A study by Fire Engineering Magazine stated that in spite of a working smoke detector, nine people were killed in a house fire in the US. This isn’t just a one-off incident, according to the NFPA, 1020 residential fire victims in the US were all in homes with working smoke detectors, but they still lost their lives. On further investigation, the fires were caused by electrical mishaps and arson, which cannot be detected by a smoke detector. So the issue wasn’t a malfunctioning smoke detector, but rather, a lack of any other detection devices. It’s only natural to tend to overlook the various aspects of fire safety if one is not closely connected to the industry, but this can be dangerous, because fires can have many sources, and the way you choose to douse a fire is dependent on the source. A smoke detector will do nothing to detect a threat due to overheating or a gas leak, just as a gas detector would do nothing to detect smoke. The need of the hour is a fully-functional and comprehensive fire detection system which is equipped to deal with any kind of fire. Read below to understand the components of such a system.
One of the most easily avoidable and detectable causes of fire is smoke. Just a few days ago, a huge fire set an exhibition ground in Nampally, Hyderabad on fire. 7 people were hospitalized as a result of this fire which sparked at one of the stalls at an industrial exhibition. If the smoke was detected in time, the fire would have been prevented from spreading, but this was not the case. Smoke detectors are a must because smoke is such a common igniter of fires. It’s the best preventive measure and should be an integral part of your fire alarm systems. Just a few isn’t enough, you will have to have smoke detectors in every room since the range of smoke detectors is limited.
There are different kinds of gas detectors for different needs. A few basic ones required in almost every structure, residential or commercial, are LPG/ PNG gas detectors in kitchens and CO2 gas detectors for parking lots. In sealed environments such as malls, a CO2 detector is a must since the oxygen levels drop from 21% to 17%, the CO2 level will rise to 4%. This sort of increase in CO2 levels results in dizziness, confusion, and headaches. Structures with cold storage units must also have refrigerator systems, a gas leak detector is required for this as well. Hydrogen leaks are also common in sealed environments, so hydrogen gas detectors in battery rooms are an absolute must.
These nifty little devices protect people and property by raising an alarm if temperatures go too high. In electrical rooms, for example, there may be no smoke, just a spark caused by an increase in temperature. What a heat detector would do is alert you before a spark ignites, so one can say it’s like a safety precaution that preludes smoke detection.
These are basically systems which are automated to extinguish a fire without human intervention. These are extremely important in large buildings where there can be multiple causes of the fire. A fire suppression system can be rigged to trigger sprinklers on detecting smoke, or, suppress the fire with the help of foaming agents and gases which are fire retardants. This is the last resort to buy time until the authorities come and can make all the difference.
Video Surveillance Solutions with Video Analytics
Not just for security, video surveillance can also detect heat with the help of thermal cameras. Therefore, these systems are very handy in places like control rooms or electric rooms which should be always monitored.
Manual Fire Alarm activation is the standard, simple button press alarm that you see all over schools and hospitals. In case of an emergency, all you have to do is break the glass and press the button. The button will trigger fire suppressants such as sprinklers or foams, and can also release doors and alert the authorities.
Addressable/non-addressable fire alarms
Depending on your usage and the scale and size of your building, you can decide which system is better suited for you. The basic difference is that in addressable fire alarm systems, you can pinpoint the exact location of a fire, thus allowing you time to contain it and prevent it from spreading. For large establishments, alarm systems must be integrated, and the panels must be addressable panels which allow for the connection of various devices with the same wiring. This allows you to pinpoint the precise location of the fire and also allows one to alert the authorities and aid in a swift evacuation.
Door Release Systems
An important aspect of fire safety, especially for hospitals and hotels are door release systems that force the pressure sealed doors within a structure open so in case of an emergency, there is an easy evacuation. These systems are important because people tend to panic if they can’t evacuate the premises.
Ensuring the functioning of Fire Systems
Just installing the best fire systems is not enough. One needs to ensure that the systems are working all the time. Several commercial, as well as residential establishments, fail to ensure the working of the fire systems because of lack of time and expertise. In such situations, one can rely on technology. A cloud-based IoT solution, like Firetweet,can constantly monitor the health of your fire safety systems and provides corrective action when required.
This is what a comprehensive, fire detection and alarm system look like. Of course, you’ll have to tweak it as per your requirements and needs. If you want to keep yourself absolutely free of risk, you will have to have a culmination of all of the systems above. While this does seem daunting, you can always call in the experts to conduct a risk assessment, and then craft an alarm system accordingly. We hope this helps you understand the basic needs of fire and alarm detection systems, do feel free to reach out for solutions in fire safety.
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