Fire Detection Systems
South Africa has some of the highest number of fires in the world which cost companies millions of rand a year. In an effort to combat this problem, it is now a legal requirement in South Africa (SANS 10400) for all buildings that exceed 30m in height (approx. 10 floors), or contain any floor exceeding 5,000m2, , to be equipped with a fire detection system. The system must also be designed, installed and maintained by competent persons (SANS 10139). By investing in a fire detection system, you not only abide by the law, but can also save your company and employees from becoming another statistic.
What is a Fire Detection System?
A fire detection system (sometimes called a fire alarm system) is a system of integrated fire detection devices controlled from a central control panel. Whilst smoke and heat detectors are effective at alerting people in the immediate vicinity of where the smoke is detected. Only a fire detection system will alert people throughout your entire building, giving them enough time to get to safety. The system can also be setup to summon emergency services and broadcast emergency evacuation messages.
Addressable & Conventional Fire Detection Systems
There are two types of fire detection systems available – addressable (see image above right) and conventional (see image above left). Addressable systems monitor the specific location of each device (e.g. smoke detector, call point or sounder). It means in the event of a fire or other emergency you know exactly where the problem is. This saves precious time and helps emergency services to quickly extinguish the fire and prevent serious damage. With a conventional system you can only determine the problem is in a general area, so they are only suited for small sites.
Components of a Fire Detection System
Fire detection systems vary greatly, depending on the specific challenges faced by a business. At Intellisec we can design and install a bespoke system made up of the following items:
- Smoke Alarm / Smoke Detectors – Can operate independently or part of a fire detection system. We offer a wide variety which include ionization, dual optical and optical (also called photoelectric) smoke detectors. We do not recommend battery operated, wireless smoke detectors are they are not compliant with SANS regulations
- Heat Detectors – a very efficient device at detecting temperature increases caused by fires. Highly recommended for places with a lot of non-smoke gases e.g. car exhaust fumes and chemical fumes.
- Call Points / Fire Boxes – Manually operated buttons (see image above left). Used to trigger the fire alarm
- Fire Panel – Controls and monitors the entire fire detection system from one location.
- Fire Alarm / Sounders / Bells / Sirens – Provides an immediate audio alert to any fire out breaks.
- Fire Strobe Light – Provide an instant visual alert and highly effective at directing personnel to the nearest fire exit
- Fire Aspiration system – Aspirating smoke detection is a very accurate method of detecting smoke. A fan draws air through a network of sampling pipes (see image below right) and delivers it to a sophisticated detector (see image below left) to test for the presence of smoke particles. The detector is so accurate that it recognizes the existence of smoke particles suspended in the air before it is even visible to the human eye
- Gas Suppression systems – Quickly extinguishes all types of fire. Used in areas where water and chemicals would likely cause damage. Recommended for offices, server rooms and art installations.Optical Beam Detection / Smoke Detection Beams – Can detect smoke in large areas. It can differentiate smoke from exhaust fumes and other chemicals. Recommended for underground car parks, garages and chemical and petrochemical facilities
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors – CO is a poisonous gas that is completely colourless, tasteless and odourless. Our detectors can save the life of your employees and customers
- Voice Evacuation System – broadcasts pre-recorded messages over the buildings PA system. Informs personnel what event has happened and directs them to safety.
Please be aware that in accordance with South African regulation SANS 10139:2012 your fire detection system must be serviced every 6 months. This is a compulsory; legal requirement and the service must be recorded in a log book and signed off by a certified fire technician. Failure to comply leaves the owner liable for prosecution in the event of a fire. It can also result in your insurance company refusing to settle any claim.
At IntelliSEC we also only use safety and emergency equipment from leading manufacturers like Ziton, Aritech, Technoswitch, Vesda, Bosch, Honeywell and Fire Beam. These systems conform to the SANS 10139 standard and have proven to be stable and reliable in the most demanding of environments. All our fire detection technicians are registered and fully certified by both the PSIRA and the SAQCC Fire. These associations have recognised us as an authorised designer, installer and servicer of fire detection systems. This allows us to fully certify the systems, enabling our clients to obtain discounted business insurance premiums.
We have experience in installing fire detection systems in a wide variety of industries. This enables to understand your specific requirements e.g. the systems we install at hospitals also conform to SANS 322.
We can also support you anywhere in South Africa. We have branches in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay and Kimberley.