths recorded during the report In my firefighting years I’ve responded to several fires in food supermarkets and distribution centers, and saw tuna cans (canned with oil) exploding and spreading flames to the surrounding areas. Regarding occupation, it is known that supermarkets and groceries stores are places with high levels of occupation, especially during working hours. But one interesting fact that the report found is that fires occurring between 9pm and 5am can cause, on average, $73,800 in property damage. The NFPA estimates that 21% of human life losses happened between 12am and 3am. This highlights the importance of installing and maintaining an automatic fire detection system. Installing fire detection And Protecting Your Store With the variety of materials and the risk level that can be found in this kind of environment, it’s necessary to take a holistic approach. Fire protection should be designed while considering several angles, from passive protection in all interior and exterior structures and cladding to active protection with sprinkler and clean agent systems, proper ventilation and smoke control and automatic fire detection and evacuation systems. On average 3,740 fires occur in food and groceries stores in the US annually Several detection technologies need to work in parallel, depending on the type of products stored, the environment and the expected level of occupation on the protected area. Store height and ventilation need to be taken into consideration and also the kind of lighting in some cases. Depending on the ceiling height, the shopping floor could be protected with beam smoke detectors. If the ceiling is below six meters, or the store shelves obstruct the beam, it’s possible to use spot type smoke detectors. The same approach can be taken for warehousing and storage areas, but here I would recommend multi-criteria detectors, with heat and smoke detection combined. localized protection As I’ve mentioned before, cooking areas have an increased level of risk, which calls for localized protection. Here, I would recommend multi-criteria (smoke/heat) detectors for areas where food is heated and served, and smoke/heat/Carbon monoxide detectors on cooking areas to avoid nuisance alarms caused by cooking smoke and steam. It’s important to mention that until this year it was possible to install heat detection in cooking areas, but the UL 268 7th edition that comes into effect in 2021 will require cooking areas to be protected with smoke detection, and smoke detectors have to be able to reject nuisance alarms caused by cooking smoke and steam. Smaller supermarkets and convenience stores usually have vertical freezers or horizontal open freezers. Here, electrical and mechanical failures can ignite fires, which is why it is important to protect the rear side of the freezers. I would recommend point-type smoke detectors, as photoelectric smoke detectors tend to perform better on smoldering fires. The report mentions that air conditioning equipment and electrical equipment can be sources of ignition as well. To protect A/C rooms and electrical rooms I would recommend combined smoke/heat detectors, or maybe even smoke/heat/CO to assure better detection and avoid unwanted alarms in these business critical areas. There is a type of photoelectric smoke detector that uses two different LED sources inside the smoke chamber. This technology, called Dual-Ray, allows the smoke detector to identify the particles inside the chamber by size. The detector knows if it is sensing dust or steam, and can even differentiate between cooking or cigarette smoke from actual smoke from a smoldering fire. Bosch Building Technologies first introduced dual Ray technology in 2015. protecting the food supply chain During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to protect the food supply chain and avoid the social and economic impact of fires in food stores, especially in impoverished areas. Supermarkets and convenience stores present a variety of challenges regarding fire protection, which calls for a holistic approach where passive and active protection are equally important. To achieve this target, one key element is automatic fire detection. Smoke and heat sensing technologies must be combined, and one size-fits-all approach is not enough. Detection and effective evacuation are critical to protect lives and minimize property loss.
