Fire protection always seems to be last on the list of things a company wants to do. We can see the benefits of access control every day as the systems installed manage the flow of people in and out of an office or campus (hopefully), and even CCTV has benefits. When it comes to fire, however, these systems always seem to be the biggest grudge purchase even when they deliver the most needed protection of life and assets.
To learn more about fire detection, prevention and suppression, Garvin Ogden, systems engineer at Tyco Integrated Fire and Security, answers a few questions.
1. Why should businesses consider fire detection, prevention and suppression products?
Ogden: The outbreak of a fire could destroy a business and its property, not to mention the loss of human life. The costs of replacing everything would be incredibly high and an extremely time consuming task. One of the best ways to prevent such a catastrophic event is to make use of a fire alarm system.
2. What are the factors that will affect your choice of fire solution, for example, building infrastructure, number of employees etc.?
Ogden: There are essentially two types of fire alarm systems: conventional and addressable. A conventional system is suitable for factories with large open areas requiring detection as well as small commercial buildings. For larger buildings and installations, an addressable system is recommended.
Most insurance companies will require that your fire alarm system meets with a specified design category as defined in SANS 10139. It is recommended that you make use of a SAQCC fire registered designer to provide you with assistance when designing your system.
3. Tell us about the latest technology solution that Tyco is offering?
Ogden: Zettler Profile is a detection and alarm system that uses MZX technology at its heart. Due to the fact that MZX technology was originally designed for operation in the most hostile of environments, the system is highly resilient to external factors such as electrical noise or sources of false alarm. The new touch screen user interface with context sensitive help has been ergonomically engineered so that every operation is made easy. Features such as the touch sensitive LEDs that provide detailed status information ensure a fast response to all system events. The system combines ease of use with high performance, and through innovation brings lifetime cost benefits to end users. The optional stand-alone touch screen user interface makes the system suitable for the most critical and sensitive environments.
4. What situations and environments warrant specific technologies (if any)?
Ogden: There are certain applications that require specific equipment be used, for example kitchens require the use of heat detectors. Escape routes require the use of smoke detectors. There are also a number of risk-specific scenarios that require the use of specialised detectors such as ember detection, UV/IR flame detectors, linear heat detection and duct probes.
The environment to be protected can also determine the most appropriate detection method used when taking into account servicing and safety requirements. In areas where it would require scaffolding and working at heights to get to point detectors, especially when over busy production areas, it would be more suitable to install beam detectors.
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