The HSE estimates that two out of three fires which occur on construction industry premises are started deliberately. Motives range from revenge to fraud, crime concealment to vandalism and losses are estimated at £400 million a year.
Currently there are a number of guidelines and recommendations in place to to promote best practice for the safety of site workers, the public and for the mitigation of loss from construction site fires. However, can strict site management and good site security, on its own, solve the issue of outdoor fire detection?
Most fire alarm systems rely on the build-up of smoke or heat over pre-determined levels to recognise that a fire has started. Whilst this is effective in protecting the internal areas of a building, this type of system is not suitable for exterior areas.
Outdoor fire detection and protection on construction sites needs to be considered because with such a high proportion of fires being started deliberately, areas with little or no fire protection will be extremely vulnerable and at risk.
Construction site management teams are making use of CCTV systems which offer incredibly detailed live views of construction sites both day and night. These systems are ideal for post examination of the events leading to an incident however, cannot offer full fire protection systems.
CCTV systems are unable to notify anyone to events in progress, unless some method of detection is used, and as most methods are there to detect the presence of people i.e. intruders, which would only be used when the sites are empty, even then wouldn’t necessarily notify anyone of a fire.
So what other systems can be used to protect construction sites and have a real impact on the industry?
Fortunately, there are systems that can be used to detect fire (or the build-up to a fire) in areas which are difficult to detect. These systems can generally be split into one of two categories: Fire Detectionand Temperature Monitoring.
Temperature monitoring cameras are the most widely available and are more commonly known as Thermal (Imaging) Cameras. These work by using a special lens to focus the infrared light emitted by all of the objects in view to create a detailed temperature pattern called a thermogram.
Thermal cameras can be used to monitor large areas with high levels of accuracy and can be set to trigger alerts when temperatures rise or fall below set parameters. One consideration for using thermal cameras is that further investigation is required to determine what caused the temperature change.
Fire detection cameras generally work in a similar way, in that they are monitoring infrared light using an infrared lens. However, they can also successful work with an optical lens to automatically analyse and compare both images and confirm, in a matter of seconds, the presence of a fire and not something that could be misinterpreted as fire. An added benefit of a system with two lenses, is that it has a dual purpose as the optical lens can act as a standard CCTV camera as well.
Our Ciqurix FCam™range has been built using a Fire Detection system. We wanted to produce a system for the purpose, first and foremost of detecting fire. In case of a fire, both digital based analytics and the infrared (IR) sensors combine with in-built patented algorithms to confirm the presence of flame, and then send an alarm to the digital feed in seconds.
The combination of IR and digital makes the FCam Series exceptionally reliable, virtually cutting out false alarms. Fires are detected and reported within seconds of their breaking out, slashing emergency response times and increasing the safety of people and property on your site.
To find out more about the FCam™range and to book your free personal demo click here.