Innovations in fire detection systems for heritage properties

The Absolute Security team have been really impressed by the innovations in fire alarm monitoring and reporting when it comes to protecting listed and heritage properties.  We have been working closely with the team at Nimbus Fire Alarm Management Systems in an installation for a national heritage property preservation organisation.

The Nimbus technology delivers highly precise monitoring and easy to use reporting.  Its gateway integrates with many fire alarm manufacturers to provide more effective remote monitoring and control functionality.

As this functionality is built on cloud technology it means property and site owners can access Nimbus logs and reports through any desktop or mobile internet connection.

 

Listed property securityEasier and faster reporting

The technology has a number of benefits for fire officers in heritage sites and/or property owners.  These include:

  1. Precise and prompt online reports on their fire alarm system hardware – giving details about the hardware’s performance, servicing and engineer notes.
  2. Reductions in false alarms, as Nimbus has the capability to identify and send alerts on confirmed fires.
  3. An easy to access central online log book of the fire alarm’s service history, panel and device data. This information can be searched by event, date, time, site, panel, loop and description.
  4. Event notifications such as confirmed fire, fire, fault and isolation, are sent out immediately by Nimbus via email and mobile app. These notifications include the device location (as programmed within the fire alarm system panel). The speed and means of notifications can significantly reduce resolution time.
  5. Unobtrusive design – the system’s design offers sophisticated protection without damaging the fabric and features of the property in its installation. It requires minimal cables and plugs into the fire alarm control panel simply and easily.

 

Helping to protect national treasures

Commenting on the Nimbus technology Will Hucklebridge, Operations Manager at Absolute Security said,

“The software’s ability to integrate with so many different fire alarm systems is very impressive.  It ensures a property gains a precise but practical log of different facets of its fire alarm equipment’s history and events.  This greatly helps those with a responsibility to monitor and control that property’s fire safety and compliance. The cloud-based approach is particularly helpful to those who have to manage a number of properties.”

He adds, “And the speed in which the system can issue alerts can make all the difference in the time it takes to respond to and successfully tackle a fire.  With all properties this is essential, but particularly more so with heritage properties which often are treasured by the nation and a key part of our history.”

 

Find out more

If you would like to learn more about the Nimbus Fire Alarm Management system’s benefits to your property(ies), please contact the Absolute Security team on tel. 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Gas suppression fire systems

The rising popularity of gas suppression fire prevention systems

We’ve seen a growing interest recently in gas suppression fire prevention systems. These systems are far better at limiting the damage to equipment and possessions when a fire breaks out.  This is because traditional fire prevention systems typically use water or foam to suppress the flames, and this can indeed damage items such as electrical goods, fabrics and paintings.

 

Gas suppression systems – the science bit!

Gas fire suppression systems have been around since the early 2000s.  In essence, when a fire is detected, the system releases gases to reduce oxygen and stop the fire in its tracks.

One such approach uses inert gases, which reduces oxygen in the location to below 15%.  This is because fires need more than that percentage to burn.  In case you’re wondering, the air we breathe has approximately 21% Oxygen and yet we only need 12% to survive. By reducing the oxygen to below 15% the system, stops the fire but ensures it is safe for humans to enter the location afterwards.

The inert gas typically used in these systems is Inergen.  This is naturally occurring and contained in the air we breathe.

 

Practical uses

Gas suppression systems have been popular for locations with extensive electrical equipment, such as Data Centres, Server Rooms, Healthcare equipment rooms and other IT-related sites.  They are also being utilised by organisations with priceless/heritage objects such as museums, the antique and fine art sector and heritage properties.

More recently we’ve seen them gain popularity in the household market. For example, we were able to help a client who wanted a fire suppression system to protect his fleet of luxury cars.  The 31 cars were housed in an underground car park in their home and they wanted a fire suppression system which would extinguish a fire, but not damage the vehicles in any way.  Conventional systems using water or foam were clearly not suitable.  We therefore designed and installed an inert gas suppression system which, when activated, would leave the vehicles unscathed.

 

 

The benefits these systems bring

Working in tandem with a fire detection system, gas-based fire suppression brings a number of significant benefits. As well as halting the fire in its tracks, it can minimise the damage involved in doing so, which means there is usually very little clean up or residue to deal with after the fire has been put out.

These systems are also harmless to the people on site and the property’s features and equipment. They react within seconds to extinguish a fire and this means reassuringly fast fire protection. It also means the property will experience minimum down-time and can quickly resume normal life/business soon after a fire. One final point to note is that both inert gas and clean agent systems are safe for the environment and have zero o-zone depletion potential.

 

Can we help?

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of any fire suppression systems for your organisation or home, please contact the Absolute Security sales team on e sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk or t 01483 791500.

Glow in the dark technology takes on a new dimension in fire safety

Emergency lighting is widely used as a secondary lighting source that switches on automatically when a building’s normal power supply disrupted to the primary lights. In the case of a fire within a premises, it can be really helpful in facilitating a safe evacuation.