A country house steeped in almost two centuries of history is now being protected by benchmark MxPro 4 multi-protocol panels from fire systems leader Advanced. Designed by the resident architect to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral, the grade II listed Badgeworth Court, Gloucestershire, was built in 1829 as the home of Colonel Selwyn Payne. After a rich 190-year history the house has now been converted into a residential care home run by Barchester Healthcare - one of the UK’s largest providers of independent care - and now includes ornamental walled gardens, café facilities and a hair salon. Smoke detection systems Responsible for the complete installation of the fire system and all field devices, Hertfordshire-based Amida Fire undertook the phased upgrade of Badgeworth Court as part of Barchester Healthcare’s scheme to replace all of their care homes with Advanced so that sites are easier to maintain going forward. The nature of the building made parts of the upgrade tricky, and wireless devices needed to be installed in some of the less accessible areas of the home. Advanced is always Amida Fire’s first choice when selecting a fire alarm panel" The MxPro 4's timeclocks were used to configure multi sensors in kitchen and laundry areas so that at night, when fewer staff are on duty, the devices detect both smoke and heat and during the day when these areas are more actively in use, detection is setup for smoke only. fire alarm panel Dan Wilson at Amida Fire, said: “With over 40 years’ experience in installing and commissioning fire systems, Advanced is always Amida Fire’s first choice when selecting a fire alarm panel. It’s easy to use, competitively priced, widely known and offers good technical support.” MxPro is the fire industry’s renowned multiprotocol fire system range. It offers customers a choice of two panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network, backed up by free training and support. MxPro panels can be used in single loop, single panel format or easily configured into high speed, multi-loop panels in 200 node networks covering huge areas. MxPro’s legendary ease of installation and configuration and wide peripheral range make it customizable to almost any application. intelligent fire systems Advanced is a renowned brand in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems Amanda Hope, New Business Development Manager at Advanced, said: “Our multi-protocol panels offer highly reliable, flexible and configurable protection, ideal for healthcare, hospital and care home facilities. It’s a testament to our fire systems that Barchester Healthcare have the confidence to install our panels throughout all their care homes in the UK, ensuring the most dependable protection on the market.” Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 PLC, Halma, has an impressive pedigree for protecting healthcare facilities around the globe including the World’s largest blood processing center in Bristol, the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens and the Tuen Mun Hospital in Hong Kong. Advanced is a renowned brand in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. false alarm management systems The legendary performance, quality and ease-of-use of its products sees Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single panel installations to large multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
The system was installed by Alemany Building Solutions at Sands Pointe, an upscale, 29-story condominium located in Sunny Isles Beach on a barrier island in northeast Miami-Dade County. Sunny Isles Beach has been a major real estate development location for luxury high-rise condominiums and hotels since the early 2000s. Drawing on 15 years’ experience delivering engineered fire safety solutions in large, complex developments, Alemany Building Solutions specified Advanced’s Axis AX fire system for this high-profile development as the customer specification called for a robust, technically advanced and cost-effective fire detection and audio solution. Audio is a particular challenge. addressable smoke detectors The local fire codes require pre-recorded messages in multiple languages due to the region’s demographic The local fire codes require a notification appliance in every bedroom, addressable smoke detectors inside every unit, multiple dampers per floor for smoke control, and pre-recorded messages in multiple languages due to the region’s demographic, where the major languages spoken are English, Spanish, and Russian. The fire alarm system met UL464 requirements for the low frequency 520Hz tone, with intelligent smoke detectors and 520Hz speakers fitted inside every bedroom of the building. The installation benefited from Alemany’s expertise coupled with the ease-of-installation and commissioning offered by Advanced’s system. The fire system network consisted of four data-gathering voice panels located through the building along with a command center giving oversight and control over the entire system. distributed audio amplifiers Using addressable distributed audio amplifiers, the system is capable of providing selective paging through the building ensuring that a single damaged cable won’t affect system reliability. With customer care a priority, staff at the Sands Pointe Condominium underwent detailed training following installation to ensure competency and confidence in the system. Rey Alemany, President at Alemany Building Solutions, Corp said: “Advanced and Alemany Building Solutions provided the ideal combination of technology and a track record to meet the demanding specification requirements and installation constraints of Sands Pointe Condominium. It’s satisfying to complete a job on time and within budget especially when satisfaction is shared between end customer and the installer." knowledge and experience "In my many years in the fire industry working with market-leading fire systems, Advanced remains superior when it comes to ease of programming and installation.” Ray Krickmier, VP of Sales at Advanced, said: “As powerful as our products are it takes companies like Alemany who have the knowledge and experience, to apply Advanced to sites such as this prestigious high-rise, in order to take full advantage of what our fire systems have to offer.” intelligent fire systems The Axis AX system includes easily networked panels, audio panels and command centers Advanced’s Axis AX system offers enhanced power and performance in a user-friendly format, offering a vast range of configuration, control and interface option all with simple set-up and operation as well as Advanced’s legendary service and quality. The Axis AX system includes easily networked panels, audio panels and command centers, redundant controllers and a huge range of peripherals, devices and interfaces that make it ideal for almost any installation. Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 company Halma Plc, have an impressive history of protecting some of the most prestigious and iconic sites across the globe, including London’s Shard, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Abu Dhabi International Airport. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a globally renowned in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. fire detection systems The performance, quality and ease-of-use of its products see Advanced specified in locations all over the world, from single-panel installations to large multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
Selected for their performance, quality and ease of use, 96 intelligent addressable MxPro 5 fire alarm control panels and 34 custom AdSpecials panels will be installed at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, as part of a comprehensive upgrade. As a center of clinical excellence, Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, has over 5,500 staff providing district general hospital and specialist tertiary services to the local community and the wider population of the North West of England, so fire system reliability was a critical part of the specification. Manchester-based Grainger Fire & Security, responsible for the 18-month project, chose Advanced’s fire protection for its robustness, versatility and ease of installation in complex and critical sites. BMS integration The system changeover to Advanced will involve the installation of new network cable across a live hospital environment as well as BMS integration, and the introduction of a graphics package to provide visual representation of the fire system to end users. The 34 custom-engineered, 6-loop panels with 600 zonal LEDs included in the installation will be designed and manufactured by Advanced’s AdSpecials department. The network of Advanced panels will work with over 20,000 devices using Apollo and Hochiki protocol. In addition, a full design review of the hospital’s existing false alarm management strategy will take place to ensure that the new system is programmed to effectively reduce unwanted alarms. Fully interactive internet portal The upgrade to the system will also see the introduction of ipGateway, Advanced’s fully interactive internet portal Will Taylor, Service & Small Works Manager at Grainger Fire & Security, said: “As Wythenshawe is one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK, we needed a solution that offered superior programming and networking capabilities, ensuring the highest levels of protection across the site.” “As our preferred panel choice, we have recommended Advanced for a number of years. Its MxPro 5 panels are both easy to use and install and offer the features required to competently protect the hospital and its multiple buildings that each have individual cause and effect programming.” The upgrade to the system will also see the introduction of ipGateway, Advanced’s fully interactive internet portal that presents the user with a detailed description of the current status of the fire system. Reducing unnecessary service visits The ability to remotely interrogate the fire system is a valuable benefit for both the end user and Grainger Fire and Security, who will be able to pre-empt problems. Not only will this provide additional peace of mind for hospital users, it will also save time, money and inconvenience by reducing unnecessary service visits to site. Neil Parkin, Advanced’s Regional Sales Manager for the North, said: “The cause and effect programming capabilities of our panels provide tangible benefits to customers when protecting large-scale sites such as hospitals, university campuses or airport terminals.” “Once the system at Wythenshawe Hospital is up and running, features such as AlarmCalm, our built-in false alarm management and reduction software, will work to radically reduce the number of unwanted alarms and the impact they have on patients and staff. It’s a pleasure to be able to support Grainger Fire & Security on this project, and I have complete confidence that our products will provide the dependable solution required.” Multiprotocol fire system solution MxPro panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed networks MxPro 5 is the fire industry’s multiprotocol fire system solution and was recently certified by FM Approvals to the EN 54 standard. It offers customers a choice of two-panel ranges, four detector protocols and a completely open installer network, backed up by free training and support. MxPro panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed networks of up to 200 panels covering huge areas. MxPro’s ease of installation and configuration, as well as its wide peripheral range, make it customizable to almost any application. Life-saving technology Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 Company Halma PLC, protects all manner of prestigious and high profile sites across the globe, from London’s Shard and the Berkeley Hotel to Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Hagia Sophia historic site in Turkey. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Advanced is a provider in the development and manufacture of intelligent fire systems. Advanced’s reputation for performance, quality and ease of use see its products specified in locations around the world, from single-panel installations to large, multi-site networks. Advanced’s products include complete fire detection systems, multiprotocol fire panels, extinguishing control, fire paging and false alarm management systems.
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