Improving fire detection and suppression with camera technology
Fire is a significant risk for businesses within every industry. It has the potential to cause large amounts of damage and a substantial loss of revenue, assets or productivity, due to the period of downtime following a fire.
Fire risk can be mitigated through continuous monitoring of facilities using technology, such as heat detection or flame detection cameras. These systems have the ability to monitor temperatures and hot spots and alert to even the smallest signs of flames. When fire risks are identified quickly, they can be mitigated, decreasing the risk of a fire breaking out or spreading.
When used in combination with fire detection and suppression systems, specialist camera technology can mitigate fire risk significantly and help to protect your teams, assets and the environment.
How does thermal imaging support fire detection and suppression?
One effective method for monitoring temperature to assist fire detection and suppression is thermal imaging.
The technology operates by measuring infrared radiation, which releases heat. Thermal imaging cameras measure the amount of heat radiated in a specific area and translates the measurements into images or videos. These highlight ‘hot spots’ as bright orange-like markings, in comparison to cooler areas, which show up as dark and blue-like markings.
As they are able to measure temperatures from a distance, provided that view is not obstructed, thermal imaging cameras are referred to as ‘non-contact’.
These systems are able to connect with fire detection systems, triggering automatic alerts when temperatures meet or exceed a certain limit or increase quickly. This allows for quick responses to ‘hot spots’, reducing the risk of a fire breaking out or spreading.
The heat detection capability of thermal imaging cameras means they are a valuable addition to any fire detection system.
Thermal imaging technology can also be used to entirely automate your fire suppression process. For example, they can automatically initiate suppression when high temperatures are detected.
What are the benefits of thermal imaging?
When used to aid fire detection and suppression, thermal imaging has numerous benefits, including:
- Rapid detection of high temperatures – the main benefit is the ability to detect heat or rising temperatures quickly, meaning measures can be taken to reduce temperatures before a fire breaks out.
- Monitoring in low-light – as thermal imaging cameras do not require light to be able to monitor heat, they are the ideal solution for use in low-lit environments. This means monitoring is also possible at night when facilities may be vacant.
- Protection in multiple ways – the technology is also effective for security and equipment monitoring. Continuous measuring means that any trespassers on site can be detected and facilities managers or building owners can be notified quickly. In addition, equipment temperature can be analysed continuously to highlight any faults that may occur when a facility is unoccupied.
How does video flame detection support fire detection and suppression?
Another form of camera technology that can work to support fire detection and suppression is video flame detection.
These systems work by alerting to fire as soon as it enters the camera’s field of view, with incredibly fast reaction times. The technology continuously analyses a video image, examining for any occurrences of flames.
To identify flames, the cameras look for the common features of flames, such as flickering or distinct orange-like colours.
What are the benefits of video flame detection?
Video flame detection has various benefits, including:
- Detecting small flames – the technology has the ability to detect incredibly small flames. This allows for fires to be identified quickly, decreasing the risk of fire spreading.
- Connecting CCTV and flame detection – the cameras combine CCTV images with rigorous flame detection systems. This enables building owners, facilities managers and security personnel to be notified of fire immediately.
- Decreased false alarms – systems are meticulously designed to identify the specific characteristics of flames, meaning the number of false alarms is extremely low.
- Cost effective – as cameras can cover larger areas in comparison to point-type detectors, they are a cost effective solution for monitoring large facilities, such as warehouses.
- Recognised by regulatory bodies – the technology meets the requirements of numerous regulatory bodies, and, across various industries, it is recognised by AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) as an acceptable and effective method for fire detection.
Thermal imaging versus video flame detection
When choosing between thermal imaging or video flame detection to enhance your fire detection and suppression systems, be sure to consider the capabilities of both systems. It’s important to work with your fire suppression and detection partner when making a decision, as they will provide advice on which system is most suited to your unique requirements.
Thermal imaging is generally best suited to environments storing or stock piling combustible materials. For example, construction, waste, manufacturing and agriculture facilities. Thermal imaging cameras have the ability to monitor surface temperatures of stock piles and alert to any hot spots or rapid increases in temperature, which have the potential to cause a fire.
Alternatively, video flame detection systems are often most effective in environments where fires can develop rapidly. This may include environments working with hot works, electrical equipment or processes. These systems can alert to smaller fires as soon as they begin, allowing for quick extinguishing.
For more information on how camera technology could enhance your fire detection and suppression system, visit www.fireshieldsystemsltd.co.uk or call 0800 975 5767.