An atrium is an architectural feature commonly found in buildings, particularly in modern and contemporary designs. It refers to a large, open space within a structure that extends vertically through multiple levels and is typically enclosed by glass or other transparent materials. Atria serve various purposes, including providing natural light, ventilation, and a sense of openness to the interior of a building.
Atriums are often located in commercial and public buildings such as shopping centres, office complexes, hotels, and educational institutions. They are designed to create a visually appealing and welcoming environment, making them popular choices for areas where people gather, relax, or engage in social activities. Additionally, atriums can be used for hosting events, exhibitions, and gatherings, adding versatility to their applications.
What are the Risks?
There are a number of fairly unique fire risks with this type of area. These include:
- Combustible Interior Decor
- Atria often feature interior decor elements such as plants, curtains, or decorative materials that can be flammable. If not properly maintained or if fire-resistant materials are not used, these decorative elements can pose a fire risk.
- Smoke and Heat Ventilation
- Atria typically have large open spaces, and in the event of a fire, smoke and heat can accumulate at the upper levels. Inadequate ventilation systems or malfunctioning smoke control mechanisms can hinder the safe evacuation of occupants.
- Electrical Fires Due to Lighting Fixtures
- Atriums often have extensive lighting systems to enhance their visual appeal and provide adequate illumination. However, these lighting fixtures can pose a fire risk if not properly maintained or if there are electrical faults. Overheating, short circuits, or damaged wiring within lighting systems can lead to electrical fires in atriums.
- Glass Atrium Enclosures
- Many atria are enclosed with glass or other transparent materials. While these provide natural light, they can also pose a risk if the glass breaks or shatters during a fire, potentially allowing flames to spread.
- Fire Spread
- Atria can serve as chimneys, allowing fires to rapidly spread vertically through the building. Proper fire containment measures such as fire-rated barriers and sprinkler systems are essential to limit fire propagation.
What are the Challenges?
There are also various challenges that come with selecting a suitable fire detection system for atria, including:
- Open Design and Ventilation
- Atria are characterised by their open and spacious design, which can lead to rapid dispersion of smoke and heat during a fire. Traditional smoke detectors may not work effectively in such an environment, requiring specialised smoke detection technology capable of detecting smoke movement in large, open spaces.
- False Alarms
- Atria often feature natural elements like plants, which can release particles or emit water vapour that may trigger false alarms in conventional smoke detectors. Designing a system that can distinguish between actual fire-related smoke and non-fire-related particles is crucial to prevent false alarms.
- High Ceilings
- Atria typically have high ceilings, making it challenging to install and maintain fire detection equipment at elevated levels. Accessibility and reliability of detectors placed at these heights must be carefully considered.
- Aesthetic Considerations
- Atria are often designed to be visually appealing and may include architectural elements like glass walls and decorative features. Integrating fire detection equipment into the design while preserving aesthetics can be a challenge.
- Airflow and Smoke Movement
- Atriums often have natural airflow patterns due to their open design and large windows. This can result in the movement of smoke in unpredictable ways during a fire, making it challenging for traditional fire detection systems to accurately pinpoint the location of the fire source.
What is the Solution?
Beam detection is a fire detection method that uses a beam of light to detect the presence of smoke or other particles in the air. There are two main types of beam detection: projected beam detection and reflective beam detection.
Reflective beam detection involves the use of a transmitter and a receiver unit, which are typically installed on opposite sides of a space. The transmitter emits a beam of light that is directed towards the receiver. In normal conditions, the light beam travels directly from the transmitter to the receiver without interruption. However, when smoke particles or other obstructions are present in the beam path, they scatter or absorb the light, causing a reduction in the received light intensity. This reduction triggers an alarm signal, indicating the possible presence of a fire.
Reflective beam detection is a perfect fire detection solution for atriums. It offers excellent coverage for the expansive spaces and high ceilings typically found in atriums, making it efficient in detecting smoke or fire throughout the area. Additionally, it complements the aesthetics of atriums, as it can be discreetly installed without disrupting the architectural design.
This type of detection is less susceptible to triggers from dust, humidity, or non-fire-related particles and can handle building movement. Maintenance is also simplified, as reflective beam detectors are typically installed at accessible heights, making routine checks and calibration more manageable.
Fireray One reflective beam detectors provide the ideal solution for atria applications. These detectors prioritise ease of set-up and do not require any specialist tools or knowledge for installation and operation.
Nuisance alarms are prevented with Light Cancellation TechnologyTM which compensates for artificial light sources. Fireray One is unaffected by movement caused by buildings settling or flexing due to temperature variations thanks to Building Movement TrackingTM that continuously maintains alignment.
The Fireray One includes an automatic alignment feature, where users only need to direct the laser towards the reflector, and the detector aligns itself effortlessly. This allows for a hassle-free installation that can be easily accomplished by just one person.
The Fireray One also uses contamination compensation to correct for gradual build-up of dust on optics and detectors can be easily cleaned without affecting alignment.
Fireray One detectors have a detection range of up to 120 metres.
Fireray One can be aligned with Fast Alignment – a process that takes less than a minute. Integrated direction keys are used to move a built-in laser onto the reflector and the auto alignment takes care of the rest. Once the alignment is completed successfully, the right-hand green LED will flash for 10 seconds and the fire and fault relays will go to normal state.
The Fireray One’s status indicators are positioned underneath the detector so that they can be easily seen from ground level.
Why Choose Eurofyre?
- Complete System Supplier
- Eurofyre manufactures and supplies all aspects of fire detection and its associated safety products, including beam detection systems, and can provide expert advice and consultation.
- Demonstration and Training
- We offer demonstrations and expert training on a range of systems, including Fireray One detectors, in our very own sophisticated training facility.
- After-Sales Support
- Eurofyre offers both on-site and telephone support to assist you in ensuring that your system is fully functional and operating at maximum efficiency. Our after-sales care and support are second to none.
For more information about Fireray One or to discuss any of the other products that Eurofyre has to offer, please feel free to get in touch either by phone on +44 (0) 1329 835 024, by email to [email protected] or via the online enquiry form situated on our contact page.