Integration of Fire Detection and Emergency Lighting in One Solution
In the event of a fire, a traditional emergency lighting system does not facilitate signs to be ‘shut off', allowing people to walk directly into the path of danger. By responding to information sent from the fire detectors FIREscape+ puts an illuminated red ‘X' on appropriate emergency signs, advising people not to exit via that particular route and ensures a safer exit path.
Hochiki Europe presented its new life safety solution at this year's Security Essen. The unique system integrates addressable fire detection and emergency lighting technology to provide an intelligent way-finding solution that represents a step-change in how people safely evacuate buildings. Evacuation is usually hindered by a lack of detailed knowledge of the internal connectivity of the building space, along with confusing and poorly thought out instructions. Studies have also shown that in these situations occupants usually make use of familiar routes - typically using the exit through which they entered the building. Even more worryingly, research from the University of Greenwich, which is currently undertaking a study called the Human Behaviour in Fire Network (HUBFIN), found that only 38 per cent of people see passive signage in an emergency.
Avoid the Path of Danger
Even if the signage is recognised, a traditional emergency lighting system does not allow signs to be ‘shut off', which can direct people into the path of danger. FIREscape+ addresses all these issues and more by integrating the fire detection system with the emergency lighting, and by identifying where in the building the fire is taking place, the correct route can be configured and communicated. By responding to information sent from the fire detectors FIREscape+ is able to put an illuminated red ‘X' on specific emergency exit signs, which signals to people not to exit via that particular route.
Manufactured in the UK, FIREscape+ is EN50172 compliant. It comprises an addressable emergency lighting control panel with battery back up, and addressable, self-contained light emitting diode (LED) luminaires and signage that is connected via low voltage (40V) cabling. Uniquely, this is all powered and configured on the same loop via a single panel giving high levels of control via an automatic system.
Additional Cost Savings
Not only does integration of fire detection make good sense from a safety point of view, it has a number of cost saving and environmental benefits.
Hochiki has managed to reduce the wiring content by 75 per cent. This is achieved by a combination of eliminating the mains wiring to each luminaire and integrating the fire detectors and the luminaires onto the same addressable loop. Also, whilst a FIREscape+ luminaire consumes less than 0.5 W, a similar 8 W fluorescent light exit luminaire will consume approximately 12 W. When compared to 230 V LED lights, FIREscape+ products save more than 50 per cent of energy. The lower energy consumption directly correlates with lower CO2 emissions and, for example, replacing 100 x 230 V fluorescent exit luminaries with FIREscape+ LED based exit lights, CO2 emissions can be reduced by 2,100 kg annually.
"In the event of a fire people often become disorientated and this can inadvertently increase the risk of danger if they take the wrong route out of a building," commented Stuart Davies, marketing manager at Hochiki Europe. "We are delighted to be able launch this innovative new system and by fully integrating fire detection and emergency lighting, FIREscape+'s intelligent signage will help to make safe evacuation far more likely."