Network gateways add value to a fire alarm’s investigation period
David King, Choice Fire’s Installation Manager, explains:
Manufacturers now include the ability to connect certain addressable fire alarm systems to IP networks, so they can be interrogated and managed via a web browser and communicate system messages directly to relevant on- and off-site fire management personnel. This brings a number of operational benefits – not least in relation to the time-wasting, disruption and costs that can occur as the result of false alarms that are not verified until after a building evacuation has taken place and the emergency services have been called out.
The British Standard allows for most fire systems to have an agreed verification or investigation period (varying around the 4 minute mark) between an alarm being triggered within the system and the site evacuation process and emergency services call-out taking place. This time window is the result of a risk assessment involving building control, fire officers, the local fire brigade and other relevant parties.
Network communications provide a recent, vital tool to help make the most of the verification period. An alarm event can now trigger immediate emails to the phones of relevant on-site personnel, for example. The nature and precise location of the event can often be physically verified by members of the team within the time window and an unnecessary, full-blown incident averted. Where an alarm is genuine, email alerts mean expert manpower can be on-the-spot rapidly to help mitigate any risks.
Having installed the ipGateway interface to Ad-Net-based systems from Advanced we are seeing this technique prove its worth in real world situations.