Tag Archives: Optical Smoke Detectors

False fire alarms “can cost economy £1 billion and stretch Fire Services” states Siemens Building Technologies

Siemens Building Technologies is warning UK businesses about the potential consequences of false fire alarms during the busiest period of the year. False alarms from remotely-monitored fire detection and fire alarm systems cost the UK economy an estimated £1 billion in business disruption* with 95% of automatically-generated alarms being proven to be false**. This places Fire and Rescue Services and the public at unnecessary risk.

“The majority of automatic fire alarm calls are proven to be false and often caused by either false fire triggers or the inadequate maintenance of alarm systems,” commented Don Scott, fire engineering consultant at Siemens Building Technologies.  “Christmas is already a time of heightened risk of fire for many businesses with the Fire and Rescue Services stretched to capacity across the country.  False alarms create further pressures when the Emergency Services have to challenge whether alarms are genuine before attending incidents – the time lost could end up costing thousands of pounds in repairs or, at worst, put lives at risk.”

Ionisation or single-sensor optical smoke detectors are a common cause of false alarm activations as they have difficulty in accurately distinguishing between airborne pollutants, such as steam, aerosols, dust, cooking fumes, insects, sparks, embers and a real fire. The incorrect siting of detectors can also be triggered if there’s excessive air movement from mechanical heating or ventilation.

FireProtection

Multi-sensor detectors are responsive to more than one fire phenomena (ie smoke, heat and carbon monoxide) and are proven to be more immune to false alarm phenomena, thereby giving fewer false activations. For more stringent applications, beam detectors, heat detectors and aspirating detectors are available.

Regular maintenance programmes

A regular maintenance programme ensures the correct functioning of a fire alarm system. Inadequate servicing and testing compromise safety. If an alarm system is ageing or becoming unreliable, replacement is advised when offset against the cost of disruption to a business. Generally, detectors should be replaced every ten to 15 years, depending upon the environment in which they’re installed and the manufacturers’ recommendations.

Dave Green, national officer at the Fire Brigades Union, added: “False alarms use up resources which could be better served elsewhere. They also increase response times to actual emergencies. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Fire Services should always be called when any alarm is raised.”

Green concluded: “Fire Services are under more pressure than ever before, dealing with more incidents and more fires, but with increasingly fewer firefighters. Since 2009, there has been a 23% decrease in the number of firefighters across the UK. This huge decrease in the number of firefighters has meant that preventative work, which would help to reduce the number of false alarms, has worryingly fallen by the wayside.”

Sources
*https://www.bre.co.uk/page.jsp?id=3527
**https://www.abi.org.uk/globalassets/files/publications/public/property/2018/07/abi-fpa-detection-demonstration-report-2018.pdf

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Apollo set to showcase new SOTERIA Dimension solution at Security Essen 2018

Apollo Fire Detectors, the specialist designer and manufacturer of high quality fire detection equipment, will be showcasing its latest Test Set and SOTERIA Dimension, the latest addition to the SOTERIA range, at Security Essen 2018.

A full demonstration of the new Apollo Test Set – a portable testing device designed to help commissioning and system maintenance engineers – will be on display at Stand 6A58 in Hall 6 of Messe Essen.

ApolloTestSet

Apollo’s Test Set

“We’re very excited to be able to showcase our innovative Test Set at Security Essen this year,” enthused Ed Browning, sales and marketing director at Apollo. “We’ll be setting up a range of Apollo fire detectors, wired into a loop, in order to demonstrate the fault-finding capabilities of our Test Set live on the stand.”

The Apollo Test Set guarantees that the correct loop configuration is in place before an active control panel is installed and has the ability to interrogate and control all units connected to the device, either as individual units or complete circuits. The Test Set boasts a user-friendly touch screen display and is compatible with all Apollo analogue addressable protocols – ie XP95, Discovery and CoreProtocol.

