In the UK, a public building is narrowly defined as a building that is occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by the public. This can include buildings such as education facilities, hospitals, community centres, libraries, courts, information centres, government buildings, public housing and more; buildings that connect us to each other that define and support community.
Government or public buildings can be both old and new with some displaying some fine examples of modern architecture and others holding historic or listed status.
These buildings can welcome hundreds (or even thousands) of visitors every day and can have various members of staff or personnel inside them at any time. As with most public buildings, there is a responsibility to protect these people from harm, which includes having suitable and reliable fire detection in place.
What are the Risks?
Government and public buildings are open to a number of increased fire risks, these can include:
- These buildings can be susceptible to arson attacks. Whether for political reasons or just random acts of vandalism, it is not uncommon for these types of buildings to be targeted.
- Poor Housekeeping
- If public areas are not kept clean and free from waste, the risk of fire is increased. Combustible materials that are not removed, such as packaging or general waste that is disposed of in public bins, can cause fire to spread more rapidly.
- The high volume of people passing through government or public buildings means that keeping areas free of clutter can be difficult. As well as this, most will be unfamiliar with the building which may make evacuation difficult.
- Building or Maintenance Work
- Careless application of heat from tasks such as paint stripping or plumbing, loss of fire separation from removal of doors and more can all lead to an increased risk of fire.
- Electrical Faults
- Electrical equipment can become prone to electrical faults and, if faults were to occur, sparks can be generated and cause fire.
What are the Challenges?
- Government and public buildings can have a lot of people inside at any given time. This means that evacuation can be difficult. Therefore, it is important that any fires or potential fires are detected with enough time to make sure occupants can be kept safe.
- Building Size
- Large open spaces can often have high and unpredictable airflows. Doors opening and closing and varying levels of pedestrian traffic can all cause the air in large open places to behave erratically.
- Cooling and Heating Systems
- Cooling and heating systems can also cause unpredictable airflow, making it much harder for traditional detectors to detect the presence of smoke.
- Aesthetics of a building often have to be preserved, especially if it is listed. Therefore, traditional type detectors can be considered an eyesore.
- Some government or public buildings have restricted access. Some areas, such as courtrooms, may be extremely secure and only accessible by authorised personnel.
Aspirating smoke detection (ASD) can provide reliable and effective smoke detection for government and public buildings.
ASD uses powerful aspirators to draw air from the protected area into a sampling chamber where it analyses the sampled air for smoke particles. This means that smoke can be detected extremely quickly; often detected before it is even visible to the human eye. It also means that it is unaffected by unpredictable airflows or building size.
Sampling points are discrete and thus have minimal impact on the aesthetics of the property and detection units can be installed in a central location, making them easy to access for maintenance.
VESDA is the world’s leading aspirating smoke detection brand. Over the years, VESDA has evolved from being a specialist and niche technology to a mainstay of the fire detection industry. The new range of VESDA-E detectors was launched in 2014. These detectors now set the benchmark for performance, reliability and stability as well as adding increased flexibility.
There are three key detectors in the VESDA ranges that each have their place in a variety of different applications, including government and public buildings.
VESDA VLF Aspirating Smoke Detection
VESDA VLF provides superior very early warning, air-sampling smoke detection for small, business-critical spaces such as switch rooms, server rooms and cabinets. VLF aspirating smoke detectors continually draw air into the sampling chamber via discrete sampling holes in an aspirating pipe network. The air is filtered before entering the chamber, where light scattering technology detects even a very small amount of smoke.
VESDA-E VEP Aspirating Smoke Detection
VESDA-E VEP detectors are built on Xtralis’ FlairTM detection technology, a revolutionary detection chamber, to deliver very early warning of fire, increased nuisance alarm rejection, higher stability and increased longevity. They provide consistent performance over their lifetime via absolute calibration.
VESDA-E VEA Aspirating Smoke Detection
VESDA-E VEA provides all the features of aspirating smoke detection, with added addressability. When smoke is detected, these detectors run a series of tests to determine the precise location of the threat.
Why Choose Eurofyre?
- Xtralis Gold Partner
- Eurofyre has ‘Gold Channel Partner’ status with Xtralis – the market leader in aspirating smoke detection. This recognition displays our level of commitment, including excellent customer service and competitive pricing.
- Complete System Supplier
- Eurofyre is a complete system supplier and has been a major Xtralis technical wholesaler since 2007. This means we can offer expert advice and supply all aspects of fire detection including aspirating smoke detection systems, conventional and addressable fire alarm control panels and linear heat detection.
- Pipework Design
- Eurofyre can also provide assistance with aspirating pipe network design to ensure optimum network performance and installation quality.
- Demonstration and Training
- We have a sophisticated training facility where we offer demonstrations and expert training on a range of systems, including VESDA-E aspirating smoke detection systems.
- After-Sales Support
- Eurofyre prides itself on providing after-sales care and support that is second to none. We offer both on-site and telephone assistance to help you ensure that your system is fully operational and working at its best.
For more information about VESDA aspirating smoke detection, or to discuss any of the other products that Eurofyre have 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.