Hush Those False Alarms: Unwanted alarm management solutionsPresented by Mike Parsons, Business Development Manager, C-TEC
HUSH!An innovative new fire alarm solution for unwanted alarm management
Around 80% of allUK fire deaths andinjuries occur indwellingsHMO occupants are6 times more likely todie in a fire than peopleliving in a single familydwelling
Nowhere is the risk to life of fire greater than inhouses in multiple occupation, where a fire inone dwelling can quickly spread to another
Unfortunately, an increased risk of firemeans an increased risk of false alarms The most common causes of “unwanted alarms” are usually a result of tenant‟s activities… • Toasting smoke • Cooking fumes • Steam from bathrooms/kitchens • Aerosol/hair spray • Candles • Tobacco smoke • Build-up of dust
Failure to reduce false alarms can lead to unnecessary building evacuations, irate tenants, system vandalism and true alarm signals being ignored
Fire Statistics (12 months to 31 March 2009)722,000 Attended Fires or False Alarms326,000 Fires396,000 False Alarms (Unwanted alarms) 54%The Fire Industry Association defines an unwanted fire signal as:Any fire alarm signal other than a genuine fire or test signal. BS5839-1:2002 also defines a false alarm as a fire signal resulting from acause(s) other than a fire, and further sub-divides these into four categories:1) Unwanted alarms2) Equipment false alarms (fault or contamination)3) Malicious or Hoax false alarms4) False alarms with good intent (smell smoke from a bonfire)
Impact on the community of Unwanted Alarms1. Diverting essential services from real fire & rescues (putting life at risk)2. Disruption of business (downtime, time wasted, loss of business, theft)3. Unnecessary risk to crew & public whilst responding (accidents)4. Unnecessary risk of personal injury during building evacuation5. Complacency “oh its just another false alarm” reduces effectiveness of management plans and procedures6. Disruption to arson reduction, community safety & fire safety activities (education, smoke detectors, etc)7. Impact on the environment of unnecessary appliance movements8. Cost of attendance to Tax payers - Council Tax9. Fire & Rescue Services are considering billing the responsible person for call outs to unwanted alarms, where due diligence cannot be demonstrated
BS 5839-1:2002 (Section 3 Limitation of false alarms)The role of the installer is simply to install the system inaccordance with the requirements of the designer. However,where, during installation, an installer identifies conditions in thebuilding (e.g. environmental conditions) that might result in anunacceptable rate of false alarms, the designer, purchaser oruser needs to be informed, so that the need for modification ofthe design can be considered.Verification of compliance with this standard includes verificationthat suitable steps have been taken by all parties to ensure thatfalse alarms can be limited as far as reasonably practicable.
BS 5839-1:2002 Design CertificateWork with those responsible for buildings to ensure that wherea fire alarm and detection system is installed or is to beinstalled, it utilises the most appropriate devices to reduce falsealarms
BS 5839-6:2004 (12.2 Recommendations)All fire detection and fire alarm systems complying with this part of BS5839should have accessible means of silencing fire alarm signals,suitable for use by the occupiers of the dwelling.Grade A systems should be provided with silencing facilities that complywith the recommendations of 16.2.1g) and 16.2.1h) of BS 5839-1:2002 -A facility should be provided to enable silencing of alarm signals- Alarm signals should not be silenced automaticallyIn Grade D and Grade E systems, means should be provided for silencingshort term unwanted alarms. Provided the facility can be operated byoccupiers of the dwelling when standing at floor level.A delay of up to two minutes between the operation of a detector in onedwelling unit and a fire alarm signal in other dwelling unitsProvision for isolating a dwelling‟s detectors and sounders should activitiesbe taking place that could cause a false alarm
BS 5839-6:2004 Design CertificateWork with those responsible for buildings to ensure that wherea fire alarm and detection system is installed or is to beinstalled, it utilises the most appropriate devices to reduce falsealarms
Sources of unwanted alarms (CASE 1)House in multiple occupation: problems associated with cookingfumes and steamWhen a smoke detector in an area adjacentto a kitchen or bathroom is connected to afire alarm system, it should not render thewhole system vulnerable to a false alarmoriginating from that area due to cookingfumes and steam
House in multiple occupation: Example ground floor S S S H S S S = Automatic smoke detector triggered in Hallway and / or Lounge adjacent to Communal Kitchen when cooking.
