Most of the time fire alarm systems sit quietly, waiting to alert us of a possible threat. We have certainly become highly dependent on them to work when we need them. Yet, at some point nearly every building, including sophisticated high-rises, outdated office buildings, schools, and even our own homes will experience a false fire alarm. Many times we react impulsively to silence these unwanted alarms, but in doing so it is easy to unwittingly create major problems with the future performance of these systems.
Recently, ORR Protection Systems has fielded an increased number of questions regarding Video Smoke Detection and Video Flame Detection through our "Ask an Expert" portal. Since the interest seems to be increasing we thought it would be helpful to post the most frequently asked questions about this type of detection.
Fire departments respond to more than 2 million false fire alarms each year that are not a result of potentially hazardous conditions, according to NFPA. When your fire alarm system is activated due to mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or lack of knowledge on proper maintenance, it can result in unnecessary runs by the fire department and can cost your business money. Improper fire alarm function can also become increasingly frustrating for businesses seeking to manage a multitude of lights, buzzers and alarms on the panel without a clear understanding of how they should operate.
If your fire alarm panel generates an alarm signal, do you know what to do? Many people are intimidated by their fire alarm panels. They don't know what the signals mean or what buttons to push when the panel is making noise. A simple understanding of the signals a fire alarm panel can generate and what the buttons do can go a long way to building confidence in your system. Click here to download our latest content offer, "How to Operate My Fire Panel." This free download will walk you through the basic phases of fire panel operation so you can gain a clearer understanding of why your panel does what it does and how to operate it when you need to, including:
Corrosion exists in almost every fire sprinkler system installed. Some systems are always filled with water – wet pipe systems. Some systems have air in the pipes until the system is called to fill with water – dry pipe and pre-action systems. Both wet and dry systems have corrosion issues, but they are dramatically worse in dry systems.
ORR Protection Systems has put together a cheat sheet you can download to help you choose the correct fire protection technology for your needs. This is not exhaustive, but we wanted to cover the essentials.
High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) fans are a great addition to any large facility or warehouse. They are an energy efficient supplement to expensive HVAC systems, moving large amounts of air helping employees stay comfortable and productive. As a growing number of facilities are now incorporating these fans, fire protection engineers are concerned about their effect on sprinkler system operation. Many experts fear these fans will delay sprinkler operation, possibly overwhelm the sprinkler system, and cause a larger fire than necessary. New research has focused on addressing those concerns.
For more than 20 years, cross-zone detection has been a best practice for the design of fire suppression systems. Cross-zone detection is all about verified detection or the requirement for two detectors in alarm before activating the release sequence. Detectors which rely on smoke to alarm can be more sensitive to ambient factors such as dirt and dust which cause false alarms. Because of this, cross-zone release has been the industry standard when smoke detectors are involved in the automatic actuation of fire suppression systems such as Pre-Action Sprinkler or Clean Agent. However, many fire suppression system owners don’t understand the various installation and programming options available to them.Single vs. Multiple Detection Methods
It is common knowledge that lead-acid batteries, when they are charging, release hydrogen gas that can potentially result in an explosion. In 2001, a hydrogen gas explosion occurred in a California data center in the UPS room where batteries were charging. Fortunately no one was harmed; however, the Data Center did sustain significant damage including the collapse of several walls and ceilings. The explosion also resulted in a large hole in the roof of the building.
This week I joined industry leaders and experts in Las Vegas for the NFPA Conference and Exposition. The mission of the National Fire Protection Association is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. Each year I find this conference to be a tremendous opportunity to connect with so many of my peers and to learn about the new trends in Fire Protection. I’d like to share just a few of my observations from the three days I spent at the conference.