Improve fire safety on your construction site

Construction sites have many and varied hazards, with fire safety presenting the greatest threat to life and loss of physical assets. In this article we look at how developments in wireless fire alarm technology are helping tackle this issue. Traditionally, fire detection systems used on construction sites have been of the wired variety, which meant they had to be installed by electricians or specialist contractors. This can be a time consuming and costly process and, understandably, because of that some companies have been reluctant to install them.

Often these organisations prefer to rely on a manual emergency evacuation procedure, which could simply mean a nominated person sounding an alarm after a fire or smoke has been detected.  There is a major weakness with this kind of approach as it relies on someone visually seeing the fire or smoke and then sounding the alarm. Of course, if it is in a part of the site where no one is working, the fire can be completely out of control well before the emergency services arrive. Worse still, if it occurs out of hours, a fire can rage undetected for hours with the end result being a building that is completely destroyed and the loss of assets running into many hundreds of thousands of pounds, or more.

As a result of these incidents, Nottingham-based Ramtech has enhanced fire safety on construction sites by developing an innovative, latest-generation update to its wireless fire alarm system. The company has been at the forefront of wireless technology for over the last 30 years and has incorporated a number of new and unique features into its latest development. As the only wireless fire alarm system with a three-year battery life specifically designed for construction sites, the WES range is unique in being specifically engineered – and independently tested and approved – to comply with EN54-25 and therefore with the new Construction Products Regulation (CPR).

These kinds of systems are relatively inexpensive, significantly easier to install (avoiding the need for specialist trades during set up) and, because they are wireless, allow for easy repositioning of the fire points and heat detection units as the site progresses. Also, because they can provide 24 hours pro-active fire detection, they can provide automatic cover even when your site isn’t populated by sending SMS text alerts.

A typical wireless fire alarm system comprises fire points and heat detection units or dustproof smoke detectors linked to a monitoring base station. In the event of a fire, the system triggers a loud siren and a strobe light, alerting personnel to evacuate the site. At the same time, the base station allows the fire officer to instantly identify which unit has been activated, allowing fire and rescue teams to be deployed more effectively to the exact source of the incident. That means fire officers no longer have to rely on someone seeing the fire before the alarm is raised!

To make reconfiguration easier, WES3 is available with an app that can be used on any Android tablet, making the system fully mobile. The app facilitates advanced system reporting and configuration as well as showing everything from weekly silent test results to system report information. The data can easily be exported and shared with other personnel.

Developments in technology have led to wireless emergency systems setting out best practice when it comes to protecting personnel and assets from fires on construction sites. WES3 can be rented or bought outright as a complete system and, once a site is completed, simply re-used on the next development. So, to ensure your site has the best possible protection for workers and assets, whilst complying with the new EN54-25 standard, take a look at WES.