Early fire detection for central distribution

Issue 2 2021 Fire & Safety

Spar opened its Eastern Cape distribution centre, or head office, in Port Elizabeth in 1992 and since then has become the biggest food retail business in the province. Over the past two decades, the group has expanded its provincial footprint through the KwikSpar, Spar, SuperSpar, SaveMor, Tops at Spar and Build it brands.

Today, more than 100 million customers pass through the doors of the nearly 250 member stores annually. Unlike other retail groups, the Spar brand operates on an independent retailer model as opposed to a chain store basis. Entrepreneurship is one of Spar’s core values and each owner is a member rather than a franchisee.

Spar Eastern Cape employs over 500 staff members at its distribution centre, supplying and servicing the independently owned stores in the region. The distribution centre assists Spar retailers by negotiating better deals for them and their customers, facilitating marketing and promotions, and helping them align their stores with the Spar brand.

With a substantial value of goods housed in this large, complex warehouse facility, early fire detection is essential and the best solution was to use aspirating smoke detection (ASD), also referred to as HSSD (high sensitivity smoke detection).

SAQCC certified designer Jean-Paul Germizhuizen from Dynafire selected the SecuriRAS ASD units, which were located high on the walls, away from potential damage due to forklift operations in and around the area. The aspirating pipe runs are designed to cover the full 25 000 m2 warehouse, sampling the air across the entire warehouse to the detector where it is analysed for any smoke particles. The filters fitted on the pipes help remove dust and other particles to reduce the problem of false alarms.

The ASD units report any fire or fault conditions to the addressable ZP2 panels, which in turn will display on the G2 FireGrafix cloud software; this also relays messages to appointed personnel. Both the Spar designated staff and Dynafire technicians are made aware of any incident as soon as it has occurred.

The technology used provides round-the-clock automatic warning of any presence of smoke and also continuously confirms operational integrity of the whole system, giving the distribution centre peace of mind knowing it is maximising operational up-time and actively protecting the building, staff as well as millions of Rands of produce.


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