Introducing Photoluminescent strips

One criticism of emergency lighting, however, is that the lights are usually located on the ceiling and, in the case of a fire, the smoke rises and collects smother all lights both primary and secondary.  As a result of this concern, we’ve recently seen businesses show an interest in Photoluminescent strips.

Photoluminescent materials were originally designed to complement existing emergency lighting systems. Advances in technology and improvements in their light intensity now mean that, in many circumstances, they can replace secondary electrical/battery emergency lighting altogether.

Photoluminescent fire evacuation and guidance systems

We work with photoluminescent specialists Ecobrite Ultra who have devised evacuation/guidance systems which do not require electricity. The intensity of light and glow from the photoluminescent (glow in the dark) materials used, are making them a popular choice to signpost exit routes.

The strips and photoluminescent signage can be set at waist level or lower and so create a guidance system should ceiling lights get obscured by smoke or fail. As part of a system, lifesaving appliances and fire-fighting equipment can be signposted with the photoluminescent materials so, in the case of an emergency, they are easy to locate.

Lifespan and maintenance

The strips typically have a 10year life span and unlike electrical lighting do not require a regular maintenance programme. The intensity of the light in the materials has also been proven to be visible to those with impaired vision and Ecobrite Ultra is doing a lot of work with the RNIB.

Want to know more?

Photoluminescent materials can be used both inside and outside a building (for example to signpost external fire safety assembly points). If you would like to learn more about integrating them with your fire detection please contact our team on 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk.

A reminder of employers’ responsibilities for fire safety

fire-exit-2

When it comes to fire safety, businesses have a duty to keep their employees safe and it’s wise to check that, as an employer, you are complying with your responsibilities under The Fire Safety Order 2005.

Business fire safety obligations

Each business should have a designated ‘responsible’ person for the purpose of fire safety.  They should:

  • Regularly undertake and review a fire risk assessment of the business premises – this should take into account fire hazards (fuel, ignition and oxygen), people’s location around the premises, risks (of a fire starting, risk to people, fire hazards and obstacles for a fast and smooth evacuation).
  • Inform staff about the risks identified
  • Put in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measures – such as equipping a fire detection system, making sure there is protection if flammable or explosive materials are used or stored and ensuring there are accessible exit routes
  • Create and publicise within the business a plan for an emergency
  • Equip staff with information, fire safety instruction and training

 

Local fire and rescue authorities have the right to inspect premises and can issue fire safety notices with changes your business needs to make in relation to fire safety.  If you do not follow the current UK fire safety regulations you could be fined or sent to prison.

 

The government has produced an excellent guide for businesses about how to comply with fire safety law.  See – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: a short guide to making your premises safe from fire

In the guide fire precautions recommended to businesses include:

  • A fire-detection and warning system which is able to warn people in all circumstances
  • A means of fighting a small fire in the form of multi-purpose fire extinguishers with a guaranteed shelf life. Typically there should be 1 extinguisher for every 200 m2 of floor space and at least one extinguisher per floor.
  • Designated safe routes for people to exit the premises – ideally there should be more than one route and stairways, corridors and areas near fire exits need to be clear of obstructions and flammable materials
  • Suitable fire exit doors which do not need a key or specialist knowledge to open them

 

Other fire safety measures

It is also sensible to consider these other fire safety measures as part of your planning:

  • Emergency lighting or photo luminescent strips which can guide people to fire exits if the normal lighting electricity source fails
  • Fire safety signage pointing the quickest and safest exit routes
  • An ongoing management process to ensure fire safety systems in the business are regularly checked and re-assessed
  • A regular training programme to ensure staff are fully knowledgeable of fire risks in the premises and the procedure to follow if a fire breaks out.

 

When it comes to purchasing fire safety equipment and services, the Fire Industry Association, is a good source of knowledge for the relevant British Standards.  The information they provide can help you to select equipment which meets the latest safety standards.  The FIA can also guide you on its accredited members for selection and installation of fire equipment.

 

Can we help?

And for over 25years we have helped businesses of all shapes and sizes put in place the right systems and procedures to comply with their fire safety obligations.  If you would like a free survey to discuss fire detection in your business, please contact the team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Fire protecting heritage buildings

As members of the Fire Industry Association we regularly receive news and guidance on the latest fire prevention techniques.

A recent article about fire protection for Heritage Properties makes a number of very valuable points and so we wanted to share it with you.

See:

Fire Protection in Britain’s Heritage Properties by Graham Simons

Preventing fires in heritage and listed properties, such as the devasting one at Clandon Park, is a major concern not just for their owners but also for the wider community. Often these properties represent irreplaceable and valuable links to the past and as a result need careful protection.

In the past we have talked about the need to balance protection with a sensitivity to the aesthetics of a heritage building. You might be interested in these posts we’ve written:

Helping preserve heritage and listed properties

Security tips for listed and heritage properties

For more information and advice about protecting your listed or heritage building please contact Andy Rees and the sales team on tel. 01483 791500