In addition to the Test Set demonstration, Apollo will be showcasing the most recent addition to the SOTERIA range – SOTERIA Dimension and Dimension Specialist. These state-of-the-art fire detection devices use new optical sensing technology in a ‘virtual sensing chamber’. The flush-fitting detector combines functionality and style, and is designed to fit perfectly in locations with the most demanding aesthetic requirements.

ApolloSOTERIADimension

SOTERIA Dimension

The SOTERIA Dimension Specialist detector also features an anti-ligature metal faceplate and tamper-resistant screws. It has been tested and approved for anti-ligature certification to TS001 and meets the Ministry of Justice’s specifications STD/E/SPEC/038. This detector offers greater resilience against interference or damage and is ideal for prisons, custodial suites and healthcare establishments.

*For more information visit https://www.apollo-fire.co.uk/

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EUSAS-Euralarm Fire Safety Conference focuses on R&D and standardisation

The results of cutting-edge research on fire safety were presented during a joint conference of EUSAS and Euralarm, the European research and Trade Associations in the sector. R&D’s potential impact on current and future standardisation work was a further point of focus for the event.

The joint EUSAS-Euralarm Conference took place on February 7-8 at the Berlin offices of Bosch Security Systems and determined to discover how cutting-edge innovation in the fire safety sector will drive the development of future standards and make buildings and people safer than they have ever been.

The event brought together 60 top specialists in the field of fire safety research, engineering and standardisation representing various European countries. Introducing the event were EUSAS chairman Professor Dr Andreas Czylwik, Euralarm president Enzo Peduzzi and, on behalf of the event’s host, Christoph Hampe.

The programme was divided into four sessions: false alarms, performance and quality testing, evacuation systems and fire safety in smart buildings.

As yet unpublished research on false alarms data gathered in Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and Sweden was presented by Dr Sebastian Festag from ZVEI, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, and Lance Rütimann from SES, the Swiss Association of Security Product Manufacturers. Both are Euralarm delegates in the Task Group on False Alarms and have derived a common approach to an empirical analysis of false alarm data.

Wolfgang Krüll from the University of Duisburg-Essen presented reproducible testing procedures for false alarms and three new testing devices which have been developed for those procedures. In parallel, statistics from Iceland were presented by Gudmundur Gunnarsson of the MVS Iceland Construction Authority.

The problem of testing a safety device’s performance over its whole lifetime was first presented by Thomas Litterst of Hekatron, including detail of a specific testing process he has developed. As demonstrated by Thorsten Schultze from the University of Duisburg-Essen, products currently on the market are largely compliant with current standard’s requirements on age limits and could potentially function correctly well beyond.

eusaseuralarmconference2017

Raman Chagger from the Building Research Establishment in England also showed that optical smoke detectors developed in the 1980s function perfectly in modern environments.

Another matter is the mechanism of drift compensation, making up for the aging of a device and the build-up of dirt on sensors, which has the potential to delay the detection of slowly developing fires. That’s according to Florence Daniault from the Wagner Group.

Evacuation systems was the third topic. It was discussed by Dr Karl Fridolf from WSP, an engineering services group, who exposed the theoretical framework of human behaviour in situations of fire, and how behavioural aspects could be better considered in safety design.

Video fire detection and its influence on evacuation was presented by Dr Tjark Windisch from Bosch Security Systems. On the day, Dr Windisch called for greater efforts when it comes to standardising video fire detection.

The final topic, smart buildings, was first discussed by Raman Chagger from the perspective of visual alarm devices. He demonstrated how the product standard together with suitable guidelines in a code of practice needs to be based on more solid research.

Dr Peter Harris from United Technologies Corporation showed how favouring interoperability and data sharing in smart buildings could bring about ‘context-aware smoke detection’.

In a final presentation, Marc Chenevoy from Euralarm highlighted the difficulties inherent with standardising interoperable systems in smart buildings, but reported on positive progress being made within European standardisation bodies.

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