Insight: Fire safety in malls

Issue 1 2021 Retail (Industry)

Shopping centres are large retail spaces, typically covering thousands of square metres, requiring a complex multi-networked fire detection system which can quickly and easily be accessed from a number of locations across the premises. Due to the large number of stores and thousands of daily visitors, it is also vitally important for the system to be addressable so that the exact whereabouts of an incident would be known as soon as possible.

Due to the large variety of fire risks in shopping malls, the fire detection system is required to detect everything from smouldering goods to open-flame fires. Additionally, the large concentration of shoppers poses an additional risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Hochiki can address all these risks with its range of ESP detectors.

Beam detection is the standard for large open areas and the next evolution in beam detection is Open-area Smoke Imaging Detection (OSID). This allows for very early warning, adaptation to complex space requirements and immunity to false alarms from dust and other environmental factors.

Within a shopping centre, there are also multitudes of systems requiring interaction with the fire detection systems, lift homing systems, HVAC interfaces, fresh air supply systems, voice evacuation systems as well as CCTV and other security and operational systems.

Offsite monitoring of the fire system is also advisable, with detailed alarm indication to allow for early and accurate response to an emergency condition. Parking structures pose additional challenges with exhaust gases that can cause false alarms. By deploying multisensory detection this can be eliminated without compromising very early warning capability.

Lastly, the alarming of the staff and public to a fire condition should be done on multiple levels with wall and base sounder beacon warning devices in conjunction with an emergency exit illuminated system.

XtraVision supplies the full range for intelligent fire detection devices with integration to HVAC, lifts and security systems. Its fire control panels are networkable and can be extended over the web to allow for offsite monitoring. Additionally, XtraVision can assist with the design and product selection to address the fire risk according to regulatory standards.

Case study: Fire safety for shoppers

A much-anticipated addition to Plovdiv, the 60 000 m2 Markovo Tepe Mall has taken more than eight years to complete. As well as creating a convenient destination for shopping, leisure and dining in Bulgaria’s second largest city, the development has generated over 500 jobs for residents, boosting the local economy.

Shopping centres like Markovo Tepe Mall attract high volumes of people on a daily basis, not all of whom are familiar with the layout of the stores, pedestrian walkways, entrances and exits or public spaces. This presents building owners and facilities managers with challenges in terms of life safety.

To ensure the wellbeing of staff and shoppers alike, Markovo Tepe Mall required an addressable life safety system that would allow staff to locate and draw attention to emergency incidents as quickly as possible. An increased number of detectors were also needed across the eight-storey site to ensure any potential risks could be effectively monitored.

Reliable and easy to install

Security system specifier, Sectron, chose to install a selection of Hochiki Europe solutions which would address the challenges posed by such a large shopping centre. The project saw the installation of products from Hochiki Europe’s ESP range of intelligent devices, which all utilise Enhanced Systems Protocol (ESP). The ESP product range offers high compliance to globally recognised safety standards while the open protocol gives installers the flexibility to incorporate devices from multiple manufacturers.

Optical smoke and thermal detectors, beam detectors and sounders compatible with ESP were installed as part of the project. Combined strobe and sounder beacons were also added to make sure building users are instantly notified to any safety issues within the complex. In total, more than 1300 detectors were installed throughout the shopping mall.


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