Smart fire detection techniques


One-size-fits-all systems are a thing of the past, as intelligent systems with sensitive fire detection technologies are built into the buildings of today.

Refined levels of detection

It’s now possible to detect a range of fire-related indicators, which include smoke, heat, flame and carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. While this increased sophistication represents a huge leap forward, the additional complexity means fire safety engineers have lots more to consider when designing or engineering solutions.

Minimizing false alarms

Advances in detection technology mean alarms can now only be triggered when smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) are detected together. Previously, alarms would sometimes react to steam, which was problematic in food factories and hotel bathrooms where continual false alarms would place emergency fire services under unnecessary pressure.

Software in addressable fire systems now enable the optical chamber of specific sensors to be deactivated if work is underway in a room where smoke could be generated – smoke that would otherwise trigger a false alarm.

Levels of heat detection

Eaton has introduced a solution that has a five-in-one detector, incorporating optical and thermal elements, including three levels of heat detection. Industrial kitchens that experience fluctuating temperatures when oven doors open for example, will appreciate the choice of three levels of heat detection.

Pinpointing the emergency

Addressable fire detection means the location of a fire can now be pinpointed, which is essential in larger buildings like hospitals and hotels. Fire crews can immediately access the source of the fire, rather than spend time searching for the problem.

Beam detectors for high ceiling spaces

When smoke detectors are placed on a wall over 10 meters from the ceiling (which is likely in most warehouses), there’s a risk that fire can spread widely at ground level before any smoke is detected.

Nowadays, beam detectors send a beam of infrared (IR) light to a reflective surface, perhaps 100 meters away. Alarms will then be triggered if smoke interrupts the beam. There are even motorized beam detectors, which are specifically designed to cope with the structural building shifts that occur over time.

Fire detection networks

Separate fire detection panels can be linked to provide complete coverage that continues to work even if a fault occurs in one part of the chain. Data communicated between panels can be fed into building management systems, to give those watching over the building a broad view of emerging situations.

Addressable systems: every device in an addressable system has its own unique identifier. This identifier is used to determine the location of a fire, so it can be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Fire detection panels: these panels receive information from sensors that are designed to detect fire-related changes in the environment.
Infrared: defines a range of invisible radiation wavelengths.
Optical chamber: the chamber in a detector that monitors airborne smoke particles.

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