House in multiple occupation: Example 1st floor S S S SS = Automatic smoke detector triggered in Hallway adjacent to Communal Bathroom after immediate use due to steam.
House in multiple occupation: Example 2nd floor S S H SS = Automatic smoke detector triggered in Hallway adjacent to Bathroom after immediate use due to steam or from cooking fumes when kitchen was in use.S = Automatic smoke detector triggered in Bedroom after immediate use of En-suite shower.
Sources of unwanted alarms (CASE 2) Halls of residence: problems associated with cooking fumesS When a smoke detector in an area adjacent to a communal kitchen is connected to a fire alarm system, it should not render the whole system vulnerable to a false alarm originating from that area due to cooking fumes. S S S S S S H
Sources of unwanted alarms (CASE 3) Sheltered Housing: Problems associated with cooking fumes& steamS When a smoke detector in a house/flat is connected to a fire alarm system, it should not render the whole system vulnerable to a false alarm originating from that S house/flat due to cooking fumes and steam. Also consider areas adjacent to communal kitchens. S
Technical solutions to prevent unnecessary building evacuations1. Use of Analogue smoke detection systems which are likely to offer better immunity to false alarms than conventional two-state fire detection systems as they provide a pre-alarm warning, which enables investigation of conditions that, if no action is taken, would lead to an unwanted alarm.2. Use of a multi-criteria sensor3. Use of a “Hush” button to manage unwanted alarms
Designed to work with widely available openprotocol fire alarm systems, C-TEC‟s Hush Button tackles all of these issues head on.
There are two aspects to fire detection and alarm systemsin HMOs & Sheltered Housing - dwelling units andcommunal areas dwelling unit dwelling unit dwelling unit dwelling unit Communal area dwelling unit dwelling unit
A typical “Grade A” EN54-2/4 communal (mixed) system230V 230V Grade D Mains/battery Grade D Mains/battery alarms to BS5446 alarms to BS5446 Grade A EN54-2/4 Fire alarm system230V 230V Grade D Mains/battery Grade D Mains/battery alarms to BS5446 alarms to BS5446230V 230V Grade D Mains/battery Grade D Mains/battery alarms to BS5446 alarms to BS5446 FACIE
The silence button is often on the alarm itself and cannot be operated whilst standing at floor level There is no way of easily isolating a detector should „hot works‟ be taking place. If Mains is disconnected the battery still needs removing No feedback on system integrity outside the dwelling unit (vandalism and/or flat batteries not reported elsewhere) Installation is often the responsibility of two organisations - an electrician fits the mains alarms in the dwelling units and a fire specialist fits the BS5839-1 system in the communal area(s) Often no option for connecting beacons and/or vibrating pads for Equality Act compliance
A typical “Grade A” EN54-2/4single system (conventional) solution Grade A EN54-2/4 Fire alarm system FACIE
There is no way of silencing a local alarm from within a dwelling unit (this has to be done at the main panel) There is no way of temporarily isolating a detector from a dwelling unit should „hot works‟ be taking place (this has to be done by disabling and then re-enabling the relevant zone at the main panel)
Utilises readily-available cost-effective “Open Protocol” fire alarm technologyEach Hush Button can be looked upon as a fully-monitored single zone conventional fire alarm system that can sit on a communal fire alarm panel‟s analogue loop (max. 20 per loop).Use of analogue fire system technology offers higher unwanted alarm immunity, with the capability of configuring warning devices for phased evacuation.
Typical Hush Button solution used for Dwellings Conventional smoke/heat Conventional smoke/heat detectors with base detectors with base sounders sounders Grade A EN54-2/4 Analogue Addressable Fire alarm system Conventional smoke/heat Conventional smoke/heat detectors with base (Apollo XP95/Discovery detectors with base sounders or Hochiki ESP) sounders Conventional smoke/heat Conventional smoke/heat detectors with base detectors with base sounders sounders FACIE
Analogue Analogue loop IN loop OUT Analogue loop wired in two core enhanced fire resistant cable Max. 20 Hush Buttons per loop
Call point must befitted with 330 ohm resistor supplied with Hush Button Conventional detector circuit wired in two core enhanced fire resistant cable Max. length 100m
Conventional sounder circuitwired in two core enhanced fire resistant cableMax. length 100m
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