Everybody knows which are the conditions that a fire needs to start, but not all of us are aware of how quickly it can spread. Such reason makes so important that companies have an permanently up-to-date emergency plan, with the implicated staff well trained by means of induction sessions and regular emergency drills, as well as count on fire protection facilities both active and passive according to the kind of activity, the building and surroundings.
As said, fire can spread very quickly but it is also true that a part of fires start due to large periods of latent fire. In these cases, a high sensitive detection of smoke ensures a quick action and, as a consequence, more possibilities of success.
Despite that it´s true that regulation establishes the minimum mandatory requirements regarding fire safety at industrial sites or activities in general, is also a mission of consultants to give advice on which may be the bests measures and systems for emergency and response applied to the client´s activity, either for needs of the facilities, for its contents, for what´s done, or what´s wanted or needed to protect.
In this sense, I think it is interesting to mention, apart from conventional fire detection systems by means punctual detectors, the aspirating smoke detector, which may be a good alternative for opened or high ceiling enclosures (warehouses, sports centres, etc.) where aesthetic may be an important aspect (museums, unique buildings, etc) or where an additional time is needed for its evacuation, such as public concurrence sites (theatres, airports etc).
Aspirating smoke detectors use a net of sampling tubes which aspire air samples continuously from the protected area and blow them to a detector. The high sensibility laser detector measures the amount of smoke in air. Smoke levels measured are compared with the warning thresholds established by the user. For example, if reached the first level threshold an inquiry starts, whereas the third level calls automatically the fire brigade.
As shown in the image, existing detection technologies along different fire stages are placed in different points in the progress curve, being the aspirating detectors the firsts ones.
Such systems allow to combine other applications if required. Gas detection may be added to smoke detection as, for example, H2 in battery charge rooms or CH4, CO, O2 in large confined spaces such as service gallery, etc..
Here you have an illustrative video:
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