Emerging Fire Protection Technologies to WatchJanuary 9, 2017 No Comments
Featured article by Diana Smith, Independent Technology Author
Fire hazard is no joke, and everybody knows that. Humans dread fire for a reason – it destroys everything in its path. Although the fire did not evolve, the technologies that we use to fight it did. These improvements in the fire protection field now make it easier to detect, suppress and extinguish fires. Every step we make with these improvements is a step towards saving lives. Here are some of the newest technologies in the firefighting field.
Sound wave fire extinguisher
This fire extinguisher was made by two students from George Mason University. At first glance, it resembles a regular extinguisher but it doesn’t use water or chemicals to put the fires out. This extinguisher uses the power of sound to do that. Viet Tran and Seth Robertson used a subwoofer instead of a compressed tank with chemicals in their invention. Extinguishers that use water, chemicals and foam will get the job done, but will also leave a huge mess behind. This one is much cleaner. It uses sound waves to separate the fuel and oxygen, which makes the fire die out.
This technology is hardly new, but sprinkler systems made some serious improvements. Fire sprinklers are among the most used fire protection systems. The reason for that is that they have been tried and tested. However, huge amounts of water could lead to water damage. Newer versions of water mist extinguishers have high pressure sprinklers that use water more efficiently. HI-FOG system, for example, sprays smaller water drops which quickly evaporate and cool down the whole room. This system minimizes water damage which allows it to be used in more sensitive environments, like museums, computer rooms and such.
Video image smoke detection
High ceilings and large open rooms make it difficult for smoke detectors to do their job properly. In such objects, the airflow is high and the smoke is layered, which prevents it from reaching detectors and sounding the alarm. This is why Video Image Smoke Detection is a big step towards safety. This system uses videos from digital surveillance cameras, analyses them with a computer and visually detects the smoke. This is a big improvement in the fire protection field since it allows better response time for firefighters, and it detects the source of the smoke which makes fire protection more effective.
If a fire breaks out in a building, people need to be evacuated quickly while fire suppression systems extinguish it. Buildings can now implement audible exit signs which guide people safely out of the building. Pre-recorded messages are played to alert people and start the evacuation. This system is customizable to fit different buildings and locations. Evacuation plans are broadcasted over speakers, which helps people get out if their vision is compromised by the excess smoke. These acts as audible evacuation diagrams, when there is little time to look at the evacuation plan.
Carbon monoxide detectors
These detectors help locate the elements that are not visible to the eye. As smoke detectors look for signs of fire, these actually look for signs of harmful gas – carbon monoxide. This gas doesn’t have any scent or color, but can cause poisoning and death, so it is appropriately called the silent killer. Carbon monoxide detectors check the air quality in a room, and new technologies allow them to send reports to your smartphone via an app. These detectors are recommended in rooms where there are appliances producing this gas, but also kitchens, garages or basements.
These are some of the bigger advancements in fire protection technologies. Each and every one of them saves countless lives and allows us to fight fire more effectively.