Arson attacks must be tackled with proactive fire safety technology

Cases of arson are still commonplace in the construction industry and widely believed to be the number one cause of on-site fires. An ongoing problem requires a proactive defence mechanism, as John Tyrer, Sales Director at wireless solutions firm Ramtech North America, explains.

Irreplaceable heritage buildings lost, costs that go through the roof and progress that cannot be recovered – the effects of arson are vast and uniquely upsetting. But these are concerns considered second to the significant potential outcomes of life-changing injuries or even death. It is no secret that arson continues to be a problem for the construction industry, with cases regularly appearing in the news. According to the NFPA, fires that were intentionally set caused one in 10 (11%) fires, but one-third (32%) of direct property damage per year in 2013 through 2017.

Early detection

One of the main reasons why arson is difficult to deal with is because it is impossible to predict and can be either a one-off event or a recurring problem. That being said, an early alert can be the difference between life and death, as well as a small, manageable fire and an out-of-control blaze.

Having an adequate solution in place to detect and respond to outbreaks is essential for all contractors to be responsible on their projects. Without a sound, adequate and compliant system in place, there is the potential for disastrous consequences to a project’s timeline, budget, equipment, supplies, and, most importantly, life.

Connected sites

Fortunately, wireless technology is making detection simpler, more efficient and less of a headache for site managers.

Although a construction site full of primitive tools and raw materials may seem like an unlikely place to find the latest cloud-based innovations, advances in technology is helping to bring 24/7 safety to sites – protecting them against fire hazards such as arson.

Innovative technology set ups, integrating new technology with other, sometimes older, third-party units now offer detailed insights from smoke and heat sensors, which can then be immediately fed through to emergency services, on-site workers and anyone with the connected applications available on mobile devices.

While the construction industry has been moving forward with the adoption of technology in recent years, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend to levels that were never anticipated. Cloud-based systems were able to be quickly implemented, providing a sophisticated and adaptable safety solution for all building sites, regardless of their operational status.

Throughout the pandemic, when construction sites have had less people present than ever before, this connected approach has become even more valuable. If the only person on-site is the instigator of an attempted fire, a connected family of wireless units can instantly “speak” to one another and key personnel – alerting them to the outbreak.

This innovation has given property owners, project supervisors and safety personnel the ability to receive alerts for a variety of events in real-time – helping to prevent unauthorized access, arson and disasters.

Wireless alert systems

Wireless fire alarm systems have advanced greatly over the past few decades and contribute to stopping blazes – whether accidental or deliberate – in their tracks.

Take our WES3 wireless fire, evacuation, and emergency alarm system as an example; it works simultaneously with our cloud-based REACT platform to deliver real-time alerts 24/7 to a mobile device app and the phonelines of local fire services, preventing a fire from becoming out of control – even out of hours and from a distance.

Furthermore, customizable systems that create bespoke solutions to suit a site’s needs offer accurate, specific, personalized notifications and alerts – making it possible to achieve the goal of comprehensive protection from both internal and external threats on construction sites of all sizes, no matter how unique the needs and no matter the operational status of the project.

Firms that are embracing and adopting connected technologies are already reaping the rewards – being provided with peace of mind that sites have an additional level of health and safety protection, putting construction workers’ minds at ease and their lives in safe hands.

Our customers have no problem managing fire risks with our systems in place and it is a small price to pay for vital alerts. The proactive approach is the way forward and technology is paving the way for a safer future for people and property.