How Technology and Software Can Aid in Fire Prevention

Melissa Douglas, Director / IT Infrastructure Architecture & Operations, Biogen

How Technology and Software Can Aid in Fire PreventionMelissa Douglas, Director / IT Infrastructure Architecture & Operations, Biogen

When a fire starts, every second count in minimizing risk to nearby residents, potential property damage, and facility operation disturbance.

Many industries, including fire safety, have opportunities for improvement due to digitalization and new technology. Since creating the first automated water sprinkler, technology has advanced significantly to improve the effectiveness and reliability of fire prevention.

"Passive fire protection" refers to the practice of utilizing building components to contain the spread of fire. These components include firewalls, floors, and ceilings that can withstand the passage of fire for an extended time. They section off a building into compartments to contain a fire. People are undoubtedly already familiar with sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, and fire alarms. Below are a few active fire protection systems that immediately limit the spread of fire and smoke without disturbing more people than necessary.

Suppression of Water Mist

Water mist systems produce much smaller droplets, which conserves water while increasing the area covered by water. They drop the total temperature more quickly because they effectively create steam, which substitutes oxygen, the primary fuel for the fire. Additionally, it forms a water barrier on surfaces, reducing the rate of fire propagation.

Video Smoke and Flame Detection

Smoke and flame detectors are critical in crises because they provide an early warning to activate fire suppression equipment and provide people time to evacuate safely.

People frequently employ or find smoke detectors in their homes and offices that "feel" the smoke molecules. Video Smoke/Flame Detection technology is more efficient and, in some cases, may be required to prevent the spread of fire.

Video Image Detection (VID) technologies utilize two components to detect fire: cameras and computer algorithms. Cameras scan the area, transmit the video to a computer, and then run an algorithm "trained" to recognize clusters of pixels exhibiting trademark smoke or fire behaviors.

Smoke Detectors with Air Sampling

These systems are constantly monitoring for fire hazards to deliver the earliest possible warning. They recognize a fire before it spreads and maybe extinguished it while it is still tiny.

They actively suck air in via sample ports that are typically in the form of piping or tubing. The detector then does a smoke analysis on the air. These detectors may draw air in from several spots throughout a structure, constantly scanning for fire and reacting as soon as it begins.

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