Fire is a prevalent safety risk across all industries. It can cause substantial amounts of damage, significant losses of revenue and assets and reduced productivity, due to a period of downtime.
The risk of fire can be managed through continuous monitoring of facilities, using camera technology, such as thermal imaging or video flame detection. These systems can examine temperatures and hot spots and alert to even the smallest fire. Quick identification of fire enables a timely remedy, reducing the risk of a fire breaking out or spreading.
When connected with fire detection and suppression systems, specialist camera technology can significantly reduce your fire risk, helping to protect your team, assets and the surrounding environment.
Improving fire detection and suppression with thermal imaging
A key method for monitoring temperature to aid fire detection and suppression is thermal imaging.
This technology works by measuring infrared radiation, which releases heat. Despite infrared radiation being invisible to the naked eye, thermal imaging technology detects heat. The cameras work by measuring the amount of heat (or infrared radiation) released by an object or from a specific area. These measurements are then translated into images or videos. ‘Hot spots’ appear as bright orange-like markings, whereas cooler areas appear dark and blue-like.
As they are able to monitor temperatures from a significant distance, thermal imaging cameras are referred to as ‘non-contact’.
The technology is able to be integrated with fire detection systems, by alerting when temperatures reach or exceed a certain limit or increase quickly. This then triggers an alarm, allowing for fast response to high temperatures. This helps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out or spreading.
Their effective heat detection capabilities prove thermal imaging cameras to be a valuable addition to any business’ fire detection system.
The technology can also be connected with fire suppression systems, allowing you to entirely automate your response to fire. For example, thermal imaging cameras can be integrated with fire suppression systems so the suppression process begins as soon as high temperatures are detected.
What are the benefits of thermal imaging?
When used in combination with fire detection and suppression systems, thermal imaging has a number of benefits, including:
- Quick detection of rising temperatures – the key benefit is the ability to quickly detect heat or rapidly increasing temperatures. This allows for appropriate measures to be taken to reduce temperatures before a fire has the opportunity to begin. It also means you are able to identify and rectify any existing issues, which may have caused a rapid increase in temperature.
- Monitoring in low-light – as they do not need light to be able to capture images, thermal imaging cameras are ideal for use in low-lit environments. This allows for continual monitoring at night when facilities may be vacant, delivering protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Protection on multiple levels – thermal imaging technology also provides security and equipment monitoring. As they continually observe sites, they can be an alert of trespassers. That way, facilities managers or building owners can be notified quickly of a break in. In addition, the technology can continuously monitor equipment, allowing any faults to be quickly identified.
Enhancing fire detection and suppression with video flame technology
Another type of camera technology which can be integrated with fire detection and suppression systems is video flame detection.
This technology benefits from quick reaction times, triggering alerts as soon as fire enters the camera’s field of view. It works by continuously analysing the video image, checking for any occurrence of flames. It understands the characteristics of flames and detects them based on their behaviour. For example, flickering flames and distinct colours.
What are the benefits of video flame detection?
When used to support fire detection and suppression, video flame detection has a number of benefits, including:
- Detection of small flames – meaning fires can be identified and mitigated quickly, reducing the possibility of fire spreading.
- Integration with CCTV systems – video flame detection can integrate with CCTV systems, creating effective flame detection systems. This means building owners, facilities managers and security personnel to be notified of fire quickly.
- Reduced number of false alarms – the technology is carefully designed to identify the specific characteristics of flames, significantly reducing the possibility of false alarms.
- Cost effective – as the cameras can cover larger areas when compared with point-type detectors, they provide a cost effective solution for monitoring large facilities such as warehouses.
- Recognised by regulatory bodies – video flame detection meets the requirements of a number of regulatory bodies, and is recognised by the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) as an effective method for fire detection, across various industries.
Thermal imaging or video flame detection – which is best?
When it comes to deciding between thermal imaging and video flame detection, it’s important to consider the capabilities of both technologies. Be sure to work with your fire detection and suppression partner, as they will be able to advise you on which system is the best system to your individual requirements.
Thermal image is often most appropriate in environments storing or stockpiling combustible materials. For example, facilities within construction, waste, manufacturing and agriculture often store a large number of combustible materials on site. Within these stockpiles, thermal imaging cameras are able to monitor the surface temperature, alerting to any hot spots or rapid increases in temperature.
In contrast, video flame detection systems are best suited to environments where fires can develop rapidly. This includes high risk environments, such as those working with hot works, electrical equipment or processes. In these scenarios, video flame detection systems can identify smaller fires as soon as they break out, allowing for quick remedy.
Camera technology is an effective way of improving your fire detection and suppression systems. The technology allows your facility to be continuously monitored, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to protect your teams, assets and the environment.
For more information, go to www.fireshieldsystemsltd.co.uk