UK Fire losses have substantially increased over recent years and are now regularly exceeding £1 Billion per year. Proposed budget cuts across the UK Fire Service will see large reductions in fire-fighter posts, appliances and the closure of Fire Stations. In light of these facts and proposed manpower reductions, earlier intervention of the emergency services to a developing fire has become ever more important. This will give the emergency services a better chance of limiting damage to buildings and more importantly saving both lives and jobs.
Spotfire together with their partners have produced a dual purpose CCTV Camera that can work alongside existing Fire Detection systems. Its inbuilt software will, in the camera’s field of view, look for both the presence of smoke (indoor only) and flame (outdoor and indoor) as well as monitoring for any signs of criminal activity. Tests have shown that detection of smoke or flame takes place typically within 20 seconds. It can operate inside and outside of buildings and its operating system works in both daylight and night time conditions.
An indication of how unique this product is that, at this time, there are no European or International standards currently available. The USA, with both UL and FM, has created standards and the Chinese Standards body also has their own standard. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) produced a committee draft of a proposed standard, ISO/TC21/SC3 N813, which completed public comment on 13 June 2014. This proposed draft was rejected by several agencies including BSI as some of the test fires were deemed as inappropriate. A revised draft, ISO/DIS 7420-29, has been published for further discussion. This would indicate that the potential marketplace is now looking to legitimise this unique product, but if the standards procedures run to form we are looking at an industry wide standard not becoming available for several years to come.
The duality of the Spotfire camera makes it an ideal solution for numerous locations. With arson attacks on Schools, Mosques and Business premises on the increase, the Spotfire camera has the ability to record such events as they happen. This true record of the events would be of interest to all parties, including property owners, the Police and Insurance companies. Areas at risk of fire due to their nature and storage of products would be Recycling Plants, Petro-Chemical Plants, Multi-Storey and Surface Car Parks, Warehouses, Distribution Centres and Airport Hangers. Public buildings such as Hospitals, Museums, Art Galleries, Libraries, Shopping Malls and Airport Terminals, particularly those with large atrium areas are prime candidates for this type of protection. The applications are numerous and its benefits are that by early detection it will minimise interruption to business and by association help to reduce insurance costs and claims.
It should be acknowledged that the siting of a camera or cameras will be dictated by a number of factors including the hazard involved, the field of view, the potential size and type of fire, obstructions to view and response time. The consequence of this is that a survey of the Spotfire camera potential locations should be undertaken by appointed competent installers prior to any installation, taking into account the above cited observations to ensure the correct maximum coverage. A huge plus for this equipment is its ability to be integrated into existing CCTV systems including CCTV security systems meeting the BS 5839 Pt1 statement as a complimentary item. For larger locations a standalone Spotfire system can be installed.
The conclusion that there are alternative means of fire detection available which can solve the impossible problem for consultants, installers and clients now has a proven case in the form of CCTV fire detection and in the foreseeable future will take its place alongside today’s accepted means of fire detection.
For more information, go to www.spotfireltd.co.uk