Building Fire Prevention and Detection Systems

By Isaac Mwangi | Monday Apr 16, 2018

Fire incidents involving occupied premises often result in injuries, loss of assets, business disruption and sometimes death. In the recent past, there has been an unprecedented increase in fire incidents involving both public and private buildings and institutions in the region. 

Despite the significant measures taken to control fire incidents, firefighting operations unfortunately often fail to prevent extensive damage and loss to property. It is therefore important to include fire prevention, detection and suppression systems in the design of buildings to minimize the effect of such fires.

The following are some advanced technologies that facilities professionals should consider when looking to safeguard their buildings.

Preaction sprinkler system

With a preaction sprinkler system, water (held back by a preaction valve) is prevented from actually filling the pipes until an event occurs, such as the activation of a heat or smoke detector. Preaction sprinkler systems provide an added level of protection against inadvertent water release and are used primarily in water-sensitive environments such as computer/data centers.

Waterflow detectors 

Waterflow detectors are also extremely useful safety tools because they eliminate the possibility of sprinkler malfunction. Specifically, waterflow detectors monitor the flow of water to sprinkler heads with a specially designed paddle.

Supervisory switches 

If someone turns part of a fire detection system off (such as the sprinkler), the entire system is compromised. Supervisory switches help ensure the maximum protection by proactively monitoring the operational effectiveness of the fire protection device. Supervisory switches can monitor the open position of fire sprinkler control valves and can detect the accidental or intentional closing of the water supply.

Laser smoke detection system

Laser smoke detection systems have become increasingly popular in recent years because they are significantly more sensitive than traditional detectors; they can pinpoint fire and smoke early on, which can significantly reduce the time it takes to extinguish them. Laser smoke detection systems are also reliable, stable, cost-effective, easy to install and maintain, and can be seamlessly integrated with a variety of other security systems.


Read Also: OPINION: Is Nairobi ready for the next Fire Disaster?


Networkable fire alarms

Fire alarms are an integral component of effective security management. Used to announce the outbreak of a fire, fire alarms can produce varying sounds and can be triggered automatically or manually. Many advanced control panels on the market today are fully networkable fire alarms, which means these systems can be programmed and controlled via a Web browser.

Waterless suppression systems

In some cases, water or foam fire suppression systems can cause serious building damage - even more so than the fire itself. In response, a number of security technology companies have introduced systems that use clean fire suppression agents to combat fire. Not only do these waterless suppression systems minimize damage, but they also quickly extinguish fires and reduce harmful combustion byproducts.

Integrated pull alarms 

Although manual pull stations provide an added layer of protection for any building facility, integrated pull alarms can take it further. Imagine integrating with other security systems, such as CCTV; as soon as the pull station is activated, the event can also be recorded.

Voice evacuation

Voice evacuation, a critical component of a public address system, provides clear yet compelling commands that quickly guide people to safety. For increased safety and security, voice evacuation/public address systems can be integrated with fire detection systems; when a fire alarm sounds, an emergency announcement can be made simultaneously.

Source: Buildings

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