Early warning is essential

Issue 6 2021 Editor's Choice, Fire & Safety, Logistics (Industry)

Warehouses and storage facilities are historically one of the key built environments that attract significant new constructions to cater for increasing urban population growth demands, changes to consumer behaviour and innovative fulfilment of goods and services.


Markus Mueller.

The trend is for larger, taller and more flexible warehouse constructions with dense and complex racking systems and an increasing level of warehouse automation, which pose a number of challenges for fire safety. At the same time, business continuity is paramount in order to deliver the promised high levels of service for all logistics distribution centres.

The diverse nature of logistics, distribution, warehousing and storage facilities requires a fire detection system to be designed in such a way that it is able to address risk-based detection needs, over and beyond prescriptive requirements, in order to ensure business operations and asset protection. An early warning fire detection system is key to guaranteeing business continuity.

Risk, cause and damage

Fire risks and the total loss percentage caused by fires remain persistently high in industrial and warehouse/storage-type occupancies. In the UK, there was a 20% increase in fires in non-residential buildings from 2008 to 2017[1].

Excluding intentionally lit fires, electrical distribution, lighting and heating equipment are by far the major causes of fire in warehouses and storage facilities[2].

Most, if not all logistics, distribution, warehousing and storage facilities are designed for processing and distributing goods either for a company’s own business or as a service hub connecting businesses to their customers. Business continuity and avoidance of loss due to fire are paramount.

Figure 1 illustrates how business interruptions and potential losses due to fire damage may be avoided by installing a fire detection system. A reliable early warning fire detection system further increases the benefit by issuing the call to the fire service considerably earlier than with a standard fire detection system. Without a fire detection system, business continuity depends solely on sprinkler suppression and on the delayed arrival of the fire services to fight the fire manually.


Figure 2. The Securiton SecuriSmoke ASD meets all the challenges faced in logistics, distribution, warehousing and storage facilities.

Challenges

The design of an early warning fire detection system of this kind has to overcome a number of challenges, of which the most significant are:

• Large open space with natural or forced ventilation, causing diluted smoke and stratification issues.

• Complex design considerations, such as extremely high or low temperatures, high density racks, obstructed or difficult access as well as hazardous and challenging environments.

• Securiton SecuriSmoke ASD 53x series Aspirating Smoke Detectors (Figure 2) address all the key challenges and deliver early and reliable fire detection in logistics, distribution, warehousing and storage facilities.

Early warning fire detection application scenarios

The key to meeting building and life safety requirements and risk management specifications lies in a risk-based approach to optimising fire detection, fire protection and human interaction. This must supplement the prescriptive baseline design and design process in order to ensure uninterrupted business operation.

Securiton SecuriSmoke ASD products can be used in the following key scenarios to protect logistics, distribution, warehousing and storage facilities[3]:

• In general large open spaces and areas with high ceilings, including the underside of pitched, sloped or flat roofs, roofs with beam or joist construction elements as well as high-bay racking areas and in-rack detection (see Figure 3).

• In multi-tiered racking systems and multilevel mezzanine constructions, including separate detection coverage for lower level mezzanines and compartmentation created due to multi-tiered rack configuration as well as redundant detection capacity to cater for future needs for lower level mezzanines or compartmentation protection as the warehouse layout evolves.

• For risk-based protection and detection methods in extreme or otherwise challenging environments, including return air grilles, localised protection for power cabinets, sensitive rooms or special compartments within a large warehouse, duct detection, detection in challenging environments and refrigerated storage.

An early warning fire detection solution based on Securiton SecuriSmoke ASD is beneficial for the operator because:

• Fires are detected at an early stage.

• Staff remain alert and react competently to signalled alarms.

• Fire alarms are reacted to professionally before they become a major fire incident.

• Loss prevention is at a maximum while risk of business interruption is at a minimum.

• Maintenance costs are commensurate.

Success stories

Securiton SecuriSmoke ASD detectors successfully protect logistics, distribution, warehousing and storage facilities for the following, and other companies:

• Amazon, Italy and UK.

• Macromex, Romania.

• Tesco Lutus, Thailand.

• Jing Dong, China.

• Spudshed, Australia.

• SPAR, South Africa.

• LIDL, Sweden and Romania.

• Khalifa Port, United Arab Emirates.

For more information, go to www.securiton.com

References

[1] Home Office Statistical Bulletin 1919, (September 2019) Detailed analysis of fires attended by fire and rescue services, England, April 2018 to March 2019, London, UK.

[2] Warehouse Fires, 2006-2015, Richard Campbell, NFPA Research, Quincy, MA, USA, October 2017.

[3] Securiton AG (July 2020), Early Warning Fire Detection, Distribution Logistics & Warehousing Industry, Design Guide, Zollikofen, Switzerland.




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